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Toyota Tacoma: Problems & Solutions



  • gtoddhgtoddh Posts: 10
    The second truck I had intended to look at was gone too! Seems PreRunners are pretty popular around here these days.

    I did get to check on out at this one place. It was a '99 Black PreRunner SR5 TRD with 73K miles. It had a solid fiberglass tonneau cover and the bed was lined with some type of padded carpet. It seemed to be a good truck. I was able to take it on a nice 20 mile or so drive. The selling price was $14.5K. I was able to negotiate the trade of my car and the price was in my ballpark, but for some reason the truck just didn't do it for me. I was a little concerned about the miles, although I might be ridiculous for thinking that's a problem. I don't know. One little thing that really kind of annoyed me was that the grip part of the steering wheel was loose from the steering wheel frame itself right at the top of the wheel. It allowed the grip part to rotate a little bit. I don't know if I'm describing this well enough. Basically I could twist the steering wheel grip much the same as I twist the throttle grip on my motorcycle. I don't know how easily this could be fixed but I do know that it would have bugged me to no end until it was fixed. I also don't think I want a black truck. I'm going to narrow my search to lighter colors.

    So anyway, I know I still like/want a Tacoma, I just didn't want that Tacoma.

    However, I have expanded my search to include Nissan Frontiers. Since Tacomas in my price range seem to be hard to come by I'm considering Frontiers now too. Even though the one I drove at Carmax didn't do much for me I'm going to give another one a try before I rule them out.

    Thanks for your responses. I'll keep you posted on how my truck searching progresses.

  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I have to agree with you about the black truck - I have one black vehicle and one white vehicle. The black is significantly warmer.

    Based on my experience, I wouldn't worry too much about 70,000 miles, as long as the engine hasn't been abused. I was thinking about selling my 2000 Taco and getting something with more comfortable seats, but changed my mind when I got the back support. Mine has 156,000 miles on it and I'm hoping to get at least another 100,000 miles before I finally sell it.

    One of the reasons I have the Taco is that I didn't care for the Frontiers. I've owned several Nissans, including a Hardbody pickup that I kept for 11 years (and 290,000 miles). I'd probably still own it but it was an auto and I moved to the mountains. When the second tranny went, I sold it, even though the motor was still in good shape.
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    The price for the '99 Black Prerunner seems quite high (IMO). I've seen 99/00 Xtracab Prerunners advertised here in Orlando for under $12K and with less than 60K miles. I think they're still listed at I test drove a 99 Xtracab Prerunner, gorgeous truck, 46.5K miles, listed at $11395 with a $399 dealer fee, but when I called them back after the test drive they just didn't seem to want my business.
    The truck will be for my son, replacing his '98 Mustang.....LOL.
  • spyd3rm4nspyd3rm4n Posts: 5
    I just purchased a 2004 Tacoma 4x2 XtraCab 2.4L Auto two months ago. Since I bought this truck, I have not been able to get better than 18MPG, and that includes highway driving! I have checked just about everything I could think of - Tires are inflated properly, I have tried driving with and without air conditioning, I have tried cruise control at 55, 60, 65, and 70MPH, I have tried various types of acceleration ranging from normal to extremely light, and I have tried several brands and grades of gasoline. No matter what I do, I can't get better than 18MPG! I have been told that during the first 1000 miles I should expect to see lower than rated fuel economy since it's the break in period, however I have 1800 miles on my truck and it's still getting the same mileage as when it was new!

    When I took it to the dealer, they told me there was nothing they could do because the check engine light wasn't on! I have called Toyota and filed a complaint, and I am in the process of sending them a written complaint.

    This truck is rated at 22 city, 25 highway, and I a can't beat 18MPG on the highway! My main reason for getting this truck instead of a 4WD Tacoma or Full Size Chevy or Ford was the fuel economy! I got the 2.4L 4x2 beacuse I don't mind sacrificing some power for better fuel economy, but this little truck is very sluggish and still doesn't get good gas mileage! Something is seriously wrong. If Toyota can't fix my truck to get better gas mileage, I would like a replacement or refund. I am going to go through arbitration if they cannot fix this problem.

    Car manufacturers always claim "Your Mileage May Vary", however I have tried varying my driving technique even to the point where I drive like a grandma and I still can't get better mileage! A friend of mine has a 2002 4x4 Tacoma that averages 20MPG, and that's a heavier truck with a bigger engine and bigger tires!

    Has anyone else experienced poor fuel economy on their 2.4L 4x2 Tacoma?
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I have a pretty much the same vehicle (2WD, Xtracab, 4 banger, mine is a 5 speed - is yours an auto?) except it is a 2000 and I usually get 26-28 mpg. That's almost all highway, driving 70-75 and includes an altitude difference of around 5,500 feet (start at close to 6,000 feet, go to sea level and then back up). It went over 160,000 miles today and I've been quite happy with the mileage. It doesn't have any extra power, but it gets me to work and back. The seats are uncomfortable, but the back support I recently got has helped enough that we are going to keep it for a couple of more years.

    Good luck trying to get the dealer or Toyota to do something about your mileage.
  • gop4evergop4ever Posts: 5
    I have a 2002 4WD Tacoma 2.7 and Im getting 25mpg. Granted it is a manual and I drive very conservatively, but Im still beating the epa estimate.
    I have noticed that my mileage has continually improved since I got the truck, they seem to take a while to break in.
  • ata3001ata3001 Posts: 30
    I have an 04 Tacoma reg cab 4x4 2.7L w/automatic that I bought new in April. I now have approximately 6200 miles on it an am getting just under 23 mpg combined city/hwy driving. This is with 265/70x16 tires and 4.56 rear end gears (stock). Not exactly the 38 mpg combined city/hwy mileage I got from my 01 Corolla S 5 spd. but I can't complain. The Corolla couldn't pull a 2000 lb trailer though as I have with the Tacoma. Now if only the price of gas would come down again...hmm....
  • bearcrkrdbearcrkrd Posts: 167
    I have a 2001 4x2 base model, small cab, 5spd manual, with a spray in bedliner, which adds some weight. It just passed 60,500. Have had the 30 and 60,000 mile services at the Toyata dealer, and changed oil every 3-4,000, with air filter change every 15,000. I get 24-30 overall, with the 24-25 and 29-30 not too common, but have seen it more than once. Most often I see 26mpg, with about 70% freeway. I drive a bit more than 'average', but also take it easy on corners and stop and start smoothly. I keep track of every tankfull. That started partly because of concerns about a neighbor dipping into my tank, but has continued after I stopped thinking about that! I don't have any advice, sounds like you are doing what I would do....
  • ata3001ata3001 Posts: 30
    I went out today driving about 210 miles. I'm not a lead foot driving 55-65 mph. Speed limit was 55 & 65 mph in various places. and I managed to get 27 1/2 mpg. Not bad considering the EPA rating is 18/21.
  • deeztoodeeztoo Posts: 2
    I just bought an '02 Tacoma extended cab and have a question about the interior dome (ceiling) light. The only time it will come on... other than when I turn the switch on, is when I put the key in the door to unlock the truck. Does anyone know how to make the light automatically come on upon opening the door to get out or when the passenger door is opened? Thanks
  • i've got an '02 tacoma double cab, during the warmer months when i roll my windows down (all the way) a mildew smell comes from the doors. been to two dealers with the problem all they do is spray 3 cans of deoderizer in the doors. i can't find a TSB concerning this issue, wondering if others have this problem.
  • 2k1trd2k1trd Posts: 301
    What color is the truck?
  • it's white, the oder is terrible were it's been so warm & wet here. i'm going to make an appointment with the dealer (third time) and demand it be fixed for good. i don't care if they gotta put four new doors on it!
  • gtoddhgtoddh Posts: 10
    I've been continuously searching for that ever elusive "one in a million" deal on a Tacoma!

    My current prospect is an '01 V6 4x4 Ext Cab with 85K miles. I haven't seen the truck yet so I don't know much about it. I don't even know the asking price yet. My bro-in-law who works at a dealership just took the truck in today. I'll know the whole scoop tomorrow after the truck goes through the service dept for inspection, detail, etc. He did say though that the truck should be in my (limited) price range. :-)

    So here's my latest question - At what point does mileage on a Tacooma become an issue? I realize that 85K on an '01 is ALOT! I put on about 15K miles/yr, so it would be a while, if ever, before I'd catch up and be on track for average miles/yr for the model year. Is this going to seriously hurt me if I ever DO want to get rid of the truck?

    As always - thanks for your responses. Once I know more about the truck I'll post it here.

    Todd Huestis
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I guess it is how you define "a lot of miles" - I have a 2000 Tacoma Xtra cab, 2WD, 4 banger and I noticed today on the way home that it is due for another oil change at 162,000 miles. It is still running great - original clutch etc. All I've had to do is replace the brakes and rotors (and change the fluids quite often). Oh, I had a weird tranny thing that was there for a week then disappeared and the radiator had a manufacturing defect so it was replaced under (extended) warranty. While I still don't like the seats, the back support I bought has made a big difference, and I hope to get another couple of years out of it.

    If my experience is any indication, that 85,000 isn't something to be scared about, especially if the truck has been taken care of properly.
  • 2k1trd2k1trd Posts: 301
    Say no more...i had the same problem with my wifes diamond white pearl Solara.I balme it on the color as white will not attract the sun to dry out the moisture inside the doors.If you havn't noticed,on hot days you can easily touch a vehicle that is painted white (or any other light colored vehicle) and it's basically at air temp verses a black car that you could not even keep your hand on it as is is way to hot to the touch.
  • i never thought about the white, i've never had this problem but i never had a light color vehicle either. do you think silver is the same? there are a million silver Tacoma's & Rav4's, you guess they all sink to?

    the dealer just called, said the drains/ vents are clear, there's no water puddled in the door, same as always.... i'll get another can of deoderizer in each door and be on my way! i told the service manager this is b%llsh!t to spend so much on a new vehicle and it smell like mold & mildew. he said his techs have other vehicles come in smelling similair, some worse than others, i'll find out if they're tacomas, solaras & if they're all light colored. he's also gonna give me an 800# for toyota consumer affairs to lodge a complaint (like i couldn't find that in my owners manual). going to pick up the truck now.
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    LOL.....That's the first I've heard of a light color causing mold.
  • gtoddhgtoddh Posts: 10
    My current prospect is an '01 V6 4x4 Ext Cab with 85K miles

    So I went and drove this truck today. It has not been serviced/detailed yet by the dealership. Right now it's rough! There is some sort of aftermarket alarm system that keeps cycling on and off. The dash and parking lights are all flashing in unison with said alarm system. The exhaust is pretty loud. I looked underneath and didn't see any aftermarket exhaust so I think there's probably something wrong with the muffler. It's got aftermarket cruise control. I don't know if it works or not. The interior/exterior is very dirty. There are small holes in the ceiling where something was mounted right behind the reading lights. There is evidence of a previously mounted toolbox. There is a tow hitch that looks like it's had the ball mount bar (receiver?) inserted/removed many times.

    Oh and did I mention that the truck is GOLD with TAN interior? I really dislike Toyota's tan interior, and I'm not too keen on the exterior gold color either.

    My bro-in-law says he sees vehicles in this shape traded in all the time and that once it goes through service/detail it will look MUCH better.

    The truck drives well. The one thing I did notice was what seemed to be detonation. I thought I could hear the engine knocking under acceleration. The truck does have 88K miles. Should there be any evidence of detonation in a 3.4L V6? I wouldn't think so.

    As it stands now I'm not inclined to purchase this vehicle. It would have to have a major transformation to win me over.

    I also today had the thought of waiting until the 2005's are completely out, like in Dec/Jan. I'm betting there are going to be quite a few people in late model Taco's ('01-'04) that are going to want to get in a new '05 model Taco once they see them. There will also be a new Frontier and new Dakota by then that people might be trading in their Taco's for. Do you think that I might have better luck waiting until then to look for a used Taco?


  • 2k1trd2k1trd Posts: 301
    I have a 01 Tacoma in silver and so far no problems.
  • goltgogoltgo Posts: 54
    I'm no expert, but it sounds like you should really pass on the Gold/Tan Tacoma. I doubt that holes in the ceiling will be addressed as part of a dealer detailing, and the same goes for the muffler. You have to wonder how much towing that rig did too since you mentioned that the hitch appears to have been well used. That engine knocking is also worrisome, though I suppose one could chalk that up to cheap gas, which doesn't say a lot about its previous upkeep either.
  • justinjustin Posts: 1,918
    figure i will ask here:

    looking at a lightly used (10k miles) 2003 BASE Tacoma with automatic. i know i know, it is slow as Christmas with the 4 cylinder.

    any issues or problems with that vintage? are the auto trannies in those trucks fairly durable? not a lot of torque to harm the engine, thats for sure.

    it is a base model, no power windows even!

    looking at the 03 Tacoma, and a brand new 04 Mazda/Ranger 2.3 automatic. they both seem to be the same truck, engine wise. though the Ford/Mazda has a 5 speed auto vs. Tacomas 4 speed auto.



    can any of them tow a light jetski (under 1 thousand pounds) in and out of a boat ramp?
  • gtoddhgtoddh Posts: 10
    I finally found that perfect deal:

    '99 4x4 V6 ExtCab Auto TRD, 59K miles, all the bells and whistles except CD player. I bought it for $13,7 plus. I think I got a pretty good deal. I've had it for 2 weeks and love it!

    Todd Huestis
  • I have a 1997 Tacoma, and just recently the heat setting adjustment has been giving me some problems.
    At times, it will only pump out cool air (regardless if temperature adjustment is set all the way to hot). Conversely, when set all the way to cold, sometimes all I will get is hot air.
    Strangely enough, sometimes if I move the temperature setting even slightly to the left or right, the heat will change dramatically...why would that be?

    The linkage under the hood appears to be turning everything properly, and moving the knobs feels just like it did when the truck was new. My coolant levels and temperature are all fine, but personally I am getting a little hot headed about all of this...I appreciate any suggestions
  • well since the cables are all doing the right thing i would suggest a new thermostat. typiclly when the thermostat goes out you can only get hot or only cold air. is the motor (water) temp regular or does it vary as well?
  • i've been in communication with toyota about my stinky door problem. i've spent the last 4 weeks explaining the problem (over the phone) to various toyota personnal. unfortunatly not one of them can inform me of how they will proceed to fix the problem. i figured someone from toyota would want to meet me at the dealership to examine the truck and diagnose the problem, but this has yet to happen. all i get from each person i talk to is, "we'll get back to you". this is BS, i told one guy i didn't care if they had to put 4 complete new doors on the truck, i wanted it fixed, he though that sounded expensive! like the truck was free or something.
    i'll keep everyone posted
  • whatnow2whatnow2 Posts: 24
    Reposted from a different board in hopes of a reply:

    My 2001 Tacoma X-cab has what appears to be a continuous rubber weatherstrip around the driver's door. A small (about 2-inch) part has become torn (shredded really) at the bottom, apparently due to a shoe or boot scraping over it entering or leaving the truck. How big a problem is this, and has anyone tried to replace one of these?

    I still have one month on warranty, but hesitate to ask Toyota to replace it since it is obviously owner-caused "damage."
  • rollyso2rollyso2 Posts: 7
    I am looking at buying a 1998 V-6 Ext. Cab 5-spd with 100k. Everything seems great except there seems to be a noise, whir, high pitch, when shifting from 1-2 and 2-3. It also makes this whir/squeal if putting along in 2 or 3 and feathering the gas. Any ideas? Is this common to Toyota? Never owned a truck, but many manual trans cars and never any noise like this. Many problems with the tranny/clutch on these models? Any input would be appreciated.
  • 2k1trd2k1trd Posts: 301
    I would take the door panels off and then you could see whats going on inside the doors.With the windows up,you can actually get your hand inside the door and probably spray some sort of cleaner in there and wash it out.The doors have drains located at each end so don't worry about getting some water in there also to flush out the mess.
  • whatnow2whatnow2 Posts: 24
    I hsve a 2001 Tacoma ex cab v6 5M transmission, bought new. The "whir/squeal" has been there since day one, althought it reduced a little with added mileage. This seems like engine noise to me since it varies directly with RPMs. I was much more concerned with the shifting "hitch" between 1st and 2nd, which has persisted. The truck is now (this month) out of warranty, so we'll see what happens.
This discussion has been closed.