Friend selling his salvage Tacoma, considering buying it. Should I?

dentedvw

Wire twister
#1
My friend had his 1st gen taco TRD rammed in an intersection. I tried to convince him to let me buy it from insurance, because I was looking for a project at the time. It's now winter, and I don't have a proper shop or even driveway space so I am a little less inclined to purchase it at this point. But, I am still tempted, because I remember how fun it was to go on off roading trips with friends. I have a 4x4 van currently, but it is rather utilitarian. I don't join trips because it's a van, and not terrifically capable. And I've damaged it on some trails already, oops. If I had a trail ready vehicle, I wouldn't be so tempted to take the van places it doesn't belong.

I know that it needs a replacement rear axle, and possibly even the cab. I haven't inspected it in person yet, but from the pictures, it appears that the drivers door may not open and close very well any longer.
He contacted me and asked if I was still interested, and offered it to me for 2.5k, which is what the insurance company was going to offer him for it. I told him I'd consider it. At this point, I can't build a trail only vehicle, because I haven't got a place to store a trailer. I don't have a particularly large shop, either. It's an average garage. I could clear it out for vehicle work though. It would get used a lot for runs up and down the mountain by our house, where we paraglide. Would save a lot of wear on our van. And I do kind of miss off roading trips and even just fooling around at the local off roading spots.
Searching car-part.com turns up axle assemblies for about $900. Fender for about $100. Cab for about $500, if I go that far.
What says the collective?
 

bkg

Explorer
#3
Is the frame bent? Looking at the body line between cab and topper.

My Tacoma has a salvage title. For a dent. Is what it is.
 

Kpack

Adventurer
#6
I guess another way to look at the situation is to ask how much are you willing/wanting to spend total on a truck? Looking at the picture I wonder if costs will end up being much more than you originally think, plus time and aggravation. If you're willing to spend a bit more you may be able to find a similar Tacoma that doesn't need major repairs, and build it from there.

bkg brought up a good point about the frame. What other damage might you find? Driveline possibly bent? New leaf springs? What about the spring mounts? Brakes okay in the back? I look at the picture and tend to think of worst case scenario....all these other unforeseen possibilities can add up very quickly.
 
#7
If frame isn’t bent and plan on keeping truck for a long while.. go for it. From past experience resale is a pain I. The butt. I bought a salvage diesel and drove it 4 years.. truck ran flawless and a good buy.. selling was a pain in rear. People wanted to nickel and dime because of salvage. If frame is bent, it’s hard to recover and will wear tires and drivetrain faster or create issues. Good luck.. I probably won’t buy another salvage unless it’s a trail rig and plan to keep.
 

plh

Explorer
#8
If you plan to put it back on the road, some insurance companies won't insure it with a salvage title, and of course some will. Just be aware of that.
 
#9
Looking at the picture I wonder if costs will end up being much more than you originally think, plus time and aggravation. If you're willing to spend a bit more you may be able to find a similar Tacoma that doesn't need major repairs, and build it from there.
+1

Not worth it.

I once bought a '79 CB400T motorcycle that was literally in pieces. I intended to do a full rebuild from the frame up, so I figured what the heck, it's already "disassembled." That little project ended up running me around $5000-6000 all said and done. Granted, the bike was brand new at the end of it, but it was a hell of a lot more money than I ever intended to spend, and for that price I could have bought a way newer, turn-key bike.

Projects are always more $$ than you think they'll be. And the time/effort of wasting every free minute working on them will quickly get old.
 
#10
was reading the OP again. Missed the $2500 buy in price. not sure how that escaped me.

What year? How many miles? I wouldn't want to invest more than 60-70% of what it would cost to buy one outright.. assuming my time was worth $0.00.

So given that number, the question then becomes: can you get it back to pre-accident condition for a total investment of $6k?
 
#11
Also keep in mind you'll need to get it to pass whatever inspection requirements your state has for salvage-title vehicles before you are able to register/drive it.
 
#12
Also keep in mind you'll need to get it to pass whatever inspection requirements your state has for salvage-title vehicles before you are able to register/drive it.
This is a good point. I know it varied from state to state as to when the title goes from clean to salvage, so definitely do that research.
 
#14
I bought a 10 year old taco with 130k and minor front end damage from insurance auction for 3200. It needed a grill hood and fender. I cut all the suspension off and SAS it so I didn't want to start with a perfect one anyway. If it's gonna be a wheeler I think you can save money by going with a wrecked one, your gonna beat it up anyways.