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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi All,

I am looking at a 2009 TH AWD V6 with 54,500 miles for $12,800 and a 2005 TH AWD with 67,000 for $9,500. Both appear lightly used and garaged.

I've not owned a TH before and don't know which to choose. I am looking for a good daily driver that can do some light adventuring on the weekends, such as fire roads once a month and up to the Sierras for skiing a few times a year. Personally, I am leaning toward the 2005 for the price and because it was a later model in that generation.

Is there anything I should look out for in particular when I inspect these guys this weekend?
 

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What is fire roads?
Highlander is NOT an outdoor car. It's a family hauler. That's it. No adventure in it. Made for city roads, maybe some lite gravel and mud. Does not do well on steep hills/unpaved roads.
You want adventure car, look at 4Runner or FJ Cruiser.

Your links don't work.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks ukrkoz for the response. Fire roads are just dirt roads to camping sites, etc. I don't think I need anything as heavy duty as a 4Runner. I had an old Audi station wagon that got me around just fine on those roads and up in the snow. A daily driver is my main goal. Anything I need to look at when inspecting?
 

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05 camry 07 tacoma
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Have a complete pre purchase inspection done by pro mechanic.
Engine,trans,suspension etc.
 

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Highlander Limited
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There are many reasons why I would avoid the 1St Gens. Number one is that the v6 uses a timing belt. I would also avoid the 08-10 years, but it's mostly due to preference on my part. As far as issues goes it's no different than most other cars. I will say there are far less serious problems on these vs a Kia or Chevy LOL. As stated above the all wheel drive system sucks, but with good tires it does OK with the help of the traction control system.
 

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Inspect vvt and oil cooler hoses....they tend to blow and should be replaced with hard lines

Inspect transfer case and transmission for leaks

My '08 is a very capable off-roader as long as I dont exceed its limit. I wouldnt bother with the 1st gen
 

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Too old and unknowns
Too low mileage for the year would be an issue.
 

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I’d get the one that looks like and has proof it was well maintained. That includes how many dings it has in the body. If you care about your car you park away from the crowds.

i just picked up a 2011 Limited, with 75,000 miles on it and it looks new. No hesitation buying it, but I travelled 3.5 hours in rain and snow to get it!
 

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No different than buying any other used car.

Get it inspected
 

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Get the 09. All of the issues are well known and can be fixed easily (minus the rear hatch hinge issue). Fire roads are no problem for Highlanders. The rubber VVTi and oil cooler lines should be replaced with all metal lines. Toyota's recall only swapped it with another rubber hose. Just spend the extra money and get a full metal line. Most people forget to do the maintenance of the transfer case and rear differential for the AWD model. A simple fluid change will go a long way in keeping everything working.
 

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You have a dual post. Perhaps the mod can combine them. I responded in your other thread. But honestly now after reading this post you started I would skip the HL and get a 4Runner
 

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AvConsult
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um, the 3.5L V6 uses a timing CHAIN.
 

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Highlander Limited
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There are many reasons why I would avoid the 1St Gens. Number one is that the v6 uses a timing belt.
um, the 3.5L V6 uses a timing CHAIN.
You are correct, but no one said it didn't LOL. I did mention that the 1St Gen v6 motors have a timing BELT tho. Perhaps you didn't read that right?
 

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Too old and unknowns
Too low mileage for the year would be an issue.
LOL what a strange comment. Obviously all used cars are unknown and you never know. I bought my 09 back in 2018 with 57,000 miles. One owner no accidents and mint condition and all service was done at a Lexus dealership. It has been great so far. You can get good deals and mitigate risk. OP has a budget to work with hence he’s asking around.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the feedback. The guys selling the HLs ghosted me. So I'm on the hunt again. From all the suggestions, I'll try to stick with a second gen. I found a 2008 HL at a local dealer with 70k on it for about $13k, so I'm going to go check it out. My only hesitation is that it is the first MY of the gen.

As to off-road, I read the off road sticky and the HL AWD system seems more than capable for my needs.

I will look into replacing the hoses with metal. When buying any car over 25k I always like to do a fluid flush for my peace of mind. And 3rd party inspections are also mandatory unless I personally know the seller.
 

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I have (actually my wife's DD) had both. No worries on any fire road, muddy or not. Our first gen tackled the canyons and fire roads all over the Wasatch Mountains and surrounding areas. I had my first rutted and muddy camp roads in East TN this fall, and my experience was similar to the first gen, and even better with the decent assist on slick sloped sections. I would think twice with tires needing replacement, but our all-season Michelins were good enough for typical camp duty.
I'd greatly favor the second gen for your buying options.
 

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What is fire roads?
Highlander is NOT an outdoor car. It's a family hauler. That's it. No adventure in it. Made for city roads, maybe some lite gravel and mud. Does not do well on steep hills/unpaved roads.
You want adventure car, look at 4Runner or FJ Cruiser.

Your links don't work.
Gravel is fine, don't go into mud.
Sorry, guys, but I have to refute your observations.

I've got 40 years driving experience off-road, which of course includes as much time behind the wheel of true 4x4s as well as AWD or high ground clearance 2WD vehicles. As anyone who's read this thread for years knows, I consider myself probably the one owner who has driven his 2nd Gen off-road more than anyone on the planet. My observation from experience is this:

The 2nd Gen performs perfectly well in mud, and also in sand or other loose terrain. Adhering to basic driving principles for those terrain types and the Highlander performs beautifully. In fact, I've never been stuck even driving through 18-inch deep mud and churning away on all four wheels to get where I needed to go. Due to the three open differentials, the only Kryptonite for the Highlander is getting a wheel off the ground and providing no traction. That is bad enough, but get two wheels off the ground or otherwise lose traction and you're going nowhere. That isn't to say you can't do some technical driving over rocks with it, and again you just exercise some common sense and you can get over some fairly jumbled terrain.

In summary, the 2nd Gen Highlander IMO will take you easily to 80% of the off-road locations you desire, and another 10% take some common sense to work with the terrain and get to your destination. My experience has been that about 10% of off-road locations are inaccessible to the Highlander, and that is virtually always highly rocky, technical terrain. The Highlander can do more than you think as can many 2WD pickups, etc., you just have to be smart.
 
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