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Manual kdz120 vs auto kdj120 for REMOTE travel

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  • Manual kdz120 vs auto kdj120 for REMOTE travel

    I'm looking at setting up a touring rig to travel remotely, so after something ultimately reliable. If problems do occur they should be able to be fixed with a hammer, some fencing wire and duct tape. I like the practicality of the 120 series (and the price!), but am tossing up between the later D4D with an auto trans, or an older 1KZ with the manual. I discounted the older 1KZ with auto as it's only 4 speed, and I fear the resultant fuel economy hit will be too much. Somewhat surprisingly to me the main driver on price appears to be mileage, not age.

    Any advice on which one to choose (and why) what to look out for? I'd like to keep it under $20k, so that will get me into something around the 250+km mark, if that makes a difference to either option. Also if I'm off the mark re transmission options I'd be interested to hear reasoning..

  • #2
    Hi Mate - I have a 2006 1KZ in auto and had a 2008 1KD in manual I would have to say that for towing I would go the 1KD manual but around town I love the auto. We just got back from a farm in QLD to Newcastle and towed a 1.9 tonne camper around and sometimes I wish I had the manual. My fuel economy average was 17.2 litres per 100 whilst towing with wife, three kids, dog and three bar roof rhino HD roof racks. Some people prefer auto but I opted for the older motor because of its simplicity and much more cost effective repairs should anything happen whilst out travelling.
    Cheers, Ben


    • #3
      The old school 1KZ is getting older as time passes by, and it's got it's share of issues too, for example the glow plug tips breaking away (see this thread:

      And if you are proactively replacing these glow plugs,there is still a risk that the plugs are siezed on and very difficult to remove.

      The output from the 1KZ is low and it's fuel consumption is comparatively high, to the point where it may be more enjoyable to own a petrol 4.0 V6, as the fuel consumption is not a lot more for significantly more power. The petrol V6 is arguably more reliable than the 1KZ motor as the mileage goes up and up, and cheaper to buy.

      Manual vs Auto - both are equally reliable transmissions, so I'd probably pick the manual, as there's less gear changing to be doing when driving in remote conditions vs stop start city driving. However if towing, you'd have to just tow in 4th gear (strongest gear).

      In remote locations, the 1KZ would be better able to deal with poor quality fuel compared to the D4D diesel, as it has old school, low pressure fuel pump.


      • #4
        I've owned a 1KZ 4 speed auto for 160,000kms / 9 years. My mechanic loves that it's old school (much like himself). It just works, and when I go remote touring I make sure I have radiator hoses, a fuel filter and fan belts (and the obligatory starter motor because they are mounted too bloody low!).

        My last touring and towing was from Melbourne to the Eyre Peninsula for a couple of weeks before Christmas. Towing a Complete Campsite Jabiru that probably weighed 1.5 - 1.7T fully loaded.
        Did just under 5,000kms at an economy of 17.2l/100kms. This was a short one, as I usually like the top end or the west coast. Ultimately fuel economy is similar regardless of where I get to if towing a camper.

        I've considered changing it over for something more powerful because if you're in a hurry you can easily get stuck behind a grey nomad or loaded up road train and you do seriously need to find a straight kilometre of road to safely pass, but I can't justify the change over cost as well as the possible repair bill for a common rail.

        Now that its not a daily city driver I would definitely consider a manual, as again mathematically it reduces the overall cost of ownership.

        To be honest, the only vehicle that still tempts me for a change over is a 120 series v6 with a 5 speed auto. Form what I've read there are very few problems with the v6 (similar to the 1KZ) and that motor was a pleasure to drive when I took one for a test drive many years ago. And there is the added benefit that the money I have invested in accessories could be changed over to the new vehicle (apart from AJ120's rock sliders!).

        Good luck with your research. If you're anything like me this process will take months!!
        2004 GXL 1KZ - ARB Deluxe Winch Bar - Safari Snorkel - Dobinsons/Ironman suspension - BFG AT 265/65/17 LT