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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been scoping out several Toyota pickups to look at when I return to NY (the day before New Year's). At some point, I may want to hang a plow off of it, but initially I just need a good truck for both the winter (snow) and summer (work).
It seems as though I'll have the best luck with a standard pickup - parts are easily available and there's a huge amount of knowledge online for them. This leads me to my question: Does anyone have any advice on early-'90s pickups? Any models/years to stay away from, etc....?
I'm currently inclined towards a 1992 SR5 four-wheel drive Xtra cab. It's a 6-cylinder, 5-speed. Supposedly it's in good condition; has about 86k miles on it; they want $6000. It's in Hudson, about an hour away from home. Any advice or suggestions?

Thanks in advance,
aleksei
 

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Definitely get one with a V6 and I would look for an Automatic. Maybe I'm just lazy but I've plowed with both and I definitely prefer the auto.

-Henri
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the advice. They claim the truck is very well maintained, which may or may not indicate if the head gasket's been replaced. But then there's the standard thing with used vehicles- "Yeah, it's in excellent condition!" Uh huh, saying that as the driveshaft is about to fall off. I'll be sure to look into it.
I much prefer driving a standard than an automatic, but will look to see what's available.

Thanks again,
aleksei
 

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I'll second the V6 comment, but keep in mind the 1995.5 and newer Tacoma 2.7L 4-cylinder is equal to the Pre-Taco truck's 3.0 V6, gets better MPG and is not prone to head gasket issues...

3.0 liter SOHC V6 (3VZ-E)
150 hp @ 4800 rpms
180 ft. lbs. torque @ 3400 rpms

2.7 liter DOHC I4
150 HP @ 4800 RPM
Torque: 177 lb.-ft. @ 4000 RPM

Used 1995.5 to 1997 Tacomas with the more powerful 3.4 V6 can be found in the 6-7k range, but make sure the head gasket issue has been resolved with those too...

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The only Tacomas that I've seen around me start at about $8k, which is a bit too much.
Would anyone happen to know the GVWR of either a 4x4 Taco or 4x4 pickup?
What about towing? If (when) I get the (a) truck, it looks like I might become the designated puller of my friend's dirtbike trailer (don't know much about it - wooden deck, metal sides [appx. 18" tall], the two bikes weigh 700# total), assuming the truck can pull it. Opinions?

Thanks,
aleksei

edit: ps- Is there any way to check if the head gasket is on its way out? Other than knowing when it does go bad....
 

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My truck (and I'm going on memory here) has a class II hitch. The manual says 6000 lb max trailer capacity and (I think) 500lb tongue weight. Should be plenty for you; however, if you do a bunch of hauling you would want a transmission cooler too.

The only sure sign I remember on my 1985 that the head gaskets were gone was the oil all over the outside of the engine :D Of course, anyone who puts the effort into selling a truck would de-grease the engine.

-Henri
 

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A class III hitch can do 5000#, 500# tongue. The ball mount on bumber is something like 3000#, 300# tongue. Go with the class III, under bumper. J.C. Whitney sells them for $99, plus you can get alot more accessories. The best ways I know of checking for a bad head gasket is as follows. Pull dipstick and see if the oil is grey - signs of mixing with water, or you may see water droplets on stick. The other way is to look into radiator - if there is an oil slick you have a bad head gasket. You may want to contact Wyldman here on this site - he is most knowledgable on all makes and models. Helped me when I needed it the most.:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks. Like it says in my first post above, I'll be going truck "shopping" in early January. I figure it's best to know everything before going into the situation :wink
I think this is one of the reasons this site is so good - people are willing to take the time to reply to what may be a simple question for them, but one of those light-shining-through-the-clouds-when-it-gets-answered questions for others. :notworthy
By the way, has anybody used or heard good/bad things about the "BackRack"?

aleksei
 

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aleksei, What I would do is after finding the rig you think you MAY want is to have it checked out at your expence...

Find a tech in the area, make a appt, and go... Get a leak down test first off!

What that does is test compression, head gaskets, and any other leaks all in one.

What happens is the plugs are all pulled so these to can be looked at.

Each cly is tested one at a time with air pressure supplied by a air compressor, which is run thru a gauge reading out loss....

With the oil cap, rad cap, the throttle held wide open (no air filter)

One can listen for where any leaks might be..

Then a real comp test should follow if the leak down test fails...

These testers are not all that expensive, and I own one my self.

Next things are general wear and tear for the running gear, brakes, suspention, and water pump, etc etc....

For the kinda dough you appear willing to spend you should get a sound truck with every thing working, and I wouldn't settle for less... Don't buy the excuse...

My friend just did and that excuse is very costly... Seller said all set to run and plow all winter long, and none of that was true. It has been some time since I have seen a vehical this bad...

Bad Alt, and wired incorrectly, and missing wires, brake caliper mounted incorrectly and nearly falling off, 4 of 6 bell housing bolts missing, bad U joint in front axel, vise grips clamping of 2nd fuel tank, no gauges or idiot lights work, brakes leaking fluid, tranny oil black and low, Some pin as in lost from something else clamped up solid under the carb mount so a huge vac leak occured.

Plow pins askew and the plow falls off the push plate with light pressure... Yup all set for winter alrighty, just didn't say down ta' the bone yard! Mac

ps: this was a 1 ton Ford
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Was he even able to drive it down the street?!
Never having shopped for a car/truck before, how would that process work? Find a garage, see if they have some time that day, ask the owner if you can drive around for a bit and go? Seems a bit too simple....

aleksei
 

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Just explain to the owner that you would like to have the truck reviewed by your/a mechanic. If the seller is confident in their vehicle they shouldn't have a problem with a professional mechanic looking over the truck/car. I always get a second opinion/look/review because I hate surprises in the middle of the night when it's snowing like mad.

I had a couple of Toyota trucks. Only problem I ever had was the head gaskets and the mufflers never lasted more than a year. Great vehicles, the 3.0L V6 really loved the fuel if I recall.
 

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All the V6's are poor (in my opinion) with fuel economy. When plowing I get about 7.5 mpg.
 
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