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Old 02-17-2009   #21
Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 262
Taco or of the hardest decisions to make!

I was in this situation a year ago and both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Obviously, the Tacoma is the one that holds the "bullet-proof" header under its name. There is certainly less maintenance on a V6 than a V8. I believe that the Tacoma is a better daily driver due to its smaller size, economics, etc. It can certainly tow a raft and trailer easily but so can most trucks. I do have friends that have early 2000's Tundras and personally I did not like the drivers seats. I felt more comfortable in the Tacoma's bucket seats. With all that being said, if $$$ were not an issue I would be happy with a 2009 Tundra with full bed and 4 doors, limited edition!

I settled for a 2008 Tacoma crew cab TRD Off-Road in March of 2008 and then two weeks after my wedding in July 2008, some doucher rear ended me on my way to work because he was staring at the horses in the field next to the stop light. Coffee explosion all over the interior, totally bent frame, a confused dog in the back, and a wife that got out of the truck and smashed her Dunkin Donuts coffee mug on the ground while at the same time yelling to the driver who hit us, "What the F%*&, you F*%^IN A$$HOLE!"...anyways, I loved that truck (and I still love my wife)!

I decided after the insurance company totalled it to not get another 2008 since I couldn't get as good a deal as I did in March and potentially my accident was a higher-being telling me not to have $500 monthly car payments. I searched far and near for a first generation used Tacoma. I scored a 2001 Tacoma Crew Cab TRD Off-Road with all the bells and whistles that I ever needed i.e. TRD Super Charger, Topper, Bed Rug, Subwoofer, 2inch lift, BFG's, Brush Guard and the truck only had 44,000 miles on it! It was a ridiculous find and I jumped on it immediately. The truck drives like a dream! With the Supercharger the truck drives like a V8, it will do Vail pass at 90 and still be under 4000 RPM.

Moral of the story is Tacomas rock and are a more economical purchase, they retain their value better than Tundras, will tow a raft and trailer easily, etc. Obviously we all have our differences in opinions and I would suggest driving several different ones and decide what fits you and your lifestyle best. I would suggest staying away from the extended cab Tacomas, the back seats are only good for "little" people and a PFD or two.

If looking for a used Tacoma be very patient. They are in demand all of the time, they retain their value and rarely sell for less than Kelly Blue Book. Another word of advice is do not make truck shopping an emotional experience because if led by emotion you will either buy something you really can't afford or you will pay more than you should.

One thing I know for sure after owning different makes and models of vehicles over the years (yes even a brand new 2006 Subaru Outback whose wheel bearings burned out after 18,000 miles!) is that I will be a Toyota truck owner for life! And once my wife's Mitsubishi Motero Sport burns out, we will buy another Toyota! Yeah maybe we aren't supporting the US car economy but hey don't we want cars that work hard while we play hard!??!

Good luck!


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Old 02-17-2009   #22
DanOrion's Avatar
Indian Hills, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,448
I've got a 2002 v6 extended cab trd tacoma and wifey has a 2003 suicide door trd v8 tundra. In a nutshelll, I'd say get a Tundra unless you want to do serious 4x4 exploring, then get a Tacoma. I better knock on wood, but with over 200k combined mikes on the two trucks, I've never had to do anything but routine maintenance. If you are interested in purchasing either, shoot me a PM, maybe we could work something out.

Here's my thoughts:

Off road machine, can tackle anything and tough as nails. Minimal rattles with off road use.
Decent gas mileage (18 to 22)
Manageable size for parking, etc.
Standard transmission

Rougher ride
Does not comfortably fit more than two
Powerful enough, but not really powerful
Over-priced used market value IMHO
Interior parts break (knobs and trim)

Super luxury ride for a pickup; like a Never Summer Premier or a cadillac
Decent gas mileage (16 to eighteen)
Powerful enough to not want more engine
Interior parts sound so far (knobs and trim)
Totally more bang for the buck
Sort of comfortably fits four (comfy enough to drive denver to westy)
Very off road capable, but...

If you off road it, it will develop rattles
Bigger; harder to park
Seems a hair less reliable than the Tacoma

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Old 02-17-2009   #23
WhiteLightning's Avatar
Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 928

My piece of shit Chevy Blazer failed me at 60k, leaving me on the side of the road in a snowstorm, and without reliable transportation that I need for my line of work. That is the last American car I've had (although my Mustang was very good to me). I was going to buy a 2 or 3 year old Taco (this was back in 2005). I liked the new models better, more powerful engine, and a little roomier, but I wanted to save money. It turned out that 2 or 3 years old with 50-60k miles on it was only maybe 2 or 3k less than the brand new one I really wanted.

Anyways, I have a 2005 TRD off-road with the V6 and tow package, and manual transmission. It has been bomb-proof so far, except the paint chips a little more easily than I would like. The 2005 and later models address the complaints about size and power, I can easily haul ass up Vail Pass in it, and it tows rafts just fine. I think we get on average 19mpg driving around, and gotten as high as 21mpg when I'm lucky.

If you want to carry more people, the crew cab is fine, and if you really want to carry more people and not give up bed space, there is actually a crew-cab with the long bed, although it may be a little hard to find.

The Taco does fine in the snow and off-road. I have BFG AT tires, and they seem to work well for both, and are the right tire for this truck if you do even a little off-roading. The tires that come with is suck balls and won't last very long. Some people do snow tires in the winter, but I haven't found that I need to with the BFG's and a couple of sand bags as of yet.

Anyways, our Tacoma is our go-to camp, raft, kayak, mountain bike, dog carrier machine. I plan on keeping it until the wheels fall off, which I think may be a while even if I buy another car someday as a daily driver.
It takes a big man to cry...It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man.

-Jack Handy
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Old 02-17-2009   #24
WhiteLightning's Avatar
Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
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Posts: 928
P.S. The newer model access cab (non-crew extended cabs) have a small bench seat in the back that will do for occassional use. It is MUCH better than the older jump seats. It also folds forward and makes a flat area in the back that makes a perfect hound platform.
It takes a big man to cry...It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man.

-Jack Handy
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Old 02-17-2009   #25
shappattack's Avatar
Up North, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,147
To my previous post, clarrifing, I drive a lot with my 4 cyl tacoma at elevations between 2,500 to 5,000 feet with no problems, although I am not going to be passing much when fully loaded. Obviously not much driving above 5000 feet in Oregon and Idaho where I mostly spend my recreation time. I think I am going to go with a 6 cyl when I get a new rig probably in a year or so.
any thoughts on Nissan?
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Old 02-17-2009   #26
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Little Village, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
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I loved my old Toyota 4 cylinder, but it was really slow over high passes. The Tundra roars up grades. Taco or Tundra... depends on how much comfort and speed you want and can afford. The gas mileage difference isn't that big.
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Old 02-17-2009   #27
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Local, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
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This is hilarious. I figured that i would get 4 MAYBE 5 posts. So much for people not being passionate about Toyotas.

A late 90's/early 00's Tacoma with less than 90,000 miles at a decent price is impossible to find. The used car market in Colorado is completely retarded. I've basically given up and looking at the Tundra out of desperation.

If I only drive it 2-3 days a week and all summer, gas prices are going to be less of a hassle in the Tundra. However, I'm convinced that the crowd driving the V8 who says it is less strain makes perfect sense: more engine means you don't have to push it as hard.

The Taco might be more economical from the purchase price and gas mileage but they're just too much of a pain in the ass to find (I've been looking for 3 months). Also - slow over passes = sucks! If I was in the south, that's one thing, but driving I-70 at 5000 rpms because I'm in a 4cyl is not an enviable position to be in...

Anyone have more info on warped front rotors? I've heard about that and about exhaust manifold problems in Tundras....
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Old 02-17-2009   #28
iliketohike's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 94
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 176
here's what I know about the rotor issue:

First I think it starts with 1 of 2 things. 1. towing big trailer, tundra, although packing a v8 isn't a dodge dually, if you tow a motor home don't get the 00-06 tundra. 2. Rear axle seals go, and because no one would diagnose that themselves unless they work on their vehicle would assume the tundra has bad breaks, coming down a pass with the axle seal leak you are going to be using like 85% front breaks causing them to overheat, especially considering toyota did make a mistake by making them too small... remember the commercial for the 'new' tundra about how it has the best in class brakes... coincidence, don't bet on it. They weren't up to par and they brought them up to speed for the new line.

Now if you don't tow big things this won't be an issue unless you have the axle seal issue, which any good mechanic will diagnose and fix and thus fix your brake issue, hopefully for a reasonable rate. I haven't fixed my seals yet cause it still stops and it is cold out and I don't have a heated garage.

About the manifold, I have only found one exhaust leak which was leaking because the connection had gotten loose. I got under there with a rachet and fixed in all of 5 minutes.

I am sure you won't be dissapointed by the tundra. I love mine. I bet you will find one cheaper than a taco and you can pass them as you journey up the passes with ease. Just don't buy a v6 tundra for colorado, it's dumb. plus, you won't really miss shifting, It makes safety much easier

PS. If you buy a 00-02 you might have mushy shocks cuase they might be original. I found new shocks online, bilstien HD's for 300 all around. Now I installed them, so figure it will be more money. Just make sure to buy HD instead of OE (original equipment) shocks, cuase the originals from that year weren't stiff enough in my opinion, which made the truck feal like it rolled around corners. I replaced the shocks and sway bar bushings and no shit I can drive at least 10 miles an hour faster around corners without fealling like the truck is going to loose control. They changed the shocks starting in 03 I think, and also raised the truck 3 inches starting that year.

I just think of the tundra as a tricked out tacoma. and mine has bucket seats, not bench seats like most. Good luck finding a topper for it for a reasonable price though.
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Old 02-17-2009   #29
Denver via GJ, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 333
Regarding rotors, I only have 50k on my '04 Tundra double cab and no problems yet. Two friends have extended cab versions and had to replace rotors at about 90k. I do not believe it was an expensive repair, but appears to be one you should anticipate.

It may be worth watching the Utah/Idaho markets if you don't mind driving to pick it up. When I was looking for mine I noticed prices were about 2k lower, although I did end up purchasing in Denver (found a smokin deal for what I got).

I love my Tundra (one of the last years in the "mid" size) and will likely drive it till it dies. Great ride, has a shell that is excellent for car camping and halls five more comfortable than most cars. Runs about 15 to 18 mpg. Most people I have met over time wish they had the full size truck, especially if they have kids. Double cab turn radius is not the best, but I have never been one to mind walking an extra 100 feet for a suitable space.
"I plan to leisurely advance through my existence" - Terry Fuhrman 1991
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Old 02-17-2009   #30
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Boulder, Colorado
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I have a 01 Tundra with ~160k on it. No major problems as of now. My dad just got a new tacoma and it shit out on him pueblo a few months after buying it.

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