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irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/11/20 10:36 p.m.

I recently wrote this up for a buddy who is shopping for one, based off my own experience with owning one. Anyhow, figured I'd post it up here in case anyone else cares (or if anyone else wants to add to it or correct anything I wrote).

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00-04 are cheaper, but have substantially less power, smaller brakes/wheels, and one less gear in the transmission (and some goofy cosmetic things). You can find these dirt-cheap, but unless you're on a very low budget, I'd pay extra for an 05+

05-07 have more power, better transmission, bigger brakes, and look better (in my opinion at least). You should be able to find a pretty nice one with under 150k miles for well under $10k, if not less.

Mileage is generally not a concern if well-maintained.

Frame: check for rust (preferably with a small hammer, since it rusts from inside and you can't always see it). From what I can tell it's usually driver's side in two main places – right around the middle of the truck near the transmission crossmember, and also look at the frame inside the driver's front wheelwell, toward the back section of it. Other areas could be an issue too, but this is where I've usually seen it. In general, just try to buy one from a non-road-salt area if you can. There should be a heavy front skidplate, and it will almost certainly be rusty, but still pretty strong.

Body: not generally rust-prone, but the front of the rear wheel arches is a trouble spot. It's hidden by the back door, which has a lip that goes over it – so open the back doors and look down at the bottom front of the wheel wells. That's the only real body rust area I know of. The tailgate handle is a problem on these since the interior mechanism is weak and can bend. You can get new ones on ebay for cheap, or take it apart and modify it yourself. If it is bent, the tailgate may be tough to open. But, you can roll down the rear window with the remote or the key (only rolls UP with the key, oddly).

Engine: timing belt/water pump. If they don't have records, do it ASAP. Air injection pump can go bad, but if it has over 100k miles there's a good chance that's already happened and been fixed. If it does go bad, you can get a bypass for like $150. No other big problem areas on this engine that I know of offhand. If you hear a “ticking” sound under throttle, those are usually pinholes in the header flanges. Doesn't hurt anything, but a bit annoying. Otherwise, these trucks are well-insulated and generally very quiet when driving. You can buy aftermarket headers that make pretty good extra power, if you're so inclined.

Transmission: If you're towing, do a fluid change. But generally they're pretty stout, especially on the 05+. Never tow in overdrive.

Diffs, drivetrain, etc: Just typical Toyota stuff. Change fluids and grease U-joins and slip joints and you're good to go. Oh, 05+ has a center locking diff. Don't think the 02-04 does. It's activated by a button on the dash when in 4WD. Test the 4WD on a straight road. If it hasn't been used often the grease can get dry and it may take a few seconds to actually engage and then will with a “thud.” This isn't an issue and will resolve itself if you put it in 4WD periodically.

Electrical: no common issues that I know of

A/C: Most of these have a rear A/C condenser as well. It will have controls both on the dash and for the back-seat passengers. Generally if the main A/C works, the rear will too. If A/C is not cold, could be a leak in the line going to the rear (mine had this issue). This is a hassle to replace, but not very expensive. These trucks have COLD A/C when everything is working properly.

Brakes: The front calipers are 4-piston and if they're original, they could have one or more pistons seizing – you should be able to feel it in most cases. You can buy brand-new calipers on RockAuto for cheap (or reman'd), or they're easy to rebuild. The brakes are “ok” for a truck this size, but make sure you get some good HD pads that can deal with heat if towing. I actually use Hawk HPS (Tundra fitment). I haven't done it, but the even larger 4Runner SportEdition front brakes can apparently be fitted with little to no modification, according to the internetz.

Wheels: 05+ should have 17” stock wheels. Stock tire size is 265/65/17, which is probably best for towing. 265/70/17 looks better but hurts towing a bit. Definitely used LT-rated tires. Load Range C should be sufficient for most tasks. I have load range E which are really, really heavy. The original tires I think were actually P-rated, which is fine for general driving but too soft if you're gonna tow, haul heavy stuff, or spend time off-road. 

Interior: the design is pretty dated-looking but overall everything is good Toyota quality and I haven't had anything break at all. Btw, jack and lug wrench are hidden in a compartment under the passenger-side middle-row seat. You need a thing in there to lower the spare via a small hole in the back when the rear hatch is open. Spare is underneath. Driver's set tends to get some rips and cracks in the leather on the bottom section.

Suspension: all pretty much standard Toyota stuff, much of it crosses over with 4Runner, Tundra, etc. Bilstein HD shocks fit well and are a big improvement. Air-Lift air bags for the rear are cheap and make a big difference when towing, if you don't buy a Limited (which has factory air bags). Also, get some urethane steering rack bushings, they tighten things up. Front suspension bushings seem to hold up well past 150k miles at least.

The lower front balljoints on these were a recall item back in the day. I would expect they've been replaced by now on most, but if not, DO THAT. They bolt on to the control arm, so it's not too hard. Make sure you buy OEM TOYOTA ones, not aftermarket. This specific part this is pretty important. Otherwise, you can do bushings or whatever, nothing too fancy about any of it. Steering rack urethane bushings are a nice upgrade for cheap. 

Headlights when old can get foggy/yellow. I generally just polish mine every couple months. You can buy new housings pretty cheap. Headlights on these are “ok” but not great.

If the tailgate window doesn't roll down, it's almost always a dirty sensor in the weatherstripping, so just clean it.

There is an airbag recall on these things, like most vehicles these days. Both for passenger front airbag as well as side-curtain airbags (different recalls). So you can check if they've been done via a dealer.

That's about what I can think of.

Photo for the hell of it

WillG80
WillG80 New Reader
8/12/20 7:34 a.m.

Thanks for posting this write up. I've been considering a Sequoia for a camp/tow pig now that I don't need a truck bed anymore. Something with a better ride and more interior space than the truck.  Around Colorado it seems like the 05+ models demand a real premium, so it's good to know that it's worth it. Unfortunately the Toyota tax is also very real in these parts. 
 

did you do an ATV ramp roof rack? If so, what did you use for the floor? I'm debating building one for my truck topper if I keep the truck? 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/12/20 8:32 a.m.
WillG80 said:

Thanks for posting this write up. I've been considering a Sequoia for a camp/tow pig now that I don't need a truck bed anymore. Something with a better ride and more interior space than the truck.  Around Colorado it seems like the 05+ models demand a real premium, so it's good to know that it's worth it. Unfortunately the Toyota tax is also very real in these parts. 
 

did you do an ATV ramp roof rack? If so, what did you use for the floor? I'm debating building one for my truck topper if I keep the truck? 

Sure is. Google my username + "Nonack Rack"

The roof rack floor is composite chicken coop flooring. A trick I learned from the Range Rover guys :)

John Welsh (Moderate Supporter)
John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) Mod Squad
8/12/20 8:37 a.m.

Here is the link to The Nonack Rack: https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/the-nonack-grm-budget-safari-rack/128714/page1/

I keep it bookmarked since I am considering doing it in the future.  

WillG80
WillG80 New Reader
8/12/20 9:53 a.m.

Thanks Josh and John, that's exactly what I was looking for! Off to eBay I go.
 

Fun fact...Josh and John's also happens to be the name of a great local homemade ice cream chain in Colorado Springs.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
8/12/20 10:59 a.m.

Dang you're just gonna leave the 2001 Sequoia out of this like it doesn't exist? I'm about to hit the 200k mark in this 20 year old beast. The only issues I've had are related to the ABS/TC/VSC/Yaw Sensor going bad. I just put new spark plugs in, it got new 02 sensors, trans fluid, diff fluid, and about to do the t-belt. I just took it from LA to Lake Tahoe up the 395 Lone Pine Highway through the Eastern Sierras. From Lake Tahoe to Monterey and down through Big Sur back to LA and it did it without hesitation. 

My additions: 

Brakes: If you have an early version of the 1st gen (01-03) - upgrade to the bigger front brake calipers and rotors from the later 1st gens (04-07). You can do this by checking the casting number on the calipers. 13WE is the smaller caliper. 13WL is the bigger caliper. It's not a huge upgrade but def worth it if you're towing or living in a hilly/mountainous area. You'll need a sawzall or tin snips to modify the dust shield but its a straight forward job. There was a TSB to have all the early models replaced with the later generation stuff but we all know how that goes. 

Frame: Check the rear where the rear brake lines go over the frame. Water can pool in this area and it's a common rust area. There is still potential for Toyota to replace the frame depending on a plethora of things. 

Electrical: The yaw sensors on the earlier models can go bad causing ABS, TC, and VSC lights to come on your dash. If you don't care about these things you can unplug a wheelspeed sensor to just disable the whole system and you'll hvae to deal with some dash lights. 

- Sometimes to rear hatch window motor just needs to be coerced with a hammer to start working again. 

Suspension: The 01s didn't come with factory airbags on the limited so yea buy those if you're towing. They make a huge improvement. 

- As irish said and it can't be restated enough - check the lower ball joints. It's not a great design and there is no failsafe if they go bad. You can upgrade to the 04+ design which is more stout but def buy OEM as said above. 

 

They are great vehicles and the limited seats are super comfy for long drives. This thing has more features as a 20 year old car than most new cars come with. I'm the second owner of mine, the OG owner had a stack of service records and the window sticker that he gave me. $33k car back in 01 which would be a steal in todays world. A maxed out 2020 Sequoia is close to $65k 

 

 

 

 

 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/12/20 11:15 a.m.

Lol sorry ... 01 totally slipped my mind for some reason :)

One other thing to mention is to check the rear brake lines where they dip on the rear axle. The dip is meant to be a drip area for water and it does exactly what it's supposed to but also causes the line to rust out there eventually. Not difficult to replace. 

And yes I will second that part about the rusting out of the round profile pipe that runs between the two frame rails near the back.... For some reason they decided to leave the ends of that open so water can get in and rust it :/ that is also where the diff breather pipe goes to

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/12/20 11:18 a.m.
DirtyBird222 said:

Dang you're just gonna leave the 2001 Sequoia out of this like it doesn't exist? I'm about to hit the 200k mark in this 20 year old beast. The only issues I've had are related to the ABS/TC/VSC/Yaw Sensor going bad. I just put new spark plugs in, it got new 02 sensors, trans fluid, diff fluid, and about to do the t-belt. I just took it from LA to Lake Tahoe up the 395 Lone Pine Highway through the Eastern Sierras. From Lake Tahoe to Monterey and down through Big Sur back to LA and it did it without hesitation. 

My additions: 

Brakes: If you have an early version of the 1st gen (01-03) - upgrade to the bigger front brake calipers and rotors from the later 1st gens (04-07). You can do this by checking the casting number on the calipers. 13WE is the smaller caliper. 13WL is the bigger caliper. It's not a huge upgrade but def worth it if you're towing or living in a hilly/mountainous area. You'll need a sawzall or tin snips to modify the dust shield but its a straight forward job. There was a TSB to have all the early models replaced with the later generation stuff but we all know how that goes. 

Frame: Check the rear where the rear brake lines go over the frame. Water can pool in this area and it's a common rust area. There is still potential for Toyota to replace the frame depending on a plethora of things. 

Electrical: The yaw sensors on the earlier models can go bad causing ABS, TC, and VSC lights to come on your dash. If you don't care about these things you can unplug a wheelspeed sensor to just disable the whole system and you'll hvae to deal with some dash lights. 

- Sometimes to rear hatch window motor just needs to be coerced with a hammer to start working again. 

Suspension: The 01s didn't come with factory airbags on the limited so yea buy those if you're towing. They make a huge improvement. 

- As irish said and it can't be restated enough - check the lower ball joints. It's not a great design and there is no failsafe if they go bad. You can upgrade to the 04+ design which is more stout but def buy OEM as said above. 

 

They are great vehicles and the limited seats are super comfy for long drives. This thing has more features as a 20 year old car than most new cars come with. I'm the second owner of mine, the OG owner had a stack of service records and the window sticker that he gave me. $33k car back in 01 which would be a steal in todays world. A maxed out 2020 Sequoia is close to $65k 

 

 

 

 

 

I still have the window sticker on mine because a 2005 SR5 with basically all of the limited package except airbags. It's listed at $43,000 in 2005 dollars!

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
8/12/20 11:50 a.m.

$43k in 2005 dollars is big money! That's a big jump in only 4 model years too. The original owner also bought it in Frisco, TX right next to the factory where they build these. 

I speced out a new Sequoia and a new Tahoe the other night. With prices ranging from $55-85k for somthing I would want, I'm gonna keep this thing on the road as long as possible before I ever buy a new truck/suv. 

John Welsh (Moderate Supporter)
John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) Mod Squad
8/12/20 12:14 p.m.

The internet inflation calculators tell me that $43,000 in 2005  = $58,110 in 2020

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
8/17/20 11:33 a.m.

I picked up an '04 a few months ago and want to add a few notes. Coming from a Porsche Cayenne S, the '04 Sequoia is not optimal as a tow vehicle, but works. The brakes are marginal with a 4,000ish lb trailer load and really made me want trailer brakes where I never did with the Cayenne. The engine also felt a little strained at times. I expect that the improvements in the '05 and newer are worth the additional cost if you tow.

I really like the interior ergonomically. Space is set up well and things are where I want them to be. Third row seating is great and the seats fold and are removed with little pain or effort.

One annoying problem I've had that seems fairly common from internet posts: The key gets stuck in the ignition or the shifter gets stuck in park. Both related to a worn bushing in the shift linkage. Last time it happened, I didn't have tools or time to play games and ripped the plastic trim off the lower steering column. Maybe that will teach it some manners.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
8/19/20 6:24 a.m.

I am going to look at a 2002 today. 200k miles. Supposedly all the maint is done.  It's cheap. Like $3500.  I just need a beater to get me through the winter and running kids to school while I work from home. 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/19/20 7:17 a.m.
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) said:

I picked up an '04 a few months ago and want to add a few notes. Coming from a Porsche Cayenne S, the '04 Sequoia is not optimal as a tow vehicle, but works. The brakes are marginal with a 4,000ish lb trailer load and really made me want trailer brakes where I never did with the Cayenne. The engine also felt a little strained at times. I expect that the improvements in the '05 and newer are worth the additional cost if you tow.

I really like the interior ergonomically. Space is set up well and things are where I want them to be. Third row seating is great and the seats fold and are removed with little pain or effort.

One annoying problem I've had that seems fairly common from internet posts: The key gets stuck in the ignition or the shifter gets stuck in park. Both related to a worn bushing in the shift linkage. Last time it happened, I didn't have tools or time to play games and ripped the plastic trim off the lower steering column. Maybe that will teach it some manners.

I could be wrong but I am pretty sure the larger brakes from the '05 and up both right up to the earlier ones. I would suggest looking at the sport edition 4Runner brakes which are even bigger but I am pretty sure you have to have the 17-in wheels to clear them. 

I fully agree that brakes with normal pads on them are insufficient for towing. I found that putting hawk HPS pads on made a pretty substantial difference.

Placemotorsports
Placemotorsports Reader
8/19/20 7:25 a.m.

For those that buy and change the coils, be sure and get Denso brand.  Sure Amazon has a pack of 8 for almost what you would spend on 1 but they do not last.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
8/19/20 10:33 a.m.
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) said:

I picked up an '04 a few months ago and want to add a few notes. Coming from a Porsche Cayenne S, the '04 Sequoia is not optimal as a tow vehicle, but works. The brakes are marginal with a 4,000ish lb trailer load and really made me want trailer brakes where I never did with the Cayenne. The engine also felt a little strained at times. I expect that the improvements in the '05 and newer are worth the additional cost if you tow.

I really like the interior ergonomically. Space is set up well and things are where I want them to be. Third row seating is great and the seats fold and are removed with little pain or effort.

One annoying problem I've had that seems fairly common from internet posts: The key gets stuck in the ignition or the shifter gets stuck in park. Both related to a worn bushing in the shift linkage. Last time it happened, I didn't have tools or time to play games and ripped the plastic trim off the lower steering column. Maybe that will teach it some manners.

I could be wrong but I am pretty sure the larger brakes from the '05 and up both right up to the earlier ones. I would suggest looking at the sport edition 4Runner brakes which are even bigger but I am pretty sure you have to have the 17-in wheels to clear them. 

I fully agree that brakes with normal pads on them are insufficient for towing. I found that putting hawk HPS pads on made a pretty substantial difference.

They do, I put the part casting numbers up in my earlier post. It took me an hour to put the bigger rotors and calipers on and bleed the whole system. A sawzall or tin snips to modify the brake shield to fit the bigger calipers is needed as well. It's a cheap and easy upgrade that is well worth it. I have a trailer brake on mine and it helps immensely. I towed my S2000 from West Texas to Central Florida with no problems besides the u-haul trailer blowing a tire. Even then I had no idea that a tire went down until someone pulled up next to me to tell me. 

 

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
8/19/20 10:34 a.m.
Placemotorsports said:

For those that buy and change the coils, be sure and get Denso brand.  Sure Amazon has a pack of 8 for almost what you would spend on 1 but they do not last.

Yes just spend the $400 on denso coils from Rockauto and be done with it. I got a cheap chinese one in a bind and it E36 M3 the bed 2 weeks later. 

Strizzo
Strizzo PowerDork
8/19/20 10:06 p.m.

Coincidentally after reading this thread this morning I saw a sequoia on the side of the highway today with an apparent failed lower ball joint. 
 

been looking at these as I am pretty sure my next rig will be some sort of v8 full-size so I can tow my mustang places occasionally and still go camping and hunting. 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/19/20 10:15 p.m.
Strizzo said:

Coincidentally after reading this thread this morning I saw a sequoia on the side of the highway today with an apparent failed lower ball joint. 
 

been looking at these as I am pretty sure my next rig will be some sort of v8 full-size so I can tow my mustang places occasionally and still go camping and hunting. 

That's interesting, the failures typically happen on slow-speed turns, from what I heard. (the balljoint seizes and basically "twists" the stud right off), not when driving straight. In any case, at least on the forums it seems that the failures are on trucks that didn't get the recall done or that have used aftermarket replacements. Seems to ALWAYS be the driver's side joint, for some reason. Also seems that most people report the steering being tight and sometimes "popping" sounds for a while before the joint finally seizes and snaps. 

Side note: apparently the 04+ has a larger-diameter LBJ than the 01-03 models. I can't confirm this personally but have read it on the forums. 

Side note: same recall was out for the Tundra and 4Runner from thsoe year ranges. They all basically have the exact same suspensions up front. 

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
8/19/20 11:23 p.m.
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:
Strizzo said:

Coincidentally after reading this thread this morning I saw a sequoia on the side of the highway today with an apparent failed lower ball joint. 
 

been looking at these as I am pretty sure my next rig will be some sort of v8 full-size so I can tow my mustang places occasionally and still go camping and hunting. 

That's interesting, the failures typically happen on slow-speed turns, from what I heard. (the balljoint seizes and basically "twists" the stud right off), not when driving straight. In any case, at least on the forums it seems that the failures are on trucks that didn't get the recall done or that have used aftermarket replacements. Seems to ALWAYS be the driver's side joint, for some reason. Also seems that most people report the steering being tight and sometimes "popping" sounds for a while before the joint finally seizes and snaps. 

Side note: apparently the 04+ has a larger-diameter LBJ than the 01-03 models. I can't confirm this personally but have read it on the forums. 

Side note: same recall was out for the Tundra and 4Runner from thsoe year ranges. They all basically have the exact same suspensions up front. 

Similar to wheel bearings, just gotta lift the car up and check for any wiggle in the lower ball joint. Apparently the 04+ has bigger hardware. Side by side they look the same though. The forums say periodic replacement and using OEM replacements are the way to go. 

4Msfam
4Msfam Reader
8/20/20 1:52 a.m.

We love our 01.  Tows our 26ft Airstream everywhere. Don’t be afraid of revs up the hills. 

@Dirtybird, are those 18” rims?  If so, what size tires are you using?  I’m actually looking to decrease the diameter and profile to make ours a bit more stable (and loose the lift kit). Currently we have 265/75/16. 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
9/27/20 3:52 p.m.

What's the interior height on one of these?  Im wondering if I could get my bike (29er) in vertically I take the front wheel off and drop the seatpost.  (With no 2nd or 3rd row seats in place)

My mind is back in overland-build-mode, and no matter what I search for, these end up being the best option.  A little big for some areas, but overall a very good package.

Also, the Pre 05 models without the locking center diff - what do they have for a center diff?  Torsen?  Viscous?  How bad are they off road?  Edit:  Or maybe the center diff is always locked and it just doesn't have a separate button to disengage it - i.e. 05+ would be better for winter weather conditions/somewhat on road???

 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/28/20 8:38 a.m.
ProDarwin said:

What's the interior height on one of these?  Im wondering if I could get my bike (29er) in vertically I take the front wheel off and drop the seatpost.  (With no 2nd or 3rd row seats in place)

My mind is back in overland-build-mode, and no matter what I search for, these end up being the best option.  A little big for some areas, but overall a very good package.

Also, the Pre 05 models without the locking center diff - what do they have for a center diff?  Torsen?  Viscous?  How bad are they off road?  Edit:  Or maybe the center diff is always locked and it just doesn't have a separate button to disengage it - i.e. 05+ would be better for winter weather conditions/somewhat on road???

 

I'm not at home so can't measure for you, but overhead height is pretty good. It's at least a few inches over 36" since I just had my dog's 36"-tall crate inside mine on this road trip and it was under the grab handles. So maybe around 40" floor to ceiling height. 

1985 BMW 318i M42-swapped MR class Rallycrosser WDCR - Page 34

I've honestly never had to use low-range or the center diff lock on mine (I engage them sometimes on slippery areas just to keep them lubricated). I've only engaged those on occasion to make sure they stay lubricated, etc. Winter driving is of course all about what tires you have (regardless of 4wd system, these are still big heavy vehicles). Mine has never had the least bit of trouble in very deep snow.

1985 BMW 318 Stage Rally Build - 1988 Porsche 924S Street Build - Sequoia  Build-Page 72| Builds and Project Cars forum |

 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
9/28/20 8:45 a.m.

Thanks. 

 

To clarify, I did confirm this last night:

04 and earlier have a traditional 4wd system (no center diff), either locked, or RWD only.

05+ has a Torsen center diff (AWD) that you can also lock for 4WD.

Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/29/20 11:55 p.m.

Im a big fan of 1g Sequioias. The low prices you can get them for are semi-ridiculous.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/30/20 7:50 a.m.

Should i try to give it a tow with my snatch strap? :)

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