DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
9/11/18 4:37 p.m.

Going to look at a clean one owner version this weekend. 2wd, fairly low miles (mid 150s), looks clean in pics. Anything these are known for problem wise? 

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
9/11/18 6:36 p.m.

Not much. The tailgate latch is notorious for breaking but you can get replacements off ebay for like 10 bucks. Obviously these are timing belt vehicles, so check for maintenance history (aka has it been done ever, at 150k). As with all Toyota trucks of that era, frame rust can be an issue, so not sure where you're buying, but if its a road salt state spend some time underneath. If in the rust belt also check the brake hardlines, they get gnarly, and on the rear axle where one has a "dip" for some reason, water collects there and it can rust through (happened to mine and others).

The 01 has the 4-speed automatic (05+ got the superior 5-speed), and has less power than the 05+ as well, but it should still have plenty of grunt unless you're towing really, really heavy. I think the newer years also got bigger brakes, but don't quote me on that. 

They all had a recall on the front lower balljoint, so may want to see if that's been done. If not, replace them (they're bolt-on assemblies, so it's not a hard job) . This is one part that definitely go OEM for. The aftermarket ones have had some failures and premature wear. 

The brakes are known to have pistons seize over time (I just replaced my front calipers and one of the rears seized last week with 130k on my 05), but calipers for these are seriously dirt cheap on Rockauto (even the front 4-pots).  Like, seriously cheap. 

Otherwise, it's all Toyota. Most of the mechanicals are the same as the Tundra, 4Runner, Tacoma of that era with a lot of parts interchange. So, just as reliable as all of the other Toyotas of that era - very. The early ones like the 01 had the silly-looking little wheels and tires (same size as 4Runner, same tire diameter as well - so there is interchange there). 

We have an 05, and it's been great in almost all respects. It's a kind of dowdy handling vehicle - I found that poly bushings on the front control arms and Bilstein HD shocks made a nice difference. Also urethane steering rack bushings are a nice upgrade in feel. 

If you are going to tow with it, spend $100 on some air-lift airbags for the rear. The rear springs are very soft and any significant tongue weight results in pretty significant rear squat and bounciness. I run 25 psi in the rear bags with 600lb tongue weight and its smooth and stable. These are really great tow rigs in terms of stability and trailer control. 

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
9/11/18 9:21 p.m.

Thanks for all that info! Owner states t-belt has been done, airbags for towing, has better looking wheels too. Aside from the small brakes and trans it doesn’t sound like a bad deal 

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
9/11/18 9:50 p.m.
DirtyBird222 said:

Thanks for all that info! Owner states t-belt has been done, airbags for towing, has better looking wheels too. Aside from the small brakes and trans it doesn’t sound like a bad deal 

yep. If he upgraded it to the 17" wheels, you can basically just order the bigger rotors and calipers off Rockauto for about $200. I know plenty of people (on the forums) tow camper trailers with the 4-speed lots of miles without issues. So it may be more anecdotal than anything that it's weaker than the 5-speed, IDK. I generally tow with OD off on the 5-speed anyhow. 

I think the one nice thing is that the early models have a dipstick/fill tube for the transmission, which makes fluid changes much easier. Later ones have a "sealed" transmission and to refill it you have to pump it in through the upper of two drains and then bring the truck to a certain temperature until it flows out the upper hole lol....a giant pain in the ass if you tow often and want to change fluid. 

Curtis
Curtis UltimaDork
9/12/18 11:39 a.m.

In those years Toyota had major issues with frame rust.  Tacomas, 4runners, Sequoias, and Tundras had recalls on the frames.  Inspect very carefully.  They have several pockets that hold water inside the channels and they rust from the inside out.  Hard to know.

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
9/12/18 5:44 p.m.
Curtis said:

In those years Toyota had major issues with frame rust.  Tacomas, 4runners, Sequoias, and Tundras had recalls on the frames.  Inspect very carefully.  They have several pockets that hold water inside the channels and they rust from the inside out.  Hard to know.

yeah, I mentioned this but for sure take a small hammer and bang along the rails. Mine lived for most of its life near the beaches/shore in New Jersey (so beaches AND road salt). It has a good bit of rust on stuff underneath (especially the rear axle housing and the spare tire assembly), but the only frame rot I have found was at the very front, where Toyota brilliantly put a thick foam piece between the radiator and the frame, trapping grime there. That one spot rusted totally through, though it's not load-bearing at all so I don't care much. 

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