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Soon I'm going to be getting down and dirty with some Land Cruisers :unsure:

It's a bit of a whole new world for me. Can anyone point me in the direction of some good online forums/resources equivalent to this one?

*ducks*

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A vehicle as reliable as that won't need a forum like this one.....

In 18 months of LC120 ownership:

1 injector recall to fit copper seals to the fuel injectors to prevent blowby into the head, which sludged the oil, which blocked the pickup, which killed the engine. Plenty of people lost engines before Toyota admitted there was a problem and issued a recall..

1 set replacement diesel injectors at approx 80k miles. Done under warranty - bill would have been north of £2000 had I had to pay it...

1 replacement AC pump, which seized. Approx £300 at independent specialist prices to swap, flush carp out of system and regas.

I sold it after approx 18 months - the rear air shocks got very wallowy, and the auto box started making ominous clicking noises at low speeds/in park/neutral (sounded like a solenoid / valve cycling).

I wouldn't say it was the least reliable car I've owned, but it's certainly not the pinnacle of reliability that people think they are!!

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Don't know any thing about them other than they are slagged by LR fans and praised by people who were relieved when they dumped their LRs!

Oh and my mates Surf was scrapped by his insurance co after the rear bumper was damaged in an accident!

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Friend seriously into Land Rovers got a job as a mechanic in a Land Rover garage. And bought himself a Land Rover. After a few months he looked miserable.

I asked whats wrong "I see all these Land Rovers coming in for repairs day after day after day, hundreds of them. And i depresses me, I think I've made the wrong choice. I need to make a serious decision about this".

I met him again a few months later looking ecstatically happy.

I asked how he was "Brilliant! I made the decision, it was hard but I'm so happy I did."

What did you do I asked?

"I got a job in the Toyota garage now all I see all day long are broken down Toyotas - its great!".

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If I sell the Disco I will get a surf. Most likely a 2.4turbo or an early 3.0 turbo

Always liked them - simple, cheap, tough, good enough off road to lane and overland, loads of space inside, comfortable

Mine was a 3.0 Intercooler, 3rd Gen. It was absolutely brilliant - not particularly refined, but absolutely bombproof. I owned it for 4 years or so, 100K miles and apart from consumables, steering rack bushes and track rod ends it never needed anything doing to it. The low emission zone meant I had to get rid of it (it was registered as 4x4 light utility so would have been treated as a commercial vehicle, not a passenger vehicle). I had high hopes of the LC120 replacing it - while it was more luxurious it just didn't have the same feeling of solid engineering...

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The later (Gen 3) hilux was a LC Prado chassis and running gear with a switchable 2wd/4wd transfer box with a different shell on the top from what I can tell... I think the Gen 1 and 2 were much closer to the pick up than the LC equivalent..

It didn't seem to rust though, and as you said the 120 series was a mess underneath compared!

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I'm finding it quite difficult to get a good overview of information from the internet. I'm trying to decipher the model numbers, but they look like the worst letters in Russian scrabble. Then they're all different depending on the factory they were built in. And they've got different names depending on where they were sold. Then I can't find any good resources on how to find part numbers nor where I can buy those in the UK. LJ78? Apparantly it's a Jap import, but I can't find what it's the same as: HZJ78? FZJ78? Or is it entirely different?

Admittedly i've only spent an evening on it, but it's like no-one cares about this sort of stuff and hardly anything's been published online (maybe as already said, because they don't break down!)

Land Rovers seem easy!

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I did find this site which is more helpful in getting an overview: http://toyota-europe.epc-data.com/land_cruiser/. Looks like you have to choose between Japan, Europe, USA and General before you can decode the first part of the VIN.

I'm going to be working with 4 vehicles and they're all different. I've asked for the VINs to be able to unpick their specs. All I have at the moment is model years and vague descriptions. I don't know what they look like. So far i've worked out the code dictating the models are (Engine - Wheelbase - LHD/RHD), e.g. HZ - J78 - R (HZJ78R)

I'm sure it's all logical as it's made by engineers at the end of the day. It just feels like learning another language!

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An alternative for parts go to:

http://www.toyodiy.com/parts/

Although it's subject to UK censorship rules meaning you don't get the pictures as in other countries. It's a fantastic resource which will decode your VIN and make finding part numbers a doddle which you can then use to look locally for parts.

I've been working with fleets of Land Rovers and Land Cruisers for years. You can basically half the number of mechanics required by running Land Cruisers. It's a shame Land Rover haven't offered a vehicle suitable for fleet use in developing countries since the last ROW spec Defender. It's a remarkable feat of stupidity not to have tapped into the very market the Land Rover had owned right through the '60's and just gave to Toyota on a plate in the '70's.
Interesting also that America never came up with a viable alternative too, probably based on the Jeep platform. Maybe because diesel wasn't an option.
Nothing has really come out of Europe either.

Now that the Land Cruiser has the market share, dealer network and more importantly the trust of people in remote areas, it's hard to see how Land Rover could ever get into the market again.

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Thanks all for the links. I'm starting to understand how things work with the model naming.

Looking at the changes they've made over the years for subsequent models, like J75 -> J78/79, Toyota haven't been afraid to innovate/improve core attributes unlike LR. Like going to coil springs on the front and making the body/wheel track wider.

What i'm most excited about is seeing how another set of engineers has approached the same set of requirements for an off road vehicle, and getting more informed on the debate!

jamie_grieve isn't it the case that Toyota are stopping the 70 series soon, in which case everyone's giving up on a mechanical, utilitarian vehicle?

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jamie_grieve isn't it the case that Toyota are stopping the 70 series soon, in which case everyone's giving up on a mechanical, utilitarian vehicle?

The 70 series will probably evolve although that's just my guess. They are the current only option and subsequently the mainstay of every single large international aid agency and the UN, not to mention various armies and anti government elements around the world. I'm sure Toyota in their wisdom will provide an adequate replacement without any drama. I look forwards to the next evolution of the 70 series whatever it may be secure in the knowledge it will perform and I can get parts easily anywhere in the world.

Interesting they've kept the 1HZ engine available even though it was superseded a few times now. The movement from leafs to coils was seamless, the move to the wider chassis was equally seamless. Although Land Rover coined the phrase 'evolution not revolution', actually Toyota have been the real exponents of this. The Defender was a genius move in the early 80's, way ahead of the competition, as was the Discovery afterwards. Unfortunately the move away from increased off road prowess, smaller highly stressed engines and poorer build quality killed the defender in the eyes of the consumer, long before EU or other regulations killed it. Look at Jeep, G wagon and of course the Land Cruiser for how evolution could have worked.

A hydroformed stronger chassis like an even heavier version of the P38 chassis could have been used. A monocoque body on top made from aluminium extrusions glued together like an Elise could have been made to work, the options are limitless but the customers aren't. They need to make something people want to buy. I'm sure the defender replacement will be interesting and no doubt I'll have one one day but I doubt it will have any appeal to people who need a strong dependable simple vehicle suitable for large scale deployment to areas without much infrastructure.

I pretty much live and breathe Land Rovers for my personal choice but I doubt I will ever recommend the brand for a fleet purchase or professional use.

The Prado and LJ type are very different beasts to the 76 / 78 & 79 series which are the heavier duty versions. Have a look for an older and affordable 105 in any configuration for a taste of Defender capability with modern saloon car comfort and safety.

Another example of the difference is that Land Rovers really struggle with being up armoured, both mechanically and structurally, the Land Cruisers don't even notice it, right down to even using original door hinges and locks.

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I agreed with everything you wrote right up to the bit about OE door locks and hinges being okay on armoured toyotas.

They haven't been adequate for years with the evolution from ballistic threat to side-blast threat. Find me any 3 or 2m side blast tested armoured Land Cruiser that's worth riding in, no reputable armourer uses them without reinforcement

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