Owning a Prado. Pro's and Cons.

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High Range 4WD
High Range 4WD
Posts: 87
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2016 3:25 pm
Town: Richards Bay
Vehicle: Toyota Hilux - Lexus V8
Real Name: Louis

Good day all,

I have not been on the forum for quite some time. Been a busy few months.

Guys, I am looking at owning a Prado. Not right now, as I am, sadly, going to sell my hilux with lexus conversion first to get the budget right for a Prado. I am looking in the meantime and asking advice.

The obvious must haves are: service history, an added bonus would be one owner from new,(but not a deal breaker if there is a traceable service history)
Ranging between 2003-2007 price range wise.

As the topic heading goes. what are the pro's and cons.
What are the experiences for auto- and for manual transmissions?
I would prefer diesel, but what are the opinions around petrol or diesel?
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Monster Truck
Monster Truck
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:57 pm
Town: King Williams Town
Vehicle: Hilux
Real Name: Edge
Club VHF Licence: HC129

Firstly, (I am no expert, so take everything I say with a pinch of salt) you give no indication on what the vehicle is to be used for.
If carting kids to school, get a golf or a tazz.
If for trails, these vehicles have a lot of Tupperware.
If for over landing, you can expect to hear a lot more creaks, grown's and rattles than in a new vehicle. No matter how well you pack, the rattles will always come through.
This would drive me absolutely off my rocker
These are really great vehicles, but you are looking at something that normally has very high mile-age, by the time they are 12 - 16 years old.
By this stage they have had the best out of their lives and like all old vehicles, they are starting to need a lot of tender loving care, so it would be expecting a bit much to expect complete reliability from such an old lady.
A diesel needs to be treated well to give a good life span, so a gentle drive.
If not sure, rather go for a petrol model in an old vehicle.
Remember that the old KZTE engine vehicles are susceptible to cylinder head cracks, so beware of this.
If a diesel is well looked after, it can keep going for a very long time, but this applies just as much to a petrol vehicle.
A petrol vehicle can take a hammering better than a diesel.
If you happen to find a low km Prado with a service history, in good condition, take it, no matter what it is (petrol or diesel).
What is important on a vehicle you may obtain, is the Timing belt/chain changes. If this was not done on time and breaks, it's big bucks.
Changes are on 150 000 km intervals.
Good luck with your search...
HABOOB means "Dust Storm"
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Monster Truck
Monster Truck
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Joined: Wed May 23, 2007 11:16 am
Town: Langebaan
Vehicle: Prado 90 VX 3.4 V6
Real Name: George
Club VHF Licence: HC107
Location: Langebaan

Hi Louis

I agree with what Edge is saying.

I moved over from a Hilux to a Prado 90 a few years back. And loving every minute.

For my money I will only look at the Petrol v6 models. Both the 90 and 120 diesels had a KZTE Motor. They are solid motors, but have a few issues with injector pumps and cracked heads. Which can get expensive to fix.They are also not that light on diesel consumption.
You can expect between 8/9 km per lt. There purchase price is usual also higher than the petrol models.

With the V6 petrol you can expect 7/8 km per lt. Obviously the figures quoted here can be influenced by a lot of factors.But I think it is a fair comparison. With the V6 you just get so much more power when you need it, especially on overtaking.
It does have less torque than the diesel. But still enough for off roading.

The Prado IMHO is so much better offroad than a standard Hilux.it has loads more flex with its coil springs.

BUT yes,having all your camping stuff inside does bother you with all the rattles.I have a packing system and the noises is reasonable and does not bother me to much.
At the moment you get very good deals on Prado 120 V6's. My cousin bought one the other day for under 100k.

I prefer the Prado 90.A bit less electronics and I love the 5VZ-FE engine. The 90's you can find from 60k to 90k depending on condition.
"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.-Saint Augustine"
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Joined: Tue May 22, 2007 10:09 am
Town: Klerksdorp
Vehicle: Hilux DC SFA, Hilux 2.7 DC, Hilux 2.7 SC, Prado 95 VX
Real Name: Eric
Club VHF Licence: HC101
Location: Klerksdorp, NW

it has loads more flex with its coil springs.
The V6 Prado 90 is indeed a fantastic vehicle! Doubt I would ever sell it :thumbup:

Consumption is as George states above.


White Fang: 1999 2.7i DC Raider 4x4
Bull Dog: 1987 4Y-EFI 2.2 DC 4x4
Pra Dog: 1998 Prado VX 3.4
Hound Dog: 2000 2.7i SC 4x4

One Staffie, One Jack Russell, One Ring Neck Screecher, 17 Fish of questionable heritage

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Monster Truck
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Posts: 4050
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 8:33 pm
Town: Parys
Vehicle: Prado 120 4.0 V6
Real Name: Johan
Club VHF Licence: HC126
Location: Free State

The Prado 120 is a seriously under rated vehicle.

However they are heavy and the diesel motor does take time to get used to. They cruise well at the speed limit, but they take time to get there and when towing or heavy loaded you will feel it struggle a bit.
The 4.0V6 is a gem of a engine. You can cruise all day at 2200 rpm @ 120 and still have loads of power to do a quick overtake. Only the diesel Prado 120 was available as manual and automatic. They were the GX & VX spec. The V6 all were VX automatic spec.

The 120 can get 9km/l when driven light foot on the open road at the speed limit. I personally found the 120 to be a much more stable ride on tar and also on fast gravel roads. Offroad the 120 is bigger and require more thought to trail driving than the 90 series.

If your aim is to travel long distance and moderate offroad the 120 is a no brainer, however the 90 does that also with finesse. Having owned both the 120 and 90 series prado, I will buy the 120 again. The 90 was nice but it lacked some towing ability and the 4 speed box when towing proved sometimes a test of cooperation. But it is a much different type of ride and travel compared to a Hilux. Maximum loadspace with the second row seats up ( IE 4/5 seats in use) on a SUV is 50% to 65% of the same useable space of a dual cab with a canopy. Keep it in mind as this will affect your setup in total. Also the noise when loaded with hard boxes and things rattling can become noisy as mentioned. I tend to keep most things in soft bags and pack that around the crates ect and strap all down which makes a difference.

The one big plus for me on the 120 is the standard dual tank setup which is constantly in use so no transfer pump or sticky solenoids to give up. It works all the time thus the system stays working without fault. Also cabin sizer on the 120 is much better allround and I can sit comfortably in the middle of the back seat 5 pax in the 120. The 90 is narrower and legroom in the second row is lesser to the 120. Again it is small differences.

Drawbacks on the 120:
Filling up takes a big amount 2500-3000 depending on petrol price and how empty it was.
The sidestep is kinda low and a suspension lift will be required for more than moderate offroading.
Centre difflock actuator can pack up if used to little.
The dashboard is known to crack if prolonged exposed in sun parking. Expensive to fix.

Drawbacks on the 90:
Weak front diff if offroaded hard.
Aux fuel tank to be custom made. Front runner no longer makes them. Added 70L to the 90 main tank.
Ball joints lower are known to fail at higher mileage. Only replace with Original items. Pirate parts do not last past 30000km's and do not cost that much less.
Much less aftermarket accesories available on the market.
High mileage in general
Rear suspension bottom out under heavy loads, thus either air helpers are needed and or heavy duty springs. This is to be well thought out as it can turn the comfort ride into a harsh ride quickly.
Johan Marais
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High Range 4WD
High Range 4WD
Posts: 87
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2016 3:25 pm
Town: Richards Bay
Vehicle: Toyota Hilux - Lexus V8
Real Name: Louis

Good morning,

Thanks for the feedback guys, really appreciate it, it is exactly what I was looking for - honest straight forward opinions.
You all seem to agree on the same points which has given me some proper food for thought.
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Johan Havenga
LR 4WD Rear Locker
LR 4WD Rear Locker
Posts: 370
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:46 am
Town: Heidelberg Gauteng
Vehicle: Toyota Prado 120 V6
Real Name: Johan

Pro's: Everything about the vehicle.

Con's Fuel Consumption! :(
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