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Some Newb Questions...

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by rEVOLVED, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. Mar 10, 2017 at 7:54 PM
    #1
    rEVOLVED

    rEVOLVED [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Hey, guys! I recently decided to get out of the loan on my 2015 Rubicon (which has become reallllly good at grabbing groceries, and never gets wheeled), and I think I am going to get into a first gen Tacoma. I've always loved old 4runners and Tacomas, and I wish I had picked one up instead of this Jeep. The main goal now is to get into something reliable and reasonably safe that can last me the next few years without breaking the bank. I know these things can go for 300k miles, and I'm open to the truck being a bit of a beater.

    I'm definitely bummed that Tacomas seem to be nearly twice the price of similar 4runners in my area, but I enjoy driving the taco much more, so I think my mind is made up there. The wife also loves the tacoma and says the 4runner is just ok (we test drove quite a bit today).

    I read the 1st gen tacoma buyer's guide, which I found super helpful. I will absolutely look for frame rust, and I might even bring the truck that I find to a mechanic to have him look it over. My main question is, how do I prioritize my buying parameters? For example, I have a $6,500 160k mile vehicle available with no service records and a less than perfect interior, or a $9,500 190k, CARFAX certified one owner, all AZ, no rust, with great looking service records. Of course, the lower price tag and lower mileage is appealing, but aren't service records super important, too? With old Tacomas, should I be turned off by something in the 220k mile range that still costs $10,000, or is mileage basically a non issue because of their reliability?

    Knowing my history with the Jeep, 2wd is completely fine for now, and double cab is a necessity. It will be an auto, and I'm thinking 6cyl instead of the 4. Sorry for the long post. And thank you so much for any advice!
     
    Dalandser and DustStorm4x4 like this.
  2. Mar 10, 2017 at 8:59 PM
    #2
    onakat

    onakat Well-Known Member

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    Mileage tells you how far the truck has been driven, but not how it was driven. 100k and not abused is better than 40k and abused.
    Try to know what the previous owner did with it.

    These trucks are really reliable (300k+) if well maintained and taken care of.

    Of course, having service records helps in knowing how the truck was maintained, but not having them makes it more difficult to tell. If you know where and what to look for, you can tell if it was maintained or not. Try checking for worn parts, boots, bushings, fluids, suspension, hoses, brakes, belts, engine bay. You say you will have the truck checked by a mechanic, he'll know what to look for.

    Also, I guess you already read it as you say you've read the buyer's guide on here, but the only way to tell if a frame is good is to hit it with a hammer. Unless it's free of rust

    My reply might not be the most helpful, but good luck in choosing a new truck :thumbsup:
     
    Rburdeaux likes this.
  3. Mar 10, 2017 at 9:02 PM
    #3
    rEVOLVED

    rEVOLVED [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Honestly, that's super helpful! Thank you. I think I still want to drive one or two more 2nd gens just to make sure, but I think I'm in love with that 1st gen feel. It's just so small in the right areas while still being high enough off the pavement.
     
    Rburdeaux likes this.
  4. Mar 10, 2017 at 10:28 PM
    #4
    KGN

    KGN Well-Known Member

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    I would be leaning more towards the no rust good records truck. Good idea would be to call Toyota with the VIN on any truck your looking at just to see if the frame was inspected/replaced/painted ect.

    I have the 4cyl, they are great. But the 3.4 is def a little nicer to drive.
     
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  5. Mar 10, 2017 at 10:29 PM
    #5
    Rburdeaux

    Rburdeaux Well-Known Member

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    I love my 1st gen! its amazing.
     
    mechanicjon likes this.
  6. Mar 11, 2017 at 2:00 AM
    #6
    Wyoming09

    Wyoming09 Well-Known Member

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    If you need to have what your looking at inspected by someone else quit while your ahead and stay with what you have.

    While these trucks are great if your paying for every little thing you will soon see your present vehicle is much cheaper .

    Service records are good for starting fires that is about all .

    Unless you take the hours to verify ever single one and most really can`t be for one reason or the other.

    Something will always be neglected never fails needing $1000.00 in parts or more .

    When I bought my Tacoma(2000) it took about $2500.00 to get it to pass inspection in Pa

    Something to think about that was in parts only
     
    butsack likes this.
  7. Mar 11, 2017 at 2:14 AM
    #7
    Burnett

    Burnett Well-Known Member

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    I would get the vin on the lower mileage/price Tacoma and enter it on the Toyota owners website. Just Google it for the link.
    That may bring up some service records for you. I would personally go for that one depending on where it spent is life.
    Change all fluids...
    Oil
    Air filter
    Trans fluid
    Both diffs
    Etc
    Consider changing timing belt and water pump if there is no indication of it ever being changed. (if it's a v6)
    If you did all that, you'd have piece of mind and you'd have a baseline for future service.
    Remember that the frames rust from the inside out so it can be hard to tell condition sometimes but look for spray paint because some people will shoot a fresh coat on it to try and cover up a bad frame. Good luck and get a 1st gen, way better than 2nd gen!
     
    Fuergrissa likes this.
  8. Mar 11, 2017 at 4:39 PM
    #8
    rEVOLVED

    rEVOLVED [OP] Well-Known Member

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    This doesn't seem to be the experience that I've heard about most often on this and other tacoma forums. Do other members agree with this? I especially don't know if I subscribe to the thought that "if you need to have what you're looking at inspected by someone else, quit while you're ahead."
     
  9. Mar 11, 2017 at 6:08 PM
    #9
    KGN

    KGN Well-Known Member

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    Different experiences for different folks. I had mine inspected, if your good with mechanics then maybe not as useful. They can find things you might have missed and could give you more bargaining power, however they sell for what they sell it seems. I don't regret having mine looked over at all.
     
  10. Mar 12, 2017 at 5:48 AM
    #10
    Wyoming09

    Wyoming09 Well-Known Member

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    It is a personal thing unless your lucky enough to have a mechanic that lives and dreams about Toyota`s you would be surprised how many mechanics are unaware of the Frame issues with the Tacoma

    Let alone even want to change head gaskets or a timing belt

    Might be all the Toyota`s that ended up coming to be after mechanics gave up .

    It is a moot point
     
  11. Mar 16, 2017 at 8:01 PM
    #11
    rEVOLVED

    rEVOLVED [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to revive this. I still have some questions, and starting a new thread seems rude.

    I've been lurking and reading every 4runner vs Taco thread, and I still have some concerns. As I test drive more 1st gen Tacomas, I know that 6cyl is a must. 4x4 sounds nice, but I know I don't need it. The last one I drove was an 04 sr5 limited 4x4 DC with 228k miles, and they still wanted $12,000. Call me crazy, but that's ridiculous. There are 1997-2002 4runners in my area with 170-200k miles going for $5,000. Is this just a supply and demand thing? If anything, shouldn't a 4runner be more expensive, since it has a furnished shell built on?

    I guess what I'm getting at is this... If my wife and I decide that we absolutely want a truck vs a 4runner, am I crazy to drop $10,000 on something with 190k miles on it? Is that what a lot of you have done? This all started as a way to get out of my Jeep loan, but I realized I'd rather have a truck than a Camry, and if I'm getting a truck, it's going to be a Toyota. It's fine if I have to fix a few things here and there, but this thing can't be a money pit.
     
  12. Mar 16, 2017 at 8:21 PM
    #12
    gmr102

    gmr102 Well-Known Member

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    Double cabs will hold their value super well compared to their two door brethren. That being said tacomas just hold thier value well period. So seeing one priced like that will not be uncommon. I think it has to do with the fact that they are super reliable, can carry 5 people and all of your stuff. Great combo if you ask me. If you NEED the 4 doors the runner may be a better choice for you anyways. I bought my xtra cab tacoma w/ the v6 and trd package for around 9,000 at 180k but it was very well maintained. That said the dealership had to eat putting on two new cats and back brakes because they tried to hide that they were bad. No truck will be perfect when you buy used. So find one that is reasonably priced and factor in that there will be some repairs.
     
    rEVOLVED [OP] likes this.
  13. Mar 16, 2017 at 8:37 PM
    #13
    Rburdeaux

    Rburdeaux Well-Known Member

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    go on craigslist, cargurus, or on here and pick up a first gen tacoma. i love mine like crazy.4 door OR. if u dont want to pay the premium on the tacoma, hunt down the same engine. the 5vzfe. they are in these vehicles..maybe a tundra could be ur play
     
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  14. Mar 16, 2017 at 9:01 PM
    #14
    cruiserguy

    cruiserguy Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately you're looking for one right when lots of others have realized that these are the last of the Japanese midsized trucks available to us currently, and their ridiculous reliability only drives that value up. Demand is HIGH for last couple/few years. The similar years 4Runners are an absolute steal in terms of quality and reliability, bang for the buck wise. They're as well built or better than the Tacomas(disclaimer - I am heavily biased to the Toyota's built in Japan and imported here).
     
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  15. Mar 16, 2017 at 10:17 PM
    #15
    Fuergrissa

    Fuergrissa Well-Known Member

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    Keep lurking,keep researching they're out there, I got my 2000 5 speed 4x4 with 100k from a first owner for 10k. It ok me about a month and a half of constant searching and thats short compared to others.

    You also might have to look outside your area, it pretty common for people to go outa state for a good looking 1st gen.

    If you don't need a 4x4, prerunners will have a lower price tag.
     
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  16. Mar 16, 2017 at 11:07 PM
    #16
    rEVOLVED

    rEVOLVED [OP] Well-Known Member

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    This is all really helpful. Thank you guys so much! As a side note, has anybody gone through a full paint job on one of these? There is an incredibly low mileage 03 Tacoma near me, but it's a weird off white color with a massive Tacoma decal diagonal across the back. If it were a better color, I'd have picked it up already.
     
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  17. Mar 17, 2017 at 12:10 AM
    #17
    Fuergrissa

    Fuergrissa Well-Known Member

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    Decals can come off, you can pick up a plasti dip kit! Check out dipyourcar.com

    4-500 for SUV size

    Paint color < well maintained truck
    If the truck is maintained well enough, look past the paint it might grow on you Or you can just paint over it.
     
  18. Mar 18, 2017 at 9:09 AM
    #18
    rEVOLVED

    rEVOLVED [OP] Well-Known Member

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    This is great to know! Let's take a deeper look into the Tundra. Obviously much bigger and more of a gas hog. Any other issues? I know that 00-04 with a 6cyl is the same engine. Is the v8 as reliable or are there years with known issues?

    Saturday means it's test drive day!
     
  19. Mar 18, 2017 at 10:46 AM
    #19
    Rburdeaux

    Rburdeaux Well-Known Member

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    i think more v8s were sold, but i would hunt after that 5vzfe. aim for a first gen tacoma or 2000-2004 tundra. 3rd gen 4runner as well but i think i read earlier in this thread that u were sold on a truck
     
  20. Mar 18, 2017 at 10:49 AM
    #20
    Rburdeaux

    Rburdeaux Well-Known Member

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    IMG_0646.jpg this guy
     

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