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3rd gen t4r vs 1st gen taco? Buying options

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Old 08-25-2011, 09:30 AM   #1
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3rd gen t4r vs 1st gen taco? Buying options

I'm a member over at t4r.org and have been looking to buy a 4runner for a while, but have been considering buying a taco as well. I posted this over there, but would like to have input from here too.

Link to the t4r.org forum: http://www.toyota-4runner.org/showthread.php?p=851307

Ok, so I have been looking around for a 3rd gen for a few months, I have found some I would buy, but I'm getting layed off soon so I want to get a new job before I buy. Lately, I have been considering a 1st gen taco as well.

Now, I know a lot of you are going to be biased, but what are your thoughts when comparing a 99 or 00 highlander (that's the only runner I would buy) to a 96 - 00ish taco?

I have been doing research, but nothing beats forums and real people, so opinions are welcome.

My situation is this: I am 21 and do almost all on road driving, but want to get on the trail a lot more. No kids or anything like that, just a live in girlfriend. I like the idea of the interior room of the runner, but I like the bed of the taco as well. That's probably one of the hardest things for me to decide on. I don't really need the bed for the hauling value, as my parents live a half hour away and I have access to the f350 anytime I need it. It's just nice to have a bed though, ya know?

What do you all think? Also, I'd like to find a good taco forum, comparable to t4r.org, anyone know of one?

Oh yeah! What would you all say as far as basics to look for in a taco. I want the v6 over the I4 right? Seems 5 spds are a lot easier to find in tacos, yay. I have also heard a bit about the trd axels being a little weaker than the others, but I'm not going to build it super extreme, thinking 33s and some armor tops, should the Trd axel be able to handle that fine? What years should I be lookin for? I want a manual with a locker, and like the looks of the first body style, but I can deal with something else is something else is going to be better.

I know it's tons of info to ask for, but you are all geniuses, so....
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:34 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by EdubSam View Post
What do you all think? Also, I'd like to find a good taco forum, comparable to t4r.org, anyone know of one?

Your on it.
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:39 AM   #3
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I like the 4Runners a lot, I'm actually thinking about trading in my Taco for one. Either one you decide to buy will be nice, that is for sure. I've had the taco a little while now and what I would say is that the V6 is a lot smoother running and accelerates much better, some (not all) of the TRD models get a really bad squeak in the rear end, and do not go for a regular cab (they are just too tight).

I really love my Tacoma and Tacomas in general, but after having mine for about a year I think I would rather have the comfortable ride and nice options that the 4Runner gives.
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:39 AM   #4
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My brother has a 97 4runner (3rd gen) and I have a 1st gen Tacoma myself. The coil spring rear suspension of the 4runner will give it a better ride on the road. The 4runner also has a shorter wheel base so it can maneuver a little better on tight trails. It's much harder to find a 4runner with a 5 speed or a locker and even harder to find both. The bed is nice to have whether you intend to haul a lot or not, it's nice to have that storage outside of the vehicle outside than inside at times imo. I think you would be fine with a TRD axle and 33s, a non TRD axle with an ARB locker would be better imo. It should be much easier to find a Tacoma that is both manual and has a locker, that's what my truck is and I love it! Double cabs only came with an automatic so if you want a TRD with a 5 speed you will need to get an extracab. I would look for 01-04 tacomas because of the rust recall.
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:40 AM   #5
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Your on it.
x2
lol, yes and by the way this taco forum is a very good one. it's helped me figure out a lot of stuff about tacomas when I was new to them
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdubSam View Post
Oh yeah! What would you all say as far as basics to look for in a taco. I want the v6 over the I4 right? Seems 5 spds are a lot easier to find in tacos, yay. I have also heard a bit about the trd axels being a little weaker than the others, but I'm not going to build it super extreme, thinking 33s and some armor tops, should the Trd axel be able to handle that fine? What years should I be lookin for? I want a manual with a locker, and like the looks of the first body style, but I can deal with something else is something else is going to be better.
youd probably want an 01-04 v6 extended cab maybe a double? if you want a locker in it you have to get the TRD with the E-locker
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:52 AM   #7
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If you're going to do mostly on-road driving, I'd look for a 99-00 Limited (with rear locker). The 4WD system on the Limiteds allow you to run 4WD on dry pavement (shouldn't do this with an SR5 or Highlander). But it's only available in auto, so maybe that's a deal killer. But I'll say the auto is really good in the 4Runner.

As far as between the two, I'd say unless you absolutely need a bed (or will use it very frequently), the versitility of the 4Runner is better---carry 4 - 5 people and better ride characteristics (coil spring vs. leaf). You could also look at a 01-04 DC Taco's, but they're usually pretty pricey.
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Old 08-25-2011, 10:06 AM   #8
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I used to have an '86 Turbo 4Runner. LOVED it. I had it all set up with custom suspension, bumpers, made for a really good crawler/wheeler, especially for having IFS.

I found that the weight on the rear helped the rear tires hook up a little better than a pick up.

Pluses of 4Runners:
>Inside storage. If you've got kids and dogs, etc... 4Runners are better, IMO (unless you're the type that throws the dog in the bed, which I'm not).
>Better weight over rear tires for better traction

Minuses:
>Can't haul "stuff" like dirt, motorcycles, etc... Need a trailer for that.
>I think they generally cost a bit more than pickups

I think the best of both worlds would be a doublecab Taco with a camper shell. Throw the dogs in the back, have room for the kids in the back seats, and can take the shell off to haul "stuff". I've got an 04 DC TRD 4x4. LOVE it (just about as much as my 4Runner).

TRD axles are NOT weaker than conventional axles. Unless you're comparing 1 ton domestic axles...
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Old 08-25-2011, 10:44 AM   #9
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Thanks for the quick replies, everyone.

I'm surprised you are all so understanding of the 4runner option. Haha.

To address a couple things; I know this is the good taco forum, I copy and pasted what I had on the runner forums. Not gonna type all that again on my phone.

I know about the AWD on the limiteds. I'd only use 4wd on snow and ice on roads anyway, no reason to run Awd on roads that are just fine. Also, I'm fairly sure that I would be able to swap the multimode t case into a highlander down the road without much problem anyway. Bolt up and new ECM.
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Old 08-25-2011, 10:59 AM   #10
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jbrandt - Actually, Tacoma's hold their value better than 4Runners. A quick look on your local classifieds should verify this. Main reason is that small business owners demand for small trucks drive up the value.

Edub - Yeah, I've had both (AWD and 4WD-only), and there are some instances where AWD would be nice (i.e. partially snow covered roads where you're on slick and dry pavement), but not a huge deal. Swap would be pretty intensive, I think, especially swapping in a center diff, and into a manual? Good luck with that, though.
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Old 08-25-2011, 12:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbrandt View Post
I used to have an '86 Turbo 4Runner. LOVED it. I had it all set up with custom suspension, bumpers, made for a really good crawler/wheeler, especially for having IFS.

I found that the weight on the rear helped the rear tires hook up a little better than a pick up.

Pluses of 4Runners:
>Inside storage. If you've got kids and dogs, etc... 4Runners are better, IMO (unless you're the type that throws the dog in the bed, which I'm not).
>Better weight over rear tires for better traction

Minuses:
>Can't haul "stuff" like dirt, motorcycles, etc... Need a trailer for that.
>I think they generally cost a bit more than pickups

I think the best of both worlds would be a doublecab Taco with a camper shell. Throw the dogs in the back, have room for the kids in the back seats, and can take the shell off to haul "stuff". I've got an 04 DC TRD 4x4. LOVE it (just about as much as my 4Runner).

TRD axles are NOT weaker than conventional axles. Unless you're comparing 1 ton domestic axles...
The housing should be fine, it's the gears that tend to go out on the TRD axles when offroaded/abused.
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Old 08-25-2011, 12:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdubSam View Post
Thanks for the quick replies, everyone.

I'm surprised you are all so understanding of the 4runner option. Haha.

To address a couple things; I know this is the good taco forum, I copy and pasted what I had on the runner forums. Not gonna type all that again on my phone.

I know about the AWD on the limiteds. I'd only use 4wd on snow and ice on roads anyway, no reason to run Awd on roads that are just fine. Also, I'm fairly sure that I would be able to swap the multimode t case into a highlander down the road without much problem anyway. Bolt up and new ECM.
If you were considering a GMC, we'd tell you to GTFO, but a Toyota is a Toyota...

Quote:
Originally Posted by phsycle View Post
jbrandt - Actually, Tacoma's hold their value better than 4Runners. A quick look on your local classifieds should verify this. Main reason is that small business owners demand for small trucks drive up the value.
True, I was talking mostly about new. It's been a while since I was in the market, but IIRC the 4Runners seemed to be a little more than a pick-up. A bare bones 4Runner will cost more than a 4x4 single cab, non SR5, for instance.

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Originally Posted by kmok View Post
The housing should be fine, it's the gears that tend to go out on the TRD axles when offroaded/abused.
Of course, if you "abuse" anything, it's likely to break.

I think that has more to do with the fact that a TRD is more likely to be offroaded with in the first place, than a non TRD (since it's the off road package), so TRDs (might) have more breakages.

But I haven't heard about a lot of people breaking axles anyway. My old 4Runner had 100% stock drivetrain, and it faired WAY better than many Jeeps with $10K axles and suspension on trails like the Rubicon. I never broke an axle. Aside from the locker, I don't see any difference (looking at part numbers) between TRD and non TRD components. Auto tranies have different gear ratios, though.
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Old 08-25-2011, 12:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbrandt View Post
If you were considering a GMC, we'd tell you to GTFO, but a Toyota is a Toyota...



True, I was talking mostly about new. It's been a while since I was in the market, but IIRC the 4Runners seemed to be a little more than a pick-up. A bare bones 4Runner will cost more than a 4x4 single cab, non SR5, for instance.



Of course, if you "abuse" anything, it's likely to break.

I think that has more to do with the fact that a TRD is more likely to be offroaded with in the first place, than a non TRD (since it's the off road package), so TRDs (might) have more breakages.

But I haven't heard about a lot of people breaking axles anyway. My old 4Runner had 100% stock drivetrain, and it faired WAY better than many Jeeps with $10K axles and suspension on trails like the Rubicon. I never broke an axle.
Sounds like you need to do some more searching, go over to TTORA and read up on there...We're talking about 3rd gen 4runners and 1st gen tacomas specifically, comparing your old 4runner to the 3rd gen 4runners and 1st gen tacomas is irrelevant. The 1st gen 4runners are very different from the 3rd gen 4runners and tacomas. The front suspensions is a completely different setup for one thing.
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Old 08-25-2011, 12:52 PM   #14
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I used to drive a 99 4runner and loved it. Just like everyone else here, both have their ups and downs for on-road, off-road and whatnot...

But I'm posting to put in my .02 that even if this is a "Taco site" other enthusiasts are welcome as well. We even have 4 runner and fj sections of the site, and theres owners of non-toyotas that are welcomed and post on the site as well. So welcome! I think youll like it here.
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Old 08-25-2011, 03:40 PM   #15
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"If you were considering a GMC, we'd tell you to GTFO, but a Toyota is a Toyota... "

word lol
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Old 08-26-2011, 05:38 PM   #16
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Well I had an 01 4runner for 2 years and now have a dbl cab tacoma. I absolutely loved my 4runner and cant say anything bad about it. It was a great vehicle but I always liked having a truck. I think the dbl cab taco is a good medium between the two. I still have cab space but also have a bed. If you have no need for a bed get a 4runner. If you think you may have the slightest need for a bed get the taco. Both are extremely reliable but the 4runner is cheaper than the taco. I think after the frame recall on the taco and so many of them got smashed the value has went up some.
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Old 08-27-2011, 04:59 AM   #17
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Well I had an 01 4runner for 2 years and now have a dbl cab tacoma. I absolutely loved my 4runner and cant say anything bad about it. It was a great vehicle but I always liked having a truck. I think the dbl cab taco is a good medium between the two. I still have cab space but also have a bed. If you have no need for a bed get a 4runner. If you think you may have the slightest need for a bed get the taco. Both are extremely reliable but the 4runner is cheaper than the taco. I think after the frame recall on the taco and so many of them got smashed the value has went up some.
Talk about "mirrored" lives. My experience exactly.

My 01 4 Runner was simply the best engineered SUV I have owned. The 4wd and stability control worked great and the whole vehicle was just right; except for the color (which was its undoing).

My Dblcab is proving to be a great vehicle as well and on pace to be the most practical I have owned. That said after also owning a 00 Frontier Crew (No more Nissans for me please).

I've always had an appreciation for Toyota, I just wish I had bought them earlier in my life. Best advice I have learned about trucks and SUVs; buy a Toyota and keep until it is absolutely not worth repairing.
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Old 08-27-2011, 05:11 AM   #18
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Trucks are way more useful, but suvs haul more people and kids. Figure out what you are into and buy what suits you. My family camps, rides bikes and quads, hikes and stuff so the truck is more useful for those activities.
I am married with a kid, i am a diy kinda guy so I have to have a truck and wife has to have a larger safe suv. I only buy Toyotas because i never have had a problem other than a dead battery.

BTW: I am not bashing tr4 (I am a member as well) but you are going to get a lot more support over here.
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Old 09-17-2011, 07:01 PM   #19
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Have you decided what your gonna go with yet?
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Old 09-17-2011, 07:20 PM   #20
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Like others said, they both have their advantages/disadvantages. Can't comment on the 1st gen taco cause I had a 2010 taco. Ended up selling the taco to get back into a 3rd gen 4runner as I found the new trucks weren't built as well. Suspension feels smoother and they're great in the woods. If you can't find one with a locker just go aftermarket. I got an ARB in mine, with my Toytec ULK and a set of 33's it performs well and looks mean. And great for camping ( i put the seats down and sleep in the back). 1st gen Taco or 3rd gen 4runner you can't go wrong, they're both great time tested yota's
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