Thoughts on upgrading from an '04 Tacoma to a '16 Tacoma?

Clawhammer

Adventurer
So, a guy here locally is selling a 2016 Tacoma TRD/Off Road.

I've been driving my '04 SR5 for a few years now and I love it. I've driven it all over the east coast, Appalachian Mountains, I've done trails in Wyoming and Colorado with it and I camp out of it about a month a year total. I'm pretty attached. I put a 2" OME lift from Cruiser Outfitters under it, built a sleeping platform in the back and even a platform in the back seat for my dog to ride on. It's never let me down, but with that said, it's showing its age. Nothing major mind you, but some annoying little things. Also, this one wasn't eligible for the frame replacement from Toyota (came from TX) so I do have some issues with chassis rust, though nothing too terrible at this point.

The '04 has a few things going for it, like it's a known quantity (I've [mostly] kept up with maintenance), low miles (130k), it's PAID OFF (I really, really hate debt), old enough that a new scratch or ding isn't a big concern, and it's set up just like I need. Also, cheap to insure and simple enough that I can do a lot of the work on it myself.

The '16 has things going for it too. The factory Bilstein shocks seem nice, it has a locker (big plus for me), 5 speed auto (I think) vs. 4, crawl control, navigation, etc. The big disadvantages (other than having a car payment.... ) would be things like a higher insurance payment, and it has strangely high miles (40 some thousand - although it's not unusual in a very rural area like where I am for people to drive 100 miles to work, crazy I know. If they're all highway and the oil's been changed regular, not too huge of a deal). The options are great, it looks great, doesn't have rust, but I just don't know if it's worth it financially. Plus, I may have the opportunity to move out to Colorado in the next year or two, which I'm leaning towards doing if I can, but I hear that vehicle registration is percentage of the vehicles value? That could eat me up on a new truck, I'd think.

There's no way I could afford to have both trucks either. Although having a DD and a trail rig would be sweet....

The way I am, I'll stew about it for a month and by the time I decide what I want to do, it'll be sold, so I thought I'd ask if you guys could help me make up my mind. Any thoughts?
 

JMadigan

New member
Speaking from experience, the locker, crawl control and navigation are junk:
The locker can only be engaged on 4Lo and is very finicky; sometimes it lock right away, and other times I fight with it for a few minutes. I never use crawl control since I don't really crawl with the truck, and the few times I've tried it in snow and sand the truck only dug itself into a hole. Navigation is missing a large portion of the roads in Colorado, and you cannot use a lot of the features once the truck is rolling (even if a passenger is present).

That being said, I love my truck and the 3.5 with automatic transmission isn't bad at all! If I were to do it again, I would just opt for the SR or SR5 with the same engine/tranny combo and put in my own lockers, gps, suspension etc. If you want the Bilsteins, there are always guys selling theirs with very low miles when they lift theirs.

And yes, in Colorado the registration is a percentage of the vehicle value. My first year I paid around $900 to register, and for this year I paid $450.

Hope this helps!
 

Clawhammer

Adventurer
Speaking from experience, the locker, crawl control and navigation are junk:
The locker can only be engaged on 4Lo and is very finicky; sometimes it lock right away, and other times I fight with it for a few minutes. I never use crawl control since I don't really crawl with the truck, and the few times I've tried it in snow and sand the truck only dug itself into a hole. Navigation is missing a large portion of the roads in Colorado, and you cannot use a lot of the features once the truck is rolling (even if a passenger is present).

That being said, I love my truck and the 3.5 with automatic transmission isn't bad at all! If I were to do it again, I would just opt for the SR or SR5 with the same engine/tranny combo and put in my own lockers, gps, suspension etc. If you want the Bilsteins, there are always guys selling theirs with very low miles when they lift theirs.

And yes, in Colorado the registration is a percentage of the vehicle value. My first year I paid around $900 to register, and for this year I paid $450.

Hope this helps!
Thanks for the info! I have heard mixed reviews of the crawl control. It seems some people use it, but others think it's a gimmick that works better in theory than on the trail. The navigation is less of a concern for me because I'd probably use it mainly for (highway) roadtrips. I generally use maps off road which seem more accurate. What features can't you use in motion? One reason I like the '04 so much is because everything is manual (form the trans case to the window cranks) so it won't "nanny" you to death.

Bummer about the locker. I'd like to have one, but I don't know if it's worth the money to put one in my truck when it might rust out or something in the coming years. Can you do something like the "grey wire" mod to make it engage other than 4L?

I definitely prefer the OME set up I have now, but I don't consider Bilsteins bad or anything. It would be nice to have a newer truck, but debt sucks. What's it like to have push-button start? For some reason that weirds me out, haha.
 

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Dalko43

Explorer
Thanks for the info! I have heard mixed reviews of the crawl control. It seems some people use it, but others think it's a gimmick that works better in theory than on the trail. The navigation is less of a concern for me because I'd probably use it mainly for (highway) roadtrips. I generally use maps off road which seem more accurate. What features can't you use in motion? One reason I like the '04 so much is because everything is manual (form the trans case to the window cranks) so it won't "nanny" you to death.

Bummer about the locker. I'd like to have one, but I don't know if it's worth the money to put one in my truck when it might rust out or something in the coming years. Can you do something like the "grey wire" mod to make it engage other than 4L?

I definitely prefer the OME set up I have now, but I don't consider Bilsteins bad or anything. It would be nice to have a newer truck, but debt sucks. What's it like to have push-button start? For some reason that weirds me out, haha.
I've yet to see an OEM nav system that works as well as the aftermarket stuff (Google Maps, Hema, Garmin, ect.). That and after a few years, the car companies usually stop caring about upgrading the software and they quickly become outdated. Toyota's no different. I wouldn't spend extra money on those systems. Just get something that allows for phone/bluetooth integration (which comes standard on most vehicles nowadays).

The electronic traction aids (crawl control, ATRAC) sound great in theory, but really only provide a marginal improvement in the vehicle's capabilities. The ATRAC is the more helpful aid, since it can use the brakes to simulate a locking diff on the front wheels; it's not as good as an actual front locker, but it's better than nothing. I tested crawl control on my 4runner once, and haven't used it since...I've just never seen the need for it. The biggest problem with these traction aids IMHO is if you rely on them too much, they will start to wear out your brakes (again why I prefer mechanical parts like lockers vs the electronic-based systems).

The e-locker on my 4runner takes a while to engage too. Sometimes applying a little throttle speeds up that process. That's an issue inherent to pretty much all e-lockers, so I wouldn't necessarily lay any blame with Toyota for that. The only lockers that are known for instantaneous engagement are air lockers (like ARB's), but they have their own inherent pitfalls (air line leaks)...no system is perfect. The e-locker on my Toyota has always engaged (maybe not right away) and has gotten me out of some bad situations, so overall I think it's a good tool to have on your truck. I certainly wouldn't call it junk. You should consider yourself lucky if you can find a Toyota truck or SUV with a locker...not all of them have that option.
 

surlydiesel

Adventurer
Paid off vs. Car Payment is enough right there for me. Your truck has low miles and is "turnkey" ready for you use. I've never been happier than when I've paid cash for a vehicle and had money left over for updates. You can always add whatever suspension you want to your truck for less than 6 months of car payments on the newer one.

I vote keep what you have and save up for something you can pay cash for later. On the flip side, if you're a bigger guy like me, I am a lot more comfortable in the 2005 plus trucks. I found an 06 with a new frame and was able to pay cash for it, trading in my 2001. Been happy but I miss the manual transfer case, the beeping bull**** drives me nuts.

Cheers,
George
 

dman93

Adventurer
Where I live, you could buy a new SR5 for less than a used 3rd gen TRD OffRoad. That said, I did buy a used '16 TRDOR but with just 5K miles and in '16. At 40K, you could be coming up needing tires, brakes, and even at 35K my Bilsteins don't feel as good as they did nearly new. The e-locker is fine, and I had one on my old 80-series that also worked predictably and reliably. Also, I came from a 3.4V6 truck like (I assume) your '04, though mine was a slightly older T100. I like the new motor and 6 speed auto, mpg and top end power are better, and it's a quieter and better handling/riding truck with lots of creature comforts, but sometimes I ask myself if it's really 7 times better ... 'cause that was the cost premium. And I do worry about how the gadgets will hold up, both for reliability and for obsolescence.
 

paranoid56

Adventurer
i just went though this. i had a 03 full built up for exploring, i needed something that could tow my fj40. i drove a lot of 16-17s and i loved them. the motor took some time to get used to as its a high strung motor and the 6speed auto was a little odd but it seemed nice. I ended up getting a used 14 because i knew i would be cutting it up to make it how i wanted and it didnt make any sense to do that to a new truck when i didnt want half of the extra crap it had on it.
 

tacollie

Explorer
Honestly if I were in your shoes I would keep the 04. You can save the money you would spend on a car payment and buy something out right in a few years. Car payments are horrible when you haven't had them for a while.

One thing no one mentioned and it may be something silly. 16' is the first model year for the 3rd gen trucks. In my experience that's a gamble. My 05 taco was a complete POS compared to my 07 and 09. Like I said though, it could be a silly conclusion.
 

TripLeader

Explorer
Keep the old, paid off truck for now. Sock away extra money for the next truck so you can hopefully pay cash (or at least make a big down payment).
-----
Don't worry about this other truck "getting away." There will always be a good truck out there to buy as your next replacement.
 

JMadigan

New member
Thanks for the info! I have heard mixed reviews of the crawl control. It seems some people use it, but others think it's a gimmick that works better in theory than on the trail. The navigation is less of a concern for me because I'd probably use it mainly for (highway) roadtrips. I generally use maps off road which seem more accurate. What features can't you use in motion? One reason I like the '04 so much is because everything is manual (form the trans case to the window cranks) so it won't "nanny" you to death.

Bummer about the locker. I'd like to have one, but I don't know if it's worth the money to put one in my truck when it might rust out or something in the coming years. Can you do something like the "grey wire" mod to make it engage other than 4L?

I definitely prefer the OME set up I have now, but I don't consider Bilsteins bad or anything. It would be nice to have a newer truck, but debt sucks. What's it like to have push-button start? For some reason that weirds me out, haha.
In motion typing anything in the GPS is disabled; meaning that I have to use the deaf voice control to find my destinations. Usually I'll just get frustrated and pull onto the shoulder to look up where I'm going in Google Maps and then type it into the GPS.

Some guys on another forum looked into the grey wire mod for these trucks but it appears that the locker is built into the traction control, so it's not as easy as the 2nd gens.

Push button inst bad, takes some getting used to though. THe nice part is the truck won't let me lock my keys inside! It's always a good laugh watching friends and family look for a key-slot when I let them drive.
 

Clawhammer

Adventurer
One thing no one mentioned and it may be something silly. 16' is the first model year for the 3rd gen trucks. In my experience that's a gamble. My 05 taco was a complete POS compared to my 07 and 09. Like I said though, it could be a silly conclusion.
I don't think that's silly at all actually. My dad used to say the same thing. I mistakenly thought '15 was the first year for the new Taco's, but I see now that you're right.

You guys have me leaning towards doing a little work on my '04 and hanging on to it. There's some rust I need to cut out and the diff and trans fluids need changed. Guess I should get on that. :ylsmoke:
 

PHeller

Adventurer
To me, I didn't see enough positive differences between the 2nd Gen and 1st Gen to justify the additional price. If the 07+ got 20mpg, was lighter and had more interior room I might have opted in that direction, but to me it just made sense to go with the 1st Gen until more fuel efficient options become available in the used market (newer Tacoma, Colorado/Canyon, future updates to the Frontier, used EcoDiesel RAMs, etc)
 

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bkg

Explorer
So, a guy here locally is selling a 2016 Tacoma TRD/Off Road.
Lots of people are selling 2016 Tacoma's... just because this one is for sale doesn't mean... well... you know what I mean.

Let me help you out for a second:

  • I've been driving my '04 SR5 for a few years now and I love it.
    The '04 has a few things going for it, like it's a known quantity
    low miles (130k)
    it's PAID OFF
    (I really, really hate debt)
    old enough that a new scratch or ding isn't a big concern,
    and it's set up just like I need
    Also, cheap to insure and simple enough that I can do a lot of the work on it myself.
    There's no way I could afford to have both trucks either. Although having a DD and a trail rig would be sweet....
 
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