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Toyota Truck Buying Questions

Discussion in 'Import and Other Trucks (Light Duty)' started by coyote71, Mar 25, 2006.

  1. coyote71

    coyote71 Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    I'm looking to buy a 97-00 Toyota Tacoma. I would like to but a plow on it to plow my driveway (105 feet) and two smaller driveways, all asphalt. I need your expert advice. Should I get an extra cab or regular cab? Should I get the V6 or 4 cylinder? Should I get an automatic or manual transmission? Should I get the TRD or something else? Any further advice would be appreciated.

    I have looked at the western and Curtis blows any other suggestions would be great.

  2. dmontgomery

    dmontgomery PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,238

    let me qualify my experience..I have owned the following

    89 4cyl reg cab truck
    93 6 cyl xcab truck
    94 4 cyl xcab truck
    96 6 cyl xcab truck
    96 6 cyl 4Runner currently...

    As far as plowing I like the 6 but many say the 4 works OK also. I always found the 4's to be lacking especially on the highway. But around town they are fine. I like the extended cab....the extra space is always nice. Either trans would be fine. Plowing with a manual is a bit of an art but complete do-able I have been doing residential plowing with the 6cyl 4Runner for 3 years. It has the auto trans and it has been great. It you go with the auto add an auxillary trans. cooler. As for the TRD I don't really know what that adds but I would say that upgraded parts never hurt.

    You should check out Snoway.com.... Great plows for smaller vehicles. In fact I have a ST 6'8" that I will be putting up for sale soon. Great plow and it would probably go directly on the years of truck you are looking at. But dealer support can be important also. See who carries what around you. If you are interested in the plow let me know......

    Last edited: Mar 25, 2006
  3. sixspeed

    sixspeed Senior Member
    Messages: 306

    Take Your Pick!

    Hi And Welcome!

    Just to expand on Derek's excellent advice...

    I've owned and used for plowing:

    1990 reg cab 4cyl stick
    1994 x-cab 4 cyl stick (#1)
    1994 x-cab 4cyl stick (#2)
    1998 x-cab Tacoma 4cyl stick TRD
    2001 reg cab Tacoma 4 cyl stick (with factory locking diff)
    2002 x-cab Tacoma 4 cyl stick TRD
    2004 x-cab Tacoma 4cyl stick (with factory locking diff)

    I've always chosen 4 cyl sticks to keep the front end weight down but then again I've always run a old fashioned std. duty plow that's real heavy. The steering gear (steering rack) is the weak link in the Tacoma, that's why keeping weight off of the front end is important. If you don't drive far between jobs with the plow on the front you should be okay. By all means use a transmission cooler if you use an automatic.

    As for reliability, the 3.4 six cylinder and the 2.7 four cylinder are both great engines. The 3.4's did have some head gasket problems and 2.7's had some problems with cracked exhaust manifolds. The 3.4 is more pleasant to drive but the 2.7 make great torque (if run in low range plowing like you should). Fuel mileage for the trucks is about what Toyota says, with the 3.4 v6 getting around 17-19 tops and the 2.7 4 banger getting a consistent 21-22. Fuel mileage is the 4 cylinder's strong suite and it is a timing chain motor which is very good for long term durability.

    The regular cab trucks are a bit shorter which can make maneuvering a bit easier.... but turning isn't necessarily a lot better with the regular cab truck due to Toyota's "design" of the independent front suspension which limits the truck's ability to turn real tight. Regular cab trucks look cool but nothing beats an extended cab where you can store things in the back or just recline the seat to stretch out or make a more comfortable driving position.

    The TRD off-road package gets you stiffer front coilover springs, bilstein shocks and most importantly the electric locking rear differential. All things good for plowing and well worth making a "must have" for your plow truck. The TRD package was available with both the 4 and 6 cylinder engines, but only in manual transmission flavor for the 4 banger. Hopefully you understand what "open rears, posi's, limited slip's and locking differentials" are. If not please just ask or search...

    As for plows there are lots of good choices and it's hard to badmouth any of them. It all depends how heavy duty you want to go, what you want to spend, and what is available in your area.
    Lots of folks here like their snowbear or other light duty personal plows. Others like the Suburbanite/Homesteader which is another well built "personal" duty plow. These have the advantage of a substantial Fisher and Western dealer, parts and service network and they share some common parts with other Fisher/Western models. As Derek has mentioned, Sno-way makes a pretty good line of plows with several models that are pretty reputable. Unfortunately by us there are no sno-way dealers. Lots of folks here are partial to Blizzard, and they make both a 680lt and 720lt. They are both great products and they ooze quality. Buuuut, in my humble opinion, the 680's moldboard is just too, too low. You might get an argument from some folks here, but if you can find the mounting kits (dunno if they are still available) a Meyer 6.5 TM or TMP (poly) aren't bad plows and are plenty sturdy. Unfortunately, Meyer's quality can be spotty and folks either "swear by them or swear at them". Both Fisher and Western (they are both owned by the same company now) used to make "light" standard duty plows that fit the Toytota (6 1/2 to 7' range). They are slowly being phased out. You can still find them used if you want to go this route.

    If you ballast the truck with at least 400 pounds of weight in the back, run good snow tires that aren't too wide and are not mud tires, plow with the storm (don't wait for 2 feet of snow or even a foot to start plowing) and run in low range all the time you will do just fine with whatever your choice.

    Good Luck and keep us informed!