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Thoughts about the Toyota Hilux Surf

Toby's Hilux

In my cruising of the internet, I stumbled upon a Kijiji ad that was surprisingly informative about Hilux Surf detailing what kinds of gotchas they have.  After reading it I immediately requested permission to post it here.

Some details about the Hilux Surf.  The Hilux Surf is the RHD equivalent of the Toyota 4Runner.  The Hilux Surf was offered in a Turbo Diesel 4 Cylinder model.  This model has become very popular as a grey market import due to it's ruggedness, 4 wheel drive and very respectable fuel efficiency.

With no further adieu, here are Toby's very balanced thoughts about the Toyota Hilux Surf.

So what about these vehicles? here's the deal (read: my opinion)

They're absolutely fantastic, I've only ever taken it off road a few times down old logging roads but this truck is part billy goat I'm sure. They are dependable and rugged (not quick though) and will go forever. that being said there are things to watch out for in buying mine of any body else's.

And they are:

Make sure the Head has been done!!! The factory heads have a few issues one being the alloy content and two being the cooling veins are too close to the cylinder heads. It is not a matter of will the head crack but when. The BEST remedy for this is an OEM replacement, there are 3 litre fixes and others but the best best is going with the Toyota replacement hands down. Once the head has been fixed Properly these trucks will last forever!

Toby's Hilux

If it doesn't have an EGT gauge or the equivalent runnnnn!!! This is one of the best ways to monitor engine temp and care for the vehicle while driving. It stands for Exhaust Gauge Temperature and displays the temperature of the exhaust coming form the engine itself. Although the temperatures are bound to be different this is the best indicator that you can keep the hammer down or should gear down and back off a little.

Make sure to have a place to service them!!! I would recommend ATEB (http://www.ateb.ca/index.php) for all RHD diesel needs. They are some of the best mechanics around and have all the parts you need. When it came time to do my head they had one in stock!!! Oil Filter? Yep! There are other shops as well that I hear are great, but this is the only one I have used.

If you're buying a 1989 through 1993 2.4L Hilux make sure it's the 2LT as opposed to the 2LTE the difference is the electronic injection. Although it is not a faulty system by nature it can cost a small fortune to have replaced!! From my knowledge the 1KZ engine found in these trucks from '93 or '94 onward are bullet proof out of the factory but are certainly a little more money.

One last thing, I will never get the money I have put into this truck back in the sale of it. Nor will anyone. If you see some one selling a 2.4L Hilux for more then 10 or 11K they better have lifted it to the moon or have a secret Engine elf inside that makes the exhaust turn into cookies. They simply aren't worth that much as they are. Anywhere up to $9,000 though for a good truck is worth while. I have priced mine where it's at to hopefully encourage a quicker sale (really don't want to insure 2 vehicles longer then I have to) and to reflect the dents on the back and front left side. To fix the damage is about $1000 and then the truck would be just this side of mint...ish.

And finally be aware of any aftermarket change people have made such as lifting the truck (to ride higher) or engine mods (put a larger turbo on) these if not doen properly can cause you much pain in the future and even if done properly MAY raise your insurance a surprising amount.

The Hilux's have the surprising advantage of being identical to the Toyota 4runner that was sold here in Canada. Although the engine and some steering parts are different you can go to an auto wrecker and get an ashtray anytime.

Thanks for reading and good hunting, feel free to call or email and I hope to hear from ya soon!


ps from Rob. If the truck is still available, it's available here.