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Are You Happy with Tacoma? - Part II



  • spoogspoog Posts: 1,224
    What vehicle did you get to replace your Tacoma?
  • rickc5rickc5 Posts: 378
    Hi Spoog,

    You've seen me post most of this stuff before....

    I've owned SIX (6) Toyota trucks and two (2) 4Runners since 1982. Loved all of them UNTIL the 1995 Tacoma, which was SO BAD that the dealer gave us a T100 to replace it after only five months and less than 3000 miles. The T100 was OK, but bigger than my wife liked.

    Anyway, I traded-in a 1996 Camry XLE, which I again loved, for my 1999 Tacoma. I felt I wanted the security of height and 4-wheel drive for the commute on 36 and I-25 that I was faced with, due to a job change.

    Our recent move to Aurora mitigated the need for the truck as a commute vehicle, as my commute is now about 1/4 of the distance and on lightly-traveled surface streets.

    I'm getting to the answer.....

    I looked for another 1996 XLE to no avail. Most on the market had excessive mileage. However, lots of 1997 vehicles are now coming to the end of 3-year leases, and I found that MANY 1997 Kexus ES300s were on the market with low mileage. I shopped around and found a great deal on a 1997 ES300 and also got a reasonable (sort-of) trade-in for my Tacoma. I'm very pleased with the Lexus, but if I had this to do all over again, I'd still be driving my '96 XLE. I frequently kick myself for all the spent money and frustration I incurred by buying another Tacoma.

    My experience (and dislike) for my '99 Tacoma has pushed me away from Toyota (but not Lexus) products for awhile. Who knows what the future holds?

    I know you're a Tacoma enthusiast, But IMHO, the Tacoma is not the equal of the '89-94 trucks produced by Toyota. Its the first vehicle Toyota "de-contented" and I personally think they went WAY too far. At least they were able to maintain their reputation for reliability. I also think the Tacoma might be a good off-roader, but didn't have the chance to verify that. Se la vie!
  • rickc5rickc5 Posts: 378
    Hey Dan,

    Please let us know what you decide????

    Limited or not?????

  • mickeyg1mickeyg1 Posts: 6
    My first 4x4 was a 1986 Toyota SR5,xtra cab which I bought in Oct of 86. I kept that thing four 10 years and put 245,000 miles on it before getting rid of it. Other than sinking it in a sandy river bottom and having the water pour into the truck and soaking the computer when it was 6 months new(I thought it was a tank), that truck NEVER left me stranded. I blew a head gasket at 84,000 miles, but since I drove that thing to the desert every weekend to take the Suzuki 250Quadracer out and drove the truck like a demon, to take time off of the 2 hr. city/desert commute, I thought it was normal wear and tear. I can say I was a happy truck owner for those 10 years. One day I went to the dealer to "look" at the new Tacomas and the sales person had to work a deal so I ended up with a 96 Tacoma, 4x4 extracab, SR5,Power Package,Chrome Package etc... I figured I might as well get it fully loaded. I never test drove it. I was so confident in Toyota because of my prior ownership experience. I only got $2,500 for my trade(they didn't want it,245,000miles!)but I made them take it since I had put a TRD cam and Headers it would never pass smog and I didn't want the hassle of changing the cam to sell it privately. My first slight problem was a small thumping at slow speed turns or cornering. Dealer replaced a rear bushing. Fixed it. Also in Jan of 96when I bought it, no TRD!! I bought Bushwacker flares and had them painted the factory sunfire red, had Rancho 5000's installed all the way around. The ride on the Tacoma stock was too spongy. My 86 handled better cornering(it had Rancho 6000's up front and 5000's on the rear.) The Tacoma handled a lot better with the Rancho suspension but it still gets squirrely if you hit uneven roadway or bumps while cornering. The V-6,3.4 Double overhead cam is awesome(that's two cams over each set of cylinders)What a technically advanced powerplant. I've towed two seadoo's to Palo Alto(n.CA) from L.A. with four adults and the bed full of camping gear and passed slow moving vehicles all the way there. Can't say all us adults were too comfy though. Definitely not a vehicle for four adults. Stretching pit stops made the trip tolerable. My next minor problem wash a clutch pedal bushing that wore out at 30,000(warranteed)but then again at 59,000?!? Dealer warranteed as "good will" since I was a good Customer but I called Toyota's 800# and the dipshit on the other end told me the vehicle was way past warranty. I told him that any manual transmission vehicle with two clutch pedal bushing problems at 60K was ridiculous. My 86 had ZERO bushing problems at 245K. I asked if there were any TSB'S(technical service bulletins) released by Toyota on this and he replied.No. I hung up as his attitude was poor and told him he needed to report this problem to Toyota's engineers as I could not be the only Tacoma owner experiencing this. Anyway(sorry about the long story)my bucket seats are comfortable( I have taken it on several long trips to Northern CA and Vegas from L.A. The V-6 is tops in its class( I've embarrassed plenty of V-8's including Chevy's, Cherokees, Dodge Rams and Fords. Anyone who says that Tacoma's can't hold their own is delirious. That 190HP and 220LBS of torque kick [non-permissible content removed].The truck has the best styling out right now and the quality of workmanship is far superior to any thing else I've seen(I'm a car nut and go to the autoshow every year)yes, Tacoma's are Pricey, my sticker was $25,565 when I bought mine in JAN of 96 and even though I got it for $500 over invoice, tax and license was still $25,596. I wish there would have been a TRD package then,(it came out in 97 and I spent another $1,300 on flares(factory colormatch, and Rancho suspension)but the truck is still the King in it's class. Looks,Styling,Towing capacity,Quality of workmanship,Powertrain,and great solid feel for a small 4x4(my 86 sounded hollow when I would close the doors,the Tacoma feels solid). I can't say my ownership hasn't had it's minor problems, but at 81,000 miles I'd rather drive my Tacoma 4x4 for reliability and power. It's 4 years old and the competition is just now catching up to it's 190HP.
    Need I say more.....
  • letmetalkletmetalk Posts: 19
    I am in the market for a Tacoma. I was focusing on the new market with an emphasis on finding one with ABS. (Apparently rare in So. Calif.) I saw a used Limited on a dealer lot. It was less than a year old (I know the purchase date from a warranty inquiry) and has 15500 miles on it. The dealer has cleaned is fairly well but the lower engine compartment shows a lot of spray. At first I though something in the coolant system had burst at one time, but it could also just be mud from off roading.

    Does the engine compartment see a lot of mud and dirt spray? What danger areas should I focus on during the test drive and inspection given this was probably driven hard? Any other danger areas with the 99 in general? Are there any major differences in the 99 and 2000?

    The truck drove comfortable and has every feature I was shopping for in a new one. The dealer seemed to have a good warranty package since this was still under the new car agreement and was a "Toyota certified" used vehicle.
    As expected, the dealer has a very high opinion of the vehicle (judging by the asking price.) The truck has a lot of dirt and debris under the bedliner, some swirl and scatch marks in the paint, and a couple of dirty areas on the carpets. All of this I would expect on a used truck, but my question is to those of you who have traded in one of these.
    How much did the trade-in value depend on these types of issues? Were you given very close to wholesale value or nickle and dimed for every scratch and scuff?

    Any answers would be most helpful. I am going to go back to the dealer this afternoon.
  • rickc5rickc5 Posts: 378

    I hope this isn't too late. The Town Hall was down yesterday.

    Engine compartment: The skid plates keep almost all mud and dirt chunks from the engine compartment, but not dust, which sticks to any fliud leaks which may have occurred. The power steering on my '99 leaked fluid all over the engine compartment, which looked like mud/crud after the dust stuck to it.

    Danger areas: look under the truck for evidence of hard off-roading- lots of scrapes/mud/dirt/bushes, etc. on the undercarriage. This is one area dealers miss in pre-sale cleanup. Look for evidence of recent body repair/repainting.

    Dirt under the bed liner: This would set off alarms for me, unless the liner was installed by this dealer to cover something up or just raise his asking price. With the advent of spray-in linings, dealers can't get rid of drop-in liners.

    Swirls/scratches: Possible evidence of off-road adventures or body damage.

    I would use all these "defects" as bargaining points in trying to get the dealer to lower the price, if you still want this truck.

    Dealers will seldom give you more than book wholesale for a vehicle, UNLESS you are willing to pay retail or above-retail for his vehicle, regardless of the condition of your vehicle. Their latest scam is this "I can buy one just like yours at auction for (much less than wholesale)." I'm sure the last owner wasn't pleased with what the dealer offered him as a trade-in, given the condition you described.

    I find it amazing that this dealer didn't do a better job of cleaning this truck. Most of them will steam-clean EVERYTHING in order to ask more money for the vehicle. Sounds like a sloppy dealership.

    Hope this info helps. Good luck!

  • zonkzonk Posts: 208
    I have a Tacoma ext cab, 4 cyl, 2wd, 18,500 miles. Had problems from the first with pulling to the right and tire wear (so bad I had to replace all 4 tires at the 50% tread level). New tires on the front are starting again. Dealer says the front end is ok. Had them align it twice. Any help out there?
  • zane5zane5 Posts: 6
    Zonk, I too had a similar problem with tire wear on a Nissan 4x4 pickup. Dealer said there was no problem with the front end. Not satisfied with the dealer response, I took it to a Goodyear dealer who indeed said that the front end was out of alignment. Never had another problem. You might consider taking your truck to a reputable wheel and alignment shop and get a second opinion. Good luck. Zane
  • zonkzonk Posts: 208
    zane5 - Thanks, I'm glad I'm not crazy or something. I have a meeting with the dealer tomorrow and am certainly going to bring this up. Strangely enough, the first time I had the truck aligned, the dealer's machine was down for parts so they sent me into town to a Goodyear store. They aligned it with no mention of front end problems. Second time was at the dealer using his machine, and everything was still supposedly within specs.
  • iwphilliwphill Posts: 48
    I just bought a 2000 Tacoma reg cab 5 spd this weekend. I only have about 300 miles on it so far, but I love it! Got the SST package (aluminum wheels, graphics, etc.), and I think I got a great deal. It really looks sharp, and accelerates well, handles wonderfully. It's got power steering, cassette, a/c, and the dealer was really great - probably the best experience I ever had at a dealer.

    I always keep reading about how "expensive" the Tacoma is, but I think they're really affordable. In fact, I'm paying about $14 less a month (purchase, not a lease) on this truck than I was on the car I traded in - 1998 Honda Civic DX hatchback. I couldn't be happier. For a basic truck, it is fabulous.

    I was very tempted to go with a Frontier, but all the Nissan dealers around here don't have what they advertise. You know, they advertise a loaded Frontier XE for $11,000 - you check it out, and they say "Oh, sorry, just sold it. But we have this great one over here for $14,000!" Thanks, but no thanks. I'm very happy with the deal I got on this truck. I know I don't have a lot of miles on it yet, but so far, it's great!
  • Picked up 2000 Tacoma 5-speed, V6, 4WD on 04/15. Was able to check the mileage for the first time a couple days ago. Got 20.3 for in town driving, no jack rabbit starts, etc, max speed 60 'cause I'm still in 'break-in' mode. Is this mileage unusual? (V6, 4WD etc). Will it get better or worse after the break-in period?
  • rickc5rickc5 Posts: 378
    I never got over 20 mpg on my '99 V6 4x4, even after 12K miles.
  • tacoma_trdtacoma_trd Posts: 135
    Im looking a buying a 2001 when they come out, a dark green 4x4 TRD, does anybody think its a good choice compared to other brands?
  • tacoma_trdtacoma_trd Posts: 135
    I have one thing that I would like to see in the tacomas, doesnt anyone think they should make a 3rd or 4th doors like the rangers and s10's!! I think that is the biggest drawback on them, otherwise its a great truck
  • rickc5rickc5 Posts: 378
    For 2001, you'll be able to buy a 4-door Tacoma. Of course the bed will be a little shorter. On the other hand, it'll have a real rear seat than real people can use. The new grill is pretty ugly though, IMHO.
  • tacoma_trdtacoma_trd Posts: 135
    I meant 4 doors, but not 4 REAL doors, just the regulare extra cab tacoma and those would open out

    If u can give me a site with the 2001 tacoma pics, i would appreciate it.
  • the 2001 tacoma will indeed have a crew cab with four REAL doors. Check out the motortrend magazine or the website. 2001 Crewcabs: Ranger, Nissan (coninues from 2000 with body style makeover) Dakota, F-150(continued form last year) and the S-10 will all have four rear doors next year
  • briancabrianca Posts: 12
    I've heard that the 2001 taco's will be automatic only though. In case that matters to you.

  • letmetalkletmetalk Posts: 19
    I've had my '99 4WD Excab Limited now for a month. When I bought it we noticed some spots on the headliner just above the doors. The dealer promised to have it cleaned the next time his detailing guy was in. At that appointment, it was discovered that this was adhesive bleeding through the headliner. After some digging through the service notices they found this to be a common problem and they replaced the headliner under warranty. If you have some similar discoloration, you might what to explore this with your dealer.
  • taco32568taco32568 Posts: 1
    i recently bought a 2000 tacoma prerunner v6 automatic transmission. when i leave for work each morning the transmission acts like it doesn't want to shift out of gear. it seems like it's always 3rd gear. once it warms up it shifts better but still the transition from one gear to the next is a little abrupt. anyone else experiencing anything like this? thanks.
  • iluv_umaniluv_uman Posts: 2
    I have read several posts regarding mileage and reliability of the 4 Cylinder in a 4x2 Extended Cab, 5 Speed.

    I have owned 3 4X2's before my present 1995 Tacoma. I now have 50k miles on it. My mileage and performance has been excellent. No problems and I have been able to get my overall mileage(50%City, 50% highway) to around 27 in winter(no air running) 25 in city with air.

    I found doing a couple things to my 2.4 liter 4 really helped. First of all I put a K&N Air Filter on. I could feel the difference in power right away. I use to be a motorcycle racer and the first thing we would all do is put a K&N filter on our motorcycles. That jumped my mileage about 2MPG.

    I put new spitfire spark plugs in at about 30k. I couldn't feel power increase as much as with air filter, but truck never misses a beat.

    I change oil methodically every six months.

    Putting on new Bilstein shocks(also at about 30k) made my Tacoma ride better than new. I never did like the original shocks. When I test drive new ones, I want back in mine, mine rides better.

    I got my K&N filter, plugs and shocks through performance catalog. They appear to have discounts on all those parts.

    I keep going down and looking at new 4X2's Toyota's but everytime I look at new ones, it makes me realize how much I love my old(not that old) one. It runs perfect. I have never had one problem(did get a recall on front end, cost me nothing, little inconvenience is all).

    My other Toyota's all lasted 100k miles and I always sold them easily. I however feel this latest truck will last easily 200k miles. I swear it runs better than when new.

    A couple times on the road, I have gotten over 30 MPG. Mine has cruise control. I think that helps. I usually drive on the highway at 75 too. If I drove a little slower, probably would beat 75.

    I have a brother in law with a 1996 Tacoma V-6 4X4, 5 speed. Black, big wheels, loaded, lots of chrome. Looks tough. We raced one day. I beat him. Haha My brother in law gets about 18 MPG. I keep telling him to put on air filter and spit fires, he doesn't. That is OK. He wants to trade me, and have me pay him some cash. I say thanks but no thanks.

    I had a couple Waverunners on a trailer. We have a big up hill pass, about 5 miles long. Others in their big Fords, Chevy's, Dodge's, etc. were pulling two wave runners. I would shift down into third for the long pull up that hill. As we all know Toyota's really start to run(torgue and horsepower) at about 4K rpm. I passed all those big American hog trucks as my 4 banger was humming along at about 4K rpm and at about 70 mpg.

    Wow these Toyota's are fun.

    Good luck, hope this info. helps.
  • iwphilliwphill Posts: 48

    What kind of mileage were you getting before you put on the air filter? My truck runs great, but if I can get a little more power, and better gas mileage, I'm all for it. I am interested in adding one (2000 4x2 reg cab - 1200 mi so far), but is it really worth the expense?
  • rickc5rickc5 Posts: 378

    I owned a 1999 Tacoma 4x4, SR5, TRD, etc. for less than a year before dumping it. One of my biggest "whines" about the Tacoma was what I considered to be a VERY hard-shifting automatic transmission. I posted this before, but other Tacoma owners seemed to consider this "normal". I sure disagree.
  • Just got back from a 2,500 mile road trip in my 2000 Tacoma 4X4 V6 Extended Cab. Got 22+ mpg at 65-75 mph, mostly Interstates (Atlanta-Dallas-Atlanta), cruise control with some A/C. I'm impressed, and am told it'll get better. :-)
  • allknowingallknowing Posts: 866
    The transmission doesn't seem harsh at all on my 2000. It is a truck though and I wouldn't expect it to have a mushy feel like a cady.
  • 81chevy81chevy Posts: 37
    Tacoma is not a truck, it has a car equivilent tranny,

    heck Toyota puts a car V8 in their fullsize, the Tacoma's don't have "Truck" parts
  • rickc5rickc5 Posts: 378
    Could be that Toyota improved the shifting for 2000. Mine was a 1999. Two other possibilities: 1) for whatever reason, yours just might shift smoother than mine did. 2) the subjectivity in just what "hard shifting" means.

    I was comparing my Tacoma to 1) a '98 Trooper, 2) a '96 Camry, 3) Jeep Cherokees belonging to a friend, 4) numerous rental vehicles I have driven when travelling and 5) an Isuzu MOVING VAN I rented from Budget. I felt my Tacoma shifted MUCH harder than ANY of these vehicles, almost with a BANG! under accelleration. It was so obvious and noticable that my wife frequently felt that something had broken in the transmission when she infrequently drove it. Friends commented on it. On the plus side (if this can be considered a plus), it never changed. Always the same, never shifting better or worse, even after 12K miles.

    Having read the posts on this board as well as the Tacoma vs. Ranger board, if I ever need another truck, I will SURELY look at and drive trucks from other manufacturers before I bother to go to Toyota and pay their premium prices. No longer am I an ardent supporter of Toyota products. In fact, IMHO, the only way you can buy a current Toyota that is the equivalent of the older Toyota models is to buy a Lexus.
  • iwphilliwphill Posts: 48
    The only automatic I ever had in a Toyota was in a 96 Corolla (3spd tranny), and it was great, although I always wished I had gotten the 4spd instead. I now have a 2000 reg cab 4x2 5spd and it's a great truck. Maybe the automatics have gone downhill, but the 5-speed is awesome! Shifts really well, and lots of power. Hearing about the problems with the auto makes me glad I stuck with the manual.
  • allknowingallknowing Posts: 866
    Actually a harder shift makes superior performance. I spent a lot of money and time on an older camaro that I had to shift like that. The car and SUV you're comparing the truck to are geared to be luxury vehicles. Although the shift seems smoother, the higher transmission slippage that you like cuts performance, wastes gas, and produces more heat.
  • allknowingallknowing Posts: 866
    The Jeep might be an exception to my statement above. You have to go with the ride you prefer though.
This discussion has been closed.