What To Look For on an L300

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Crankshaft Culture
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What To Look For on an L300

Postby Crankshaft Culture » Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:44 pm

I'm going to look at a 1989 L300 Delica tomorrow. It's a low-roof with a manual, 4WD, and the 4D56. I've briefly looked it over once, and it appears to be clean and very low rust. That being said, what are some things I should specifically look for on this vehicle? Anything in particular?

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What To Look For on an L300

Postby Growlerbearnz » Tue Jun 27, 2017 3:44 pm

They're fairly solid and reliable, so mainly look for evidence of maintenance and care. Most of the common issues are minor and easily fixed. Off the top of my head though:

Drivetrain:
-Timing belts should be changed every 90,000km, look for writing or stickers on the timing belt cover.
-Oil leaks are inevitable. As long as it's not gushing out they're easy, but time consuming, to fix.
-The cooling system requires antifreeze. Coolant should be clean and brightly coloured. If it's grey, rusty, or sludgy then avoid.
-Automatic transmissions are reliable, but check the fluid. It should be clean and red, not cloudy and brown.
-Glow plugs should click on, then off after 5-20 seconds (depending on how cold it is). Put your foot on the gas a bit, and the engine should start easily after you hear the plugs click off again. The plugs may then click off and on for a minute or two to help the engine warm up.

Rust:
-Check the roof, especially around the sunroof (if fitted).
-Front floor pans, check for damp carpet and rust below. (Leaks into the front footwells are common but easy to fix, as long as the floor pans haven't rusted out.)
Nothing says "poor workmanship" more than wrinkles in the duct tape.

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What To Look For on an L300

Postby Crankshaft Culture » Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:30 am

Thanks for the tips. I'll definitely check those things out. This is a low roof w/o sunroof, so I won't have to worry about that. I will check the coolant and glow plugs.

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Crankshaft Culture
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What To Look For on an L300

Postby Crankshaft Culture » Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:07 pm

So I went and looked at it. It drove very well (much better than our family's L300 in New Zealand. Timing belt looks to have been done at 94,000 km. (decal showed that number on it, which was located on the fan shroud). Interior was very clean for the most part. The rubber weather stripping around the rear windows was pulling up in the corners. Not sure how hard that would be to fix.

The question then becomes rust. It did have some rust spots, mainly around the wheel wells. Also, it does appear the undercarriage had received a coat of black paint, likely to cover up rust. However, everything seemed to work, even the A/C. Interior also didn't smell bad. They had a '91 Crystal Roof that smelled like an ashtray and vanillaroma air freshener.

They're asking $9,950 for it.

Here are some pics I took: http://bit.ly/2ujz1CY

Thoughts? Too rusty?

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What To Look For on an L300

Postby Growlerbearnz » Thu Jun 29, 2017 3:53 am

The rust in the wheel arches is making me suspicious of the fresh paint on the chassis. L300 wheel arches do rust like that, but they're usually one of the last things to go. I would check the chassis around the front suspension and bumper very carefully.

Otherwise it looks tidy. The sliding window seals all do that eventually, Mitsubishi will sell new seals.

Are there others around you can look at? The price seems high to me for a base model, but I don't know the market in Canada that well.
Nothing says "poor workmanship" more than wrinkles in the duct tape.

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What To Look For on an L300

Postby Crankshaft Culture » Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:26 am

Growlerbearnz wrote:The rust in the wheel arches is making me suspicious of the fresh paint on the chassis. L300 wheel arches do rust like that, but they're usually one of the last things to go. I would check the chassis around the front suspension and bumper very carefully.

Otherwise it looks tidy. The sliding window seals all do that eventually, Mitsubishi will sell new seals.

Are there others around you can look at? The price seems high to me for a base model, but I don't know the market in Canada that well.


That rust is making me and other people I've asked suspicious, too. The underside definitely has been sprayed with black paint. If I go back for this one, I'll definitely poke the chassis a bit more. Good to know about the window seals, too.

We're specifically looking for L300s with manual transmissions, and there aren't any in my local area at the moment. There are some a few hours north in Seattle.

By the way, I see you're in NZ. That's where I drove a Delica fort the first time in September (North Island).

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What To Look For on an L300

Postby Growlerbearnz » Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:36 pm

They sold L300s here until 2015 so they're the most common van you see on the road- as you probably noticed ;-)

Manuals are a bit rare. There's a design fault which starts with 5th gear, the mainshaft nut comes loose and the gears move around, eventually failing in a spectacular manner. It's allegedly an easy fix if you catch it early enough (remove the transfer case, tighten mainshaft nut), but I don't know what the symptoms would be. Difficulty selecting 5th? Rattling noise in 5th?
Nothing says "poor workmanship" more than wrinkles in the duct tape.

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What To Look For on an L300

Postby Crankshaft Culture » Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:35 am

Growlerbearnz wrote:They sold L300s here until 2015 so they're the most common van you see on the road- as you probably noticed ;-)

Manuals are a bit rare. There's a design fault which starts with 5th gear, the mainshaft nut comes loose and the gears move around, eventually failing in a spectacular manner. It's allegedly an easy fix if you catch it early enough (remove the transfer case, tighten mainshaft nut), but I don't know what the symptoms would be. Difficulty selecting 5th? Rattling noise in 5th?


Wow, all the way until 2015? That's amazing. I swear the official NZ vehicle was the Toyota Hiace, however (that of the campervan!).

Thanks for the heads-up on the 5th-gear noise. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for that.


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