Prado 90, new engine for Zim!

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Thanked: 0

    Question Prado 90, new engine for Zim!

    Hi All, what a fantastic forum, I've spent the last 3 days reading post after post of really interesting stuff - I apologise if I'm rehashing old ground but for a newbie I've tried to do my homework...
    SO my situation - I'm considering buying a Prado more out of necessity than by choice as I need a 4x4 and this one is a BARGAIN! It's a '99 3L but the engine is leaking ALOT of oil, blowing smoke, missing washer plug so rad overheating but gearbox and chassis seem sound. Also a fairly impressive tappet knock coming from the engine which isn't surprising considering how vehicles are treated here/state of the roads and also the small issue of 360,000km on clock... I'll say it again though everything else seems sound so I'm VERY tempted and have a mechanic who says he can re-condition, put new pistons, head etc and likely resolve the problems but then I'm stuck with a fairly aged 3L engine. Realistically though, after a few months I'll need it daily then I hope I can retire it to just pure bush work on weekends so speed isn't necessarily the be all and end all. My question finally is - do I recondition (using a mechanic who may or may not know what he's doing) or do I order a 'new' 3L Jap import from Jhb for $4,800 (R42k!) which with a bit of luck will have much less mileage and just slot in without any mess/fuss and if I went down that route am I likely to get noticeably better performance from a 5L which is the same price (but arguably not the best idea for me as I get a perverse satisfaction from squeezing every extra km out of a fuel tank). Or on that note if I'm buying a new engine is there a magic solution one size fits all Mitsu DiD or Lexus turbo V8 that I'd be mad not to fit without too many mods?
    p.s. I've read quite a bit about raising them and getting 25mm or 40mm spacers - is that a fairly agricultural mod that I can hand over to a side of the road type guy or does it need serious surgery?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Plettenberg bay
    Thanked: 87


    Go for a used Jap import, have it checked out in SA before it crosses the border - some of those things are almost new!
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Thanked: 120


    remove engine
    replace whats needed
    bore and hone - +1 size pistons
    get head refurbed - crack test / lightest skim possible to give head gasket best chance to seal / valve guides / valve stem seals / reface seats / set clearances
    new seals and gaskets

    engine zone or similiar in jhb will have parts at surprisingly good prices

    way cheaper than used engine and guaranteed result

    i can guarantee you will be surprised at how little wear there is in that motor

    me i would probably do compression and leak down test then remove engine / clean / replace all seals and flush out everyhting - way easier to do properly with engine out and on most modern cars its 2 hours or so and the engine is out everything else is a ten minute job as opposed to 20 x 1 hour sukkel sukkel jobs
    and if compression test ok and leak down shows no issues - i would focus on the heads and replace once leaks plugged up
    if the cost of engine work is more than 50% of the value of the vehicle do as little as possible and throw the whole thing away when finished otherwise you becoming married to it

    save the money from the rebuild and buy something in the near future needing less work
    let some other sap spend there life savings on it

    there are good guys in zim
    or you can try do it yourself
    or send it across the border to polokwane - plenty people there too help
    Last edited by 3bar; 2013/02/05 at 07:20 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Thanked: 0


    Thanks 3boy! VERY helpful-have printed and will do a step by step of the above. Either way even if I can't sort it all and do end up ordering a new engine as royboy says after I get it checked I should still be able to sell it for more than I've spent on it so will keep that in the back of my mind. Appreciate the advice!

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