preach (dudeist priest)
preach (dudeist priest) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/21/22 6:02 p.m.

Back in 1992 I decided to go to college in NH from PA. My dad lives up here and I figured it'd be good to go to school near someone in the family. He gave me his Toyota Pick-up 1983 I think, still had a solid front axle. It had lived a hard life, plowing a shop truck for his businesses, New England weather, etc, It was a 4cyl 5spd and it finally rusted away at 346k miles. My dad called it the Jed Clampett Mobile.

Fast forward to about 12 years ago. My Subaru GC8 2.5rs coupe got rear-ended leaving work one day and I needed a a vehicle. I hemmed and hawed for the summer driving my Wife's Jeep XJ winter beater. I was tossed up about buying a used STi or a Toyota truck. Finally the wife said cut the E36 M3, buy a Tacoma and get yourself a Porsche 914. I bought a 2003 4cyl 5spd SR5 model. Roll up windows, no power anything, nothing that could break. It even made the exact same sounds when driving as my '83. It has 82k miles on it and I got it for $13k.

I wish I had some older pictures but in 2019/2020 I had to take care of some stuff on it and that is all the pics I currently have.

So I have driven the thing about 95k miles since purchase so I have a 20yo truck that has 177k on the odometer. It got a frame replacement about 5 years ago in that whole fiasco.

I had the exhaust finally rust out just prior to that. Finding it because of a check engine light. After cat o2 sensor. Crawled under it to take a peek and it was just hanging there from its wires next to a big hole in the exhaust. Take a glace around and everything is rusty but there and go in the house and order at Magnaflow cat back in SS. Figured I'd buy decent E36 M3 if I want another 350k mile Toyota. Then I had to go to CT for a work trip.

So down in CT and near my birthday a set of 4 Pedrini wheels for the 914 comes up on Craigslist. I go to purchase them and on the way I happen to look in the rearview and cars are swerving everywhere behind me. Phew I must have just missed a deer. I get home after the week or so long trip and my exhaust is in. I go to put it on and damn where TF did my spare tire go. Then I remembered the cars swerving on the highway and thanked everything I hold holy that I did not kill anyone. 

I put the exhaust on and, having to go back to CT for a couple days, decide to get an oil change at the local fast oil place. They cam out and said "Nope, not putting that on the lift. Frame is cracked bro." Bam, 6" crack just forward of the front leaf spring mount. FML.

Went to CT and back then to a local Toyota Dealer. The took my keys and handed me a Camry with 300 miles on it telling me I am not leaving the lot in my truck due to liability. 4 months later I had my truck back.

Fast forward to 2018, I can't pass inspection because of my bumpers:

Thanks to New England winters the bumpers had almost no ferrous metal left to them. The rear especially was just chrome plating, nothing really solid. Also prior to this I had an incident with a Ram 1500. If you have seen the Top Gear Toyota episode you'll know I won that matchup. Pushed my pass fender in a bit and it got dented by me opening the door. His bed had circles down it from my tire. Rubbing is racing. I had just paid off the last $5 on the truck too haha...figures.

Coming from 25 years offroading this happened:

As you can see my headlight globes were E36 M3. New globes and LEDs all around:

Old yellow vomit:

From can't see E36 M3 to awesomeness. Hater's gonna hate seeing me come at them but:



preach (dudeist priest)
preach (dudeist priest) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/21/22 7:04 p.m.

As mentioned I did them all around:

Come 2020 I came off a trip flush with money. My steering rack blew a seal...poor seal so I ordered a new one and it came in bent like a fork truck hit it. A new one on order and I decided to do a leveling kit. 3" in the front, 2 in the rear. At the same time I did rear shocks and struts.

You can see the fender damage in that one.

Stock sized tires still. When it went into Toyota for the frame I was working with the best friend of the service manager at the dealer. He found out I had my truck there for a frame and made a call. He said to take care of the gold Taco and he did.

Frame was a recall, spare tire mount was a recall but the spare was not included. Now I picked it up and it had a brand new spare, new rear spring, shocks that did not have the bodies rusted away and a few other interesting additions. When the frame was replaced they replace anything that touches the frame...nuts and bolts, brake and fuel lines, etc. I have also done the fuel tank and some other bits.

I got rid of the cap and put on a Roll-n-Lock tonneau on it (sweet btw). Did the front brakes after getting ALL of my money's worth (rust colored aluminum wheel hah) of the pads/rotors that came with it.

Repaired some rocker rust:

And I need to replace the rear axle housing. Currently the rusted out rear is sealed with JB Weld but I have a good housing from AZ to eventually put in:

Now for the future. I really need to replace it with something that can tow about 6000#, but that is not really now.

Wants include a bluetooth double din head and an amp for a RF sub I have, a winch, bedliner, factory e-lockers if I can find them with 4.10 or deeper. Really needs new plugs or something as it has a hesitation.

I berkeleying love this truck.

Loweguy5 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
11/21/22 8:10 p.m.

It's a shame the new Tacomas are such a disaster.  Toyota truly built a fabulous damned-near indestructible pickup for so many years (other than the corrosion issue).

When I graduated from college in the early 90s I looked at an extended cab 4x4 SR5 with 22re and a stick.  It was such a fabulous little truck.  I ultimately bought a new Ranger instead (a little cheaper), but I've always thought that had I bought the Toyota I might well still have it.

Neat truck!

Loweguy5 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
11/21/22 8:12 p.m.

By the way, fluid film the next truck you buy.  My 05 RAM had that done twice, and it's clear to see the result as the frame and underbody are just about perfect.  That stuff works!

preach (dudeist priest)
preach (dudeist priest) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/21/22 9:02 p.m.

In reply to Loweguy5 :

Meeces said yum to 2012+ wiring.  I think my Gen is the best of the Tacomas. 

The 2.7 get an oil change once a year. I run my leftover snowblower gas from the winter into it when I remember. I snowblow after work. I just drive out of the snowbank. It's not been treated well.

It also wears stickers from a San Diego Tacoma club and a Tacovato sticker. Mad offroad cred for a street truck.

preach (dudeist priest)
preach (dudeist priest) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/21/22 9:04 p.m.

In reply to Loweguy5 :

In NH we can still do oil, sort of. I need to touch up the welds on the frame, otherwise it is still in it's black paint.

03Panther PowerDork
11/22/22 12:19 a.m.

First off, great truck!

Story did remind me of the antique ax my grandpa left me. Put a new head on it right after, and a new handle every few years, but boy, they sure made stuff to last back then.  angel

I bought a 2003 4cyl 5spd SR5 model. Roll up windows, no power anything, nothing 

Times sure changed, between those two trucks. When did SR5 stop meaning anything? The SR5 had all the bells and whistles, back when they did last. 

buzzboy SuperDork
11/26/22 3:11 p.m.

I'm so glad I don't live in the rust belt. Can't believe they failed you on bumpers! Here in NC they dn't seem to care.  Dad's 1993 Toyota PU was by far the best driving 1/4 ton I've ever been in. Sadly it was a beach truck and that quickly makes up for the lack of salt on our roads. If I could go out tomorrow and buy it brand new again, I would. The new tacos are awful.

preach (dudeist priest)
preach (dudeist priest) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
12/18/22 8:32 a.m.

CEL came on last week. However, I am in NH and 20yo cars don't have to get plugged in any longer. No issues running, probably some lame, expensive emissions crap.

6" of snow Fri/Sat and the thing it in its element.

Have I mentioned that I love this truck?

preach GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/16/24 5:23 p.m.

Well do you remember when the new LED street lights went purple? So did my head light. Then it burned out. I drove around last week with the LED high beams on so I could see. Oddly no one, even 3 LEOs, cared approaching me. 

So I did a thing.

And, I mean, since I was there...

Chinesium from Tractor Supply but it will help move stuff around.

Now I am not sure the fault here but I put the fairlead on:

And the winch does not fit...due to the fasteners...

Some trimming will have to happen on the grill and the 20+yo plastic did not like being taken apart...

preach GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/16/24 5:31 p.m.

Forgot to mention I plan on welding allthread into the bumper for the fairlead.

tester (Forum Supporter)
tester (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
3/16/24 6:59 p.m.

I have a 2012 Tacoma. It's a good little truck, but Toyota still doesn't know how to rust proof a frame. It spent some time near the water before I got it, or the tow hitch came off the Titanic. Unfortunately, it is the heavy duty tow package version so it will be spendy to fix properly. Of course, it has over 200k miles on it so I guess it was good enough. LOL

preach GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/31/24 3:54 p.m.

Well, E36 M3.

preach GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/31/24 3:56 p.m.

Also, do I need this load compensator for the rear brakes or should I lose it? It's berkeleying seized bad as well as broken:

it goes up to the frame thusly:

preach GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/31/24 3:59 p.m.

180,000 miles in New Hampshire, mostly as a winter driver. 

Still one of the coolest trucks ever built. Kinda a prove me wrong moment.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/19/24 9:28 p.m.

At the end of 2001, I bought a 2000 EC 4x4, 3.4 five speed with the TRD package and a TRD blower. Newest vehicle I've ever owned, probably would still have it if it would have fit a rear facing baby seat. Instead, mommy got her first Odyssey and I got her P71.

preach GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
5/24/24 6:22 p.m.

Too wet/cold/E36 M3ty for the Ghia, and all other cars questionably functional, so we rolled into a Make-A-Wish run in my Toyota:

Thank you to my buddy Jake @JGImages for the glam shot of the worst side of my truck. Fender by a truck that had too much Ram rather than Dodge, black from no front mud flap for years and Mother Nature.

After much work the winch is fully home, and I have 2/6 light tabs installed. Black grill and side markers soon.

New skid plate for the front and probably some black steel rims will be next.

Fantastic truck finally getting some love.

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