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1985 Pickup

Overall rating:  Product Rating: 4.5

Reviewed by 5 users

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My little 85


by adam728:      Sep 9, 2001 - Updated Apr 14, 2002


Product Rating: 3.0 Recommended: Yes 

Pros: Lightweight, Surprising leg room, great off-road, durable.
Cons: Rough on-road ride, poor handling, prone to rust.
The Bottom Line: If you only see dirt less than once a month, avoid this truck. If you are a weekend warrior, this is an EXCELLENT vehicle. Watch for rust!


I recently purchased an 85 SR5 regular cab, 4x4, EFI, all that. So far, as an off-road vehicle, I love it. As a daily driver on the other hand, it is a bit of a handful.

First off, I bought this truck because I wanted something to go 4 wheeling with every weekend. This little Toy will kill my old Chevy (92 half ton, 2" lift and 32's). I put a Power Trax locker in the rear, and this truck goes anywhere. The light weight (about 2500 pounds) allows it to skip over obstacles that will eat other vehicles. I went wheeling with a friend and his 3/4 ton Dodge a while back. We came to a low spot in the trail that I thought nothing of, drove over it in 2 wheel. A ways later I realized he wasn't behind me. I went back and he had broken through the top and buried his truck in frame deep mud. Ah, the pro's of light weight.

Things I like about it:
*A ton of legroom for a little truck. More than my full-size standard cab Chevy had. In fact, more than any regular cab truck I have ever ridden in.
*The interior is not dated looking. It was futuristic and high tech back then, so it is nice and plain now. Not like hopping in an 85 S-10 (very old-school looking inside).
*The EFI makes for a smooth motor, and it will keep running at any angle (trust me)
*Straight axles make for easy lifting, killer articulation, and a strong suspension.
*The body doesn't look dated. I tell people it is a 95 and they don't know any better.
*The seats are comfy, good for my 8 hour trip to college. The girlfriend and I live 428 miles apart, so my truck gets its use. The drivers seat has an adjustment to clamp the sides in on you, which is great off road.
*There are about 5 trillion companies that make parts for these, replacement and hop up.

Thing I don't like
*Notorious Toyota soft brakes. They work well (lock all 4 on pavement), but it takes some effort and pedal travel. There are booster kits out there to cure it.
*Straight axles make for a less than perfect on road ride, as well as poor handling if you try to play "rally car" with the thing.
*Rust prone. Nearly every Toy on the road is rotted through at the bed seam. Darn those 2 piece beds. Mine's brand new, so no problems yet (keep the underside clean and re-rustproof often).
*They will run forever, but the tranny synchronizers start to hate life after about 150,000 miles. Mine is getting to the point that it has a bit of restriction trying to got 1-2 and 2-3. Problem with all older Toyota 5 speeds. There is over 190,000 miles on mine though.
*Also have to watch for frame rot. The drain holes (box frame design) WILL get clogged, then water and crap can sit in there and eat away at the frame. Lots of Toy's with strong drivetrains but none-savable frames sitting in yards right now.
*Only speakers in the thing are 4" ones in the dash. Easy to cut out the doors to accept 6.5" though.

I would recommend this truck to someone looking for a great off-road ride. As a daily driver it is a little harsh, but hopefully my soft-ride springs will help that out. These trucks will live nearly forever, and even if they do die, parts are relativly cheap. My dad recently bought a 2001 Wrangler, then added a 2" lift and 31's. My stock Toy with 235's (about 28.5" tall) will eat his Jeep alive off-road. The Toy actually weighs in about 900 pounds less than a Jeep, and is hardly any longer.

Update:
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Now the Toyota is sitting higher on new 3" lift springs all around from Rough Country Suspensions. The ride is better than stock, although I need to replace my shackle bushings because they are practically frozen to the frame, which makes the ride much rougher than it could be. I am now running BFGoodrich Mud Terrain tires, 33 x 9.50's.

I have not re-geared yet, but with the addition of a header, 2 1/4" exhaust, intake tweaking, and playing with the timing and fuel mapping it pulls along pretty good. I may just leave the 4.10's in it, I don't know if it will be worth my money to gear it down since it works good now and I may be selling it within the year. I need something a little better for long trips, as I may be moving about 500 miles away, which will give me a nice 1000 mile each way trip to visit my parents.

One More Update
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And this is the last one. Age and Michigan winters are taking their toll. Seems everything is breaking, and all of it is due to rust.

*3 of the 4 pistons in the front left caliper rusted solid. They also let water and rust sediment into the fluid, destroying the seals in the master cylinder. New calipers, new pads, new master cylinder, new lines.
*The radiator finally rotted away to about nothing, nearly 70% of the fins were missing. New one of those now too.
*Carpet started getting wet, behind the plastic fender well the cab rusted through. Lots of aluminum sheet and some stainless steel fixed that.
*And the kicker. The rear pinion broke, rendering my truck un-drivable. Tomorrow I am putting the wide-track axle from an 86 under it, and then putting a "For Sale" sign in the window. The truck should be almost perfect, but I have been thinking that since day one, and rust destoryed parts keep popping up. Done all the work myself, and still spent over $3000 on it in 7 months. Time for it to go. A small car would be nice since I am moving to the city anyway.
Amount Paid (US$): 3000
Condition: Used
Model Year: 1985
Model and Options: SR5 package, includes: 22REC motor, AC, 5 way buckets, tilt, and more
Product Rating: 3.0
Recommended: Yes 
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