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I think I want a used Tacoma - help me understand which one

Discussion in 'New Members' started by ezatnova, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. Nov 15, 2010 at 7:04 AM
    #1
    ezatnova

    ezatnova [OP] Artax

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    I will soon be entering the market for a "beater truck". From everything I'm hearing and reading, it sounds like a Tacoma is one of the most reliable and friendly choices. I'm hoping I can describe what my needs and expectations are, and you experts can help describe what year/model/options I should be looking for.

    The need is being sparked mainly by my wife and I building a new house. I forsee doing a lot of work to the new place to make it just how we want...landscaping, hardscaping, wood work/trim inside, etc. Basically, carrying around everything from rental tools to flagstone to drywall. Also, the house will have an approx 500 foot long driveway that slopes slightly up to the house. As we do get numerous snows here in the Philly area, I would not mind having a 4WD vehicle that is decent in bad weather, to get me safely around to work and up/down my driveway when it is not able to be cleared in time. My current daily driver is a bmw 335 coupe, and although it gets me around alright with the winter tires I put on during the season, I would love something more rubust to tackle bad weather...plus I obviously can't haul anything around in the bmw!

    Looking at the history and model availability of the Tacoma, I am thoroughly overwhelmed with the generations/engine/transmission/cab/options (LSD/Locking Diff), etc. Here is what I have in mind for usage, so maybe you guys can help me out.

    - I'd love to spend $10,000 or less, if possible

    - The truck would really only be used in bad weather or to haul large stuff around. Possibly some day get a trailer to cart other things (I've never had a truck before, so I don't fully understand the difference in capability of say, putting heavy stuff in the truck bed, vs pulling it in a trailer).

    - It's just my wife and I right now, so no extreme need for back seats.
    The extended cab thing might be nice (rear seats back there, I take it?) but the double cab seems bad for my usage, as it looks to kill the bed length.

    - I originally was thinking of getting a plow to do my driveway, on whatever truck I went with, but, the idea of driving to and from work in bad weather with a big old plow on there doesn't thrill me, so I may relegate plowing duties to a local plow guy, or look into a plow for a lawn tractor. So, plowing is probably not a factor, unless I hear otherwise.

    - I doubt I'll be doing any off-road rock crawling! Snow/bad weather traction, with possible infrequent light off road is the reality for my 4WD usage.

    - Does the TRD package help with load ratings, since I imagine it has stiffer suspension?

    - Can I only get the LSD and/or locking rear WITH the TRD package?

    - For my 4WD usage described above (not getting stuck in snow, etc), does that sound like it calls for the LSD or the locking rear? I don't understand the differece between these and what would suit me better (if either).

    - I love driving manual transmissions, and my cars always are, but the wife does not. So, likely unless whatever model I should get only comes in a stick, or the transmission is just WAY better built as a manual, then an auto is the way we'd go.

    - Overall, I'm picturing just a beefy truck that meets my needs and I can beat on and depend on it to get me around and haul some stuff, but I don't need any frills options on it (really wouldn't care about power windows/locks/leather/stereo/etc.

    Hopefully these points are helpful in getting some recommendations and help. Let me know if there are any other important clarification points, and I'll add the info.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Nov 15, 2010 at 7:11 AM
    #2
    Pugga

    Pugga Pasti-Dip Free 1983 - 2015... It was a good run

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    Just a couple comments, if you're looking $10,000 or less and want 4x4, you're probably looking 1st Gen since these trucks seem to hold their value very well. Watch out for frame rust. Plows these days have quick disconnects so you don't have to drive around with the whole frame all the time. The hydraulics disconnect with a quick coupler and the frame comes off with 2 pins and you're left with the subframe only that you hardly notice is there. This obviously depends on the plow type you buy but the options are there... Good luck with your search, keep your eyes open and hopefully you'll come across the deal your looking for. I don't think your price range is unreasonable and you should be able to pick up a decent truck!
     
  3. Nov 15, 2010 at 7:22 AM
    #3
    JBear

    JBear Spiral Out... Keep Going!

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    Going by what you are wanting to spend, you'll be looking into a 1st Generation Tacoma ('95-'04), most likely in the 100-150k miles range (dont worry about that if the truck has been well maintained). I could be wrong, but I think the LSD is a 2nd Generation thing on the Sport models. 1st Gen TRD packages include the locking differential, which is far superior to limited slip. If you're going to be encountering much snow or ice, I'd recommend going with a 4x4 to avoid having to put chains on constantly. I don't believe TRD has anything to do with load capacity, it mainly has to do with the differential and shock absorbers. And yes, the access cab (xtra cab) does have some small fold down seats in the back, but they aren't all that comfortable for anyone over 5'1", lol! Great for a dog and/or your "stuff". Its a bit harder to come by a 4 door anyway. Regular and Access cabs are all over the place. Just look for original owners with maintenance records, or as close as you can get to that. Aside from that, just check the truck over real good for leaks and rust, and give it a thorough test drive in as many conditions as you can. Roll down your windows and LISTEN... tacomas are pretty good about crying before throwing a total fit!
     
  4. Nov 15, 2010 at 7:25 AM
    #4
    ezatnova

    ezatnova [OP] Artax

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    Thanks.

    On the plow thing, with the quick disconnect, would you have to build a kind of "cradle" to drop the plow into and then disconnect it, so you can just drive up and reattach it?

    On the frame rust, what is or isn't covered by the Toyota recall, on older models that may have rust?


     
  5. Nov 15, 2010 at 7:29 AM
    #5
    ezatnova

    ezatnova [OP] Artax

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    Great info.

    Regarding the locking diff on the first Gen TRD trucks, is that a feature that will likely help me in the snow and slop? Or is that really just for more serious off roading?

    Do these trucks have a 4WD Low? Is that related to the locking rear diff or the TRD package at all?

    Thanks again

     
  6. Nov 15, 2010 at 7:33 AM
    #6
    Pugga

    Pugga Pasti-Dip Free 1983 - 2015... It was a good run

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    My old man built a cradle by modifying a furniture dolly to make alignment and storage easier. He just drives up, rolls the dolly under the plow and frame, disconnects it and rolls it away. You don't need something like this but it makes connecting/disconnecting by yourself a hell of a lot easier! I think he has a 10' steel Fisher plow for a 2500 Chevy so it's very heavy and impossible to move on your own unless its on wheels. A plow for the Tacoma should be either aluminum or the plastic composite and not as wide or tall. If you're mindful of how much you attempt to push, the Tacoma will work fine for plowing a driveway.

    I'll let someone else speak about the frame rust since I haven't had to deal with it. The dealer replaces the whole frame so you're out of a truck while they do the work. I'm not sure how bad it has to be before the dealer will replace the frame.

    These trucks have 4lo and it is not related to the TRD package or the rear diff at all. It's just a lower gear for more control off-roading or slow speed maneuvering. (My SR5 has 4lo and no locking diff or LSD).

    The locking rear can sometimes be helpful in the snow but overall I'd say no. You want that one wheel tracking so you don't just spin off the road. The locker helps when you've got your driver side tire on dry firm ground and your passenger tire is just sitting there spinning away. But, with 4x4 you should be fine in the snow.
     
  7. Nov 15, 2010 at 7:35 AM
    #7
    Zombie Runner

    Zombie Runner Are these black helicopters for me?

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    from what youve described i dont think a tacoma would best suit your needs. building a house and hauling rocks and such I think a full size bed would be better for that. If you wanna stick with toyota maybe look for an older tundra or for the price range you want you could probably get and old chevy :anonymous: that would work just fine. taco's are not known for their hauling capacity, they are known for being tough and lasting forever...
     
  8. Nov 15, 2010 at 7:38 AM
    #8
    05 TRD Sport

    05 TRD Sport She's Fat, I'm Drunk, It's On.

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    You're going to need a trailer if you're going to haul much building materials. Toyota truck's have never been 4'x8' sheetgood friendly.

    Get the 4x4. If I lived up north, no way I wouldn't have 4x4.
    No but factory tow package does
     
  9. Nov 15, 2010 at 7:38 AM
    #9
    JBear

    JBear Spiral Out... Keep Going!

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    Yes, the diff lock operates at about 5mph and below and allows power to both rear tires at once. So anytime you are spinning a rear, it will help... snow, dirt, whatever.Yes, they have 4 Low. How it works depends on the year you get. The later the year, the more "push button" things are. I have an '03, my diff lock is push button and so is my 4 High. For 4 Low, there is a smaller stick below my 5 speed stick. Very quick and easy to use, and supposedly you can do all of this on the roll, but I just don't.TRD is it's own thing. You can get 4WD's without... but why? =)
     
  10. Nov 15, 2010 at 7:40 AM
    #10
    JBear

    JBear Spiral Out... Keep Going!

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    No factory tow on 1st Gen's =\
     
  11. Nov 15, 2010 at 7:55 AM
    #11
    90YotaPU

    90YotaPU The Messiah

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    LOL. I had a '99. It rarely saw offroading but I was always out in the snow with it. I just realized I never used the differential lock on it. So in 11 years and 120k miles I never found out if it even worked. 4x4 high worked for just about everything I through at it. Only once did I even put it in 4x4 low and that was when I had snow up to the doors. It walked right through that.
     
  12. Nov 15, 2010 at 8:00 AM
    #12
    ezatnova

    ezatnova [OP] Artax

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    Just to clarify, I'm not buidling the whole house by any means. I just mean that when we move into the new built house, we'll likely want to donsone projects like install a patio and walkway, finish the basement, rent tools to do that work, etc.
    Thanks!

     
  13. Nov 15, 2010 at 8:01 AM
    #13
    05 TRD Sport

    05 TRD Sport She's Fat, I'm Drunk, It's On.

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    Nevermind ...........
     
  14. Nov 15, 2010 at 8:02 AM
    #14
    ezatnova

    ezatnova [OP] Artax

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    Very cool. I could see building a cradle thing out of sturdy wood and resting the plow in that!

     
  15. Nov 15, 2010 at 8:07 AM
    #15
    ezatnova

    ezatnova [OP] Artax

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    Is it ok to just install a hitch on the thing and be good to go? (assuming it does not come with a hitch). I'm not thinking of much more than like a 4'x5 little trailer or something, down the road.

    As far as load capacity, etc, especially with 1st Gen (let's say v6 auto 4wd), can I reasonably expect to be able to, for example, load the bed up with flagstone, sand, gravel, retaining wall blocks, etc, for a 5 minute/5 mile drive? Or, will that kill the thing? Lol

     
  16. Nov 15, 2010 at 8:08 AM
    #16
    05 TRD Sport

    05 TRD Sport She's Fat, I'm Drunk, It's On.

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    I'm a carpenter and I've hauled A LOT of stuff in my Tacoma. It's got the long (yeah right) bed and a tool box. It also has the flimsy 2nd gen tailgate. It will handle most stuff unless lumber gets too long or more than a few 4'x8' sheetgoods. That's where my trailer comes in.
     
  17. Nov 15, 2010 at 8:17 AM
    #17
    davidpick

    davidpick NWXPDTN

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    first gen v6s can tow/haul up to 5000 lbs. with a max of 500 lbs. tongue weight. more information is available here.
     
  18. Nov 15, 2010 at 8:20 AM
    #18
    05 TRD Sport

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    I'd invest in a receiver hitch instead of just a ball on the bumper. I also think you will be surprised how quickly a 4x5 trailer will fill up. Your truck bed is going to be that big. I wouldn't want a trailer that wouldn't haul 4x8 sheets, but that's just me. Plywood, sheetrock, fence panels, lattice panels. I have a 5'x10' and wish it was 12', but it was free.
     
  19. Nov 15, 2010 at 8:21 AM
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    davidpick

    davidpick NWXPDTN

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    x2! definitely get an actual hitch mount.
     
  20. Nov 15, 2010 at 8:38 AM
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    JBear

    JBear Spiral Out... Keep Going!

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    Werd.
     
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