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View Full Version : Here I stand at the crossroads edge…



MunkeyTX
01-16-2012, 03:28 PM
…afraid to reach out to my next vehicle!

My ’98 4Runner is done; she’s been a faithful beast, but she’s old and tired. Pushing 300k miles on the original powertrain, interior is falling apart piece by piece, new squeaks and rattles appear every day, and the entire front suspension & steering is shot (ball joints, springs, shocks, steering rack, CV’s, etc etc). I had it in my mind to fix her up, but I can’t see myself dropping some serious coin into a 14 year old vehicle with such a high mileage and such high use.

The 3rd gen 4Runner has suited me well, and is a perfect fit for what my family needs (my daily driver, and a 4x4 to get us out on the beach/camping far away from the rest of the demon horde). I do miss the utility of having a bed and figured a DoubleCab Taco would be a good move, but I also like the fact that I can store things locked up inside the cargo area 4Runner and access them from the back seat (coolers, kids toys, etc). Now adding to this mess I am finding prices on early year (2003/2004) 4th Gen 4Runners to be almost the same, or cheaper than either 3rdGen 4Runner or a DC Taco!!

So, here is my conundrum:

Stick with a newer (99+), lower mileage 3rd Gen 4Runner (no surprises, already know models quirks/maintenance needs),
OR
Move to a DC Taco, but lose the usefulness of having covered storage, but gain a bed (while keeping most of the quirkiness/maintaince of the 3rd Gen 4Runner),
OR
Move to a 4th Gen 4Runner and see what it brings.

So far I’ve just been weighing my decisions on regular use of a stock vehicle, no expo’ness added into the equation. I’ve always wanted to spruce up my current 3rd Gen to make it more expo friendly, but the thought of putting high-zoot parts on such an old vehicle made me think otherwise….but now with a newer vehicle you can bet your butt I’ll be expo-equipping it!

What would you do??

28.
01-16-2012, 06:36 PM
if more than 2 kids that are still young, go with the newer 4th gen runner.. If only 2 or less get the DC.. The usefulness of a truck has no equal IMO..

xjaugie
01-16-2012, 06:42 PM
Several years ago I traded the truck bed in for an SUV for the reasons you listed. It was nice to be able to park the jeep somewhere and know that the gear inside was safe. Problem was that the hunting and fishing stuff was really hard on the interior. Not to mention the feathers, hair and blood. It worked well for the years I drove the XJ but when it came time to move on, I opt'd to return to a truck bed. I took some time and have been outfitting the bed to suit my needs, and have it covered with a tonneu cover to keep stuff dry and out of sight. So far, I like having the truck bed and not have my "stuff" always cluttering up the back of the SUV. I think with some pre-planing (sometimes doing less to the bed gets more results) the double cab could be the way to go. For me, I choose a X-cab because I haul more gear than extra people, but still wanted that option.

MunkeyTX
01-16-2012, 08:17 PM
Let me throw something else into the mix; I use my 4Runner cargo area like a truck bed…literally.

I’ve had the entire area behind of the front seats, floor to ceiling, door to door, jam packed with brush from when we did the initial landscaping to our house; I drove up to the landfill and the guard asked, “Where’s the trash?” I rolled down my back window and he thought I was crazy! Same thing for when we built a retaining wall; two layers deep of cinder blocks. Muddy equipment, wood for bonfires, you name it, I’ll have no reservation of putting it in the back of the 4Runner. Why? Because it’s old as hell, and the cargo area was already 75% thrashed when I bought it. Rear seatbacks and cargo area is pretty nasty; even my 2 yo daughter knows not to play in the back of Daddy’s truck unless she wants to get grubby. When it’s not full of crap, it’s completely empty, which is 99% of the time.

Would I do this to a nicer, newer 4Runner? Hell-to-the-NOOO! That sucker would be as clean, or cleaner than the day I bought it. That is the reason the DC Taco is in the running. Same seating capacity as the 4Runner (although less rear leg room from the looks of it), same running gear (engine, trans, etc), no new maintenance surprises for me; just a 4Runner, with a smaller, open cargo area, but would retain full seating (something that is beginning to become very important; my Daughter is wanting to tag along with me on all my ‘chore’ runs and she currently cant because the rear seats are folded…and as she gets older I’ll have an extra set of hands for those chores!  )

So, the only decision between the DC Taco and 4Runner is that; cargo room and security. The more I think and look, the more I lean towards DC Taco. I already know the front half of the vehicle mechanically speaking, it’s dat’booty that I need to stare at. A topper on the bed would pretty much solve the security issue, but I’d still be left with a smaller cargo area for that 1%.

The 4th Gen is a whole different beast; I’ve got no idea if when I sit in it I’d make a naughty mess in my pants and drink the 4thGen Kool-Aid, OR, I sit in it and want to vomit through my nipples. I just…don’t…know. All the numbers on paper look great, but again….I….don’t….kn-…you get the picture.

But what about their ability to be modified? We’d like to…(ok…I’d like to…)…begin camping at more distant, and more remote locations with the wife and kid, which the latter might become plural. DC Taco and 3rd Gen 4Runner would be full, and I doubt we’d use the 3rd row in the 4th Gen since the amount of junk we’d have with possibly two kids would be astronomical. Aftermarket support seems to be very strong no matter which route I decide to go, but in general, I’ve got no idea which is more “family-wheeling friendly.”

Decisions…decisions…

Martinjmpr
01-16-2012, 09:00 PM
Let me muddy the waters a bit by asking: How firm are you on sticking with Toyota? Reason I ask is that IMO prices on Toyotas - especially 3rd gen 4runners and 1st gen double cab Tacos - are insane. Here in CO it's not unusual to see an 01 or 02 double cab or 4runner get advertised for $15k. Meanwhile, an equivalent Xterra or double-cab Nissan Frontier would go for $7 -$10k max.

So, you might want to think about expanding your horizons a bit. As much as I love my 4runner (and I do) it may be my last Toyota. I'm just getting a little tired of paying the "Toyota Tax" when I buy (even though I might get a portion of that back when I sell.)

Add to that the fact that the 2nd gen Xterra and 2nd gen Frontier have a more powerful engine than the 2nd gen Taco or 4th gen V6 4runner, and that the Frontier has a metal bed where the 2nd gen Taco has a plastic bed. Final factor is that unlike the 4runner, I can get an Xterra with a manual tranny.

MunkeyTX
01-16-2012, 09:49 PM
I'm done with rowing gears; my current 4Runner is a 5spd and while it's freaking awesome to be able to do all the things a manual tranny can do...I'm tired of it.

I've got a fever, and the only thing that can cure it is more Toyota! 4Runner prices are 'normal' for the area, but DC prices seem to be much lower than everywhere else; 7k - 10k. If that 3.4l made it to 300k, which of the last 50k was me wringing it out, I'm sold.

That being said...if I could find a 7.3L or V10 Excursion under 70k miles, for a reasonable price, and gas was under $2 I'd be all over it like stink on dookie. :sombrero:

Martinjmpr
01-17-2012, 05:48 PM
Wait, are you talking about a 1st gen DC or a 2nd gen? If it's a 1st gen, I'd say this: You are getting basically the same vehicle as the 4runner (IOW, same drivetrain.) IMO you will regret that. If you are used to a 5 speed you will find the 3.4/auto combo is underpowered compared to what you're used to (interestingly, I went the same direction in terms of transmissions and the opposite direction in terms of vehicles: I went from a 2004 taco extra cab with a 5 speed to a 1999 4runner with an auto.)

My opinion is that if you're going to spend $10k, you should get something that will be an "upgrade" rather than something that is, for all intents and purposes, a newer version of what you have now.

For example, as much as I like my 3rd gen 4runner, I'd never replace it with another 3rd gen. I'd get something newer, with fewer miles, and a lot more power. Even the base 4th gen 4runner with its 4.0l V-6 has about 25% more HP and torque than the 3.4. Also, IIRC it's a belt-free motor (I think it has a timing chain, not a belt.) Between the more powerful motor, more roomy interior, multi-mode 4wd and other refinements, I think it's a better vehicle. Even better, the MPG does not suffer even though you have more power (everything I've read says that the 4th gen gets the same MPG or better than the 3rd gen.) Another point in favor of the 4th gen is the bigger gas tank which gives longer range (the 18.5 gallon tank in the 4runner/Taco gives you a safe max of 350 miles, and that's under the best of circumstances. In city driving in the winter my low fuel light typically comes on around 220 miles and I almost always fill up before 280 miles.)

Obviously, everything that can be said about the 4th gen 4runner applies to the 2nd gen (2005+) Taco, with the exception of the multi-mode 4wd. Around here it seems like DC tacos are more expensive than 4runners, if I was to guess I'd say that's because there are more 4runners out there.

frobuster
01-17-2012, 05:52 PM
As a taco owner, I wish I'd gone for the 4runner and guy a little trailer. Short wheelbase vs long wheelbase.

Flagster
01-17-2012, 06:00 PM
why not taco and a camper shell to lock your gear?

CA-RJ
01-17-2012, 07:03 PM
For less than $15k, you can pick up a lower mileage (95k-130k) 100 Series Land Cruiser.

nucktaco
01-18-2012, 02:07 AM
i would say tacoma hands down. but i would go 2nd gen tacoma if i were you. my buddy has an 04 dble cab and i have an 08 double cab long box.

personally i find the 1st gen double cabs are small as hell. interior felt cramped and extremely dated. plus you have to settle for a useless uber short box.

now my 08 can comfortably seat 4 adults (ive done 5 adults on 4-5 hour trips with no complaints) and i have 6 feet of bed space. plus the motor has a decent amount of power and is pretty bulletproof. ive seen 05's popping up on Craigslist for pretty cheap especially in the states.

Stick Figure
01-18-2012, 04:42 AM
I looked at the 4th gen runners when I couldn't find a clean 3rd gen with the options I wanted. I wasn't happy with them. It seems to me any Toyota designed after around the year 2000 has gotten cheaper built. Less screws/bolts and more clips and pop together crap. This is part of the same reason why my 02 IS300 got sold while my 80's MR2 and Supra are in the rebuild section of my fleet. I'm not saying i would rebuild your current truck, but if my 2000 got stolen/crushed/etc I would either pick up another (same trim level) or possible look into an 80 or 100 series.

If you need a truck bed, the Taco or Tundra would be a good choice, but I personally like the country of origin on the 4Runner better, and find that a lifted truck bed is too high for convenient loading/unloading, and a truck that isn't lifted isn't as fun .... I just rent a trailer when the need arises for open hauling.

Applejack
01-18-2012, 10:41 AM
To add an element that hasn't been yet, my suggestion would be to go with the one that = less debt for you. No, I don't have a crystal ball but I research the financial (money) world more than the 4wd world and I believe that this financial debacle is far from over and will actually get worse, and how much debt we carry in our personal lives is going to be more and more of an issue. Unless you are very financially secure..........play it wise my friend-
Just a thought!

downhill
01-18-2012, 09:13 PM
As stated above, a camper shell solves the covered securiy issue, and has the plus of being removable. An $800 utility trailer solves the hauling problem and trailers are much nicer to load and unload. No woories about trashing it either. I would find the shorty bed on the DC very limiting though. Think of all the things you have that are longer. You can't sleep in it. You can't even put a fishing pole in there. I don't have the passenger issue, so I got the 07 Access Cab which has a 6' plus bed. I can sleep in it! The DC bed would be a constant aggrevation to me. I'd probably bob it and use whatever was left. Basically it brings me back around to the 4 runner or landcruiser. If the need for passengers is an issue, that format gives the most versatility by far. I'd still get the trailer,....before that next drywall project. :ylsmoke:

Scott C
01-18-2012, 11:35 PM
To add an element that hasn't been yet, my suggestion would be to go with the one that = less debt for you. No, I don't have a crystal ball but I research the financial (money) world more than the 4wd world and I believe that this financial debacle is far from over and will actually get worse, and how much debt we carry in our personal lives is going to be more and more of an issue. Unless you are very financially secure..........play it wise my friend-
Just a thought!

+1

Danimal
01-19-2012, 02:48 AM
If you need a truck bed, the Taco or Tundra would be a good choice, but I personally like the country of origin on the 4Runner better

I haven't had any build quality issues with my 2011 Tacoma that I would blame the California assembly plant for. My 1998 4Runner was built in Japan and I would rate the quality very similar between the two. What experiences have you had that makes you prefer Japanese manufactured Toyotas? I also believe that overall, the interior of my 2011 uses far superior materials than my 1998 4Runner Limited. The cabin is also much quieter.

Then again, I haven't owned my truck for very long.

Dan

rickashay
01-19-2012, 09:13 PM
IMHO the 3rd gen is a great platform and I even prefer it to the 1st gen DC Taco. As others have stated, the bed is too small and I like the 5link rear suspension more than leafs but I guess that depends on how you use it. If you need the extra carrying capacity, get a small utility trailer than is used for those specific hauling purposes. When I retire my 3rd gen, I will either be getting another 3rd gen (lower miler from southern states) or a LC 80 or 100. A well setup cargo area in a SUV is replaceable IMO cause you can lock it up and walk away without worrying.

I really like the look of the 2nd Gen. Tacomas but I just don't think they are as well built as the Japanese made Toyotas. The 4.0L v6 on the newer 4runners and Taco is a definite advantage but you can throw a S/C on the 1st gen Taco or 3rd gen T4R and with the right setup you can get 16-18mpg (so I have read while doing research on the subject, no first hand experience)... There are issues with all vehicles but I think the newer Tacoma's just have more:

2nd Gen. Taco's:
- idler pulley issues
- wheel bearings (expensive to replace and non-serviceable.)
- LCA's have lower BJ's attached so when they need replacement, you buy whole new LCA
- newer Toyota paint is JUNK - chips like crazy
- "C" channel frame (not as strong)
- feel very "plastic-y" to me

If you need space, moderately wheel, and want more power: 100 Series LC??

Owyhee H
01-19-2012, 09:54 PM
2nd Gen. Taco's:
- idler pulley issues
- wheel bearings (expensive to replace and non-serviceable.)
- LCA's have lower BJ's attached so when they need replacement, you buy whole new LCA
- newer Toyota paint is JUNK - chips like crazy
- "C" channel frame (not as strong)
- feel very "plastic-y" to me

If you need space, moderately wheel, and want more power: 100 Series LC??

This info on the 2nd gen taco is not really correct.
-The lower ball joints are not connected to the LCA, they unbolt at the end. No need to replace the entire LCA or even remove the LCA to replace ball joints.
-I believe that the first gen taco also have unserviceable front wheel bearings which have to be pressed on and off.
-As for the c-channel "weaker" frame, it is only a c-chanel for the rear of the rig. I have heard of no problems with the 2nd gen frames and I know that a LOT of first gens needed reinforcing, there is a discussion about the frames in this section of the forum. Time will tell but the trucks that have been around for 6+years there dosent appear to be too many issues with the rear frame strength.
As far as build I really like the first gen size and build but the 2nd gen is way more comfortable. There is clearly more sound deadening in the 2ng gen and the size makes it more roomy. I dont think you can really go wrong with either, they are all Toyotas after all.

rickashay
01-20-2012, 06:41 PM
This info on the 2nd gen taco is not really correct.
-The lower ball joints are not connected to the LCA, they unbolt at the end. No need to replace the entire LCA or even remove the LCA to replace ball joints.
-I believe that the first gen taco also have unserviceable front wheel bearings which have to be pressed on and off.
-As for the c-channel "weaker" frame, it is only a c-chanel for the rear of the rig. I have heard of no problems with the 2nd gen frames and I know that a LOT of first gens needed reinforcing, there is a discussion about the frames in this section of the forum. Time will tell but the trucks that have been around for 6+years there dosent appear to be too many issues with the rear frame strength.
As far as build I really like the first gen size and build but the 2nd gen is way more comfortable. There is clearly more sound deadening in the 2ng gen and the size makes it more roomy. I dont think you can really go wrong with either, they are all Toyotas after all.

Then I stand corrected on the LBJ item.

As per the wheel bearings: the 2nd gen Tacoma has a sealed wheel bearing that nees to be replaced once issues arise where the first gens you can at least re-pack with grease and therefore are deamed serviceable.

I too, realize of the issues with the first gens frames in the rear, with a simple weld on reinforcement the issue is corrected. I still think in the long run the first gen frames are/will be stronger (negating the rust issue). I am interested in reading up on the 2nd gen frames and their strengths, ill have to search that mentioned thread out...But, as you said, time will tell and they are all Toyota's and great trucks.

cruiserbent
01-20-2012, 07:18 PM
My say is to go with a 4th gen runner. I am blessed enough to own a 97 runner with Sonoran Steel lift & 285/75 BFGs, and a 04 4runner limited v8. While I do love the 97, I also loved the 91 before that. Wife drives the 04. Awesome ride,great engine, not necessarily talkin about power here but reliability, 4.7 is virtually bullet proof. I agree with some who said get a utility trailer. Or have a good friend with a trailer. I also have a 92 4wd p/u in the family,but only really NEED a truck one or two times a year. Having my traveling & camping gear in the cab with me is great. good luck. hope you find a deal.

NM-Frontier
01-20-2012, 08:01 PM
For less than $15k, you can pick up a lower mileage (95k-130k) 100 Series Land Cruiser.

I know the Land Cruiser was not on your list but I have to X2 on this one. I have a Taco and a FJ60 but if I had to have just one It would be the UZJ 100. Comfortable for the fam and if you can get one with the locker(98-99)they are just as capable as a Taco or 4Runner.