1986 Toyota Van LE 4 cylinder inline from North America


Quality made car


Changed alternator x1, otherwise all parts still original.

Presently, had broken manifold studs that need to be changed.

Oil gauge light is on when the engine is cold, but vanishes when the engine gets hot. Also has problem with check engine light and radiator light, and like the engine oil gauge light, shuts off after the engine gets hot.

The car drives normally even with the above mentioned problems.

Please note that these problems started after more than 20 years of owning the car.

General Comments:

Bought the van brand new, Toyota Van LE, 1986 model. A very reliable car, built like a tank. Used it for long driving to the US to visit family and relatives in the summer time (not winter driven).

The car is ideal for long driving for a big family of 6 (2 adults and 4 children) when our kids were small. There is even enough space for our luggage for the trip. Didn't have any problem on the road, even with the long mileage driven on each trip. Drove from Montreal to Florida non-stop for 24 hours, did it 4x. Montreal to Chicago, usually 18 hours each way 2x a year since owning the car. Also drove to other states and it remains reliable after more than 30 years of ownership.

The satisfactory rate of Toyota cars in our family is at the optimum level; now my children are all driving Toyota cars.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th July, 2017

1986 Toyota Van from North America


Best engine Toyota ever built


Starter coil failed 2nd year I owned it.

Hoses ended up being replaced all around, approx year 8 or 9.

Seat fabrics disintegrated in tropical heat/sun year 3-4, but I had them recovered with a heavier fabric that held up great.

The rear hatch inside liner fell off, and eventually the latch failed, and had to be secured from the inside with a bungee.

Fuel door rusted off.

Normal brake, tire wear/replacement.

General Comments:

The engine Toyota put in this van was their best ever, not any problem with this engine or transmission.

The 15-mph rubber bumper is better than any bumper I've had before or since. The plastic ones used today are nothing but a joke compared to this one.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th August, 2010

1986 Toyota Van Standard 4 cylinder 3Y from North America


Too bad they're not in production anymore


Air hose assembly was bad when we bought it. Previous owner had fixed it with duct tape- made a permanent repair with JB Weld since it's a non-pressure part and the dealer wants $100 for a new one. Works perfectly now.

General Comments:

These are great, great vehicles. There's a reason you still see them running around the Caribbean, Africa and Latin America with a gajillion miles on them. The 4 Cyl engine is actually a forklift engine and designed for extreme, long term durability.

Working on them isn't all that bad, if ya get the right books. You gotta get used to the engine being under the seat; for more serious repairs, you can unbolt the passenger side floor for more access. For other stuff, you have to put it on the lift.

Two big considerations for anyone buying one of these in the year 2008...

Chances are, it's going to be high mileage. Don't let that discourage you- these things were made to go forever and if it was well maintained, it will have plenty of life left in it- but be aware that certain parts can be a real pain in the butt to obtain. A lot of the standard stuff you can still get at auto parts retailers, but there are A LOT of parts that are dealership only and brother, does the dealership ever let you have it for old 'yota van parts. Since these aren't exactly "standard" at any junkyard, if you need to replace a weird or esoteric part, you will have to go to the internet and pray somebody is parting one out.

Second, for more in-depth repairs (beyond standard stuff- replacing alternators, igniters, etc) understand that a lot of mechanics haven't ever seen one of these before and won't know what to do. If you're intent on buying one of these and keeping it running, move heaven and earth to lay hands on the TOYOTA FACTORY service manual (beware- these aren't cheap). There's a real chance that the mechanic you take it to will need this manual. Unfortunately, Chiltens manuals are inadequate and the factory book doesn't come cheap, but they're almost a must-have unless you have access to someone who knows how to work on these.

With that said, if you're prepared to be a little patient when it breaks and you can find a factory service manual, you will be hard pressed to find a cooler, more efficient vehicle. Gas mileage is insanely good, there is plenty of room, they run smooth and last darn near forever if they've lived a well maintained life.

Sure wish all were were made this way.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th September, 2008

5th Sep 2008, 13:33

There are tons of these things running around here in Thailand, both older and newer models, and it is true they seem to be extremely durable and reliable. However having been a passenger in them numerous times I can report they are terribly uncomfortable.

31st Oct 2009, 09:55

I sold my 86 with 260k miles on it a few years ago and have been looking for another one ever since. Mine had rusted out but was still running strong. Best vehicle I ever owned; great gas mileage, incredibly reliable, 4x8 hauling capacity... and super cool looking too!... if anyone reading this wants to sell theirs or knows of one available, please let me know!... thanks!... beloved_rose2000@yahoo.com

3rd Nov 2009, 15:09

I sold my 1986 Toyota Van last year and I really miss it. Yes, it's hard to work on the engine, and yes, it gets hot under front seats, but I wish I had my van back. Had it for 10 years and the only thing to go was the power steering pump! All I ever did was tune-ups, oil change and buy new tires. I sold it because I traveled where the Santa Ana winds are merciless, and my van was like an empty cardboard box in the wind. Friends kept on telling me I needed to buy a newer model car and I caved in. My van had over 300,000 miles on it.

Wish Toyota would build another van just like the 1986.