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.
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.
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
Try this, go chat with alarm-stereo installers on which vehicles they like
to work on, too. You did real good in your purchase.
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
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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?
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