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New owner - what to do first?

Posted: Thu Nov 28, 2019 8:42 am
by jbourne
So I managed to get my hands on a Space Gear, after trolling these forums for a while. Woohoo! Took some work to get exactly the car I wanted - I was trolling the auctions across Japan... after incessantly researching trim levels, I realised I wanted a Super Exceed (Long if possible, but no lower than that), mostly because of the Crystal Lite Roof... and there are MYRIADS of Chamonix on the auctions, with very few Exceeds/Super Exceeds. A few in "R" condition passed by... obviously skipped those. Thought I had a great one lined up... until I had it looked at, and the 4WD light was on on the dash - could've been as simple as a switch somewhere, or something more sinister, based on forums... so I skipped. That one went pretty cheap, but who knows. Then I missed another 2002 one with a inop driver's side mirror and a nonfunctioning audio system and about 90K kms, I missed another 2001 with a 3" lift and slightly high (>100K kms) mileage because of a miscommunication with the guy placing the bid.... and today, I finally got one!

It's a 1998 Super Exceed:
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I only have an auction picture from outside because it hasn't made its way to the yard yet where I can go look at it before it gets on a boat and off to Vancouver.

Looks like it has the usual Super Exceed package, though no parking sensors... and this is where things get really weird with the specs. First, there's no rearview camera on it ... because ... it has no aftermarket navi. I don't think I've _ever_ seen a Japanese car without a navi system, so it's completely mind-blowing to me that it has the ORIGINAL CASSETTE DECK. It also has seat covers on all the seats, so I feel like there's going to be virtually no use of the seats themselves. It also has .... 15,000 kms on the odometer. That's right, I didn't miss a zero there. And it's had a single owner all its life, so I'll be owner #2! To top it off, I thought OK, maybe someone did some fishy stuff and rolled back the odometer... but it seems to have dealer checkups every year for the last, well, 20 years, and the records are provided. I'm anxious to see how many kms were put on it between each checkup :D Looks like I'll have the lowest mileage Space Gear in Canada... maybe in the world, hahaha.

Anyway, the last check seems to have been three years ago, though, so it's probably due for a few things, and herein lies the question: what should I get done to it as a top priority? I'm ecstatic to hope that things like the timing belt and so on are WAY off in the distant future, and based on the cursory inspection, it shouldn't need brakes or tires yet, so what would folks normally do at this point? Engine oil? Transmission oil? What else needs doing? I guess it must have sat without moving for quite a while, so with all the joy of low usage that that brings, I suspect there are some negatives associated with that, as well.

So any help welcome!

New owner - what to do first?

Posted: Thu Nov 28, 2019 1:09 pm
by Growlerbearnz
I'd closely inspect all rubber parts, especially the timing belt and coolant hoses, looking for hardness and cracking. Once the van's being driven regularly, I'd keep inspecting the hoses, watching for swelling or leaks.

I'd replace the timing belt. Rubber hardens as it ages, and at 20 years old the timing belt is well past its use by date.

Definitely change all fluids and inspect the old fluids as they come out, especially the brake fluid (brake systems can rust if they don't get enough use).

Watch for oil leaks- again, oil seals are rubber, and they don't like sitting around without being used.

New owner - what to do first?

Posted: Thu Nov 28, 2019 3:18 pm
by jbourne
Thanks. Rats, the timing belt is a $800 or so job, isn't it? I was kinda hoping that it's something that does not age by age, but by usage...

New owner - what to do first?

Posted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 1:17 pm
by Growlerbearnz
I'm not sure how much it should cost, but it's the same V6 fitted to a bunch of Mitsubishis and Chryslers, so mechanics should be familiar with it. You might have to do some fast talking to get them to look past the wacky JDM body.

The 4M40 diesel has a timing chain which doesn't require replacement for ages, but most mechanics in the US won't touch it.