smavin

1981 Toyota Hiace camper - where to start?!

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone

I'm a newbie to the forum. My dad, who is very poorly, has given me his 1981 Toyota Hiace campervan, which I feel very grateful for but also a little daunted. It's not been driven for about 4 years, yet surprisingly for me passed its MOT and happily drove nearly 300 miles to Manchester last Saturday. Despite being in dire need of some bodywork TLC the van has only done 58,000 miles and had two owners. In an ideal world I'd love to restore it to its former glory, but I'm a novice when it comes to motors and I'm very aware that this could be a poison chalice. The thing I'm most concerned about is rust. She has quite a bit of surface rust, which I feel fairly confident I can tackle myself with a lot of patience, but there are a few spots that worry me - a couple of areas in the wheel arches and a dent in the slide door where someone bashed into it while it was parked and it's been left.

I guess what I'm hoping for here is a little reassurance. We don't have an endless pot of cash to invest in the van (it would need to be done over time if it was going to cost megabucks), and I'm very aware that we'd be doing it for the love rather than as an investment. Everyone I've spoken to so far has raised an eyebrow and told me to just get rid of it. It's difficult not to be sentimental when it was my dad's pride and joy and I want so much to restore it in his memory (when that time comes). 

I'm almost scared to ask the question on how much it would cost to fix the rust (my neighbour told me it could be £10k!) so any advice would be hugely appreciated. We're also in Manchester if anyone can recommend someone who would do a brilliant job on any welding that's needed without completely bankrupting us. 

Also any resources /DIY restoration blogs / tips on what else I might need to tackle would be hugely appreciated. I simply don't know where to start other than giving her a good scrub as she's so filthy!

Thanks so much


Sally

image1 copy.jpg

image1.JPG

image2.JPG

image3.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

To me the fact it passed it's MOT is encouraging, they wouldn't let you drive a car that's falling to bits. It's obviously seen better days, but at the same time there are plenty of other cars that look worse than that which are only 10 years old.

Surface rust, as far as I'm concerned, is fairly straight forward. Sand off the rust and paint until you're at the bare metal, apply your filler, sand that back, then paint it. It's a job you can more or less do yourself, even if you just sort the rust out yourself and pass it on to a paintshop to respray it.

Put your mind at rest take it to a garage and just get them to inspect the chassis, see if the frame underneath is rotten at all.

I will say though that the car is yours and isn't the responsibility of anyone else. When my Dad was in hospital I was going there twice a day for the week he was crticially ill, and I was driving my 107 which had caused me some grief up until that point. I had a feeling it had a problem, and while I was in the car I promised it if it didn't let me down while my Dad was sick I'd never get rid of it. My old man died in that week and the car didn't fail properly until another 2/3 months after that. At that point I had inherited my Dad's car and just used that and had parked up my 107.

My mom, sister, girlfriend all told me to get rid of my 107 because "there's no point in having 2 cars". I never told them about the "pact" I made with the car, in all honesty I've never told anyone. When they ask why I still have the car I just reply that I like it - which I do - and that it's my weekend Ferrari. I've the intention of keeping it indefinately, it's the first new car I owned myself and I'd like to keep it until I pop my clogs. It will all depend on how well I protect it from the girlfriend rather than rust! If she had her way she'd sell it in an hour. But she won't have her way :)

But you owning a car is down to you, not anyone else. Most people will see it as a rust bucket and worth all of £50. But you have a connection with this car under the circumstances. If the car is fine and it's just minor/moderate issues with it that can be fixed over time then why not keep it? It's under the classic car rules, and it's easy to find in a car park! But don't let your heart rule your head. If there's major problems and you can't afford it, then it's best to let it go.

But as I said, it's passed it's MOT so it's legal to drive. Did the MOT bring up any advisorys?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much Michael! You totally get where I'm coming from and I'm so glad you kept yours :) . The MOT simply said that one of the tyres is near the legal limit. Nothing more which is quite astonishing really! Very grateful for your advice. Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

100%. I kept his CR-V for a year but it was costing me too much money. Regret it now though!

I'll be honest the only bit I'd worry about rust wise (from just looking at those photos) is the one by the sliding door. That looks as if it's eaten through the steel?

I'd take it to a mechanic and get him to do the once over. The one thing you can't tell is what underneath, and that'll usually be the most expensive bits to fix (other than engine/gearbox).

Just don't let sentiment rule your decision making, as it's yours to make. If it's too expensive for you to fix you could always park it up but you're adding to problems then. But everyone looks at old cars like that, where they're rusted, and say "Oh my god you can't drive that get a new car", when mechanically it's fine. So keep it going :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have exactly the same van and am looking to sort the rust and fix a few issues.

At the moment I'm looking for a rear cross member? Anyone?

 

 

DSC_0018.JPG

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On 6/22/2016 at 9:29 AM, smavin said:

Hi everyone

I'm a newbie to the forum. My dad, who is very poorly, has given me his 1981 Toyota Hiace campervan, which I feel very grateful for but also a little daunted. It's not been driven for about 4 years, yet surprisingly for me passed its MOT and happily drove nearly 300 miles to Manchester last Saturday. Despite being in dire need of some bodywork TLC the van has only done 58,000 miles and had two owners. In an ideal world I'd love to restore it to its former glory, but I'm a novice when it comes to motors and I'm very aware that this could be a poison chalice. The thing I'm most concerned about is rust. She has quite a bit of surface rust, which I feel fairly confident I can tackle myself with a lot of patience, but there are a few spots that worry me - a couple of areas in the wheel arches and a dent in the slide door where someone bashed into it while it was parked and it's been left.

I guess what I'm hoping for here is a little reassurance. We don't have an endless pot of cash to invest in the van (it would need to be done over time if it was going to cost megabucks), and I'm very aware that we'd be doing it for the love rather than as an investment. Everyone I've spoken to so far has raised an eyebrow and told me to just get rid of it. It's difficult not to be sentimental when it was my dad's pride and joy and I want so much to restore it in his memory (when that time comes). 

I'm almost scared to ask the question on how much it would cost to fix the rust (my neighbour told me it could be £10k!) so any advice would be hugely appreciated. We're also in Manchester if anyone can recommend someone who would do a brilliant job on any welding that's needed without completely bankrupting us. 

Also any resources /DIY restoration blogs / tips on what else I might need to tackle would be hugely appreciated. I simply don't know where to start other than giving her a good scrub as she's so filthy!

Thanks so much


Sally

image1 copy.jpg

image1.JPG

image2.JPG

image3.JPG

Hi how are you getting on?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi there

Love the van we too have the same model van in the family.

Loads of trouble getting spare parts where do you buy from.

I am looking for a rear lens for divers side, any ideas where I could try, I'm near Birmingham.

Cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all

Thanks for checking in. Unfortunately we had to sell the Hiace. The rust was so extensive we had a quote of £10k to £15k to dip the body. There was no way we could justify that cost so it went to a new home with someone who renovates old cars themselves. So hopefully it will be getting a good spruce up. 

Very sad we couldn't keep it though

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...