||All Models: The normal checks when buying any vehicle should be made, if you are not sufficiently familiar with the Surf or 4x4's in general, consider bringing along someone who is. Do not simply trust the word of the vendor.|
A checklist for the Surf can be found here (page coming soon). You should also take note of other items which may require attention or further expenditure after purchase, items to consider include the tyres, the stereo, any sat-nav equipment fitted and the cylinder head on 2.4TD models, click on the links to see why.
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To date (Apr ‘06) there have been 4 generations of the Toyota Hilux Surf (or Toyota 4Runner in some markets).
Model years and a quick way to distinguish the various generations are listed below.
2.0 Petrol; 2.4 Petrol; 3.0 V6 Petrol; 2.4 Turbo-Diesel (see spec's below)
2 door models with a removable fibreglass rear section.
Heavily based on the Hilux pick-ups of the same era, retaining most of its features including a proper truck style drop-down tailgate.
Up to 1986 they also shared most of their suspension with the pick-ups, having leaf springs and solid axles all round.
From 1986 they had independent suspension (torsion bars) fitted to the front.
2nd Gen: 1990-1995
2.0 Petrol; 3.0 V6 Petrol; 2.4 Turbo-Diesel; 2.8 Diesel; 3.0 Turbo-Diesel (see spec's below)
2 and 4 door versions (2dr discontinued in late 1993). The fibreglass rear section was replaced by an all steel integrated shell.
Completely redesigned body shell in keeping with the current pick-up models.
Coil sprung rear suspension in place of the pick-ups leaf springs.
1992 saw a minor restyle, the main difference being flush mounted aero headlamps, a one piece front bumper and a new grille, all cosmetic changes which the pick-ups did not receive.
3rd Gen: 1996-2001
2.7 Petrol; 3.4 Petrol; 3.0 Turbo-Diesel; 3.0 Intercooler Turbo-Diesel (see spec's below)
This time the new model was not based on the pick-up range, but was a new model in its own right. Slightly larger than prior models with increased legroom, shoulder room and cargo area. Production of the 3rd Gen was split, built built both by Toyota's Tahara factory, and also in Hino's Hamura factory.All Models: The Surf comes in a number of different trim levels, ranging from SSR, SSR LTD, SSR-V & SSR-X to SSR-G. Additionally some SSR-V’s and X’s have had the ‘Ltd’ badge as well.
Shares its chassis, suspension and most of its drivetrain with the Lwb Landcruiser Colorado (Prado) models of the era.
Front torsion bar suspension replaced by double wishbones and a coil spring, resulting in increased suspension travel.
Steering box changed to a rack and pinion steering rack system.
Additional safety features include dual airbags and ABS.
Drop-down tailgate replaced with a lift-up hatchback style one.
4th Gen: 2002-
This model is once again slightly larger than prior ones, although lower in overall height with reduced ground clearance. Heavier in appearance compared with the prior model with oversized C pillars and squared wheel arches. Once again sharing certain chassis elements with the equivalent era Colorado/Prado models. This model is available with a choice of new suspension designs and 4wd systems to enhance off-road abilities.
The 4th Generation Surf is not covered in these FAQ.
Model years change in August, so for example the 2nd Gen model, which was introduced for the 1990 model year, would have started production in August of 1989. It is therefore quite possible to find an ’89 2nd Gen or a ’95 3rd Gen etc. Also a vehicle which was manufactured late in its production, in July for example, could conceivably have remained unsold or unregistered until the following year. You could therefore have, for example, a 1st Gen model registered in 1990.
All UK market 4Runners are 2nd Gen models and are essentially identical to the Hilux Surf, minor differences exist in trim levels and specification etc. All UK 4Runners have 3.0L engines (both petrol & diesel models).
If you are unsure as to the date of manufacture of your Surf, check the base of the seatbelts, where they mount to the body, you will find a tag upon which is printed the month and year of manufacture. When looking for information or parts it is much more reliable to quote the model year, rather than the year of registration or the letter from the registration number.
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In theory it runs from the base spec SSR to the SSR-G or Gold spec model. In practice these designations do not necessarily mean much. Many will have had a number of factory fitted options supplied from new, with the result that it would not be impossible to find for example an SSR-V with a higher level of options/trim than an SSR-X, or an SSR-X in seemingly identical spec to an SSR-G etc.
Despite the efforts of many who have tried, it does not seem possible to compile a definitive listing as to the standard specifications of the various trim levels due to changes with each model year and the tendency of the original owners to specify additional options at the time of purchase.
If looking at a Surf with a view to purchase, consider the actual condition and options fitted to the vehicle rather than being unduly swayed by the desire to attain any particular model level.
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Please note; When trying to determine the specifications of these vehicles, official manufacturers data is somewhat scarce, therefore the following tables should be considered a guide, and not a definitive answer.
|Year||1984|| || || ||1987|| || |
|Model|| || || || || || ||E-YN61||L-YN61||N-YN61||N-L61|| || |
|Engine Code|| || || || || || ||3Y-E||3Y||2L-T||2l|| || |
|Engine Type|| || || || || || ||I4 OHV||I4 OHC||I4 OHC|| || |
|Engine Size (cc)|| || || || || || ||1998||2446||2446|| || |
|Bore (mm)|| || || || || || ||86||92||92|| || |
|Stroke (mm)|| || || || || || ||86||92||92|| || |
|Compression ratio|| || || || || || ||8.8||22||22.3|| || |
|Max power (PS)|| || || || || || ||97||88||85||76|| || |
|@ RPM|| || || || || || ||4800||4000||4000|| || |
|Max torque (KG-M)|| || || || || || ||16.3||15.8||19.2||15.7|| || |
|@ RPM|| || || || || || ||3800||3400||2400||4000|| || |
|Fuel System|| || || || || || ||EFI||Carb||Turbo|| || |
|Fuel type|| || || || || || ||Petrol||Diesel|| || |
|Fuel Cons (l/100km)||Manual|| || || || || || ||14.6||14.2||17.4||17|| || |
|Auto|| || || || || || ||14.2||N/A|| || |
|Drive Layout|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|Wheelbase|| || || || || || ||2625mm|| || |
|Tyres|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|Exterior Length|| || || || || || ||4440mm|| || |
|Exterior Width|| || || || || || ||1690mm|| || |
|Exterior Height|| || || || || || ||1745mm|| || |
|Front Track|| || || || || || ||1430mm|| || |
|Rear Track|| || || || || || ||1410mm|| || |
|Ground Clearance|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|Weight (kg)|| || || || || || ||1510/1560||1470||1600||1560|| || |
|Payload (kg)|| || || || || || ||275||350||350||350|| || |
|Front brakes|| || || || || || ||Disk|| || |
|Rear brakes|| || || || || || ||Drum|| || |
|Turning circle|| || || || || || ||11.4m|| || |
|Interior Length|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|Interior Width|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|Interior Height || || || || || || || || || || |
|Fuel Tank Capacity|| || || || || || ||65 Litres|| || |
|Steering Type|| || || || || || ||Ball & Nut System|| || |
|Front Suspension||Semi- elliptic leaf spring|| || || ||Double wishbone torsion bar|| || |
|Rear suspension||Semi- elliptic leaf spring|| || || ||Semi- elliptic leaf spring|| || |
|Year||May '89 to Jul '90||Aug '90 to July '91||Aug '91 to Jul '93|
Aug '93 to Jul '95
|Built at....||All models were built by Toyota at the Tahara factory|
|Engine Type||I4 OHV||I4 OHC||I4 OHC||I4 OHV||V6 OHC||I4 OHC||I4 OHC||V6 OHC||I4 OHC||I4 OHC||V6 OHC||I4 OHC|
|Engine Size (cc)||1998||2446||2779||1998||2958||2446||2779||2958||2446||2779||2958||2982|
|Max power (kW)||71||69||67||71||110||71||67||110||71||67||110||96|
|Max torque (nM)||160||216||188||160||245||240||188||245||240||188||245||289|
|Fuel Cons (l/100km) ||Manual||11.0|| || ||11||13.5|| ||13.5||13.5|| || || ||13.9|| || |
|Auto||13.3|| || || ||15.6|| || ||15.6|| || || ||15.6|| || |
|Drive Layout||Part-time 4WD||Part-time 4WD||Part-time 4WD||Part-time 4WD|
|Front brakes||Disk||Ventilated disk||Ventilated disk||Ventilated disk|
|Interior Height ||1125mm|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||65 Litres|
|Steering Type||Steering Box|
|Front Suspension||Double wishbone torsion bar|
|Rear suspension||4 link axle type coils|
|Year||Aug '96 to Jul '97||Aug '98 to Jul '00||Aug '00 to Aug '02|
|Built at....||Chassis numbers starting with "0" were built by Toyota at the Tahara factory, those starting with "9" were built by Hino at their Hamura factory|
|Engine Type||I4 OHC||I4 DOHC 16v||I4 OHC||V6 DOHC 24v||I4 DOHC 16v||V6 DOHC 24v||I4 DOHC|
|Engine Size (cc)||2982||2693||2982||3378||2693||3378||2982|
|Fuel System||IC Turbo||Turbo||EFI||IC Turbo||Turbo||EFI||EFI||EFI||Common Rail IC Turbo|
|Max power (kW)||103||96||110||107||96||136||110||136||125|
|Max torque (nM)||333||289||235||343||289||294||235||294||352|
|Drive Layout||Multi-Mode 4WD||RWD||Multi-Mode 4WD||RWD||RWD||Multi-Mode 4WD|
|Fuel Cons (l/100km) ||Manual|| ||11|| || || || |
|Engine Oil Qty|| ||4.7L (5.4 inc Filter)||6.4L (7 inc Filter)||4.9L (5.2 inc Filter)|| || |
|Cooling System|| ||10L (11L with rear heater)||7L (8L w rear heater)|| || |
| || || |
|Front brakes||Ventilated Disk|
|Interior Length ||1850mm|
|Interior Width ||1395mm|
|Cargo Volume||Seats up||44.6 cu ft|
|Seats down||79.7 cu ft|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||70 litres|
|Steering Type||Rack & Pinion|
|Front Suspension||Double Wishbone & Coil|
|Rear suspension||4 link axle & Coil springs|
4rd Gen: (all data for US 4Runner models)
|Model|| || |
|Built at....|| || |
|Engine Code||1GR-FE|| 2UZ-FE|
|Engine Type||V6 DOHC 24V||V8 DOHC 32v|
|Engine Size (cc)||3955||4664|
|Max power (hp)||245||235|
|Max torque (lb-ft)||282||320|
|Drive Layout||RWD||Multi-Mode 4WD||RWD||Full-time 4WD|
|Fuel Cons (l/100km) ||Manual|
|Engine Oil Qty||6.4 quarts||6 quarts|
|Tyres||265-70R16 or 265-65R17|
|Exterior Height||Exc Roof Rack||69.1||68.9||69.1||68.9|
|Inc Roof Rack||71.6||71.6||71.6||71.6|
|Air Susp + Roof Rack||N/A||71.2|
|Weight (kg)||4025 ~ 4320 lbs||4155 ~ 4450 lbs|
|Payload||1055 ~ 1100 lbs|
|Towing Capacity||5000 lbs|
|Front brakes||Ventilated Disk|
|Rear brakes||Ventilated Disk|
|Interior Length |
|Interior Width |
|Cargo Volume||Seats up||40.6* / 42.2 cu ft|
|Seats down||72.4* / 75.1 cu ft|
*with optional Double Decker cargo system
|Fuel Tank Capacity||23gallons|
|Steering Type|| Variable gear rack-and-pinion|
|Rear suspension||4-link rigid type with coil springs|
Back to IndexAll Diesel Models: Fuel consumption varies with many factors including driving style, terrain etc. Some owner’s claim over 30mpg, whilst others report only 20mpg. A realistic figure to expect is around 24/26mpg for mixed styles of driving. Fuel consumption for the 2.4TD & 3.0TD is virtually identical. Manuals should be able to achieve around 1 to 2 mpg more than automatics. 1st Gen’s should also prove a little better if in good condition due to lower overall weight.
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All Models: In the absence of official figures for the Hilux Surf as an Import, we must rely here partly on the data available for the UK 4Runner and the experiences of others. Some have reported carrying up to 900kg without difficulty, however it is believed that the max weight permissible by the manufacturer is 610kg.
Whilst the 1st & 2nd Gen models utilise a version of the chassis’ fitted to the Hilux pick-ups which have a payloads of up to 1 ton, the 1st Gen models utilise leaf springs at the rear have one less leaf compared to the pick-up. The 2nd & 3rd Gens use coil springs in the rear. In all cases these rear suspension setups do not permit it to carry as much as the leaf sprung pick-up versions.
My own 3rd Gen has been weighed as 1880Kg and has a Design Gross Vehicle Weight of 2515Kg (according to my paperwork, I've no idea where this figure originated). This gives me a payload of 635Kg.
Remember also that the Surf has a larger and heavier body than its equivalent pick-up, this in itself reduces the payload in comparison, these are certainly not "1 ton" vehicles.
Recommended max payload is therefore 610Kg for the 2nd Gen and 635Kg for the 3rd Gen. Remember the payload includes the driver and any passenger’s etc.
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All 3.0 and above models: We do not have any official figures available for the Surf, but can be guided by those figures available for the 4Runners.
UK 4Runner 2nd Gen 3.0L V6 & 3.0TD (manual gearbox), max braked load is 2200Kgs. (Data from UK 4Runner brochure of June 1995).
US market 3rd Gen 3.4L V6 4Runners are rated for 5,000lbs (2268Kg).
All Models: Conventional wisdom dictates that an unbraked load should not exceed 750kg, whilst a braked load should not exceed 85% of the vehicles weight or 100% for drivers experienced in towing.
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1st Gen: Its in a compartment on the left side of the boot. The tool kit lives on the right-hand side.
2nd Gen: The Jack & extension handle are under your rear seat. Each half of the rear seat base is hinged at the front, to lift, pull on the release strap at the centre or the rear of each base half. The strap may have been pushed down the gap between the base and backrest, so be prepared to squeeze your fingers through and rummage. The jack is under a flap of carpet beneath the seat base. Your wheel brace and other items should be in the toolkit in the offside rear storage compartment in the cargo area.
3rd Gen: The Jack, extension handle and toolkit are under your rear seat. Each half of the rear seat base is hinged at the front, to lift, pull on the release strap at the centre or the rear of each base half. The strap may have been pushed down the gap between the base and backrest, so be prepared to squeeze your fingers through and rummage.
Back to Index All Models: Japan covers a very large geographical area, covering a range of climates. The northern areas of Japan can endure very low temperatures and all Surfs sold in these areas come fitted with a winter pack. This adds various options to the vehicle, some of which are already fitted to higher spec models or are available also as independent options.
Among the items fitted as part of the winter pack are twin batteries, heated fuel filter, winter spec wiper blades and rear passenger heater.
Back to Index All Models: There are a number of possible reasons for this. Firstly you may be more familiar with the driving characteristics of a front wheel drive (fwd) car. When a Surf is in 2wd (its normal operational mode) it is rear wheel drive, these will naturally have a greater tendency to 'loose' the back end compared to fwd cars, you may need to adjust your driving style accordingly.
The Surf is not the same as a family car, from a construction point of view (with a ladder chassis and separate body) it has more in common with a HGV than a car or even a Transit type van. You must learn to drive it accordingly. It is not built for speed or exceptional road holding, if you want than buy a sports car.
Damaged or worn components in the rear suspension can also cause this to happen, but the biggest culprit tends to be the tyres themselves.
If your Surf still has the original Japanese tyres fitted, these could well be the source of the problem. Tyres for the Japanese domestic market tyres generally use a harder compound than we would. This gives them great thread-life, but as many of us have found terrible grip. This harder compound and longer thread-life coupled with their lower average annual mileage results in tyres still being used years after we would have dumped them, i.e. they can be very, very, old tyres. The rubber compounds can also harden further with age, thus worsening the problem. These tyres will clearly be past their best and will often exhibit many small cracks, or a crazing pattern in the sidewalls and/or between the threads.
Despite possibly having plenty of thread left it is generally advisable to change the Japanese fitted tyres as soon as possible, especially if there is any evidence of cracking or crazing, as once these appear the tyres will not retain the desired handling characteristics, often with greater flex in the sidewalls leading to poorer grip and handling, additionally the chances of a punctures are greatly increased with the very real possibility of suffering a blow-out.
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All Models: If you're thinking of using veg oil in your Surf, this is not a decision to be taken lightly. So sorry, you won't get a quick or short answer on this page, you should take the time to read this section here.
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