1985 Toyota Van from North America

Summary:

Best mini van ever

Faults:

Everything that's gone wrong with my van has had to to with the belt assembly. The bearing in the top pulley froze, I fixed it myself for about $20 (the cost of a new bearing). The top pulley mount broke, I found a used one at the salvage yard for about $10. The main pulley on the crankshaft stripped out. This one was a little more difficult as I was about an hour outside of Mexico city and they don't sell Toyota'ss in Mexico, anyways I lucked into a great mechanic who re-manufactured the pulley and installed it for about $150 its still in there today.

General Comments:

This is the best vehicle I've ever bought. Its taken me everywhere I wanted to go. Now it looks beat to hell, but she still runs like a champ. I wish I had another in pristine condition because these older ones are definitely going to be classics.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd January, 2003

1985 Toyota Van LE 2.0 from North America

Summary:

If you find one that's reasonably rust free and has less than 125,000mi. on her, GRAB IT!

Faults:

The front brake calipers have seized more than once (a Toyota Van specialty) but I have had them fixed with no problems.

In the summer of 1998 while on my way to Indianapolis, I blew the differential, ostensibly due to a casting flaw that existed from the factory and went undetected for 13 years) but had retrofitted; it still works today.

In 2001, I remounted the exhaust manifold by having the head removed and refitted with new studs, one of which had broken from rust and age.

In the summer of 2002, I blew the gearbox (all gears except 4th which is the final drive) while driving in Arkansas, but still got home which involved crossing eight states (wow!). The 4th gear allowed me to travel smoothly at 70mph (the Van usually likes 80). As for the gearbox, I intend to have it rebuilt if is not too expensive.

General Comments:

This van was purchased on the merits of its advertising appeal, the sleek look of the vehicle, its turning radius and load capacity. I bought the 5spd for the quicker performance as well as for its practicality in winter driving and deep snow. My model was the LE, window, cargo van with no rear seats.

What I discovered about this vehicle was the wonderful way it slipped down the highway and the height advantage that it generously provided its driver. I just loved it! I should have bought two as it was, in my opinion, irreplaceable.

The effect from wind shear could be lethal at times and demanded a firm grip on the wheel when crossing high bridges or following in the wake of an 18 wheeler, where gusts live. The vehicle had a narrow stance and short wheelbase. Because the seats were positioned above the front wheels, it offered a sometimes punishing and bouncy ride. Fully laden on a factory heavy-duty suspension, its ride improved substantially. It was after all a cargo van.

Braking also had to be taken with the greatest of care. With little or no sheet metal up front to protect the legs in the event of a frond end impact, I avoided tailgating at all times which is a safe practice nonetheless.

Rust was normal to good for a vehicle this age.

Aside from the enjoyment of cruising down the highway comfortably and quickly, it was good on gas and carried a very full load equally as economical as while running empty, a surprise even to me. I think it was due to its aerodynamic design.

This '85 LE Van, despite its occasional breakdowns in late life was remarkably reliable. It had travelled from Canada to Florida 10 times, been driven throughout the Eastern states extensively and had taken this driver coast to coast twice, the second time being around the States trip in 1999 that involved 15,500km (10,000mi) in the short period of five weeks. Repair cost while en-route: $35.00 to repair an exhaust leak. When I returned, it actually had MORE pep.

Dollar for dollar, it's the best $10,500.00 that I have ever spent and it owes me nothing. And with all that it still delivers and may achieve 400,000km.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 21st August, 2002

24th Oct 2005, 08:44

Addendum to above:

Three years later, I still have this great van and it still drives well with plenty of power to get me around with confidence.

Odometer: 358,500 km or 223,600 miles.

I expect to make 400,000 km within the next two years.

31st Aug 2006, 22:04

Further...August 30, 2006.

Well I don't think that I'll make 400,000 km, as the van has finally reached it's last days at 364,000km. What's wrong... the differential's making all kinds a clanking noises, the torsion bars are shot, the engine overheats, the horn and hazards don't work, steering is stiff, and rust abounds. I loved this van since new, but will have to send her off to pasture by the end of the year. She will not survive another winter.

Sad.