wanted 4X4 or camper van in chile

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#1 Wed, 03/16/2016 - 15:13

wanted 4X4 or camper van in chile

hey guys we are are currently in Valparaiso and we are looking for a 4WD for a new trip from terra del fuego to canada we've already a RUT and ready to go!!! cheers yoann & sohie


Thu, 03/17/2016 - 11:18



how much are you willing to spent and what requirements do you have? I have a Ford Explorer from 1999 which was rebuild as a camper. It is fully equipped with everything you need. I drove down from San Francisco and wanted to sell it in Panama. So either you can buy it there end of March or if you are really interested I could maybe find a shipping solution and drive it to Peru and we meet there. What do you think? 

Tue, 03/29/2016 - 13:40

My van is in santiago now

Hi dear, I have a toyota Hiace, but its not a 4x4. I drove from canada all the way to elchalten south of argentina. I never needed a 4x4 and did not feel limited where I could go. If you have any question or you are interested to check it out, let me know. I will be in the mountain for few days but could arrange to meet afterward if you want.

Here is an extensive and really long description of my van


Have you ever dreamed to travel all the Americas? But not feeling to only go where all the tourist goes? I have a proposition for you!

I live and started my trip in Canada, and bought the best van I could ever dream and modify it thinking I was going to keep it forever. But now that I almost reach the southern part of my final destination, I’m kind of feeling tired of driving and do not see myself driving back up north like I first intended. So if you want to avoid shipping your vehicle down here, and do not feel like driving down and up, I offer you the opportunity to buy the best van you will ever own, and start your trip down going up north.

When I start shopping to buy a van I was obsess the whole time to find a good Dodge/Mercedes Sprinter because of the huge living space it offer, but I end up buying this wonderful Toyota van that I did not know existed before. It was a lot more than what I first plan to pay, but after I read all the amazing review compare to the Sprinter one, I commit without ever regretting my choice.

So this is an exhaustive description of my van in and out. It’s a Toyota Hiace 1990 RHD (Imported originally from Japan), Transmission Semi-Automatic (so can be drive automatic or use gear box when going up and down hill to save on break and easier on the transmission.) Engine Diesel 2.8Liter (4 cylinder) which average over all my trip at 10.3L/100km (I drive mostly in the mountain). And does about 9.3L/100km if you are driving only at the beach level, or 11.3L/100km going mainly uphill in the mountain. – Which is really really good for the size of the van. But even better, while driving from El Chalten (south of argentina) toward north with 6 peoples in the van, full of climbing gear, camping gear and food for 6 peoples, we drive 2 days all together and I guess because we had the wind behind us, and I reach a new low mileage at 8.3L/100km. Which is awesome for the size of the van.

Over the fact that Diesel engine consume between 30-50% less fuel for the same age same size vehicle, the price of diesel vs Gasoline at the gas station is between 20-50% cheaper depending on the country. Oil change requirement only every 8000km instead of 5000km for gas engine, and longevity of the engine is double the amount from a gas engine motor. But since it’s a Toyota, and my van as the best engine from most review, it is apparently not rare to see that engine going at least to 700 000km and even saw post for sale from one that still have the original engine at 1260 000km. This is more than a miracle for every brand in the world, except for Toyota. Not to preach for any brand, but there’s no comparison to Toyota efficiency, reliability, and durability. All the poorest country of central and South America have a Toyota rate on their road above 90%; 9% of other Japanize brand, and less than 1% for others brand not Japanize. In richer country they have more American car, but probably because they are conditioned to capitalism more than for the quality of their vehicles.

Which bring the use lifespan of my van to less than 15% since I only have 101 000km on the odometer for now. (The guy I bought it from only drive 4000km in 7 years; he own four vehicles and only use that van for family vacation twice a year; and they always arrive from Japan with super low km on them.)
Here are few link reference if you would like to have a better idea of what this van is about from previous owner.

The model Hiace is a really rare model in Canada and America, but as soon as you reach south Mexico and downward, it is exactly the same van they use as the commuter between little town and city. (Mini bus style that fit 15 peoples) So most mechanics have work often with this model before.

But that’s only if you need one, because since July 2014 when I bought my van, except the full check up I did before I leave, and regular maintenance of changing, oil, filter, break, tire, and fluid, when necessary, I only break my suspension bolt (19$ part and labor in Guatemela); change a sparkplug fuse (1$ in Ecuador); break the battery connector (6$ part and labor in Peru), Change the engine tempo and clean something (Can remember the part) to get rid of the black smoke when I driving at high altitude (12$ in Ecuador) Now my exhaust is always fully clean no matter the elevation I drive.– It’s literally the most trouble free van I ever own. For this reason, many locals have offered me to buy my van to change it into a taxi-bus like the others. – But I was not ready to sell back then.

Since it’s my biggest investment ever on a vehicle, to the advice of my mechanic friend, I was regularly checking all fluid, tire pressure, cleaning air filter at least every month, and ask mechanic for advice when I had a doubt. I also added 2oz of cleaning engine additive to every full gas tank. So I took great care of it in the maintenance and the way I drive to stretch the longevity of everything in the van.

Even if it’s just a van, I really feel she have a soul. That’s why I named her Panza Ganesha. Panza mean big belly in Spanish, and Ganesha is a Hindu Goddess that represent the remover of obstacle. And the reason is because she is heavy (frame is not aluminum, and older vehicle were built to last forever instead of going fast), so she drive slow when going up hill because of her small engine, but she can go on forever. I drive from see level to 4300m in less than few hours and reach 3 times up to 4800m altitude in peru and never had any issue. I could easily sell it to someone that want to transform her into a transporter mini-bus, but I feel it would kill her spirit. That’s why I would be happier to find other travellers to keep her going toward new adventure instead of enslaving her to work forever.

She is much bigger than a minivan, but does not look big on the outside, so easy to drive tight and everywhere to hide. It’s a rear traction, so a lot more powerful than front traction, but it is not a 4x4. I read many forums that recommend buying a 4x4 to come down, but unless you want to do donut in the sand at the beach, I never felt limited to where I wanted to go. Every traveller I meet in my trip which had 4x4 told me the same. That they wish they had bought something with more inside space like my van instead of a 4x4 that almost never get use and was easily avoidable. It’s not that I have to limit myself more, but simply that I have to be more careful a bit and maybe park 10 meters away from where I could find a better spot with a 4 wheels drive sometime. I tested her on many really steep and rough road and I was highly surprise to where I could go without trouble. The only place I have to be more careful and should avoid to not pull my shovel and traction aid out, is when there’s more than 15cm (5-6inch) of soft sand going up hill, or deep wet mud; if not it goes no problem.

At the beginning of my trip I change all 4 tires with the best I could find. 8 ply tires which are guaranty for at least 50 000km and where I currently drive less than 20 000km with it for now. But I drive usually slow and mellow, so even more easy on my tires.

Since I thought that I would keep that van forever, I also invested in the best solar system kit available on the market. (I invest over 2800$ in total) The panel are 2x 100watt each (200W total) 3mm thick all black fix direct to the roof without hole on the van, and since the van is 7 foot tall no one can see that I have solar panel and even if people can see them no one can recognize they are solar panel because they are fully black. When I bought them they just arrived on the market, and had the best solar caption at around (22%). I also bought 2 of the best and biggest deep cycle Battery AGM I could find, and the most fancy charge controller that increase my solar panel caption efficiency up to 60%. Currently, more than 1 year after I bought the system, the battery charge only drop by 3% from its full capacity. And I was working on my computer around 50-60 every week. The inverter is only 450Watts, but easily enough for 2 computer, light, and recharging all your gadget at the same time. Also have 4 LED light (60 bulb) so super low consumption but plenty of powerful light. And there’s more light system as well. Also, there’s 2 normal speakers DELL to play music inside or watch movie with good sound. The powerbar have 6 inlet for everything you need to plug in and one extra 12 volt cigarette lighter style that does not need the inverter to be turn on...so perfect to charge all gadget quietly

There’s plenty of food storage, and the biggest cooler I could find, but I do not have a stove since I eat raw and mainly fruit and nuts. Instead, I build drying rack where I dry fruit, leather fruit and raw cookie on the roof of the van and also have tones of Mason jar. I have 2 big 20L water jug, 2 big glass jar of 3L, and 20L solar shower bag. I also have other basic kitchen stuff (like oven for firecamp, hot plate in cast iron,  and few more basic stuff).

For car stuff I have basic tool, wrench kit, car jack, (fire extinguisher, reflector, orange triangle which are mandatory in some country) mini shovel, traction aid, boosting cable, 10L jerry can, backup bottle for all the van fluid, and depend when I will sell my van, I still have extra filter for oil and diesel.

The set up is currently for me travelling solo, but I design everything so it could be comfortable for 2. So there’s 2 set up for 2 working table with computer, the bed is currently only one meter wide but if all seat are flat it’s the same dimension as a full queen size bed (60’x 80’) could even be few inch longer for tall people. Plenty of storage underneath, and even a super secret compartment to hide valuable stuff, Which is really useful in some place. (It’s easy access but so well hidden that 4 American custom agent did not find it even if they search my van for 2 hours.)

Window are all tinted (except the front); 95% on the side so no one can see anything, and 80% for the rear and back window. (It was 95% all over before, but redo few has it was too dark and I could not see anything when trying to back up at night time), also have nice and thick curtain on each window.

Unfortunately, on my last day in Peru, some professional Robber breaks in and stole my car radio, and busts the sliding door lock and back door lock. But I check it’s only the lock that’s broken; no problem to open (from inside and outside) or lock the door from the inside. I want it to fix the issue for cheap in Peru, but since I was literally quitting the country right away, I had no more Pesos, and among my many personal stuff they stole they took the remaining of my US money. After I realized how much more expensive Chile was, I still left the issue unfix. First because I’m running low on money, and second because I thought it would be less attractive to break in for future potential robber. So now I use the inside van speaker if I want to drive with music. Also, there’s minor crack on the fiber glass fender (simili bumper) on the front and back. I already fix it 2 times when my suspension was lower, but road are sometime bad in places where I go explore, and keep busting it. In Colombia I finally found someone that could jack my suspension, and add 4 extras inch, which bring the total high at 12inch now. (Front and back) But I have a low point at 9inch, because I add a spare tire rack under since I did not want to have it inside and have less storage room. But still high enough for everywhere I go. The body, engine, and under the vehicle is rust free, Micro dent here and there, but nothing easily perceptible unless you have Sherlock Home eye.

The visual aspect is also really misleading because they were a lot of money spend from previous owner on that van for the esthetic. The most outstanding feature is the super fancy fiberglass make up that wrap the whole van. There’s also fancy light all around, but only the one at the front are still working. ( I mean all the normal light are working fine, but there’s extra decoration light that did not all work when I bought it)

Inside, the decoration is really colorful as well, fire color for the upper part (Curtain and ceiling) and water color for the bed, cooler and cloth storage. It also have a strong accent on Ganesha (drawing on the front of the van, and ceiling) and spirituality. I literally lived in that van. Probably past more time inside then outside the van. I was for sure driving and sleeping, but also writing, stretching and meditating everyday. She has a really good energy to share.

Having just sold my condo, I had more money than usual to not care how much I was spending on her at first. But since I travel alone and did not work for a really long time to focus on my book, I’m starting to reach the yellow zone of my finance. And since everything is much more expensive in Chile and Argentina, I don’t know how long I will last before I’ll vanish all my resource. There’s still few options available to me, but I decided to open myself to potentially sell her to see if I could find the perfect buyer to take over her.

I invest well over 15 000$ US on my baby, which is probably close to the 10 others vehicles I own in my life. First because I thought that I would keep her forever, but also because I knew that the cost of my trip would not simply based on the purchase price of the van. So just like you, I had 2 choices.

Buy a cheaper vehicle, maybe have more trouble with it and/or a lot less living space, consume more fuel over the trip, and lower resale value, OR buy my beautiful Panza Ganesha, save tones of fuel because of low Diesel price and low consumption, reliable so less maintenance, and always maintain a good resale value.

So the choice is yours. But if you want to feel home, trouble free, and live life like an adventure, I feel that my van might be a good choice for you. I was looking to get 11 111$ out of it, but since I’m getting really tired of driving, I’m ready to accept 9111$ (or the best offer available). So if you’re interested, contact me to have a look at it, and we could start from there.
I am currently located in Santiago de Chile or around.

For any question, extra picture, send me an email with your request. (I have no phone sorry)
[email protected]


Tue, 03/29/2016 - 14:12

Santiago in a few weeks?

Hey Yoann and Sohie!

We are about to end our trip around Patagonia, and will be selling our Hyundai Galloper in mid April, preferably out of Santiago. I just posted it on this forum. Check it out and let me know if it sounds like it would work!



Sat, 04/02/2016 - 14:19

check out my van

Hey there! 

Me and my girfriend are currently in Mendosa, about to finish our trip in a few weeks in Santiago. We are looking for new owners for our van: mitsubishi L300, 2008. The car is efiicient with low milage, and in a very affordable price. 

check out the link: http://www.drivetheamericas.com/forums/van-sale-santiago-may-16

and if you want amy more details just email me at: [email protected]

All the best!