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Japanese import discos


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Looks like I might be taking on a new job and it means I will likely have a longer drive to work than I do at the moment so I am thinking about getting another car to supplament the very off road biased def 90.

I noticed that at least one place is selling Jap import discos which are low mileage, high spec and, just to put a shine on, RAC inspected, 12 month warranty, cam belt changed.

The prices seem a very good deal so I was wondering if anyone had any opinions, it looks like about £9K for for a 1998 with ~33K on the clock for an example.

For info, the car will see only the most gentle of off roading and be primarily for my commute, say 20minutes to an hour each way, each day.

The Jap imports seem mainly tdi with auto box, exactly what I'd like.

I'm drawn to the disco because it means I know I can do nearly all my own maintence, plus I rob parts off both the 90 and disco depending on what I need on the road.

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brother has a 96 300tdi auto import with about 70,000 on the clock, I think it was £5200 from an importer in Durham. They seem ok if you like auto's. Theres a big worry about the false milage as all the docs are in japanese and I know that the supra/square number plate gang have many tales of "not quite correct motors". Like all cars, if you find a good one it'll be fine I'm sure.

I may be wrong on this but I have been told they must comply with some test/inspection when they hit 100,000km, thats why so many of them imported here have about 70,000 miles on the clock.

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I got my '95 300tdi from Shipley Bridge a couple of years ago, all I can say is that the warranty was well used!

I had a flat bed taxi twice, once for all the top plug of the coolant system fialing leaking over the (previously very clean) engine about three days after picking it up and for the vacuum pump going.

It took three or four attempts to get the vacuum pump changed, mind you it resulted in me getting a number of new ABS sensors!

It was in for another coolant leak spotted when I had the thing serviced by harris-mayes in Watford, all under warranty.

To Jim's (the owners) credit all were completed without charge to me, and I had a loan car for what turned out to be week long periods (partly because I live a fair way away) without the thing. Its annoying that I had to find these problems!

The disco has been great since all these problems were sorted, no major probs. It came very clean (but with signs of the Japanese habit for heavy smoking). The rubber seals around the windows are detriorating (Japanese sun I suppose).

I figure that the things stand for a very long time while in transit (all that sea air might be good for people, but not for a lump of steel!) and suffer a little. They also show signs of use, on mine some of the dash contols needed some attention when I got home.

Also try to get a replacement radio, Shipley Bridge put in a frequency shifter to get them to work in the UK, its OK but they show the wrong frequencies! Mine also looks like it used to have a CD changer in it, dunno where it went!

I did try to get some repairs done elsewhere after about nine months but the warranty company didnt have a record of my car. Jim was apologetic, he must have "lost the paperwork"! And it be fair I did get confirmation of the warrany after about 11 months. It was a bit worrying though.

And thinking about it I had a problem getting it registered. Ship Bge had put me down as the owner of the vehicle two weeks before I paid for the thing. This resulted in a dates mismatch and the DVLA stopped the paperwork. Easy to sort out just hassle.

So I guess Jim is a bit of a dodgy geezer (see paper work problems), but made good on the warranty in the end and there was no argument over getting the thing fixed.

Overall I love my Disco, and it has been reliable after the first rash of problems were sorted out.

Hope this helps


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the jap import discos do look nice, but i think they are expensive, even if it has low miles, you're still paying 9k for a 9 or 10 year old motor... <_<

there was a 1996 300TDi dico auto on ebay this week, FSH, 70,000 miles and nice condition, with a 'buy it now' price of £3300.... if i'd sold my defender i'd have been well tempted... there are lots of nice disco's around for 4-5k you just need to do a bit of leg work... ;)

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what was the chassis like then, a big plus in my mind is that the chassis should be in mint condition since they will have been only on road and in a nice climate?

I appreciate I can get something UK sourced for less, however these are high spec and can be assumed to be have been unabused.

The comment about false milage is interesting, makes me wonder if I should consider something closer to the 100KM mark as the milage will be genuine, price low and condition good.

Dodgy dealers this side of the water I could see winding the clock back and making a good bit more money. On the other hand I have contact that could probably translate the Jap service history which might make for an interesting conversation...

Thanks for all the input, I still have plenty of time to make my mind up, I also have some other options, a neighbour has an MoT failure disco on his drive which he is ignoring at the moment, I am wondering what it failed on and what he might want to get rid of the problem.

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