My older brother's got an '85. what a bucket. It's the base"est" as they come. 4cyl, 4 speed, 2wd, power nothing... well do the brakes count? :lol: Didn't even come with a radio, and of course no a/c. Truck ran great as long as my father drove it.... now since my brother's had it for about 8 years or so it's gotten worse. Main problem is burning a lot of oil, but then again he doesn't take the best care of it, but it's easy to work on since it's not EFI.
Many of the Toyota pickup 2wd models are basic models with little or no features as a friend of mine had a 1989 model and it was like that but my present vehicle a 1985 4-Runner 4wd has cruise control,5 speed manual tranny,sun roof,tachometer,2 towing hooks (86 & ups only have one),towing bumper and tons of lights.
The 1981-88 pickups have serious problems with the bed rusting out and all Toyota 4-Runners,pickups and Landcruisers have problems with the back frame rusting out above the back wheels as the frame was thinner there and same for the back fenders as they didn't have those plastic underwheel wells like the front.Note:this problem is seen in areas where there is snow and road salt.
Check the back fenders and frame for deep rust by taking a hammer and tapping the back frame,also do a fluid analysis on the engine oil by buying a fluid/oil analysis kit from any Caterpillar dealer's parts dept or some heavy duty shops (about $15) which would tell you how healthy the engine is if the engine oil and radiator coolant was changed regularly on those engines you can get at least 300 000 miles.
Finally remove the spark plugs and look at them as a picture means a thousand words if it has a manual tranny park the vehicle on a hill facing downwards then put the tranny in first gear and shut it off,don't use the parking brake or foot break if the vehicle holds itself well in first then your engines piston rings are great then you have high compression (no leakage past the rings),also when the engine is running remove the oil filler cap and see if you have b l o w by,a healthy engine should have a vaccum effect if you put your palm on the oil filler cap.
If you have a portable air compressor perform a leak down test on the engine,for more info on a leak down test do a search on Google.
By the way find out where the guy works which would tell you if it has highway miles or city miles.
People who know Toyotas pickups and SUVs love the front straight axle models as they are simpler,more reliable,better angles of incline when off-roading and easier to give body lifts.This is for the:
1980-90 Landcruisers (also the older Landcruises going back decades)
The front straight axle models were still used in Australia,Africa,Afghanistan and other areas up to 1995 and maybe even newer models but in Canada & the USA they were found to be dangerous and less comfortable in the city specially at highway speed so they were discontinued.
Finally the 85 4-Runner or pickup was highly priced as it was the last year for the front straight axle and the first year for the fuel injection so a great combination for off-roaders as the fuel injected models don't stall while climbing a steep hill and start easily and easy setup for a snorkle for deep water crossings.
"Knowledge is a dangerous thing"-Sidney's quote
1985 Toyota 4-Runner,22R-E,W56,RN60LV-MSEK,rusted rear step/towing factory chrome bumper with 239 000 KM