July, 2009

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Sunday, July 19th, 2009

For Toyota Trucks Three construction methods are better than one when building a truck frameTripleTech™

The competition continues to boast quite loudly that fully boxed is the only way to build a truck frame. GM, Ford, Dodge and Nissan all build their ½-ton truck frames with a fully boxed design. Toyota takes a truly unique approach with the TripleTech™ frame advantage on Trucks by utilizing three construction methods. Here are the main talking points:

Engineering vs. Building
The Toyota Truck  TripleTech frame is engineered, not just built. Following the crowd by relying on a single construction method is an easy approach but not necessarily a proper solution. A single frame-construction method may impose limitations on ride comfort, handling or other performance factors. An engineered frame advantage will help satisfy those customer demands and more, including load-carrying capability, durability and crash performance.

The Design
TripleTech™ frame is designed to provide strength and flexibility when needed. Here’s a quick look at the design, the benefits, and advantage each construction method brings:

  • The front section is fully boxed to provide solid mounting points for the steering and suspension components and to support the engine weight.
    Benefits: A robust front end helps provide front-impact protection, enhanced handling response and improved steering precision.
  • The middle section under the cab is a rolled-lip C-channel reinforced with additional heavy-gauge steel.
    Benefits: The section under the cab offers strength for impact protection yet is lighter than fully boxed and provides a more comfortable ride.
  • The rear section under the bed is open C-channel, which flexes slightly when supporting heavy cargo.
    Benefits: A small measure of compliance under heavy loads in the cargo bed absorbs road vibrations that could reach the passenger cab.

Overstating Themselves
While the competition maintains that “fully boxed” is a superior design, many of those automakers use an open C-channel frame on their heavy-duty trucks. So if the competition equates strength with fully boxed, then why aren’t their ¾- and 1-ton frames fully boxed?


Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Under a “Cash For Clunkers Bill”, car owners might earn $4500 Windfalls by trading in their gas guzzlers for vehicles with better mileage. Here are over 20 vehicles that would qualify. Do you own one?…

Acura, made by Honda

1989 Acura Legend Sedan © American Honda Motor Co. Inc.

1989 Acura Legend sedan, four-door model with automatic transmission

Trading in this car in most circumstances would bring you only about $475. But because the automatic gets 18 miles per gallon, it could net an owner up to $4,500 in the cash-for-clunkers program. Other Acuras, including most models of the NSX, would qualify from a fuel-efficiency standpoint. But they’d be worth more in a sale, unless they were in really terrible condition.

Buick, made by GM

2002 Buick Rendezvous © Car Culture/Corbis

2002 Buick Rendezvous CXL all-wheel-drive SUV

Even in excellent condition, this car still qualifies as a clunker. Its average trade-in value is less than $4,200, and it gets just 18 mpg. 

Cadillac, made by GM


2001 Cadillac DeVille Sedan © GM


2001 Cadillac DeVille sedan

The DeVille gets about 18 mpg and generally is worth a little less than $2,850 in a trade-in. It wouldn’t be the only Cadillac to qualify for a clunker voucher. Most models of the Catera and the Eldorado made before 1999 would qualify and be well worth the vouchers.

Chevrolet, made by GM

1999 Chevrolet Astro Minivan © MSN Autos

1999 Chevrolet Astro van

At only 15 mpg, this van is a big gas guzzler. But under the cash-for-clunkers program, that would be a good thing, because the government vouchers would be worth more than the average trade-in value. Some other Chevrolets that would meet the mpg standards: the Blazer, Venture, Tahoe, Trailblazer and Silverado.


2002 Chrysler Town & Country Minivan © MSN Autos


2002 Chrysler Town & Country LX minivan

This car gets about 17 mpg and usually nets about $3,675 on a trade-in — which would make it worth doing through the cash-for-clunkers program if the owner upgraded to a car that got 10 mpg more and thus qualified for the full $4,500 voucher.



Dodge, made by Chrysler

Dodge Durango © DaimlerChrysler


 1999 Dodge Durango SUV 

The Durango gets between 12 and 14 mpg, depending on the model. That would make it easy to find a vehicle that met the necessary mileage improvements to qualify for the full government voucher. The 1999 model generally brings in less than $2,800 in good condition.



2003 Ford Crown Victoria LX © 2003 Ford Motor Co.

2003 Ford Crown Victoria sedan

Newer versions of the Crown Victoria still get 18 mpg or less but are worth more than $4,500 in a trade. The 2003 model is the newest one that would be worth trading in through the government’s clunkers program


GMC, made by GM

1999 GMC Suburban © MSN Autos

1999 GMC Suburban 1500 SUV

The Suburban gets about 14 mpg and has about $2,300 in trade-in value. Most GMC SUVs and trucks qualify from a mileage standpoint. The newest models of the Sierra, Savana, Sonoma and Yukon still get 18 mpg or less.


2001 Honda Odyssey LX © American Honda Motor Co.

2001 Honda Odyssey LX minivan

The 2001 Odyssey would make the cut for a clunker voucher. It averages 18 mpg and less than $4,200 on trade-ins. Honda improved the van’s fuel efficiency the next year.


2003 Hyundai XG350 Sedan © MSN Autos


2003 Hyundai XG350 sedan

Hyundai typically makes pretty fuel-efficient cars. The XG350, however, was not one of them. The 2003 and 2004 XG350 models got just 18 mpg. They’re ordinarily worth about $4,300 on trade-ins.

Infiniti, made by Nissan

1990 Infiniti Q45 Sedan © Nissan

1992 Infiniti Q45 sedan

This one-time luxury vehicle isn’t so posh today. It gets just 17 mpg and is usually worth less than $550 on a trade-in, assuming it was driven an average of 12,000 miles a year. Infiniti lovers may want to opt for a G37 instead; it gets the best gas mileage of all the 2009 models.

Jeep, made by Chrysler

 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo © DaimlerChrysler

2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo SUV

The Grand Cherokee is one of the biggest gas guzzlers in the Jeep line. The vehicle got just 15 mpg in 2001 and would be worth about $3,500 in a trade-in. The 2009 model isn’t much better: It gets 17 mpg. More-fuel-efficient Jeep models include the Patriot and the Compass.


2002 Kia Sedona Minivan © MSN Autos

2002 Kia Sedona LX minivan

Kia makes relatively fuel-efficient vehicles. The Sedona and Sorrento are two, however, that consistently are rated at 18 mpg or less. The 2002 Sedona model would probably warrant less than $1,700 in a trade-in.

Lincoln, made by Ford

1999 Lincoln Town Car © MSN Autos



1999 Lincoln Town Car Executive sedan

The Lincoln may be the limo for overworked executives who can put car service home on their expense accounts, but older Lincolns don’t warrant the luxury price tag. The 1999 Town Car, on average, would bring in less than $2,800 on a trade-in and get just 18 mpg.

Mercury, made by Ford

2003 Mercury Grand Marquis GS Sedan © MSN Autos

2003 Mercury Grand Marquis GS sedan

The Grand Marquis is similar to the Ford Crown Victoria in both style and mileage. This car gets 18 mpg and generally is worth just more than $4,300 on a trade-in.


1999 Nissan Pathfinder XE Sport Utility © Nissan

1999 Nissan Pathfinder XE SUV

The Pathfinder gets about 15 mpg and nets around $2,500 on a trade-in. Unfortunately for Pathfinder fanatics, upgrading to a new Pathfinder wouldn’t be possible through the cash-for-clunkers program, because the fuel efficiency hasn’t improved more than 1 mpg.

Oldsmobile, made by GM

2003 Oldsmobile Aurora Sedan © GM

2003 Oldsmobile Aurora sedan

The Aurora’s light no longer shines so brightly. On average, the car is worth about $4,300

Plymouth, made by Chrysler

1999 Plymouth Voyager © MSN Autos


1999 Plymouth Voyager minivan

A trade-in value of just $675 would make the Voyager well worth the trip to a dealership for new-car buyers taking advantage of the cash-for-clunkers program. The maximum government voucher would be about $3,825 more than the van’s value.

Not all Voyagers would qualify, however. Only the four-speed automatic models with 3.3-liter engines or larger meet the mileage qualification.

Pontiac, made by GM

2002 Pontiac Aztek © GM

2002 Pontiac Aztek SUV

The Aztek is worth around $2,500 in good condition, so the government’s vouchers would throw some more gold into the pot for owners. The vehicle gets just 18 mpg.


1999 Toyota 4 Runner © Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.

1999 Toyota 4Runner

Nearly all 4Runner models get 18 mpg or less. The 1999 version will also give owners a hefty trade-in bonus if the clunkers bill passes. Its book value is just $3,000.


1999 Volkswagen Eurovan GLS Minivan © Volkswagen America Inc.

1999 Volkswagen EuroVan GLS minivan

Volkswagen really didn’t start making gas guzzlers until the mid-2000s, when it added more SUVs to its lineup. Until then, it was all small, relatively environmentally friendly Golfs, Beetles and Jettas. The EuroVan is an exception. The 1999 model of this minivan gets just 15 mpg and, at least in some locations, is worth just under $4,500.