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Posted by David A. Wright on December 09, 2002 at 23:29:29:

In Reply to: Re: tires for off road (Toyota Tacoma w/16" rims posted by Cecile on December 08, 2002 at 15:39:48:

Such debate!

I don't have any allegiance to a particular brand, vehicles of most makes catch my eye.

Two lemons I've owned were both 1980 Chevys - a Citation and a C10 truck. Due to this, I was dubious about buying another Chevy when I bought my former S-10 4x4 in December 1996.

I have never owned a bad Ford (a '70 F250 4x4, which was purchased new in Bishop in 1969 - I was the second owner - gave me 263,000 good miles on the original engine - I bought the truck with 80,000 miles on it - and is still running around Trona on its second engine; a '88 Taurus gave me 152,000 miles without failure, my daughter still drives it and it has 255,000 miles and the AC still works with the original freon, interior still in excellent shape, engine untouched), but Ford was changing over to electronic transfer case activation as the only choice for the Ranger and full size trucks, I prefer a good old fashion lever; and everyone I know who had any brand of truck with electronic transfer case buttons had troubles with them. So I steered clear of the Fords.

I bought my former S10 due to a very low price that I managed to deal (it was a brand new '96 on the lot three months after the '97s came out - I got it for $18,500) and it was equipped right (V6 with high output chip, A/C, 5-speed manual, manual transfer case activation, buckets and console, LS package; it was a pretty medium high gloss brown color which was rare and it pleased my eye).

The truck had proven to be very dependable and problem free. The only malfunction was the air conditoner compressor that went south in October 2000 at 85,000 miles, which I replaced in June 2001 when I put the truck into the shop in preparation for a long 4x4 trip in Nevada and Idaho. The truck was getting ready to turn over 100,000 miles. While in the shop, I had the front brakes done (the OEM brakes in front still had some life left, the rears needed nothing and still had a lot of life and still did not need rebuilding when I traded the truck in), a tuneup (and I was very skeptical about the GM claim of 100,000 mile tuneups but it was true), and have the mechanic go over the drive train for peace of mind on the trip. Nothing there needed replacing.

Overall, I was happy with my S-10. Even with the mileage, it didn't rattle or squeek, the paint held up excellent (I only waxed it once - I hate waxing; the truck was garaged at home, but sat outside in Trona at work daily year round), the interior didn't have anything break or fall off. The transmission shifted smoothly, the manual transfer case lever in the center console shifted very smooth and the auto hubs never gave me problems.

The only thing that concerned me off road with the Chevy was the truck's stock suspension, therefore not an abundance of ground clearance. But in the years I've owned it I seldom touched down, then only on the stout frame rails, there were a few small dings on the rocker pannels. Everything else was well tucked in underneath. I did put a few breaks in the plastic quasi skid plate in front, though. Otherwise, I can't complain about the truck off or on road.

I wish I could say the same thing about a '96 Cadillac DeVille Concours I purchased the summer before I bought the truck. It fell apart very swiftly and has caused me much grief over the entire period I owned it. I say it was a lemon, but I couldn't convince the state of California and Cadillac to agree. Quality control was dismal - the trunk liner caved in within months. I had it replaced under warranty, I ended up doing this several times before the warranty ran out; the rearview mirror fell off several times; the passenger seatback broke; the seat control pannel on the driver seat broke off; door pannels fell off repeatedly; the Rainsense automatic wipers never worked even when new, mechanics could never get them to; the CD player quit twice; the electronic controls for the transmission failed, leaving my wife stranded; the engine started using oil by 60,000 miles; the rear suspension blew out just after the warranty expired and had to be replaced at a cost of over $3000 due to the electronics; one of the aluminum wheels split; electrical and computer gremlins plagued this car from the first week of ownership; and the list goes on and on. My wife loved the car, and fought me tooth and toenail for years about getting rid of it. I just traded it last week with 122,000 miles on the clock for a 2003 Toyota Camry. Good riddence to the Cadillac (to be fair, I had a '91 Coupe deVille prior to the '96 and it was a very dependable and well built car; I just sold a '69 Coupe deVille, all original, very dependable). This will be the last GM vehicle I'll ever buy. I paid $52,000 for the Cadillac in 1996, I got $5000 for it for trade in.

My primary reason for my swap to the 2002 Tacoma is the TRD package, especially the rear locking differential. If my Chevy had the Z off road suspension setup, I would likely still own it until it became old and unreliable.

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