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  1. #1

    Help me interpret these pictures of a Prado I'm considering buying

    Hi guys,

    As explained in my previous thread, I was originally planning on buying a V6 petrol 150. However, for various reasons I am quite interested in ease of resale, and following the discussion in the thread and some more research of my own (including a super-nerdy regression analysis), I have concluded that I will probably bite the bullet and get a diesel instead.

    There's a three year old vehicle I'm currently looking at with almost 80,000 km on the clock. I have some pics of the engine bay and the underbody, but I am no mechanic so I was hoping that some of you experts could take a look and let me know if there's anything seriously wrong with the vehicle. Minor issues are fine, but any red flags you see here?

    Any help is much appreciated!

    Cheers,

    Dex

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  2. #2

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  4. #4
    Junior Member
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    I am no expert in this arena - but seems the Prado never saw any "offroad" action.
    - any "oil" marks seem standard for a car with a good service record (eg. oil marks on driveline)
    - engine bay looks good overall... car who has seen offroad is difficult to clean / hide the 4x4 mud stains
    - With the Auto Gearbox it is difficult to cause any major damage.

    I would wait to hear from some more qualified PP members

  5. #5
    My first thought was how many Ks its done in 3 yrs and the factory tyres on it, they wouldn't last that long

  6. #6
    Advanced Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by oceanracer View Post
    My first thought was how many Ks its done in 3 yrs and the factory tyres on it, they wouldn't last that long
    80,000km, with little to no off road use to speak of, with proper tire pressures, and good wheel alignment you can indeed get that many km out of the original tires....but there wont be much tread left.

    Pictures look ok, but pictures cant really tell the story. Service history, not just the book but from the mechanic or dealer who serviced it, gives good information, but not all, so an inspection by a good diesel fitter who knows Prados would be helpful.

    If it has an engine rattle the injectors could be an issue, or if gear changes are odd the gear box could be an issue, or if the drivline "clunks" the drive shaft could be an issue.

    The pics are a good start...but thats still really only a small part of teh story.
    Let us know how you go.
    SE Qld: GX 150GD, auto, (Feb'16 build): TJM T15 steel bull bar, 9,500lb TORQ winch, TJM side steps, Rhino Pioneer Platform (42102B 1928 X 1236 mm), front recovery points, Wynnum tow bar, Techonsha P3 brake controller, TNN Under body guards & rear Tyre step, UHF, TREKtable & LED strip light, Custom Fridge & Drawer assembly, Waeco CFX 50, 9inch illuminator 160W LED spots, 40mm lifted Dobinson Suspension (Zordo's)

  7. #7
    Advanced Member Brett1979's Avatar
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    For a Prado that's only done 80,000km there shouldn't be anything wrong with it at all and it should drive like new. So long as the services were done. Check in the log book that the engine oil and oil filter were changed regularly. The air filter a bit less frequently. You should see a line of flung grease on the underbody of the car above the drive shaft Uni joints. If you do this is a good thing and you know they've been greased. I'm not familiar with the service scheduling of the 150 series, but the diff oils should be due around 80,000km along with a transmission fluid flush. I think the transfer case oil has to be changed every 60,000km so check if its been done or needs to be done. Check the brake pads if they're due for replacing. You're 40,000km away from the injectors being due for replacement and from what I understand you do not want to overlook this. Check the cleanliness of the brake fluid. Prob needs to be flushed. Looked like blue DOT 4 fluid in the reservoir, I'd replace it with clear DOT 3 as I've heard not so inspiring things about DOT 4 and corrosion. You'd be due for a new fuel filter around now. Cars are commonly sold in conjunction with expensive servicing being due at the same time or in the very near future. If you were handy with doing most of this stuff yourself, then no problem, a weekend and a few hundred dollars and you're sorted. If you're not sure what to look for, get a mechanic to give it a check over and he'll make a list of what needs doing. You can use the mounting service costs that are due as a bargaining tool to drop the price a little.

    Good that you took photos of the engine bay and underbody. You've done more than most would when inspecting a car for purchase. Myself, I'd be jacking it up, pulling wheels off to check the brakes, checking all engine bay dipsticks and fluids. Smell the auto trans fluid if it smells burnt. Check the air filter condition, pumping grease into the Uni's to see how much grease they need and ascertaining if they've been greased regularly or not and asking all kinds of questions about the service history. Also check the voltage of the battery to make sure it's still in great nick. Check condition of the drive belts. That way you know what to expect with regards to longevity and can also bargain the price down a bit for innitial outlay for servicing and parts replacement that is due. They wouldn't need to know I would do everything myself. If that was your coolant reservoir I saw, the coolant in it looked watered down in colour. If it has had water added to it, replace the coolant soon in case tap water had been used to top it up by the owner.
    Maintenance is satisfying as cars need love
    A well maintained machine will almost outlast the roaches.

    It's clean as underneath. The tyres are good. The boots are in good condition. No scrapes and dents underneath. It looks like it's done very little off-road work, if any at all. Should be a good buy if you plan to keep it long term. Too many used car dealerships have the 4wd underbodies sprayed entirely with black paint underneath during the detailing process to hide any imperfections and make them more attractive for sale. It's good that you can see your underbody for what it is.
    Last edited by Brett1979; 15-11-2016 at 11:06 PM.
    98 GXL 3.4L V6: TJM 2" lift, Airtec snorkel, TJM T15 steel bull bar, 8500lbs T-Max winch, 100w Roo Lite Spotlights, TJM alloy roof cage, Dual batteries, breathers to everything, TJM Air Compressor, Maxxis Bighorns. 359,000km and counting.

  8. #8
    Hi guys,

    Thanks so much for your replies - some incredible detail here and very good points to keep in mind for me.

    I do apologise for not reporting back earlier, but I was quite busy at work and frankly also a bit bummed because I missed out on this vehicle - someone snapped it up while I was still debating / evaluating it. Very annoying.

    But thanks anyways for your comments. I shall keep them in mind for my next inspection. Great to see that there is so much assistance available in the Prado community. Can't wait to become a part of it!

    Cheers,

    Dex

  9. #9
    Hi all,

    Thanks again for all the comments about the pictures I had posted.

    I'm back from the holidays and starting the hunt for a Prado GX again.

    I looked at one today and I like it so far. I am taking Brett's advise and will organise a pre-purchase inspection for a qualified mechanic to take a look at it. Having said that, the inspection is $300 or so and I want to make sure I'm not wasting my money.

    It would be great if you guys could take a look at some pictures from the engine bay and the underbody again - is there anything that stands out as a red flag?

    If not, I'll get the inspection organised on Monday and will hopefully be a Prado owner soon

    Thanks very much to all who respond.

    Cheers,

    Dex

    PS: Sorry about the quality of some of them...

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  11. #11
    And the two final ones:

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  12. #12
    Advanced Member
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Dex View Post
    Hi all,

    Thanks again for all the comments about the pictures I had posted.

    I'm back from the holidays and starting the hunt for a Prado GX again.

    I looked at one today and I like it so far. I am taking Brett's advise and will organise a pre-purchase inspection for a qualified mechanic to take a look at it. Having said that, the inspection is $300 or so and I want to make sure I'm not wasting my money.

    It would be great if you guys could take a look at some pictures from the engine bay and the underbody again - is there anything that stands out as a red flag?

    If not, I'll get the inspection organised on Monday and will hopefully be a Prado owner soon

    Thanks very much to all who respond.

    No red flags so far, engine bay clean, no dual battery, if its been off road at all ill be surprised.

    Cheers,

    Dex

    PS: Sorry about the quality of some of them...

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    no obvious red flags after looking at the limited, "superficial" images, which is almost a waste of time to be honest (and not being rude at all)... but I'd also want to see a photo of compliance plate, the service records, as well as tires, suspension, brakes, ... but photos are always just going to be superficial. I'd want to see service records, and have a diesel fitter/mechanic look aver it and obtain engine diagnostics....but really, I can only guess why you don't want to post some more details ...like how many km, build date etc...that way someone can go and buy this care before you do ... like happened last time.

    Take it for a drive, if it starts, runs without blowing smoke, doesn't rattle, has had all services and no accidents...then make an offer.

    Good ones sell quickly.
    Let us know how you go.

    Interpretation:

    Image 1 is a photo of what appears to be a clean engine bay, of a 150 D4D, with what appears to be the original battery, with some blue terminal spray on the negative terminal, no auxiliary battery under the bonnet, brake fluid is the right color, (but what does that all mean in reality?) Well, it has an engine under the bonnet that appears to be clean.

    Image 2 and 3 much the same....brake fluid and power steering fluid "appear" to be present and right level, but that's all that can be said...who knows about moisture content of the fluid is etc.

    Image 4. This is a small part of the genuine front under-body shield. If it had been off-road say onto a soft sandy beach the wire mesh in the image would likely be all pushed back and deformed...once again, its a very limited image, but that's how my under-body shield would have looked 1 week after I bought the car...no obvious impacts, but its a very limited view.

    I'm not really sure what "interpretation" you want from the images, or can be given, , and to take the photo of an engine bay doesn't really tell much, (unless it had been totally abused...which it "appears" that it hasn't.. but who knows how it has been driven). What about the oil level on the dipstick and color of under the oil filler cap, or even the level of the coolant....but once again, that's still only part of the story only.

    If it looks like what you want, and is the price you want, and it has had every service by a reputable service centre, then you will only get a better idea by getting a professional inspection.
    Last edited by brogers; 08-01-2017 at 08:06 AM.
    SE Qld: GX 150GD, auto, (Feb'16 build): TJM T15 steel bull bar, 9,500lb TORQ winch, TJM side steps, Rhino Pioneer Platform (42102B 1928 X 1236 mm), front recovery points, Wynnum tow bar, Techonsha P3 brake controller, TNN Under body guards & rear Tyre step, UHF, TREKtable & LED strip light, Custom Fridge & Drawer assembly, Waeco CFX 50, 9inch illuminator 160W LED spots, 40mm lifted Dobinson Suspension (Zordo's)

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