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 Worth Keeping my Hiace

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Ryank
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PostSubject: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Wed Oct 05, 2016 8:43 pm

I'll warn you in advance, this is a bit of an essay! I hope you take the time to read it, but understand if nobody has the time for that!

I've recently (about a year ago) become a HiAce Owner. It's a 1995 Automatic 4 wheel drive 2.8 Diesel. Now stupidly, I bought it in a bit of a rushed state. I was living abroad at the time and had to fly over and get it. I talked extensively with the owner, he said he'd just finished a 3000 mile Trip around Scotland in it, had new expensive winter tires and underseal. I love the look of the thing, because I work as a ski and snowboard instructor I wanted a something a bit more insulated for when I'm in the cold parts of Europe, and I like the extra security of the porthole style windows. That on top of it being one of the not so common 4 wheel drive camper van would be good for the snow, so I was kinda sold on it before I even saw it not on a compuer screen and acted like a bit of a newbie buyer. Turns out the Fuel gauge doesn't even work (I somehow didn't notice) and I think the underseal was to cover up any upcoming issues (of where there have been some costly ones, see below!)

I paid about £8,000 which seemed a bit more at the high end of the price range, but It has everything I need to live in it, a kitchen/shower room with a chemical toilet, a fridge, gas cooker, even has a little TV in it! Plus it came with an fixed side awning, a (non-fitted) tow bar and a tent attachment that apparently connects to the side. It's shameful but I haven't actually lived in it yet! Although I'm a geek and would need some solar panels on the roof for my electricity needs I think (I have a beefy gaming laptop).

Anyway, after I bought it the plan was to drive it to Spain and see a friend. On the way to the ferry I got the Engine A/T light come on. It was a very hilly couple of hour journey and the van was laden up with me, my friend and all my heavy ski and snowboard gear. In the manual it says to pull over, leave the engine running and see if it cools down, which it did in about 5 to 10 minutes. Then on the way from the Ferryport at the top of Spain to my friend's house in Southern spain (almost 600 miles in the hot weather), I can't remember why now, but I pulled over and a massive amount of oil had leaked out of the bottom. It was weird because upon checking the levels they seemed fine. I bought some new oil and carried on, no more oil leaked out, and the van seemed fine. I asssumed the previous owner had overfilled the oil and the heat caused the excess to overflow. The levels seemed ok still, but no more oil leaking. I was getting the AT light coming on again, but driving a bit slower (the van maxes out about 100km/h) was pretty slow going but seemed to stop the warning light.

Fast forward a few months of me not using the van in spain, and it's time to travel to Austria. I'd almost made it out of Spain and into France when I noticed in my mirrors a lot of blue smoke behind the van, so pulled over, checked the oil and it was pouring out. I got taken to a Toyota Dealership with workshop, and the long and the short of it was that the vacuum pump and alternator were no longer bolted together and were leaking oil everywhere. I asked the guys at the time if they would look into the gearbox and change the oil, but strangely they didn't want to, claiming that if they removed the sump plug it might not seal again and I would need a new gearbox. I tried ordering my own parts but was messed around massively by a company who claimed the parts would be with me in spain, but missed 3 deadlines, and in the end in a bit of a language miscommunication problem, the expensive parts the garage had ordered were fitted to my van about 2 days before my parts were finally supposed to arrive, meaning I had to pay nearly over double what I would have if I hadn't been messed around by the terrible online company. Incidentally, the parts I ordered didn't even come until after I had left, so the company let me down a fourth time!

When I got to the mountains a good 2000km away the van was going strong apart from the fact that if I gunned it the AT light would come on quicker. As it was I could get several hours of driving before it came on, then I'd just pull over for a bit or drive super slow until the light went off. However, when I got to Austria I noticed the van somtimes didn't engage reverse gear. If I put it in drive and then back to reverse, sometimes that works, but more often it requires a bit of a rev, and then it'll click into gear. It happens more often when the van is pointing down hill, which ironically, is usually the time we need reverse the most!

So basically, I'm currently about 10 grand into this van, and I have the horrible feeling I'll need a new gearbox or something. I'm gonna drop it to the local toyota dealer for them to change the gearbox oil, hopefully that will make a difference. The trouble is though, is I've had a little bit of intermittant electrical problems since the major oil leak. Sometimes the stereo will keep turning itself on, one time the automatic windows decided to stop working, the other day the reversing light sounded like a watch with a dead battery and broken speaker, and one time even the ignition wouldn't come on. However, they all resolved themselves somehow, but I am worried something is very wrong.

My questions (finally!) are as so:

I'm 10 grand into this van - at what point should I stop spending money on it, and just wait till the end of winter and then sell it, hopefully to someone who's lifestyle doesn't involve driving it on trips thousands of miles long, and has the time to spend on it. What would you do in my situation? I think given a bit of time and a bit of TLC I could probably get 8-10 grand out of it, looking at the prices of the current ones on Autotrader. Trouble is that I don't spend much time in the UK and don't want to go back for potentially a couple of months, in order to find the right buyer!

I know there's no strict answer for anything I've written, just trying to get other people's opinions on what they'd do in my situation. Well done if you made it!
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Hiace4wd
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PostSubject: Re: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:54 am

What a shame your having this issues. But you need to get an overview of what is wrong, or what has been fixed.

I'm reading about all your oil problems, but in the end that was all solved because of the vacuum pump and alternator being put together again? Or did you still have issues afterwards?
How does the cooling liquid look? If you shine a light in there, check for oil floating on top of the cooling liquid?

If I understand correctly, you still have two issues left. Transmission acting weird, and electrical problems.

The electrical problems: Please check how your fusebox is looking, if there is a lot of rust or not.
And more importantly, check the voltage. Maybe your alternator has been damaged by the oil leaks. If it is causing all kind of strange voltages, it could explain weird electrical problems. Although your problems sound a bit different.
You can check it with a multimeter while the engine is running, and rev the engine to see what it does. Or you could buy one of these cheap ones to see how it does while driving:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_odkw=voltage+meter+plug&_sop=15&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.Xvoltage+meter+plug+-usb.TRS0&_nkw=voltage+meter+plug+-usb&_sacat=0
It should always be between 12V and 14,8V at max.

You could also have the battery tested at the shop. And perhaps a second battery if there is one?
Anyway, also check the main terminal connections on the battery, take them off and clean them.

Regarding the automatic, you are having issues but nothing has been done to it yet?
I don't know much about the automatics, but if nothing has been done, than you could at least try a oil change to see if it resolves the issues? I think that is the starting point?
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Ryank
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PostSubject: Re: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Fri Oct 07, 2016 2:08 pm

Hi, thanks for the reply!!!

I'm sorry I didn't clearly answer your questions in the first place, I have trouble being concise and I was worried nobody would get through it if I continued to write!

Unfortunately the oil leak wasn't that eaily fixed.  Because the alternator drives the vacuum pump directly and the two had become unbolted but not disconnected, the teeth on the driver were gone and I needed a new oil pump and alternator.  Thus I don't think the electrics are being caused by the alternator.  Also everything's got a good charge and taking the van out for a drive does seem to add power to the battery, just from listening to the starter motor the day after I've driven it.

I'm just waiting for a local toyota dealer to reply to my message asking whether I can drive the van in or whether it needs an appointment in regards to an oil change.  I'll ask them to see if they can see anything obviously wrong with the electrics at the same time.  Oh and I'll have a look at the fusebox if I can find it!

Oh, and for info - I'm taking it into the garage for a gearbox oil change because when I originally broke down on my way to austria, I asked them to change the gearbox oil and the declined, because they said it was possible that the metal gearbox sump plug wouldn't seal up again correctly after they removed it.  I know the gearbox oil is a tricky one and has to be filled up via the dipstick opening. Just don't want to do it myself without any proper tools, especially as this was from an official toyota dealer and the van was with them for 2 weeks anyway!

I'm really hoping a gearbox oil change will somehow fix the engaging reverse problem, but I'm just not convinced it will, it seems more mechanical and complicated than simply 'old oil' and if I need a new gearbox that will be very costly indeed.
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Hiace4wd
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PostSubject: Re: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:35 pm

Ok sounds like a plan.

A gearbox replacement may not be cheap, but if you can find a used one, it should keep the cost down. You can find the gearbox (TRM) code on the VIN plate in the engine room (probably something like A141 or so) and check on Ebay or other.
Then you should only have the cost of the replacement work itself left.
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GPW
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PostSubject: Re: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Fri Oct 07, 2016 9:21 pm

Ok, first, sorry to hear you are having troubles.

It sounds to me like the A/T oil is overheating. That's my considered diagnosis.

This can cause quite a bit of the oil to 'hop out' as it boils - the bubbles driving it out.
I think one leak was your vacuum pump drive, one was the A/T oil.

The engine and gearbox were used in a few Toyota cars, I'm not sure which ones but possibly the Hilux, a good Toyota dealer should be able to track them down.

Anyway, the A/T sounds like it needs:

1. Better cooling.

A garage needs to check it is connected to the cooling loop (usually into the main radiator). It sounds like either someone has bypassed that (perhaps fitting a non A/T radiator), or there is a pump or thermostat issue. The former is the most likely.

Then it will of course benefit from a complete A/T oil and A/T filter change - possibly from the nearest Toyota garage.
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Ryank
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PostSubject: Re: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Sat Oct 08, 2016 10:20 am

Hey guys, thanks a lot for the info! When I drop it into a toyota garage I will ask them to look into the cooling loop/thermostat. I don't believe I've had an AT oil leak to the best of my knowledge though. The levels have been consistent since I bought the vehicle, and the gearbox and oil weren't touched when I broke down the first time. I understand why insufficient cooling would cause the AT Oil Temp Light to come on, but would this also cause reverse not to engage?
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GPW
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PostSubject: Re: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Sun Oct 09, 2016 12:00 am

Ryank wrote:
Hey guys, thanks a lot for the info!  When I drop it into a toyota garage I will ask them to look into the cooling loop/thermostat.  I don't believe I've had an AT oil leak to the best of my knowledge though.  The levels have been consistent since I bought the vehicle, and the gearbox and oil weren't touched when I broke down the first time.  I understand why insufficient cooling would cause the AT Oil Temp Light to come on, but would this also cause reverse not to engage?

I had a Honda torque converter overheat when I was towing in too high a gear, all drive gradually disappeared - I waited by the side of the road for a while until it cooled and I carried on. It caught the AT fluid itself - in that case no oil came out.

If your fluid has overheated (i.e. if the overheat sensor is not faulty) you may have cooked the fluid, in which case all bets are off until it's drained and replaced. AT boxes are quite sensitive about a decent fluid and filter - problems with either can lead to one suspecting the gearbox - when it just needs a proper AT service.
There is an episode of 'Wheeler Dealers' where they buy a Porsche Boxster for £1000, because it has a faulty gearbox - it messed up the change from 1st to 2nd. Edd tried an oil + filter change and it completely fixed it - so I'm hoping this is the case with yours too. Everything in there is powered by that hydraulic fluid.
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Ryank
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PostSubject: Re: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Sun Oct 09, 2016 9:56 am

Hey GPW, thanks for the info, that is very helpful! I'm still waiting on the mechanic to get back to me (I'm in Spain, and the guy who responds to emails for the Official Toyota Garage takes a minimum of 3 days to respond even if I were to simply ask their opening hours. Let's just say the country's economy being in the toilet is understandable when you try and get anyone to actually help you out here.

Interesting, so when your's 'caught' the oil, where did it catch it?

Great story about the porsche about the Porsche, man what a lucky git! I have completely the opposite luck, if I didn't have bad luck I wouldn't have any at all! Finger's crossed that an oil change will set it right! Thanks again!
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GPW
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Home City : Cambridge, UK
Model and year : Model: KD-KZH100G-MRPGT
Year: 1996
Colour: 4K1
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Registration date : 2016-07-16

PostSubject: Re: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Sun Oct 09, 2016 11:10 am

Ryank wrote:
Interesting, so when your's 'caught' the oil, where did it catch it?

Great story about the porsche about the Porsche, man what a lucky git!  I have completely the opposite luck, if I didn't have bad luck I wouldn't have any at all!  Finger's crossed that an oil change will set it right!  Thanks again!

Good luck in Spain!!

On the Honda the fluid ejected itself from the Torque Converter (which is why the drive was lost - vapour isn't enough!) - but stayed in the car, I presume there is enough space in the AT system to hold the additional litre or so that came out from it (the converter is the primary heat source on an AT).

The Boxster-S guy had stopped using it for 4 years because of the faulty gearbox, and was offering it for scrap on a forum that Mike Brewer chanced across. Edd fixed it for around £200 in parts IIRC (the AT filter is expensive).

All that time and all it needed was a proper AT service - so that's what I learned - don't write off an AT box unless it's had a fresh service Very Happy. There are a few specialists in the UK that can fix them if that fails, but if it keeps overheating it's most likely to be a fluid issue, so I think reverse is a symptom and the overheat issue is the cause that needs fixing ASAP.

https://www.mistertransmission.com/transmission-fluid-diagnosis
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PostSubject: Re: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Tue Oct 11, 2016 6:44 pm

Well there is a company here in Spain who are not only run by an english family, but they get extremely good reviews and specialise in Auto boxes. I believe they offer a complete rebuild service. Trouble is google maps says it'll take me 5 hours to get there, which means a good 7 hours in my van, then I'd have all the hassle of leaving it there and collecting it again. Gonna go to the local Toyota dealer and get them to change the AT oil to see if that helps first.
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GPW
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PostSubject: Re: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Tue Oct 11, 2016 7:43 pm

Ryank wrote:
Well there is a company here in Spain who are not only run by an english family, but they get extremely good reviews and specialise in Auto boxes. I believe they offer a complete rebuild service.  Trouble is google maps says it'll take me 5 hours to get there, which means a good 7 hours in my van, then I'd have all the hassle of leaving it there and collecting it again.  Gonna go to the local Toyota dealer and get them to change the AT oil to see if that helps first.

Sounds like a plan.
Maybe worth phoning the AT place for a preliminary chat outlining your plan of action first as they sound like they know what they are doing.
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PostSubject: Re: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Tue Oct 11, 2016 7:56 pm

Yeah call them. And if it's just a flush, that does not take all day.. So perhaps you can stay in the area for the night.

But I would that around any reasonably big city there should be some workshop who can do this.
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PostSubject: Re: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Wed Oct 12, 2016 6:46 pm

I did already call them before I even started this thread!  They said the first thing they would do is change the oil and if it's still got problems they would need to look at it, so that's why I'm gonna get the oil done locally, and then make the trip if it still has the problem.  I guess the reason I started this post to find out less about what's actually wrong with it, and more about at what point would you give up if you were in my position!  Knowing my luck I'll need the gearbox rebuilding/replacing and then shortly after that's fixed I'll get another serious isssue!  Anything else often go wrong with these?
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PostSubject: Re: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:20 am

Oh also, there may be people in any major city who can do it, but with an originally japanese vehicle, registered in the Uk and currently in spain, it's more about who I would trust to not only do the work, but be honest and hardworking (the latter seriously lacking around here in my experience, hell even the ofiicial toyota garage takes 3 days to even reply to emails that were written in spanish!). That and having someone who I can communicate properly with.
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PostSubject: Re: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:35 am

Thats true. However I do know some good mechanics who suck at modern technology like e-mail Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:55 am

That is true, but I was emailing the mechanic, and basically it took me around 9 days to finally get enough information that it needed to be booked in, so I then emailed their main admin email address and that was 2 days ago now and still haven't heard anything back. However it's a bit of a racist stereotype, but Spain deserves their economy to be a big problem, literally every spanish person I've ever met (and I have a couple of good mates that are spanish) and every single one of them is a lazy jobsworth. It's just the spanish people in general, it's like they don't give a shit about anyone apart from themselves. A good example is when people are stopped on the pavements talking, or exiting their house. As I approach they'll look directly at me, and then continue to block the entire pavement, forcing me to either walk in the road or ask them to move to let me past. I've had to ask a few times, at which point I get dirty looks, like I'm being selfish wanting to get past! Love the weather, but I'm sure often the Spanish are even worse than the reputation that precedes the French!
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PostSubject: Re: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:26 pm

Garages are notoriously hopeless at email, I've not yet found a good emailer garage in the UK.
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PostSubject: Re: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:10 am

Yeah but this is also an official dealership where they have proper office staff!
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PostSubject: Re: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:14 am

I'm thinking maybe I'll just change the oil myself. It's only about 2 and a half litres. Also if the plug does fail to get a seal, the garage is close enough to drive to with an emergency top up with oil with a kitchen sponge wedged in around the cap.
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PostSubject: Re: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Fri Oct 14, 2016 7:38 am

Dont you need this special machine tool to flush it or is that only with newer automatic gearboxes?
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PostSubject: Re: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Tue Oct 18, 2016 11:16 am

Strange, I did reply to this but seems my post vanished or deleted. I did include a link to another forum in it. Would have been nice if the link was just removed rather than the entire post being unceremoniously deleted without any kind of notification. Unless it simply didn't post, but I don't think that's the case as I usually read through my posts and check for errors.

Anyway, I believe the torque converter doesn't get flushed, and I've heard of 2 methods to ensure it gets a flushing - either manually flush it, which involves disconnecting hoses and other stuff, or change the oil twice a couple of weeks apart to give the oil a chance to flush.
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PostSubject: Re: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:33 pm

Ryank wrote:
Strange, I did reply to this but seems my post vanished or deleted.  I did include a link to another forum in it.  Would have been nice if the link was just removed rather than the entire post being unceremoniously deleted without any kind of notification.  Unless it simply didn't post, but I don't think that's the case as I usually read through my posts and check for errors.  

Anyway, I believe the torque converter doesn't get flushed, and I've heard of 2 methods to ensure it gets a flushing - either manually flush it, which involves disconnecting hoses and other stuff, or change the oil twice a couple of weeks apart to give the oil a chance to flush.

I didn't see the post appear if that helps.

I think the Hilux shares the engine/transmission - it may be easier to find into about changing the fluid on a Hilux forum. Certainly an extra place to look.
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PostSubject: Re: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:30 am

I'm not sure where you're getting hilux from, we're on a Toyota hiace forum, I have a hiace, and I've never even mentioned a hilux.....

Plus I've never heard of a vehicle sharing oil from the engine and transmission, I can assure you the HIACE I have, doesn't share gearbox oil from the auto transmission with the engine.
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PostSubject: Re: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:37 am

What he means is that the Hilux shares it's drivetrain technology with the Hiace. And if you can't find any info on the Hiace, you might find it at Hilux forums.
But Hiluxes are usually manual. However, the drivetrain is shared with lot's of Toyotas.

It would be better to check the gearbox code on the VIN plate like I mentioned earlier (should be something like A143 or something, A and three digits), and use the gearbox code to search in Google.

Hilux, Tacoma, 4Runner, Hiace, they all share a lot.
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PostSubject: Re: Worth Keeping my Hiace   Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:47 am

Ok, digging through the part numbers system. You must have a A45DE or A45DL, please check for such a number on the VIN plate. Or send me your Chassis number.

If it is the A45DL (which I think it is), you can already buy an English repair manual that should have all the info you need!
Also very useful for any mechanic working on your car. See below:

http://www.ebay.nl/itm/1990-TOYOTA-A45DL-AUTOMATIC-TRANSMISSION-REPAIR-MANUAL-WERKSTATTHANDBUCH-RM194E-/191491501192?hash=item2c95c86c88:g:YRYAAOSw-W5Uwn4S
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