Author Topic: Buying a rusty truck  (Read 3728 times)

uppy

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Buying a rusty truck
« on: July 26, 2015, 09:42:58 AM »
Hey all, hoping for some car-buying advice.

As the title indicates, I've found a good deal on a 2004 Toyota Tacoma with 140,000 miles on it. I only need it to last about 4 years, and according to my math I should get 4 years out of it before I reach 200,000 miles (which these trucks often surpass easily). Mechanically it is sound. I can buy it in cash and not finance anything -- a major plus. I should add I *need* a small pickup with decent mpg for my job -- this is a 4 cylinder manual regular cab.

The only problem is this: rust on the frame. It's more or less a junker, and I'm okay with that. It's a better value per-year than financing something newer and I don't have a lot of cash. My concern is safety. If this thing is in an accident, or if it simply folds in half, which I've heard of happening before with Tacomas. It is no longer eligible for the famed Toyota frame replacement.

The seller says he'll warranty it, and fix any problems I might have. He's a certified welder and will make sure it's 100%, he says. But again, if the truck breaks in half that's not something he can really do anything about.

I don't know enough about the rust issue on these trucks to know how much rust is too much. Is this too risky? What would YOU do?

I'm leaning towards saying no but maybe some of you have had these rusty trucks for years...I had the thought that maybe it's a liability issue, so that was why no one would say it's probably okay, statistically speaking. The likelihood of the frame actually collapsing might be super small.

I'll attach a picture. The thing that concerns me is the hole visible in the underside of the frame, in this photo.

Thanks for any advice!


Blatant

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Re: Buying a rusty truck
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2015, 10:20:42 AM »
How much $$? Those older Tacomas will generally go forever. It's hard to tell from your photo, is that the frame behind the left rear tire? I personally wouldn't buy it unless it were an absolute steal. That said, if the owner is a certified welder, have him burn in some plate steel supports in that area. I did that on an old Toy rock crawler I had and it worked fine.

uppy

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Re: Buying a rusty truck
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2015, 10:29:43 AM »
He wants about $7K -- which is close to the KBB price on it from a dealer if it's in "good" condition. I'm just wondering if I should even bother giving him my counteroffer of $5K.

JLee

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Re: Buying a rusty truck
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2015, 10:33:35 AM »
I wouldn't risk it.

Mechanically, I'm not worried (I sold my last one with 283k on it, still running great), but the frames rust BAD (like stab a screwdriver through the frame bad). Also, if it barely lasts four years and then falls apart on you, your resale value is gone.

Is this a 2wd or 4wd truck?

uppy

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Re: Buying a rusty truck
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2015, 10:44:06 AM »
Thanks for the replies so far.

It's 4WD, part of my requirement for work. As I said though, I'm not looking for resale value necessarily because if it lasts to 200,000 I'll pretty much break even. That's assuming I won't have to put a bunch of money into it in the meantime. In four years I should have enough saved to get a newer vehicle.

What I need to figure out is whether it will be safe to drive for the next 4 years.

Blatant

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Re: Buying a rusty truck
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2015, 11:32:10 AM »
If he's a GOOD welder, I'd trust the frame after it was properly boxed in that area. $7k? Haha. Single cab, 4-banger that's rusted out? Your $5k offer would be generous IMO.

uppy

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Re: Buying a rusty truck
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2015, 11:36:15 AM »
UPDATE:

Based on your replies and some other research I've been doing, I cited my concerns and offered $4K. (We've been emailing back and forth). He flat out refused and said he paid more than that for the truck. I guess that's out! Better safe than sorry, I guess. I'm assuming he wouldn't weld the frame without some extra $$ in the total price.

RWD

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Re: Buying a rusty truck
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2015, 12:21:45 PM »
UPDATE:

Based on your replies and some other research I've been doing, I cited my concerns and offered $4K. (We've been emailing back and forth). He flat out refused and said he paid more than that for the truck. I guess that's out! Better safe than sorry, I guess. I'm assuming he wouldn't weld the frame without some extra $$ in the total price.

I think you made the right decision. I don't understand why he'd say he paid more than that. Was he trying to flip it for a profit? Pretty much every used vehicle sale is for less than the owner paid.

uppy

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Re: Buying a rusty truck
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2015, 12:51:33 PM »
UPDATE:

Based on your replies and some other research I've been doing, I cited my concerns and offered $4K. (We've been emailing back and forth). He flat out refused and said he paid more than that for the truck. I guess that's out! Better safe than sorry, I guess. I'm assuming he wouldn't weld the frame without some extra $$ in the total price.

I think you made the right decision. I don't understand why he'd say he paid more than that. Was he trying to flip it for a profit? Pretty much every used vehicle sale is for less than the owner paid.

He is a mechanic/dealer with about 10 vehicles for sale, so I think he bought it hoping to sell it for a bit of profit. I entertained the thought mostly because he had some stellar reviews on Google+. Seems like a trustworthy guy, just a little more risk tolerance than me I guess (or it isn't his neck he's risking!).

Thanks for input everybody.

Now I just need to find a truck...

JLee

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Re: Buying a rusty truck
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2015, 12:27:55 PM »
What's your Craigslist region?