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Toyota Tacoma Prerunner (owner experiences)



  • toddztoddz Posts: 7
    Superglide- SOunds like you scored a great price for your PreRunner. I just bought a 2001 as well with everthing. However, the listed MSRP was 23,500. How come yours was so much less? Mine has the TRD, sunroof, cruise, bedliner, power everything, bucket seats, V6 etc... THis is my first Toyota and hope it lasts a long, long time. I ended up paying $23,500 out the door, tax, tag etc... I thought I got a pretty good deal, 7.5 financing, where did you find 3.9??? What kind of milage have you been getting so far?
  • merlhmerlh Posts: 8
    I currently own a '97 F150 V8 extended cab and am considering trading it in for a Taco ma Double Cab Prerunner. I'm hoping that you Double cab Taco ma owners can give me some realistic answers to a few questions:

    1) 95% of it's use will be the daily commute in manic urban traffic and typical home center runs, but I do flat-tow an old Jeep on occasion. I know the Taco ma tats show a towing capacity of 5000 pounds, but is that a realistic figure? Can the 3.4L V6 be expected to comfortably flat-tow a 3000 b. vehicle at interstate speeds over rolling hills?

    2) I have two boys, 8 & 10, that I have to have a back seat for. The F150's back seat is adequate, but I'd really like to have 4 doors on a pickup that I can actually park in my garage. Considering the fact that I plan on keeping this vehicle for a number of years, is the Double cab's back seat realistically sized and comfortable enough for teenagers?

    3) When I test drove the Taco ma I had no idea what the "ETC" button was for and never turned it on. I found the engine power to be adequate to compete with traffic, but just barely (maybe because I'm used to a billion horsepower and a million pounds of torque). What exactly does this button do and does it really help performance?

    Any and all input is appreciated, thanks.
  • toddztoddz Posts: 7
    merlh- I know something about your third question, i was told that when this button is engaged, your tranny will simply stay in each gear a little longer. I have had my tacoma for 2000 miles and have yet to use it. I was told it hurts gas milage.
  • I'm considering purchasing a regular cab 4cyl PreRunner. From what I've read, sounds like I shouldn't expect to use this to haul my friends to the grocery store when it snows--even though in DC we don't get much (1 inch today). If anyone has experience with a regular cab I'd be interested to hear if you think this is a complete pain in the neck. I'm single, don't drive a whole lot, and don't carry a lot with me when I do drive. Would I regret buying a regular cab? I think they look a lot cooler than extra cabs (no offense), but I'm a little leary of the space issue.
  • My new 2001 PreRunner is the 7th Toyota I've had (though it's vehicle #50 for me). Most of the other Toyotas had the ECT switch as well. I leave mine in ECT POWER mode all the time. I've never noticed a difference in gas mileage in any of my previous Toyotas whether it was in the power or normal mode. It not only makes it shift at a higher RPM, it causes it to downshift earlier like it should when u push on the accelerator to go a little faster. I'm so spoiled by the fact that it is always in exactly the right gear at the right time, I can hardly stand to drive another vehicle with an automatic. In fact, I ruled out the Tundra because it didn't have it. I stepped down on the accelerator of the Tundra to pick up speed, and all it did was lug down, until I practically had it floored. This IS NOT GOOD for gas mileage. I had hoped the dual mode transmission in the new full size GM trucks was like Toyota's ECT... but alas, it isn't. The towing mode is totally funky... and stays in the same gear when u let up, (with a typical american clunk) instead of shifting back to the gear it should be in. The best gas mileage is achieved by having the engine at the right RPM for the job it's doing. Sorta like going up a hill in 5th gear with a 5 speed and flooring it instead of downshifting to 4th. The fact that you're in 5th will not give u better gas mileage. Gas mileage is determined by how far down on the accelerator you're pushing. I've been in plenty of economy runs, and check my gas mileage every tank... and pretty much know what will get me better or worse mileage. One of the other things I've learned is that if u have the cruise control on and u start up a hill, it's going to do the same thing... push down on the accelerator a great deal to maintain the set speed. I can get considerably better mileage by not using the cruise control if you're in hilly terrain, for that reason. Just leave your foot as steady as u can. This causes me to go a little slower up the hills and faster down the hills. The only time cruise control will give u as good a mileage as a steady foot, is when you're on flat land and driving a steady speed. If this new PreRunner had leather seats and wood on the dash, it would say LEXUS on the back! I'm really impressed!
  • webbdwebbd Posts: 176
    The ETC button is the "power" button as toyota owners know. It allows the engine to rev about 500 rpms higher in each gear to achieve better acceleration. You can leave it on all the time, and your gas mileage will only suffer IF you drive like you have the button engaged. If you drive normally, the transmission will change gears at its regular engine speeds.

    Gas mileage is not going to be great on the V-6 regardless of which model you go with. My '00 Prerunner has averaged 18.67 MPG in 29,689 miles. Considering the DC weighs about 500 lbs more, you'll probably get around 17.5 - 18 MPG. Of course, I drive conservatively, so yours could even be worse than that.

    As far as towing, others will tell you this and that, but if they don't actually own a toyota, their opinions are just that--opinions. I've towed a U-haul trailer totaling about 3200-3400 lbs at an average of 70 mph with no problems. I live in TX, so we don't have real mountains, but there were hills like you would encounter on almost any drive. If you are going to be driving under or around 55-60 MPH, you can switch off the overdrive, and you won't have the annoyance of the transmission downshifting on all the hills. The OD is a pretty long gear (under normal driving it comes on at 45 mph), and if you tow, the engine will be kicking down a lot especially in the 45-60 MPH range. I averaged 14.1 MPG while towing, if that helps you.

    As far as the interior room question, I don't have a clue. My version of comfortable is probably different from yours.

    Dcdriver, I had '98 reg. cab and it's okay for the single guy with no friends or no life, but if you want to carry anything like luggage, groceries, etc. without getting it wet, the regular cab is pretty limited. You may not like the styling of the ext. cab, but if you need the space, nothing beats having the protection of the extra cab.

    By the way, I agree with Superglide on the cruise control issue. Whenever I do the driving up and down hills on a long trip, I always get better gas mileage. But if I let the cruise control do it, my mileage is less.

    Happy hunting.
  • Having researched, owned and now parting with a 2000 Tacoma, here's what I've learned:

    The V6 engine averages about 17-18 mpg (pre-runner & 4WD) period; if you get more, lucky you; take good care of your unique truck.

    Referencing the above post, would recommend the 4dr 2001 version w/ V6--preferably supercharged--and towing package. As in #23, it's heavier, has more useable room and easier access. Venturing into the mountains and/or driving faster than normal hwy speeds while towing 5000 literal pounds will cause a great desire to A). Sell truck; B). Install Supercharger.

    Improving Fuel Economy:
    To improve mpg, you must slow down, make alterations and/or spend $$$ For example: Amesoil TS-115 air intake, modify air box
    (see, have computer re-mapped (Taco's inhale gas above 75 mpg, this can be corrected somewhat), exhaust system upgrade, smaller hwy (not all-terrain) tires and keep at rated psi, decrease ring & pinion ratios, lighten vehicle--remove brush guard, nerf bars, tailgate, campershell, etc., use good gas, use recommended oil weight then switch to synthetic after 35 or 40K miles, move to higher altitude, etc,.

    4WD excellent for snow, 2WD not as good. Here are some 2WD fixes:

    "Z-chains" (actually cables, MUST get exact tire size) for all 4 tires (2 & 4WD's). Gives bulldozer-like traction on snow and ice--especially braking. Can be found at Pep-Boys or online.

    No factory locking axle. Get cheaper plain axle (it's stronger) and have Powertraxx's "No-slip" Locker installed and forget it (no maintenance). First ice/snow/steep hill thereafter will produce grins and giggles; vastly improved cornering under throttle and off-road traction too; especially necessary with Supercharger.

    Use good tires: Michelins, Goodyear or Toyo. Maintain air pressure, keep rotated = better mpg & longer life. Use correct tires: Use off-road/snow tires exactly for that; use all-weather hwy tires rest of year = better mpg (fraction of percentage), quieter ride, better breaking and both sets will last much longer.

    4 vs.6 cylinders:
    The 4 is too small for the extended cab, okay for regular cab.
    The V6 is okay, wish it was mapped like Mazda's 3.0L 200 hp V6 w/ better mpg and more low end.
    The Supercharged V6: WOW! Enough said. You can peg 100 before you know it while passing so be careful--Tacoma's with large tire package become nervous around 90 mph. It's also rough on timing belts, tires, trannys and drive train so keep pretty close to maintenance schedule if you lead-foot. Finally--after supercharging many Taco owners report excessive giggling, funny grins, occasional drool and unusually-cocky attitudes...don't let all that power go to your head.

    Let Toyota Dealership service your vehicle according to regularly scheduled maintenance if possible.

    Whew!....enough for now.
  • 2k1trd2k1trd Posts: 301
    Well ive had my tacoma(s) at 105-106 (speed limited) and it felt just fine and i wanted to go faster but that damn limiter!....and thats in fourth gear.
  • Can a 2000 Tacoma PreRunner, XtraCab, V6 automatic transmission equipped with the TRD package do the same things as a 4X4?
  • Greetings, all. I have been browsing around several web sites concerning the purchase of a new vehicle, before settling on this one. I am currently "between trucks", so to say. My last one was a VERY well-used 1985 Toyota X-tra cab SR5 that expired 3 weeks ago, it died with over 201,000 miles. I am seriously looking at a 2WD PreRunner Extra Cab w/the TRD option package. Since I am an avid motorcyclist, and don't really do serious offroading here in the SF Bay Area, I need something that can haul my street bike to track days (Thunderhill raceway north of Sacramento, Willow Springs in SoCal), carry a couple of dirtbikes to Hollister, hit the mountains (Tahoe/Reno) for skiing/snowboarding, and yet still look sharp enough for dates. I like the extra power the V6 offers and am willing to make a small concession to the lower mileage figures. It may tow the occasional 2-bike trailer as well, which is probably a total weight of 1200-1500lbs.

    I looked at Toyota's nearest competitor, the Nissan Frontier, and while its features were attractive, it looked like it fell out of the ugly tree & broke every branch on the way down. Someone needs to have a serious meeting with that firm's design team. Unfortunately, Toyota decided to change the grille on the newer models as well, yuck. I prefer last year's design.

    I took the liberty of printing out Edmund's new car shopper's guide; although I almost have enough now to put a good down payment on the truck, I need a little more time to do my homework before I enter the battlefield of the dealerships. What kind of good experience/hassles have you had? Any local Toyota dealerships here in the Bay Area that are recommended over others? I realize the playing the numbers game is part of the deal, but I really want to avoid any unecessary run-arounds when I am ready to buy.

    Thanks for your time, wish me luck!
  • saddaddysaddaddy Posts: 566
    I own a 2000 prerunner v6 with all the trimmings. I really haven't even broken it in yet. It's about 6 months old and only has about 3500 miles. My trips are mostly short, not over 15-20 miles and I have been getting closed to 14.5 mpg. Driving mostly on the highway, I get about 17. Will the mileage get better or is their something I can get to help this out. I have heard that mileage gets better with age but how much better?

    Also, I got the truck with the diff lock but without the entire trd package. Later I realized that the truck also has the bilstein shocks form the trd package which I did not pay for as an option (I'm not sure how). Anyway I want the overfenders, too (the last part of the trd package). They are the only thing in the trd package that I don't have and I think they look great. Are they the same thing as fender flares (they don't look as big), can I get them from Toyota, and how much can I expect to pay? Diff lock works good in the slick gumbo mud of the Mississippi delta as far as I can tell.
  • bsparxbsparx Posts: 84
    Sorry to non-northern Cal readers, I can't remember how to hide messages, and can't find it in the help topics...

    I bought a Doublecab Prerunner v6 the day after Thanksgiving. Really happy with it. I did 2 internet searches, dropped into so many dealers I lost count (Richmond, Oakland, Alameda, San Rafael, Berkeley, Walnut Ck, Dublin, Fremont, Hayward...did I leave anyone out?) and ended up buying from Bill at Berkeley Toyota. Got a great deal, exactly the truck I wanted, and he offered the best trade-in on my 2000 Dodge Dakota Quad cab of anybody. I got it for $1500 over invoice, but on the xtracab or reg cab could have done way better - the double cabs are just so new and popular. I found an $800 over invoice at Walnut Creek, but for white TRD only. And a $1200 over invoice for vehicles on their lot only from Oakand- downtown toyota. So the Berkeley deal wasn't that different and he would have given me that deal for whatever truck I want wherever he had to go to find it. Whenever dealers trade cars they loose their hold-back profit, so thats why they're reluctant to do it. I was a little specific in that I didn't want TRD, and almost all the doublecabs are made with it. I didn't want the supercharger (91 oct fuel requirement and less mpg) and didn't like the shocks. So he found me a beautiful green doublecab prerunner v6, with the TRD fender flares, the mudflaps, runningboards, chrome sr5 package, the dueler tires, the aluminum wheels. That was all I wanted to start with , and then I took it to 4 Wheel Parts for Rancho 5000's - rear shocks and front struts, fit is for 2000 4x4 - and the ride is great. I will probably eventually install a LSD, as long as I can find one with the same ratio as the factory diff. I am getting about 18.5 mpg overall, 50/50 driving. Long trips I've got over 20. Went to Pinecrest this weekend, 305 miles round trip on 15.6 gal., up 5600 ft of elevation, with the snug top shell and roof racks! Really a great truck, much better than domestics (have had 81 ranger, 87 Mazda b2000 (Ranger), 91 explorer, 92 F250, 96 f150 supercab, 00 Dodge Dak. Quad, and now this one - the best of the bunch by leaps and bounds). Have 3200 miles on it in 5 weeks, expect it to go as long as your last Toyota! Go get one at Berkeley...
  • glenn54glenn54 Posts: 23
    Anyone out there with this package? I was wondering about the gas milage. I'm not too concerned about 0 to 60 in x minutes, so long as the ride is smooth and quiet.
  • webbdwebbd Posts: 176
    The 4x4 ext. cab weighs 3470 lbs with the manual transmission and 3500 lbs with the automatic. This is a lot of weight for the 150 HP 2.7L to propell. The difference in gas mileage according to the EPA estimates is 2 MPG for both highway and city driving. In my humble opinion, having owned both the 4 cyl (2.4L) and now the V-6, it is well worth it to spend the extra money and get the V-6. You may or may not achieve the same gas mileage that you would with the 2.7L. If you don't, considering the weight of the 4x4's, it will be close. But the performance gap between the two engines is not close. Plus, you can always supercharge the V-6. I know you don't care about 0-60, but you might change your mind down the road. And the V-6 is super quiet at any speed and smooth as ice.
  • Hello ! Everyone.
    I bought a taco ma prerunner 2.7l 4 cyls, automatic shift.
    When I drive, the shift stick shakes although It doesn't shift between gear. Especially, when I drive fast on a wavy road.
    I asked a guy who has a Taco ma about it, he said that is normal. But, I am still worried.
    Anyone who know about it, please tell me your experience. I appriciatte.
  • webbdwebbd Posts: 176
    They all shake like that, mine included. Don't worry about. It's perfectly normal. I've seen it on other vehicles, too.
  • bsparxbsparx Posts: 84
    The drivetrain is mounted on rubber motor mounts all along the frame to take the shake and torque out of being transfered to the cab and to our butts. This is a good thing. You see the stick shake because its directly mounted on the trans., unlike domestics where the shifter is remote-mounted on the steering column and shifting is done electronically. All manual trans. sticks do this, they are mounted directly like the toyota auto shift stick.

  • I read your replies.
    Thank you very much Webbd and Ben.
  • I ordered a Prerunner ex-cab, 4 cyl, step side. Commuter Vehicle Worked out a deal to pay $500 more than invoice on it, plus tax and destination. Ordered it in December (thought to be a good time to buy) It is scheduled to arrive in March or before. I put $2000 down on it and am wondering if I just kissed away any leverage I had in negotiating any farther when it comes in. The deal I received was a corporate deal the dealership and my employer had worked out. I would just like to know if four months is fairly standard to wait and what other tack ons should I watch out for?
  • Hello!
    I bought a Tacoma Preruner 2001 with Regular cab a month ago. I would like to install Tube Steps for easy entry. Any one can suggest where to buy them?
    Thank you in advance.
  • 2k1trd2k1trd Posts: 301
    Well if i was to put some steps on my truck,i would get them from the dealer.Just my opinion.
  • I bought my v6 prerunner in Aril 2000. Initially i was getting 18 mpg regardless of how i drove it.
    I thought this was a little low so i called the dealer to see if this is normal and they assured me the mileage would increase after break in. well, to cut a long story short i got less than 16 mpg with the last tankful i ran through it so, in fact, it has gone the other way. This may be due to the cold weather but i won't know till spring i guess.
    One thing i have noticed is wind seems to affect it a lot. A head or crosswind will really affect performance and has a tendency to push it around. I attribute this to the height which allows a lot of air to get underneath it.
    I have found the best way to get a little extra passing power is to take it out of overdrive with the button rather than press the gas pedal. This will increase speed without moving the gas pedal and it is really peppy when not in od.
    Overall i am pretty happy with the truck. It is my third Toyota. I had 217,000 miles on my '85 xcab four cylinder when i traded it in and believe me i put that truck through hell. That 22r motor has to be one of the best.
    How about the stereo in the prerunner? Not bad for standard equipment huh!!!!
    Anyhow, in the bonehead department i screwed up my tailgate rolling a 1200 pound round hay bale out of the truck and am going to have to replace it. I would like to get a real nice metal flow-through one. I had one custom made for my old truck after i got rear ended but it wasn't the best quality. However it did improve gas mileage. Does anyone know if these are available and where to find one.
  • After some number crunching, I may decide to opt for a '01 non-TRD PreRunner instead. I can do without the higher stance of the TRY's suspension for now, but it is very possible that I may want to upgrade the shocks later down the road, so to speak. The standard steel wheels will serve well too, but I still want that V6. As far as little extras like the matt fender arches, can those be ordered through the dealer or an after market company? The very first thing I do want is a Rhino-Liner, that thick spray-in bed liner. I have a friend who did that to his '00 TRD, and I was very impressed, well worth the cost.

    BTW, are there are nice after market aluminum wheels that will fit the '01 PreRunner? What company and size is recommended? Is 16" a good diameter to start with?
  • saddaddysaddaddy Posts: 566
    Does anyone know where you can get the black overfneders (not fender flares)that would go on a 2000 prerunner?
  • leon_vleon_v Posts: 8
    Good morning.. i am about to start looking for a truck ( i have godd 5-6 month before i can actually buy one) i do want to get a 4x4 and was looking at the tacoma's TRD package.. but i am a bit confused.. with the package the price jumps up about 4000-5000... and if all it is is just flares and shocks.. i am not too crazy about the flares.. so if all it is is just better shocks.. whould it not be cheaper to buy some and have them installed elsewhere?

    it might sound naive but i am not quite sure what the trd package is..

    thanks for your help
  • my 98 pre-runner xtra cab used to vibrate on the highway and at speed. I had the dealer check allignment and wheel balance to no effect. I switched to bridgestone dueler At and the problem stopped. These tires are also quieter than the original firestones

    Anybody have problems with squeaky driver's seat
  • azcopazcop Posts: 1

    If you are looking for the black OEM-style overfenders for the Tacoma, I'd highly suggest the "OE-Style" fenders made by Bushwacker. I purchased a set of these from (abotu $308 out the door vs. $800 plus from the dealer), and installed them myself on my 98 Taco 4x4. They look excellent, and took only about 2 hours to install. As a plus, all newer Tacomas already have mounting holes for the fenders, which means no body drilling to mount the fenders.

    Best of luck!
  • I've got 900 i. on my '01 TRD Prerunner v6 xtracab. I've always had great respect for Toyota products and this one seems to be built with the same tightness and quality feel as the others I've owned. Here's what I would like to know from others: When I start mine, it idles at 1300-1500 and slowly drops to 800 rpm(Texas, 50-70 degrees)as it warms up. It is pulling to the left a little. Fuel milage so far kinda sucks, 16.8 on 2 tanks so far. When I put my foot in it, I'm getting what sounds like an intake resonance at 4000 rpm (I'll look next time and see exactly what rpm). The ride is great. I test drove one of these 2 yrs. ago and it beat me to death, but this thing rides almost like my wife's Camry, unbelievable. I paid 20700 with pw,pl,ac,and stuff like the $80 floor mats? and $479 "Customer Prep"(The label on the door says 26front-29rear but I got a little extra air for my $479-35lbs all around), the usual dealer sh**.
    I'm very happy with the truck so far, just wondering about a few things.
  • 2k1trd2k1trd Posts: 301
    This is a normal condition and as for the pulling,try rotating the tires.
  • saddaddysaddaddy Posts: 566
    Azcop, thanks a lot for your input on the fender flares. Are those the OE flares the low-profile kind like the ones on the 99 trd models or are they the thicker kind like what comes on the "new style" 2001 tacos? I don't like those thicker ones as much because of the way they have a notch cut out (on the back right one) for the gas pump hole.
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