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 Cost of ownership of a 1991 Hiace 4x4 diesel in the US

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kevikev
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PostSubject: Cost of ownership of a 1991 Hiace 4x4 diesel in the US   Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:26 am

Hi there,

I'm considering purchasing a JDM Hiace 4x4 diesel in the US, and I'm curious what I can expect, in terms of ease, and cost, of maintenance and general ownership. I realize most of the folks on here aren't in the US, but any input would be appreciated.

The best comparison I can think of would be owning a VW Vanagon/Westfalia, but my understanding, and hope, is that the Hiace is far more reliable. It seems that I'd be relying on Mike's Garage for parts. I should say that I'm not very knowledgeable when it comes to vehicle self-maintenance, but that I am a (software) engineer and can certainly learn.

Any thoughts here would be greatly appreciated!

- Kevin
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GPW
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Model and year : Model: KD-KZH100G-MRPGT
Year: 1996
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PostSubject: Re: Cost of ownership of a 1991 Hiace 4x4 diesel in the US   Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:18 am

JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) means that spares are often difficult to source, so the one you buy needs to be complete, undamaged with rust free bodywork.

You may also wish to rustproof it for the US winters - not sure if required in Ca.

Running gear is common to many Toyotas so you can get all the bits for that.
The most reliable seems to be the 3L diesel, you need to be sure of the cooling system and that the engine + trans do not overheat on your checks.

Check the transmission fluid.for colour: black fluid generally means a new box, a well maintained one should have pink fluid and last for ages.

Over time some of the capacitors dry out in the engine ECU, but that's fixable and may have been done. Not heard of the transmission ECU doing that.

Overall my view is that the Hiace looks much nicer and is far more reliable: Google for the VW tales of woe. Plus VW's are overpriced IMO, mainly due to lack of sales (rare!) and momentum from the air-cooled era popularity.

You mention 1991 so perhaps you have one in mind, so look at bills, maintenance and condition of fluids, exhaust, tyres, brakes etc. In practice I don't see why it should cost any more to run than a Tacoma or 4runner etc etc.

HTH
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WGWarburton
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Model and year : 94 2.8 Noppo HiTop Super-Long
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PostSubject: Re: Cost of ownership of a 1991 Hiace 4x4 diesel in the US   Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:50 pm

Biggest cost is likely to be your time, as you'll probably have to do a lot of the legwork finding any parts that arn't readily identifiable.

After that, I would guess that the biggest hassle would be with a mostly rhd vehicle in a lhd market- either you'll be looking for rare lhd versions of anything specific or you'll be trying to source rhd ones that might not have been available where you are..?

If those are not issues for you then it could work out well!

In your shoes, I'd definitely look for a HiAce variant that shares a lot of parts with a "locally common" Surf/HiLux etc

Cheers,
W.
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TwentyOneThirtyFive
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Model and year : Super GL Camper (Vantech), 2.8D 4wd, 1995
Registration date : 2016-08-04

PostSubject: Re: Cost of ownership of a 1991 Hiace 4x4 diesel in the US   Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:21 am

I have both Smile Well sort of, I have the what you'd call the Westfalia Eurovan CV rather than the Vanagon.

Basic servicing is slightly more expensive on the the HiAce (more components, higher cost of filters, etc). Oil service intervals are shorter (HiAce 3.2k miles, Westy 5k miles). Access to the engine is tighter. Changing an aux belt on the Westy is a 20 minute job, including removing the belly pan. It's a couple of hours on the HiAce, assuming all goes well. It took me days because all did not go well!

Fuel economy is worse. The HiAce (2.8d 4wd) returns around 26mpg. The Westy (2.4d 2wd) returns around 33mpg.

The HiAce is nicer to drive, although much slower.

Mechanicals on both are very simple. I'm not mechanical in any shape or form, but I have recently completed a full servce (oil, filters, aux belts, diffs and transfer box). You can tell just how mechanial I am from the questions I ask on here!

The Westy will be up for sale soon, the HiAce we have big plans for Smile
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kevikev
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PostSubject: Re: Cost of ownership of a 1991 Hiace 4x4 diesel in the US   Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:10 pm

Thanks for the all the thoughtful replies!
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Merlin_
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Home City : Nelson BC
Model and year : 92 Hiace 4x4 Diesel Cruising Cabin
99 Tercel ce *mint*
00 Tacoma *loved and now lost, sold to buy my van!*
Registration date : 2012-11-26

PostSubject: Re: Cost of ownership of a 1991 Hiace 4x4 diesel in the US   Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:53 am

I get a lot of looks, comments, waves, thumbs up, peace signs, etc when I am driving around. Its very rare to see a rhd vehicle in western Canada, but they do exist, and are more common on the BC coast. I like to refer to the rhd van as my 'expensive hobby'. The diesel 4x4 camper van can get you to many places vw vans could not go. Ive been up logging roads, to many festivals, and even down through Portland a few years ago. Being able to just pull over and sleep in the back has been so convenient!

As far as maintenance, its like any other older car, except the parts you might need are not readily available at your local auto parts store. They may have to be sourced from speciality suppliers, I have used 3 different ones in bc. I have gotten air and fuel filters from the Toyota dealer in Spokane, but you need the cross reference for part numbers at toyodiy.com Many mechanics won't work on these vehicles, you might have to look for an import specialist. I have found a good shop in my city. Several of the mechanics are from Asia, and know these vans well, having worked on them before. It made getting the alternator replaced and recharging the A/c very easy.
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Hiace4wd
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Model and year : 1994 Toyota Hiace 4x4 DIY camper
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PostSubject: Re: Cost of ownership of a 1991 Hiace 4x4 diesel in the US   Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:24 am

What I understand is that US Toyota dealerships don't like to order random part numbers. If that wouldn't be an issue, you could just order any part. I can order any part for any Japanese import car here in the European dealerships, even though the car was never sold here.
That would make life easier in the US.

@2135, it is not really fair to compare the 2wd VW with a 4wd Hiace. The Hiace is much heavier with the 4wd system.
And yes, the 4wd system of the Hiace is different, with low-gearing you can get to many places.

If you are looking to minimize risk, I would suggest to take a 2.4 liter or 2.8 liter version with manual transmission. The 3.0 turbo with automatic is on the other end, a bit more risk but better driving.
However, if you are going to look at Japanese import anyway, I would suggest the 2.4 turbodiesel.
Or perhaps you want to go petrol, then you sometimes have engines that are already in Hilux or Tacoma's.
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TwentyOneThirtyFive
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Model and year : Super GL Camper (Vantech), 2.8D 4wd, 1995
Registration date : 2016-08-04

PostSubject: Re: Cost of ownership of a 1991 Hiace 4x4 diesel in the US   Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:59 am

Hiace4wd wrote:
@2135, it is not really fair to compare the 2wd VW with a 4wd Hiace. The Hiace is much heavier with the 4wd system.
And yes, the 4wd system of the Hiace is different, with low-gearing you can get to many places.

From a running costs point of view I agree - someone with a 2wd poptop can offer a better comparison for fuel economy, but from a general servicing perspective, the comparison is fair if you ignore the transfer box and additional diff. Oil changes (same spec oil) are more frequent and the oil capacity larger on the HiAce. Filters were a tad more expensive. The engine is less accessable.

I much prefer the HiAce though, it is a far nicer van to drive.
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VNFRMJPN
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PostSubject: Re: Cost of ownership of a 1991 Hiace 4x4 diesel in the US   Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:39 pm

kevikev wrote:
Hi there,

I'm considering purchasing a JDM Hiace 4x4 diesel in the US, and I'm curious what I can expect, in terms of ease, and cost, of maintenance and general ownership. I realize most of the folks on here aren't in the US, but any input would be appreciated.

The best comparison I can think of would be owning a VW Vanagon/Westfalia, but my understanding, and hope, is that the Hiace is far more reliable. It seems that I'd be relying on Mike's Garage for parts. I should say that I'm not very knowledgeable when it comes to vehicle self-maintenance, but that I am a (software) engineer and can certainly learn.

Any thoughts here would be greatly appreciated!

- Kevin

I've had my '89 Hiace Super Custom for over a year in the US (NY) and have been lucky to not have any major maintenance issues. I found an equivalent oil filter so oil changes are fine. I had to have the alternator rebuilt and that's it. It's a blast to own and drive.
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Ace MM
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Model and year : 1990 Super Custom 4WD Diesel LH107
Registration date : 2016-10-12

PostSubject: Re: Cost of ownership of a 1991 Hiace 4x4 diesel in the US   Sat Apr 08, 2017 7:22 am

My VW neighbors are jealous, and just as slow.
So far it's been routine maintenance in cramped quarters. All fluids\filters still less than for my TDI.
Part numbers are easy to order if still available from http://www.toyodiy.com dealers that won't take special orders are common.
Diesel mechanics that are willing to work on a van are limited around here.

Glass is my biggest worry. Its out there, but getting it here affraid

First big camping trip planned for August in Mammoth.
Test the the AC
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