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Guide to Buying 1st Gen

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Old 07-10-2014, 12:17 PM   #1
NOVA2012jk [OP] NOVA2012jk is offline
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Guide to Buying 1st Gen

Hello all,

First post in the forum, and hoping to have the need for more.

I've just sold my Jeep Wangler because it was worth more to the dealer than it was to me and getting debt free really made my decision easy. In the meantime, I'm just riding my motorcycles. From my experiences offroad and in life, Toyota Tacomas have gone just about anywhere my jeeps (I've had 3) have taken me and the people driving them are just as passionate and friendly as the Jeep community: I think i'm ready to make the switch.

I've searched through this forum a bit; but I know from Jeep / motorcycle forums that the people who read thread after thread (and twist bolt after bolt) are rarely surprised to see certain issues pop up. I wanted to create this thread to cover everything I need to know to look out for, and to consider, when buying a first gen Tacoma. Additionally, I know these things "run forever" but at what point is the mileage something to be worried about?

My requirements for the Tacoma: 4x4, I'd prefer manual (unless that's a problem, if so please let me know!), also I'd like an engine that can tow if I need it to and isn't going to have a problem keeping speed in the mountains. My budget for this will top out at $10,000, hence why I'm looking at 1st gens.

Thanks everyone, I'm looking forward to this experience and the responses!
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Old 07-10-2014, 01:55 PM   #2
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Welcome to TW. I also used to have a jeep (1997 TJ with ARB's, full armor, 33's, etc).

Do some searches on TW as there have been a number of threads about this already. The biggest ones that people will point out will be to look for frame rust. Not sure how much salt they use around you, but if they use a lot, this will be a big thing to watch out for.

Good luck with your search. With your $10k budget, does this include all future mods you plan on doing to the truck?
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Old 07-10-2014, 01:58 PM   #3
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Welcome to TW.......this seems to be the recent trend of post on the forum, while on the home page click on "1st Gen Tacomas" it will be on the left and you will see 2 other identical threads going on right now. GL with your purchase
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Old 07-10-2014, 03:20 PM   #4
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Thanks all for the welcome!

I did find some other threads, but they cover a lot of pages, and hundreds of links. I was planning on starting on a strong note and bulletizing everything in the initial post (consultant here...)

$10k is for initial purchase. I'm not sure what I'd want to mod, I'm sure it'll become apparent pending the truck I buy. Fortunately from years of Jeeps, I've got a good grasp on what mods I'll use and some high value added mods. One thing I see that I'll need is a clock.. I've never had a bed before, maybe I'll get a grandfather clock
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Old 07-10-2014, 03:59 PM   #5
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Welcome to tw. I have owned a tacoma since day one. It's a reg cab 4x4 with 4 cyl. 2.7 5 sp. Soon to cross 300,000 miles with no engine issues. Actually it's my original clutch and timing chain. For towing small trailers no prob. Towing often and more weight a 6 cyl. would be my preference. Don't get me wrong, my 4 cyl hauled a 2 ton trailer/boat about 150 miles each way. Didn't have much backbone pulling grades with that setup. Should see what's 4 sale here in 1st gens for sale forum. GL
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Old 07-10-2014, 04:06 PM   #6
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I guess, a specific question I have, is what do I need to know about models / gearing? For instance, in the jeeps each model (sport, sahara, rubicon) has different gear ratio. Is there a recommended thread that covers this? Maybe I'm just searching the wrong thing?!

As well as additional input for engine size.. I just want to make sure I limit my search to what i want.

And I've already started checking the forum for them. Thanks for the tip!
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Old 07-10-2014, 04:22 PM   #7
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Welcome to TW, a fun place to lurk and to find answers! There is a sticky (look just above the posts) on "1st Gen Tacoma buyers guide". I haven't read the post so I'm not sure of its content and whether it address's your questions, but it's a good starting point. Good luck in your quest.
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Old 07-10-2014, 04:25 PM   #8
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^^^^^^^^^^^^
LOL I was about to say the same thing!

But if you still dont want to look somewhere else:

Toyota Tacoma Gen 1 Buyers Guide

Vehicle Highlights:
Toyota's sixth-generation pickup finally got a proper name of its own--Tacoma. The all-new model has a driver-side airbag, and featured aggressive new styling, both inside and out. Propelling the new Tacoma were three engines: the 2.4 L four cylinder rated at 142 hp and 160 lb·ft of torque, the 2.7 L four cylinder rated at 150 hp and 177 lb·ft of torque, and the 3.4 L V6 rated at 190 hp and 220 lb·ft of torque. The 2.4 L gave a highly useful 29 miles per US gallon (hwy), the 2.7 L gave 26 miles per US gallon (hwy), and the 3.4 L delivered 22 miles per US gallon (hwy). The Tacoma also rode on a redesigned chassis and suspension and came with rack-and-pinion steering in place of the previous recirculating ball system. Also, 4-wheel ABS was now optional on all Tacoma models. The 4WD models were visually differentiated from 2WD models by a distinct grille treatment and an elevated chassis.

Four-wheel drive Tacomas had six-stud wheel lug patterns, which had been used on the prior pickups (pre-Tacoma trucks). The truck's frame is fully boxed until immediately after the front leaf spring mount bracket where it transitions into a c-frame section. The 3.4 V6's manual transmission was an R150F while the automatic transmission was an A340F (Aisin code is 30-40LE). From 95-97 Single cab Tacomas had the option of a manual transmission with the 3.4 V6 engine. From 98 on, the single cabs only got a 2.7 or a 2.4 4-cyl from factory. TRD packages started in 98 (if the V6 engine was selected, a differential locker in the rear came with it).

Two-wheel drive Tacomas had 5-stud wheel lug patterns. The 2.4 L and 3.4 L engines were available in this vehicle depending on options. Automatic and manual transmissions were available.

First gen Tacoma - 1995.5-2004
engine-
2RZ 2.4L 4cyl 2wd only
3RZ 2.7L 4cyl
5VZ 3.4L V6

trans-
4cyl 5speed 2wd = W59 2wd
4cyl 5speed 4wd = W59 4wd
4cyl 4speed auto 2wd/4wd = ???
V6 5speed - 2wd = R150 4wd = R150F
V6 4speed auto - 2wd = A340E 4wd = A340F

If you have a 4 cyl auto all auto trannys from 1995.5-2004 will fit as a replacement.
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Old 07-10-2014, 04:28 PM   #9
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BTW above courtesy of member ERG80
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:41 PM   #10
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You'd probably be looking at either a Regular Cab or a Extended Cab if you would prefer a manual as Double Cabs, which started in 01, only had autos available. As for engine, the V6 would probably be your best bet if you are going to tow anything other than a small trailer as they aren't really meant for towing heavier loads. Main thing to look for, esp in your area is frame rust. If it has that, just walk away. You're in Virignia correct? Don't remember the initals for states up north lol. If so, what city? I can see if theres anything you'd be interested in up there for ya.
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