I’ve managed to narrow down the model of Hilux Surf that would be most suitable for the type of trip we are planning. A 1994 - 1996 Hilux Surf KZN130 with a 3L 1KZT diesel motor seems to be the only model that has a reliable reputation, all the others, especially the 2.4’s have problems with over-heating and cracked cylinder head/blown head gaskets. From what I’ve read on many of the forums it seems other than the 2.4 engine issues the Hilux Surf is a tank. The Generation 3 (95 – 02) models also share a chassis with the Landcruiser Prado, only reinforcing the tank reputation. On the whole a great condition Surf tends to be a lot cheaper than the Landcruiser, which is great news for our bank managers and pockets.
My only concern is the availability of spares worldwide. A lot of Surf’s have been exported to South Africa, Pakistan, Afghanistan, United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia; so hopefully the spares are out there. We will obviously carry a selection of essentials with us; tie rod ends, all belts, axle shafts, axle & driveshaft U-joints, spare wheels (x2), wheel bearings, spare hub, brake pads/shoes (full set), fuses, radiator hose, all other hoses, hose clamps, air filters (x3), fuel filters (x5) and oil filters (x3) seem like a good starting list, if anyone has anymore suggestions please comment. A great source for spares in the UK is Milner 4x4.
What is also handy is that if we can’t find a suitable vehicle locally, a local dealer who specializes in importing cars could source us one from the UK or Japan to our direct spec and have it fully checked before we buy it and get it shipped over for us.
Now all we need to do is decide on the Hilux Surf or Landcruiser. Maybe I’ll flip a coin.