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  1. #1
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    2003 Toyota Tundra Questions

    Hey All!

    I'm close to buying an 03 Tundra 4x4 with 187,000 miles. I've never owned a Toyota, so clueless as to what to specifically watch or look for on it. Anything I should be checking or looking closely at on a truck of this age and mileage? Ball joints concern me on a 4x4 of this age, but other than that I am not sure what issues this generation of Toyotas may have had?

    Thanks.....Mick
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  2. Member AirForceAngler's Avatar
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    #2
    Some of those years had problems with the frames rusting. Bad.
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  3. Panfish Forum Moderator SOONER*REDNECK's Avatar
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    #3
    My dad has a 2000 tundra with 200k on it and he still drives it daily. Been his daily since 2002. Great truck!
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  4. Member
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    #4
    If it has the 4.7L make sure the timing belt has been changed. As mentioned frame rust, the tabs that held the tailgate up wear. Just normal stuff. That generation is normally considered the holy grail of Tundras with a whole bunch of them at 400,000 plus miles.

  5. Member 06 SB's Avatar
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    #5
    I put 300K on a 2001 and 200K on a 2005. Both were 4x4s and I would still be driving them if it weren’t for stupid people running red light and totaling them.I never replaced a ball joint in either one. There are not too many gotchas on those models. The frame is the only one to be concerned about. The frame rusting was a defect that should have been taken care of by now but check the VIN against the defective range. There were some airbag recalls on most of them. Everything else is just nitpicking.

    Timing belt needs changed every 80-100K. Do the water pump at the same time.

    Check engine light with OBD code 1445 is a failure of the secondary air injection system. I had it on the 2005 and the OEM fix is about $2500. I did the MUCH cheaper bypass myself for $145. No issues with it after that. It is a stupid system and does not do anything.

    CV axle boots tend to rip and throw little dabs of grease onto the frame. It is about $200 to have one replaced at an independent shop.

    If it is not a TRD, the OEM shocks are just OK. Replace with Bilsteins and never worry about them again.

    The climate control knobs can break but there are plenty of cheap replacements out there on Amazon.

    Tiny light bulbs in the climate control and that console can go out but are easily replaceable.

    Power window switches can go bad but are easily replaceable.

    Unless it has been updated, the OEM tow package wiring harness is only for a 4 flat plug. You will have to do some wiring work if you need a 5 flat or the big, round plug.

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  6. Member larryhyco's Avatar
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    #6
    I have a 2001 4x4 Tundra V8. I have had a rear axel bearing go bad and I replaced it myself. I've changed the timing belt myself. Mine has no rust issues but I live 10 miles from where Toyota had their cutoff line for frame warranty. I have about 275K miles and still going strong.
    Last edited by larryhyco; 03-02-2021 at 11:59 AM.

  7. Member
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    #7
    I have had two 2002 Tundras with 6 cyl engine. The first one I bought new in 2002 for 17k. I put 285k miles on it and changed out the timing belt every 100k. I never had one thing go wrong with it. I loved the truck so much that in 2013, I decided to buy a factory rebuild motor and transmission to have on standby when my truck finally wears out. While researching, I discovered another 2002 Toyota Truck for sale near Port Canaveral in Florida for 10K. It only had 32K miles on it. The original owner lived at sea and only used the truck to haul supplies to his yacht when he arrived at port. I bought that truck and put another 200K miles on it. Last year I decided to buy a new 2020 Tundra since my boat grew up. I was going to trade it in but My wife said she wanted it. I is still strong, but I think it may be the 3.6 L V6 motor that gives it long life. That motor has been very reliable.

  8. Member
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    #8
    Here is a nice looking TRD i think, V-8 with the same miles.


    https://topeka.craigslist.org/cto/d/...284303030.html

  9. Member
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    #9
    Put 478,000 on my 2002 with the 4.7 and not a single major problem. I’d replace the timing belt and front wheel bearing. Other than that the truck was bulletproof. Routine maintenance and you should be good for a long time.

  10. Member
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    #10
    My 2002 TRD has 190K --been a good truck . Gas MPG not great tho
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  11. Covfefe rds_nc's Avatar
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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by 06 SB View Post
    I put 300K on a 2001 and 200K on a 2005. Both were 4x4s and I would still be driving them if it weren’t for stupid people running red light and totaling them.I never replaced a ball joint in either one. There are not too many gotchas on those models. The frame is the only one to be concerned about. The frame rusting was a defect that should have been taken care of by now but check the VIN against the defective range. There were some airbag recalls on most of them. Everything else is just nitpicking.

    Timing belt needs changed every 80-100K. Do the water pump at the same time.

    Check engine light with OBD code 1445 is a failure of the secondary air injection system. I had it on the 2005 and the OEM fix is about $2500. I did the MUCH cheaper bypass myself for $145. No issues with it after that. It is a stupid system and does not do anything.

    CV axle boots tend to rip and throw little dabs of grease onto the frame. It is about $200 to have one replaced at an independent shop.

    If it is not a TRD, the OEM shocks are just OK. Replace with Bilsteins and never worry about them again.

    The climate control knobs can break but there are plenty of cheap replacements out there on Amazon.

    Tiny light bulbs in the climate control and that console can go out but are easily replaceable.

    Power window switches can go bad but are easily replaceable.

    Unless it has been updated, the OEM tow package wiring harness is only for a 4 flat plug. You will have to do some wiring work if you need a 5 flat or the big, round plug.

    I have a 2006 with about 157,000.
    The secondary air thing got me for around that $2500 probably 5 or 6 years ago. Guy at the shop I take our work trucks to said it was only the second one he'd seen come through their shop.
    Had to replace the valve cover gasket earlier this year b/c the little drops of oil were getting annoying had them change the spark plugs at the same time and it wasn't all that expensive.
    Climate control knob broke right after I bought it but no biggie.
    Tailgate linkage has to be babied a little bit but not a problem after you realize what it's doing.
    I just use an adapter when I need it for the towing wiring harness when I need it.
    Overall it's an awesome truck and I can't see getting rid of it anytime soon unless I end up in the same boat as 06 SB and getting wrecked out of it.
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  12. Member
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    #12
    Have an '01 4.7L with about 275k. Been a great truck - smooth riding like it was new.
    No rust, but, has not seen a winter since '05, so ....
    Half empty or half full asks the wrong question ....