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Toyota Tacoma: Problems & Solutions

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  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    This is my first Toyota, and I won't know first-hand about the durability for a long time. But I have taken Fords and Chevys well over 200K, so the Toy should do well, if given proper care. But each engine is unique, and the slightest flaw is magnified at 100k. If you have had no problems yet you might be okay.
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    We've had some problems - a weird radiator problem they replaced on the extended warranty (surprising, since normally a radiator is considered a wear item) and off and on tranny problems. They seem to disappear after a short time and not return in quite the same way.

    So far I've been having good luck with my current vehicles. I have over 111,000 miles on both of them, (the Taco and a '98 Wrangler which has very comfortable seats). I figure I'll start having more things with them now that they are broken in. As you pointed out, since I haven't had any major problems yet, I probably won't, as long as I keep up with the maintenance.
  • slorenzenslorenzen Posts: 344
    based on the fact you do about 80-90% freeway driving, that Taco ought to go 300K, but keep up on the oil changes!
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    We've always gotten oil changes between 3,000-4,000 miles, which ends up being about every 6 weeks. We've never seen any sign of oil sludge, so I was surprised to hear many Toyota engines were affected by this.

    I do have to put quite a load on the engine getting up some of the hills. In fact, one section is steep enough that the Taco can't maintain 70 mph in 5th gear (does OK in 4th). Is that as hard on an engine as stop and go traffic?
  • kbtoyskbtoys Posts: 62
    Being in 4th gear will not effect the durbilty of the engine. Rember these are Japan engines not American. They are made to run higher in RPM's
  • slorenzenslorenzen Posts: 344
    Years ago I had a little Nissan 310(1.4 pushrod engine). I was in sales, traveling 1k miles/week on average. I sold the car with 150K on it, and was still running like new. Any car will last a very long time with majority freeway miles. Brakes were replaced at 120K, for instance.
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    Thanks for all the encouraging notes. I had been wondering why I haven't had to do anything about replacing the brakes yet (though it probably won't be long). I have found that driving a 5 speed is easier on the brakes than an auto tranny in slow and go traffic - just put it in a lower gear and creep along.

    We're leaning more and more toward replacing the seats and keeping the Taco for a couple of more years. It does get excellent gas mileage, and it has (more or less) adequate power for our rather extreme commute. Yes, I would like more power, but then I'd have to pay for it in gas. And my biggest complaint is the seats - otherwise it isn't such a bad vehicle.
  • kbtoyskbtoys Posts: 62
    Something you might want to check out is sheep skin seat covers. I paid $40.00 a piece for mine and they make a big difference. The ones I got have padding in them which makes the seat comfy. Also keep in mind I traded a reg cab taco with the bench seat. Now you want to talk about a bad back. So when I got my xcab with bucket seat it was a step up.
  • walter99walter99 Posts: 10
    I just want to second the idea of sheepskin seat covers. Based on what I had read about Tacoma seats, I had a pair ready to go when I purchased my truck. Made a significant difference.
  • kdxkenkdxken Posts: 1
    How long can one reasonably expect the Tacoma's to run, assuming very good maintenance and care? I'm looking for one in the 1998 - 2000 model years, and plan on getting the 2.4L, manual transmission, 2WD.

    The truck will be used for freeway commuting about 12,000 miles a year, and maybe another 4,000 or so towing a small cargo trailer with dirt bikes & gear (maybe 2,000 lbs total).

    Are the 'yota's still living up to their reputation for long life? Also, is the 2.4L engine proving to be as good as the 2.2L?
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    Before you buy one of those model years, take it for a long test drive.

    Other than that, I own one of those (2000, MT, 2WD, 4 banger). Other than a weird radiator problem (replaced on extended warranty which is unusual for a wear part) and some tranny problems that have appeared and disappeared mysteriously it has been maintenance free for 113,000 miles.

    I am currently debating spending something like $1000 to replace the HORRIBLE seats or just trade it in as soon as I get on the right side of my loan.
  • cranatcranat Posts: 1
    hey! I've got a 98 4wd ,6 cylinder Tacoma. It's in for it's third clutch master cylinder failure in less than 3 years, They have replaced the master cylinder once already ,as well as the clutch pedal assembly trying to resolve the problem(not under warranty ,of course)
     The clutch pedal has had an annoying squeak since around the 40,000 km mark, after numerous complaints and hours on the phone, all I have is frustration and a sore head (from hitting it on the wall) any suggestions? Thanks Cranat....
  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    TCC seems to have been disbanded sometime after 1990. Perhaps they have put so much money into racing they don't have enough left for a decent support system. I have a suspicion they are using one of those phone bank outfits used by so many companies these days for customer support.
  • smoophsmooph Posts: 1
    I just purchased a used 2001 Tacoma XCAB V6 4WD.

    Great truck in great shape. Only 30K miles. 2nd day driving the truck I am at a stop light and I put it into 4WD and see how she does. I push the "4WD" button, hear the hubs lock (click click) and make a left hand turn. Go straight for 2 blocks and begin to make a right hand turn into a parking lot. I am coasting at 5-10 MPH, Clutch depressed and out of gear when too my surprise I feel resistance in my turn and I come to a stop as if I had the brake on. The more I turned the more resistance. SO I proceed to pull in to the parking lot. Stop. Press the "4WD" button to dissingatge and move forward. I feel a bit of resistance and "Pop Pop" the hubs unlock.

    So...My question to the forum is how ignorant am I? Are all of these noises normal and what about the resistance when coasting on a right hand turn?

    Please tell me my Taco isn't a dud!

    Signed,

    First Time Truckin...
  • goltgogoltgo Posts: 54
    I'm no expert, and I don't even own a Tacoma, but it sounds like your problem is binding which occurs when one engages a 4WD system on pavement that is not made for such use. The part-time system that I believe your rig has is for use on surfaces with a little "give" in them such as off road on dirt, sand, or snow. Your system is not like AWD systems that can be used at all times on all surfaces. In those systems, the wheels are allowed to turn at different speeds, especially in a turn. Your system does not do this. The wheels are turned at the same rate, and in a turn the outer tires want to (but can't) turn more quickly than the inside ones (since they have a farther distance to travel). Hence the binding sensation in turns. If your rig does have the regular part-time system, you can do damage to it by engaging it on a high-traction surface such as dry pavement. Others on this board should be able to shed more light on your situation...
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I'm no mechanic so I was hesitant to answer your concerns. However, I do know that the Tacoma has a part time 4WD system. While I have a 2WD Taco, I also have a Wrangler (with part time 4WD) that I off-road with. And what you've described sounds like the 4x4 system is working very well, and binding up.

    As was said by goltgo, you can't use part-time 4WD on paved roads. The transfer case locks the front wheels and back wheels together so that they will travel at the same speed. No problem if you are going in a straight line on a smooth surface. When you go around a corner your front and back wheels travel different paths - look sometime at your treads created in fresh snow - you can see different paths for all 4 tires. Since the tires are traveling different paths, they would be traveling at different speeds. They can't do this if they are locked together in 4WD, which is why you get tire churping and resistence.

    I have to drive the Wrangler in winter occasionally because we often get good sized dumps of snow (I live in the mountains) and the roads aren't particularly plowed at 4am. I've occasionally had the wheels churp and get resistence when I try to turn on the road just outside the driveway. That means I have good traction and its time to disengage 4WD. It also means that I am very careful on cleared roads when it is freezing. If I can't see patches of ice, I won't have time to put it in 4WD, because I'm traveling in 2WD. This is the main disadvantage to having a part time 4WD system.

    If you want to test out your 4WD, then find a really soft dirt or steepish rocky road somewhere, drive to where you feel the wheels start to slip a bit, then engage 4WD. It can be amazing how much difference it makes in handling under those conditions.
  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    My Recaros came in, and I wanted to let you know they are amazing. They wrap you up like a mother's love, and they DO NOT SQUEAK. Blessed silence at last. They were very easy to assemble and install, and they are r-r-r-really good. They are firm, and they seem to mold themselves to your body. I cannot wait to get them on the highway.
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    Did you do the install yourself? Would an all-thumbs type of person be able to handle it? Also, do you order them by type of vehicle, or are they something that you have to drill and so on? How do they affect the seatbelts? Do you sit higher than the standard seats?

    Let us know all about them!
  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    The seats and sliders are specific for driver/passenger side, and the bracket is vehicle specific and driver/passenger specific. There is no Recaro bracket for Tacoma so you get a Wedge Engineering bracket. You have to assemble the sliders to the seats, but this is two allen head bolts on each side of the seat (you need a 6mm allen). They will go on in only one way, but you have to look them over good before you see it. Then you have four hex head bolts to mount the sliders to the bracket, and that's about it. Removing the old seat is simply four bolts, which are easy to get at. Putting the new ones in is just as easy (use the original mounting bolts). They fit in perfectly. Probably the hardest part is getting the seatbelt latch end off your old seats. These bolt to the new brackets. It is not as pretty as the original (it's kinda ugly) because these bolts are out there in front of God and everybody, but there is supposed to be a kit available to pretty-up that part of it. I got my stuff from On-Track Performance in Milford Michigan for three reasons. The guy really knows his stuff. His price is very good and his shipping is cheap. Finally, he is only a short drive from the Recaro factory in Auburn Hills, and the factory people know this guy very well.
    I would say if you have the metric allen wrench, a 1/2 inch box-end wrench and a 9/16 (or their metric equivalents) and you are reasonably handy with small tools you would have no problem installing these seats. I did the assembly and install in a fuzz over one hour (my lunch hour), but then I had to remove the seat belt latches from the original seats to install on the new ones and that took maybe another 30 minutes after work. Add another 15 minutes to scotchgard the things and you got it. Driving to the store or to work just one time will relieve the pain of spending all that money.
    You will want to throw garbage and knives at your old seats after you sit in these Recaros, but don't do it. Save them for the poor ba---rd who buys your truck, because there is no way you will give up the Recaros.
  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    I should add one note. The sliders can be mounted at a choice of three heights in front and three in back, but the front inboard mounting tab is restricted to the highest setting because it hits the bracket if you try to lower it. What you do there is cut off the end hole if you want the height lower, then cut off the second hole if you want it as low as it will go. Remember that you cannot go back, so try one of the seats before you start on the other. I like the seat lower in front, so I cut off one notch so the front would be about 1 inch lower than the back. I will drive it that way for awhile before I decide whether to hack it down to the last notch. All you need is a hack saw. But you might like it at the highest setting, in which case you won't need to do a thing. This is not a real big deal, but it is a little disappointing that you have to hack anything that expensive. Still, you will readily see why it has to be that way. Toyota has that inboard mount point much higher than the others, and the bracket can only be made one way. If you have an extra $300 per seat you can get the power option, in which case all of this is moot.
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    Hmm, power seats, huh? I've never had power seats, but it might be nice. On the other hand, just getting comfortable seats would be good enough for me. Since I've never owned a car with power anything, it doesn't bother me. Thanks for all the information!
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    rlafaver - how much were the sliders (mounting brackets)? I've seen Recaros for sale on Ebay, but never with Tacoma mounts (big suprise). I've also seen afermarket seat websites that say "no seat brackets sold without seat purchase", which could be a real bummer if you changed vehicles and wanted to move the seats to your new ride.

    mtngal - I know that you drive a 2wd Tacoma. Does it have the split-bench (with fold-down armrest) or individual buckets and center console?

    My '96 LX V6 has the split bench, which I find tolerable, but not wonderful. It's better than the bench seat in my former pickup (a Nissan std cab), but on long drives, it can be painful. I don't know if it's all the seats fault though, as I have some minor back problems.

    So I have been seat shopping for a couple months now. The delux Tacoma seats with adjustable lumbar support, as found in the S-runner, look pretty good, but I have only seen those once on Ebay and they went for a premium price.

    -james
  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    You can buy the Wedge brackets for the Tacoma (1995-2003 xtraCab) from On Track Performance at www.recaro-seats.com. The part numbers are 1104 and 1105 (he questioned me for the exact cab style on my truck, so I don't know if these are the same parts for a standard cab). They are $60 each. You can also buy the Recaro slider sets there, and they are $80 for each seat. The seats were $720 each, all from the same place.
    My Tacoma had spit bench seats with a fold down arm rest/console, so I no longer have a console. You can get after market consoles, but I never used it anyway, and I kind of like the "open" feel that I'm getting without that thing.
    I think the Recaro sliders and Wedge brackets are a matched set, so I don't think the brackets would work for another brand of slider, but you can double check that with Mark Wilson at On Track. However, I know that Wedge makes the brackets for many brands of seats.
    This is NOT and AD for On Track. I named them because that is the company I dealt with. You can find a list of all American dealers at www.recaro-nao.com
  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    If you have dealers near you, you might want to check out Corbeau seats. I bought Recaros because I know them, but they are costly. The Corbeaus are half as much and are supposed to be really good. On the other hand, this might be one of those "get what you pay for" deals. I don't know.
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    rlafaver - thanks for the feedback. I will check into the wedge brackets. I have a really nice drivers seat that I bought on e-bay for $1.00 (plus $32.00 shipping). I'm not sure what it originally came in, but it had been installed in a Highlander. The existing brackets won't fit my Tacoma, but perhaps it could be adapted with a Wedge universal mount.

    The only problem them would be that it doesn't match my interior. The new seat is black and charcoal and my interior is grey. But hey, comfort is more important than style, right?

    mtngal - if you like the split bench seats, you should be able to locate a used one at a reasonable price since they are fairly common.

    -james
  • chiweihochiweiho Posts: 51
    there is a TacoDC fuel hose protector safety recall notice, did anyone else with a DC have one of these? How come alldata.com did not have one of these posted on their web sites? is there another web site that has better recall/TSB notices?
  • xsactaxsacta Posts: 26
    Hello all,

      After 336K miles omn my `86 Toy pickup it was time to step up.I bought a Tacoma V6 automatic Xtra cab TRD.I never thought I`d get an automatic but there were practical reasons so I did.I took a quick test drive.Less than a mile.It was great so I bought it right then and there.I wrapped up with the dealer around 9:00 pm and was on my way.Driving home,with the truck fully warmed up,I noticed that the tranny shifted rather hard into second gear,less hard into third,and normally smooth into overdrive.It would also drop down quite hard into first.It`s not metal to metal hard,but more of a dull thump.The next morning I told the dealer and they promised to resolve it.In the morning when I first drove the truck,it shifted fine for the fisrt few cycles of stop and go.As soon as it warmed up the thumping hard shifting was back.The dealer attempted to download a new program into the transmissions *learning* computer.Unfortunately Toyota website would not allow access so they couldn`t do it.The mechanic claimed that while the truck shifted kinda *firm* that it might learn my particular driving habits and adjust.So I left.I was committed to breaking the truck in easy and drove it like a granfather.Nothing changed.I brought it back for the 1000 mile oil change and cried the blues.This time they reset the computer by disconneting the battery cable and here we go again.At 1800 miles nothing has changed.I filed a claim at Toyota corporate in hopes of getting a field technician to make an assessment.I was promised a call in 3 business days.When I called 4 days later and asked why I wasn`t called I was told that the dealer said the truck was *normal*.I made a stink and was given a new case number and still no call.Now I`m on my third case number and still no call.I`m irritated.I can`t stand stepping on the gas pedal.The motivation I had for buying a new truck was that the rear had gone on my `86 and I just didn`t feel like changiing it out.I go from a clunking rear to a thumping transmission.I`ve worked on and rebuilt my vehicles for years.This problem will cause premature war and damage.What`s as irksome as the actual problem is that the dealer would treat me like an idiot by telling me this is normal.I know that this isn`t normal.AAmoco says that it isn`t normal.All in all I`m disgusted.Has anyone had a similar issue with their automatic Tacoma?

    Regards,
    Rich
  • 73cjdude73cjdude Posts: 13
    Hi Rich,
    I have a 2000 TRD V6 4x4 Auto. It has 47'000 miles on it. It's been a hard shifting tranny since it was new and hasn't changed. It is normal for the Toyota Automatics. You will most likely experence axle wrap with it also.If you panic stop and suddenly release the brake you'll fill a thud like you were bumped from behind!. the response from the Toyota dealer and Toyota Corp. doesn't suprise me. Toyota service bites the biggie!
  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    My 2003 Tacoma Auto downshifts hard only at times when I almost come to a stop, then I give it gas (so I try to avoid doing this). Otherwise, accellerating hard or easy, the shift is smooth. Mine is a 4 banger, and that might make a difference. The only problem I have like you is the attitude of Toyota service. It does truly suck. If I had it to do over again, I would not buy a Toyota.
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