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Buying Syncro (and some general T3) advice please

Discussion in 'T3 & T4 Tech Help Clinic' started by Mattyb!, Dec 6, 2014.

  1. Mattyb!

    Mattyb! New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Leederville, WA
    Hi all, Long term forum member occasional poster after advice.

    I'm a T3 owner who is dabbling with selling and buying *shock* a hilux ute for a bit of 4x4 action. It breaks my heart to be honest.

    I just checked out a 1989 Syncro here in Perth outskirts, and it has a few problems I'd appreciate advice on.

    1) The big one is oil leak from rocker covers. It is dripping on to exhaust when it leaves engine and smokes... but my concern is that it is symptomatic of the corroded bolts common issue. Or could it just be a seal/Gasket.
    2) The4x4 drive to the front axle is currently disconnected. To save fuel. DO I really need to test drive it connected? I guess so it is just a long drive away!
    3) It only has the lock switch for the rear axle (i.e. that is how it was delivered from factory). is this a drama - research suggests the front locking option is preferred 4x4 option. I'm not going to be going anywhere too gnarly - I really just want to be able to reach a few fishing spots when on holidays - sick of having to rely on mates to cart me and kids to nice spots on holidays.
    4) Rust at the bottom of the windscreen. Not a significant structural issue but it will have to be done at some stage.
    5) speedo not working. I'm sure I can figure that one out.

    So yeah the main one is #1... I LOVE my T3, it's about figuring a reasonable price given the risk is all on my part.

    Lastly, and sorry for the long post, am I mad wanting a Syncro in WA. Rare as hens teeth... parts... finding a mechanic who knows the syncro etc etc.

    Thanks in advance for advice:)

    Matt (formerly Mattb123, Mattb! and variety as keep forgetting password!!)
     
  2. Mattyb!

    Mattyb! New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Leederville, WA
    Any WA based Syncro owners fancy a drive to bloody bulls brook for some beers?
     
  3. sprinter

    sprinter Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    Wollongong
    Matty it sounds like too much unknown/risk for me. And the bits you do know about sound like tips of icebergs.

    And no you don't need any locks, mine works fine without them and you'd be surprised how capable they are.
     
  4. Mattyb!

    Mattyb! New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Leederville, WA
    the camper fit out is nice though:) In fact it is identical (Dove Campers) to my current T3.

    The trouble is any Syncro is risk, or expensive, so I'm back in hilux territory and believe me I'm not really a hilux type lol:)

    Thanks for the reply sprinter.
     
  5. Syncro27

    Syncro27 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,373
    Location:
    Terrigal, NSW Central Coast
    I have only just bought a T3 caravelle with a VW donk in the last couple of months which seemed to leak from the head gaskets and with one side head removed the studs are in perfect condition.

    So your head gaskets are potentially the only problem with the donk. How many kms????

    The rear lokker is ample for a syncro - the front will only get you in more trouble and make your steering bad.

    I have repaired windscreen rust in mine and it was only a minor job - just factor in the cost of a new windscreen.

    The speedo drive comes off the front diff.

    I would definately get the centre drive shaft hooked up and test if it works by jacking up the back with a trolley jack and driving it forward before buying.
     
  6. wirrah

    wirrah Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,113
    Location:
    Lower Hunter, NSW
    To ease your conscience. The hilux was sold as a VW in Europe at one stage. The Volkswagen Taro...
     
  7. Mattyb!

    Mattyb! New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Leederville, WA
    that;s the other thing... one of the bits what connect the drive to the front left wheel is also disconnected. He does have all the new parts just no time to connect. It was off as the rubber cover thing had worn and crap got in a trashed a bearing. I should know these terms:) But it does mean it needs a bit of work to test the connection. He reckons his dad used to disconnect the centre drive shaft (look I'm learning) whenever not using it to save fuel.

    It was owned from new by his dad who is a doctor and did maintain it well... so it is either a disaster waiting to happen or a potential bargain:)
     
  8. Mattyb!

    Mattyb! New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Leederville, WA
    I'll just gaffa a VW symbol on and hope people wave back? (not that anyone waves at a T3).
     
  9. Mattyb!

    Mattyb! New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Leederville, WA
    148000 kms. Strange thing is it has a 6 figure speedo? My T3 clocks out at 99999 so it is always a guess what the 1st digit may be.
     
  10. Mattyb!

    Mattyb! New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Leederville, WA
    So if the front diff is removed... which I assume is the bit that drives the front wheels, then that would explain the speedo not working?
     
  11. wirrah

    wirrah Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,113
    Location:
    Lower Hunter, NSW
    I do :( all the time.
     
    Mattyb! likes this.
  12. Grantus

    Grantus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    16,866
    Location:
    Southern ACT
    As do I, not only to other T3 Kombis, but ANY Kombi......:)
     
    Mattyb! likes this.
  13. getsideways

    getsideways New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Perth W.A
    First thing is how reasonable is the price? Locking Syncros in Australia are becoming few and far between.
    Most mechanical issues (apart from a munched gearbox) can be sorted with relative ease
    Camper conversions are gold, especially if they are in good condition.
    Does it have a pop roof? If so is it in good condition? Its hard to replace/refurbish a pop roof as no companies in Aus supply elevating roofs anymore, leaving your options open only to importing a roof from the UK or US (an elevating roof from the UK will cost you around $4000 landed + you will need to fit it)
    Id try and hook the front drive up as it can highlight issues with the front diff and viscous coupling + any vacuum system issues.
    Rust is always going to be an issue in these cars, under the windscreen is a problem as to properly treat it from inside and out you will need to remove the dash, which is a PITA. However it's not that it can't be done.
    The speedo could be a simple case of a broken cable, dodgy dash wiring, broken printed circuit behind dash etc
    I guess at the end of the day does it feel like an honest car? Most of the time with older cars you can tell if its had a good life or not.
    Hope you have found a winner!
    Cheers
     
  14. Geoffro

    Geoffro Member

    Messages:
    95
    Location:
    North of Coffs
    Definitely have the shaft in before you buy. Take it for a run with the shaft and check for vibrations that will tell you if the universal is gone. These shafts can be a pain and much has been written on getting the shafts to be aligned properly. But it is not unsolvable and with low clicks like that and a previous caring owner it can be a great vehicle. Prices are starting to zoom upwards on the east side for these things, especially for caravelle syncros if you can find them.
     
  15. Syncro27

    Syncro27 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,373
    Location:
    Terrigal, NSW Central Coast
    The front diff should be there in place with the front CV joints attached to it - should be easy to spot.

    It may just be a broken cable or it could have just been disconnected from the speedo cluster.

    It cant just be left disconnected from the front diff as the oil in the diff will spurt out when its driven.

    The syncro club owner - Les did a test in his syncro over about a 1000kms testing the vehicle with the centre drive connected and without (using a de-coupler) to find it was actually slightly more economical with 4wd in place. However, it does seem more gentle on diff components and front tyres without the vehicle in 4wd - which is another reason the centre driveshaft is removed.

    As said abovge check it with everything connected - or you would be better off buying a 2wd.
     
  16. sprinter

    sprinter Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    Wollongong
    Yes agree the only reason the shaft is removed is for 'town' driving to save wear on the VC and other components as Scott said above. Not fuel economy.

    The fact that this has been offered as the reason for the shaft being removed is what would therefore concern me. But I am ever-sceptical too.
     
  17. gazman

    gazman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,842
    Location:
    Perth WA
    Lots of good advice above Mattyb so I dont really need to add to it, but in your first post you mentioned 'finding a Syncro friendly mechanic' so I thought I'd offer you mine - Gary at Motortrend (95286555) in Rockingham. He's been working on dubs for years, owns a few himself and is the only person I'll take my T3 to. Tell him Garth sent ya :cool:
     
  18. Mattyb!

    Mattyb! New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Leederville, WA
    Thanks Gazman. I tend to do my own servicing but would need a decent pro service/check 1st up. Rockingham is a ways from Leederville though. MY current T3 does have a longish list of things that are a bit beyond me... leaky fuel tank when full, and hole in muffler... (latter not really beyond but I never seem to get round to doing it). $12k buys a lot of hilux compared to 1989 syncro with uncertainties:)
     
  19. Mattyb!

    Mattyb! New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Leederville, WA
    duh yeah sorry my mistake. The diff is there.


    Exactly - and I already have one of those.
     
  20. Syncro27

    Syncro27 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,373
    Location:
    Terrigal, NSW Central Coast
    Well Matty - you can never have too many T3's - they are fantastic vehicles - especially the ones with power steering and a lot of syncros had power steer - all the ex-Telstra syncros had power steering so there is quite a few there.

    Just make sure its not a basket case first.
     

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