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2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? #4710562
03/29/18 01:02 PM
03/29/18 01:02 PM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 686
NJ, USA
MotoTribologist Offline OP
MotoTribologist  Offline OP

Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 686
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.

Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist] #4710565
03/29/18 01:10 PM
03/29/18 01:10 PM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,014
Rockwall, Texas
Old Mustang Guy Offline
Old Mustang Guy  Offline

Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,014
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.

Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist] #4710570
03/29/18 01:14 PM
03/29/18 01:14 PM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 31,664
NY
demarpaint Offline
demarpaint  Offline

Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 31,664
NY
Pictures, miles, and price would be helpful.


God Bless Our Troops

Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist] #4710575
03/29/18 01:18 PM
03/29/18 01:18 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 8,736
Cincinnati, OH, USA
bullwinkle Offline
bullwinkle  Offline

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 8,736
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?


06 Ram 3500 CTD 4X4(FG Venturi), 93 GMC C3500 6.2, 89 F-450 7.3, 98 XJ 4.0(XG8A), 05 xB(XG3600), 18 Transit 3.7, 03 Merc Grand Marquis 4.6 2V(XG2)
Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist] #4710578
03/29/18 01:21 PM
03/29/18 01:21 PM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 686
NJ, USA
MotoTribologist Offline OP
MotoTribologist  Offline OP

Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 686
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.

Last edited by MotoTribologist; 03/29/18 01:25 PM.
Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist] #4710590
03/29/18 01:36 PM
03/29/18 01:36 PM
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 542
Texas (south)
FermeLaPorte Offline
FermeLaPorte  Offline

Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 542
Texas (south)
Too much rust is never a good buy unless you want to spend the $$$


Always Mobil 1
2014 1.6L Nissan Versa Sedan, 5 spd, 5k OCI.
2011 3.5L Chevrolet Impala, Automatic, 5k OCI.
Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist] #4710595
03/29/18 01:39 PM
03/29/18 01:39 PM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 686
NJ, USA
MotoTribologist Offline OP
MotoTribologist  Offline OP

Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 686
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.

Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist] #4710598
03/29/18 01:42 PM
03/29/18 01:42 PM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 3,802
NJ
Leo99 Offline
Leo99  Offline

Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 3,802
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 (RIP)
2004 Corolla 125,000 miles
2004 Rav4 370,000 miles
2015 Camry 70,000 miles
Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist] #4710607
03/29/18 02:06 PM
03/29/18 02:06 PM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 31,664
NY
demarpaint Offline
demarpaint  Offline

Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 31,664
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.


God Bless Our Troops

Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist] #4710623
03/29/18 02:26 PM
03/29/18 02:26 PM
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 7,128
Hudson, NH
LeakySeals Offline
LeakySeals  Offline

Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 7,128
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


06 Escalade 6.0L LQ9 AWD 165k M1 0w40
03 Maxima 3.5L POS 162k ST HM 10w30
05 Malibu Classic 108k Unk
Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist] #4710636
03/29/18 02:43 PM
03/29/18 02:43 PM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 686
NJ, USA
MotoTribologist Offline OP
MotoTribologist  Offline OP

Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 686
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.

Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist] #4710639
03/29/18 02:50 PM
03/29/18 02:50 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 11,257
OH
SatinSilver Offline
SatinSilver  Offline

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 11,257
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

Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist] #4710641
03/29/18 02:55 PM
03/29/18 02:55 PM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 686
NJ, USA
MotoTribologist Offline OP
MotoTribologist  Offline OP

Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 686
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.

Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: MotoTribologist] #4710646
03/29/18 03:04 PM
03/29/18 03:04 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 5,298
The Midwest
skyactiv Offline
skyactiv  Offline

Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 5,298
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.





Wife: 15' Audi A4 quattro 6 speed manual
Me: 13' VW GTI 3 door 6 speed manual

Re: 2003 Toyota Tacoma - Buy or Run? [Re: skyactiv] #4710651
03/29/18 03:14 PM
03/29/18 03:14 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 11,257
OH
SatinSilver Offline
SatinSilver  Offline

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 11,257
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.



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