1993 Toyota Pickup/162k - To Repair or not Repair?

#1

I have a 1993 Toyota Pick-up 4-cyl. 4WD with 162000 miles. It’s in need of a new engine belt, possibly a new oil gasket (??), and has original clutch/trans, radiator, and brakes. Despite having put in $3k worth of work done about 3 years ago to replace a lot of the original belts, plugs, wires, etc., I know that the remaining major original parts are due to be replaced by the end of the year or sooner. Am I better off sinking the money that I would spend to make those repairs, into a new/used car, or keep the truck going? It’s 15 years old, but the body is excellent, new tires, AC doesn’t work (and I’m moving to Chicago this summer), but has been maintained pretty well otherwise. And we all know Toyotas last forever.

At what point of owning an older reliable car with high mileage, does it no longer become worth sinking money into? I’ve had it 6 years already, and KBB lists it’s value close to what I paid for it then.



Thanks for your help!

#2

On a 16 year old truck, and you’ve only spent $3000 dollars on it in the last three years? Pat yourself on the back! And do some math. What will it cost to keep this truck maintained versus the cost to replace it? If the maintenance is costing about $1500 a year (adding oil changes and tires), you know the maintenance history, and everything you’ve mentioned so far are maintenance items that any car or truck needs, do you think you can replace the truck for less money than that? I say, ‘Do the work, and keep this truck until the wheels fall off’. It becomes a money pit when you start having to put more miles vertically (as on a lift) than you get horizontally. When items, like engine and transmission problems begin to crop up that signals needs to overhaul, then you start to wonder when to dump and go for something new.

Also, I’m highly familiar with these trucks, and have no idea what you say it needs. What engine belt are you talking about? This truck should only have two or three accessory belts that are easy to get to on the front of the engine. This truck has a timing chain that rarely needs service. To replace this chain, either the cylinder head or oil pan needs to be removed to allow for the timing cover to come off. Toyota doesn’t use an oil pan gasket, but relies on a liquid sealer to form a seal on the oil pan. When a timing chain is replaced on this engine, most of the oil seals, except for the rear main seal, are generally replaced.

I doubt this truck is rolling for 162,000 miles on original brakes. Maybe calipers and cylinders, even fluid, which is a mistake, but not on pads and without any service at all. If so, that is also a major mistake. The radiator and clutch I can believe, but not the brakes. 16 years without re-greasing the sliders means I fear for your safety.

Even if you punished the clutch on occasion, these trucks are known for long clutch life. It will give you signs of getting tired and starting to slip when it is time to replace. There is no pressing need to replace it beforehand.

If the coolant is serviced at proper intervals, the radiator can outlast the rest of the truck. It will signal when it needs to be replaced. There is no replacement interval for this.

A forgotten maintenance item is the gear lube in the transmission, transfer case, and both differentials. This is a 4WD truck, correct? If I remember correctly, that lube needs to be replaced every 60,000. If this hasn’t been done, your way overdue.

Get the work done, keep it, and enjoy.

#3

And we all know Toyotas last forever.

True as long as you have the wallet and stomach to keep repairing/maintaining it as any make.

If it suits your needs keep an iron stomatch and shovel more money into it. Good luck.

#4

So far you got one vote to keep it going, a second to sell it and move on to something else. The question is if you were to sell it what would be the something else to replace it?

You got the truck used when it was about 10 years old and about 100K miles. If you sell it and buy another truck that’s 10 years old and 100K miles you could spend just as much repairing that truck as you’ll spend on keeping this one, in fact perhaps more. If that is your plan, I’d keep the truck I have and know.

If you are financially able to buy a new truck, then you can consider the monthly payment for the new truck and compare that to the monthly costs of repairing your “paid off” old truck. It takes a bunch of repairs to equal $300 to 500 in new car payments. Then your new car isn’t new anymore and is depreciating rapidly.

The best option is to buy a 5 to 6 year old truck. The 1st 5-6 years are when depreciation takes the biggest hit, so you are buying it after that wave has passed. The truck will be newer, but will still need a few repairs in the next 5 years. So, now you have a monthly payment that is lower since the cost to buy is 50 to 65% less due to depreciation. You need to add about $100 a month to your monthly budget for repairs and upkeep. Compare that number to the costs of keeping the old truck.

Cars and trucks cost money to own and operate. $3,000 in repairs and replacing worn items on a truck over 10 years old and with over 100K miles is actually very good. That is about $85 per month. Hard to beat those numbers. The cheapest way to go is to keep the truck and expect the cost of repairs to increase due to greater age and more miles driven. If you estimate $200 a month, that is $2,400 a year, for the next 5 years you will likely not have to spend that much.

I’d vote to keep it until body rust or some major motor or transmission failure makes it futile to keep it going.

#5

Keep it!!

#6

Thanks for everyone’s great feedback. I goofed and need to clarify on some of the history though…

First, it’s got 138k miles - not 162k… not sure where I got that number from (I was posting late last night…)

I bought the car in 2003 from original owner for $4300 with 83k miles on it - most of them highway. The majority of the miles that I’ve put on it myself have been highway as well.

The $3k I put into it for the overhaul involved replacing cylinder head and resurfacing of the exhaust manifold, new thermostat and gasket, bleeding the cooling system, adjusting valves and timing, replacing plugs, engine drive belts and hoses, replacing timing chain and sprockets, and doing an engine tune-up.
Aside from regular oil changes, I have had all the fluids flushed and replaced, new seal on the rear differential, and new oxygen sensor. I also forgot that I did have the radiator and hoses replaced back in 2004.

The last time I had it maintained, it was recommended that I replace the engine drive belts again, retension the wheel bearings, and I’ve got a leak possibly from the valve cover gasket (estimated cost to inspect and replace about $300). The brakes are currently at 40%F, 90% rear (I’m guessing I may have had rear pads replaced, but can’t find records.) Not sure about the re-greasing of sliders. So without replacing any major part, I’m guessing it will cost me about $1k to get it back up to par.

Sometimes the clutch slips when in 3rd gear, but it’s rare - could be my laziness of shifting. I believe the gear lube has been done, but I’m not sure - can’t find it in records. But it does sound familiar. This past winter was brutal here in Seattle, and I used the 4WD for the first time since I’ve owned it (I’m originally from Cali). I know that’s bad - that it should be put into 4WD at least once a year.

I do love my truck. She’s gotten me up and down the west coast many times, and out and back to the midwest, and now hopefully out to Chicago in August (from Seattle). If I did trade her in, it would be probably for a 2008 Toyota RAV 4. I kind of do want a new car (yay for air conditioning, a working stereo, power controls, auto trans, better mileage, and more seat room), but do cringe a bit at a car payment.

Good point, Uncle Turbo, about payments vs. maintenance. I’m leaning towards keeping it, even though new car comfort and luxuries is tempting. But financially, it may be best for me to wait.

#7

What symptoms besides the slipping clutch are you experiencing?

Something doesn’t sound right here. I had a 1989 Toyota pickup with the 22R engine. Yours is the 22RE, the fuel injected version of the same engine.

My original timing chain lasted 200,000 miles, the replacement the rest of the truck’s life…the truck was totalled at 338,000 miles.

The only belts are the accessory belts, as Uncle Turbo said, and they’re about $12 each…perhaps $25 from the dealer.

A “tuneup” is basically splugs, wires. filters, rotor and distributor cap. There’s nothing expensive involved.

Yes, to replace the chain on this engine the head (or pan) has to come off…but the chain doesn’t need replaceing until it starts making rattling noises, and yours is way too young for that.

Resurfacing of the exhaust manifold??? Never heard of this. Perhaps they resurfaced the head when they did the timing chain? Was there a reason they did this? Normally if the head is removed to do the timing chain it’ll only need the surface properly cleaned before reinstalllation. Was the head gasket blown? Was the engine overheated?

“Retension the wheelbearings”? What is that all about?

Yeah, you probably need a clutch. I got 295,000 out of my original clutch, but that varies with technique and driving environment.

New radiator hoses? Did the actually inspect them for flexability and cracking, or did they just tell you to change them because of the age?

I’m sorry, but it sounds to me an awful lot like they’re trying to prevent you from accumulating excess deposits in your bank account. You’ve said nothing in your posts about symptoms, which leads me to believe that they’re telling you you need everything done that they can talk you into.

Please prove me wrong. Post whatever symptoms you’re having.
And go for a second opinion. My gut is telling me something isn’t right here.

#8

Sorry for any confusion. According to my records, here is what I had done in 2006 at 111k miles for $3k:

Remove/replace cylinder head and replace bad gasket. Resurface cylinder head and exhaust manifold. Install new thermostat and gasket. Clean carbon from pistons and valves. Inspect engine block for warpage. Adjust valves to spec. New spark plugs. Refill and bleed cooling system. Testing of cooling fan operation. Pressure tested cooling system for leaks. Adjusted ignition time to spec. Milled exhaust manifold and cylinder head. Performed engine tune up: Scoping, inspecting charging system, compression test, clean battery terminals, replace plugs, air filter, fuel filter, and pcv valve. Replace ignition rotor and distributor cap. Set timing to spec.
Timing chain guide was broken and chain was loose. Remove/replace bad timing chain and sprockets. Replace water pump. Remove/replace all heating and throttle body hoses. Remove/replace all engine drive belts. Flush complete brake hydraulic system.

Yes, it had been making a rattling noise, and slightly overheating at the time. When I had the radiator and hoses replaced 5 years ago, they did do an inspection of them and it had been overheating.

Oh, I also had the starter ignition replaced about a year and half ago.

As of right now, I’m not experiencing any symptoms aside from the randomness of my 3rd gear slipping (rare), my brakes are squeaking, and occasionally (more when the engine is cold and just coming out of first gear, and not all the time) I get a minor belt squeal. I took it in recently to have the steering column replaced as part of a recall, and thats when they noticed the large oil leak possibly around the valve cover gasket. As for retension of the wheelbearings - I don’t know. Thats just what my auto shop told me.

I’m starting to feel like another woman being taken advantage of by an auto shop, if all of this repair is sounding unnecessary. I thought my mechanic was reputable and honest, but perhaps I’m wrong and will seek out a new auto shop. I feel I am pretty astute to any issues it may be having, and I do take it in immediately if I feel something is abnormal. I check with my dad, who has done minor car wrenching, if something comes up or the shop tells me something needs to be replaced. Everything has seemed to be necessary…

My biggest concern is that it craps out on me somewhere in the middle of North Dakota, and I’m screwed. But I guess a proper and honest inspection and service will remedy that.

#9

Okay, in light of the repeated overheating and the broken timing chain everything now makes sense. This engine has had a hard life. And yeah, that much work is expensive. $3K would not be unreasonable.

Howeverm if you’re not ow have symptoms beyond a slipping clutch and squealing brakes and belts, I’d recommend that you only need those items addressed and perhaps retorque the valve cover (to address the leak). And these are all normal wear items. None of them indicate that the engine is shot.

Unless the mechanic has inspected the radiator hoses and found them to be failing. But, again, on this vehicle replacement of those is not expensive and the vehicle IS 16 years old.

I’d say keep it. Definitely.