Hi all,
Been looking to get a 4runner, wanting a diesel but can't really find any good in my price range ($6000) so looking at the v6's now. Found a mint (perfect interior, no rust, no dents) '92 model with the 3.0 V6 (making roughly 140hp) and a five-speed manual, but it has just over 350,000 k's on it and that's what worries me. Just wanted to see what people think of them and if the kilometres are too high and should be kept away, or is it a good buy for a first 4WD?



Well-Known Member
I remember when they came out biggest complaint was underpowered fuel guzzler, fuel was a lot cheaper and reflected better with the cost of living back then. From memory around 20 Lph plus no better than the older 2f or 3f cruiser engines.


Active Member
I used to have one with the 3vze V6 engine. Was a pretty reliable car for me, sold it with around 270000 on the clock. They can be prone to cracking the alloy head but I didn't have that issue. As others have stated they are a bit thirsty, I had a second fuel tank in mine which was used regularly. I threw a front Lokka in mine and that certainly improved its offroad ability, especially as they like to lift wheels and snap CV shafts. I don't regret buying it and there are some good ones floating around for reasonable prices if you keep a look out. $6k for one with 350k's is a bit steep imo unless it has an excellent maintenance record.


New Member
I had one as my first car. Power of a scooter and drank like a v8. Also the 3VZe engine is a pig to work on. I would be trying to find a 1KZ-te surf with the cooling system already sorted.

Paddler Ed

Well-Known Member
I had a 1992 3VZE Engine'd VZN130 for 6 and a bit years; it went in September. I went in eyes open to it, and knew there were some problems that can be encountered with the things (mainly fuel and head gaskets/heads)

How many engines or heads has it had?

By 360,000km (we had put about 110,000km on it) my old one had had:
  • 2x engine replacements
  • 1x set of cylinder heads
  • (In fact I have a dead engine and set of heads spare here)
I reckon it cost me $500/year over the 6 years I owned it, but I do all my own maintenance - my stuff only goes into a workshop for RWC and wheel alignments, and occasionally something I don't want to do (bleeding brakes or the clutch is one I try to pass off onto someone else...).

Otherwise, they're not bad... Not great, but not bad...

Quick checklist:
  • Has it got flared arches? If so, check behind them for rust.
  • Back doors rust badly and are hard to get replacements that are rust free. They rust top and bottom, and suffer when the drain holes are blocked
  • Make sure the tailgate window goes up and down properly, if not the wiper might not be parking properly or the switch in the tailgate latch.
  • Does the 4WD shift? Does it have manual hubs (2H, 4H, N L4 on the transfer case) or ADD hubs (H, N and L with a switch on the side)?
Troubleshooting and maintenance fixes;
  • If the fuel economy is ratshit, then a $110 O2 sensor normally sorts that; they typically last about 2 yrs I've found...
  • Timing is best set using the sticker under the bonnet (10* BTDC with the diagnostic terminals jumped) Dizzy caps and rotors do wear as well, so treat those as consumable parts.
  • They benefit from exhaust and headers (2.5" is a good size), ours had them after I first did the heads and I reckon that was worth a gear on the ranges here
  • They only tow 1500kg brakes and 400kg unbraked
  • The seating position isn't great if your over 6'
  • Space is a bit tight loaded with gear for camping (fridge etc - the battery needs to be in the boot because there's no space under the bonnet for a 2nd battery)
  • Roof racks are a nightmare because you need to put in tracks.
  • Timing belt (but non-interference head) is a bit of a mongrel to do
  • 1992 might be R12 aircon, so will need converting to R134a or run HyChill or similar.

I sold ours with 4 months NSW Rego for $3200 - it wasn't perfect but had a pretty good history and ran nicely with decent tyres (20,000km old on them). We paid that for it in 2013...

I replaced it with a 1994 FZJ80 Land Cruiser that I paid $3100 for; uses a bit more fuel (16L/100km vs 13L/100km) but has a ton more power - it shaved 1hr off of a 450km journey that we do regularly because it carries speed that bit better up hills.

Realistically, with your budget I'd be looking at:
  • Mitsubishi Pajero
  • Toyota VZJ95 Prado
  • Toyota FZJ80 Land Cruiser (if you can afford the fuel...)
  • Land Rover Discovery D1 with 200tdi or 300tdi
Hope that all helps,