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Dream truck (manual, low mile 4x4) versus reality

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by akgirlincali, Aug 1, 2020.

  1. Aug 1, 2020 at 2:02 PM
    #1
    akgirlincali

    akgirlincali [OP] Member

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    Hi, all. I hope this topic has not been done to death.

    I'm in the market to finally buy a Taco. I'm leaning toward a 2nd gen because low miles are important (I tend to hang on to things for the long haul). My dream truck would be a V6 access cab 4x4 manual transmission, but reality is that manuals are very hard to find.

    I'm hoping folks will chime in on the handling of 2nd gen manuals versus automatics, especially on snow. Not planning to do any heavy off roading, but it does look like I'll be headed back north to Alaska in the near future. So snow and ice handling is VERY important.

    Also interested in hearing how manuals versus automatics have done for people towing. I'll generally not be towing much more than 1200 lbs, BUT might have a loaded U-Haul on my way north. Would prefer not to absolutely drag on the mountain passes.

    I've found a really nicely maintained, one-owner truck for a good price. But it's an automatic, and a 2009... and both are making me hesitate. Thanks for any input!
     
  2. Aug 1, 2020 at 3:32 PM
    #2
    rnish

    rnish Well-Known Member

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    General purchasing used Tacoma advice: check the frame for rust.

    Consider buying chains, new battery and a block heater while still in the lower 48. Also try posting in the Canada and Alaska forum(s).
     
  3. Aug 1, 2020 at 3:47 PM
    #3
    akgirlincali

    akgirlincali [OP] Member

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    @rnish Thanks for the general advice. Frame rust is another big reason I started looking at 2 gen trucks. Thanks for the reminder to make that a primary question!

    Your winter thoughts are solid! We always managed to get by without chains and just good tires in Alaska on other vehicles, but this also reminds me to put a new set of tires on my list (if the truck we wind up with is not well equipped).

    Was not even aware there is an Alaska forum, and will definitely post my question about handling there! Best, Megan
     
  4. Aug 1, 2020 at 3:51 PM
    #4
    jake72

    jake72 Well-Known Member

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    2nd gen automatic is the way to go, if you were looking at 3rd gen I would say manual
     
  5. Aug 1, 2020 at 3:54 PM
    #5
    akgirlincali

    akgirlincali [OP] Member

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    @jake72, is your suggestion because of snow handling or towing?

    I love driving manual and valued the engine braking options in slippery conditions, but I am realising just how hard it is to find used, low mile, good condition manuals in the older Tacomas. Every time I think I've come close, rust has been an issue. I'm really not that interested in the 3rd gen because of the size... they are starting to feel just too big in recent years!
     
  6. Aug 1, 2020 at 4:00 PM
    #6
    jake72

    jake72 Well-Known Member

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    The automatic in the 2nd gen is a very solid proven transmission. Does excellent for towing, driving in snow or anywhere else. Make sure you get a truck with tow package. You have guys on here with over 400,000 miles on the automatic, doubt you will see a manual go that long without replacing a clutch or 2.
     
  7. Aug 1, 2020 at 4:03 PM
    #7
    akgirlincali

    akgirlincali [OP] Member

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    @jake72 Thanks for these thoughts! The truck I am eyeing right now already has the tow package ready to go, and I am glad to hear if I go that route, the transmission could possibly hang in that long! I hope whatever truck I get will be with me for a good long while.
     
  8. Aug 1, 2020 at 4:05 PM
    #8
    jake72

    jake72 Well-Known Member

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    My 3rd gen isn’t any bigger then a 2nd gen. Had 2 3rd gens, first one was an automatic and I didn’t like the way it shifted all the time and felt gutless. Now have a manual 3rd gen and it feels night and day difference to the automatic.
     
  9. Aug 1, 2020 at 4:07 PM
    #9
    ABA180

    ABA180 It burns when I pee....

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    I have a 2010 2wd auto regular cab which I bought October 2012. In the MA winters it has handled flawlessly, even in the 2015 winter where we got 130-140 inches of the stuff. Prior to that I had a 2006 Chevy Colorado regular cab 4x4 and it sucked. I never even have had to add weight in the rear of my truck in the snow. Hope that helps.
     
    akgirlincali [OP] likes this.
  10. Aug 1, 2020 at 4:08 PM
    #10
    jake72

    jake72 Well-Known Member

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    2nd gens are a really solid reliable truck with very few issues, just make sure the frame is solid and rust free. If moving to Alaska make sure you use a good undercoating like fluid film.
     
    akgirlincali [OP] likes this.
  11. Aug 1, 2020 at 4:12 PM
    #11
    akgirlincali

    akgirlincali [OP] Member

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    @ABA180 Yes, that does help! I think to get a low mileage, older truck without frame rust, I have to be willing to let something else go. I've been looking solidly for 10 months without luck, so feeling like maybe I can't pass up the automatic I just found. Very much appreciate you chiming in.
     
  12. Aug 1, 2020 at 4:32 PM
    #12
    ABA180

    ABA180 It burns when I pee....

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    My wife had a manual Tacoma when I met her, pretty sure her prior 3 were also. She adapted to her automatic 2005 Rav4 just fine that we got in 2008 after the Tacoma buyback.

    I fell into mine with under 7K miles 3 years old
     
    akgirlincali [OP] likes this.
  13. Aug 2, 2020 at 1:16 PM
    #13
    Hans_Gruber

    Hans_Gruber Active Member

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    I have manual 2gen and have towed loads up to about 3k lbs with no issue. Reversing uphill is a little tricky because the engineer that decided on the reverse gear ratio was a complete imbecile, but you learn to deal with it. If your the type of person (like me) that likes throwing your own gears no automatic will make you happy and you'll end up regretting it.
    As far as snow handling, these trucks, auto or manual, are not great in snow IMO. You can get around just fine with good tires and turning off all the electronic nannies (traction/stability control). Would be better if you swap the stock open diff for a proper limited slip. But as for something that truly handles good on snow/ice, its hard to beat a good all wheel drive SUV like Range Rover, Land Cruiser, or even a 4runner.
     
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  14. Aug 2, 2020 at 1:47 PM
    #14
    Marshall R

    Marshall R Well-Known Member

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    In a nutshell a manual does nothing better than an automatic. If you tow a manual is a significant disadvantage. Automatics are easier to use in snow/ice too. If you want a toy and enjoy stirring a stick when driving buy a manual. If you want at tool to get the job done buy an automatic.
     
  15. Aug 2, 2020 at 2:53 PM
    #15
    Powered Parachute

    Powered Parachute Well-Known Member

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    Idk bout that.
     
  16. Aug 2, 2020 at 3:08 PM
    #16
    Powered Parachute

    Powered Parachute Well-Known Member

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    The main reason I bought a tacoma was because I wanted a manual.
     
  17. Aug 2, 2020 at 3:31 PM
    #17
    tamer

    tamer hamerworx.com

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    I’ve had 3 manual, V6, 4x4 2nd gens. Loved every one of them, and regretted selling the previous two. Now that I have the 3rd I’m never going to sell it. It took me about 3-4 months of serious looking to find this latest one, I passed up a lot of really nice automatics and I’m glad I did. If you are a manual person it’s just in your blood and it will make you smile every time you hop in.

    As far as towing goes, I don’t do a lot of it, but I’ve never had an issue. I’ve towed 5x8 and 6x12s loaded uhauls across the country multiple times with zero issues. Having the manual feels like a benefit in these situations, can easily keep it in the gear you want, not the gear the computer wants.

    My first MT loaded up and ready to drive from MI to CA:
    E804227E-FA23-4ED8-98A5-36192BDFFAC3.jpg

    Second MT (shouldn’t have ever sold):
    0DF8C8D6-C827-4816-A64B-79F30CA68BD4.jpg

    Third MT (Just bought this April, 2015 with 26k miles):
    072F7381-B38A-4071-8D73-B8143323BD37.jpg
     
  18. Aug 2, 2020 at 3:48 PM
    #18
    Tcomaboy

    Tcomaboy Well-Known Member

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    For Tacomas, automatics are actually much better for towing than manuals. They don’t hunt for gears like other vehicles do. They also handle snow and ice much better than manuals
     
  19. Aug 2, 2020 at 3:49 PM
    #19
    Powered Parachute

    Powered Parachute Well-Known Member

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    Totally agree!
     
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  20. Aug 2, 2020 at 4:16 PM
    #20
    vssman

    vssman Rocket Engineer

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    Over the past almost 40 years of driving, I’ve owned quite a few trucks. My experience has been a manual is superior in snow and ice especially when going downhill. My current truck is a manual and handles winter conditions just fine. It also doesn’t hunt for gears at all. ;)
     
    akgirlincali [OP] and Marc70 like this.

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