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Initial Impressions of my new 08 DC 4X4 LB

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by Hanz, Mar 8, 2008.

  1. Mar 8, 2008 at 6:24 AM
    #1
    Hanz

    Hanz [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Doug
    Long Island, NY
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    2003 Tacoma DC 4X4 TRD
    LED Instrument lights
    I picked up my 2008 Tacoma on Tuesday and I figured I post a review for those on the fence wondering what to buy. To keep things relevant we must start with what I bought:
    2008 Toyota Tacoma 4.0L V6, 5 Speed Automatic, 4X4, Double Cab, Long Bed SR5 in Super White.
    Try to keep in mind that it’s replacing a 2000 Jeep Wrangler with a 4.0L inline 6, Manual 5 Speed that’s been lifted 4.5” rides on 33” tires with 4.56:1 locking diffs. The Jeep is fantastic off road but it’s on-road manners have suffered due to the modifications. Just imagine lots of squeaks, creaks and body sway. I decided to replace it because I need more space and I’m off-road only 1-2% of the time. I’ll fondly look back upon the Jeep during those times but I won’t miss the Jeep at all 98-99% of the time.

    I haven’t finished the first tank of gas in the Tacoma yet and I have around 250 miles on it. If I don’t think to mention a feature or component then I must not have any complaints about it. Only my gripes stick out in my mind. Here are some of my initial impressions:

    Finish: Some orange peel is visible along the sides of the truck. The hood and top surfaces are much better. It almost looks like the color coat has the orange peel and the clear has a nice smooth surface. The chrome on the main part of the rear bumper looks great but when you look around the license plate and license plate lamps the surface isn’t smooth and the chrome looks frosted. I don’t know if this is part of the design but it doesn’t look very good to me.

    Steering. The truck’s steering has a great feel it’s also very precise. Not too heavy and never too light. I don’t know if it’s speed proportional but it doesn’t feel bad at any speed.

    Suspension. Wow. Yes it’s a truck but you’d hardly know it. It rides great and handles fantastic. I really pushed it around a long sweeping turn and I kept waiting for the rear end to break loose on the wet surface but it didn’t happen. Compared to my Jeep this Tacoma is a Porsche. Part of the reason the truck handles so well is its weight. With a curb weight of around 4100 pounds the Tacoma sticks to the road and has a solid feel.
    I’m very, very impressed. The only time you know it’s a truck is when you encounter a rough road with a little bit of chop to it. That means you may jiggle a bit inside the truck. You are not thrown around or jolted at all.

    Engine. Wow. This thing has some power. I do feel some vibrations through the seat at idle but this may be because it’s new. It may, or may not, smooth out as the engine breaks in. Either way I’ll take some vibes at idle in trade for the thrust this truck has. Cruising at around 65-70 and need to get out of there? Stand on the gas and you will be doing 85MPH in a short period of time leaving your troubles behind you. I haven’t hit the governed 108 MPH limit yet but I’ve been within 15 mph of it and had no clue. Again, this truck is smooth and quiet. When you hit the accelerator pedal the truck responds and doesn’t leave you waiting or wanting. I swear this truck will eventually cost me some points on my license.

    Transmission. I think the engineers did a great job with this one. It’s part of the reason the engine feels so strong. 236 HP is nothing to sneeze at but you wouldn’t notice it as much if the transmission couldn’t exploit the strengths and harmonize with the power curve of the engine. Up shifts are great and the downshifts are very subtle. When driving through a hilly residential neighborhood at 25-30 mph I discovered how well this automatic works. It downshifts to modulate my speed when going downhill and adds to the overall precise feel the Tacoma has. It works with the differential gearing to keep a nice low RPM on the highway adding to the miles per gallon. Once you get the truck settled in on the interstate the miles just roll by.

    Horn. I’ll mention this because this truck has a real sounding horn and not the beep – beep sound of Tacomas past.

    Radio. The factory radio is pretty neat. I haven’t had steering wheel mounted controls before and I’m already addicted. It’s sounds OK but it doesn’t have any real punch and I don’t find it terribly crisp. Audiophiles will be looking to upgrade the factory sound system. My biggest complaint with it is I plan on keeping the back seats folded. When the seats are folded they block the rear door mounted speakers and it really muffles the volume and destroys the sound quality. I can mount auxiliary speakers to the cab’s rear wall to get around that. I wish I didn’t have to. I don’t think there was an alternative location for Toyota but I am disappointed because I planned to keep the rear seats folded.

    Seats. I have the SR5 seats and I wish they were a bit more “thigh high” and “ butt low”. I’ve read of a simple stacked washer fix for this but it’s one of those things I wish I didn’t have to do. The rear headrests also block a decent portion of the rear view and prohibited me from seeing the “rear corners” of the truck so I pulled them and stowed them. The rear seats do fold nicely and are relatively flat when folded. The little storage cubbies and troughs are a neat added bonus. The fold flat front passenger seat will come in handy for sure.

    Lighting. The headlights and fog lights are great. They light up what I need to see. I only wish the high beam indicator was next to the low beam indicator in the instrument cluster. The low beam indicator is in the lower left of the cluster and the high beam indicator is located in the upper right hand side. That’s dumb. I may be dumb for not seeing the difference volumes of light but these headlights are a lot more effective than the ones in my 2000 Wrangler. Once you know what you’re looking at and where to look on the cluster it’s a minor point but it’s still dumb. As others have mentioned the back up lamps are lacking. Maybe they aren’t bad in a standard or access cab but the double cab’s tinted rear windows coupled with the long bed make it a stretch to see when backing up at night. I plan on putting a cap on this truck and I will probably add a back up camera because the cap should eliminate any decent visibility for backing up day or night.

    The composite bed is a great idea but I’m a bit suspicious of it. I almost wish the tailgate were made of composite. The tailgate feels cheap and not very sturdy. I’ve read that it’s weak and it must be. I hope it holds up but I’m not so sure it will.

    Last night I encountered some heavy rain. The tires are very noisy through puddles but they did seem to hold and not hydroplane at around 45MPH. My biggest gripe so far: There must not be any sound deadening materials or insulation in the roof over the rear of the cab and it got pretty noisy inside. Is it worth it to me to pull the headliner, mask off the interior and spray some undercoating up there? It probably is. I can’t believe that Toyota would let a vehicle out of the factory that sounds like you’re in an aluminum can when driving in heavy rain. For a truck that sells for around $30K that’s unforgivable, especially when so many other features and characteristics add up and give the truck a great all around feel. Then it rains on your parade and you feel cheated.

    That’s it for now. I have to go drive my new toy some more. :)
     
  2. Mar 8, 2008 at 7:29 AM
    #2
    06tacoma

    06tacoma Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Tampa FL
    Vehicle:
    06 PreRunner SR5 XS-P Trd Longbed Double Cab
    20" enkei wheel,BFG G-Force tires, BHLM, Smoked tail lights, 2 RE Audio 10s, Quantom 900watt amp,10000K HIDs headlights and fog lamps,Borla exhaust, Borla drop in filter,Debadged tailgate,Painted black tacoma badges
    Im glade you like your new truck very detalied right up pretty good for those that are looking to get an 08
     
  3. Mar 8, 2008 at 8:09 AM
    #3
    pmo

    pmo Well-Known Member

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    Nova Scotia Canada
    Vehicle:
    2007 Tacoma 4x4, DC, 6 Speed Manual.
    I agree with everyjthing you said. The only real problem I have, same as you, is the headrests on the rear seats blocking the rear 1/4's. I also have stowed the headrests.
    As far as power goes, mine is a 6spd, doublecab, and drop it from 6 to 4 at 100kph you shoot to 120 in an instant!
    Beautiful truck and many enjoyable days driving:)
     
  4. Mar 8, 2008 at 10:27 AM
    #4
    supra90140

    supra90140 Well-Known Member

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    telford pa
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    weather tech floor liners
    I dont think these trucks have governers. Ive been over 110mph already
     
  5. Mar 8, 2008 at 10:54 AM
    #5
    06tacoma

    06tacoma Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Tampa FL
    Vehicle:
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    20" enkei wheel,BFG G-Force tires, BHLM, Smoked tail lights, 2 RE Audio 10s, Quantom 900watt amp,10000K HIDs headlights and fog lamps,Borla exhaust, Borla drop in filter,Debadged tailgate,Painted black tacoma badges
    maybe they changed in 08 but my truck has a governer on it im pretty sure its at 115 though i have hit it several times has anyone figured a way to take it off
     
  6. Mar 8, 2008 at 11:49 AM
    #6
    WilsonTheDog

    WilsonTheDog Kylie's dad

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    Magnaflow 12576 muffler & chrome tip, Westin step bars, 27% tint, Pop N Lock, AFE ProdryS, bed mat, Husky liners, D-rings added, Access Literider tonneau, Pioneer 4-ways all around, GY Wrangler Duratracs 265/75/16, 5100's @ 1.75", 1.5" AAL
    ^You can usually tell by the speed rating of the tire. That will put you in the approximate neighborhood. OEM's are going to put the minimum speed rated tire they can. I've heard max is 112 but who knows for sure.

    The "stacked washer" idea, is there a link to that? I wouldn't mind having my seat an inch or so higher.

    Enjoy the new truck!
     
  7. Mar 8, 2008 at 12:42 PM
    #7
    concrete jedi

    concrete jedi Well-Known Member

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    Rochester N.Y
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    Broken and scratched tailgate, cracked rear tail light lens, coffee stain in driver seat.
    Nice review, I feel that your engine will smooth out once it breaks in, factory tires are not the greatest, once replaced you'll find better road/off road traits.
     
  8. Mar 8, 2008 at 12:52 PM
    #8
    Hanz

    Hanz [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Doug
    Long Island, NY
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    LED Instrument lights
    I am enjoying the new ride. I hope to do so for a long time.

    I've read of folks removing the front seat bolts and using washers as spacers to get the seat off the floor a bit more. If you do it be sure to use a longer bolt that is hardened. Seat bolts can break in a bad wreck. If they do it can be much harder on the occupants. Better safe than sorry.
     
  9. Mar 8, 2008 at 1:30 PM
    #9
    WilsonTheDog

    WilsonTheDog Kylie's dad

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    Magnaflow 12576 muffler & chrome tip, Westin step bars, 27% tint, Pop N Lock, AFE ProdryS, bed mat, Husky liners, D-rings added, Access Literider tonneau, Pioneer 4-ways all around, GY Wrangler Duratracs 265/75/16, 5100's @ 1.75", 1.5" AAL
    ^Thanks, that's an important point to remember.

    The engine will definitely get smoother. Mine did but I also used synthetic (Pennzoil Platinum) from the first oil change (1500 miles) on.
     
  10. Mar 8, 2008 at 5:41 PM
    #10
    tacotoe

    tacotoe Pastry Chef

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    Nice review, but is the orange peel on the sides at the bottom ? I think its supposed to be like that.
     
  11. Mar 8, 2008 at 6:05 PM
    #11
    CCRT

    CCRT Member

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    Nice review--

    I agree with the tin sounding roof.....

    What tires are on it?
     
  12. Mar 8, 2008 at 6:50 PM
    #12
    Hanz

    Hanz [OP] Well-Known Member

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    LED Instrument lights
    I know the difference between the chip guard and orange peel. I used to work in a body shop but the chemicals haven't pushed me that far along yet. ;)

    The tires are Dunlop AT20 Grand Trek 245/75R16. I should clarify that the tires don't make the puddle noises, it probably the water hitting the fender liners and mud guards. :eek:

    I ordered some WeatherTech floor liners and window deflectors. The monsoon like conditions here today forced me to do it.
     
  13. Mar 8, 2008 at 8:51 PM
    #13
    CCRT

    CCRT Member

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    Thanks Hanz

    I was wondering about the tires because mine has the BFG "Rugged Trail" and I've read they are not soo good in wet condition.

    Really wet here in MA also.
     
  14. Mar 8, 2008 at 9:54 PM
    #14
    sawdust

    sawdust Unapologetic Texan

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    Homelink mirror, tailgate lock, 2ndary air filter removal, Access LE tonneau, Bugflector II, hitch-based bed extender, vent visors, suspension TSB, stall mat
    I've heard a lot of complaints about the Rugged Trails too. Last week we had a freak snowstorm, and I had my first chance to drive the Taco in bad road conditions. I'd had the suspension TSB done the week earlier, but the tires are stock (for TRDs) and I had no extra weight in the bed. I actually had to try to get the back end to slide, and even then it was easy to get back under control. I can't complain about the tires, but I may not be as hard on them as others are.
     
  15. Mar 9, 2008 at 9:26 AM
    #15
    Dutch

    Dutch Well-Known Member

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    Good write-up!!! I can agree with you on some issues. Like Jedi said.....get rid of the stock tires! I had the Dunlops ("Donelops") on mine and they sucked! I knew this before I even test drove it. As for the sound system............well............mine is the basic radio/cd player still to this date. It is not crisp and the audio settings are shallow. I am nearing a point of replacement, but still working on suspension for now. The outside noise? I agree, but it is a truck. We had 50 mph gusts here yesterday and I had to dampen them with my OEM radio. Nevertheless, it is a lot better than the Frontier I test drove before my decision. Don't go through the trouble of installing sound deadening insulation.

    What other vehicles did you consider before making your decision? How did they rate?
     
  16. Mar 10, 2008 at 8:24 AM
    #16
    nd

    nd Radical Town. It's a hell of a place!

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    De badged, 5100's, Black Toyota Baja wheels
    I agree about most of what you said but the "orange peel" is there intentionally. all these trucks have the raised surface around the bottom of the body
     
  17. Jul 21, 2008 at 8:13 AM
    #17
    Vege-Taco

    Vege-Taco Chips and Salsa Specialist

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    Bugs on the windshield
    I didn't think the DC was available with 4x4 and a long bed. Oh well, you learn something new every day.
     
  18. Jul 21, 2008 at 8:21 AM
    #18
    tacomaman06

    tacomaman06 Carolina Alliance: Enforcer

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    getting there....
    hey wilson.......bring your truck up here for a day.......we'll do the "stacked washer" mod and have some beers!!! it should be a relatively easy mod to do!!
     
  19. Jul 21, 2008 at 8:22 AM
    #19
    tacomaman06

    tacomaman06 Carolina Alliance: Enforcer

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    getting there....
    yeah.....its part of the paint protection on the rockers!
     
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