Update: This has rustled my jimmies enough that I’m actually seriously considering it. What could go wrong considering buying a 26 year old JDM suv on the other side of the country?
Some eBay surfing suggests parts availability for that 2.8l diesel is better than I might have guessed, so long as you don’t need anything right away. And, Cat used that engine in some small skid steers and excavators, so there are likely some amounts of parts for it painted yellow at a local cat dealer.
Small Japanese bubble era 4x4, diesel, lsd, manual and green. This thing is making me think all kinds of thoughts since I paid off the F-150 last week. This would check lots of 4x4 boxes that I want, I could sleep in it for camping a long ways from the nearest living person in seriously remote parts of New Mexico, would haul doggos and this is something I could drive the Pan American Highway in (no specific plans at the moment, but is a life goal). I probably couldn’t have it as only car, but it sure would pair nicely with something fun to drive to work.
I should probably go do something around the house this afternoon and stop thinking about how I could make the logistics work.