Newbie seeking some Overland 2 cents Advice

#1
Hello everyone,
First off I’d like to say this is my very first thread and hope not to annoy you with repetitive questions that may have been answered at nauseum on here. I live in the South Florida area and starting the early stages of an epic road trip with my son who will soon be 14. The plan is to slowly work our way up to a cross country trip and possibly head south to South America in the next few years when he is able to join me in the driving. We’ve been looking for a rig that will be able to sustain a long road trip and obviously handle on and off road situations. My vehicle choices are a 3rd or 4th gen 4Runner, Lexus GX470, or Mits Montero. I’m trying to stay below 5k to 10k price range knowing we’ll want to customize it, do necessary maintenance, repairs, etc as we grow with the vehicle and the experiences we have leading up to the extended road trips.

The problem I’m finding is that I’m coming across mostly dealers or brokers selling junk rigs with the typical used salesmen pitches. I’ve been taking my time looking and have avoided some real headaches and downright scams. This includes a 4Runner with the odometer rolled back 120,000 miles from 240,000!! There is a nice limited 3rd gen with supposedly 100k miles with the rear locker at $9,500. Looks mechanically sound and little rust. Don’t know if to pull the trigger on it or keep looking. It just seems people are starting to get crazy with asking prices on these rigs and I’m trying to budget something where we’ll have money for the unforeseen repairs, maintenance and gradual build. You guys tell me. Any sound advice will be welcomed. The typical jokes are also always welcomed. Also my mechanical skills are very basic and would most likely look to others for necessary customizations. Probably the biggest job I’ve done on a vehicle is replace the valve covers, starters, and things along those lines. Yet, I won’t be afraid to get my hands dirty with my son. I’m amazed at the things you guys do on your own with your rigs. It is inspiring.

Thanks again!
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
#2
I’ve purchased several used cars in the past few yrs for family and my self. Couple of things I learned that helped me “play the game persay”.

#1 Craig’s list postings consist generally of two types of sellers. Inexperienced sellers and experienced/possible scammers etc.
#2 Dealers know this!

Dealers actually scan and call on Craig’s list listings you see enough postings you can kinda spot the inexperienced vs experienced sellers. Dealers target in demand models that are under cutting their over priced lot inventory. You would be surprised how many private sellers sell to dealer buyers.

So knowing this!!! You need to know the vehicle or have a person who does that can jump on new listings fast inspect and talk money. The good finds meaning decently cared for and priced fair disappear fast as in hours after getting listed.

Odometer checking. Private sellers the non professional type decide to sell private typically because they know they have a solid vehicle and don’t feel they are selling someone junk. Typically
With that in mind I use the vin # prior to seeing the car to check generic sources you pay to use. But I found auto makers data via simply calling my local dealer and asking for the basic run down on vehicle info helps confirm mileage real or altered etc. The last three private sellers even had the dealer fax them the vehicle history which is far more detailed. Owner comments, tech comments etc. This paints a very good picture of the vehicle use, history maint etc. This can take 1-2 hours from the point of the new listing when you see it to the point your setting up a inperson visit to see it. In my case three of my purchases had dealers calling the seller while I was driving the vehicle. 40minutes 10 spent driving 30 spent checking all aspects, windows, seatbelts, tires, seats move correctly, 4x4 modes engage, no leaks etc. Then an offer. If the list price was reasonably fair vs silly high I might point out the cheap worn out or old tires and mention that’s a must fix for safety $800 most sellers will be ok with dropping for that given its clear you want to use it and have safe tires.

That’s low hanging fruit.

On super high priced rigs everything is game, paint, maint history TB belt? No official receipt consider it not done. Low mileage only goes so far if lots of things are far from super clean and well documented.
Don’t be bothered about walking away after spending lots of time looking. Same goes for a dealer car, walking away is not any reflection on you.

Some of the Best deals are local spots elder folks near 55and up residential areas park cars with for sale signs.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
#3
Also know dealers buying from private sellers won’t buy ODO altered rigs or crash damaged rigs. So if a vehicle has been listed for over two weeks online some place, consider it has three possible issues, crashed, ODO issues or seller is simply not interested in selling.
 
#4
Paisano3352[/quote said:
I'm trying to stay below 5k to 10k price range knowing we'll want to customize it, do necessary maintenance, repairs, etc as we grow with the vehicle and the experiences we have leading up to the extended road trips.
Your plan to build a rig and travel with your son is epic dude!


Regarding Toyotas...

My claim is that a well cared for Toyota 4x4 with an odometer reading and long-term maintenance prognosis suitable for the basic/novice DIY mechanic, under $10k is very difficult to find in most areas of the country. Toyota trucks come at a price premium and although extremely dependable, will still require preventative and/or scheduled work on wear items which will further increase long term parts & labor costs. I originally set out to purchase a truck within the same $5-10k price range, but every Toyota platform I found was well above 200+ thousand miles and ready for its second set of vital wear components that I considered too expensive to justify the Vehicle's purchase price. Especially considering that I plan to own the vehicle for 5-7 years + well over 150k miles in addition to what was already on the the odometer.

What is your comfortable max odometer reading for this purchase? What are your long term expectations for overall cost and ease of ownership? Are you leaning toward the Toyota brand? If so, perhaps increasing the initial purchase budget and mitigating critical maintenance risks but compensating with a lower aftermarket/modification budget will offer you and your son a nice cost-performance balance without sacrificing any capability.

If you are not dead-set on a 'Yota, you may look elsewhere and be pleasantly surprised by what can be had for under $10k with around 100-150k miles. I tend to judge a truck by real-world ownership records and cost-capability benefit ratio and while shopping by those metrics I really did consider certain model-year V8 Ford F-150's and certain generation Nissan Xterra's. You can spec out these trucks, fully equipped for long range off road expedition w/ updated maintenance & peace of mind for under $15k all-in. The same could be said for Toyota but not without accepting a chassis with higher miles than some care to start out with. I try not to subscribe to Brand-loyalty and Fanboy-ism, so I offer up these comparatively bargain priced vehicle suggestions with cautious yet rational optimism.

For what its worth, my priorities & budget changed and I ended up with the 4th Gen 4runner.
 
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#5
Gentlemen,
I appreciate the advice so far and agree with both of you in the information you’ve provided. I’m not stuck on any particular brand. The reason I’m trying to stick with the Toyos or the Mits is because if and when we head south, these are brands recognized throughout Latin America and we’ll be able to find parts should we run into a need. I love domestic trucks. I have a GMC Yukon and it’s the second one in a row I’ve owned. I’ve thought about building out this one but unfortunately it’s not 4WD and fear the breakdown issue already mentioned above.

You guys are also right in the need to jump on a good deal right away. I lost the chance the other day on a 2000 4runner with the rear locker and decent miles for $6k. I really believe it’s going to boil down to the Montero or 3rd if I want to stay well below $10k.

How do you guys feel about Ebay? I’m a little hesitant about ponying up thousands of dollars for a vehicle I’ve never even seen, but I’m getting there as well! Lol!
Thanks again!
 
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ttfjc

weekend wheeler
#6
The answer is always 80 series landcruiser. You might just have to reword the question a bit. You can find a decent one in your price range, the question really becomes, are you worthy of the greatest off road vehicle ever made. Its not the cheapest option, but it will be 10x the vehicle than if you end up with a 4R or montero.

There is a ton of info out there on these guys, and and amazing community that will literaly tell you how to fix anything yourself, if you have the time. sure the market is inflated. But a unlocked 80 can be had for a very reasonable price, depending on your market. If you wait, and do your homework, you can find your 3x80 in your price range. But maybe you dont need the lockers, open diffs on the LCs will still go places you wont imagine. There are alot of well documented rigs owned by enthusiasts that will demand a premium but worth it and the 150-200k mark is really just breaking them in.

Any 20 year old vehicle is going to be a commitment..
 
#7
I had pretty much bought a 1997 80 series last week but the guy backed out for unknown reasons. We had the price negotiated and I was on the way to get the cashiers check when he texts me to say he won’t be selling it. Didn’t give the reason. I feel a midsize SUV is a better fit for us or even a Tacoma but there is no chance in finding a reasonably priced one around here. The search continues.
 

ttfjc

weekend wheeler
#8
I had pretty much bought a 1997 80 series last week but the guy backed out for unknown reasons. We had the price negotiated and I was on the way to get the cashiers check when he texts me to say he won’t be selling it. Didn’t give the reason. I feel a midsize SUV is a better fit for us or even a Tacoma but there is no chance in finding a reasonably priced one around here. The search continues.
He realized what a mistake he was making by selling
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
#9
Gentlemen,
I appreciate the advice so far and agree with both of you in the information you’ve provided. I’m not stuck on any particular brand. The reason I’m trying to stick with the Toyos or the Mits is because if and when we head south, these are brands recognized throughout Latin America and we’ll be able to find parts should we run into a need. I love domestic trucks. I have a GMC Yukon and it’s the second one in a row I’ve owned. I’ve thought about building out this one but unfortunately it’s not 4WD and fear the breakdown issue already mentioned above.

You guys are also right in the need to jump on a good deal right away. I lost the chance the other day on a 2000 4runner with the rear locker and decent miles for $6k. I really believe it’s going to boil down to the Montero or 3rd if I want to stay well below $10k.

How do you guys feel about Ebay? I’m a little hesitant about ponying up thousands of dollars for a vehicle I’ve never even seen, but I’m getting there as well! Lol!
Thanks again!
A good friend was one of the creators of ebay motors. #1 Thing to know Texas was the top source of EBAY vehicles. Florida was a close 2nd. Knowing this yrs epic hurricane season. Id probably skip it
 
#10
If you're patient and willing to travel, the deals are out there. I paid $8150 for my 05 GX in Oct 2016 (179k), and a friend just bought an 06 GX Sport (170k, IIRC) for $10,200. My dad bought an 03 GX with ~145k and a nice Radflo suspension setup for $9k and change a few weeks ago. These came from Phoenix, Indianapolis, and..somewhere in the southeastern US, respectively.
 
#11
Dont forget the Tundra. Good payload & Crazy good deals to be had. Not sure what you plans are for living space, but a truck bed with a furnished shell or camper would be super comfy for cross-country, 4 Season travel. 3rd Gen Runner or 80 Series go without saying. GX470 will also reward the patient shopper.
 
#12
Hello fellow overlanders,
The search continues. I’m actually now just hoping to find a decent rig as previously discussed. The search continues and it’s been arduous. I think I’m starting to lean towards a Mitsubishi Montero with hopefully a 3.8L. They seem reasonably priced compared to other vehicles. I’m hoping to look at an 05 tomorrow with 163k on the dial for $5k. I’m also going to attach some photos of my rigs in South America that I think you guys will enjoy. Thanks everyone for your input. It has been insightful.