It is too bad the reviewer has had problems. However, some of them may be due to owner lack of knowledge.
The truck uses a timing belt, not a timing chain. The belt is supposed to be changed on a regular basis - it's listed as a routine maintenance item. If you fail to change this belt, it will fail catastrophically.
I don't know what model truck he has, but his complaints about the non-adjustable steering column and headrests make no sense to me. Mine has an adjustable steering column, and my headrests go up and down and can angle back and forth. And mine is a base model, not upgraded.
I notice that he said he's had the engine replaced. I don't know what caused this, but it's a big flag that the previous owner abused it. Mine has 280,000 miles on it - the engine has never had anything done to it, and doesn't leak anything, although it is starting to burn oil.
Also, sad to say, even dealers usually goof things up when they replace an engine. Even when my dealer has changed a clutch, I've always had to take the vehicle back to get them to fix things they forgot to re-connect.
It is true that the seats are spartan. They offer firmer support than US made trucks; I like that, it's better for my back. But if you're a Big Boy, they probably won't support you well. This is a mini truck, after all!
It is unfortunate that such problems exist, but I think one of the biggest problems is that Toyota's reputation of quality makes people think it is flawless, and are appalled at any problems they come across, or think that they do not need to even maintain this vehicle because of its reputation. It is unfortunate, but it happens. As it is, I have owned mine for 11 years, and has given me zero problems, so it just proves that no one is perfect, but some do actually strive for perfection in their products.
I agree with a previous poster: Many of these trucks come with tilt steering and adjustable headrests. The original poster likely has the bottom-of-the-line trim level, which had the bench seat (no adjusting possible except for fore-and-aft), and doesn't even come with a tachometer (pretty much necessary with a manual trans).
My 1990 SR5 V6 extra cab has the tilt, bucket seats w/2-way headrests, seatback tilt, lumbar adjust, and even tweakable side bolsters, as well as power windows, locks, and mirrors, 3-spoke steering wheel with cruise control buttons, and a tachometer. You just have to be willing to pay for a more heavily-optioned pickup.
As for the small things that go wrong with even a Toyota, welcome to the world of automotive ownership. Not meaning to be rude, but if you're mostly interested in a perfectly-operating vehicle that never gives you any problems, you're best bet might be to lease a new one every two years. Even then, things might still go wrong, but it would always be under warranty.
I'm happy to repair whatever goes wrong with my truck - there isn't a truck manufactured in the last 15 years that I'd rather own.
I'm NOT happy having to repair ANYTHING. That's why all of my trucks have been domestics. Never a single repair on any of them.
The problem is you have a 3.0 V6. The 22Re 4 cylinder is the truck known for having a great reputation of reliability and economy. The V6 is actually better known for having a ton of problems. A 22Re or a Tacoma with a 2.7 or 3.4 is the way to go.
I agree, the 3.0 engine (same as the 4Runner) is of bad design and prone to expensive and frequent head gasket repairs. The 22RE is gutless, but very reliable and known to run ridiculous high mileage. Not the best for towing or off roading due to lack of power, but very reliable.
Avoid the 3.0 Toyota engine; it is worse than the oil burning Mitsubishi 3.0 liter even.
The 3.0L 3vze is not a great engine. The fuel efficiency is not what it should be for the low HP, and the exhaust design puts too much heat at the rear. It's the worst non-diesel engine that Toyota ever put in a truck (except the turbo 22re). But it's hardly junk. Mine is not included in the head gasket recall, but it's never needed it and is approaching 250,000 miles/400000 kilometers. Never been rebuilt, and the previous owner let the maintenance fall behind (timing belt was 60 miles overdue!). It's beginning to lose a subtle amount of power, but really, with that kind of mileage not too many gasoline engines are running great.
I meet a lot of other Toyota owners in the search for bits and pieces that have broken and have met a few people with the "3.slo" and over 300k miles on the clock.
For people reading this site for pre-purchase research, by all means look for the 22re rather than the V6. But for a compact 4x4 truck, the 3vze is still far preferable to other makes of similar vintage. No offense to their fans, but I see far more of these trucks still on the road than I do Rangers, S-10s, or Nissans -- all of which are decent vehicles... well, not the S-10.
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