So why in the world would I trade in this badass Jeep for a Tacoma?
The Jeep was so much fun and it could drive places that vehicles shouldn’t go. I got it new from the factory in 2011 and that’s where I made my first mistake, I ordered the base sport model. What I would eventually add to the vehicle led to its many issues. It started out looking like this:
At the end of its life with me it had turned into a beast.
A beast that needed more money and time than I had to dedicate to a vehicle.
The short list of what was: 2011 JK UNLIMITED SPORT
- Centerforce Clutch
- Pro comp Wheels
- 35″ Goodyear KM2s – Best tires ever, will be getting some for the truck eventually
- Bilstein Shocks
- 12k winch
- Roof Rack
- SRC Smitybilt bumpers all around
- 3″ TERAFLEX Lift
- Multiple other gizmos
Now the list of why I had to get rid of it.
- Death-wobble: This issue was mostly resolved by beefing up the front stabilizer shock and keeping the tires balanced, aligned, and clean. However, when you have been driving down the highway and you hit a hole the wrong way and the vehicle begins to violently shake to the point of almost losing control, you really just don’t get that trust back.
- Clutch issues: at 20k miles the OEM clutch burned out…. yeah 20k. It was cheaper to put in an aftermarket clutch which came with its own issues. Then the slave cylinder shattered… so stranded again.
- Drive Axle: While offloading on a fairly easy trail my front axel sheared and left me trying to hobble out in rear wheel drive. Some very helpful people helped me get it back up and running the next day.
- Gas Milage: I know its my fault for killing the gas milage with the bigger tires and lots of weight from the bumpers, but it was at about 11mpg just not cutting it anymore.
If I would have started with a Rubicon then it could have handled the modifications better. It comes with beefier axels and an overall better drivetrain.
So why a Toyota? We had recently traded in my wife’s Trail Blazer for a Prius. Amazing little car and built with quality in mind. We took it on a trip from Tucson to Oregon and it never gave us any issues. The amazing warranty and maintenance plans are a bonus to how well built Toyotas are.
Additionally, Tacoma seems like a better fit for me, I wasn’t doing much rock crawling (didn’t want to have to pay for repairs). I was more into the long trips in to the backcountry and the utility for my hobbies and volunteer work. Car seats fit in the back way better than the Jeep too. I will be able to get to many of the same places that the Jeep could go, just maybe drive round the rock than over it. I also got the TRD off-road edition so it comes with all the bells and whistles that you could ever need…..and its all covered under warranty! Plus there is a 400 watt plug in the back!
All in all the Jeep was great fun but ended up costing too much money, if I wanted to use it for “Jeep” things I had to have the wallet to back it up. Trading it it for a Tacoma seemed like the smart thing to do, the cost of the Jeep was exceeding that of a brand-new vehicle. The Tacoma will last me for years and years and I won’t run into reliability issues like I had to deal with when I had the Jeep. Will I modify the Tacoma? Maybe, but I won’t add big steel bumpers, giant tires or a lift; you don’t need them for what I want to do. I may get the KM2s but they will only be slightly larger (no more than an inch bigger). I miss the Jeep, but I do not regret my decision and I know my wife doesn’t either 😉 she would never drive it on account of the death-wobble and who could blame her?