What to do when you need to replace your beloved ST?

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Larry Michael

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I just paid big bucks to the Ford dealer for 90,000 mile service because I need my 2010 Gen 2 to last a long time. All new fluids, new brake rotors, etc. I just can't find anything else out there that is as good for my driving/camping/exploring needs as my Gen 1 and now Gen 2 STs.

In 2013 I sold the 2002 ST to my best friend when I bought my used 2010 Gen 2 ST with 36,000 miles on it. There were a few things I did not like as much as on the Gen 1 but I have either gotten used to them or created work-arounds. The V-8 engine gets better gas mileage than the six and is better for mountain driving.

But I live in constant fear that something out of my control will damage my baby beyond repair. So I watch the new vehicle announcements each year hoping that someone in the automotive design world will wake up and understand the clear superiority of the design and flexibility of the ST. Alas, each year there are more letdowns, witness the Ford Ranger design.

I'm not asking a lot, just some common sense design features:

1) A back seat with good LEG ROOM and SPLIT seat backs that fold FORWARD and down.

I'm 6'3" and sometimes I have tall passengers in the rear seats. It's nice to have a vehicle where I can run the driver's seat back and still have sufficient leg room for my passengers.

Split seat backs that fold forward and down give me the option of a rear seat passenger and still have a place to put a cooler, coats, etc. at a convenient level for access.

Seat backs that fold forward and down give me a wide space for stacking camping supplies two layers high with easy access to the bottom layer. Seat bottoms that fold up give a narrow tall space where you have to stack things three high make it very difficult to get to the bottom layer.

And finally, seat backs that fold forward create a space for my dog that is up high enough for me to see her in the mirror and for her to stick her nose out of a cracked open window.

(In the Gen 1 the back seats folded flat and had a hinged cover that kept the dog's legs from falling into a crevice behind the seat back. With my Gen 2 I had to cut a custom 1/4" plywood sheet with a black fuzzy cover over it to achieve this. And with the leather seats, they don't fold down to be totally horizontal but it is close enough for my use.)

2) A POWER rear window that runs UP and DOWN and has a VENT position.

To me this is the most intelligent window design on any truck. I bought a dark plastic sun screen for that window for both of my STs and constantly use the vent position. I can leave the truck vented during warm weather and don't have to worry about rain getting in. With the dark color and position of the shade you really can't easily see that the window is partially open from outside the vehicle.

I often use the vent position for a fast purge of the air in the truck while I'm driving. It makes for a quicker heat, cool or... de-odorizer of the cabin.

When fully open it's also great for carrying 10-foot sections of pipe and other material from the home improvement store since they are mostly inside the truck and just hanging out over the bed cover, not the tailgate.

3) 4WD Low Range

A few times a year I'm on a back road or in deep snow where this is invaluable.

4) Quick reconfiguration of the bed from locked storage to wide open.

With my Gen 1 I had a lighter weight aluminum frame aftermarket locking hinged cover for the bed. I could take it off and stow it in the folded-down back seat if I bought something big while out shopping.

With the thicker and heavier factory bed cover on the Gen 2 I usually have to take it off in advance for such things because it is more bulky. But after learning the trick of using two cords to tie the two sections together when positioned upright - before releasing the hinge pins - I can take it off and put it back on by myself, even at the age of 72.

I should add that between the ride being more like an SUV than a truck and the driver's riding position, both of my STs have been the most comfortable vehicle I've ever taken on long road trips. Three 12 hour days in a row do not leave me needing constant breaks or in pain at the end of the day.

I've looked at the new Honda Ridgeline as a possible future replacement but it fails my first three requirements. The things it seems to have over the mid-size crew cab trucks are a more SUV type ride and a roomier back seat.

What's a guy to do when that sad day comes and you need to replace your ST? I'm hoping it will be far in the future but then finding another used 2010 with low mileage will be a pipe dream.
 

Phill R

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As a die hard Ford person and a Sport Trac owner for 18 years, I also had the choice to make. The Ranger is not a ST, it is only a new Ranger with 4 doors.
Check out the Tacoma, I found it to be the best in comparison to the ST. Roomy back seat, folding flat, power back window, composite bed, available hard cover, available roof rails with integrated cross bars. Even a V6 engine that is getting better than 20mpg.
 

EddieS'04

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Phill, Ditto. IMO the 4dr tacoma sport is a good replacement for the gen1 trac.
I too are a ford man since my teen yrs. I have owned a few mopar performance cars, back in the day.
 

Larry Michael

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While the double cab Toyota Tacoma may be seen by some as an alternative to the Gen 1 ST, I still find it lacking as a viable ST alternative in some significant areas.

First, it’s a truck and it “rides like a truck” and not an SUV, based on the reviews I’ve read about the 3rd generation Tacoma. As far as driver comfort, it does not seem like a good choice for multi-day road trips, but instead as a work and short adventure vehicle. I found a big difference in the ride when I moved from a Gen 1 to a Gen 2 ST. When I visit family it is important that I enjoy, not just survive, three consecutive 12-hour days of driving.

I will give the Tacoma points for the fold-down rear seats but that is at the cost of having 4.3 inches less rear leg room compared to my 2010 ST. For a tall guy, that’s the difference between sitting turned sideways with your knees still hitting the back of the front seat and sitting comfortably. The Ridgeline is the vehicle closest to the ST in rear passenger leg room.

(Published rear seat leg room: 2010 ST – 36.9”; 2019 Honda Ridgeline – 36.7”; 2019 Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon – 35.8’; 2019 Ford Ranger – 34.5”; 2019 Nissan Frontier – 33.6”; 2019 Toyota Tacoma – 32.6”)

I've never remotely considered owning a Honda but given the many ways I use my ST I may have to start warming up to the concept and accept that there will never be another vehicle that fits my daily activities/long road trips/back road adventures as well as my Gen 2 ST.
 

EddieS'04

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My gen1 rides like a truck. Rancho shocks, leaf springs rear, torsion bars front, and poly cab replacement bushings.
I have rode in the Tacoma sport. The ride and the room is suffient for me. Im a 69 yr bachelor. I dont like the new ranger, dont like the the nissan, refuse to buy any GM product. The Honda is a uniframe chassis, the look of a small truck on top of a car. With you being a gen2 owner. It is an suv truck. So I see your explained need.
I expect my gen1 will last much longer yet. I get many folks that are suprised at the age of my '04 Trac. Most say it is still contempary in looks.
Before I retired in '06 and divorced in '09. I had as many as 4 vehicles in my driveway. So the Trac is still low milage. It has alot of life left, as long as parts are available.
 

Tim Holt

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I sold my '17 Tacoma for the '10 Sport Trac Ltd. The only area where the Tacoma out does the Sport Trac is in off road ability. Perhaps if I'd bought an XLT I might not feel that way. In all other areas the Tacoma is lost in the dust and I have a V8 that gets about the same consumption as the Tacoma. Driveability of the Sport Trac is also better due to the horrible factory programing of the engine and transmission.
This is my second Sport Trac, I stupidly allowed myself to get talked out of the first one, an '07 XLT. I'm planning on keeping this one.
 

V8Trac

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I think the gen 2 Avalanche would be very similar and in some ways an upgrade. Both based on SUV platforms, both offer v8 and 4x4.
 

Larry Michael

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The problem with the Avalanche is that it also is no longer made so in that sense you are no better off than trying to find a lower mileage used ST. In my original post I was mostly referring to current production vehicles, if that was not clear.
 

rdmallory

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Just retired. Rebuilt a 2003 4x4 manual.
New brakes. SS exhaust. Clutch. Katskinz leather power seats, new tires and wheels, gleason diff and bed rug.
Will find a low millage engine and trans for a spare. Could not justify a $35k Tocoma.
 

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Larry Michael

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Thanks for the alert. A quick read of the advance reports does not excite me. I'm not looking for a cheaper version of the Ranger with "a more rugged, light off-road-ready trim." I'm looking for an SUV with a short pickup bed. We shall see...
 

JWIW465

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At some point in time, I suspect very soon, enterprizing individuals will be restoring Sport Tracs for sale to the highest bidder. Think about the early Broncos. There is just nothing else quite like these things. They are just a machine that can be maintained and repaired/restored. It might be wise to salvage some electronics components from the scrap yards. My grandkids will inherit mine!
 

Heyward Drummond

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I agree JWIW465. I love my Adrenalin. I keep it in mint condition. Often times, I'll come out of a store and there will be someone there looking at it. They ask me if that was Ford's new pickup. When I tell them it was a 2008 they go nuts. I had three local cops looking at it once and they say they never see Adrenalin models anymore when they stop vehicles. They always compliment me on the condition and mods I've made.
 

blksn8k

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There have also been rumors of a Bronco pickup.

Not sure if that was confused with the Maverick since that looks to be based on the same platform as the Bronco Sport which essentially uses the same platform as the Escape.

I suppose there could also be a pickup based on the yet to be released "big" Bronco but that would seem to be too similar to the Ranger which uses a longer wheelbase version of the same body-on-frame platform as the big Bronco. Although come to think of it that was basically the same formula as the gen 1 Sport Trac - an upscale 4-door body with a shorter bed on a Ranger chassis.
 

blksn8k

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At some point in time, I suspect very soon, enterprizing individuals will be restoring Sport Tracs for sale to the highest bidder. Think about the early Broncos. There is just nothing else quite like these things. They are just a machine that can be maintained and repaired/restored. It might be wise to salvage some electronics components from the scrap yards. My grandkids will inherit mine!
Speaking of early Broncos, here's mine:

IMG_4467.jpg
 

Johnny O

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I plan on getting a new Ranger (my Trac is for sale), just a Supercab since my kids are grown and gone and I don't need a back seat. If I was looking for a Sport Trac substitute I'd get a Honda Ridgeline. It's probably more trouble-free anyway.
 

MVannover

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I pretty much agree with Larry Michaels first post. I'd add to the list high towing capacity, as that is what I bought my Sport Track for. The trailer hitch has a towing capacity of 7,300 lbs. I think that is pretty good for mid-size truck. Michael, what aftermarket locking hinged cover for the bed do you have? My truck didn't have a bed cover.
 

PRA4SNW

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Now that my ST has some serious undercarriage rot, I'll be looking too.

I thought that I might look for a later model ST in low mileage and great condition, but should probably go new(er), considering those are now over 10 years old.

Has anyone looked at the specs of the Santa Cruz yet? I know it's not a true "truck", but the bed is composite and similar in size. It can tow 5,000 lbs with the optional 275HP 4 cyl turbo engine. I would mostly use it as a commuter vehicle, no offroading, and keeping the ability to occasionally use the bed for hauling is appealing.

I agree, losing that roll down rear window will hurt.
 

Doug Kaye

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Has anyone looked at the specs of the Santa Cruz yet?
I like the looks of this too, but it seems it will start at $35k, a bit ambitious for me.
275hp with a dual clutch auto in that thing, should be a lot of fun to drive.

Probably will look at a used Nissan Frontier next, a friend has one and it's been reliable and good on bad roads..
 

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