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New Tacoma: SR5 vs. TRD Off Road

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by canoeski, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. Oct 23, 2011 at 3:43 PM
    #1
    canoeski

    canoeski [OP] Well-Known Member

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    New Tacoma: SR5 vs. TRD Off Road

    OK, I know this has been discussed in other threads and I have poured over them and gleaned a lot of insight. Thanks. Each persons needs/wants are different, and I didn’t want to hijack someone elses thread. (uh yeah, translates to, “I need some personal hand-holding”)

    I intend to purchase a Tacoma ASAP, but I am still not clear on which package to get.
    I know it will be an Access Cab with 4WD and standard length bed.
    This will be my daily city commuter, so efficiency is an important consideration.

    To recap from my Intro post:

    “I have tended to regard my truck as a means to get out and away to do other things such as canoeing, mountain biking, and tele-skiing. (mostly canoeing and all-season camping these days.) I tend not to just go “fur-weeling” for the fun of it, but I can see the attraction, and would probably enjoy the challenge. Some of the Moab and Canyonlands driving was “pretty technical” by my standards, and was a hoot.

    Most of my real 4 wheel needs in the foreseeable future will be in snow. I love to drive in snow, and we’ve been getting a lot around here and up north the past few years.”

    I currently have a 4 cylinder (22RE), 4WD, extended cab with a Guidon topper, and 235 75R15 BFG AT’s., with Rancho RS9000 adjustable shocks, two soft-ride springs added (minus one stock), and for a while air bag lifts. This vehicle has serviced me well for more than 19 yrs. My only complaint is that it is way underpowered when climbing even moderate grades at highway speeds (Once in Colorado climbing to Leadville, I was backing up traffic for many miles at 30-35 mph revved out to way over 4000 RPM! When a passing lane came up, a Geo Metro and Chevy Sprint where the fist to zoom by. Embarrassing.)

    Up-grading to a K&N filter, high flow exhaust, and a high voltage coil with heavy duty wires helped a lot, but still underpowered.

    I have been through all the decision points:
    * 4 cylinder vs 6 cylinder
    * manual vs. automatic transmission
    And am pretty much leaning towards the 6 cylinder AT, mostly due availability and other options with Access Cab.

    My confusion is whether I need the added traction functions of the Off-Road configuration, or would the SR5 be sufficient?

    I realize that with the OR you also get bigger tires, Bilstein shocks, heavier springs.
    I’m not sure the if the 265 70R16’s will get any better traction in snow than the 245 75R16’s. (some say a narrower tires cuts through the snow and makes better road contact, unlike sand where you want float). I would expect the larger tires to have more rotational mass and therefore less efficient mileage in the city.

    I’m planning on upgrading the stock tires to BGF AT’s the day I get it.
    I found a local sale price of $945 got the 245’s vs. $1309 (out the door price with road hazard for 5 tires). And that’s $360 more bucks every time you replace them. L

    I’m skeptical that the Bilsteins will out-perform the Ranchos.
    I’m also probably going to have to add a leaf spring to compensate for the topper.

    It’s the A-trac that I’m intrigued about : will it help in snow??

    (sorry for the long post, but I hope the background info is helpful)

    Thanks,
    ~bill
     
  2. Oct 24, 2011 at 7:13 AM
    #2
    monster38

    monster38 Member

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    Regarding your choice of ENGINE, I strongly suggest that you TEST DRIVE EACH (if you haven't already). The 2TR-FE is not like a 22R-E. It is much more modern and much more powerful -- even compared to a V6 from the same era as that 22R-E. I also wonder if your 19 year old 4-cyl may have been somewhat worn. That geo metro shouldn't be overtaking you quite that easily.

    If you do pick a 4-cyl, note that TRD is not an option with it.
    TRD (offroad) offers A-TRAC and rear diff lock. Both are only available in LOW RANGE. When was the last time you used low in snow? Unless you use low in the snow, A-TRAC won't help you.

    SR5 (as well as base) does have TRAC (without the "A-"). This is similar to A-TRAC, but is only available in HIGH range (TRD also has regular "TRAC"). It is effectively front and back limited slip differential. This will help you in the snow, and you don't need TRD to get it.

    About the springs... actually, with the 2012's, the TRD OR has LIGHTER springs. Base, SR5, and TRD SPORT have 4-leaf spings in the back. TRD OR has only 3-leaf.

    You've already nailed the tire size issue, narrower tires are more efficient, and are better in the snow because you want to get down to the road below it. Wider in the sand and mud because you DON'T want to get to what's below it (because its 15 feet down or worse). I think that the rims are the same on SR5 and TRD-OR. Basically, if you're going to change the tires either way, don't worry about which size it comes with because you can put either size on it.

    I'm not sure why, but the SR5's for 2012 don't have the bilstein shocks. They did from 2009-2011 (even though not listed as a feature). The 4-leaf springs from factory is probably a worthwhile trade-off though, and shock absorbers are easily upgraded.
     
  3. Oct 24, 2011 at 10:01 AM
    #3
    WV150

    WV150 Well-Known Member

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    I have had tacomas with 265-70-16 trd and the 265-65-17 sport and 245-75-16 sr5.The 265-65-17 bridgestone got the best traction but the 245-75-16s got two more mpgs than the others.I have noticed this on different trucks that with a 75 series narrower tire you can expect about two more mpgs than the wider tire.The dunlops go ok.Not super great but ok since most roads are plowed.Something to consider since you drive it a lot.
     
  4. Oct 24, 2011 at 2:58 PM
    #4
    David K

    David K Well-Known Member

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    Just so you know...

    While all Tacomas have TRAC and AUTO LSD as standard safety equipment, these are a long ways from being close to the full traction assist of A-TRAC and/ or the rear locking differential.

    You MAY NOT NEED these, and while I love what Toyota finally gave the Tacomas (after having A-TRAC for years in their other off highway vehicles), they are needed only if you are going OFF graded road in into the s&!t with your truck, and don't want to be pulled out!

    If you think you will not go off road, then the stock 4WD with TRAC will usually be enough... lowering air pressure always helps in a stuck, too!
     
  5. Oct 24, 2011 at 6:31 PM
    #5
    canoeski

    canoeski [OP] Well-Known Member

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    [FONT=&quot]Wow, I thought that I had that variable decided. Thanks for your thoughtful suggestions. Now you give me reason to ponder. I actually did drive the the 4WD 4 cyl with the four speed AT, and was underwhelmed compared to the V6 5-speed AT. Of course, I was not able to put a new truck that's not mine through the full paces to test it's limits. The new 4-cyl does have about 30 more HPthan the 22-RE IIRC.

    [/FONT]
    That was when it was new! After my air intake and exhaust mods, I can keep up with any Geo Metro now.:rolleyes:


    On rare occasions in deep, deep unplowed snow on roads I've used 4WD-LO, especially if the underlying hard surface is glare ice. Admitingly, not often. I do use 4WD-LO in snow off road, just as use might if it was wet and slippery.

    I thought I was getting an understanding of TAC vs. A-TRAC; now I have to go back and re-read it.
    I suppose I could do the "Yellow Wire Mod" to engage TRAC in LO.

    Curious. Are the Off-Road springs thicker or stiffer? You would think you would want it a bit stiffer, and certainly more travel. :confused:

    Are the rim widths the same? The TRD-OR TX edition I test drove had bead locks.

    Are the stock Bilsteins adjustable for height or valving? What is the maximum lift you can use with the stock shocks?
    If you had a choice, would you prefer the Bilsteins over the Rancho RS9000 variable valving? I just love those! (I'm not even sure they are viable with the coil over shocks in front)


    Thanks! Nice to hear real-world experience. I thought the 245's would be more gas economical. I could just "downgrade" the stock 265 Rugged Trails to 245 BFG AT's.


    I want to thank you David for the excellent write-up on A-TRAC!!
    I read all 11 pages of posts, and now I have a better, but still incomplete, understanding. My head is still spinning after a week.

    I do plan/hope to go off-road again in the future, albiet not like I used to.:(. I never got stuck in the outback because I played it safe, slow and conservative since I was always by myself. Had some close calls though.
    One of the most memorable treks was through a dry wash in Canyonlands with 4 miles of bottomless sand (12-15 psi) followed by technical steps for another 8 miles that challenged my unlifted stock truck! :eek:

    The only time I got really stuck and needed a tow was on my lunch hour, a mile from work, when I broke through a frozen crust and sank into bottomless mud in a construction site. (buried the front wheels) Had to walk back to work a mess, and go back latter. It took TWO tow trucks to pull me out. All the time I was hoping that it would not re-freeze!:pray:

    ~bill.
     
  6. Oct 25, 2011 at 6:07 AM
    #6
    monster38

    monster38 Member

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    [FONT=&quot]
    Its not just the extra horsepower, its also VVT-i.
    [/FONT]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Variable_valve_timing
    Also be aware that the 4-speed AT is a turd. Are you set on automatic? Or is manual an option? I've always felt that upgrading to a manual transmission is like getting the next bigger engine while saving money -- manual costs less, smaller engine costs less, smaller engine burns less gas.

    In any case, the 6-cyl is undeniably a more powerful engine. Always a trade-off however, efficiency vs "holy crap".

    According to wikipedia (the source of all knowledge :eek:), 22R-E was 105 hp in 1983 and 1984, 112 all years following. 2TR-FE is 159. Not sure what year yours was, but 2TR-FE is either 47 or 54 hp more powerful than 22R-E.
    [FONT=&quot]
    [/FONT]
    Hmm, weird.

    With more power, I suspect that your interest in low will diminish.

    That is certainly an option, but as mentioned by David, it won't be quite as effective as full A-TRAC -- it doesn't come on as aggressively, but it will get you unstuck if you're in a bind.

    Softer. Probably to increase articulation (guess). Either that, or they've pegged the average "OR" buyer as a sissy (not that it is universally true). The 4-leaf pack of the base, SR5, and sport models are for load bearing.

    TX is an option package that goes over the regular TRD-OR, as you've mentioned, it has fake bead lock rims. They're not really bead lock, but designed to look like they are. I'm almost positive that the SR5 and TRD-OR rims are *identical*.

    I don't believe so.
    Haven't the faintest idea, probably zero.
    I personally don't give a rat's ass about the shocks, so I can't give you any suggestions in that regard. All I know is that I've got the factory bilsteins with 4-leaf and it seems pretty good to me.

    "Not like I used to" -- I'll guess that this means that you're not going to push it as hard as you have in the past. Since in the past, you had open diff, adding TRAC+yellow wire modification will give you far greater versatility than you had in the past. Should be fine without A-TRAC+locker. A-TRAC+locker would definitely be better, but you need to decide if the benefits outweight the added $$. My impression is that it probably won't be justified in your case. At least not based on what you've said.

    You might also want to think about aftermarket lockers. For about $2000, you can get ARB lockers on BOTH differentials (regardless of model, includes 4-cyl). ARB are "the best" ones (also most expensive). Front and rear ARB's will out-do any TRD-OR. The price difference between an SR5 and a TRD-OR is about $2500. Nice thing about aftermarket lockers is that you can add them later if you feel like you need them.

    By the sounds of that, I don't think that A-TRAC would have helped you there.
     
  7. Oct 27, 2011 at 12:26 AM
    #7
    canoeski

    canoeski [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks monster.
    I've been weighing the different option you have proposed over the past few days, and read more posts and viewed a lot of YouTube videos.

    I did drive the 4 cycl with 4spd AT and was not impressed. The 5spd AT (with 6 cyl) seemed much smoother in shifting. The 4spd AT, left me pining for my 5spd MT that I have now. I like "driving" the MT's, but the AT's actually get slightly better mileage now. It's hard to find an Access Cab with MT, and none with the 4.0 engine around here.

    In viewing a bunch of "snow-wheeling" videos of Tacomas w/o traction control, it seems they would benifit greatly from TRAC and probably A-TRAC as well under certain wheel spinning circumstances.

    My gut feeling at this point is to get the 6 cyl AT in the Off-Road configuration. This will likely be my last truck ever (unless stolen or wrecked, god forbid). I don't want to have any major regrets later. (the TX I drove was the closest configuration to what I wanted to test. Too "fancy" for me)
     
  8. Oct 27, 2011 at 12:39 AM
    #8
    genxer36

    genxer36 Lord of Tomfoolery

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    If the truck doesn't come with the extra leaf spring. There is a tsb that you can get it done for free from the dealer. It has to be done before the 36,000 mile warranty expires. I had mine done. You have to tell the dealer you "want the rear spring tsb done due to the harsh ride." More info here... & here
     
  9. Oct 27, 2011 at 8:10 AM
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    2004TacomaSR5

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    That sounds odd for a 22RE, i remember grandma used to have one of those Yota RV conversions that had a big ass camper on the back and that 22RE pulled that thing around like nothing and got around 15-17mpg.
    Anyway back on topic, your best choice for fuel efficiancy would be a 2.7 with a 5 speed, the automatic is really sluggish with the 4 banger, but recently I have been averaging 20mpg mixed highway and city driving with mine, and i frequently make the 220 mile commute from college to home on weekends and have to drive through Billings along the way. At first they kinda suck on gas during the break in process but the more you drive em the better they get. As far as passing goes the 2.7 does just fine, if you are passing a big rig just drop it into 4th gear and there is all the passing power you need. They do fine in hilly country too just dont expect to be in 5th gear the whole time either.
    If you get a V6 go with the automatic, normally I would never be caught dead saying this but do it, the 6 speed manual is nothing but trouble and has notorious clutch and throw out bearing problems (the guy at the Toyota dealership filled me in on this too!) Plus the auto gets better MPG in the V6 than the manual does.
     
  10. Oct 27, 2011 at 11:41 AM
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    6L PSD

    6L PSD Well-Known Member

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    I bought a access cab 09 SR5 4 cylinder 5-speed in July 09. It was handy, pretty efficient, never stuck just because I never took it far offroad. But...it was boring as hell. So I traded it for an '11 TRD OR. Much more satisfied with my decision. But that's just me.
     
  11. Oct 31, 2011 at 12:12 AM
    #11
    canoeski

    canoeski [OP] Well-Known Member

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    OK I got to take a few more models for test drives (all Access cabs):
    ~4 cyl 4spd Auto
    ~6 cyl 6spd Manual
    (in addition to the 6cyl 5 spd Auto)

    I found the 6 spd manual transmission a breeze and fun to drive, but in the city it has it's drawbacks. I had seen a few negative comments about this transmission here, so wasn't expecting much. It was smooth and the throw was OK. About the same or less than my 92 5 speed MT. My only problem was it took me 90 sec to find reverse.:rolleyes:

    With the 4cyl, I was comparing power to current 22RE engine, and i would agree, that is noticeably more powerful, but matched up with the 4 spd AT I was underwhelmed. I really wish I could try the 4 cyl 5spd MT.

    I'm strongly drifting towards the 6 cyl 5spd AT and I'm not all sure why. I enjoy the stick (except in the city). I worry that it's laziness. But the other features I want are only to be had with the 6 cyl, and I'm starting to like it.

    The more I learn about A-trac, the more I'm intrigued and leaning that way.

    Still wondering about downgrading the 265 70R16 BFG Rugged Terrains with 245 75R16 BFG All-Terrain's hope the difference in street/ Hwy performance mileage will off-set the the fewer times I would be technically off- road
     
  12. Oct 31, 2011 at 8:36 AM
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    4Wheelin4Banger

    4Wheelin4Banger Longtime Toyman

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    I love my 4banger 5spd MT. Plenty of power & good MPGs. From what I've heard the cruise control on the auto 4bangers suck. ut they work good on the 5 speeds, at 67 to 75 they hold speed on most hills. Some hills you will need to downshift for but the same holds true for the V6s. I never concidered the V6 but it does come with some stuff you can't get with the 4banger. I figured I could add better goodies to the 4banger than came stock on the TRD OR.
     
  13. Oct 31, 2011 at 1:52 PM
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    JRabDawg

    JRabDawg Member

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    I also have been debating a 4x4 SR5 versus TRD OR and this thread and others have been very helpful. I think for *my* needs, I probably wont be in 4-LO as much as others due to probably only seeing some beach in FL, muddy fire roads and fields in FL/GA, and occasional snow in VA. I am trying to make the decision based on need versus cost. I do wonder if I should get the TRD OR just to have it in case. I guess that is my inner MacGyver speaking who likes to have spares of spares cause you never know if the spares aren't enough.
     
  14. Oct 31, 2011 at 3:03 PM
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    canoeski

    canoeski [OP] Well-Known Member

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    4W4B:
    I wish I could test drive a set up like yours.
    Dealer sales rep said, "they don't make 'em like that for this market. Everybody wants the V6 Automatic; we only got this manual on a fluke trade. We can order one for you though."

    Looks like I'll 'prolly get the V6 Auto. If this one does as well as my last one, it'll be my last truck ever. I don't want regrets later.

    Still debating tire size going down from 265 to 245 width, for better dry pavement daily commuting and pavement snow conditions. I'm fishing for someone to tell me why I should stay with the stock width on the TRD.
    (see Monster38's reply)

    Happy Halloween.
     
  15. Oct 31, 2011 at 4:16 PM
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    4Wheelin4Banger

    4Wheelin4Banger Longtime Toyman

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    Bring me some squeeky cheese and I'll let you test drive mine. Mine was the only 4banger 5 speed around and fortunatly was in the color I wanted. Wear out the 265s then see. I have to wear out my 245s then I'm getting 265/75/16s.
     
  16. Oct 31, 2011 at 4:30 PM
    #16
    Monkeyboy

    Monkeyboy Well-Known Member

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    MTs are hard to find around here, that is true.

    As for tire size in the snow, I do just fine on the stock wheels. Between the good clearance, good balance, LSD and 4WD, you'll be fine. I only get stuck when I'm trying, and I really have to try. The truck is very sure footed.

    My plan is to stay with the stock tires until they are bald, then get ones I like. I'm certain other tires are better, but the stocks are perfectly adequate for the snow and light off-roading I do.
     
  17. Oct 31, 2011 at 4:57 PM
    #17
    canoeski

    canoeski [OP] Well-Known Member

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    If you were closer I could hook you up with the 265's.
    And the squeeky cheese, but as we are separated by the Continental Divide, the it would be "green, non-squeeky cheese" by the time I got there.
     
  18. Oct 31, 2011 at 5:12 PM
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    4Wheelin4Banger

    4Wheelin4Banger Longtime Toyman

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    The 265s I will get will be 1.18" taller. But I would still trade your 265/7016s for my 245/75/16s.
     
  19. Oct 31, 2011 at 5:22 PM
    #19
    canoeski

    canoeski [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Nice to see another Cheesehead here.
    I KNOW I will be swapping out he tires ASAP when I get it. The last three vehihicle I've owned, I wound up tossing 1 year-old tires to upgrade, so I might as well do it right off the bat. I guess I've become picky about my tires (can you say, "tire snob"?). They are my physical contact with the earth, and the BFG AT's have served me well in every driving condition I've been in.

    I already have a purchase order to get them at sale price and there is a significant difference between the 245' and 265's in price, and probably in fuel economy. The 265's stick out a full inch from the flairfenders, while the 245's are tucked in. I know most go for the "biggest and coolest that will fit", but there is a price to pay.

    Set of 5, out the door with road Hazard: $1236 vs $891= $345 difference.
    (tires only full price: $221 vs. $152)

    On the other hand... :rolleyes:...
    every time I see Krazie Sj's truck I get, well, tingly all over.
    I lust for that ARB bumper. And it would probably look pretty anemic (not that I care, cough, cough) with the narrower tires, not to mention load capacity (that thing looks heavy)

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Oct 31, 2011 at 7:39 PM
    #20
    canoeski

    canoeski [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Actually, the 265 70R16 is the same height as the 245 75R16 (0.14 inches more). I measured them in the dealer lot, and according to the Tire Size Calculator they have virtually the same circumference (0.4%difference). (note the change in aspect ratio)

    But I bet they have a ton more rolling resistance, inertial resistance, and wind cross-section. (and putting that cool ARB bumper I bet would make the tire wind resistance worse.):rolleyes:
     
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