18 May 2013
Purchased my van about 10 years ago. Quite simply the best vehicle I have owned. Only problem being faulty rear internal light bulb (90p) Halfords. 100% reliable now done 122,000 miles. Not the fastest or the biggest, but most certainly the best. Just buy!
I’m writing about a mates experiences with SurfAce, TownAce and HiAce day-vans (or picnic wagons as I call them) VERY BAD although the vehicles were all about ten years old. The automatic gearboxes gave a lot of trouble refusing to change up into top gear until they were hot (old fluid and clogged filters?) Head gaskets blew as the vehicles were apt to boil on steep hills. After one repair the mechanic (not me!) made the gaffe of fitting a new oil filter without noticing that the old rubber ring was still stuck to the block. It was a pitch black night, no moon, no stars and no street lamps where the Ace spewed out its oil. I was called out to tow the beastie back but I don’t think this helped the transmission which was pretty knackered anyway. (Not many transmissions have a second hydraulic pump on the output shaft these days but the old Borg-Warner 35s from the 1960s could be towed OK) On that night all our torches mobile phones and cigarette lighters chose to fail and as those Toyotas are hard enough to work on in daylight over a pit, fixing it in the dark, cold and filth wasn’t really possible. The van survived for a few more months but rolled-over on a bend when the driver over-corrected after nodding off. According to the AA man these Aces are top of his list for roll-over incidents as the track width is so narrow compared to the height. (Japan taxes vehicles on width). There are also no Haynes manuals for these vehicles. Hopefully newer models are better but my impressions of Japanese machinery are that spares are extremely costly and back-up is difficult to obtain.
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