XLS vs. Limited (01-02). Does is matter? Or should I scrap it and hold out for 03+ ?

tall

New member
Hey folks -- I started my "overland" journey looking for a one-owner, high mileage GX470. And then I drove a Montero and my plans quickly changed

Since then I've been reading and learning about these sweet trucks and been trying to hunt down a nice one or two owner Gen3, with lowish miles and decent service records. Frankly, there aren't too many around these parts (WA/OR, I-5 corridor), and the ones I've found (been looking since late Oct), have been pretty darn trashed. Up until this point I've been only wanting a later Limited, but aside from one that got away in NE Seattle, there just haven't been any worth buying.

So, I'm coming around to looking at earlier Limiteds and the XLS. My most promising option so far is an 130k mi, '02 XLS. It's got leather (heated seats are the only requirement from my wife), the big sunroof,and is in attractive cosmetic shape. Service records via Carfax are a little spotty, but I see enough oil changes that I don't think it's totally been neglected. It's a local vehicle, so rust should be minimal (I need to get it on a lift as part inspection to be sure). No record of a timing belt change. From what I can tell, sunroof means LSD, so that's good, right? Downfall is the 3.5 motor and the 4spd transmission.

My plan is *light* overlanding to get me to good camping and mountain biking locations. Basically, one step beyond logging roads in the summer, and 6-12" snow on those roads during the winter. The Monty will be the means to get to the adventure, not the adventure itself (though if the drive is fun and I don't get stuck or broken down, so much the better). I'm planning to keep it stockish, though I might do a slight lift if the suspension needs work (when), and maybe slightly bigger tires. Oh, and maybe a skid plate or two. But that's it, nothing else (that's what they all say, right? :sneaky:)

Is the 3.5l/ 4spd combo a bad idea? The vehicle will probably get heavier -- I plan on building/installing a drawer system, dual battery, roof rack and maybe a fridge. And will keep it loaded with camping gear and basic recovery gear so it's ready to roll out at moment's notice year round. I'm reasonably mechanical but I'm also old enough that I don't want to be on my back in the driveway every weekend. It's been awhile since I've had an offroad worthy vehicle (previous was a VW Syncro Westfalia I put a Suby engine into), but I know how much weight a full load of camping-at-a-drop-of-a-hat necessities can add to a rig.

So I figured I should ask the folks who've been through all this. What say you? Go for the older, low-mileage 3.5l XLS, or hold out and keep looking for a newer, more powerful (and likely more expensive and more complicated) Limited? Thanks in advance!
 

dos531

Member
Plane tickets are pretty cheap. Widen your search and hold out for a 03+. The 3.8, 5 speed, and traction control are worth waiting for.
 

tall

New member
Plane tickets are pretty cheap. Widen your search and hold out for a 03+. The 3.8, 5 speed, and traction control are worth waiting for.
I've actually bought a couple cars out of state over the years. My local Montero experience made me think that wouldn't work because they've become "hot" lately and sell too quickly to do the remote buyer thing. But the fact that the Sacramento one has been on CL for a while makes me think that maybe it's just Seattle gone wacky thing (the one I missed out on sold at night in the rain, without an inspection for ~$7k cash an hour after I'd looked at it.)
 
If you're willing to come up to Alberta, there is a really clean 05 with 60k that just popped up that's making me almost regret buying mine a few weeks ago. PM for info if so inclined.
 

plh

Explorer
If you're willing to come up to Alberta, there is a really clean 05 with 60k that just popped up that's making me almost regret buying mine a few weeks ago. PM for info if so inclined.
I think that would be difficult to impossible to import to USA unfortunately.
 
I think that would be difficult to impossible to import to USA unfortunately.
Now are you saying this because of truck's age?

My father sold his mint F150 to a guy from Montana, as it was a really good deal in USD. Had a few calls on it from below the 49th.
I've also seen a fair amount of US 4runners, and 100 series LC's up here (which were never sold here to begin with). Could only get those as an LX470 new.
 

plh

Explorer
Now are you saying this because of truck's age?

My father sold his mint F150 to a guy from Montana, as it was a really good deal in USD. Had a few calls on it from below the 49th.
I've also seen a fair amount of US 4runners, and 100 series LC's up here (which were never sold here to begin with). Could only get those as an LX470 new.
Yes, as I know, the vehicle must be 25 years old from the DAY of manufacture to import into the USA. Unless originally bought new in USA and then imported into Canada? there may be some other strange rules in that situation.
 

tall

New member
Yes, as I know, the vehicle must be 25 years old from the DAY of manufacture to import into the USA. Unless originally bought new in USA and then imported into Canada? there may be some other strange rules in that situation.
Now are you saying this because of truck's age?

My father sold his mint F150 to a guy from Montana, as it was a really good deal in USD. Had a few calls on it from below the 49th.
I've also seen a fair amount of US 4runners, and 100 series LC's up here (which were never sold here to begin with). Could only get those as an LX470 new.
Lots of good info in this article, and the comments. I'm starting to remember the process from when I looked into it. Under 25 years is possible IF you can get a letter from the manufacturer stating the vehicle meets all US emissions and safety requirements. From the comments, someone was able to bring into Washington a less-than-25-year-old Honda Accord. To me, that means Honda is (or was) willing to give those letters. VW once was (which is why I was looking at BC Syncro as they got them a full year longer than the US), but that dried up and now the policy is no letters. Anyone know about Mitsubishi? I'm guessing not, but who knows. There's really nothing in it for them. Apparently you can try to use a registered importer -- they often have contacts who can shake a letter loose for, um, financial considerations. Complicating things further for me -- Washington state is now on California emissions. I'm getting conflicting info about whether an old car has to be specifically Cali-compliant or just 50-state compliant. All in all, it's probably easier for me, to keep looking in WA, OR, CA.
 

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