Originally Posted by plunk10
What years did they make the hardbody? 86-97 I believe
What years should I avoid? None, I think all of them are pretty decent
Easy to fix? pretty much. I did all my own maintenance etc.
Common problems? Common problems for the later KA24's in the trucks were ****ty timing chain tensioners . They would wear out and chain would rattle for the first few seconds of a cold start. Not a huge issue obviously, mine did it for 100k (140k on it when I got rid of it)
What to look out for? On older models, look for rust on the frame, undercarriage and body panels
4 cylinder or 6 cylinder? I had the KA24 (Obviously). Decent torque, not alot of power. Decent mileage. The six'er has more power and torque, but you trade off in gas mileage
gas mileage? I generally got around 22 in the city, 25ish on the highway because of gearing
how many miles on the odometer is too many? Assuming regular maintenance: n/a. I know someone still driving their 88 with 350k on the original motor.
forums for the hardbody? Not sure
how cheap can I get one? (if over $2,000 I'll probably scrap the whole idea)
reliable as old toyotas? Older ones can probably be had for around that kind of coin pretty easily, but be picky (especially on the rust issue)
is the old Datsun 720 as reliable?No idea
The only other thing I would look for is one with the LSD in the rear (if shopping for 2WD). Mine had it, and it saved my rear end in the snow a few times. Also, ABS isnt the greatest thing in the world on the standard cab models, especially with the rear drum brakes, so keep that in mind as well.
I replaced normal wear and tear items on mine (belts, hoses, tires, clutch etc), none of which were overly expensive. I changed the oil every 3500 miles until I started running M-1, and then every 7500 miles, according to my Blackstone analysis. Overall, it ran like a sewing machine for the years that I had it.