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New Hiace owner looking for advice.


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Hello all,

I am the happy new owner of a nicely maintained 2004 Hiace (last of the series 4) with 406,000 km.  

The van feels very good, engine is tidy, and being a private sale it had not been steam cleaned so it is an "honest" version of tidy.

I have four items needing attention, and I would appreciate your thoughts on each of them: (For the record, I am a reasonably competent home mechanic, having restored a number of vintage vehicles from scratch and having put a Nissan RB30 engine in a Toyota Coaster.  Not much mechanical work scares me, though maybe it should.)

The van has a noisy thrust bearing in the clutch.  That looks like a simple enough job, and I think the clutch itself is in good enough condition to just replace the bearings and leave the rest alone.  The van (mostly) won't be working hard, mainly I bought it to run a local home handyman business, part time.  Traffic is very light where I live and I expect no more than half an hour of driving every other day in light suburban traffic.

The steering feels vague.  I don't know what is normal for this model, but I am guessing it has worn tie rod ends.  I need to get it up on the ramps to have a proper look at these, but are there any other areas that could create a vague feeling in the steering after this sort of mileage that should be considered?  (Tyres are brand new supercats, so I assume they are not the problem.)

The diff is noisey.  It has a real hiss to it above 40 km/h.  I don't know what is normal for these diffs and how much warning you get of a failure.  I am tempted to put some Nulon in it and see what happens, but I would appreciate advice on the probable behavior of a diff showing those systems.  (To complicate things, the van has to do a trip to Melbourne in January, followed by a couple of weeks as a camper van travelling around Tasmania, so there will be a brief period of high speed work for the diff to cope with.)

These first three items were clear to me when I bought the van, but the fourth problem has appeared since I bought it, on about the second day of driving it.  When I turn the ignition on, the left hand indicator comes on, regardless of the position of the indicator stalk.  It flashes just slightly slower than normal speed, and while it is flashing you can actually operate the indicators on either side of the van in the normal way and the flashes of the normal operation are superimposed over the slow left flash.  The problem goes away after the ignition has been on for about a minute.

Advice on any of these issues greatly appreciated,



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