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Toyota Tundra Owner Experiences



  • Hello, Tundra owners!

    Forgive me for jumping into this thread, but it seems the most likely collection of folks to help me, since I'm trying to *become* a Tundra owner soon, but need help figuring out which combination of the options is best for what I'm trying to do.

    I posted an article a few days ago, titled :
    " Please Help Tell Me Which Tundra Options Achieve the Functionality I Need? "
    .... and not a single person has replied, although other articles on similar themes have gotten lots of responses. Did I do something wrong? Am I just being impatient? Is the article not visible in the list?

    I really like everything I've read about Tundras, and the reliability issues with even brand new domestic trucks have me very concerned, so the Tundra seems the right direction for me to go, but I need help narrowing down the options after that.

    If any of you would be willing to help me, I would sure appreciate it if you'd check out the article I posted that explains what-all I need to be able to do. If you could help me figure out what I need to select, I would SO appreciate it!

    Thanks enormously,
  • grazkgrazk Posts: 18
    Hi All,

    Please help me, I am fundamentally clueless in several important areas. Maybe all of them.

    This will be long, but I hope you will bear with me. If you're a "cut-to-the-chase" kind person, then jump down to the line below that says "SUMMARY".

    After research, if I get a new truck, it will be a Tundra, or at least whichever Toyota you folks recommend, so, while I am wide open to what you suggest from this point on, please don't try and convince me to get a truck from some other company. We all have our biases, and that's mine. (From the fire storms I've read here, I'm sure this will be one of the areas people will tell me I am clueless about - BUT - I've spent the last two days, and about 30+ hours crawling all over the web, eg, reading 'tundrasolutions', and this forum, and every entry in Click and Clack's Car Talk web site for every 1/4 ton truck made by any manufacturer, for 1998-->2002, and comparing trucks with web-comparison-engines, and the American-made truck mechanical difficulty horror stories terrified me. I'm thrilled that there seems to be such a thing as a *reliable* pickup truck out there, ie, something by Toyota. I only desperately wish Honda made trucks.)


    Okay, *please* help me.

    I have never bought a new vehicle, period. My only two experiences with a dealer were with new-to-me vehicles, and both experiences were so excruciatingly painful, that I have gotten all other vehicles directly from individuals. I suppose I will have to suck it up, to buy a Tundra, but I will educate myself on how to duke it out with a Dealer, later on in this process.

    If you don't mind some background on me, let me explain why reliability is such an issue with me...

    I am *not* mechanically inclined at all, and, having moved to Texas recently, although I have always had good experiences with buying-from-individuals, I have been nothing-but-ripped off on the last three vehicles I've bought here, by both sellers and mechanics, in the last few months. These included
    a) A used Chevy pickup - recommended by a mechanically-knowledgeable co-worker and their mechanically knowledgeable spouse, who would have bought the truck themselves if it had had A/C, as sold to them by their good friend, who actually *is* a mechanic. Sounds like something a mechanically clueless person could gamble on, right? Wrong. The "friend" would have scammed them, and certainly scammed *me*. Over $800 of repairs in the first *week*. And the truck was obviously tricked up to provide a smooth test ride. It bucked down the road every day thereafter. The second day I drove it, when it just plain quit for no apparent reason, after I finally had somebody jump it, as I drove up into the nearest mechanic's driveway, just as a treat, the radiator blew its little green brains out, just in front of the bay. I developed a close personal relationship with the tow-truck guy, whom I had to call 2-3 times *a week*, for *months* (until the bloody truck blew up for the final time just last week) to come and get me.
    I've *dated* people I've seen less often. I was further wounded by the mechanic I thought I could trust, who had inexperienced trainees he was training do the work on my car, and then charged me, for example, $400 for a *simple tuneup*. This was an old, simple, truck. The tuneup should have cost half that.
    b) a used Ford F-150 which is a situation still unresolved. I trusted someone *else's* mechanical knowledge on this one, met the seller, transferred the title, then went to "test-drive" the truck as a mere formality, after all, it had already been checked out by someone I trusted, right? The thing nearly caught fire under me during the test drive. I haven't paid for it, but the title is in my name. The thing belched out *clouds* of black smoke that covered the truck and the horizon. "The carburator's just running too rich" said the admittedly non-mechanic who had accompanied me on the 'test-drive'... I'm thinking "BILL GATES isn't THAT rich." The test-drive, by the way, was to the nearby mechanic's shop, with this flunky of the seller (who turned out to be a dealer - my *3rd* experience with one) to repair lights and fuses that were out - and who dropped and shattered the back light lense when he took it off to replace the bulbs. These folks have gotten the truck to a mechanic, and they swear it's all bett
    er now. I figure I'm about to get ripped off again. I owe them another test drive as a courtesy, but then I expect to be declining this one. Yes, I was an idiot to buy the title, sight-unseen.
    c) a car I test drove this last week (worked fine), and had Lemon Busters check out for me the next day. Enought of relying on mechanically expert friends, right? The car worked fine during the Lemon Busters examination, so we went right to the title place, and I bought it and drove it back to work. Finally, my problem of reliable transportation was solved. No more missed days at work, boss!.... and four hours later, when it came time to leave for the day, and go pick up the *celebration dinner* I'd ordered to share with a friend ("I have a new car!") the heap would barely move foreward.

    All of which, after decades of buying used cars from individuals, has taught me that I'm not going to be able to do this successfully in Texas, and maybe it's time to stop giving my mother, father, and all my friends grey hairs, and buy a new vehicle, which won't break down on me all the time. Except, wow, it looks like even brand new *anythings* have lots of problems! Toyotas look like they have the least, though, so that's where I'm heading. So "Reliability" is number one on my list, but I realize that issue starts a holy war around here, so let's just move on:

    Why I Need Help:
    1) I'm mechanically clueless. Reliability is essential, I've decided on a Toyota, please don't try to modify this one, unless it's to tell me I need a T100 or a Tacoma instead of a Tundra.

    2) I haven't ever bought a *new* car, and no car from a dealer in over a decade. Although I have crawled all over the Toyota/Tundra web site, for the life of me, I can't figure out what all the initials and letters stand for, and how they match up with the features I need ("S"? "L"? "SR5"? "4x2" versus "4x4", aren't those sizes of *boards*? "Access Cab"?). I don't even want to *think* about the nightmare of dickering about prices yet.

    3) I also know I don't even *know* all the features I need. For example, I would have opted for a standard transmission, but I will be using this truck to tow and haul things, and I read that I should get an automatic for that, in order to make it easier on the transmission.
    Anybody have any opinions for/against on this one?

    The Functionality I Need:
    1) must be able to tow (guesstimate) 3,000 pounds (2 horses in an old, small, no frills trailer.
  • hillhoundhillhound Posts: 537
    "I developed a close personal relationship with the tow-truck guy, whom I had to call 2-3 times *a week*, for *months* (until the bloody truck blew up for the final time just last week) to come and get me"

    Gimme a break. If I had to call a tow truck 2 or 3 times in any ONE week for any vehicle I sure would'nt give it the chance to go on for months! Sounds like the Tundra will suit your needs just fine-good luck with your shopping and remember-if one dealer won't play ball just move on to one that will.
  • ratboy3ratboy3 Posts: 324
    way to rate your truck.. I thought for awhile there you drove a Chevy.
  • toytunonetoytunone Posts: 56
    but my answer follows;
    1. Stop telling mechanics you are mechanically inept, many of them are dishonest and decide you are ignorant and can be overcharged, so go to a new car dealer who you can trust for service and trust them. Also, I've been in Texas the last 55 years and mechanics here aren't any worse than any other state when it comes to being inept or dishonest.
    2. My personal advice is to buy a new Tundra, since it is more troublefree than any truck with similiar payload on the average, and purchase it from the biggest dealer in the state. They didn't get that big being dishonest, this works for domestics also. If you don't want to learn how to buy a new car, (right here on Edmunds), you can take a friend with you. I recommend Fred Haas Toyota in Houston for purchase and service if you live near, offer $4 or $5000 under sticker on a loaded 2001 truck, $3000 under on a stripped one. Hard to go wrong there. If you have a trade-in, look it up in Edmunds used vehicles and use the trade-in value, also use Kelly's Blue Book on the internet. Use as much detail on the evaluation as possible and stick to your numbers or go to another dealer. It helps to print out the evaluation and take it to the dealership.
    3. Don't worry about the codes, find one on the lot you like, drive several and drive on the freeway at 70 mph and 55 mph with the radio and air conditioner off, windows closed and listen. If it makes too much noise or has vibration, look at another. Special options like TRD and 4X4 are for people who want to go off road or drive in snow and ice or pull a big boat up a slippery ramp, not essential in South Texas otherwise.
    4. Try to forget your nightmares about domestic trucks, you got used vehicles which weren't properly maintained, properly maintained ones won't cause anywhere near that much grief. So take your vehicle to the new car dealer for scheduled factory service after purchase.
    Good Luck.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    Being a bit busy today, I didn't read your whole post but went to the summary. From that, I think you need to find a *good* salesman. Find one who knows what he is talking about and work with him to figure out what best suits your needs. I know this is easier said than done, but it will be worth it. My dealership actually has a truck department and we are not allowed to sell trucks until we demonstrate that we have a clue as to what truck buyers need. See if a local dealership has one of these.
  • I read a review that said the TRD package did not make much difference. I want an off road package- is the TRD package worth the extra money??? Someone sell me... Thanks!
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    Buy the TRD package. Most Tundras that don't come with it, do have the alloy wheels and fog lights so it doesn't cost much more to pugrade the suspension and tires. The BF Goodrich tires are much better quality than the Dunlops or Bridgestones on the non-TRD trucks.
  • ken0ken0 Posts: 29
    Read your response on fifth wheel . Had already figured it all out.
    Finally saw a Tundra in the flesh and it is the greatest looking pickup I've seen. Only 1 problem with the Tundra and 1 with Toyota personel. The Tundra axle is way too close to the cab for a fifth wheel , so Tundra is out until they increase their wheel base. Toyota needs to school it's people (both dealers and customer service) on the aspects of towing .
    I will be getting an 02 Silverado instead of Tundra because I am staying with my fifth wheel and I also found that the Silverado equipped the way I want it(which is impossible with the Tundra) is about $2500.00 less than the Tundra.The 2500 will buy an extended warrentee and let me get some extra goodies.
    Thanks again for your come back
  • squintz1squintz1 Posts: 1
    I am presently in the process of purchasing a 2001 Toyota Tundra V8 4x4 access cab. The only other options I would like are the allweather pkg.the wheel and tire upgrade,a bed liner, floor mats,and the single CD player.I would like to get some input on what other folks have paid for similiar equipped trucks.Many thanks.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    As much I as prefer to hear of people buying a Tundra, I'm glad you found something that meets your needs. 5th wheel towing presents a number of issues that I know the Tundra does not address. I also agree that far too many Toyota sales folks don't know the first thing about towing. At my dealership, I created a truck department and nobody is allowed to sell trucks until they can prove to me that they know what they are talking about with the trucks.
  • tundradudetundradude Posts: 588
    You also need to get the fog lights!

    I would look at the vinyl tundra mats.

    You are also better at getting an aftermarket cd player instead of the factory one.

    If you upgrade the tires, let the dealer get them so you can choose your tires.

    Lastly, go ahead and get that towing package if you plan on doing that kind of thing.
  • ryanbabryanbab Posts: 7,240
    Hey cliff how are the sales coming?

    I do agree with you BFG tires are much better than the crappy ones that come with these trucks. Dumped my fstones for bigger bfg's and they improved the ride and handling alot.

    Plus i have a much better looking tire
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    Sales are going great thanks for asking. I'm at a different dealership that I was the last time I was active here and we have an actual truck department. This dealership was having a hard time making its truck numbers due to how little the main sales staff knew about trucks or truck buyers. Now, there are only 5 of us allowed to talk to truck customers and things have improved.
  • duckcallerduckcaller Posts: 107
    Moving to Springfield, VA - assignment: Pentagon! - in June. Was there a while back, too. Which dealer? Had a pretty good experience at Alexandria... w/ services. I'll be living in Springfield - recommend a dealer?
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    If you click on my profile, you will see that if I make a suggestion on which dealer to use, I would be violating the Edmunds' "terms of use" against soliciting business. I will say that there are two dealers in this area that have top notch service departments. You mentioned both of them in your question.
  • ryanbabryanbab Posts: 7,240

    I think every dealership should have a Truck Dept. I ran into some real dumb (fill in the blanks here). Guys didnt know the difference between bucket or bench seats. Also when i told them ill be ordering in a month they would immediately leave and ignore me. I actually ordered and bought my truck from a guy i started to talk to online. The dealership was 2.5 hrs away from me but i was willing to travel. At first i didnt even know where this place was. He put up with all my questions for a little over a year. We are pretty good friends now and talk all the time.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    I'm glad to hear that about your purchase. I have always maintained that the best price is not always the best deal because a poor salesman can really mess things up. It is rare that a salesman can tell you if the Tundra has a limited slip rear end or not (it doesn't) or the difference between a bench or bucket seat. Most can't even tell you the maximum safe speed to shift into 4WD. For somebody who is well educated on trucks this isn't a big deal. For those customers who don't have all the information, they can end up making a big mistake based on bad information from their salesman.

    I'm glad you found a good dealer to work with and that you rewarded him with your business.
  • ratboy3ratboy3 Posts: 324
    Truck has about 10,500 miles. I am now a member of the warped rotor club! wahoo! grr..

    Noticed the past few days now that on crawling speed. When I slightly apply the brakes to slow down even more, the brakes acts like it catches then let go.

    It's in the service dept right now. Took it there before it gets worse. Or maybe the numb nuts there will make it worse. I mentioned that I too have the warped rotors and he gave me the 'what you talking about Willis?' look.

    I just smiled and told him to just fix it.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    Have you had the star adjuster replaced on the rear brakes? There is a TSB on this. On some Tundras, the rear brakes can warp because of this and actually cause the front rotors to warp if not fixed immediately. It will all be covered under warranty.
  • cub4cub4 Posts: 11
    I tow a camper trailer with my 2wd Tundra LTD and after its fully loaded and the bed of the truck full of fire wood and bicycles, it really sits pretty low and its hard to control under windy conditions. Any suggestions? Helper springs maybe, or those fancy air bladders you inflate and deflate to suit? Performance products sells a set of helper springs called "supersprings" for $250, will that help?
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,054
    If you do this a lot, I would get the airbags to help level your load and handling. They provided a lot more flexibility than the springs. You should check out the Cab over camper topic here under the pickup trucks discussion as it is discussed in detail. Good luck.
  • ratboy3ratboy3 Posts: 324
    Dropped off the truck at 7 AM. I got it back at noon. Service guy followed whatever he needs to follow on the TSB.

    They put in new set of updated drums and rotors, and pads. The drums were warped for sure but the rotors were good. He said they replace all 4 assemblies and ship them back. Dunno where, I didnt ask.
  • cub4cub4 Posts: 11
    Thanks obyone. Went to the camper forum and did find some discussion there. Looks like a lot of people are happy with the air bags. Is that something that a shadetree mech like myself can install or should I let the professionals handle it?
  • cub4cub4 Posts: 11
    obyone, visited the Roadmaster web site you recommended under the camper forum and gave them a call. The concept sounds interesting and the salesman was quite attentive (good salesman). Have you had any experience with these springs or heard of any body that has? They look a lot like helper springs to me. He also said I could install the springs in about an hour.
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,054
    with no problems at all. The only complication that I could see would be the installation of the compressor should you elect to install one with the bags.

    I have the Roadmaster Active Suspension installed on my truck. It does add about a 1000#'s more to the hauling limit, however, I wouldn't recommend exceeding the manufacturer's ratings as the brakes and frame weren't meant for it. The only reason I installed it is that I'll carry a 2000# load every so often, thought that the stock springs were too soft, and am lazy so the idea of filling and emptying air bags wasn't too appealing. For me, the Roadmaster was an install and forget kinda thing. Since I also installed the Velvet shackels, had to modify the bracket on the Roadmaster. If you have stock shackels, this would not be a problem. And you could install it probably in less than an hour once you figure out how it assembles.

    BTW, the truck still sags with a 2000# load but doesn't bottom out. With the airbags, this would not be a problem.
  • ken0ken0 Posts: 29
    A final thought - IF I had the money ----Extend the wheel base to where I wanted it.I worked in a shop in the fifties that did this so I know it can be done but the expense for an individual like me would be prohibitive - but what a truck I would have
    Wishful thinking so I guess I will get my 2500 Siliverado - thanks again for all your input
  • trdhiluxtrdhilux Posts: 4
    the 2001 tundra access cab 4x2 i recently purchased came with the rear axle shifted .25" to the right side. this is obvious as the right wheel sticks out .50" further than the left. when i took this matter to the dealer(who was very helpful) we measured almost every tundra in the lot, from the frame to a consistant groove in the tire. we found every silver(like mine) colored one to be also offset, while other colors were deadon...NO I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP!!! the service mgr. call toyota, and the reply was "only a quarter inch? a half inch is normal". well, if toyota thinks this is within their tolerance, it sucks. i would not want a vehicle with this kind of defect if i were looking to buy, can u say dogtracking. buyers of tundras arm your self with a tape measure and do NOT accept defective products.
  • cub4cub4 Posts: 11
    Hi obyone, ordered a roadmaster spring. Called Friday and it got here on Tuesday. The salesman even called to see if I had received it. I haven't worked on it yet but noticed that over the axle, where the roadmaster is supposed to go, there is a cone-shaped thingy. What is that? Will it come out? Any advice before I break into it?
    (I'm going to go measure my wheels)
  • duckcallerduckcaller Posts: 107
    I don't know if this is some kind of major-league joke or what. How did you notice? Are your eyes THAT calibrated that you could see 1/2 inch difference at a distance sufficient to see both sides of the truck? This isn't something you casually spot.

    I measured mine - guess I'm just a sucker. My black tundra is dead on both sides. I also looked underneath to see how this might be possible. I can't for the life of me see how this could be bolted in wrong... too many other pieces and parts that connect that wouldn't reach or connect if it was off by 1/2 inch. But I have no way of checking your personal story out.
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