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mcbrucer

Quest for an old school 4x4 tug

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Greetings all!

 

We've been towing our large twin axle van (1800kgs, 100kg noseweight) for close to 5 years now with my wife's 2006 Mercedes ML 320CDI but changes in our daily commutes and the ever increasing maintenance bills the old girl has been generating, combined with pretty high regular running costs necessitate a rethink...

 

The plan is to put my wife into something smaller and probably new(ish) that'll be more suited to her commute and to the family for all the general running about that we all do...

 

That leaves us needing something to get me to work and back (15 miles a day round trip) and tow the van. At this kind of mileage, MPG doesn't matter so much. What does matter to me is getting something that isn't going to cost thousands every six to nine months in repair bills like the ML does...

 

I'm a fan of older, simpler and generally more robust motors and it will be a sad day indeed when I say goodbye to my unstoppable Mercedes w124 estate (shame its not a few hundred kilos heavier).

 

I'm hoping to swap my old girl for a similar generation of 4x4. Something reliable, automatic, maybe early to mid noughties, prefer diesel but without too many expensive bits to go wrong.

 

On my list so far are:

 

Toyota Landcruiser, any of them (Colorado, LC3/4 & Amazon) - depending on condition.

Hyundai Terracan - though fuel pump & injector issues seems to plague them. Wonder if it would be worth changing all of these on a car I wanted to run for 3-5 years.

Mitsubishi Shogun. Less familiar with these but aware of various faults that can be expensive to sort.

 

Looking for any advice anyone has on these kinds of vehicles and perhaps alternatives if I'm missing any...

 

Many thanks in advance!

 

 

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 If planning to change injectors and pump do some research into the costs involved. Cost of pump for a Vauxhall was £2000 +labour and that was back in 2011! :o

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Hyundai Terracan is based on the previous generation Mitsubishi Pajero (known as Shogun in the UK).

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12 minutes ago, mcbrucer said:

Mitsubishi Shogun. Less familiar with these but aware of various faults that can be expensive to sort.

My Shogun is only 4 years old so as expected no faults at all yet.

 

My younger sister bought an old model Shogun / Pajero in 2000 (it was 4 years old), it was an Automatic (2.8 Diesel I think), she sold it 2 years ago when it was 21 years old. apart from wear and tear parts and servicing it never broke down and she still got 2K for it with about 250,000 miles on the clock.

 

My other sister had a Shogun Sport for 10 years which she wishes she'd never sold.

 

I have friends/family who've had Diesel Toyota RAV 4's (various models) and they've all had fuel injector issues.

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At the age you’re considering, any vehicle has the potential for expensive problems. Big cars that were expensive new are all likely to be expensive to maintain as they age. The LandCruisers of that era are no longer the paragon of reliability that they once were. 

 

If you’re looking at big heavy 4x4’s that’ll tow well, there’s the Touareg, Grand Cherokee, XC90, Pathfinder and various Land Rovers to consider too. My choice last year was a newish Grand Cherokee. 

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Sadly you are buying repairs consummate with a £40-50k car that is old - I’d personally buy a Touareg TDi but they aren’t everyone’s thing, or failing that an XC90 D5.

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Bit confused any 4x4 vehicle unless newish is going to cost for repairs . Why not buy a newer car for wife commuting and keep the 320 just for towing and your short commute . The thousands pounds you loose changing a vehicle will pay for a few years running and repairs .

 

 

 

 

Dave

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If you shop around enough you may come across a Toyota Surf 3.0L with the KZN engine and they are more than bullet proof.

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@CommanderDave

I have weighed up the possibility of keeping the ML after all the money I've sunk in it but the reality is that it needs money spending on it just to get it towing again (the electrics melted). Combine that with another host of issues I'm aware of that are just bubbling under the surface and I feel its time to stop throwing good money after bad.

 

@Fireman Iain @FrankBullet

I've not considered the Touareg or the XC90. Something is ringing alarm bells about towing with the XC90 - can't remember what it is, I'll need to google it. I think I've not considered the Touareg as its a similar era to the ML we have and so I expect it'll have all sorts of electronics and a funky fuelling system that could go wrong.

 

The Jeep I've discounted because I think it shares the engine my ML has and I've already had to change the turbo on that once due to a design flaw. It was well under 100k miles at the time...

 

 

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Have you considered a pickup ? They are becoming very popular for towing large caravans and with a hardtop for the rear has a huge carrying capacity for kit .

 

 

Dave

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If you want reliability it has to be Japanese.

My first 2007 Nissan Pathfinder had 80k on it after eight years of which half was towing a similar caravan to yours. My second Pathfinder now has 45k on it tow's our Buccaneer with ease. Neither of them have had anything mechanically go wrong  just servicing and tyres.

Watch for rust though especially around the rear legs just forward of the axle.

Hard bit is finding a good well cared for example with anything less than 150k on the clock.

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could I ask what your budget would be ?

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We owned a 1999 land cruiser and kept it until 2013 apart from its standard service cost it cost me a battery in all those years, it was replaced with a 2013 land cruiser which has cost me just the standard service costs so far. Towing our Hymer 570sl gets me 25 mph and the 2013 model is a lot more comfortable on road than the old one, i've never passed a broken down land cruiser so they would appear to be  reasonably reliable no matter what the vintage.

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21 hours ago, mcbrucer said:

@CommanderDave

I have weighed up the possibility of keeping the ML after all the money I've sunk in it but the reality is that it needs money spending on it just to get it towing again (the electrics melted). Combine that with another host of issues I'm aware of that are just bubbling under the surface and I feel its time to stop throwing good money after bad.

 

@Fireman Iain @FrankBullet

I've not considered the Touareg or the XC90. Something is ringing alarm bells about towing with the XC90 - can't remember what it is, I'll need to google it. I think I've not considered the Touareg as its a similar era to the ML we have and so I expect it'll have all sorts of electronics and a funky fuelling system that could go wrong.

 

The Jeep I've discounted because I think it shares the engine my ML has and I've already had to change the turbo on that once due to a design flaw. It was well under 100k miles at the time...

 

 

Like many other 4x4s the XC90 does not have a spare wheel.  Jeep has had a different engine since 2011.  BTW our 2005 Jeep had the ML 3.0l engine and it was brilliant.  Over 60k with the engine and no hassles.  In a way I regret that we sold it as it was very reliable.

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I hadn't considered any pickups but I will look into them thanks...

 

Budget? I'm guessing decent examples of all bar the Landcruiser Amazons ought to be available for around 5-6k...

 

I suspose at the moment I'm leaning towards an early LC3/4 landcruiser but there dont seem to be that many around and the prices are towards the top end of the budget. I'm guessing that most of them ought to have had the injector issues sorted out by now...

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We had a 2003 LC4 for nine years up until a year ago.  Every time we went on holiday it developed a fault that required about £150 spent on it to fix  Always a different fault always the same price.   In  the end it was rust that killed it.  I should have undersealed it when I got it.  Mechanically even at 180K it was fine.   

  The earlier ones the front brake calipers seized I can't remember if I replaced 3 or 4.   A tremendous number of these were are exported to hot and dry countries which is why they are in short supply.  Replaced it with a Touareg which cost more than your budget but it is much more powerful and much more refined.  Wouldn't like to try and fix one in a desert!

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