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The vanlife => Van Conversion => Topic started by: Goobergrape on February 21, 2018, 05:51:46 AM

Title: Advice on buying used Toyota Hiace - pls help out a newbie!
Post by: Goobergrape on February 21, 2018, 05:51:46 AM
Hello campervanners!

I have decided to buy my first campervan and need some help with vehicle selection.

I'm after a 1999-2004 Toyota Hiace with the petrol EFI engine with preferably max of 250,000 ks on the clock.

I would prefer auto but would be happy with manual.

I would like to get a SBV (UK style) but they are quite rare in Australia.

What should I look out for?

I've been told the timing belt needs to be replaced every 100,000 ks. Is that true?

Is there anything else that typically causes problems with these vans?

What should I look out for when I inspect them?

Also, what about a van with low 300,000 ks on the clock? Is that a no-no?

I will get a full inspection of the van before I buy it, but I want to weed out the duds first.

Thanks in advance for your advice!

Charles  :)
Title: Re: Advice on buying used Toyota Hiace - pls help out a newbie!
Post by: corobrain on March 04, 2018, 08:39:57 PM
Hey Charles,

I'm in NZ and I've just bought a 2006 Hiace (Highroof), petrol with 153,000kms on the clock. I'm a mechanic and consider petrol a smart way to go. It is an auto and runs very well. I would recommend going for a 2006 and up. The 1TR petrol motors have a timing chain, so the cambelt is not an issue. I would also recommend shelling out the extra coin and buying a highroof, you'll thank yourself later on. Historically, the Hiaces require a new head after around 200,000kms (especially the pre-2006 models) so unless you plan on buying mechanical insurance I wouldn't recommend inheriting someone else's problem. If you do, just be aware that you may need to do this. Definitely avoid a van that has done over 300,000kms unless you're prepared to spend money on the motor at some stage.
The NZ new (I imagine the same is true for Oz) Hiace vans have a tendency to rust around the top of the A-pillars, (above the windscreen) which can mean costly work later on, keep an eye out for that.

I just drove my 2006 Hiace from Auckland to Waiouru (approx. 400kms) and it didn't skip a beat. I highly recommend investing in a good van from the outset. We set our budget at $10k and ended up spending $12.2k, but it was worth it. Peace of mind isn't always cheap.

Good luck! Feel free to ask me any questions.

Title: Re: Advice on buying used Toyota Hiace - pls help out a newbie!
Post by: Goobergrape on March 24, 2018, 06:09:11 AM
Hey Hayden

I saw your reply just now- thanks!

I ended up getting a 1995 SWB Hiace SBV. It has only 177,000 km on the clock and no major rust.

I had it checked out by a mechanic and he gave it the thumbs up. It cost $8k.

What's a head? Head gasket?

I have already driven it 1000 km down the highway and it goes like a rocket. Pretty noisy though.

At the moment I am getting a seat for my son put in the back. A few traps for new players I have discovered.

The reason I didn't go for a high roof Commuter is because the van will be my everyday driver and I live in the inner city where the roads are narrow and busy.

The SBV is quite a bit wider and higher than a standard Hiace though.

Thanks again, Charles