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Opinions needed on a potential purchase

Discussion in '4th Gen 4Runners (2003-2009)' started by mindfuzz91, May 21, 2023.

  1. May 21, 2023 at 9:31 AM
    #1
    mindfuzz91

    mindfuzz91 [OP] New Member

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    Hey Fellas.

    I'm looking to get into the crew with a 03 v8 Sport i've been offered from a friend. It seems like I may have a seriously good deal on my hands but I'll include the pro's and con's list below. It has 230k miles.

    Cons:
    • liftgate/rear damage, quoted at 6k$ parts and labor from a shop (This will be pricy, approx 1k shipped before having it painted)
    • Struts and shocks (I can do this myself, looking forward to putting in some bilsteins from rockauto)
    • Timing (looks like dealer quotes are approximately 1k for parts and labor, I have a friend who will do it for half of whatever they quote me)
    Pros:

    • it has the v8, she claims it runs well and she trusts the reliability. I don't think she has any interest in deceiving me so I believe her
    • seller has a list of service records which I am waiting on, claims to have kept up with the oil changes
    • brand new tires (I imagine they cost almost the full asking price itself)
    • new paint and parts on the front end (repaired professionally after a front end collision/no frame damage)

    As I understand, the exhaust manifold, timing, and 4L gear are what I should check on. I'll also inspect the frame for rust. I'll drive it, see how it runs/idles etc.

    Can everyone give me their unfiltered thoughts on this truck for 1000 USD? Even with the damage, it seems like a steal considering the insanity of todays market. My best friend is a very skilled mechanic who gives me a very good price as well.

    Thanks.
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2023
  2. May 21, 2023 at 9:39 AM
    #2
    Captain Spalding

    Captain Spalding . . .

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    You wrote the price as 1000k. That’s a million. Did You mean 1k or 10k?
     
  3. May 21, 2023 at 9:41 AM
    #3
    mindfuzz91

    mindfuzz91 [OP] New Member

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    Good catch, edited. It is being offered to me for 1000 USD.
     
  4. May 21, 2023 at 9:45 AM
    #4
    Captain Spalding

    Captain Spalding . . .

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    So all tolled with the purchase price and all the work you’d want to do, how much are you looking at? Include repairs but not mods.
     
  5. May 21, 2023 at 9:58 AM
    #5
    mindfuzz91

    mindfuzz91 [OP] New Member

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    For strictly repairs, i'd estimate it will cost me 2800$ to get it to where I'm really comfortable with it.

    Spitballing here but i'm thinking:

    • 1500$ parts and labor for the liftgate
    • 700$ parts and labor for the timing kit
    • 500$ for shocks/struts
    • 100$ miscellaneous fluids
     
  6. May 21, 2023 at 10:02 AM
    #6
    Ironguy

    Ironguy New Member

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    Looks like a fair price. Don't feel like you have to do it all at once. Assuming the lift gate is the only damage you can no doubt find a used one if you look around.
     
  7. May 21, 2023 at 10:19 AM
    #7
    xtremewlr

    xtremewlr New Member

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    Lots with more in the works
    Colorado isn't known for rust issues, so you should be good in that aspect.

    As long as there isn't any hidden damage from the lift gate, then even replacing it at the first price you quoted would still keep the 4runner in a decent price range, maybe a little pricey but not too bad. You could definitely keep the keep the repair bill down with some good parts shopping.

    Timing belt is the most important thing. Good deal you have a buddy that can do the work for you tho. Just be sure you use the Aisin timing belt kist, with the water pump. Timing belt and water pump are replaced at the same time on the V8. Here's the Amazon link for the Aisin kit you need - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008EEYWKI

    You might also need the fan bracket, which that Amazon link has an option for. Not uncommon to need to replace that during the job. It's mainly an idler pulley but in the 4runner application, the cooling fan runs off that too.

    Don't worry too much about the exhaust manifolds. Yes, they have a tendency to leak due to cracks, but that is easy to diagnose when the engine is cold and you do a cold start. You will immediately hear a ticking sound from the exhaust. The transfer case is the big one to check. If the PO wasn't using 4LO or regularly switching it into and out of 4LO, then there is the potential that the solenoids are shot or leaks will develop from the solenoid housing. Lots of info on the issue here on the forums.

    Overall, I'd say the $1000 asking price is pretty fair, given the repair costs that are coming with it in the tail gate replacement and timing belt.
     
  8. May 21, 2023 at 10:24 AM
    #8
    gkomo

    gkomo New Member

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    Just for FYI I did the Cooling fan bracket at the same time as the timing belt kit. One of those, if you’re in there might as well do it. Although my mechanic said he heard a slight grinding noise on that pulley so it was a no brainer.
     
  9. May 21, 2023 at 10:30 AM
    #9
    Captain Spalding

    Captain Spalding . . .

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    When considering cars of this vintage, it makes sense to look at the value of the car in terms of remaining useful life. I don’t know what you can expect to get out of that drive train. I’m looking online right now at similar vehicles for $7k with less than $150k on the odo. The problem with the one you’re considering is that it’s almost at the end of its life.
     
    WNC2018Limited likes this.
  10. May 21, 2023 at 10:35 AM
    #10
    WNC2018Limited

    WNC2018Limited New Member

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    I wouldn't think the fair market value for a 2003 4Runner with 238K miles in good condition would be more than maybe $7-8K. I just looked and there are several offered (with V6 engines, didn't see any V8s) with 200K+ miles for $6-$8K that look clean and have Carfax reports that don't show any wrecks. The 2003s I see with significantly higher asking prices ($10-$12K) are clean and have about 100K fewer miles on them.

    You'll probably have $6-$8K in this one by the time you get it repaired, and you'll have a 20 year old, high mileage vehicle that has been wrecked at least twice. $1500 seems extremely low to me to get that back end repaired (more likely replaced) and repainted. You say your best friend is a skilled mechanic but don't say he does body work. This vehicle doesn't seem like a bargain to me unless you work in a body shop and are confident you can source parts for it, or you want to use this vehicle for parts (including the tires) and make money that way.

    Also, with any vehicle of this age and mileage, I wouldn't rely on service records as a substitute for having your mechanic friend go over it thoroughly.

    If I wanted a 4th gen 4Runner, I'd keep looking until I found one in good condition.
     
  11. May 21, 2023 at 10:47 AM
    #11
    xtremewlr

    xtremewlr New Member

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    Lots with more in the works
    No, this is completely wrong. Maybe 4Runners with the V6 but definitely not the V8 variant.

    I have a 2003 V8 4runner with over 331k miles on it and it's still running like new. Not at the end of it's service life at all. The 4.7L V8 is a proven million mile motor. The transmission can hold up with proper servicing too. Smaller parts and everything else hold up pretty well but might need replacing here and there.

    When you compare the cost of newer vehicles with these and the added repair cost you might need here and there, the value is in these older, V8 4Runners. They will keep on running. The only concern is that some of the OEM parts are being discontinued but these are mostly parts that you should need to replace on a regular basis.
     
  12. May 21, 2023 at 10:53 AM
    #12
    xtremewlr

    xtremewlr New Member

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    Lots with more in the works
    Not to be a dick but both of you own newer vehicles. Unless you have owned and maintained a 4th gen V8 4Runner, you really don't know what you are talking about when it comes to the service life, value or reliability of them. The simplicity and ease of maintenance on them is far superior to your newer, 5th gen versions. It helps a lot if the owners are able to do their own maintenance too but not absolutely necessary.
     
  13. May 21, 2023 at 11:03 AM
    #13
    WNC2018Limited

    WNC2018Limited New Member

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    Right, since I've owned a 2018 5th gen for 2 months, I can't possibly know what it's like to own an older high mileage vehicle. It's not like I had a 2001 Toyota Highlander that I drove to over 250K miles. Anecdotal stories don't prove anything. Vehicles have a finite life and they wear out, even Toyota 4Runners with V8 engines.
     
  14. May 21, 2023 at 11:13 AM
    #14
    xtremewlr

    xtremewlr New Member

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    Lots with more in the works
    Nothing anecdotal about what I said. The V8 is a proven million mile motor, several times over. A 2001 Highlander is not an equal comparison. It's still cheaper overall to buy the vehicle the OP listed, repair and maintain it and drive it for another 10 years, than it is to buy the same vehicle you have, a 2018 4runner, and drive and maintain that over the same time period. Leaving the vehicles stock at least, you can't count doing any mods in that.
     
  15. May 21, 2023 at 11:17 AM
    #15
    WNC2018Limited

    WNC2018Limited New Member

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    "proven million miler, several times over" - what percentage of Toyota V8 engines make it to a million miles? That's like pointing to somebody who is 110 years old and saying if you eat healthy you should expect to live to 110 too. It's called survivorship bias. As for your assumption that somebody can buy a twice wrecked 2003 vehicle with 243K miles and be assured of getting another 10 years out of it, that's just crazy.
     
  16. May 21, 2023 at 11:27 AM
    #16
    xtremewlr

    xtremewlr New Member

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    Where do you get twice wrecked from? I don't see any indication of that from the OP. edit - I see now, I missed the previous front end damage statement in the OP. Still doesn't change my opinion.

    You obviously don't do your own work on vehicles, based off what you stated here. My statements are based off my first hand experience working on and maintaining my own 2003 V8 4Runner and talking with a Toyota Master Mechanic on the reliability of the 4.7L V8 2UZ motor. I had no issues buying it with 289k miles showing on the clock and it's still one of the most reliable vehicles I've owned. I expect it to keep running for at least another 10 years without major issues. And even with everything I have done to the truck, I bet I STILL have less invested into it than what you paid for your 2018.

    You simply don't have the knowledge nor experience to know what you are talking about and are making general statements as a general consumer that has other people maintain their vehicles.
     
  17. May 21, 2023 at 11:51 AM
    #17
    mindfuzz91

    mindfuzz91 [OP] New Member

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    Interesting to see some conflicting ideas. Thanks to all for the thoughts and comments.

    Truthfully, while I appreciate the words of caution, I'm optimistic about the value proposition at this price. I've heard this 2UZ is arguably the best motor Toyota has ever made (please noone come after me for saying this). While the motor could be shot and I'm going to take a long hard look, I think my chances are looking ok. I know anecdotes are just anecdotes however I bought a used lexus with 200k miles 6 months ago and the engine runs flawlessly (it was maintained immaculately with the service records to back it up). As far as I'm concerned that car is in its "midlife". So those suggesting this truck is likely at the end of its life come off slightly pessimistic to me.

    As for the tailgate, I've located 2 within 100 miles of me for 125$ USD. The install/removal looks pretty simple too. While I'd rather have the paint matching, a mismatch won't affect the functionality which is my main concern. I think I'll be able to get a new tailgate installed for 400$ total parts and labor, which is pretty damn good IMHO.
     
    xtremewlr likes this.
  18. May 21, 2023 at 12:04 PM
    #18
    WNC2018Limited

    WNC2018Limited New Member

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    I sure hope you have less invested in a 2003 4Runner than I paid for a 2018 4Runner. It would be kind of insane to invest more in a 20 year old vehicle than it would cost to buy a 5 year old vehicle of the same make and model with about 20% of the miles. Looks like you've got another 669K miles to go since you have a "proven million miler". It should be good for a lot more than 10 years unless you drive the hell out of it.
     
  19. May 21, 2023 at 12:08 PM
    #19
    AuSeeker

    AuSeeker New Member

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    I'll comment on the longevity of the V8, while yes it is true that this engine has seen several go 1,000,000 miles and Toyota purchased the vehicles back from the owners to dissect them and see how the entire vehicle fared in it's journey to that 1,000,000 miles mark, when they unassembled the engines they found that the cylinders had very little wear, so little in fact that the original honing marks were still on all the cylinder walls, the rest of the engine fair equally as well.

    That all being said, I don't think that every V8 will ever make it to the 1,000,000 mark even with proper maintenance, but I do think any of them will easily make it too the 500,000 mile mark with proper care, so in my opinion I wouldn't hesitate to purchase the vehicle posted by the OP for the $1000 price tag, he could easily make 3 times that if he just sold off the tires and other parts, or at the very least double his money!!!

    I would however do what he intents to do and fix it and drive it for a long time to come.
     
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  20. May 21, 2023 at 12:39 PM
    #20
    gkomo

    gkomo New Member

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    I’m confident my 237k V8 last at least another 100-200k miles. That’s like 15+ more years with how much we drive.

    with that said, my wife has already complained “it doesn’t beep when I get close to something”… so whether or not we keep it for that long is another story! Haha
     
    xtremewlr likes this.
  21. May 30, 2023 at 6:49 AM
    #21
    T92

    T92 New Member

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    Look under the car, check car frame. Make sure its rust free
     
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  22. May 30, 2023 at 12:25 PM
    #22
    GreatWhitePig

    GreatWhitePig New Member

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    All I get is this little box?!
    $1k is a steal. You don’t have to do all the work at once, especially the body work. Good fixer upper IF the frame isn’t rotted.
     

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