(Photo by Fred Oliver – CC Cohort)
I’d bet a buck that the frame is as rotted as the body. It was a known issue in salt country on Rangers and their Mazda twins.
The sheetmetal is surprisingly resilient on the ’93-’97 Rangers, but you’re right the frames (and radiator core support) are susceptible. If a Ranger has serious bed rot, the frame is complete swiss cheese.
My ’97 had a body that looked very nice aside from the very bottoms of the doors. But the core support had rotten off at the bottom and the frame was starting to perforate. The ’94 that replaced it had a much more solid frame and underbody.
Oh I’m well aware. My brother just had a customer’s ’04 Tacoma in for a clutch (3rd one at 237k miles, the guy uses it to haul firewood out of the woods supposedly). It’s the definition of a working truck with the bed absolutely pummeled, not been washed in years. The sheetmetal aside from a few spots of the bed floor is amazingly immaculate. The frame looked decent too, until he started poking around… sure enough, holes in the frame over the rear axle. Apparently Toyota is giving him a new frame for free.
My dad’s 06 Tacoma got a new frame recently, the body still looks great.
That truck and Toyota owe him nothing, but it’s impressive they are giving him a new frame 15years and 237k miles later. Not that it should have gone bad and likely started going bad much earlier than it should have but at this point? Good on them.
The owner jumped at the free frame opportunity. The newest Tacomas are a shadow of their former selves anyways. They put on a bunch of weight without enough motor to make up for it, and quality is just not there anymore as Toyota has gone further and further down the cost-cutting rabbit hole. With a new frame this ’04 should make it another 15 years and 200k miles, it might just need a few more clutches for the firewood hauling. The engines (3.4L iron block V6) and transmissions in that generation of Tacoma and 4Runner are absolute champs at taking abuse and shrugging it off. My own 4Runner is a ’96 and a baby with 150k miles. I make it a point to Fluid Film coat the frame (inside especially) every fall.
“AC needs recharged”
Amazingly enough, when I bought my ’94 the seller basically said the same thing and I figured “oh well A/C doesn’t work.” On a whim I charged the system with a $5 can from walmart and I had ice cold A/C for the rest of the summer until I sold the truck.
Here in Michigan, that would be pretty clean for a regularly driven truck of that vintage. No evidence of sag between the cab and the box like on many Chevy pickups either.
Same thought from Central Illinois. That truck has lots of life in it yet (based on what I often see running around here).
So glad I live out on the West Coast!! This gen Rangers and Mazda B’s are a dime-a-dozen here, many looking as new as when they rolled off the lot.
I’m still driving my 1994 Ranger in Michigan with 235k miles. The bed is fiberglass so no rust. The 4.0 engine has been bulletproof. It leaks every fluid except oil however. The example in the picture has no rear bumper which is unsafe. No bumper means no license plate light. That gets you a ticket here.
Rear bumpers on trucks weren’t required by law (at least nationwide, some states may have required them) until sometime in the mid-late 80s. Before then, it was pretty common to see stripped out trucks on dealer lots without bumpers.
Or, as was also common with radios back in the day, dealers would order trucks without bumpers and install cheaper aftermarket units when the truck came off the transporter.
Here in Northwest Indiana, in 1990 I bought a Chevy S10 EL (economy leader) which means a BASIC truck. It cost only $7400 and came without a rear bumper. I bought one from the dealer for $100-ish. It was from an S10 Blazer I think and looked a little smoother. The truck was black and I had white-letter BF Goodrich Radial T/As installed and traded the new stock Ameritechs in. Then an aftermarket Clarion stereo and speakers went in. Went with the FORD antenna because it was beefier and chrome. Came stock with a version of the “baby moon” hubcaps with the Chevy emblem and blackened in the center and then the truck looked pretty good. Still had manual steering and no AC so after a year or so I was sick of that. So anyway, no rear bumper required here at that time.
I think the light is actually dangling down in front of the plate, no?
Maryland (a very progressive state that is very anal about vehicle specs) does not require a rear bumper on pickup trucks. The law only requires that there is a place to mount a rear license plate that is lighted at night.
A rear bumperless pickup truck is no different then the first and second generation RAV4 using the spare tire as a bumper because they had none.
The midwestern rule: if you can still make out the shape of the sheetmetal stampings it’s not really rusty. This Ranger is “a little rusty”. Really rusty looks like this –
That one’s about ready to become a dedicated plow truck… (c;
Yep. All anyone needs to do is check out all the visibly rusty cars on Minneapolis Craigslist which are described as “rust free”.
“Rust free” is Minnesotan for “Only surface rust is visible to your neighbors, the holes are hidden away in unimportant areas like around the body mounts & spring hangers, so it’s all good”.
I stared at that Mazda for ages wondering what I was supposed to be looking at, I’m glad a Midwesterner was on hand to contextualize it for me.
I never really thought about it until now, but it is interesting how people from different parts of the country think of rust on cars. Here in California I was driving behind a car that had a little bit of surface rust on the trunk and my reaction was something like “Woah, a car with rust on it, how strange. I wonder where it was brought here from.” (It was brought here from upstate New York, according to the dealership sticker).
I had a rust-free ’78 Zephyr in the 90’s here in northwest Indiana because it was originally from Colorado. I later brought home an ’82 Wagoneer from Wyoming that had managed to rust where NOTHING rusts. Only
In a (AMC) Jeep!
I agree, descriptions of the amount of rust on a vehicle are very regionally specific. I would argue that anywhere in the snow belt where salt is regularly used on the roads in the winter, any vehicle built before about 2000 or so will always have rust on it somewhere, unless it was continuously undercoated since new or not driven at all in the winter. My personal definition of “no rust” is nothing you can’t cover up with touch up paint, and still-rigid floorboards and frame/unibody.
Those ’73-’87 vintage GM trucks rusted from the top down in salt air parts of California. Hawaii dissolves cars and trucks the same way, but more rapidly.
Looks like a normal Michigan truck to me
Still looks pretty driveable. It’s a truck, keep using it. 4X4 shortbed, probably a 3 liter V6. Gotta love my Rangers and RBV’s (Ranger based vehicles.)
Here in Ontario I always thought rust free meant a vehicle you closed the windows to keep the dust out rather than open the windows to LET the dust out!!
Thanks for using my photo. A frontal view is attached.
That one interested me because Mazdas of that vintage are pretty uncommon around here in northeastern CT, and because this one, despite a little oxidation, doesn’t seem too bad. After all, it’s still in service, whether a daily driver or dump and lumber runner.
Is that the North Windham Home Depot? If so, right around the corner from me….
Indeed it is.
I live in Andover, a few towns away.
Small world. We are in Windham Center but my wife’s family lives just off Long Hill Road.
It is a small world. We live on Bear Swamp.
This truck is rustier than it looks. The rear wheels are outlined in plastic trim. The rust that can be seen is only what the plastic doesn’t cover. I sold an 01 Ranger in 2011. It looked great. No visible rust, until you got under it. MAJOR, MAJOR frame rot. It had 80,000 miles and ran great. I sold it as is and wrote in capital letters on the bill of sale, FOR PARTS ONLY, VEHICLE HAS MAJOR FRAME ROT.
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