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Old 07-21-2013, 09:53 PM   #1
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Hi, My name is Randy. I am 18yrs old but act mature for my age and treat my truck with respect. I currently own a 2001 Toyota Tacoma 4Cylinder 2.7L SR5 access cab truck. It is in really good shape and only has 58,000 miles on it. I am the second owner. I have a number of questions as I am interested in getting to know more about trucks/vehicles and adding upgrades. I look forward to meeting various people on this forum.

So since I don't know where to post these yet I'm going to add them here and then once I figure out the organization of the forum I'll post in the respected area.


Question one: I noticed that my truck idles pretty rough. It mainly does it in drive but not only in drive. If I stop for a period of time its RPM's slow down to about 800 which is fine but then gradually it drops and stops between 800 and 500 and then drops again almost to 500 if not at 500. As the RPM's drop the entire truck defiantly shakes more and more. Is this normal? Anyone else experience this? I told the dealer at the 50,000 mile checkup and they claimed they tuned the idle and said 4 cylinders run that way but to me it doesn't seam right and nothing changed before and after they so called "messed with it".

Question two: I am looking to get a little more power and gas mileage out of my truck. I'm sure my first search will educate me on how to improve gas mileage but I was thinking about adding a K&N air filter since most people say there better and do increase performance and MPG a little bit. Is this a good idea? Just looking for some other opinions. I had also thought about adding a new K&N air intake system but its about $350 not counting install so I cant afford that right now.

Question Three: I am interested in seeing what my truck is capable of doing off-road. I am not looking to go extreme off-roading or heavy mudding but maybe a little mudding or off roading in an area where my truck would not get damaged. I do not have a TRD package on my Tacoma and I have noticed that there is a box that kinda hangs down from underneath my undercarriage. Could I even take my Tacoma off-road? Mudding a little?

Question Four: Now you guys are probably going to bust my balls about this one but I am a almost a complete newb when it comes to trucks/vehicle maintenance and upgrades. I have noticed that since my 2001 is 12 years old that some rust has started to form in some places. No holes or bad spots. Is there any type of chemical or spray anyone recommends using to prevent the rust from growing or getting worse or just ignore it unless it gets bad. Just looking for opinions. I do pay attending to details and little things like rust bother me, especially since I know how bad rust can get. (All the rust is on the undercarriage or frame, nothing on the actually body.)


Well I appreciate all the feedback if anyone replies and sorry it was long winded. I look to gain a lot of knowledge from this forum and look forward to trying some different things on my truck. Thanks again.
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Old 07-21-2013, 10:21 PM   #2
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Welcome!
Rough idle is normal for any 4 cyl that drops to 500rpm.
More mileage: yes, an air filter may help (especially if the current one is black. In this case, even a paper replacement will get you more mpg)
At 12 years old but only 58,000 miles, the truck has probably never strayed far from town and/or spent lots of time idling. Perform a thorough tune up on it. Run fuel injector/combustion chamber cleaner through it for several tanks of fuel. This stuff works, but it takes a while.
Take it for lots of reasonable drives at interstate speeds. This will help to clean it out. This will also (over time) change the driving habits recorded in the computer, helping it to idle at a normal rpm eventually.
Have the rust on the frame checked by a reputable shop to see if it's to the point that it needs replaced (this bodystyle is known for this, unfortunately)

As far as off roading... you can take anything off road if you go with someone with the right experience and gear! From the picture, it looks like you may have a 4x4. Go test it!
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Old 07-22-2013, 09:46 AM   #3
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Okay. Thanks for the info and I will look into some of that stuff. The previous owner said this was his third vehicle and only drove I now and then. Since I've owned it its my everyday vehicle and I have taken it for a couple drives with distance since I play airsoft. It went 2hours and 15 min around January with a good amount if weight in the bed and two other people. How should I go about taking it for longer drives? I don't really have anywhere to go and gas isn't the cheapest as I'm sure we all know.

The dealer inspected it and did a 50,00 mile check up this year on it and they didn't say anything about the rust and I've looked at it there's almost nothing but I've notice a small amout.(rusty areas-NO holes) Could this be treated with a certain chemical such as WD-40 just as a preference to prevent the rust from growing.

Off-roading: Yea I guess I could give it a try but I'm worried about that box that hangs under. What is it? How sturdy is it?
Also my truck is a 4X4 just forgot to mention it and add it to the vehicle listed specs.

Thanks for all your help. Greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-22-2013, 09:58 AM   #4
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Hey man, welcome to TW.
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:14 AM   #5
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This "box" that hangs underneath... can you post a picture?
It could be one of many things:
transfer case for 4wd
evaporative emissions canister
fuel tank
or something custom...
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:25 AM   #6
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As far as the long drive thing...
What will actually be better for it and help to clean it out is full throttle acceleration on the interstate. Running an engine to redline for a split second is really good for it. You won't hurt it- the computer won't let it rev too fast. Not the best for gas mileage, but good for overall engine health.
That way you don't need to have a destination.
Rust scabs on the frame could be treated with something like POR-15 or the like. Do a google search within the forum and you'll find lots of answers for products
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Old 07-22-2013, 05:07 PM   #7
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Okay, today I purchased Gumout Engine cleaner and Gumout Carburetor cleaner for my truck. I will put it in within the week once I fill up my gas. I am also waiting for my K&N air-filter to come in.
Now you said I should barely red-line my truck to help clean it out too. How should I go about doing this if it is a good idea? I'm skeptical about this because if something goes wrong I could ruin my transmission. Also I have taken pictures of the "Box thing" and I think it is related to the 4 wheel drive mechanism. I have also posted pictures of areas on my undercarriage and skid plates where I am post concerned about rust. What are your opinions?? Thanks for all the help.


"THE BOX THING"



THE BOX THING #2



Rust pictures Below:























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Old 07-22-2013, 07:18 PM   #8
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Wow. That truck is clean underneath! Shows its low milage well.
Yes, the box thingy is your transfer case. Ahead of it is the crossmember that the transmission sits on.
The rust on it looks purely superficial- nothing serious. I see the previous owner has freshly undercoated the framerails under the cab- that's the leathery texture stuff on the sides. If those other rust spots bother you, you can either undercoat, or (what I would do) just rattlecan them black with rustoleum or something.

The Gumout Carburator cleaner might not be something to use in an engine with fuel injection. Some carb cleaners have components in them that will leave a film on some of the sensors that computerized engines need to run properly. Read the back and be sure it says it's ok for use in late model engines. If not, exchange it for one that is.

Running the truck to redline won't hurt the transmission- they're designed to work together. Just do some full throttle standing starts and let the powertrain do what it does shift-wise.

As for wheeling it: just take it easy to start. Go as slow as possible, as fast as necessary. Go as far as it will in 2wd with the rear diff locked (if equipped) and when you get stuck, put it in 4wd and back out. This usually keeps someone from needing to walk home. Always have coveralls, rubber boots, and gloves with you, and take a long tow strap for the inevitable. If the truck has a hitch, make sure there's a reciever with a ball in it. Best place to hook a tow strap. There should be a hoop on the front under the bumper attached to the frame- keeping a clevis with you that will fit in there is also recommended.

If you're not experienced with the way 4x4s feel when they are doing their thing, don't be alarmed that it tugs on the steering wheel a little. Also, when making sharp turns on hard packed ground, you will feel the truck bind a little. This is normal for any 4x4 that doesn't have a center differential. (These trucks don't- you need to get into dedicated machines to have one that was factory installed)
Also, when in 4wd, only one front tire will spin. To get true 4wd traction, guys install "lockable differentials". An upgrade for later, should you decide the truck loves the wilderness more than pavement.

If you can, try to follow someone experienced through any major off road areas. Another vehicle is always good so someone can pull the other guy out.

Enjoy!
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Old 07-22-2013, 09:00 PM   #9
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First, welcome to TW!
The box you are talking about is your transfer case.
The rust doesn't look too bad. I'd say just sand it down a bit to get some of the clingy surface rust off, and rattle can it black- or you could undercoat it.
Oftentimes, running the truck wide-open for a healthy stretch will help it to clear out, as WHPLSH3 said. You could also always try running some STP in it. You might also try using premium gas- I'm a cheap-o, but even I run it sometimes when I can afford to, because the truck really does seem to run better on premium.
Anyways, happy trucking!
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:41 PM   #10
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Okay. Thanks for all the help. Really appreciate it. So you don't think I should run the carburetor cleaner through it? Here is the link of what I purchased: http://www.gumout.com/ourProducts/fu...arbCleaner.asp

I also purchased this for cleaning the other engine components:
Is this okay to use? http://www.gumout.com/ourProducts/ReganeFSC.asp

As for getting the car to red-line should I do it after I put the engine cleaner in if okay to use. How should I go about doing it? While the car is driving so for example on a long road stretch or put the car in neutral and pull the parking break to prevent role. Then just step on the gas and let it rev. How many times should I do this? How close to the red-line should I let it go just till it hits the start?

As far as driving in 4X4 wheel drive I have done it before. I took it in the snow last year on a trail getting to an airsoft field. Worked pretty good. I have also used it locally when it rains to keep the bearings lubricated as instructed to do so in the manual. They say every month=10 miles but that doesn't happen just since its bad to drive 4X4 in hot dry conditions right?
Now for taking it off-road are all the undercarriage components protected since I don't have the TRD package? Also if it gets stuck I do not have any tow hitch but the truck does have a hook in the front of it I'm guessing that's okay to use with a strap?

Also I was unaware only one wheel spins when in 4 Wheel drive? which wheel is it?
What is the locking differential your talking about? (Go as far as it will in 2wd with the rear diff locked (if equipped)
("Also, when in 4wd, only one front tire will spin. To get true 4wd traction, guys install "lockable differentials") I have never heard of it and haven't noticed anything in my truck that would sound like such. The only button on my shifter is the Over drive off button.

Now as far as the rust goes, should I just scrap off any major rust on those areas and then spray paint them black with rustoleum? I should use specific paint for automotive right? Just to double check "rattlecan" means spray can/spray paint right?

Again thanks for all the help. Really means alot. Glad I joined the forum instead of just doing.
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:51 AM   #11
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Yes, both those products you purchased will work fine.
Put one of them (it doesn't matter which one) in right before you stick the nozzle in to fill the truck with gas. Put the other one in it the next time you fill it. Putting both in on one fill up will be a waste.

For getting your engine to redline, NEVER put the truck in neutral and hold the pedal to the floor. This is how you "blow an engine." Engines need to be loaded to rev safely, such as being in gear. Getting buried in mud/snow and holding the pedal to the floor while spinning the wheels is also bad, because the engine is basically "unloaded" again.
Just take it out, drive normally, but once in a while floor it and let the truck wind up, like when you pass someone or something. There's no trick to it.

Yes, it's bad to engage 4wd on dry pavement due to driveline binding, like I mentioned before. To try to follow the recommended intervals in the owner's manual, just find a gravel road once in a while and put it in 4wd for a bit.

If the truck has no hitch, maybe installing a ball in the bumper would be wise. You want something easy to find to hook the tow strap to if it's buried in muddy water.

When I mentioned that only one wheel spins, I meant only one front wheel (when in 4wd). The rear(s) will always spin. I wasn't sure if that body style of truck was available with a rear locker, but yours for sure doesn't if it's just a basic 4x4. A "locker" locks the axles together inside the housing so both wheels on that axle get equal power. Most useful if you have the truck balanced on something to the point that a wheel is hanging in the air- instead of spinning that wheel, the truck will keep moving.
The best locker available for Tacomas is made in Australia by ARB. There are many threads that explain the ins and outs of them.

Not having the TRD package means no skid plates, yes, but there is still some protection designed in with the way stuff is positioned in the chassis. Lightly mudding won't damage anything due to lack of skid plates. They are required more for if you crawl over rocks, logs, etc.

Yes, a "rattlecan" is an aerosol. I think a wire brush would do the quickest job with the rust. You can use nearly anything such as Rustoleum, Tremclad, Duplicolor, etc. as long as it's formulated for rust. The instructions on the can will tell you everything you need to know.
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Old 07-23-2013, 06:39 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the help and informative info. These last couple days have taught me a lot about my truck already. I added the engine cleaner tonight, just one of the two as instructed. I have a K&N Air-filter coming in on Thursday and will be removing the skid plates with rust spots and taking care of them and then putting them back on. I will post before and after pics.

Now you stated that only one front wheel spins in 4 wheel drive(Back always spin). What wheel is it(Left or right?) and why does this happen? Isn't is supposed to be 4 wheel drive not 3?

Also you mentioned that since I don't have the TRD package I don't have skid plates? What are the plates that cover the front of my engine chassis(the ones with rust showing in the pics), the plate that covers the transfer case, and what about the metal housing that covers the gas tank. I have noticed all of these located on my truck and thought they were there for protection since it is a 4X4 truck.
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Old 07-23-2013, 09:20 PM   #13
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Only one front wheel will spin in 4wd unless both tires have exactly the same traction. Think skating rink- if you drove your truck out onto that ice in 4wd and nailed the gas, there's a good chance all 4 tires would spin evenly. As soon as you introduce dissimilar traction surfaces, the wheel with less grip will always spin first... it's physics. Everything is like that unless it has a "posi" or "locker" in the rear. Front differentials generally don't have anything like that because the truck would turn very difficultly if it did!

Skid plate wise, yes those metal protectors are skidplates of sorts... but they are there to keep wayward stones and other road debris from damaging anything. They protect some, but if you get high centered on something (truck sitting on something right under the middle, rocking back and forth like a teeter-totter) those sheetmetal plates will fold like a pepsi can. Proper skidplates are really thick steel or aluminum so they can support the weight of the vehicle better, if required.
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:02 PM   #14
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Cool

Ah, okay. Thanks for all the help and the lengthy descriptions. Really means a lot. I thank you for really helping me with all my questions and posting back daily as I re-posted. I look forward to learning more and having some fun with my healthy Tacoma. Thanks for everything buddy. Glad to have a reference I can trust. Always helps to check before doing.
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Old 07-24-2013, 12:02 PM   #15
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My pleasure!
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Old 07-24-2013, 09:32 PM   #16
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Well after working on the skid plates today I realized that one of the plates in not saveable. It has two complete rust holes/areas and pretty much needs to be replaced to be affective. How or where would I go to get a replacement skid plate? Now I also noticed some other areas on the undercarriage that look pretty bad with rust. Now I realize that since its a 12 year old truck its undercarriage will not be in best shape but with the amount of shit salt they put on the roads in the winter time I don't want my truck to be recalled or taken away for a rotted frame. (The dealer took my fathers out of the blue for a rotted frame-1999 Tacoma) I am trying to prevent any current rust from getting worse and keeping my 12 year old truck looking good. Now some areas I treated with WD-40 to protect the moving area and help eliminate some of the rust/protect if from getting worse. Now other areas where the is a little rust present but I haven't treated with WD-40 can I just spray with the rustoleum I'm using to do the skid plates? Just as a touch up to help prevent rust from getting worse. Is it okay to put on areas like leaf springs and stuff that might move a little? I'm sure once I drove the truck any stuck areas would unstick since its only paint yes? (with that being said I wouldn't put it in stupid areas like springs, shocks, and so on. Just metal parts or sections.

Pic of the skid plate that needs to be replaced: This is the second one or the one farthest back from the front of the truck.
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Old 07-25-2013, 08:45 PM   #17
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You have a few choices for replacement skid plates. A wrecker is choice#1, but be warned that they may not have anything better to offer, due to the corrosion issues these trucks have. You can get new ones from Toyota, but for the same money you could probably get proper off road ones from an aftermarket source. Check the 1st gen marketplace here on the forum, and the vendors to see what they offer.

WD40 isn't going to slow rust down, and Rustoleum will only cover the surface. Where you have rust that has made the metal swell up, you need to treat it with rust converter such as Rust-Mort. This is available at any bodyshop supply store for roughly $30 (est). It has straightforward instructions on the back and it's not too hazardous to health or environment

You can spray everything but the exhaust with rustoleum and it won't bother anything. But just dust it on- trying to get full coverage by hosing it with paint is where you can create problems. Try to avoid the front of the driveshaft where the slipyoke goes into the transmission as well- any paint will alter the diameter and may wreak havoc with the seal
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:54 PM   #18
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Okay. Thanks for the help again. Appreciate it.
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