I know a body shop owner that buy wrecks and repairs them to sell and does a brisk business. He never does rollovers or totaled trucks. His advice has always been never buy a truck with a salvage title, they usually have damaged frames.
based on the dash lights (serv 4wd, and all the locker lights) I am guessing the hanging part is the sway bar. The front locker wiring harness runs through the smart bar, if the smart bar is disconnected it kills the front locker
I guess as a die hard Toyota fan who sold out and went Ram I’ll chime in here. I’ve had 2 Tacoma’s built out quite extensively and I absolutely loved them. Then recently I was looking into the 3rd gen. to put a Habitat on and had to go back to the drawing board once I talked to a couple of 3rd. Gen owners about that new motor and transmission. Because I am not a hardcore rock crawler type it wasn’t so much a lack of trail capability as much as it was a fear of constantly over working that motor and tranny with the weight of the Habitat/Goosegear/fridge/gear etc. I didn’t like the idea of cruising down the highway to my next adventure and listening to the motor scream and the transmission shift back and forth the entire trip. It just seems like that will cause the power train to wear out sooner than later thus losing that Toyota reliability that we have all grown to love so much. Don’t get me wrong, I will always be a Toyota fan and hope that I am wrong and they end up going for 500k with minimal issues. Also, I must say that they certainly look sexy when they are cruising down the road, and I see them everywhere so obviously a ton of people are satisfied enough to invest the money to build them out really well. I just hope they can hold up. As far as the Ram goes, performance for my purpose is incredible. I can easily pass anyone on the highway heading uphill without the Cummins even breaking a sweat. And having the extra room on longer trips is a much welcomed change from my Tacoma days. But, the cost of maintenance is significant. Even though I do my own oil changes it’s about $110 for full synthetic and a filter. Plus DEF juice, plus fuel filters ($100). All said and done, I would definitely go Ram again but I would consider the Power Wagon another viable option. But as far as size goes, the benefits of full size completely outweigh the drawbacks for me.
The cost of maintenance for a 3/4 ton is going to far outweigh the cost of maintenance for a midsized truck....of course the diesel adds to that delta, but the comparison is apples to oranges. If you want more performance, you have to pay for it.
With regards to the new Tacoma's engine/transmission, I very much agree. The 3.5l v6 part-time atkinson cycle I'm sure sounded great in theory when the Toyota engineers were trying to decide on their next engine iteration, but in reality it lacks low-end torque (which IMHO makes it unsuitable for truck applications). The auto likes to shift early to keep the RPM's low, but since the engine makes its power/torque higher up in the RPM band, you never really feel like the engine gets up and goes. The manual gives you more control over the gear selection, and coupled with the lower (4.30) gearing, the engine response is tolerable, but I still found myself unimpressed with its low-end torque. You really need to rev that engine out to get some grunt out of it, at which point you're no longer getting great fuel economy....which seems to to contradict the whole reason Toyota put that engine in the Tacoma in the first place.
It's a shame, because the overall platform is decent enough, certainly a mild improvement over the previous generation of Tacoma. Size-wise its probably adequate for most 4x4 owners who have to daily drive their vehicles. But that dang powertrain just isn't great. Heck, the 4.0l v6 which preceded wasn't anything special by comparison, but even that had a bit more low-end torque. If you're fine with mediocre engine grunt (which I think quite a few midsized buyers are), the truck certainly isn't a bad buy. But if you need/want a good workhorse truck with a capable engine, I'd likely consider a Tundra before a new Tacoma. The guys/gals putting slide-in campers into their Tacoma's and regearing to 4.88's are out of their minds IMHO: firstly, I'm fairly certain that most of them are grossly GVWR; and secondly, that engine just isn't well-suited to handling heavy loads (the obscene regear is a mediocre attempt at resolving that problem).
Over the last 10 years, you've seen most of the other OEM's transitioning to putting car-based V6's (which prioritize top-end horsepower over low-end torque) into their midsized 4x4's and pickups; Toyota was the last hold-out with its 1GR-FE v6 4.0l, which, for as inefficient as it was, was a true truck engine. Sadly, it seems now that even Toyota is following suite.