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Should I buy a salvage Taco? Any horror stories?

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by possiblytaco, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. Apr 9, 2010 at 9:35 PM
    #1
    possiblytaco

    possiblytaco [OP] New Member

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    Howdy y'all. This one's long; thanks for reading.

    I'm looking at purchasing a 2003 xtracab 3.4L manual 4x4 Tacoma with 100k and the TRD package. It looks like a sweet ride, and the guy only wants $6600 for it. Too good to be true?

    The problem is that the truck was in an accident and doesn't have a title currently. The current owner bought it at auction, and started fixing it, and now needs to sell to pay off the tax man.

    He strikes me as an honest fellow; showed me pictures of the car when he bought it after the wreck, showed me what he had done so far, didn't hide anything. The accident was pretty minor; the airbags didn't go off. Lots of sheet metal damage. He says there's no frame damage, carfax doesn't show any either.

    I guess It'll take me an additional $300 for the last few things to get the truck ready to be re-titled. A few hundred more for painting. The truck runs and drives just fine, except for a slight leftward pull, and the driver's side door isn't 100% perfectly aligned (opens smooth and seals perfectly, and the gaps are more even than on a 1980's Chrysler straight from the factory). The seller replaced the upper a arm in the drivers side suspension, and thinks he should have replaced the lower as well. With that and an alignment he thinks it should drive true. It doesn't have any clamp marks you might expect from being on a frame straightener.

    What I'm wondering is: what's the worst case scenario? Anyone with horror stories about salvage tacomas that would never align properly afterwards? Good experiences? How much could it cost to bend a frame back into shape? I live in Northern CA, and I haven't been able to find a comparably spec'd Tacoma for less than 13K. So I figure even if I have to spend 3k or 4k on work, I'd still be getting a decent deal. I'm having a mechanic take a look on Mon, but wanted to hear your opinions as well.

    Thanks,
     
  2. Apr 9, 2010 at 9:43 PM
    #2
    Andrew H

    Andrew H What is this "search" you speak of?

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    If he doesn't have a title for it... how are you ever going to put it in your name?
     
  3. Apr 9, 2010 at 10:01 PM
    #3
    possiblytaco

    possiblytaco [OP] New Member

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    He has the salvage certificate, I can apply for a new title with a salvage branding with that, as well as all the paperwork from the auction. Right now the some light housings are broken, and it needs driver's side mirror glass, so I need to get those fixed before I have it inspected for re-titleing.
     
  4. Apr 9, 2010 at 10:06 PM
    #4
    4WD

    4WD cRaZy oLdmAn

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    I can't comment on the "no title" issue, but as far as buying a vehicle under the "salvage title" Its a misconception that all salvages are frame fractured twisted ,dangerous piles of shit, what determins a salvage status is the amount of money an insurance company is willing to payout on vs. the amount needed to repair the vehicle, not the amount of damage . So I wouldn't have a problem with it but ya gotta do a good inspection just like you would do before buying any vehicle..........:cool::cool:
     
  5. Apr 9, 2010 at 10:23 PM
    #5
    BirdTRD

    BirdTRD Unsuspectingly striking from above

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    I have heard of some nagging problems from salvages but I bought a refurbished salvaged Nissan Hardbody back in the day for about half price. It was a great truck for a couple of years. The only problem I ever had with it was when some guy turned left in front of me and I T-boned him going about 40. That was that.

    Edit: I did get the title for it. It just said "Salvaged Vehicle", or something to that effect, across the top.
     
  6. Apr 10, 2010 at 12:13 AM
    #6
    gusotto

    gusotto gusotto

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    Salvage Titles have less resale.
    Not a selling point!
     
  7. Apr 10, 2010 at 5:19 AM
    #7
    h_curtis

    h_curtis Well-Known Member

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    Salvage vehicles are hit and miss. The insurance company junked that truck for a reason, but the current seller fixed it up to sell it. You can't sell them for as much. From what you have written, I would say the price isn't that great, but the seller may have put a pile of money in it to make it right. If I was really interested in buying a vehicle like that, I would have it looked at by a very knowledgeable mechanic. If you know one personally that would be best. Good luck.
     
  8. Apr 10, 2010 at 6:05 AM
    #8
    Zork

    Zork Well-Known Member

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    personally I would never buy a salvaged vehicle regardless of what the case was. Salvaged vehicles always seem to have all sorts of gremlins that come with them. Beware.
     
  9. Apr 10, 2010 at 7:18 AM
    #9
    Barnone

    Barnone Guest

    I could be wrong but I don't believe Toyota will do the frame replacement on a salvage titled Tacoma so you are on your own on that issue.
     
  10. Apr 10, 2010 at 7:32 AM
    #10
    HomerTaco

    HomerTaco Grill Sergeant Vendor

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    NOT A GOOD IDEA UNLESS YOU PLAN TO KEEP IT FOREVER! FORGET TOYOTA DOING ANYTHING FOR YOU WITH A SALVAGE TITLE! Imho find a nice used one that was not wrecked... There ARE some out there!Good Luck!!!:D
     
  11. Apr 10, 2010 at 8:28 AM
    #11
    stro908

    stro908 Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure how the inspection and titling process are in Cali., but I bought a salvage car wtih frame rail damage (VW), the process what not that bad.. fixed it, drove it for a while and made a good amount of money on it. I disclosed everything. The buyer was happy.
    I say GO FOR IT. People get too freaked out over the word salvage. If you know everything your getting into and the price is right (which it is in this case!) and it wasnt flooded, (that is one salvage you dont want to go near!!
    I would look at it as an opportunity to get into a cool truck that everyone else is too scared of. I say sieze the opportunity!:headbang:
     
  12. Apr 11, 2010 at 12:47 AM
    #12
    scocar

    scocar Scouting the perimeter for weakness

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    Back to square one after the 2001. So...
    Something I just learned last year when they totalled my 93 (which, buy the way, somebody will get an awesome salvage deal on. Roof, windshield, fender, hood, and radiator damage from a fallen tree branch. Roof would be the hardest to fix, but other than that, easy for someone with skills and resources.)

    I found a nice salvage truck (which I did not buy). I discussed it with my insurance company (AAA), and they said that in a claim, they would only cover it for half the actual cash value of a non-salvage truck.

    So, if you totalled it, you would get 50% of the equivalent non-salvage truck.

    Don't know if this is a factor for you, because your price seems to decently reflect the salvage situation, but something to consider.

    There is a jackass in Carmichael (Sacramento) who seems to regularly get salvage trucks and fix them up, then ask for full value ($13k) with a salvage title. He posts them on cragslist. Beware.
     
  13. Apr 11, 2010 at 1:02 AM
    #13
    Muy Grande

    Muy Grande Well-Known Member

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    ^what he said........the thing is you don't know all the problems it might have. If you are put in a position where you need to sale, it might be difficult. But good luck with the decision, keep us posted and post some pics....I wanna see the before and after pics. :D
     
  14. Apr 11, 2010 at 6:26 AM
    #14
    ywen

    ywen Well-Known Member

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    THat's why the seller is offering it for so low.. :rolleyes:
     
  15. Apr 11, 2010 at 8:33 AM
    #15
    HeadlampRevamp

    HeadlampRevamp Well-Known Member

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    if you're going to pay 4k to fix it up anyway, why not just find one on autotrader that is not salvaged, buy a plane ticket, get it and drive it back. There are a ton of good deals online. You might save money and headache way.
     
  16. Apr 11, 2010 at 8:46 AM
    #16
    mjhenks

    mjhenks Well-Known Member

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    Before i bought my 04 i was tracking salvaged 1st gen Double Cabs on IAI and Saferides.com for about 3 months. I have bought 2 salvaged Hondas in the past with little issues but i knew the damage going in. (Minor) For the same minor type damage on a Double Cab the price at salvage was with-in $2-3,000 of a used one. INO that little of savings was not worth the risk. I opted for a good used one instead.

    Personally, i was looking for a rear bed hit that did not get to the frame or a high front shot. Anyhting from the side or that hit the frame i would stay away from unless you know a frame shop.

    MHO
     
  17. Apr 11, 2010 at 8:48 AM
    #17
    jandrews

    jandrews Carolina Alliance Southwest Region Ambassador

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    How much do you enjoy fixing vehicles?

    If you have a daily driver and this would just be a side project, go for it, you'd probably get to do a lot of fun repairs and mods.

    If this is going to be your primary vehicle, run the fuck away. If it's a salvage title all bets are off on those Taco characteristics you've heard about (bulletproof, long lasting, etc.) 'cause who knows what's broken/mistreated.
     
  18. Apr 11, 2010 at 8:52 AM
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    Brunes

    Brunes abides.

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    Not something I would do. It's hard to know what you are getting into. Damaged vehicles always seem to have little things that pop up down the road. They are never quite the same in my experience.
    You can get a great deal- but you could get screwed too...Just be prepared for it to go either way.
     
  19. Apr 11, 2010 at 8:58 AM
    #19
    Asgard

    Asgard Well-Known Member

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    I have no problem with salvaged trucks, if repaired properly they can be good as new.The only problem I have is that it doesn't sound like the guy did a good job repairing the truck, that's more work and money for you. I also agree with 4WD on what a salvage vehicle is, it is not the damage but the cost to repair the damage vs. the insured amount that determines if a vehicle is salvage or not.
     
  20. Apr 11, 2010 at 5:29 PM
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    possiblytaco

    possiblytaco [OP] New Member

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    Thanks for all the information and opinions folks.

    To update, my mechanic took a look at it on Sat, and proclaimed it in perfect health - mechanically sound, no rust problems on the frame, frame looked straight, and the body work seemed to have been done well. We looked through its full repair history and it had been well taken care by the original owner. Thought that with an alignment, it would drive true, no further suspension work needed. Even checked emissions and declared it would pass smog check. Confirmed it would take me about $250-300 to replace the bits of glass necessary to be able to re-title and register it. So, that leaves me with a price of $6900, plus painting the hood, fender and door.

    I took another look online, and didn't find anything within 1500 miles of me that would be cheaper to buy and transport here than the $12K trucks I can find locally. I figure that I'm getting a 40% discount for the uncertainty, reduced resale value, and reduced insurance payouts.

    I live in a big city, and usually use my bike and the trains to get around daily (usually faster than driving anyway, and no parking hassles). Pretty much the only reason I use my car is to go play in the mountains and occasionally haul stuff around - both of which would be done better in a Tacoma. I don't care what my truck looks like, as long as it drives well and safely - a crappy looking car is less likely to attract thieves in the city anyway. I won't be doing any extreme off-roading, but lots driving on forest service roads in CA and the desert Southwest. I don't think I'll ever re-sell it, just keep it as my toy till I kill it.

    So, I think I'm going to buy it. I'll let you know how it goes. Cheers,
     
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