New Member Intro' (1 Viewer)

Joined
Feb 2, 2020
Messages
194
Location
Albuquerque
Hey dudes,

My name is Aaron, and I am a Toyota addict.

My addiction began at at early age when I was 15 and got my first car - a 1998 3rd gen Honda Accord. That old girl gave me hell. On the 2nd engine it still had oil in the coolant. She never kept an alignment and ate tires. It was bad.

For 8 years in school my wife had a Scion (Toyota) Hatchback that never had any issues and I worked on it myself.

In 2015 we bought a 2014 Ford Escape Titanium with 45k miles. The 6F35, arguably one of the worst transmissions ever made, went at 70k miles and was replaced with a 15k mile unit that developed the same flares and driveline kicks as the previous one. We had done that thing young couples do; walk into a major dealership and buy a car we couldn't afford that we knew nothing about. It also ate 19" street tires that cost $220 each.

In 2018 I bought a 2001 Chevrolet 1500 Express Van LS. The intent was to build out an adventure van to take on road trips out west. Gentlemen, welcome to my nightmare. I knew the starter was having trouble and had been worked on a few times, but when I got home 2 hours later with the van it wouldn't engage the flywheel. I got it towed to a friend's barn and found that the entire block had rusted out and the starter bolts had been JB Welded into the small block, which was rotting away. To my horror, I discovered what I had purchased after it was too late. It had rained that day and I couldn't see the full extent of the rot. The frame had to be gone. I found out later it had lived in Illinois, and Chevy hadn't coated the undercarriages on those trucks. $4,000 later and a scrapyard 305 engine installed, I sold the van at a loss and moved on.

Our nicest vehicle, the Escape, had some of the worst engineering ideas I had ever seen in an interior and some on the exterior. I don't know why it took so long to realize it. Perhaps it took moving to Albuquerque and seeing all of the Toyotas roaming the desert. There was a turning point when I was down in Cruces in a rental 2019 SR5. I took the dirt roads back home through Hatch where it had just dumped a ton of rain, used 4x4 for the first time, and got hooked.

We started looking for a 4Runner immediately. I learned what our Escape was actually worth at 120k miles and got a very fair trade on a 2014 4Runner SR5 at Chalmers over in RR. I actually laughed driving it off the lot, because there was no way some poor soul would be buying my used Escape with flare ups from 2nd-3rd gear at a $5k markup and I was driving away in that beast of a vehicular machine...but the next day, sure as s*** they had it up for five thousand dollars more than it was worth.

It felt like I was stealing the Toyota from the Ford dealership for pennies on the dollar, and the next day it dumped snow in Albuquerque. From midnight to 4am after thanksgiving I was out west of town discovering that driving the 4Runner in 4HI on the snow meant driving wherever the hell you want.

Addicted.

Late December rolled around and I went out to Montessa park and found the sand dunes. We went to Puerco, and found our comfort zones immediately when it got technical.

We went up north on HW 518 to the forest roads and got high centered (wheels spinning) on a shoulder 3 miles from town. Hiked it out and found a hay farmer to recover us. We hauled ass down that FR behind his 2500 diesel dually with the fog lights on after dark. We laughed all the way home and though we had a shovel and axe that we failed to recover with, swore to never go out into the snow with no radio or winch ever again.

I got addicted to 4Runners in the snow after that, and long story short, we bought a second truck; the V8 we took out on the trail last Saturday. These things are absolute monsters in the snow with a center locker, and I can't wait to get some legs on it.

Oh, and that perfect 2008 Scion I mentioned? We just sold it last week to a couple in Tijeras and got 50% of what we got for the 2014 Ford in its highest trim. Scion had 170k miles. That thing will probably go to another 300k if not more, and I drove it hard. We were actually sad watching it drive away, but the Ford... we just kind of walked on by without even thinking about parting ways for eternity.

So that's why I am hopelessly addicted to two 4runners in the garage and Toyotas in general. They're the only vehicles that have been good to me. My parents have a 2000 V6 Avalon farm car I used to tear down gravel back roads in high school. It should have died a long time ago, but the 1500 Silverado died well before then. I watched my brother's two Mustangs and Ram 1500 go to hell. And so it goes. We are fully in and never going back. I can't wait to drive these things until my knees give out. Looking forward to wheelin' it with this club of people who also appreciate these machines.

Also looking forward to building more confidence on the trail and negotiating technical terrain without beating up the gas tank skid plate like I did last weekend, sending it over the rocks after the Jeeps like we're goin' up for hookers and beer 10 minutes into the day.
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Oh yeah...I'm 27, she's 26, we have a 3yo good boy german shepherd named Sir Gaius Baltar, 2 cats, and no kids. Early career professionals, moved out to the desert valley from Oklahoma City in Nov 28 and absolutely having a riot. There was 1 dude wheeling the snowy dirt in OKC today and it made the chopper cam news; that's how deprived they are.

I love digging into things I don't understand, teamwork, and doing things the right way. I am very meticulous and I don't do anything half-ass. I also like putting myself in precarious situations to see how I respond. I love me that adrenaline. Been here for 14 months and it feels like it's always been home. We're here to stay. Don't tell anyone else about this place.

Go hard 🤘



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Last edited:

alia176

SILVER Star
Joined
Aug 21, 2003
Messages
13,172
Location
Tijeras, NM
Great intro Aaron, welcome aboard. Looking forward to seeing y'all again at the next breakfast.

Speaking of buying bad vehicles, I bought a 1990 Range Rover in 1996, KNOWING that it was a POS but a '96 Landcruiser just came out with a price tag of $55k so I just had to bite the bullet. The two vehicles have identical suspensions but reliability was another matter. Let's just say that I'm the McGyver I am today due to driving a RR and coming up with ingenious fixes on just about every road trip. I kept a second RR in the backyard as a parts car to keep the first one running :bang: You can't beat the memories though!!!
 
Joined
Jan 7, 2007
Messages
2,020
Location
Tijeras NM
Aaron - welcome to the club/addiction!

You would have a hard time finding a bigger group of Toyota fanatics, so I think you are in the right place!

Evan
 

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