Advice on budget family camping vehicle (Sequoia, 4runner, LC, Taco? Domestic?)

Arclight

SAR guy
You might also want to look at a first-gen (1998-2006) Toyota Tundra. They don't have the same premium as used Tacomas and 4Runners, and they are excellent towing platforms with the V8. There are two cab sizes, but both have a door to the backseat area and will easily handle carseats.

Arclight
 

bigskypylot

Explorer
I've been looking for Excursions but anything close to my price range is already 200k miles plus, at least within a few state radius. Traveling for a vehicle isn't out of the question, but I'd like to really nail down a vehicle model first so I can focus my search.
I'd kill for a 7.3 Excursion!
 

XPLORx4

Adventurer
I'll chime in here, having purchased my '05 Sequoia Limited last February for $8500. It had 232K miles on the original drivetrain. It was a clean, one-owner vehicle that had all service records. No rust anywhere, since it's a California vehicle.

In the past 18 months, I have put over 26K on it, with the only unplanned maintenance issue being the secondary air injection pump system. I ended up bypassing the SAIP (which saved me thousands in labor).

Soon after I bought the Sequoia, I put a 2.5" Toytec lift on it, 285-70-17 BFG ATs, rock sliders from stubbswelding, added a Bajarack roof basket, and installed some aux LED lights. I enjoy the spaciousness of the cabin and the engine power.

Prior to buying the Sequoia, I had been using my '97 Nissan Pathfinder for hauling home-improvement materials, camping, 4-wheeling, and towing. But my wife and I eventually realized that we needed a larger vehicle with more seating capacity, and I really only seriously considered the 1-gen Sequoia, the Land Cruiser (100 series), and the Nissan Armada. I checked out the GX470 and 4runner, but their 3rd row seats and cargo capacity are too small.

I briefly looked at a Suburban, but it has a big front air dam and poor approach and departure angles for off-roading. In the end, the Sequoia won me over for its reliability, decent 3rd row leg room, and deep cargo area even when the 3rd row is in use. My wife and I recently used the Sequoia to transport my in-laws from/to the airport (2 adults, 2 kids in car seats), and I was able to comfortably fit all 4 of them plus 5 large suitcases and a stroller.

My '05 Sequoia [Limited model] has quite a few nice features that I really appreciate, such as automatic headlights (not just DRL's), folding mirrors, auto-dimming instrument panel, "smart" 12v power sockets, heated front seats, rear climate control, one-touch up/down front windows, one-touch open/close moonroof. My Sequoia also included the package that has 2-position memory seats and adjustable rear air suspension.


I think that if you actually go looking around and sit and/or test-drive the vehicles you're considering, you will know quickly which one will suit you. And then, keep up on autotrader and craigslist and wait for the right one.
 

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justcuz

Explorer
Is your SAIP a remote mounted electric pump? If so I believe I read about a GM pump working as a replacement at a much lower price point.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
My late 06 returns 15mpg averages in town and 15-17 on road trips. One trip 18mpg but that was on stock sized geolanders with some down hill sections. The BFG Rugged T/a's stock size were a solid 1mpg hit. But its a heavy rig and they were a big improvement.
 

XPLORx4

Adventurer
Is your SAIP a remote mounted electric pump? If so I believe I read about a GM pump working as a replacement at a much lower price point.
On the '06, the SAIP is mounted under the intake plenum. The pump itself (OEM or GM) isn't that expensive, it's the labor to get to it that's the problem.
 

fireball

Explorer
My late 06 returns 15mpg averages in town and 15-17 on road trips. One trip 18mpg but that was on stock sized geolanders with some down hill sections. The BFG Rugged T/a's stock size were a solid 1mpg hit. But its a heavy rig and they were a big improvement.
If we are still talking about Sequoia's, our '06 Limited gets similar numbers. It is bone stock with OEM sized Michelin street tires. It is really hard for me to resist the urge to buy a set of +1 sized Ko2s for it but my wife forbid it! :)
 

XPLORx4

Adventurer
I upsized my 05 Sequoia to 285/70R17 KO2's and I'm lucky to get 15mpg highway. I am planning to swap in 4.88 gears, which should help get the engine back into its powerband at highway speeds.
 
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