Toyota 4runner

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
12,270
2,522
Pines; Bamber area
My search so far has been, in a word, disappointing and difficult. Let me see if I can recall all of them. You see the Lexus GX in here because they are actually an option for me.

1) I was ready to see a 2009 v6 runner in north jersey. The kid told me the day before I was to drive up about the vibration in the right axle, said he'd give me the price of fixing it off the asking price. I asked him what the problem was. He said broken axle. I kind of kidded him about me driving off with a broken axle after handing him $10K. He got mad and took it off the internet. He meant CV joint. I was too hasty in trashing it.

2) I went up to see a 2007 (?) v6. The frame had surface rust, but all the aluminum components were severely pitted from salt, and the actuator for the differential was broken. I also noted somebody remove the charcoal canister and the hoses. I bailed. It spent it's life on Long Island.

3) I went to see a 2007 V8 in Philly. It was severely rusted underneath. I mean severely. Bubbles and bumps and that awful black undercoating that is obviously painted on to hide the rust. Turns out it was from North Jersey. I walked right away.

4) A 2009 GX 460 or 470 in Point Pleasant. Good price. I made a Friday appointment with the private owner on Wednesday. On Thursday he sold it to someone else. I was kind of pissed.

5) A 2003 GX in Pennsylvania. I was too late. Snapped up by someone else.

6) A 2003 v8 in Egg Harbor. I was pretty excited because it had a winch, and was lifted 2.5 inches with good tires. Looked good too. But I was leery so took it to a mechanic. Found a big hole with crack in the frame. I had looked, but missed it. It may have been puttied over though when I looked.

7) Was ready to go to Maryland for a beautiful 2007 V8 with 139k miles at a halfway decent price. But on carfax found it had a 'moderate' accident with damage to front, driver side fender and door, and deployed airbag. I told the guy no thanks. That one hurt, I really would like the v8. It looks good on the outside, but I don't even know if the airbag was replaced (and if so, by someone who knows what they're doing).

And there were several others that I had keen interest on, but something or other scared me off. Like the limited in Atlantic County with the leaves still on the roof in the photo and no takers even after he lowered the price 3 times.

The prices for the FJ cruisers are outrageous, but I haven't counted them out yet. Would you?
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
23,296
5,179
Sorry to hear about your issues.

I would pass on the FJ. I owned FJ40s and loved them but working on them and getting parts was tough and costly. Maybe things are better with the newer vehicles but I doubt it.
 
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Zach McGarvey

Explorer
Feb 11, 2018
242
161
34
Woodbury / Vineland NJ
It's too bad about that 2009 4runner (Car number 1). Replacing a CV shaft in one of those is a very easy and inexpensive job. Roughly $60 for a whole new axle shaft. Car number 2, with the broken transfer actuator probably actually needed a front diff lock actuator, a much easier fix. The missing charcoal canister sounds pretty shady. As for the rest, it sounds like you dodged a bullet there, since just about any mechanical issue can get fixed, but rusty metal is forever and only gets worse with time.

I'm not crazy about the FJs, not because they have any mechanical issues, but the size and shape just doesn't seem very practical to me. The tiny rear doors and the fact they're about as aerodynamic as the brick wall on my house makes me think it wouldn't be fun to ever have a rear seat passenger or drive on a highway. Also, they go for about as much today as they did when new. It's like a cult that revolves around those things, keeping the prices insanely high. Parts though, are reasonably priced and they have about 95% cross-compatibility with Tacomas.

The used vehicle market is tough these days, unless you're looking to buy a Kia sedan or something like that. Anything with a reputation for reliability, or any truck, goes for big money. Also, generally speaking, people also don't know how to maintain cars, and the ones who do, aren't selling them. Are you sure you aren't interested in buying new? Buy once, cry once, and all that? And then drive it for the next 15 years. That's normally my recommendation to people. Mechanic labor averages $130 an hour and a single component failure can set you back thousands-- if you keep a new car long enough then that initial depreciation hit all evens out over the long run. I don't mean to be rude with the unsolicited economics lesson- obviously you already know all of that and have still decided to buy used- it's just my standard advice based on the things I've seen and the price tags attached to them.

I would love to find a 2000-2006 extended cab Tundra, that already had the frame rot out and get replaced under the extended warranty, and set that up for woods driving. Those things are as tough as you can get, as long as they already have a new frame. If the frame wasn't replaced, it will likely look like an old salt water boat anchor under there. These are the downsides of living in our climate and proximity to the ocean!

I wish you the best in your search though. Sometimes people come up with a lucky find.
 
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bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
12,270
2,522
Pines; Bamber area
I forgot to mention the 2010 I went to see Zach, the 5th generation 4 runner. There is one for sale up around Asbury Park for $16K. I was surprised to see it's bigger in both width and length. Two extra inches in width is a lot where I go. I sat in it, and realized I didn't like how big it was. The 2003 and 2005 I drove wrapped around me like a glove, but I felt kind of lost in the 2010. Plus, see these turn signals? I'd tear a hole in them quickly. They actually bubble out to the side a bit from the rest of the front end. I think not a good design for the pines. So, I'll probably still keep my eye out for a 4th generation.

1607832678446.png
 

Zach McGarvey

Explorer
Feb 11, 2018
242
161
34
Woodbury / Vineland NJ
They are bigger and wider. Maybe you could install a brush bar? That should mitigate some of the damage. I was shocked at how much narrower the roads seemed when I went from my Ranger to my Tacoma. Overall the Ranger, with its narrow body, a lift, and big tires was so much better for the woods, but the Tacoma was better for everything else. Sometimes i regret not keeping both but my driveway is too small.
 

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
12,270
2,522
Pines; Bamber area
I've had a ranger in the back of my mind lately. Back in the late 90's I had an Explorer. It was fairly reliable and had good 4 wheel drive.
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
23,296
5,179
To be honest, I am really sorry about all the trouble you are having. It really should not be that hard but it is. Car hunting is not fun.
 

c1nj

Explorer
Nov 19, 2008
202
104
Toyota trucks hold their value. It is very difficult to find a used one that isn't outrageously priced.

I got a good deal on a used one for my son. Mechanically it was in great condition but it was owned by a smoker. It was pretty bad. Nobody wanted this truck. It took months of scrubbing but eventually I got the stink out entirely.
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
23,296
5,179
It was pretty bad. Nobody wanted this truck. It took months of scrubbing but eventually I got the stink out entirely.

Same with my car. It was a tough few months.
 
It's too bad about that 2009 4runner (Car number 1). Replacing a CV shaft in one of those is a very easy and inexpensive job. Roughly $60 for a whole new axle shaft. Car number 2, with the broken transfer actuator probably actually needed a front diff lock actuator, a much easier fix. The missing charcoal canister sounds pretty shady. As for the rest, it sounds like you dodged a bullet there, since just about any mechanical issue can get fixed, but rusty metal is forever and only gets worse with time.

I'm not crazy about the FJs, not because they have any mechanical issues, but the size and shape just doesn't seem very practical to me. The tiny rear doors and the fact they're about as aerodynamic as the brick wall on my house makes me think it wouldn't be fun to ever have a rear seat passenger or drive on a highway. Also, they go for about as much today as they did when new. It's like a cult that revolves around those things, keeping the prices insanely high. Parts though, are reasonably priced and they have about 95% cross-compatibility with Tacomas.

The used vehicle market is tough these days, unless you're looking to buy a Kia sedan or something like that. Anything with a reputation for reliability, or any truck, goes for big money. Also, generally speaking, people also don't know how to maintain cars, and the ones who do, aren't selling them. Are you sure you aren't interested in buying new? Buy once, cry once, and all that? And then drive it for the next 15 years. That's normally my recommendation to people. Mechanic labor averages $130 an hour and a single component failure can set you back thousands-- if you keep a new car long enough then that initial depreciation hit all evens out over the long run. I don't mean to be rude with the unsolicited economics lesson- obviously you already know all of that and have still decided to buy used- it's just my standard advice based on the things I've seen and the price tags attached to them.

I would love to find a 2000-2006 extended cab Tundra, that already had the frame rot out and get replaced under the extended warranty, and set that up for woods driving. Those things are as tough as you can get, as long as they already have a new frame. If the frame wasn't replaced, it will likely look like an old salt water boat anchor under there. These are the downsides of living in our climate and proximity to the ocean!

I wish you the best in your search though. Sometimes people come up with a lucky find.

"...and the ones who do, aren't selling them." Got that right!
 

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
12,270
2,522
Pines; Bamber area
An update on the grand search:

Went to see a 2006 V6 with only 82,000 miles on it. A Florida one that a local used car lot bought at an auction. The frame was really good, only light surface rust. The body and interior were immaculate, almost like new. I saw right away the axle boots (inner) on both sides were torn around the circumference near the clamp, and I could not get the differential lock to clear a yellow blinking light. Either the actuator was frozen or maybe I had to move the vehicle more (it was blocked in). Anyway, the cost was $17,999. I could not see myself tearing the truck up in the pines the way I do, so I just couldn't do it. Besides, the price was high even for a hot item, and still needed work. What's the sense driving the price lower only to have to pay to fix it, eventually paying the same as asking price?

Went to see a 2004(?) GX 470 in Sewell with 140K miles. Fine looking vehicle, pearl white, but the frame in one spot had a hole in the bottom about 3/8 inch. It was not a drilled hole, and further up towards the the crossmember, there was a spot where it was 'weeping' moisture, like something was getting thin. But what really caused me to walk away was that it had no timing belt replacement sticker and nobody had any records. And after fiddling too much with the infotainment system trying to get the heat just right, that gave me pause. The controls were in the screen. Screw that.

Now, I have one I'm really interested in even with the mileage (177,000). A 2007 sport. Both boots torn on the axle, but it's a Maryland vehicle and the frame (from what I can see lying on cardboard underneath) is not bad, but has surface rust. It's $10K, but if I can work it out to get it for less and fix it up, I won't feel too bad giving it piney pin stripes. I plan to have a mechanic look it over good first, before I negotiate.
 
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c1nj

Explorer
Nov 19, 2008
202
104
I saw a 2008 Jeep Liberty stick shift for sale for $2800. I think it had 160K miles. It was four-wheel drive.
A father bought it for his kid but the kid didn't like the manual transmission.
 

enormiss

Explorer
Aug 18, 2015
308
138
Atco NJ
I pledge allegiance to no single auto manufacturer and owned many. Curious if you had bad experience with a few or just an exceptional experience with Toyota? Thinking now Toyota is one of the few I've not owned (considered a new Corola once)...
 

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
12,270
2,522
Pines; Bamber area
In my life, I've had bad experiences with Nissan, Pontiac, and Volkswagon. But my first car was a 69 toyota corona, and while it generally ran good, it developed a problem later in its life. But I had a 91 Camry that I ran to 212K with no problems, a 2005 Solara
that I loved but was totaled by a person who ran the light. I also had trouble-free a 92 and 96 Tacoma. I also now have a 2010 Camry, and it has been perfect. So yes, I'm stuck on toyota, and have been saving for a used Lexus for awhile to replace the Camry.
 
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