1990 Toyota Hiace 2.5 diesel


Twice as strong, twice as cheap


Diesel engine break-down after 11 years at 320000 km because he lost cooling water and I didn't notice. My fault.

After 8 years the body gets rusty.

Driver seat wears out after 8 years.

He looses cooling water via the valve of the expansion tank. I have to check cooling water level monthly.

The plastic covering over the headlights need to be fastened with a wire, otherwise they blow away with the wind.

General Comments:

I never had such a reliable car than this Toyota Hi-ace van. I use it as a family car the past twelve years for private purposes and holydays and to go to my job. I also used it to build my entire house.

The Toyota Hi-ace is twice as strong as a family car at half the costs. I have four times financial advantage compared with a regular family car. Instead of 6 years I drove twelve years with it and the road taxes and insurance fee was half.

The Toyota Hi-ace keeps its value. About three times a year I find a notice between the windscreen wipers if I want to sell the car. I never had that before.

I revised the engine myself with parts of a second engine. At eleven years of age there was not one bolt I couldn't loosen with normal household tools. After the revision I drove from Amsterdam to Athens in Greece and back, 7000 km without any failure. I don't think that is solely because of my skill, because I am an architect, not a mechanic. It is so easy to do all the maintenance myself, I had no need to go to the garage. I saved a lot of money.

During holidays it was not a problem at all to sleep in the van with my wife. With a small cooking device we could go anywhere. I saved a lot of money on hotels and campings.

Except the engine break-down at 11 years of age, the Toyota Hi-ace never failed me during driving.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th September, 2003

1992 Toyota Hiace 2.0 petrol with LPG


Cheap and reliable get-you-everywhere


Bought the car with a blown starter engine and starter relays. After replacing these, the car has been running smooth.

Only problem is the colling water. The orange indicator light flips on when the reservoir is empty, but filling the reservoir only helps for about 2.000 km. After that the reservoir is empty again. However, the engine never overheats and does not seem to loose any water... strange problem not solved yet.

Driver seat is starting to wear.

On long drives the seats are real back-breakers. Especially for longer people.

Susceptible to rust.

Locks on the doors don't work properly with the key, slide-door cannot be opened with the key anymore. Perhaps the locks are dirty or the key is too worn...

General Comments:

Extremely reliable vehicle. Old car that has been heavy-used for nearly 200.000 km still runs smooth. Uses no oil, but a little water. Runs cheaply on LPG and uses about 1 liter for 7 km. Drives like a car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th July, 2003

5th Jul 2003, 08:35

I Would suggest you exmaine the area around the water pump. If all your rubber hoses are okay, then It has to be a weeping water pump. An easy fix on these Toyotas.

8th Jan 2004, 16:31

This is a common problem on these vans... The head needs repaceing as mine was loosing water, but not over heating, but once a new head was put on it solved all the problems.

BE AWARE a new head is not cheap.

17th May 2004, 15:33

I have a 1976 Toyota hi-ace Newlander campervan - 67,000m on the clock, but still going strong. Hoping to take it to Spain this summer. Can be slightly temperamental starting when the engine is hot, but apart from this OK.

Two questions for Hi-ace fans:

1. Where can I get spare parts - are there plenty around for RH 11 engines?

2. Is is worth trying to protect the underneath of the van from rust with waxoil or something similar?