Spare parts for an ex-Japan Toyota Hilux Surf?
September 18, 2012 5:46 AM   Subscribe

How (in the hell) do I find spare parts for my '02 Toyota Hilux Surf? Difficulty factor: car in Kenya, originally made for Japanese market, wife in US and could bring parts back.

I have a 2002 Hilux Surf which is the exact same body as a 4Runner in the states, except the drivers side is switched (and, theoretically, at least some of the engine components). I need a new 1) throttle body sensor, 2) fuel pump regulator, and 3) spark plug lead wires. I can probably find #3 here, but even Toyota Kenya doesn't have (and so far are saying they can't get) #s 1 and 2.

Googling for Toyota spare parts took me a lot of nowhere in the last hour, even googling the specific model name of the car got me spare parts dealers in New Zealand, UK, etc.. What I don't know is whether those spare parts, or even the ones in the US, would fit on my engine. My particular vehicle was originally sold in Japan, then I bought it used and imported it to Kenya - kind of standard practice here). I don't speak or read Japanese so trying to source the parts in Japan seems a bit out of the question.

Ideally, I would like Mrs. allkindsoftime to bring the parts back home with her from the US, if I could get them there and have them mailed to Seattle, where she will be. Mail here isn't a reliable option.

She contacted a local Toyota dealership and explained the issue to their maintenance department, they were able to confirm part numbers for a 4Runner of the same year in the US, but couldn't confirm whether or not they'd work for my vehicle (and its like $1500 in parts so buying it sight unseen isn't really an option).

I'd rather be able to order online / over the phone with some relative degree of certainty that I was getting the right thing, and save her the trouble. Problem is I have no idea how to do that.

I have the Model, Engine, and Chasis #s from inside the engine compartment, but as far as I can tell there is no VIN on vehicles made for the Japanese market. Any and all ideas appreciated.
posted by allkindsoftime to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Don't know Toyotas that well personally, but when I have an issue on my car I want to handle myself I start with the online forums. Can't vouch for these, but I might start here or here. Good luck!
posted by jalexei at 5:59 AM on September 18, 2012

OK. This car is exactly the same as the US market 4Runner when it comes to the engines. First, determine which engine this thing's got: is it the 2.7 L 3RZ-FE 4-cylinder or the 3.4 L 5VZ-FE V6? Count the plug wires. (I'm guessing it's not the diesel).

You can check to see if you're ordering the right part by sending your wife pictures of it to take to the local NAPA or other auto parts store to match. (I've had great experiences with NAPA's customer service.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:05 AM on September 18, 2012

If you are searching online for parts suppliers that will ship to you or your wife, you might have better luck finding companies using "JDM" (ie Japanese Domestic Market) as a search term.

But that said, I think your easiest (and cheapest) route is going to be asking around (probably starting with the parts guy at the Toyota place, but better yet someone who runs a big motor pool for an NGO) to find some of the guys who bring in car parts by the container from Japan. Toyota only used a few engines in those trucks -- one or two gas engines, and three or so diesels, maybe -- and used them across a bunch of models, so availability should be good.

Every country has those guys who run parts stores supplying Hiace, Hilux, etc parts, and if you are really lucky most of them will be on the same street so you can wander up and down until you find a guy who has a matching part or wrecked vehicle in the back to strip parts off of for you.
posted by Forktine at 6:12 AM on September 18, 2012

Response by poster: Sorry, trying to get a picture of the model/chassis/engine up but the internet here is almost useless. Its a petrol (not diesel), and its the 3.4 engine.

I have no idea how to get a picture of the fuel regulator without taking most of the engine apart, but I guess that idea works pretty well for the throttle body (duh).

Forktine - my mechanic (super reliable) has already done the survey of the parts stores, he isn't finding them either in the off-brand dealers or at the Toyota dealership, so far. Unfortunately Prados are way more prominent here so Hilux parts are hard to come by, so next bet for getting them in country is to have him liaise with a guy in Mombasa.
posted by allkindsoftime at 6:23 AM on September 18, 2012

Your mechanic would know this, so I'm sure he has tried and eliminated it as a possibility, but the Prado did use the same engine in some models.
posted by Forktine at 6:39 AM on September 18, 2012

Wikipedia lists the vehicles which used the 5vz-fe, are parts for any of those available there? Could you go to a Toyota dealer and have a a look at a throttle body from one of them & see if it's identical?
posted by duckstab at 7:08 AM on September 18, 2012

usually the only difference for in parts between the same models in us and japanese models are for the emissions control parts, of which the only one you are looking for is the throttle body sensor(I assume you mean the throttle position sensor). Toyota trucks are kinda standard all over the world, especially the engines. Trucks are how toyota builds its reputation and gains market share(really, Toyota first inroads in the US were the FJ40 land cruiser). My guess is even if the part is a little different it will still work just fine and the car will run just fine. In modern fuel injection cars (which yours is) the big difference to meet emissions standards will be in how the computer maps the fuel curve and controls timing and such and the o2 sensors and catalytic converters, all of which uses inputs from the throttle position sensor but doesn't need a special one. The other parts are going to be really, really standard across all models. You can probably just buy a generic set of plug wires and modify them for length and get good results, fuel pump regulator (i assume you mean fuel pressure regulator) should be pretty standard and as long as the regulated pressure is within the standard range for the injectors you are golden (you can buy non OEM pressure regulators that are modifiable-this is done all the time when someone modifies an engine for more power). I would just buy the US spec parts and even if they aren't identical to the japan domestic market parts you should be just fine. BTW i buy all my parts from either Amazon or Rockauto. You do need to know a little bit about what you want and parts brands, but if you buy either toyota or denso parts you will be fine (lots of other brands are good too but for the sake of brevity those two are good).
posted by bartonlong at 9:25 AM on September 18, 2012

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