Small Beater Pickup Recommendations Needed
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Thread: Small Beater Pickup Recommendations Needed

  1. #1
    Senior Member Badgerflorida's Avatar
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    Small Beater Pickup Recommendations Needed

    One of our cars was totaled recently (thankfully no injuries). I want an old beater small pickup. And if I find a manual transmission, my daughters won’t ever ask to borrow it. I always liked the old mini trucks like Ford Courier and Mazda B series, but I should really have an airbag. Any recommendations, please?

    I realize any beater is gonna require plenty of maintenance and money, but what gives me the best odds at minimizing all that? Toyota Tacomas are ridiculously expensive here in Wisconsin, even with 200K miles+. But maybe they’re worth spending the extra money. Cheers
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    Senior Member Dryden-Tdub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badgerflorida View Post
    One of our cars was totaled recently (thankfully no injuries). I want an old beater small pickup. And if I find a manual transmission, my daughters won’t ever ask to borrow it. I always liked the old mini trucks like Ford Courier and Mazda B series, but I should really have an airbag. Any recommendations, please?

    I realize any beater is gonna require plenty of maintenance and money, but what gives me the best odds at minimizing all that? Toyota Tacomas are ridiculously expensive here in Wisconsin, even with 200K miles+. But maybe they’re worth spending the extra money. Cheers
    Early 90's Nissan with the 2.4L 4 cyclinder. If you can find one they are very reliable. Beware the fusible links in the main wiring harness "close to the battery terminals". Better yet find one for cheap with electrical problems and fix them all for about $10



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    Senior Member excalibur's Avatar
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    Toyotas, either 2 or 4 wheel drive are still serving many people well where I live... I have had 3 over the years ranging between 1984 and 1989. If you shop around a bit there should be plenty of really nice ones still around with an Extra cab and 5 speed as they are like the Energizer Bunny ....they just keep on going and going. Note: these are trucks manufactured that are Pre-Tacoma and therefore cheaper re-sale wise.

    One step son is still drivng a 2 wheel drive 84 with over 360,000 miles on the original motor... Just be sure and change oil and filter regularly. Synthetic oil seems to be the way to go for dependability and confidence.

    The trick is to be sure its powered by a 22 R or RE motor. These are the pre-Tacoma economy size Toyota pick-ups.

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    Senior Member Peterb's Avatar
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    Yep hard to beat old Toyotas. Still driving my 1986 4x4 and would not hesitate to head for Alaska with it.
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    Senior Member Mattwings's Avatar
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    Any of the older Toyota's seem indestructible. I had 3 Rangers and 2 Bronco IIs back in the day and all were very reliable, but they were more 150k mile vehicles, where the Toyota's seem able to do 250k with a little work. I grew up in Detroit, so I still only buy American. (Cars and Trucks). Motorcycles, I have only owned Japanese, but have now had at least one from every major manufacturer lol!
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    Senior Member Fred's Avatar
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    Toyota Stouts, Hi-Lux, and those 90's no airbag no-name pre- Tacomas seem so much more reliable than my experiences with American pick-ups of the same vintage. Smaller size of compact pick-ups is nice. My Tacoma is too wide to go places my 91 goes.

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    Senior Member Badgerflorida's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice and info. Older Nissans are hard to find here but I’m watching for them. Seems like Toyota’s and Rangers are way more plentiful. Rust is a big challenge here. As a beater, I don’t care about some body rust, but I’ve seen some frames and undercarriages that I’d never take the risk on.

    I like Tom’s idea about finding one that needs a fix that is relatively cheap and easy.

    I would trade an airbag for reliability, albeit reluctantly.

    Couple more questions:

    Anyone have experience with Toyota or Ranger forums that they would recommend? And if you know of common problems to watch for? Thanks and Cheers
    Last edited by Badgerflorida; 02-03-2018 at 10:28 AM.
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    05 (restoration in process)
    03 10K miles, decent condition
    04 in great condition

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    Senior Member Ebbanflood's Avatar
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    I,m sure Wisconsin is much better on vehicles than here by the ocean. The 22RE Toyota was one of my favorite vehicles but I never saw a truck rust that fast. The Tacoma has much more rust protection and live well here by the sea, the older ones are all long gone from this area.
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  10. #9
    Senior Member Badgerflorida's Avatar
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    Is the 22R(E) easily identified under the hood? Or did all models of a certain year range come with them?
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    04 in great condition

  11. #10
    Senior Member Fred's Avatar
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    The Tacoma forum is not as friendly as here, good for research but do not expect answered questions

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