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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys! I found a garaged 04 with 18000 original miles on it. I am extremely excited about the find. I was reading through the problems with exhaust manifolds, rear end issues, front brakes and I’m wondering if these are things I should get to work on already? Or should I wait until a problem inevitably arises? Thank you
 

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If the truck checks out (and with that low a mileage, I'd be checking it out thoroughly with a mechanic, as vacuum lines, fuel lines, and belts/hoses may have rotted due to lack of use, among other things), I'd strongly advise spending the $30-40 on the axle vent mod immediately. It's cheap and easy, and will help equalize pressure in the rear axle far better than the stock vent, as well as get the vent up out of the dirt/mud/snow/rain. Manifolds is pretty much a "wait until the crack" deal, so do nothing as long as you don't hear the exhaust leak sound. The rear diff is a 2-spider-gear design, and it may present a problem. If you tow a lot or have plans to offroad the truck and thrash it pretty hard, or thrash it on the street, I'd consider swapping to a TrueTrac or to a later 4-spider setup (2008-up, I think...). I'd also strongly recommend swapping the flat steel diff cover for a finned aluminum one (OEM is fine) like the later year Titans have. You'll need the e-brake bracket when you swap, possibly. Do some homework on that and it should be relatively easy.

I'd change all the fluids (engine oil, transmission, diff(s), coolant, power steering) immediately upon getting the truck, as well, since they've likely been sitting a long time with little to no use. Be sure to use the correct spec fluids and be aware that Matic-J (what's recommended in the 2004 manual) has been superseded by Matic-S for the automatic transmission now. The only for-sure substitute that states it meets the Matic-S specs is Valvoline MaxLife Synthetic trans fluid, if you don't want to spend the money for the OEM stuff. Might be worth spending the money on the OEM, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If the truck checks out (and with that low a mileage, I'd be checking it out thoroughly with a mechanic, as vacuum lines, fuel lines, and belts/hoses may have rotted due to lack of use, among other things), I'd strongly advise spending the $30-40 on the axle vent mod immediately. It's cheap and easy, and will help equalize pressure in the rear axle far better than the stock vent, as well as get the vent up out of the dirt/mud/snow/rain. Manifolds is pretty much a "wait until the crack" deal, so do nothing as long as you don't hear the exhaust leak sound. The rear diff is a 2-spider-gear design, and it may present a problem. If you tow a lot or have plans to offroad the truck and thrash it pretty hard, or thrash it on the street, I'd consider swapping to a TrueTrac or to a later 4-spider setup (2008-up, I think...). I'd also strongly recommend swapping the flat steel diff cover for a finned aluminum one (OEM is fine) like the later year Titans have. You'll need the e-brake bracket when you swap, possibly. Do some homework on that and it should be relatively easy.

I'd change all the fluids (engine oil, transmission, diff(s), coolant, power steering) immediately upon getting the truck, as well, since they've likely been sitting a long time with little to no use. Be sure to use the correct spec fluids and be aware that Matic-J (what's recommended in the 2004 manual) has been superseded by Matic-S for the automatic transmission now. The only for-sure substitute that states it meets the Matic-S specs is Valvoline MaxLife Synthetic trans fluid, if you don't want to spend the money for the OEM stuff. Might be worth spending the money on the OEM, though.
Thank you for the incredibly thorough pointers that helps a lot thank you! I will have it checked out! I know the owner very well and it was a once a week use to the grocery store and back. So I’m hoping that was enough of the fluids circulating but worth the money to get it checked out! Thanks again for your help! Truly appreciate it. Puts me at ease. I’m prepared to spend 1K maybe 2 early understanding it’s age but I was adding it up by the forums growing more and more concerned. Thank you again! Very helpful
 

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You can do just about everything you need to do immediately for a few hundred bucks. I'd bet you'll need some shocks soon enough, as well, and for that you'll spend $375-ish for the best option (Bilstein 5100s) and you can get those for the best price by connecting with MikeORW on Facebook and letting him know you're a TitanTalk member. You can either pay for install or DIY. DIY will take a few hours and require spring compressors (you can rent from your local parts store for free - get two sets so you can use three compressors on these big springs).

There's a thread on here about "Refreshing a First Gen Titan" you should consider, but some of that won't apply to this truck because it's not had a ton of use so plenty of parts won't be worn out.

Something to keep in mind is the brakes on the 2004 are smaller, and if this truck has 18" wheels, you could do the 2007 Armada front caliper/rotor swap and get the bigger brakes for better performance.

Good luck with the truck if you work out the deal on it. Ask any questions here and folks will help all they can.
 

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Thank you so much! I’m planning on putting snare XD 20x10’s on it as soon as I get it so that’s a good time to get some other stuff done while I’m at it! So long as it all checks out. Hopefully I’ll be posting pics of progress soon. You’re awesome thank you again for all your help!
 

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One thing I didn't see mentioned above: if the rear diffy is an e-locker (Pro-4-X trim IIRC), get something else into it right away; there are lots of recommendations here. The factory e-lockers had a really bad habit of grenading suddenly and catastrophically.

And yes, I've owned my truck for almost 17 years; by now it's probably the oldest on the Forum with the original owner. It's been fine and is still running fine.
 
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You could swap it with a TrueTrac (most common swap) but the reality is, you're probably alright with that chunk (if you have the e-locker) as long as you keep an eye on it. I have an e-locker in my 2011 and it's been used extensively without incident. Granted, it's the later 4-pinion design, but again, if you aren't planning on thrashing the truck you are likely okay with the factory locker provided you add the finned cover and do the vent mod to be sure it stays cool and well lubricated.
 

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What is the configuration of this truck? Is it 2wd or 4wd? Does it have the e-locker or is it an open diff? What trim level and options?
 

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So as a 2wd LE, I'm going to say it doesn't have the e-locker, since that was a 4wd option (only works in 4Lo). So no worries there. You still have a 2-spider open differential, so if you plan to tow you should consider an upgrade to either the 4-spider setup from later year Titans (pretty sure that carrier will bolt right into your existing rearend, in place of the 2-spider carrier you currently have) or a TrueTrac. Either will serve your needs well. And there are still plenty of 2-spider Titans rolling around with no issues, as well. I would make it a priority to find a finned OEM cover and the brake line bracket and bolts (see this thread for OEM part numbers 05 finned rear diff cover for my 04 is HERE!!) and get that swapped out shortly. Do it when you change your rear diff oil and you won't be out any extra oil (since an 04 needs changing, anyway).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Oh good! That’s a relief! And no I have a work truck I’ll tow with this one is just to go on trips and fun! I appreciate the advice on the other changes and upgrades though I’m getting new wheels and tires to update it a bit so I’ll do it then which will be right after I buy it I think!
 

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I wonder if an armada would be a good donor for a rear end? maybe that's something to check into also, if no titans are available to get parts from?
 

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The Armada came with an independent rear suspension, and the center section isn't an M226 (D44 variant) like the Titan.
 

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If the owner took care of truck, change oil rotate tires or even put new tires on truck along with a battery! My two cents! Drive truck before you just start putting a ton of money into it! Going from 18' tire and rims to 20" tires and rim will throw off your speedometer along with mileage. Check your brakes for sure and when was the last oil change. Enjoy the truck and throw up some pictures for us to see.

ca'jun56

Mine........!
546362

2005 with 230,000 miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thank you! Gorgeous looking truck you have almost identical to the one I’m looking to buy. Had it checked out today they said the only issue was the front brakes could be machined. But it’s not necessary yet? Should I replace the brakes?
546422
 
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