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#4495697 - 08/22/17 10:49 PM Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help!
TinyVoices Offline


Registered: 09/12/16
Posts: 480
Loc: 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 - 157k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30
2006 Toyota Matrix XR AWD (Fiancee) - 126k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30

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#4495708 - 08/22/17 11:13 PM Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: TinyVoices]
Nick1994 Offline


Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 10097
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Look into a truck and then put a camper shell on it to widen your searches?
_________________________
2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4L 79k PU 5w30 & OEM
2000 Toyota Camry 2.2L 228k M1 AFE 0w30 & Wix
1996 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L 146k M1 HM 10w40 & Fram Ultra

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#4495710 - 08/22/17 11:14 PM Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: TinyVoices]
clinebarger Offline


Registered: 12/19/13
Posts: 1907
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
I kinda understand blind Toyota loyalty.....But to extend that to the entire Japanese auto industry is foolish.
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2001 Chevy Camaro L92/4L80E
2006 Chevy 2500HD LBZ/Allison 1000
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#4495720 - 08/22/17 11:25 PM Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: TinyVoices]
PimTac Offline


Registered: 03/04/17
Posts: 4258
Loc: 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.
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#4495738 - 08/23/17 12:10 AM Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: TinyVoices]
Oro_O Offline


Registered: 09/20/14
Posts: 1351
Loc: 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.

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#4495740 - 08/23/17 12:18 AM Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: TinyVoices]
02SE Offline


Registered: 12/30/05
Posts: 2727
Loc: 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.

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#4495746 - 08/23/17 12:40 AM Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: 02SE]
daves87rs Offline


Registered: 02/23/09
Posts: 16963
Loc: 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....
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Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.

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#4495750 - 08/23/17 12:55 AM Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: TinyVoices]
FermeLaPorte Offline


Registered: 07/25/17
Posts: 469
Loc: Texas (south)
Mazda Tribute
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Always Mobil 1
2014 1.6L Nissan Versa Sedan, 5 spd, 5k OCI.
2011 3.5L Chevrolet Impala, Automatic, 5k OCI.

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#4495752 - 08/23/17 12:57 AM Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: TinyVoices]
Silk Online   content


Registered: 07/26/03
Posts: 4552
Loc: 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.

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#4495795 - 08/23/17 05:08 AM Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: TinyVoices]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 41773
Loc: 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...

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#4495809 - 08/23/17 05:45 AM Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: JHZR2]
rooflessVW Offline


Registered: 12/24/11
Posts: 4039
Loc: 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.
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"Zed's dead baby, Zed's dead."

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#4495831 - 08/23/17 06:32 AM Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: TinyVoices]
E150GT Offline


Registered: 03/11/12
Posts: 1093
Loc: San Antonio, TX
I don't think $3k , 4K lbs towing and Japanese go together.
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1984 Mercedes-Benz 300SD - 100k
1995 F150 XL 4.9 reg cab 5MT - 250k 5w30
2016 Mazda6 Touring 6MT - 56k 10w30

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#4495838 - 08/23/17 06:41 AM Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: TinyVoices]
madRiver Offline


Registered: 07/11/15
Posts: 3534
Loc: 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.

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#4495853 - 08/23/17 07:05 AM Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: TinyVoices]
KrisZ Offline


Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 7460
Loc: 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-21k miles.
2006 Mazda 3-155k miles

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#4495861 - 08/23/17 07:21 AM Re: Looking to buy a cheap Japanese SUV. Help! [Re: TinyVoices]
IndyIan Offline


Registered: 09/23/08
Posts: 9092
Loc: 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...
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07 Focus ZXW, 5spd manual, 206km M1 5W30
18 Outback 2.5 CVT 5km FF

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