Farmers’ 4x4s clock up 1.3m miles

Japanese 4x4s from the 1990s seem more reluctant to go to the grave than almost any other motor on the market.

Recently we’ve reported on shepherd David Wootton’s Toyota Hilux with 387,000 miles on the clock as well as a Hampshire agronomist Andy Gay’s 1996 Isuzu Trooper that was still going strong after 490,000 miles.  

Together with Anthony Simpson’s 1996 Land Cruiser Amazon 80-series – on 419,000 miles – they’ve managed to travel a total of almost 1.3m miles. That’s the equivalent of driving every inch of road in the UK more than five times.

See also: Essex farmer praises 10,000 hour veteran Ford 7810

Remarkably all are running on their original engine and gearbox and have an impressively short list of replacement parts.

Anthony Simpson

Anthony Simpson

No stranger to high-mileage vehicles, Mr Simpson bought his Land Cruiser for £3,300 in 2009 when it was already on 390,000 miles. “I got it to replace a similar truck that got crushed by a digger,” he says.

“The 80-series Land Cruisers just keep going, so wasn’t worried about the mileage in the slightest – I wouldn’t be so confident with a 100-series, though – they’ve got far too many electronics on them.”

Andy Gay with his Isuzu Trooper

Andy Gay with his Isuzu Trooper

Prior to Mr Simpson’s ownership, the Land Cruiser spent its days hauling a weighty diesel bowser for a construction firm in Kinross. Now it’s still working hard, chugging round the Derbyshire countryside with Mr Simpson’s 1.6t Takeuchi mini digger or Belle 761 skid-steer in tow.

Anthony Simpson

Anthony Simpson splits his time between working at the Johnson family’s 1,000-cow dairy near Buxton, Derbyshire and running his own small contracting business. He has a John Deere 7530 as well as a Takeuchi mini digger and a Belle skid-steer.

But despite its history of heavy towing, the truck only had its first replacement clutch at 350,000 miles and is still on its original engine, gearbox and turbo. It hasn’t even needed a head gasket.

That’s partly thanks to Mr Simpsons regular maintenance schedule. To keep the 4.2-litre straight-six diesel running sweet, he treats it to an oil change every 6,000 miles and carries out other maintenance as required.

In recent years that’s included a set of shocks, new CV joints, discs and pads all round and a couple of exhaust sections. It also had a new alternator at 270,000 miles. The air conditioning packed up ages ago, so he took the pump out to make more space for getting to the cambelt.

David Wootton and his Hilux

David Wootton and his Toyota Hilux

Other than that, it’s pretty standard, he says. “The only upgrade I’ve made is adding a K&N air filter, which makes it go a bit better.”

Reliability hasn’t been a problem and the only mechanical misdemeanour was when the front wheel dropped off. “For some reason the studs just snapped when I turned the corner – luckily it happened in the yard when I was hardly moving.”

Can you beat 490,000 miles?

If you’ve got a 4×4 that’s topped the current 490,000 record set by Andy Gay’s Isuzu Trooper, we’d like to hear from you. Email james.andrews@rbi.co.uk with a few details.

The bodywork and chassis is also still in good condition, with the only signs of rust just starting to appear on the tailgate. To help keep it that way, Mr Simpson gives it a thorough pressure washing underneath every summer followed by a liberal dose of sump oil.

Fuel economy isn’t too bad for a massive six-cylinder truck either, averaging 18mpg towing and 24mpg on a run. “It seems to go better and use less fuel than the old one, which was on 260,000 miles,” says Mr Simpson. “Maybe that one hadn’t loosened up enough.”

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