1995 Tacoma "hunting rig" - what to look for when buying`

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by tominboise, Oct 29, 2020.

  1. tominboise

    tominboise Long timer

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    I am going to sell my UTV (2006 Yamaha Rhino 660) and buy a jeep or toyota pickup to replace it as my offroad hunting rig. So it doesn't need to be pretty but it does need to be reliable.

    Anyway, I have located a 1995 Toyota Tacoma extra cab 4X4 with manual trans and 254k miles. It's pretty clean but has been whacked in the right front fender at some point in the past, as it has a different color blue fender on it. Other than that, it seems to be completely stock.

    I know about the frame rust issues. Anything else on these 4 cylinder versions to be especially aware of and to look over carefully? Guys asking $5k for it. Comes with a topper, platform w/drawers in bed and a bunch of extra camping gear which I don't need.

    End game would be to make sure it is mechanically reliable (ie baseline by tuning up, changing all fluids, belts, hoses, etc) and equip with front and rear lockers and hitch receivers fore and aft for a portable winch. Just like my rhino but with an enclosed cab and a heater...lol
    #1
  2. Yamarocket630

    Yamarocket630 Honey Badger

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    5k for a 15yo beat to shit Tacoma? Quit drinking the koolaid and spend half that amount on any other brand in the same or better condition with fewer miles.

    I've owned Tacos, older Toyota's, and other brands. The Toyota's really weren't any better.

    But to answer your question, it's a15yo truck. Anything could be wrong with it. Check it over like any old used up vehicle. Then pay half the asking price, because it's an old truck, not the goose's golden egg.
    #2
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  3. MGV8

    MGV8 Long timer Supporter

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    Actually 25 years old. The 3RZ 2.7 litre motor was almost bullet proof, along with the drive train. I tell all my customers to check for service records, tells you if the truck was loved or not.
    Tacos can survive a bit of abuse and neglect but live longer if looked after. It's at the mileage to need a clutch, exhaust and maybe some suspension work. Might be why the guy is selling it. Steering racks can be an issue. The older pickup system was better. Over all great trucks but expensive to bring back from the dead. 5 k might be a tad much depending
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  4. tominboise

    tominboise Long timer

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    Good info - thanks. I will do some investigating on the maintenance history, if any is available. Price is $5k, I'd probably not go over $4k, if I go there at all.
    #4
  5. gonerydin

    gonerydin Been here awhile

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    Last spring I sold a 2002 Tundra TRD Off Road. 125k easy one owner miles. Very good condition for $7500. I think you can do better than what you are looking at for $5000.
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  6. Yamarocket630

    Yamarocket630 Honey Badger

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    Oops. Yes, you're right. I revise my recommendation. Pay less than half.
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  7. Brokenhorse

    Brokenhorse Adventurer

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    All the above plus ball joints, U joints, brakes, rusted hardware, etc.
    I want to be able to use tire chains on the front on the steep, icey roads if needed.
    Don't like using chains but want the option and you will ruin the front abs lines so many ifs trucks with no clearance on the upper control arm.
    I have a 2011 version tacoma and like the older ones better because of lack of electrons, etc., and I can only chain the rear.
    Find one with a factory rear e-locker and save "one money".
    #7
  8. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer Supporter

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    I like Toyota given I have two 4Runners in the driveway. But when my Toyota 4x4 pickup got totalled, I went with Yamarocket's thinking. The same money that would buy a beat to shit, rusted out, high mileage Tacoma put me in an immaculate, rust free, low mileage Ranger.

    My 4.0, 4x4, five speed Ranger has been as reliable as my Toyotas. It is also fun. I have owned it for over ten years. It felt weird to not buy a Toyota. But I have zero regerts about getting a Ranger instead.

    I don't mind paying the ridiculous used Toyota truck premium for my daily driver. Which is obvious after buying four CPO 4Runners in a row. But no way I was paying that premium for a truck that gets occasional use but also hard use.

    Unless your heart is set on that truck, I would see what else my $5000 could buy with lower miles. Because my 99 4Runner needed a steering rack, all new brakes and some other minor but not so cheap stuff after 200k miles. It was still a nice truck. But I put close to $2000 into it before selling it for $5000 or so.

    Plus Ford can build a decent seat. I hate sitting on the floorpan in Tacomas. :D
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  9. tominboise

    tominboise Long timer

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    As an update, I passed on the truck I first mentioned. Too much $$ for what it is. Thanks for the good opinions and info.
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  10. gmiguy

    gmiguy You rode a what to where?

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    This is the correct take.

    Tacoma prices are bananas, to the point that even garbage examples with high miles, rust, and serious body/mechanical problems are going for real money.

    Unless you need and must have a Tacoma specifically for some reason, it's worth looking at other compact pickup options. This is especially true for a utility vehicle rather than a daily driver. They'll likely be much less expensive.

    Earlier this year I needed a small pickup for work and house projects. Trashed Toyotas were $3k+ for a truck that was barely functional. Instead, I bought a 2004 Ranger with low miles and no rust for $1,200. It's been perfect for my application, I don't regret not getting a Toyota.

    Was a 2004 Toyota a better and more reliable truck when new? Sure, probably.
    Does that mean much 16 years later? Not enough to pay a 500% premium for about the same truck.

    There is no universe where I would pay $5k , or even $3k, for the truck described in the original post.
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  11. tvpierce

    tvpierce Been here awhile

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    Have you considered a Japanese mini-truck?

    When I Googled "mini truck Idaho" a got a few hits. May be worth checking out.
    #11
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  12. Zahnarzt

    Zahnarzt Crashes Much

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    I like your train of thought, but it seems rangers are moving into Tacoma territory with regards to price.
    At least in the Midwest.

    I've been looking for a 4x4 ranger for my 16y/o and, while cheaper than a similar year taco, it's not by much.
    #12
  13. scapegoat

    scapegoat Pushin forward back

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    Location really plays a part in prices. trucks here in AZ are off the deep end price wise. If you do find a Toyota id pass on anything with the 3.0 V6. The lower ball joints are failure parts due to design. Cant recall what year they 'flipped" the design around so they dont pull apart when worn. The R&R of them is easy if you do find a clean bad design year. Cant speak for the 2.7 but the 3.4 V6 is bullet proof. My friend has 430K on his Tundra and its sees more hard use than 99.9% of the trucks on the road. Mazda/ford? you can keep them, same as GM. There is a reason Toyotas are pricey. Like the guys said whatever year it is at that mileage...clutches,suspension parts, rust and the other wear items go south. I just sold a 98 tacoma 4x4 I bought from the original owner. Cherry truck with 230K on it that I paid $4400 for it. I didnt care for it cause Im 6'3" 240,just not comfy for me. There out there...keep lookin. That Toyota compared to my 91 Jeep?. I love my jeep but there cheaply made piles of crap more or less. Wanna talk overpriced? Think Jeep. Just Empty Every Pocket.
    #13
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  14. jfk22

    jfk22 Adventurer

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    UTV's make no sense to me. You can get a tricked out old school Jeep CJ for way less money.

    I drive a 95 4Runner. The 3.0 V6 is gutless and gets crappy fuel mileage. I spent the first covid shutdown swapping in a JDM 3.4 which was quite the effort but I'm fairly happy with the result. Much more power, etc. The biggest reason I prefer the older Toyota's over similar rigs is the 5speed, seems like everybody else has an auto which I don't like. For a hunting rig a Ranger or S10 pickup would suffice but I'd get an old CJ, preferably with the S10 4.3 V6 in it that has been converted to port injection.
    #14