Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > 4 wheels > Toyota Overland Tech

Toyota Overland Tech All Toyota's TECH discussions and info.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

Visit Matt Savage for VIAIR compressors, Air Lift Helper Springs, Tyre Levers, Chris Scott's Books & DVDs, KC Daylighters, Allisport Intercoolers, Overland Preparation and lots more!

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 7 Mar 2012
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 3,411
Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
Hi Dan

Would re-iterate that the Surf is more than capable, as is a Hilux etc.
This bit is confusing to me: second hand surfs, in the UK at least, always seem to be "hilux surfs" in the adverts but later "hilux" are double cabs with pickup bodywork and they are subject to VAT - correct, or am I missing something?

Originally Posted by rclafton View Post
Interesting if you read the surf forums, they seem to suffer from head issues on the 3L, also lots of electrics on the import ones. Advice seems to be do the head, replace the rad and don't overheat them

I was advised that a 4runner would suit me better as less electronics. In the end I bought an Isuzu pickup
As per the list of surf characteristics in post 2 - "avoid the 2.4 engine" - it is the 2.4L that has the head problems in the reviews that I have read:-
4x4 - Best Reviews of 2010 & 2011 at Review Centre
Reply With Quote
Old 9 Mar 2012
bnicho's Avatar
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 76
"Hilux Surf" is the full name, often shortened to simply "Surf". Locally they are affecionately called "Smurfs".

The 2.4 does crack heads, although there is a better head from another model avialable. (Not sure which one myself.) The 3.0 head also cracks occasionally but it's usually due to cooling system not being up to the task.

The Japanese radiators in Surfs are not up to Aussie 40+ degree days, especially when towing or when a bullbar that blocks airflow is fitted. The solution here is to fit a local-spec Hilux Turbo Diesel radiator. That solves any further issues on the 3.0 at least.

The Surf was never sold in Aus new either, we got the 4-Runner in 4cyl, V6 or non-turbo diesel form. But we did get Prados sold as such new here.

I can recall driving all the way across Melbourne to look at a 1KZ-TE Prado and being annoyed to find it was a Jap Import with no dual tanks and various other oddities.

Both Surfs and Prados have a huge range of aftermarket bits here. A Surf can be converted to dual tanks relatively easily using a Patrol tank provided the spare wheel is mounted on the rear, not underneath.

If I was doing a journey by myself I'd prefer the Surf for it's more compact size and slightly better economy. I also think they look better and they are far cheaper here. But if with a couple of extra people or I was towing I'd take the Prado/Colorado.

Melbourne - Adelaide - Uluru - Great Central Road - Fremantle - Nullarbor - Adelaide - Melbourne in a $1000 Mini - May 2013. We did it!
Reply With Quote
Old 16 Mar 2012
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 6
Great Feedback!

Thanks again everyone for the information on the comparisons.

Although it seems like a LC would be largely the better vehicle for general road driving, probably more comfortable and better maintenance I am very tempted to go for a 1994/5 Hilux Surf (especially with some on this forum noting the benifits of a surf)

I am aware of the advice against these early models due to them being quite old and having problems with the head cracks.

However due to the cheaper price of surfs i am very tempted to look in getting an old model and potential replacing/fixing the head to hopefully avoid cracking problems in africa.

I appreciate any feedback surrounding this idea, or any possible feedback against buying an older model (eg excessive mileage etc)

Many Thanks
Reply With Quote
Old 4 May 2012
HU Sponsor
HUBB regular
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: norfolk england
Posts: 24
The imported models are a bit more to insure. I have a 4runner sold new in the uk insurance is just over 200 pounds per year. A surf the same year model but imported would have cost over 400 pounds per year to insure. The 2.4lts crack heads the rear springs sag and the rear bumpers rust oh and the radiator falls apart. 30mpg is normal
Compass expeditions adventure motorcycle tours
Reply With Quote
Old 9 Sep 2013
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 3,411
Originally Posted by norfolkjack View Post
The imported models are a bit more to insure. I have a 4runner sold new in the uk insurance is just over 200 pounds per year
More than a bit! As you say with your own example the insurance cost can double for a grey-import model compared with exactly the same truck that was officially imported into the UK.

I bought a Prado 95 model LC and my insurer at the time declined to cover this replacement vehicle (they were quite content to insure a "Colorado" which is listed in their acceptable vehicles but not a "Prado"): I ended up having to use a specialist insurance broker and my annual premium doubled instantly, for what amounted to a lesser degree of cover.
Reply With Quote
Old 10 Sep 2013
bnicho's Avatar
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 76
I found the same problem years ago when I went looking for a 95 series Prado. A JDM import one was about $5000 cheaper than an Aussie delivered Prado of the same year. The insurance on the JDM was double. Unfortunately the JDM version only has a single fuel tank and does not have proper child restraint points, so that ruled it out for me anyway.
Melbourne - Adelaide - Uluru - Great Central Road - Fremantle - Nullarbor - Adelaide - Melbourne in a $1000 Mini - May 2013. We did it!
Reply With Quote

hilux, surf

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 2 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 2 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
UK reg. Toyota Surf in SA. Feb 2012 For Sale / "Rent" uktosa 4WD for Sale / Wanted 0 14 Jan 2012 13:29
UK Registered Toyota Landcruiser 80 Series for sale in SA greenbean3 4WD for Sale / Wanted 13 20 Dec 2011 20:23
Toyota Landcruiser 80 series for sale Argentina Feb or March 2012 amc_dowell 4WD for Sale / Wanted 5 28 Nov 2011 02:43
Toyota Hilux Double-Cab - ZA registered - 1997 Bundubasher 4WD for Sale / Wanted 0 29 Oct 2011 12:42


NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

  • South Africa: Nov 13-16
  • Thailand: Jan 9-11, 2015
  • NEW! USA Virginia: Apr 9-12
  • NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16
  • Germany: May 14-17
  • Canada Ontario: Jun 18-21
  • Ireland: June 26-28
  • Colorado: July 17-19 TBC
  • Canada West: Aug 20-23
  • USA California: Sep 24-27
  • Aus Queensland: Sep 24-27
  • USA North Carolina: Oct 8-11
  • Aus Perth: Oct 9-11
  • Germany: Oct 22-25

See all events


Latvia to Australia, an inspirational 5 month journey full of unexpected adventures!

Circle to Circle by Brian and Shirley Rix.

Circle to Circle - a journey through the Americas and beyond. by Shirley Hardy-Rix and Brian Rix

"Well written, funny and informative."
"Thoroughly entertaining!"
Available NOW from the authors' website!

Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 11:27.