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Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! #4495697
08/22/17 10:49 PM
08/22/17 10:49 PM
Joined: Sep 2016
Posts: 513
Vienna, VA
TinyVoices Offline OP
TinyVoices  Offline OP
Joined: Sep 2016
Posts: 513
Vienna, VA
Looking to buy a daily driver/ occasional tow vehicle. I was given the opportunity to get a free isuzu rodeo but a family friend who has kids really needed it instead so it was given to them. Totally agree with the decision.

I would like an SUV (have no use for pickup) that can tow 4000lbs. Preferably an auto but would buy a manual no problem if it was the right deal. Would like 4x4. Will be buying in Maryland as I am moving back to the Baltimore area with my fiancee in 2 months.

I would like to do this on the cheap. $3000 or so. Not much more. I would like to stay Japanese as well.

I have looked at:
Rodeo/passport - auto trans issues
Xterra - automatic trans pink milkshake issue?
Pathfinder - don't know much and most have leather which I do not want.
Mitsubishi montero - know nothing but many nice ones for sale for cheap. Any issues?
4runner - forget it. Everything has 350k miles for $3k.

Any ideas? Willing to do work and have the means to so any mechanical repair myself. Looking for a semi reliable daily driver that I can tow with on occasion while I do a full build on the mr2. Would like to keep after and long term as a daily driver.

Thanks!


1993 Toyota MR2 Hardtop N/A - 160k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30
2006 Toyota Matrix XR AWD (Fiancee) - 130k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30
Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: TinyVoices] #4495708
08/22/17 11:13 PM
08/22/17 11:13 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 10,699
Phoenix, AZ
Nick1994 Offline
Nick1994  Offline
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 10,699
Phoenix, AZ
Look into a truck and then put a camper shell on it to widen your searches?


2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4L 84k Mobil 1 AFE 0w30 & OEM
2000 Toyota Camry 2.2L 230k Valvoline 5w30 & Fram Ultra
1996 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L 147k Mobil 1 HM 10w40 & Fram Ultra
Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: TinyVoices] #4495710
08/22/17 11:14 PM
08/22/17 11:14 PM
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 2,190
Fort Worth, Texas
clinebarger Offline
clinebarger  Offline
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 2,190
Fort Worth, Texas
I kinda understand blind Toyota loyalty.....But to extend that to the entire Japanese auto industry is foolish.


2001 Chevy Camaro L92/4L80E
2006 Chevy 2500HD LBZ/Allison 1000
2010 Toyota Corolla 2ZR-FE/Auto
Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: TinyVoices] #4495720
08/22/17 11:25 PM
08/22/17 11:25 PM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 5,435
Soviet State of Washington
PimTac Offline
PimTac  Offline
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 5,435
Soviet State of Washington
Mitsubishi Montero would be a decent choice but where can you find them? Also, it may not have the power of say a Ford or GovMo but you must know that already.


2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring

Valvoline Advanced Synthetic 0w20
Mobil 1 M108A EP filter

Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: TinyVoices] #4495738
08/23/17 12:10 AM
08/23/17 12:10 AM
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,416
Seattle-ish, WA
Oro_O Offline
Oro_O  Offline
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,416
Seattle-ish, WA
I went through this exact same factoring several years ago. I would recomend this: Get a 1992 to 1997 Isuzu Trooper or 96/97 Acura SLX (same vehicle). These have the 3.2 V6 which does not burn oil like the 3.5L (1998 and up - because of bad oil ring design). The auto trans issues are totally manageably with some simple common sense and mods. The frame and brakes are totally up to that tow weight and more.

The auto transmission is the GM 4L30E and a bit stressed in this vehicle if run hard. If you install a) a cooler (easy, cheap), and b) a temp gauge (easy, cheap), and change the fluid periodically and keep it topped up (easy, cheap), it will last forever. I can walk you through all that; I and others have posted about it at planetisuzoo.com.

The Rodeo/Passport frame is not ideal for towing the weight you want. Toyotas of the vintage are ridiculously overpriced for what they are. The Isuzu delivers toyota level quality and reliability with some needed care regarding the GM transmission. I have owned a 1998 Acura SLX (with the otherwise excellent but bad oil ring desing 3.5L) for 7/8 years and know most all the ins and outs. I love Toyota/Lexus and also own them now and in the past, but totally agree that for cheap good 4x4 and towing, the 4runner is not it.

You can find this vintage Trooper with a 5 speed, but as a daily driver in the Baltimore/DC area, that's more pain than even the Rock can take. The auto can be reliable with cheap mods and maintenance.

Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: TinyVoices] #4495740
08/23/17 12:18 AM
08/23/17 12:18 AM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 2,881
The Canyons
02SE Offline
02SE  Offline
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 2,881
The Canyons
There's a reason the 4Runner holds it's value better than any of the others. I worked on them all back in the day, I have friends that still do.

My suggestion is to find a good, clean, well maintained 4Runner, and continue to maintain it.

Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: 02SE] #4495746
08/23/17 12:40 AM
08/23/17 12:40 AM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 17,134
Michigan
daves87rs Offline
daves87rs  Offline
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 17,134
Michigan
Originally Posted By: 02SE
There's a reason the 4Runner holds it's value better than any of the others. I worked on them all back in the day, I have friends that still do.

My suggestion is to find a good, clean, well maintained 4Runner, and continue to maintain it.


I have to agree with this....


Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.

Henry Ford
Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: TinyVoices] #4495750
08/23/17 12:55 AM
08/23/17 12:55 AM
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 542
Texas (south)
FermeLaPorte Offline
FermeLaPorte  Offline
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 542
Texas (south)
Mazda Tribute


Always Mobil 1
2014 1.6L Nissan Versa Sedan, 5 spd, 5k OCI.
2011 3.5L Chevrolet Impala, Automatic, 5k OCI.
Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: TinyVoices] #4495752
08/23/17 12:57 AM
08/23/17 12:57 AM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 4,751
New Zealand
Silk Online content
Silk  Online Content
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 4,751
New Zealand
Looking at your list, the Montero/Pajero is a whole step up from the others. Independent rear suspension from 2000 and just classier and upmarket alround. Down here we get them new or imported, all made in Japan, or the Netherlands. Totally bulletproof throughout, practically nothing goes wrong with these things. Uh, apart from the engine, petrol or diesel there are issues. The V6 is a complicated engine, and labour intensive if worked on. the 4M41 diesel is not so bad....but I did an injector pump on one a few years ago. Not available, they had to make one just for this vehicle.6 week wait, and was all good again.


1987 BMW R65 - Penrite V Twin 20/50
2005 Nissan Expert - Gulf Western 10W-40
1996 Volvo T5 - Penrite HPR15 - 15W-60. Ryco syntec filter.
Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: TinyVoices] #4495795
08/23/17 05:08 AM
08/23/17 05:08 AM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 42,085
New Jersey
JHZR2 Offline
JHZR2  Offline
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 42,085
New Jersey
I just don't get the need to stay Japanese. The 4Runner is kind of the gold standard in that segment, but not sure Id want to pull 4000 lbs with one that I bought for $3k.

I'm sure you can get a deal on a few of the others, but the the reliability may not be up to par. That said, if you're buying a $3k 10+ year old truck, you should expect to spend a thousand if not thousands of dollars on work and parts replacement, even if on a "reliable" vehicle.

Id probably look for a used Tahoe or excursion or similar. Even a mid 90s k blazer. These will be simple, cheap tonrepair/keep, if a bit thirsty. But that said,the wife's old 4Runner was never a fuel champ and certainly didn't have a 350 under the hood...

Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: JHZR2] #4495809
08/23/17 05:45 AM
08/23/17 05:45 AM
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 4,743
North Carolina
rooflessVW Offline
rooflessVW  Offline
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 4,743
North Carolina
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
I just don't get the need to stay Japanese. The 4Runner is kind of the gold standard in that segment, but not sure Id want to pull 4000 lbs with one that I bought for $3k.

I'm sure you can get a deal on a few of the others, but the the reliability may not be up to par. That said, if you're buying a $3k 10+ year old truck, you should expect to spend a thousand if not thousands of dollars on work and parts replacement, even if on a "reliable" vehicle.

Id probably look for a used Tahoe or excursion or similar. Even a mid 90s k blazer. These will be simple, cheap tonrepair/keep, if a bit thirsty. But that said,the wife's old 4Runner was never a fuel champ and certainly didn't have a 350 under the hood...

+1 I'm with you. A Suburban/Tahoe/Yukon is what I'd be after. Big, comfy, reliable, cheap to repair.

Or a 5.6 V8 Pathfinder. Nissan actually made them, and they're BEASTLY. Rare though.


"Zed's dead baby, Zed's dead."
Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: TinyVoices] #4495831
08/23/17 06:32 AM
08/23/17 06:32 AM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,277
San Antonio, TX
E150GT Offline
E150GT  Offline
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,277
San Antonio, TX
I don't think $3k , 4K lbs towing and Japanese go together.


1984 Mercedes-Benz 300SD - 100k
1995 F150 XL 4.9 reg cab 5MT - 251k 5w30
2016 Mazda6 Touring 6MT - 57k 10w30
2006 Buick Lucerne CXL 3.8 31k 5w30
Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: TinyVoices] #4495838
08/23/17 06:41 AM
08/23/17 06:41 AM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 3,791
New England
madRiver Offline
madRiver  Offline
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 3,791
New England
That paltry budget Id peek at the plentiful Ford Explorers out there.

Your budget is too low for Japanese and 4k towing. If it were 3k towing it would be in range of capabilities of an old Japanese SUV.

Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: TinyVoices] #4495853
08/23/17 07:05 AM
08/23/17 07:05 AM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 7,650
Toronto, Canada
KrisZ Offline
KrisZ  Offline
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 7,650
Toronto, Canada
Japanese excel in small cars, domestics in SUVs and trucks. Why limit yourself to the runner ups because of some unfounded loyalty or fear?


2015 Dodge Grand Caravan-27k miles.
2006 Mazda 3-163k miles
Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: TinyVoices] #4495861
08/23/17 07:21 AM
08/23/17 07:21 AM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 9,192
Ontario, Canada
IndyIan Offline
IndyIan  Offline
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 9,192
Ontario, Canada
The 2005+ V6 pathfinder is rated for 5k towing, the 05+ Xterra is 4k, but the Xterra has a solid rear axle which is nice for towing.
Was there rwd pathfinders in the US? A rwd 4runner would be cheaper too I guess, but perhaps useless in Denver in winter?
For $3-4k you should buy more on the maintenance done to the vehicle than its reputation. An old V6 exploder that's been taken care of can be much cheaper to own than a 4runner that "hasn't needed anything" for 200k miles...


07 Focus ZXW, 5spd manual, 210km M1 5W30
18 Outback 2.5 CVT 10km 0W20 "bulk subaru" whatever that is
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