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Which of these two Tacomas should I buy?

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by Stereo, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. Nov 4, 2010 at 8:08 PM
    #1
    Stereo

    Stereo [OP] Member

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    Laura
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    Hi. New member here. I posted this in a different forum and didn't get any feedback so I'm hoping a change of venue will tweak some interest.

    I'm finally saying goodbye to my 1984 4 cyl 2WD Toy pickup. It's got 301k mi and no complaints by the engine but I don't feel comfortable taking it on trips anymore. (Anyone interested in buying it?) I'm now looking for a 6 cyl 4WD manual Taco for carrying a poptop and getting deeper into the Rockies (just rougher dirt roads, not limit-pushing 4WD stuff).

    I had a one-owner 2001 w/ 127k checked out by reputable mechanics and they found no major repairs though plenty of neglected maintenance items: Owner never changed the plugs (!!!) or the timing belt and he changed his oil when his wife changed hers "close to" 5000 or under but he's got no documentation. The oil filter he used was whatever whoever did the oil change put on, but not Toy brand.

    Most of the miles are probably 20% town/80% highway but for the first couple of years of ownership, he did a 4-5 mile commute on hwy (nasty!). He's done only a couple hundred miles of light 4-wheeling on dirt roads a did a light haul (under 1500 lbs) from Chicago to Denver.

    With my pickup, I was religious about changing my oil every 3k but otherwise took the attitude "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" and seemed to get away with it so I'm wondering if I can take this risk. I'd hope my next truck can go 300k too! (I will baby it this time now that I know they CAN last this long. I used to say, "Oh, it's going to die soon anyway so I won't fix that fender, bumper, etc." I was a twenty-something newbie when I bought my truck.)

    Another option I'm checking out is an '03 2-owner Taco that's supposedly been babied by both owners. Obviously, it's gonna cost me more. 127k mostly highway miles to the ski towns plus four trips to Chicago from Colorado to visit his girlfriend (It worked! Now she lives with him in CO. And no, I'm not confusing my stories. Both owners have Chicago connections.)

    I haven't paid for a mechanic's check yet. I trust him on the oil changes but the tires show differential wear (worn in the middle so guessing overinflation), lots of free play in the brake pedal (though it doesn't sink), and during my test drive, I kept hearing a short-lived, quiet whirring sound AFTER I completed a shift. Given my description, my mechanic thought the noise suggested any of several expensive problems, but the owner had his mechanic check it and the mechanic thought it might be a rush of air through the K&N filter and was not concerned. (Anyone else experience a similar noise with their K&N?) The owner also swears he gets 22-24 mpg. (I know, I know but I really don't think he's lying.)

    Would you dare to buy the '01 (which even with repairs will save me $2000)? Go for the high miles '03? Pass on both?

    Thank you for your advice!
     
  2. Nov 4, 2010 at 8:14 PM
    #2
    Yamaha Dave

    Yamaha Dave Well-Known Member

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    Honestly I'd pass on both of them. Also I'd specifically look for a Texas truck I know there are plenty 100,000 mile + 01-04 Tacomas on the market right now cause I just bought mine not too long ago. I'd be weary about buying any 1st generation truck in an area that is known for snow and it's winters as there is a major frame recall on these models from premature corrosion. Keep us updated on your finds.
     
  3. Nov 4, 2010 at 8:17 PM
    #3
    toyotatacomaTRD

    toyotatacomaTRD Senior Member

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    I think I would go for the 03...

    I had a K&N in my 98, it had what sounded like a short burst of air (very slight) only at higher RPM's.

    It is nice to hear your success story on your 84. They are great trucks.

    Good luck with your purchase.
     
  4. Nov 5, 2010 at 5:26 AM
    #4
    derekp

    derekp giddy up!

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    If those are the only two choices you are sticking with, have the frames checked ASAP...

    BTW...I have a 2001 V6 5spd w/127k miles. I love it, and she runs great. I am getting ready to make a trip towing a trailer (around 400lbs) from DC to TX in a week and expect to get around 17-18mpg.
     
  5. Nov 5, 2010 at 6:57 AM
    #5
    Stereo

    Stereo [OP] Member

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    Thanks for the advice and the confirmation that the air filter might be the cause of the noise I'm hearing.

    I imagine there are deals to be had in Texas but being in Colorado, that's a longgggg way away to look for a truck. I'm finding it a pain to travel an hour to check out "local" trucks. :)

    Yep, rust is on my radar. That's the first thing I asked the mechanic to check on the '01 since it spent a few years in Chicago. Last year, I looked at a Tacoma from Pennsylvania and everything underneath was coated in rust! True, in Colorado we've got lots of snow (in the mountains, anyway) but we don't use much, if any, salt. We use solar energy to melt the stuff and sand for a bit of traction. However, cities started using potassium chloride at intersections a few years ago. I don't know if that has the same corrosive action as Eastern melt salt formulas. It kills the vegetation for sure.

    I've crossed the '01 off my list. He wouldn't come down enough in price to account for all the maintenance items. I'm having the '03 checked out by a mechanic today. I'll let you know what the results are.
     
  6. Nov 5, 2010 at 7:06 AM
    #6
    Stereo

    Stereo [OP] Member

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    I forgot to ask if anyone knows what's in the '01 tow package for an MT Taco. It appears it was only a hitch receiver and some wiring. I guess the tranny cooler only goes with the AT vehicles. Am I right or were other things included in the tow package of that year?

    Thanks.
     
  7. Nov 5, 2010 at 7:43 AM
    #7
    Rebeltac

    Rebeltac hillbilly ways, outlaw style

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    joby
    north idaho
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    toyotas are awesome:) my k&n makes noise too. but like the other guy said there are tons of them for sale, so buy one you are comfortable with and it will probably run forever:) got 215k on my 2000 and the oil looks new when i change it. good luck with your purchase:) post pics on the one you get. :)

    and by the way. we use potassium chloride on the roads in idaho and its awful on trucks! i wash mine once a week in the winter, underneath and all:)
     
  8. Nov 5, 2010 at 8:35 AM
    #8
    RideFast

    RideFast on the flats.

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    Welcome to TW!
    i would pass on both!
    You are a loyal toyota owner, wait till you find something that someone has babied and has documentation of maintenance and you will get another 300k!!!
    Maybe look for a truck in new mexico or arizona where the rust hasent gotten to the frame!

    Timing belt and water pump replacement would have been the major items needing serviced!
     
  9. Nov 5, 2010 at 9:03 AM
    #9
    Avsguy33

    Avsguy33 Well-Known Member

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    Ii would pass on both. There are not many first gens running around for sale in colorado, at least not when i was looking for mine, but you can find a good truck at a good price if you are patient. Take a trip to craigslist in denver. There are quite a bit of first gens on there right now.
     
  10. Nov 5, 2010 at 9:06 AM
    #10
    OmahaStylee

    OmahaStylee Beating Anorexia since 1976

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    Hey Stereo, incoming PM


    ...Is this the 03 you speak of?
    If so I'd say check into it & forget about the other one.
     
  11. Nov 5, 2010 at 1:25 PM
    #11
    JBear

    JBear Spiral Out... Keep Going!

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    Exactly... they are out there! I waited for the right deal for 2 months before finding something I'd settle on... 2003 Access Cab, SR5, 4x4, TRD with 149k... never taken off-road / highway miles, original owner with maint records from date of purchase, NO rust, prestine motor compartment, perfect body equipped with a matching Leer shell I priced out around $1700 new.... needs shocks, clutch, transfer case maintenance, and new tires after 10k more miles or so... I paid $10.3k after taxes and fees, and I'll be putting about $3k into it over the next 6 months... but that'll be lifted and off-road ready.
     
  12. Nov 5, 2010 at 1:46 PM
    #12
    cc350

    cc350 Buckeye Member

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    Don't think toyota had facorty tow packages till 2005. Earlier years were after market or installed at dealerships but no factory option.
     
  13. Nov 5, 2010 at 7:55 PM
    #13
    RideFast

    RideFast on the flats.

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    I think the dealerships threw on a hitch and trailer wiring and called it tow pkg. I know they did for my 03. I'll bet there are a few Tacomas out there with the full tow pkg.
     
  14. Nov 6, 2010 at 10:08 AM
    #14
    Stereo

    Stereo [OP] Member

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    I appreciate all the feedback. I've decided to go with the 03. I think readers got the idea there was rust on this truck but there isn't. There was concern by some that a Colorado truck would have rust by virtue of Colorado being a snow state. (Thanks for the tip on the KCl; I'll be sure to keep my truck washed off.) I know there are "lots" of Tacomas to choose from but finding them at a price I can afford is the tough part. No one sells for book here, dealer or private party.

    I had the 03 checked out by a Toyota mechanic and the only thing they found of remote concern was a slight leak that could be fixed for $60. The timing belt was already changed prematurely because of a leak in the water pump. Otherwise, this truck sounds like JBear's find in that the owner (says he) did baby his truck, it's in excellent shape inside and out, he does have all his records, the mileage is highway miles, he hasn't been 4-wheeling with it, and he's even going to clean the K&N before he turns it over to me.

    I can't wait to put my recent Skamper poptop purchase on (after I find some air pacs and change to Bilstein shocks which come with the truck purchase) and get further into the mountains. After 30 years living in the same area, I'm bored with the same-old hiking trails.
     
  15. Nov 6, 2010 at 10:23 AM
    #15
    RideFast

    RideFast on the flats.

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    Heck yea! post some pics when you get it!
     
  16. Nov 6, 2010 at 1:48 PM
    #16
    toyotatacomaTRD

    toyotatacomaTRD Senior Member

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    Congrats on your purchase. It sounds like a good truck.

    The story about changing the timing belt early due to leaking water pump is very common, so I am sure it is true.

    Good luck with it!
     
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