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View Full Version : Building an overland Taco. Where to start?



thejafe
02-22-2012, 03:26 PM
I am currently the owner of a 2004 TJ Wrangler with a 4" lift and 33" tires. Starting to feel as though I'd like to get into a Taco for better gas mileage and increased comfort on longer excursions. Think those are realistic expectations going from one vehicle to the other?

I'd want the Taco to pull double duty as my daily rig as well as a capable overland/off-road vehicle. Definitely don't want the double cab option but I'm not opposed to the access cab. Would like a shorter bed since I'm used to fitting into tighter spaces with the TJ and definitely want an automatic tranny.

So, what model year(s) should I be considering? I wouldn't want to throw a lot of money at the Taco that wouldn't come from the sale of my TJ. Thinking I'd have 15-18k to work with? Not 100% sure what the TJ is worth.

Let me know what you guys think! Thanks :) .

TangoBlue
02-22-2012, 03:37 PM
I think you might start here first: http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/52528-Collection-of-Build-Threads

Go through those vehicles and builds to get an idea what your build might end up looking like, according to your intended use.

Then fine tune some of your questions from there. Good luck!

phsycle
02-22-2012, 08:53 PM
I'd say go for a 01-04 ext. cab TRD. You could land a nice one for around $10k. Then with the rest of the cash, get sliders, tires, and lift. By that point, I'm sure you'll have a good idea of what to do next.

T O Double D
02-22-2012, 09:03 PM
I'd say go for a 01-04 ext. cab TRD. You could land a nice one for around $10k. Then with the rest of the cash, get sliders, tires, and lift. By that point, I'm sure you'll have a good idea of what to do next.

+1

CA-RJ
02-22-2012, 09:54 PM
If it was me, I'd go find an early 96-97, 4 cylinder with manual hubs. I'd then pop a shell on it, buy some good AT's, load up your camping gear and go.

Dave Bennett
02-22-2012, 10:27 PM
I think you might start here first: http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/52528-Collection-of-Build-Threads

Go through those vehicles and builds to get an idea what your build might end up looking like, according to your intended use.

Then fine tune some of your questions from there. Good luck!

Great advice.

juicebox
02-23-2012, 04:05 AM
I'd say go for a 01-04 ext. cab TRD. You could land a nice one for around $10k.

In my neck of the woods, $10K buys a TRD ex cab with 180K+ on it, and it's getting harder and harder to find a clean one. The other day I saw a 2003 white Ex. Cab TRD for sale in my local classifieds. It had 110,000 on it and looked to be in good condition, asking price 11,500. I thought it was a fair price, which didn't surprise me when I saw it sold within the day. What did surprise me was I saw it relisted the very next day @ $13,500. The guy who bought it even used the same pictures that the other guy took, plus a couple more that he took. I texted the original seller and asked him how much he sold it for and he told me 10,500. :(

I've seen that more times than I can count. There was one a few months ago, red Ex Cab TRD with 160K on it, asking price was 7300, some guy swooped it up and relisted it the next day for 10,000. And it sold pretty quick...

They are in such demand, it's just crazy... I bought mine (ex cab TRD) in Sep. 2006 with 30,500 miles on it, $14,350. If I needed to sell it, I could get 13,500 - 14,000 for it pretty easy. That's absolutely crazy to me...


Edit- Sorry for rambling, the point of me saying that is to just let you know how crazy the market is for these trucks. I would recommend it for sure, I love my truck so much. I am just saying, if I were in the market, I would be extremely frustrated trying to find a good one for a fair price. :coffee:

Blackdawg
02-23-2012, 09:03 AM
If it was me, I'd go find an early 96-97, 4 cylinder with manual hubs. I'd then pop a shell on it, buy some good AT's, load up your camping gear and go.

This! They are the best looking Tacos IMO :D tho I'm a bit bias..haha

They also seem to take lifts a bit better then the newer ones..and manual everything is always nice for this kinda stuff.

Applejack
02-23-2012, 11:51 AM
You mentioned that were not interested in the Double cab option but were the access cab, but you wanted a shorter bed. The double cab short bed has a shorter bed than the access cab but the over length and wheelbase are the same BTW. Also something to remember is that the access cab is only available on the 2nd gen (new model 05-present) trucks, and these trucks are a fair bit larger than the previous generation.

offthebeatenpath
02-23-2012, 07:58 PM
I am currently the owner of a 2004 TJ Wrangler with a 4" lift and 33" tires. Starting to feel as though I'd like to get into a Taco for better gas mileage and increased comfort on longer excursions. Think those are realistic expectations going from one vehicle to the other?.

My wife and I had a 4.0 TJ with 33's for awhile, but once the kids showed up we ended up with an '03 DC Tacoma. Gas mileage is of course a tricky thing. Some of it depends on what engine you had in the TJ and if you regeared that or not. I don't think gas mileage is much different from TJ to Taco, though others will probably disagree with me. My Taco averages about 17 around town (265/75/16 radials, topper, no aftermarket bumpers, etc). I get about 19 on the highway.

The other thing you didn't mention, but I will is reliability. Tacoma wins hands down. I chased down so many stupid little gremlins in each of the 4 Jeeps I've owned. Nothing even worth mentioning from either our Taco or 4Runner.

However, increased comfort is a definite YES. Not sure what you had on your TJ, but we had a short arm lift, so all the control arm angles were drastically steepened, which in turn makes the ride of a rough vehicle even rougher. Our TJ was pretty bouncy and harsh. The Taco is in a different category. Yeah, it's still a truck, but I'd say the ride is more like our Subuaru Outback than it was like our TJ. The drawback to that is that a lot of the comfort comes from the independent front axles, so you lose some articulation and offroad prowess, but for a DD and longer excursion vehicle, I'm going to stick with the Taco. That being said, I will always have a soft spot for Wranglers and CJ's. I miss the wind in my hair :D

phsycle
02-23-2012, 08:22 PM
...I miss the wind in my hair

Time to start shopping for an FJ40. :D

AFSOC
02-23-2012, 08:25 PM
I'd want the Taco to pull double duty as my daily rig as well as a capable overland/off-road vehicle. Definitely don't want the double cab option but I'm not opposed to the access cab. Would like a shorter bed since I'm used to fitting into tighter spaces with the TJ and definitely want an automatic tranny.


Let me know what you guys think! Thanks :) .

I don't really think the model year makes a world of difference. Get one you like (cab & bed) in the best condition available. TRDs are nice but command more money. Make sure your brakes, tires and shocks are in good condition and you're done. You don't need much for accessories, they're good basic platforms. The seats tend to bite at you after a few hours but have improved in present models.

phsycle
02-23-2012, 08:33 PM
...TRDs are nice but command more money....

I have found this to be untrue, especially if you're talking about 1st Gen Tacoma's. Prices seem pretty similar regardless of TRD OR pkg, Limited vs SR5, etc. The main contributor for price gaps is 4wd vs 2wd, in my experience. Maybe manual vs auto, but not by much, if at all.

trump
02-23-2012, 08:36 PM
I don't really think the model year makes a world of difference. Get one you like (cab & bed) in the best condition available. TRDs are nice but command more money. Make sure your brakes, tires and shocks are in good condition and you're done. You don't need much for accessories, they're good basic platforms. The seats tend to bite at you after a few hours but have improved in present models.

This.

Also, the majority here change out the suspension that comes with the TRD package and a locker can be added cheaper than what they charge for the package.

juicebox
02-27-2012, 06:38 PM
Hey OP-

I saw this ad and thought of you.

http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/74509-Wow-Could-it-be-A-fair-deal-on-a-clean-TRD-Tacoma-UTAH

trump
02-27-2012, 06:44 PM
Hey OP-

I saw this ad and thought of you.

http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/74509-Wow-Could-it-be-A-fair-deal-on-a-clean-TRD-Tacoma-UTAH

Nice! Shouldn't last long.

juicebox
02-27-2012, 11:14 PM
Yeah, I thought it looked really clean, but I noticed the tires are the really, really old style of BFG A/T. (I bought BFG a/t's 10 years ago, and they were the newer style with the side lug things.) So, those tires are at least 10 years old. :(

Also, I doubt the timing belt/water pump has been done.

Still, it's a clean truck...

Nullifier
02-28-2012, 03:33 AM
Based on my experiance an xcab with a manual and 4cyl is the way to go. Mine is lifted locked and armored and i get 20mpg highway. My arb lockers, 255 maxxis tires, ome lift and 488 gears have not let me down offroad or on. I would drive any trail anytime with this arrangement.