New Tacoma Prerunner

I just purchased a new 2004 Prerunner with the TRD package. No complaints so far but I'm going through a little buyer's remorse for not following
through with my first choice, a Dodge Dakota. The local stock of Dakotas were somewhat limited. Help me get over my second thoughts by letting me know that I made the right decision. Is the reliabilty or build quality of the Tacomas better than the Dakota? What kind of service life can I expect to get from it if well maintained? I have other questions about the Tacoma specifically but I'll wait until later for them. Thanks
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You won't regret getting the 'yota over the Dodge -- 'yota has far better reliability plus resale value is much better and it is far easier to resell down the road.

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That almost new low mileage Tacoma is pretty easy to sell. Don't try that with a Dodge, it will cost you dearly.

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Seems to me that you should have done a lot more research before you opted for the Prerunner. Consumers Report does a fairly good job of comparing vehicles. Also, its Buying Guide shows reliability of all vehicles. The Prerunner is a much more reliable truck than the Dodge Dakota.
Bearman
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You made the wright choice. Dakotas get crapola MPG,plus no comparison on workmanship. This is a non-brainier,believe me ! !
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Ditto, WT and the others are telling it like it is. Get under the Prerunner and look at the level of detail, durability and intelligent lay-out. For instance, welded-in nuts versus sheet metal screws in the Dakota in places, even the relative standardization of the fasteners; for Toyotas, the majority seem to be 10-, 12- and 14-mm nuts or Philips-head screws. While I'm at it, check out the way the brake assembly is held in place between Toys and Dodges. If you schmooze the tire guys at a Costco and hang around a while you'll get a chance to see what I'm talking about.
Maybe you'll be expecting amazing mileage, but you'll get honest mileage from the Prerunner versus the lousy mileage from the Big Three trucks, plenty of power, and the engine-drivetrain will last and last and last. In other words, a lower specific fuel consumption. And if you sell it down the road, you'll be real happy with what you'll get for it. That is, if you sell it.
Try this, go chat with alarm-stereo installers on which vehicles they like to work on, too. You did real good in your purchase.

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Yep, I must admit after spending some time under my Prerunner that everything seemed to be well laid out. I didn't spend an equal amount of time under the Dakota to draw a comparison but I can't imaging it being any better. I do have one complaint about the Toyota in general though. It seems that everything is light weight. I'll write back later with some specific examples.

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Well, it really comes down to what a person likes and is happy with, and no manner of talk really helps. Chrysler, like the rest of the Big Three, have a market strategy that focuses on the consumer's wants and history-in other words, that the consumer tends to trade in for a newer model. Toyota focuses on a different strategy, partly based on stated consumer desires, but arguably, focusing more in a desire to make a better product. Regardless, no amount of arguing changes the reality of the bottom line-which is revenue. Just recently (last quarter) Toyota finally was the top selling auto company in the world. What does this mean? How the hell would I know? This will obviously change, and it's a sure bet that one of the Big Three will regain that position, though equally possible with the economic environment in the US, maybe not. If we could predict such things we'd all be millionaires. Without doubt whatever happens next quarter and in subsequent quarters thereafter will be duly reported by vast legions of market observers. That said, and vastly straying into the realm of "just what the hell does all this have to do with Toyota trucks anyhow" the end product is that you got a reliable truck.
Good point on the lighter weight of the components that make up the truck. In a sense, this is a indication of well-planned and integrated engineering versus the blunt, make-it-heavy component slapped together with other components from other groups within the particular vehicle's line engineering. Anyone can whip up a part, but to make it light, strong, efficient, reliable and...cost efficient, now that is a wholly different thing. Moreover, integrate that component to others, then re-engineer them to fit into the whole...that takes a deeper commitment and resource outlay. One doesn't see that that in the Big Three who build cars and trucks around the idea that they have a limited life, and that consumers want a simpler vehicle that will be traded in for a newer one. In that the Big Three have a much better picture of consumer reality. This leads to the hidden variable: the national pride thing, which can be argued ad nauseum.
Back to it, a heavier truck with a heavy engine is much better equipped to tow a boat over the mountains, but for most people, exactly how many times does this happen a year? So one then makes intelligent decisions based on need. Does a Dakota fare well? Well, before I retired, one of the jurisdictions that my team had jurisdiction over were the US Marines, specifically, Camp Pendleton, Twenty-Nine Palms and Yuma. I recall the respective bases' environmental compliance personnel had Dodges for a year or so. They surely didn't hold up over time. In fact, I recall a time we had to tow out a Ram truck while crossing Christianitos Creek en-route to the storage facility for the SONGS waste storage area....but that's for another time. One of our puny 4Runners did the tow---I still remind the boys out there about it from time to time.
You know, I wish I held up as well as a Toy...

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Thanks for the well thought out response. I especially liked the explanation of Toyota's concept of engineering parts to fit a specific need and re-engineering them again to fit the whole.

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No worries, engineering and systems analysis in various forms seems to have been a thing of mine for my adult life. I should yak on about some of the planes I test flew a long time ago in my first career path, but then I'd sound like the doddering old has-been that I truly am these days.
Know anything about the various fuel-injector cleaners? I did a series of queries a while back for the MSDS's for each maker and have gotten them from most (STP are being real pricks and I'm thinking to ask my former team to go pay then a visit with FedOSHA Compliance in tow). Regardless, from my first look, it seems that the cleaners I have information on have the same composition, namely, a kerosene-like alkane with a water stabilized Stoddard's solvent additive. This can't be it in its entirety, can it? I'll query the group and see what people know.

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Sorry, I can't offer much of anything on fuel injection cleaners but it wouldn't surprise me in the least that they all contain the same active ingredients.

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The "crapola MPG" seemed to be the consensus of many Dakota owners that I talked to. Some of the owners of V8s reported an average 13 MPG. Ouch!

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Actually, I did quite a bit of research on my truck purchase. The time spent lasted over several months. Consumer Report, ConsumerGuide, Motor Trend, etc. were all read including talking to as many current and previous owners of compact pickup trucks as possible. The Ford Ranger was quickly dismissed because of the seats (hard as a rock) and the Nissan equivalent was rejected because of the uninspiring reviews by the aforementioned publications and just plain bad looks (my opinion). The Dakota received a "Best Buy" in ConsumerGuide over the lesser "Recommended" Tacoma. I honestly liked the looks of the Dakota over the Tacoma and it had a much larger selection of options than the Tacoma such as fog lights, heavy duty engine/transmission cooling, V8 engine, bed light, etc. It was also a little larger and somewhat better suited for towing. Unfortunately, I was not able to find one equipped to my liking. What it eventually came down to was that Toyota or its local dealerships had most of what I wanted in the way of options and an apparent solid reputation for quality. Even Toyota's competition wouldn't argue with their reputation. So, I decided to place my eggs in Toyota's basket. I just felt a little buyer's remorse for doing so considering the extra glitter that Dodge had to offer.

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You did a lot more research than I thought. My apologies.
Bearman

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(no flaming intended)
I liked the looks of the Dak too....especially those huge fender gaps.

Which Dodge/DC products doesn't have fog lamps?

Looks like you should've gotten the Tundra (or the ugly Titan)
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Fender gaps? Hmm, didn't notice that. Where exactly are the gaps?

I had to pass on the full size trucks because of garage space. Otherwise, I would've considered the Tundra or F150. Incidently, I really liked the new F150.
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As you probably already know, the Tundra is not really a true fullsize truck unless you get a Double cab. The Tundra is more like a fullsize midsize. The new F150 looks tough but is it a truck or a car? They even slap the blue oval logo on the tailgate.
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No, I didn't know that the Tundra is less than full size. It seemed a little smaller than the F150 but I never bothered to compare dimensions. It's interesting, with the Tacoma getting bigger next year, whether there will still be a true compact pickup in Toyota's lineup. Everything continues to get bigger with larger powerplants despite increasing gasoline prices. Go figure.

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I purchased a 2004 Tacoma Prerunner Double Cab with the TRD package about 6 weeks ago. At the time I was split on either the Tacoma or the Dakota. I liked the looks of both trucks but in the end was sold on Toyota reliability. Well.. after 6 weeks the Tacoma has been in for repairs 3 times for a total of 14 days. It has left me stranded on 2 occasions. I just got it back from the shop for the third time and have about 0 confidence in Toyota. Is Toyota a better quality vehicle than a Dodge? I believe the answer should be yes but so far I have not been able to convince the dealer or Toyota that there is something very wrong with this scenario. I think when it comes to quality you have to keep in mind that anyone can build a lemon, some people are just better at it...

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Sorry to hear about the bad success with your Toyota. Sounds like it's a good candidate for the lemon law considering that it was in the shop 3 times in the last 6 weeks. What were the problems? Were they all related? Do you have a lemon law in your state? Steve

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