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Discussion Starter #1
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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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:D



Tom
 

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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. ;)

excalibur
 

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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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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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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
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
 

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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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Discussion Starter #9
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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The Tacoma forum is not as friendly as here, good for research but do not expect answered questions

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Most if not all carburated 4 cyl. engines from the 80's and possibly pre-tacoma 90's likely have 22 R's if you find a fule injected one from those years, they as far as I know, are RE's either is great, but suggest you stay away from the 3.0 series V-6's from those years as they had a BIG head gasket issue.... most were probably picked up under a re-call they later came out with ( for those models that actually had isses with the head gasket ), but you may run across one that never made it back in to get looked at or has incountered that issue.

The 3.4's if you run across a bit later model Toyota with one in it ? Is as reliable as the 22's ever were and can rack up as many trouble free miles as the 22'r and RE ones and do it with more power available at the throttle....

I'm currently on my 4th Toyota P/U over the past 25 or so years...

I am currently driving and older but very nice Black 03 Tundra extra cab 4x4 with a pretty rare 3.4 V6 & 5 speed combination, and it constantly gets over 19 but not quite 20 mpg on the highway at 70 mph when empty and with no trailer behind.... It now has 167000 + miles on it and I feel confident there is another 100,000 in that motor still at this point.:D

I have no intention of letting it go anywhere at this point.:D well that is, in less I hit the lottery:eek:ccasion16::very_drunk::very_drunk:
Gene aka: excalibur
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Wow that’s a nice one and probably worth every penny. I just can’t own anything that nice here in Milwaukee and actually drive it. Plus, if my daughters get hold of it, it’s like burning hundred dollar bills.
 

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Toyota common problems to watch for?

Possible head gasket even on the 22-re. The only other thing I can think of is the plastic timing chain guides on the 22-re but you can get steel backed guides from
https://www.yotamasters.com/shop/engine-performance/22re-timing-chain-kit-with-metal-guide/ . Other than these two items that you may never even have a problem with these trucks are amazingly trouble free even at 32 years old.
 

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4.0l rangers have some gasket issues (intake). Newer ohc 4.0l have cam phaser issues at high miles. 2.9l v6 was a great engine in the older models. 2.3l 4 cylinder is very stout, but mileage and power is a notch below the Nisssan or Toyota. it actually was a 302 v8 cut in half. Very large bearings and crank journals, inneficient head design was the major performance issue holding it back. I helped build a high performance dune bugggy with a 2.3l and it was easilly 200+ h.p. Lot's of guys got 300h.p. with some real head work (natuatally aspirated). almost all the Ranger manual 5sp were
Mazda sourced, decent, but not very heavy duty if towing or lifted/larger tires.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for all the tips and advice. I’m not too concerned about power and the smaller the truck the better. It only needs to fit a TDub in the back. Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thoughts on this? Anyone have experience with Jasper engines? The paperwork indicates there are 40K miles on the motor and 187k on the chassis. He sent me pictures of the frame and it appears to have little rust. Being from Milwaukee, I remember when Jack Safro started the 4Runner experiment.

https://milwaukee.craigslist.org/cto/d/1988-4runner-original-jack/6478406875.html

I don’t want to spend this much, but I don’t see this losing as much value if I can keep the rust down.
 

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That's really nice. You'll need to be more concerned with the 187K on the chassis than the 40K on the Jasper crate motor. Just because it doesn't snow in Florida there plenty of cars and trucks that rust completely out from within. Are you going to be able to check it out in person?

I've a had a few friends buy motors from Jasper and they have been happy with their purchases. I'm in the process of buying a 7.4 Long Block from them right now to replace one of the twin motors in my boat. They come with a 2 year Warranty. My block as a core exchange will then be rebuilt by them and sold in the future.
 
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