I feel my faithful little toyota deserves some recognition and hopefully I can help ease the decision of someone looking to purchase a cheap, economical, and ultra reliable truck to do... pretty much anything. No you won't be winning drag races against newer full size trucks with V8's nor will you be towing your 45' luxury motor home however what you can do is way more than anyone would imagine. Those in auto mechanic scene know how amazing the little 22R 4 cylinder motor is and thats why these trucks are so sought after now. I purchased my truck 8 years ago and consistently haul over 1000lbs of cargo, and have run it hard since I bought it with 87,000 miles, it now has 178k running strong.
Handles like a car and is very quick under 50mph with a manual transmission. It is extremely fun to drive and super tough, motor performs pretty much the same with 1000lbs in it or empty. People really underate what the truck can do because of its size but I haul 2 motorcycles in it at once all the time, launch a jetski trailer with 2 large jetskis, and have even towed a 20' boat!!! And this is all with the 22R carbureted, 4 speed manual trans, base model.
In close to 100000 miles of hard use I have only had to replace a wheel bearing, rear axle seals, clutch, exhaust, and I upgraded the carb because the first one started having idle issues. No major problems, with regular oil changes, and gearbox oil change. Truck is comfy for me at 5'5" however anyone over 5'10" is going to feel cramped I think, it is a tiny cab but that is part of what makes the truck handle so well and fit anywhere a compact car will.
My father bought this very basic truck new for $6988 as a loss leader in late 1989. We are talking a vinyl bench seat, no AC, no power steering, and no radio. He put a lot of really tough short trips on it and didn't do much for maintenance except change the oil. I inherited it in 1997 with less than 100K miles and though it hadn't had any problems, it already needed a new clutch. Despite that, it remained reliable- a clutch master cylinder in 2000 and new radiator in 2001 at 133K. It started leaking out of the front seal a little at about 180K. Finally, at 196K, it's tough life caught up to it and it blew the head gasket Not bad, all things considering. Now it has 230K on it and
I just got done painting it- the red paint had faded to a pinkish hue but it never rusted. I had to put a new clutch in it again at 217K along with a new transmission. I have seen it in other basic trucks- the 4 speed manuals just weren't built nearly as well as the 5 speeds for some reason. They never actually fail, they just wear out and get really loud! So I got a used 5 speed from a wrecking yard for $99 and it has been great and makes the truck even quicker. Despite the 230K miles, the engine seems strong, it just passed the CA. smog test, and ironically I'm the only guy I know with a truck that can get 30 MPG on the highway. It looks great with the fresh paint and one of the things
did when the head gasket blew was change the timing chain- I saw one of those snap in a similar truck with 264K miles on it, so I figured it was a good idea. Everything seems squared away now, I honestly don't see why I wouldn't hit 300K. I adjust the valves every so often as well. Review? 116 HP moving only 2650 pounds, the most basic truck with a manual is actually pretty quick, has a fat torque curve, and as I mentioned, gets pretty good mileage. 4WD models are 600 pounds heavier, hurting mileage and acceleration. The bench is obviously horrible for spirited driving as you slide around while turning. Probably the best heater ever. There's nothing to this truck, therefore, nothing breaks!
I bought the pickup at 170,000 miles less than a year ago. It has the 2.4 L 22re engine in 2wd, with a manual trans. The engine, transmission, rear end, and drive line are all original other then routine maintenance parts. (Belts, spark plugs, etc.) The pickup runs perfectly, always starts on the first try, and I know that I can depend on it. Even though it is 20 years old, the interior is pretty nice. The seats are comfortable, and have a large range of movement for different sized drivers. It is a perfect truck for anyone. May be used for tons of different functions with ease. Daily driver, farm, work, etc.
Fuel economy. Being a 4cyl, 2wd, manual pickup, I get around 25 mpg combined. Very dependable. Excellent reliability. Functionality of a full size pickup, without the gas guzzling.
Mine does not have AC. Luckily in western Oregon, we never really have severe heat.
I am the second owner of this truck. Bought it with 13k miles on odometer. Currently has 88,300 pampered miles. Being that I live in Ohio (road salt, harsh winters), there is some rust around rear wheel Wells and had to purchase new tailgate. This thing has been through every terrain and regularly maintained.