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Discussion Starter #1
I might try to buy this '02 v6 Xtra Cab Tacoma 4x4 5- speed straight-side bed thats being sold from a Toyota dealership about 60 miles from me. 87k miles, 150 pt toyota check, clean carfax, one owner in the same state it's being sold in and appears to be in mint condition although I haven't seen it yet in person.

It's crank windows like I want, with a tach, and has a sliding rear window ... no TRD though. Color is dark green.

The sales woman I spoke to wasn't sure if the timing belt was done yet... and she was convinced it had a chain.. which it obviously doesn't.

It looks like its going to end up being about $10k for it.

Thoughts?

My main concern is seeing the undercarriage in person for rust. They didn't do the frame replacement on it but it was undercoated. Not sure how much tread is on the tires.

I'm currently driving an '01 regular cab 5 - speed 4x4 2.7 with sportside bed. Would love to upgrade to an extended cab, with the wider (straight side) bed and presumably enjoy the extra torque of the 5vz.
 

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If it isn't full of rust, I'd say that is a decent find.
In my mind, you're about the most knowledgeable person I know of on these generation Tacomas. Is there anything specific about the 5VZFE motor or R150F tranny and transfer case combo that I should watch out for on this truck that you think might be different from what I'm used to on my 3RZ\W59? I know there is another joint in the driveshaft compared to the regular cab... so more grease points and potential parts to wear out if they haven't been maintained well.

It's an '02, so if I'm not mistaken, it doesn't have that half-ass drive-by wire system that they started using in '03/'04.

Does the '02 V6 come with Antilock brakes? (Hopefully not.. just more shit to worry about having to someday replace).
 

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I'm biased but what your're looking at is the best year and probably most reliable configuration for a first gen 4X4 with a V6 IMHO. No throttle by wire combo was used till '03, and ABS was an option in '02. Look under the hood, and if there's a gaping space on top of the passenger side wheel well adjacent to the firewall, and no ABS fuse in the power distribution box under the hood, then it didn't come with that option. You could always check the VIN too I suppose.

Looks like that one has the manual t-case and no pushbutton on the shifter? Good find! Other than the usual frame rust issues, that is a pretty solid setup.

Good luck and of course, get it thoroughly checked out :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm biased but what your're looking at is the best year and probably most reliable configuration for a first gen 4X4 with a V6 IMHO. No throttle by wire combo was used till '03, and ABS was an option in '02. Look under the hood, and if there's a gaping space on top of the passenger side wheel well adjacent to the firewall, and no ABS fuse in the power distribution box under the hood, then it didn't come with that option. You could always check the VIN too I suppose.

Looks like that one has the manual t-case and no pushbutton on the shifter? Good find! Other than the usual frame rust issues, that is a pretty solid setup.

Good luck and of course, get it thoroughly checked out :)
Yeah... this truck is literally almost 100% exactly what I have been wanting and looking for. Ideally it would have about 20K less miles and come with a bed cover of some sort, but can't nitpick about that given its age at this point and the rarity of low mileage Tacos from this generation without tons of mods on them.

I'm really hoping this pans out because I've been scouring the north-east for the past 18 months for a nice clean Taco like this.
 

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In my mind, you're about the most knowledgeable person I know of on these generation Tacomas. Is there anything specific about the 5VZFE motor or R150F tranny and transfer case combo that I should watch out for on this truck that you think might be different from what I'm used to on my 3RZ\W59? I know there is another joint in the driveshaft compared to the regular cab... so more grease points and potential parts to wear out if they haven't been maintained well.

It's an '02, so if I'm not mistaken, it doesn't have that half-ass drive-by wire system that they started using in '03/'04.

Does the '02 V6 come with Antilock brakes? (Hopefully not.. just more shit to worry about having to someday replace).
Timing belt and water pump every 90k. Should check valve clearance as well. Outside of that, the V6 is pretty reliable.

The Xtra cab has the 2-piece driveshaft. The double cardon lasts a long time if you keep it greased. 3 zerks just for that unit. The front and rear u-joints last if you keep them greased. The center support bushing is what you will have to replace occasionally.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I had the dealer send me a few more pics of spots I asked them to show me. They sent all but the one of the spare tire carrier section. Looks more rusted than I'd hoped. The frame itself seems ok but the suspension and gas tank look rusty and the rear bumper too.

I'm not sure if I'll check it out now. May make the 60 mile drive just to get some seat time in a v6 taco so I know how they drive for comparison purposes and still possibly consider this truck if it's not as bad in person (doubtful).

Does this seem bad to you guys or am I being too picky?

Im almost thinking of trying to find one in the south and just fly down to buy it and drive it back up here.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Looks like a new frame with some re-used brackets and such.
I would roll the dice if I were you. Especially if it's what you've always wanted.

It was fully serviced at the dealer the entire time its been owned with full Carfax to back that up at each interval. From what they tell me at Toyota, it was not replaced but had the frame coated. I was thinking the same thing as you though... that the frame looks replaced and I don't see any visible coating on it like some frames have that have been treated (or at least compared to the few Tacomas I've seen around with a frame coating, and presumed it to be the official Toyota frame coating). I know it firsthand because my truck had its frame replaced and has the same situation of a disproportionally (less) rusty frame in comparison to the suspension mounts and other underbody components.

I guess I'll say i'm a bit uninterested in my response to them due to the rust and see if they offer to drop the price much when\if i go there in person to see and drive it.
 

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I agree, the frame does look newer than whatever is bolted to it. might be worth a closer look to see if the stickers toward the front of the frame under the door are visible and look new. You may even be able to trace when the frame was made based on what info is on the stickers.

Good point on the valves, but I don't think it's as big of a deal on the 5VZFE, as they don't need adjusting as often as the 3RZ. At 115K, mine didn't need it when the valve cover gaskets were replaced. Unless there's noticeable noise from the valvetrain, have it checked when the valve cover gaskets start to leak, (which they will if they haven't been replaced yet). Valve cover gaskets seems to be a ~100K maintenance item on these engines.

It is about due for a timing belt coming up at 90K. Would be worth talking the price down $700-$900 if it hasn't been done yet.

At 87K I wouldn't even sweat 20K miles given the age and the fact that it meets all the criteria you are looking for option-wise. It's pretty rare to find one with crank windows in an extra cab with V6.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I agree, the frame does look newer than whatever is bolted to it. might be worth a closer look to see if the stickers toward the front of the frame under the door are visible and look new. You may even be able to trace when the frame was made based on what info is on the stickers.

Good point on the valves, but I don't think it's as big of a deal on the 5VZFE, as they don't need adjusting as often as the 3RZ. At 115K, mine didn't need it when the valve cover gaskets were replaced. Unless there's noticeable noise from the valvetrain, have it checked when the valve cover gaskets start to leak, (which they will if they haven't been replaced yet). Valve cover gaskets seems to be a ~100K maintenance item on these engines.

It is about due for a timing belt coming up at 90K. Would be worth talking the price down $700-$900 if it hasn't been done yet.

At 87K I wouldn't even sweat 20K miles given the age and the fact that it meets all the criteria you are looking for option-wise. It's pretty rare to find one with crank windows in an extra cab with V6.
I wasn't aware that valve cover gaskets was a thing on the 5VZ. My 3RZ has needed nothing done to the motor as far as maintenance so far at 155K miles (basically just regular oil changes, occasional PCV cleaning, spark plugs and belts). I always keep my eyes on the engine temperature since a water pump could need replacing at any point around this mileage. I've considered checking my valves but haven't as of yet.
 

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I wasn't aware that valve cover gaskets was a thing on the 5VZ. My 3RZ has needed nothing done to the motor as far as maintenance so far at 155K miles (basically just regular oil changes, occasional PCV cleaning, spark plugs and belts). I always keep my eyes on the engine temperature since a water pump could need replacing at any point around this mileage. I've considered checking my valves but haven't as of yet.

I guess mileage varies, but the valve covers started to leak (very small seep) on mine around 115K miles and 13 years. Not a big deal, and a couple hundred bucks to have a shop do it and it's a good time to check valve clearances while you're in there. I've read of this being done at higher and lower miles. I suppose it depends on age. At 13 years, I wasn't complaining :)
 

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I guess mileage varies, but the valve covers started to leak (very small seep) on mine around 115K miles and 13 years. Not a big deal, and a couple hundred bucks to have a shop do it and it's a good time to check valve clearances while you're in there. I've read of this being done at higher and lower miles. I suppose it depends on age. At 13 years, I wasn't complaining :)
Are the valve covers mostly exposed? I'd imagine at least one of them is covered by intake piping, wires, and vacuum hoses. At least we have a longitudinal engine configuration so the firewall doesn't impact access to one bank.

Is there anything about the v6 you don't like? I personally wish it had a timing chain instead of a belt.

What are your operating temps while cruising? My 3rz runs cool... 179 to 187 during the summer when fully warmed up.... rarely if ever higher than that. Oil filter isn't in the best spot in the world, but that's about it for 3rz dislikes from me except for a general lack of great power (of course I'm a regular cab right now, so I'd imagine with about 200 extra pounds of extra cab and another joint in the driveshaft, it would feel extra sluggish). I feel like they really nailed it with the transmission gearing on the 3RZ with 4.10s for street driving and casual off roading... very smooth shifting on the W59 for a RWD vehicle. How is the shifting on the RF150 for the v6?

Are the v6 exhaust banks joined by a y pipe at the header outlets?... with the rest of the exhaust being inline?
 

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You would need to remove the upper intake manifold spark plug wires/modules and scoot the wiring harness over to access the valve covers. I had a shop do it, and don't know the specifics. I do know you need to be very careful tightening down the covers to the proper torque as they have a tendancy to crack. For a couple hundred dollars, it was worth it for me to have someone else deal with it....

I wouldn't sweat the timing belt vs the chain. Yes, the chain is one less thing to deal with, but the timing belt is a 90K interval and an opportunity to change out the water pump. Others have gone longer without changing it and the 5vzfe is a non-interference engine so you won't ruin anything if the belt breaks.

My scangauage reads between 190-195 at highway speeds and 188-193 driving gingerly around town. I rarely see over 200 and that's at an abrupt stop after highway speeds up a hill. You don't want your engine to run too cool.... I change the oil between 3 & 4K (usually right at 3, given how long it is between intervals), and never need to add between changes. I run dino oil, but will probably switch to synthetic if I start towing more.

The oil filter is a pain. I crank the the wheels all the way to the left, curl myself around the left wheel, unbutton the mudflap at the side of the engine, and reach it that way. With rags under the filter it doesn't make too big of a mess and no need to remove the skids.

Not sure what you mean about the exhaust. the left header wraps around the back of the engine and joins the right one next to the firewall. Then goes down to the two cat converters and on to the muffler. No issues or exhaust leaks there.

The manual gear shift was a little chunky into second gear when I first bought it. A switch to Redline GL4 (I believe GL4 is spec'd) made shifting much easier. I run Redline in the transmission and t-case. Mobil1 in the front and rear diffs. Shifts great in my opinion and still on the original clutch at 130K!

I briefly test drove a 3RZ extra cab when I was looking years ago. It seemed to have good power around town but I don't have a single regret going with the 5VZ since I've towed around a fair share of trailers and am looking to get a small travel trailer eventually. Mileage was around 19-21 and now it's around 18 with the lift and tires..... It's nice to have that low end torque, and the 5VZ really wakes up between 3 and 5K RPM. I have 4.10 gears and they're perfect for the variety of driving I do combined with the 265/75/16 tires (31.5"). Any larger of tire, I'd regear. Not sure what the non-TRD tacos come with, but you can run the VIN at the dealer and find out.

Hope that helps. Bottom line, is I love the 5VZFE and overall setup of these first gen rigs. Can't justify going with anything new given the price and not being a big fan of their larger size. My only real issue with these trucks is the frame rust. Mine spent a couple years in Michigan, but I coated the frame eight years ago right after I purchased it, and whatever minimal rust there was seems to be keeping at bay. Then again rust isn't really a problem here in OR and it lives in the garage!
 

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Thanks for all your input Dusty.

I went down and checked it out today and drove it. Apparently the truck was already sold when I got there but nobody there knew that. I was the one who brought it up because there was a "Sold" tag inside it. They thought that it was put there by accident on the wrong vehicle, but apparently it wasn't.

The truck did have a frame replacement but it wasn't in that great of condition overall and it didn't really run that well or shift well in my opinion. Maybe it just needs a new shifter bushing, but it still kinda drove squirrely down the highway and had a decent sized hole in the cat converter pipe. The body was not in that good of condition compared to what the pictures showed. It didn't feel much different than my truck in terms of power... I was bit surprised since I have 32" tires on my 4-cyl and this one had the V6 and stock 265/65/16's. Timing belt was done at 82K, which was good but overall it just had the feel of an old, tired, and maybe beat truck... Mine, despite 153K well cared for and babied miles, doesn't feel like that at all.

Even if it was still for sale I probably wouldn't have bought it. The search continues.
 

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No worries. I'm surprised of such condition given the low miles. Then again, who knows how it was taken care of? I remember test driving a number of Tacos from the used car dealers and being pretty disappointed myself. They all seemed to have been ridden pretty hard. Maybe look around at individuals selling? I ended up buying from the original owner- and he took amazing care of it. It was also good to get an idea of who actually owned the vehicle before you.

Happy hunting!
 

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No worries. I'm surprised of such condition given the low miles. Then again, who knows how it was taken care of? I remember test driving a number of Tacos from the used car dealers and being pretty disappointed myself. They all seemed to have been ridden pretty hard. Maybe look around at individuals selling? I ended up buying from the original owner- and he took amazing care of it. It was also good to get an idea of who actually owned the vehicle before you.

Happy hunting!
I've been looking kinda passively for the past almost 2 years or so at both T-100's (almost impossible to find with under 100K miles on them) and '98-'04 V6 Tacos, but recently got more aggressive about it. There really is no need for me to get rid of my current truck since it runs absolutely 100% perfect in every single way, and I've maintained the absolute shit out of it and pretty much babied it every single day since I bought it in '04... I just want more cab room, cruise, and a bit more torque. The one I have would probably go another 400K miles at least if the frame and body held up that long with all the rust issues we get up here. If I get another Tacoma, the very first thing i'm doing is oil undercoating the whole entire undercarriage. You can buy do-it-yourself setups for around $150 that includes both the product (probably enough for 2 years of treatments) and a spray-gun... or pay someone else $200+ to do the exact same thing just one time.

So I'm curious about this push-button 4WD shifter setup that they started using in some of the V6's in 2003. What's the deal with that? Seems like just another electronic device to possibly fail and leave you stranded. Are these push-button (on the transfer case knob) setups worth avoiding on Tacomas? It seems like the vast majority of '03/'04's with the V6 have that instead of the J-shifter transfer case.
 

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Thanks for all your input Dusty.

I went down and checked it out today and drove it. Apparently the truck was already sold when I got there but nobody there knew that. I was the one who brought it up because there was a "Sold" tag inside it. They thought that it was put there by accident on the wrong vehicle, but apparently it wasn't.

The truck did have a frame replacement but it wasn't in that great of condition overall and it didn't really run that well or shift well in my opinion. Maybe it just needs a new shifter bushing, but it still kinda drove squirrely down the highway and had a decent sized hole in the cat converter pipe. The body was not in that good of condition compared to what the pictures showed. It didn't feel much different than my truck in terms of power... I was bit surprised since I have 32" tires on my 4-cyl and this one had the V6 and stock 265/65/16's. Timing belt was done at 82K, which was good but overall it just had the feel of an old, tired, and maybe beat truck... Mine, despite 153K well cared for and babied miles, doesn't feel like that at all.

Even if it was still for sale I probably wouldn't have bought it. The search continues.
Good luck finding another 4x4 V6. But did you check out condition of engine oil of this sold Tacoma you drove? Maybe that V6 has “internal” problems nobody knows?:D
 
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