Hoping for opinions on model year

Discussion in '100-Series Cruisers' started by dividedan, Nov 9, 2018 at 4:16 PM.

  1. dividedan

    dividedan

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    Hey all! Lurked on the forum for longer than I’d like to admit so this is my first post. I’ll be due for a vehicle upgrade in the next year or so and being where I live (central Colorado on the continental divide), my family’s outdoor bent, and my tiny town erasing concerns of poor fuel efficiency I’ve zeroed in on a Cruiser. I’ll admit I was on the Taco train for a while, but if I’m honest we need the interior space for 2 adults, 2 kids, and 2 canine critters more than a truck bed. Doesn’t hurt that we have a great local shop (Classic Cruisers) and a friend who wrenches there either.

    So the wife has approved and I’ve been watching all the usual suspects for vehicles for sale. I have read extensively on the forums here about the trade-offs of the different series and model years and have pretty definitively settled on the 100s. Probably won’t do much rock crawling or “wheeling”, more exploring all the fantastic wikderness that are within a few hours to camp, mountain bike, fish, etc not to mention road trips with highway miles and if the fam likes it some extended overland style treks. If I could drive something like Tin Cup Pass with confidence that would be sufficient I think. The truck will be my daily driver, but I drive less than a mile to work and only in the coldest months. It seems the hundred has the balance of road manners, size, offroad capability, and safety that I seek.

    My sense of the model years from reading here is that the factors involved are safety features, car seat mounting points, ATRAC v locker, and of course just the newer and lower mileage factor. My guess based on how I’ll use the truck is 01 or beyond is what I’m after, but I’d love some input from y’all with more than arm chair experience. I don’t think I need a locker, and the safer the better. What is the big deal with the nav units? Also I’m looking primarily at non-AHC vehicles since that seems like an unnecessary liability. How do the brakes differ among the early 2000 model years?

    Am I thinking right? If not set me straight! So looking forward to getting the truck and contributing more to this community.
     
  2. Ninja Cruiser100

    Ninja Cruiser100 GOLD Star

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    Welcome, you can’t really go wrong with a 100. Make sure you buddy looks at whatever you are thinking about before you buy it.
     
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  3. Ayune

    Ayune SILVER Star

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    Not meant to be cocky, but they're all great so get the newest/best maintained one you can afford. And maintenance history should weigh far more in your decision than age.

    I could afford $6k so I ended up with a 1998 with 270k miles that needed some work. Now it's in great shape and my daily driver 20 miles each way.
     
  4. trdcorolla

    trdcorolla

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    Welcome to Mud! I had a lot of the same questions when I was looking for my 100. I originally wanted a 03+ for the 5 speed transmission but decided against it due to the NAV (unless your lucky and find a imported 100 from Hawaii or Puerto Rico with no NAV). A lot of people here don't mind the NAV. The 01+ come with the LATCH system for your kids. A lot of people here say ATRAC on these 100's are worth losing the locker (you can even add a locker from a 98-99 to a 00+ if you want). I looked for and paid more for a lower mileage 100, but after browsing here on Mud over the last year and a half, I shouldn't have passed on higher mileaged rigs. I did the same baselining on my 100 that I would have done if I bought a higher mileage one. The AHC on these are really over built. If your find a AHC model with a lot of grads left, a easy flush/sensor adjusting (if needed)/torsion bar adjusting will get you a adjustable magic carpet ride.
     
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  5. dividedan

    dividedan

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    Thanks all for the replies, very helpful! I’ll be the first to tell you I over analyze things, though I think that’ll fit in nicely around here... ;)

    @trdcorolla can you explain the nav thing? Is it that the radio and all other electronics are wrapped into a s***ty nav system that’s hard to replace?

    Maybe I won’t rule out AHC trucks, it just reminds me of the Land Rover system on the Discosthat everyone seems to fear, but I have no doubt that Toyota would build it better and more reliable.
     
  6. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey Moderator

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    Buy the newest LC you can afford.
     
  7. 87warrior

    87warrior SILVER Star

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    Any stock 100 can do Tincup Pass. I Iwent up solo, before sunrise in October when I was out there visiting family. Captured a surreal sunrise and saw 4 moose!
    IMG_20181004_071307-PANO.jpg

    A nav system, especially in a later model 100, makes installing an aftermarket radio quite complex as the nav unit is integrated with the HVAC control. Along the same token, if the nav screen or unit goes bad replacement units a very spendy. The good news is Mud has various 'fixes' posted that will get you on your way.
     
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  8. CloudCity

    CloudCity

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    Yes indeed, you will find a welcoming crowd with similar mindset around these parts! Nothing goes unnoticed on these rigs with the collective expertise of the folks here. Welcome and congrats!
     
  9. trdcorolla

    trdcorolla

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    @dividedan It's not really a thing. It's more of a preference. It's like someone liking this drink and you like a different drink. I've always been a car stereo upgrade kind of guy, that's why I went with no NAV. If I flipped it the other way and the 100 was for my wife, I would have looked for a 06+. She drives faster than me and doesn't mind/care about screens in cars.
     
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  10. dividedan

    dividedan

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    Woah man incredible shot! That makes me even more antsy to get rolling.
     
  11. Njck22

    Njck22

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    I agree with this, a single din head unit can be installed for next to nothing in a navigation cruiser, retaining the AC controls and navigation screen. So don't let it affect your decision much.
     
  12. Hugh Calgary

    Hugh Calgary

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    I have a 1998 LC and a 2006 LC.
    Here are my thoughts.

    1998
    More truck like ride
    Interior is more manly
    Don’t mind taking it off road since it cost less
    I like it more than the 2006
    It’s mine

    2006
    Ahc is great, rides like a luxury vehicle
    More power and 5 speed is nice on the highway
    City driving not much difference between the 1998 re power and 4 speed
    Seems less noisy than the 1998 maybe Toyota added some sound deadening material?
    Too nice to take off-road
    ATRAC stability & traction control system works as good or better than my 2016 GMC 4x4 pick up
    It is my wifes DD

    For daily driving the All Trac system on the 2006 is really the most significant difference. Worth having anywhere there is snow like say Canada or Colorado.

    Off road with rear locker engaged on the 1998 is sure nice when climbing in 4lo. As the old saying goes better to have a locker and not need it than to need a locker and not have it.

    Final word.
    If your off roading is fire roads and back country camping and exploring go with the nicest LC you can find that has ATRAC.
     
  13. dividedan

    dividedan

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    Thanks man that’s good advice. I have a hard time with the “better to have and not need than need and not have” rationale because they can get pretty pricey with these vehicles and especially reading this forum! I like the approach of starting with a tire upgrade, maybe sliders, then just use the damn thing and find out what you need. Granted I don’t love the idea of being stuck somewhere in the wilderness with a 15 month old.

    Maybe I do need lockers and a winch... :hmm:
     
  14. dace voit

    dace voit SILVER Star

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    Welcome!

    I wanted the '06-'07 for the VVT-i. I like to go to the later years of a vehicle also because they tend to represent the best of a series. The extra power of the VVT-i is nice living up here in the CO mountains. No matter what year though, these trucks a plenty capable in stock form. From what you describe, a stock truck will be more than fine for your needs.

    Like said before, don't stray from AHC because you think is it a problem. Yes, it can be expensive to fix. It helps to have a some diagnostic equipment to see what's going on with the system from time to time. That's no big deal, especially if you have a friend with a shop. But really, the AHC system is pretty damn great. The ride is really nice and adjustable as well. The adjustable ride height is great also.

    Judging from what you have said, an '03+ is a good place to start looking. Nothing wrong with the earlier trucks but the 5speed transmission in the mountains is a BIG plus, IMHO. '03 was also where the side curtain airbags came in so that's an extra layer of safety.

    As far as the integrated nav/audio/climate control is concered. That s*** was cool back then. It's obviously out dated now and not very easy to change out. Is this a deal breaker? Not for me. I don't think it should be for anyone but it should be considered. My system works really well still, although I don't use the nav. It's pointless to me what with having a smartphone and all. There are ways to spice into the audio that work well also. I am like trdcorolla though, in that I'm a car audio upgrade kind of guy as well. I'm in the process of getting the parts together for the retrofit/upgrade now. The "entertainment" system is pretty funny in that the resolution is like that of a Gameboy Color(I read this description on here and thought it was perfect. lol). I put in a DVD and laughed. But then again, I have zero intention of ever watching a video in the truck.

    If you haven't already, check out the 100 series newbie guide on sleeoffroad.com. It shows the changes made to the trucks through the 100 series run.
     
  15. dividedan

    dividedan

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    The five speed tranny makes a lot of sense. My wife’s Outback has a 4 speed auto and it is by far the worst part of the car. You’re never in the right gear around here.
     
  16. dividedan

    dividedan

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    [​IMG]

    Well currently this is what is between me and a Cruiser. Sinking all extra money here for now...
     
  17. dace voit

    dace voit SILVER Star

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    This was one of my biggest problems with my 80 series. The 4 speed transmission. It was solid. Bomb proof. But that truck really could've used an extra gear since it was so underpowered.
     
  18. dividedan

    dividedan

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    Looks like 03+ had an option twow package, does this mean it is harder to fit a hitch to the earlier models? Will be pulling a raft and other trailer.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018 at 7:38 PM
  19. 2001LC

    2001LC

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    Welcome.

    The no NAV rigs have total separate HVAC controls from the NAV/stereo, whereas those with are integrated. They also lend themselves to a NAV/stereo upgrade with less complexity. 89-02 the NAV was and option that seems about half the fleet came with. It was also an option in the 03-07, but this option came in nearly every 100 series imported into the lower 48 states of the USA. Any 03-07 without a factory installed NAV screen, is a Unicorn. The 07 was the least of all 100 series imported into the USA. So a no NAV 07 is the rarest of them all. You can see pictures of a 07LC Unicorn with update NAV/stereo on my links below in signature line.

    98-02 (01-02 sweet spot) loaded up with kids (01+ child restraints) and gear do take some throttling and shifting forethought to maintain speed over mountain passes on I-70 and such, some say a bit doggy. Never bothered me, but I'm used to shifting and keeping up speed for the passes.

    The 2003+ was first year of the transmission and gearing upgrades, along with a new throttle body (third tweak T-body in the line up). These loaded up with the family, did better at holding speed over passes but still a bit doggy. The also were first to get the redesign of the steering rack mounts and variable speed steering.

    06 was the first to get the VVT heads, totally new intake manifold design and final design change in the T-body. Now these you don't need to be concerned with mountain passes, except watching out for the HWY patrol. They've plenty of towing and passing power even on the passes at tree line. They have a lighter sport car feel to them and are very responsive. They also come with all safety options. Some of the 2007 I've had, also came LED turn signal lights in mirrors, I love those. Most all 06-07 came from factory with AHC, but a few did not. These non AHC are hard to find.
     
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  20. dividedan

    dividedan

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    Dogs are all I’ve driven since living in Colorado, I bet I don’t even notice. The sport shifting is what saves our Subaru on the hills, is this on any of the 100s?
     
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