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#4710562 - 03/29/18 01:02 PM 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run?
MotoTribologist Offline


Registered: 02/03/16
Posts: 523
Loc: NJ, USA
So I've got my eye out for a compact truck and this Tacoma has come up on my radar but with a few hiccups.

It's a 2003, single cab, 5 speed manual, 2WD, 4-Cyl. It has relatively low miles and the price is very good if the issues aren't as bad as they seem at first glance. I checked it out and started it up, and it sounded ok to me. The body work/frame I could easily lay eyes on seemed fine.

Like I said, at first glance I should be running from this, but I figured it couldn't hurt to get some more informed opinions.

Issue 1: It has what seems like an abnormal amount of rust under the hood. Looks like a lot of components have at least surface rusting present. I don't know if it maybe was flooded or if this is just pretty normal and I'll just need to do normal component replacements as needed. The engine itself didn't look overly rusty or anything, just a lot of the components in the compartment. Is that normal or is something up with this one?

Issue 2: There is no record of it receiving a replacement frame during the recalls due to frame rusting prior to 2012. That alone might be the deal breaker. I haven't had a chance to look into the recall details to check, but does anyone know off-hand if the single cab frames were somehow different and not prone to the same rusting defect as the others?

Issue 3: It has a few collisions on record, but all reports indicate they were pretty minor and it was driveable after each one. I'm not too concerned with this one, but it's worth noting. Its got a cracked windshield, but that's an easy fix.

Everything else is just cosmetic, which I am unconcerned about for the most part.

I'd appreciate any insight.

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#4710565 - 03/29/18 01:10 PM Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist]
Old Mustang Guy Offline


Registered: 11/16/05
Posts: 964
Loc: Rockwall, Texas
How much? I gave my 01 Escape with 235k to a young man who needed transportation. It ran great but was worth $300 on a trade. This Taco isn't worth much money.

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#4710570 - 03/29/18 01:14 PM Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist]
demarpaint Offline


Registered: 07/03/05
Posts: 29404
Loc: NY
Pictures, miles, and price would be helpful.
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#4710575 - 03/29/18 01:18 PM Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist]
bullwinkle Offline


Registered: 10/09/04
Posts: 7480
Loc: Cincinnati, OH, USA
I'd get it on a lift and take a pointed hammer to every part of the frame that I could reach, guessing it's from the Northeast?
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#4710578 - 03/29/18 01:21 PM Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist]
MotoTribologist Offline


Registered: 02/03/16
Posts: 523
Loc: NJ, USA
I've got no pictures to help elaborate on my concerns. The pictures I have at hand make it look like a stock 2003 Tacoma.

It's got 130K miles and the asking is for $4500, but I'm pretty sure I could get it down from there with ease.

It's in NJ.


Edited by MotoTribologist (03/29/18 01:25 PM)

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#4710590 - 03/29/18 01:36 PM Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist]
FermeLaPorte Offline


Registered: 07/25/17
Posts: 428
Loc: Texas (south)
Too much rust is never a good buy unless you want to spend the $$$
_________________________
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2014 1.6L Nissan Versa Sedan, 5 spd, 5k OCI.
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#4710595 - 03/29/18 01:39 PM Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist]
MotoTribologist Offline


Registered: 02/03/16
Posts: 523
Loc: NJ, USA
It's not all rusted over or anything. Just more rust than I'm accustomed to seeing under the hood. My problem is that I just don't know what would be considered normal for a 15 year old Tacoma.

My friend is a Toyota mechanic, so I'm kind of waiting on his input too. I just figured it couldn't hurt to get some more input.

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#4710598 - 03/29/18 01:42 PM Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist]
Leo99 Offline


Registered: 03/30/14
Posts: 2877
Loc: NJ
It's a 14 year old used vehicle. There's going to be warts. I'd be more concerned about electric gremlins if you thought it was flooded than with surface rust.

You should pay for a pre purchase inspection if you're worried or roll the dice.
_________________________
Without data you're just another person with an opinion. W. E. Deming

2003 Corolla 250,000 miles
2004 Rav4 333,000 miles
2015 Camry 40,000 miles

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#4710607 - 03/29/18 02:06 PM Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist]
demarpaint Offline


Registered: 07/03/05
Posts: 29404
Loc: NY
Giving a person advise about buying a rusted vehicle w/o actually seeing just how bad it is would be tough. Many years ago my son was car shopping and I was 3,000 miles away. He called and asked about buying a rusted car, my advise to him was to pass unless I could actually see and poke around the car for him. He passed. If you can't thoroughly check it, pay someone or pass. We're talking a $4,000 plus vehicle here, not a $500 junker. Most people can gamble with $500 and not break the bank if they're wrong, a $4k hit to some can be a real big hit.
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#4710623 - 03/29/18 02:26 PM Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist]
LeakySeals Offline


Registered: 02/18/11
Posts: 6517
Loc: Hudson, NH
A taco in the rust belt should be avoided. And if its a 2.4 2AZ-FE, its got a pretty good appetite for oil
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#4710636 - 03/29/18 02:43 PM Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist]
MotoTribologist Offline


Registered: 02/03/16
Posts: 523
Loc: NJ, USA
My mechanic just said it probably isn't worth a second look. Its been listed for too long for it not to have underlying problems.

Oh well, back to the search. Thanks for the input everyone.

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#4710639 - 03/29/18 02:50 PM Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist]
SatinSilver Offline


Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 9748
Loc: OH
Here's a 96 Tacoma with 426k miles on it that was talked about yesterday.

https://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/4709553/Re:_426k_on_our_shop_truck#Post4709553
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2012 Toyota Camry 72k-Idemitsu 0w20,OEM filter, RT43s.
2005 Toyota Matrix 135k miles - VWB 5w30 conv, Valvoline oil filter. Nokian eNTYRES.

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#4710641 - 03/29/18 02:55 PM Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist]
MotoTribologist Offline


Registered: 02/03/16
Posts: 523
Loc: NJ, USA
Haha yeah I saw that. It makes we want to roll the dice so badly, but I have the luxury of not being in a rush for once so I'm not going to be impatient.

I've never been able to sit around and actually shop for exactly what I want before. Everything has always been an emergency buy with lots of compromises.

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#4710646 - 03/29/18 03:04 PM Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist]
skyactiv Offline


Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 4176
Loc: The Midwest
It seems like every time I'm on I71 in Ohio, I see a flatbed truck on it's way to deliver frames to Toyota dealers somewhere.



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Me: 13' VW GTI 3 door 6 speed manual

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#4710651 - 03/29/18 03:14 PM Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: skyactiv]
SatinSilver Offline


Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 9748
Loc: OH
At least they didn't take the money and run like Ford did with rotten Ranger frames. Chevy trucks rust heavily within the first year around here.

Wait till VW comes out with their pickup.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos...w-idUSKBN1H428I

Haven't seen one of these lately.


_________________________
2012 Toyota Camry 72k-Idemitsu 0w20,OEM filter, RT43s.
2005 Toyota Matrix 135k miles - VWB 5w30 conv, Valvoline oil filter. Nokian eNTYRES.

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