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Which car to chose?

which car will last longer?

i have two 4runners, an 87 and a 97. the 97 has a good looking chassis but rust on the frame and critical rust (as in a hole) on the rear differential. the 87 has no rust to speak of having lived most of its life in salt free alaska, not its current residence in calcium chloride country-Maine.

which car should i keep? both cars are mechanically sound without oil consumption and good running gear. is there a point in trying to fight the rust cancer on the 97? should i try to get toyota to recognize that this is poor quality they should address?

two other bit of information: the 97 has 140 000 miles, the 87 has 202 000. i use these cars lightly, mostly for camping, driving in heavy snow, and winching out stuck vehicles on my driveway.

Based on the rust problems with the '97, I would suggest keeping the '87–as long as the older vehicle has no significant mechanical issues. However, regarding your statement, “should i try to get toyota to recognize that this is poor quality they should address?”, I really doubt that you can expect any assistance with rust problems on a vehicle that is 11 years old.

A hole on the rear differential?? Can you post a picture so we can see this hole? Differential housings are made from thick metal, so I’m having trouble visualizing this. Almost all vehicles of this age will have some surface rust on the frame, so that is not necessarily a problem.

I would lean towards keeping the '97 because it has better safety features and lower emissions, but your comments about rust have me a bit puzzled.

when i finished shelling rust off the housing i found a 1/8th inch size hole in the differential, which had been leaking for a few weeks. of course when the overlying rust came off the oil started to run out. the hole was located just below the e brake clamp that is welded to the diffenetial. that fell off in short order.
i took it to a shop and the mechanic found the metal too rotten to even think about welding. in fact this diffential is not made out of thick steel at all. so he cleaned it up and covered the hole with jb weld. no picture to send at this point.
the mechanic also told me there was a frame mount that might need some attention before too long.

I’d keep the older one. You use it infrequently so it should be a long time before you get to 250,000 miles. The newer one should be sold as-is or given away. Could you use it as a parts car for the older one? If so, strip what you want and tow the hulk to a scrap dealer.