general questions re older Toyota pickups

01-18-2004, 05:46 PM
I'm new to this board and don't currently own a pickup so please bear with me. I'm looking at buying a pickup for light weekend use (firewood, dump runs, Home Depot etc.) but also for trailering my boat (usually just a few miles but occasionally 150 miles or so). My parking situation is such that I need to get a pickup that is as small as possible yet still has the capacity to tow comfortably a boat which, fully-loaded with trailer, weighs roughly 3,750 lbs. I live in Maryland so snow driving is somewhat limited but it does happen and I'd like to use the truck for it if possible. Also, some of the boat ramps I'll be using are fairly steep and can get a bit slippery - so I'm debating the need for 4-wheel drive. I also have 3 kids so I'm locked into an extended cab model. The mechanic who works on our other cars is a die-hard Toyota fan. I've looked at the specs on the Tacoma and it looks as though it could handle trailering the boat. I may find differently once I get a truck, but right now I don't anticipate using it more than a couple times a month, so I'm thinking it doesn't make sense to spend more than say $3,000-$5,000 - from what I've seen on the market, this points me to something with approx. 100K miles or more and probably early 90s vintage at best. So, with that lengthy intro I've got a few questions that I'd really appreciate your thoughts on:

1. Does a Tacoma make sense for the uses I've described? What about a Pickup or a T-100?
2. Given my trailering needs, do I need to get a 6-cyl or can a 4-cyl handle it? (My mechanic has advised that I steer clear of the 6-cyl but what little I've read on this board sounds fairly positive about the 6-cyl.)
3. What about 4-wheel drive?
4. Are there any model years that one should try to avoid?
5. What are the common problems with early 90s Toyota pickups that I should watch for?
6. Where can I get specs on earlier year model Tacomas, Pickups and T-100s to determine towing capacities etc.
7. In case I can't find the right Toyota does anyone have other makes/models to recommend?
8. Any other general advice.

Last item: I'm going tomorrow to check out a '91 Pickup, 6-cyl, ext cab, 4-wheel drive. Does anyone have something like this or thoughts on this model for my situation? The seller says Toyota recently recalled this truck and re-did the head gaskets and some other things - anybody familiar with this?

Thanks a lot in advance.

01-24-2004, 08:33 AM
The head gasket recall is normal for all V6s and some 4cyl from '89 up to '96.
You should have no trouble finding a 4X4 Ext. Cab in your price range. A V6 would be nice but a 4cyl would serve your needs well to and would be cheaper to fix. The T100 would be a great choice! If you can find one. They are all Japanese and of the highest quality. The Tacomas (and all trucks newer than 1995) are less reliable overall than the older trucks. For example, if you climb under a newer Truck you will find lots of made in USA, Canada and @$%GULP%#$@# Mexico parts under there. But at least the drivetrain in Japanese!
The 4X4 will also come in handy pulling that boat out. In low range you will have lots more useable power even if you don't need the extra traction.
With the family and all, I would hold out for a clean T100.

01-24-2004, 09:32 AM

Thanks for taking the time to post that advice. I actually came across a fairly clean '91 Pickup 4x4 just the other day and jumped on it so we'll see how it goes. Someone else knowledgable had spoken highly of the T-100 but I'd been looking for several months in my area and hadn't seen one.

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