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Off road Jeep (or jeep-like) anarchy for Dummies


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SWMBO and I love to go hiking, the more remote the better.  Unfortunately, the Tesla is not an off-road vehicle and there are some off-the-beaten paths we cannot easily access.  So we've been pondering getting a Jeep to get to some of the spectacular backcountry out west that's literally right on our doorstep.  I know practically nothing about off-roading, so if all y'all off-roaders have any suggestions to get me started, that would be helpful.  

I honestly don't know what the budget is yet.  It's flexible depending on what the options are out there.  I don't want to spend too much, but I want to spend enough to get something reliable and is fit for purpose.  Some thought bullets on what we would use it for and not use it for:

  • Cosmetics are very secondary - this will be almost 100% for driving off-road on weekends as well as highway driving on occasion to get to somewhere within 4-5 hours before getting off the paved surface.  This will be a utility only vehicle - not a daily commuter unless in an emergency.  
  • Large enough for two people and a large dog in the back as well as some modest camping gear and or rifles in the back to go hunting/shooting.  So a pure two seater (I think) is out of the question, but I want something compact enough to have good maneuverability in tight places.  
  • This will be primarily a western desert terrain vehicle - so lots of dry dust and rocky roads are the norm.  
  • I want to be able to get to (or through) some places where the "road" is rough, but I don't intend to deliberately seek out the "rock crawl" over large boulders.  So good clearance is a must but not in the stupid monster truck category.  
  • I think I would prefer an automatic.  I can drive an manual, but not a fan.  
  • I don't care about looks as long as the body, drivetrain and engine are sound.   
  • I do like the fun factor of being able to take off the tops/doors - but that would be a spring/fall only feature as the summers get to 115F and the winters can be chilly.  So not a show stopper. 

I'm sure there are more things to consider, but happy to hear suggestions and possible price ranges to get this stuff in ideally a used vehicle.  TIA.

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I owned 9 jeeps over the years, all but one were pretty serious off-road machines. Got out of it because I don't have enough time to wrench on cars and boats so I had to pick one. 

Budget will define all, as well as your desire/ability to wrench. 

For many years the budget way to get exactly what you're describing was a Jeep XJ (boxy late 90's early aughts Cherokee). POS interiors until the 2001? redesign, but essentially  a wrangler with a unibody.  Not anymore, they're increasing in value now, and they're all so old they're going to need lots of maintenance.  

Wranglers are fun, generally reliable. TJ, LJ,  JK, JKu would be my choices.  Last few years of the JK (current model is the JL) could be a nice balance between cost and headaches.  (I had 2 TJ's - one for ~18 years). They command a $ premium and are generally bad 'road' cars. Handling isn't great, they're slow, loud, cold or hot, etc.. TJ/LJ are all now likely project vehicles. 

Grand Cherokees are/were great - now a pretty typical SUV thing, but back when they were ZJ's they were solid axle beasts. (Owned 4 ZJs) 

In that mode, Toyota 4-runners are also a fine choice.  Heck, any decent 4wd suv with a real transfer case would do.  A Subaru may even work for you if it's just dirt roads and/or snow. 

If $$ was no object, I'd really like one of those new Broncos. Likely no availability. 

Also a 4 door 4wd pickup (Tundra, Ranger, etc...) would work, but since you live in 'mericua pickup trucks are way overpriced.

 

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An old (CJ) Jeep would be my choice if you hadn't said something about 4-5 hours on paved roads.... So I'd go older Subaru forester, with a beefed up suspension. Old Isuzu Troopers were great, except for the rusting out in New England salt/sandy road conditions... If I wanted an occasional off road vehicle down here in the Gunshine state, I'd look at a Trooper. I did a lot of logging in Ct. with my old g/fs Trooper while she was on vacation.

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I had a first generation (1993) Land Rover Discovery for ten years. Very capable. Very thirsty. Aluminum skin on steel frame eventually suffered from road salt. Didn’t have much resale when I sold it. Not a true rock crawler but it could go just about anywhere. 

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35 minutes ago, cyclone said:

I had a first generation (1993) Land Rover Discovery for ten years. Very capable. Very thirsty. Aluminum skin on steel frame eventually suffered from road salt. Didn’t have much resale when I sold it. Not a true rock crawler but it could go just about anywhere. 

I had a 53 Jeep Not a CJ.... M-38a1 I think.... It's been a long day. It would climb a tree, but it's  top speed, down hill with a tail wind, completely wound out, was about 50MPH.... And that was scary.

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A Mopar/Ford/GMC  crew cab/ extended cab(or short cab) 4x4 seems to meet your needs.  Choose your year/ budget level.  They seem to have a following and a residual value.  The Jeep direction seems more emotional/esoteric decision, CJ, LJ, JK....

See the source image

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2 hours ago, Burning Man said:

SWMBO and I love to go hiking, the more remote the better.  Unfortunately, the Tesla is not an off-road vehicle and there are some off-the-beaten paths we cannot easily access.  So we've been pondering getting a Jeep to get to some of the spectacular backcountry out west that's literally right on our doorstep.  I know practically nothing about off-roading, so if all y'all off-roaders have any suggestions to get me started, that would be helpful.  

I honestly don't know what the budget is yet.  It's flexible depending on what the options are out there.  I don't want to spend too much, but I want to spend enough to get something reliable and is fit for purpose.  Some thought bullets on what we would use it for and not use it for:

  • Cosmetics are very secondary - this will be almost 100% for driving off-road on weekends as well as highway driving on occasion to get to somewhere within 4-5 hours before getting off the paved surface.  This will be a utility only vehicle - not a daily commuter unless in an emergency.  
  • Large enough for two people and a large dog in the back as well as some modest camping gear and or rifles in the back to go hunting/shooting.  So a pure two seater (I think) is out of the question, but I want something compact enough to have good maneuverability in tight places.  
  • This will be primarily a western desert terrain vehicle - so lots of dry dust and rocky roads are the norm.  
  • I want to be able to get to (or through) some places where the "road" is rough, but I don't intend to deliberately seek out the "rock crawl" over large boulders.  So good clearance is a must but not in the stupid monster truck category.  
  • I think I would prefer an automatic.  I can drive an manual, but not a fan.  
  • I don't care about looks as long as the body, drivetrain and engine are sound.   
  • I do like the fun factor of being able to take off the tops/doors - but that would be a spring/fall only feature as the summers get to 115F and the winters can be chilly.  So not a show stopper. 

I'm sure there are more things to consider, but happy to hear suggestions and possible price ranges to get this stuff in ideally a used vehicle.  TIA.

Jeffy, I am amazed that with all your Shooting, Long guns etc, I assumed you were already into camping and blowing shit up in remote areas.  I stand corrected.  Have had Jeeps for the last 10 yrs and we yank the boat around to remote lakes all the time.  We have a new GC, but that was the commuter vehicle.  Have had mumerous GC and a wrangler and were happy with all.  Now.  99% of the time, unless you are planning on going to the rubicon, you are not going to need much.  Top gear guys did sone trail or a crazy off road trip in Alaska  Alaska in minivans so it is what it is...  We took the new one in the desert last year and went about 10 mi in.  That was the most we have ever done and frankly was mostly easy and if it got bad we just turned around.  My point is that you can do it with almost anything with 4wd.  How much will the tesla tow?  Get a Razor and drag it to the trailhead.  Saw a 70 yo dude way back just mashing it over some of the more difficult stuff.   Tons more fun and you can basically go anywhere FAST......  I think he was onto something.  

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21 minutes ago, warbird said:

A Mopar/Ford/GMC  crew cab/ extended cab(or short cab) 4x4 seems to meet your needs.  Choose your year/ budget level.  They seem to have a following and a residual value.  The Jeep direction seems more emotional/esoteric decision, CJ, LJ, JK....

 

you canget a plain jane 1/2 ton pretty damn cheap.  4x4 but a canopy or tonneau cover on it, carry gear get off road and the road miles will be comfortable too.

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11 minutes ago, chester said:

you canget a plain jane 1/2 ton pretty damn cheap.  4x4 but a canopy or tonneau cover on it, carry gear get off road and the road miles will be comfortable too.

Plain Jane gets you cruise, air, decent sound and servicibility if you cant do it your self.  No idea what the "basics" are today.  2010 Models have bluetooth, etc?

Last desert trip I did so many years ago to hike the Havasupi Rerervation was in a Grand Am with Quad Four, WS6,F41, 1LE listening to Animals during the sunset.... Take it to PF anarchy, I know...

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Consider a Ranger pickup with a canopy to keep the gear clean and dry. They are actually pretty nimble if the driver has a clue.

I had an '06 with a 4.0l, 4x4, 4.10 gears and factory oversize(ish) tires. After I Installed a Detroit Truetrac hypoid gear limited slip it was pretty fair in non technical stuff. 

Something like that would meet your described demands. The new generation Ranger would be better and get much improved fuel mileage. The old 4.0l was not efficient, my full size 3.5 Ecoboost 4x4 F150 gets better mileage.

While my F150 has similar size tires to the Ranger I had the Ranger was way better in off- unimproved road conditions.

About off road tires. Don't swallow the knobby tire Kool-Aid without knowing what they suck at. They do pull their weight in soft, deep stuff but suck in sand, highway snow and ice. Occasionally a lug will grab a rock edge and pull you up. I have mine siped which helps on wet rocks, roots and winter conditions.

They get noisy especially as they wear out, suck fuel and don't handle all that well. If you need 'em that's fine but quality all seasons are really hard to beat. 

All terrain tires load up in mud almost as fast as a rib tire and don't handle as good as rib tires. IMO they are 90% feel good tires. An exception to my disdain for AT tires is the expensive BF Goodrich T/A which has a tough carcass and is not just for show.

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5 minutes ago, Autonomous said:

Consider a Ranger pickup with a canopy to keep the gear clean and dry. They are actually pretty nimble if the driver has a clue.

I had an '06 with a 4.0l, 4x4, 4.10 gears and factory oversize(ish) tires. After I Installed a Detroit Truetrac hypoid gear limited slip it was pretty fair in non technical stuff. 

Something like that would meet your described demands. The new generation Ranger would be better and get much improved fuel mileage. The old 4.0l was not efficient, my full size 3.5 Ecoboost 4x4 F150 gets better mileage.

Good point. I posted about the full size only because that was what I knew (16 years ago:lol:) Size shift has occurred and there are countless other smaller options.  This directive being a weekend vehicle I would not list MPG as a paramont factor.  Keep the ideas coming....

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Do we know if this is a "new" or "previously beat to hell" purchase (:lol:)? There is history on what to expect on a 50, 100, 150k mile ANYTHING if you dig deep enough.  But sometimes, knowing that the  Mopar, GMC, Ford shop can have it ready next weekend is more  important than the cache of arriving in a Rover..

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I edited my previous post with a tire rant while some of you were posting here. I'd hate for anyone to miss one of my rants so...

 

About off road tires. Don't swallow the knobby tire Kool-Aid without knowing what they suck at. They do pull their weight in soft, deep stuff but suck in sand, highway snow and ice. Occasionally a lug will grab a rock edge and pull you up. I have mine siped which helps on wet rocks, roots and winter conditions.

They get noisy especially as they wear out, suck fuel and don't handle all that well. If you need 'em that's fine but quality all seasons are really hard to beat. 

All terrain tires load up in mud almost as fast as a rib tire and don't handle as good as rib tires. IMO they are 90% feel good tires. An exception to my disdain for AT tires is the expensive BF Goodrich T/A which has a tough carcass and is not just for show.

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14 minutes ago, Autonomous said:

I edited my previous post with a tire rant while some of you were posting here. I'd hate for anyone to miss one of my rants so...

 

About off road tires. Don't swallow the knobby tire Kool-Aid without knowing what they suck at. They do pull their weight in soft, deep stuff but suck in sand, highway snow and ice. Occasionally a lug will grab a rock edge and pull you up. I have mine siped which helps on wet rocks, roots and winter conditions.

They get noisy especially as they wear out, suck fuel and don't handle all that well. If you need 'em that's fine but quality all seasons are really hard to beat. 

All terrain tires load up in mud almost as fast as a rib tire and don't handle as good as rib tires. IMO they are 90% feel good tires. An exception to my disdain for AT tires is the expensive BF Goodrich T/A which has a tough carcass and is not just for show.

adsolutely agree on the tires

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13 minutes ago, See Level said:

Land-Cruiser-1.jpg

This... ^^^^^^ Heluva vehicle. 

There's a reason jeep people know the vehicle codes - because a JK sure as all shit isn't a TJ even if they both say "Wrangler" on the side. Barbie doesn't care, but car people do. (Same for WJ vs ZJ, etc...) Toyota folks are Gen1, Gen2,  LC40, LC60, etc...  In general, road manners always get better going newer and/or a bit longer in wheelbase. A MJ/CJ will rattle your teeth out and compress spinal discs. A YJ will only remove the fillings and cause substantial bruising. A TJ will just loosen fillings a bit. You may end up with decent dental work with a JK. 

Horses for courses... Sure, my TJ was miserable to drive over 3 hours somewhere (that's what Ford Expeditions and trailers were for), but to cruise up to Big Bear from OC? And frolic in the snow? Could not be more fun. Lousy road car, great trail machine.  My old '98 XJ was a much better balance, but wasn't as capable on the trails. I built a desert limo once from a '99 ZJ and it was awesome, but I kept blowing transfer cases and U-joints. 

Full size is fine, but 90% of the trails I ran are impassible to full size trucks. (ex, John Bull Trail, Sheeps Canyon,  even stuff out at Calico). I currently own a 2019 Tacoma and I feel it's too damn big. Hate driving the thing.  But, if you want to take bikes + gear + whatever, you do NOT want a short wheelbase vehicle. Truck or bigger SUV. 

What's the budget? That's going to define a whole lot.  

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9 minutes ago, warbird said:

This is all so foreign to me.  My 93 c1500 4x4 was pretty capable in sand and snow with the lever thingy in 4x4 Hi:D

If it had a “lever thingy” it was a K1500. C was 2wd. 

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17 minutes ago, The Q said:

26169913_811196129068747_7513863248908108000_n.jpg

Note the snorkle air intake, and the (presumably) extended exhaust pipe.

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Land Rover Defenders are the bees bollocks - they'll go anywhere.  In Desert Storm our Brit boys used to haul Hummers out of the sand with their ancient long wheelbase pinkies.

The manual transmission ones are much better than the auto ones, as you have all the high/low range selection etc...  You'll want to put better seats in if going any distance.

Resale prices have gone through the roof though. 

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if it's two people and one old large dog, forget about any sort of CJ or Jeep wrangler.. your dog will demand you pick him up and put him in the car every time... I went thru this last winter with a 90 lb lab and a 2dr wrangler.. ended up pitchin the Wrangler and buying a little jeep liberty.. we were both a lot happier with her having a door she could climb in an out of. so having said that, I'll put in my .o2 for almost anything 4wd and 4dr... find something with a hitch so you can plug in a bike rack or drag a little trailer around behind ya. 

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Many good comments here...

My experience...

Ford rangers are pretty good as an all-around pickup, but the automatic transmissions are (were?) notoriously weak.  Pre-'97 are very capable for what they are, but by now are pretty bagged out.  Exploders....not so much.  2000s era Rangers are pretty good from what I hear (but still not convinced the auto gearboxes are any good.

Jeep CJ/YJ/TJ are kind of expensive these days and there's absolutely no room for a large dog.  If you could find a LJ, you'd likely be happy.  The staight six engines are bulletproof and auto transmissions are strong.  Cherokees are quite capable, have room for a dog, and won't break the bank.  Again, older straight 6/auto combinations are good.  Solid front axle is a bonus in that there's less to break when you're in the middle of nowhere.

Toyota:  All are good and a 4-runner has dog room.  Around here, Toyota=$$$$$

A friend of mind got a good deal on a Nissan Frontier 4dr that has been quite good.  Pickup with a shell means Fido has a spot, but in 100 degree weather, Fido'd rather be in the air conditioned cab.

Defenders are awesome.  $$$$$

I had a 2nd generation Discovery and loved it, but I also liked working on it....constantly.  VERY thirsty drive, but also amazingly capable for a soccermobile.

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2 hours ago, Mrleft8 said:

Note the snorkle air intake, and the (presumably) extended exhaust pipe.

Though he doesn't need it for that little Depth of water.. He probably doesn't have an extended exhaust Landys don't need it unless completely under water..

This is a bit deeper..

But not as deep as some the Royal marines tried, Driven by men wearing breathing gear they went completely under water and the landrover had floating air intake and exhaust tubes

 

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5 hours ago, P_Wop said:

Land Rover Defenders are the bees bollocks - they'll go anywhere.  In Desert Storm our Brit boys used to haul Hummers out of the sand with their ancient long wheelbase pinkies.

The manual transmission ones are much better than the auto ones, as you have all the high/low range selection etc...  You'll want to put better seats in if going any distance.

Resale prices have gone through the roof though. 

The resale value thing is an issue.  We’ve got a 6 year old defender 90 and it’s worth 20% more now than when I bought it (new).  Problem is it’s a company car and the accountant happily devalued it each year for the first 4 years of its life.  So now the company has an asset it can’t unload without a massive tax burden.  Guess we’ll own it for ever.

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17 minutes ago, SCARECROW said:

The resale value thing is an issue.  We’ve got a 6 year old defender 90 and it’s worth 20% more now than when I bought it (new).  Problem is it’s a company car and the accountant happily devalued it each year for the first 4 years of its life.  So now the company has an asset it can’t unload without a massive tax burden.  Guess we’ll own it for ever.

You could sell it to my son - he'd stupidly pay you enough for it that the tax burden would disappear.  But if you did, I'd never speak to you, or him, again!

Wait until his inheritance, then I won't care, and I won't have to worry about the not speaking thingy ... ;)

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I've got a 2nd gen 4Runner, they do well off road but are dogs on the highway, so that would suck for your 4-5 hour approach. I'm selling it to fund the next boat.

Honestly there's few places I haven't been able to access in a Subaru Outback. Keep good rubber on them and you'd be surprised.

And the whole "overland" marketing scheme is nauseating. Posers come up here all the time with tricked out SUV's just to find my suby already at the trailhead.

I'd guess that 90pct of the Defender, Land Rover, land Cruisers, luxury SUV's sold today never venture off road. In practical terms they could be replaced with a mini van.

 

Where do you live? Let us find it for you on CL!

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1 hour ago, bmiller said:

I'd guess that 90pct of the Defender, Land Rover, land Cruisers, luxury SUV's sold today never venture off road. In practical terms they could be replaced with a mini van.

In London they're known as "Chelsea tractors."

I had a buddy who would turn up to the owner's London home on Sunday, and artistically spray their Land Rover with mud, in the wheel arches, everywhere.  When the owner drove it around on Monday it looked just like it had been seriously off-road.  "We've been down at our country house, darling."

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1 hour ago, bmiller said:

I've got a 2nd gen 4Runner, they do well off road but are dogs on the highway, so that would suck for your 4-5 hour approach. I'm selling it to fund the next boat.

Honestly there's few places I haven't been able to access in a Subaru Outback. Keep good rubber on them and you'd be surprised.

And the whole "overland" marketing scheme is nauseating. Posers come up here all the time with tricked out SUV's just to find my suby already at the trailhead.

I'd guess that 90pct of the Defender, Land Rover, land Cruisers, luxury SUV's sold today never venture off road. In practical terms they could be replaced with a mini van.

 

Where do you live? Let us find it for you on CL!

+1 on the Subaru. SWMBO has one for her daily driver and it never gets into anything it cant get out of. If it ever gets that deep around here, we use my 01 3/4 ton Burb. I have an '88 Samurai JT has a back up vehicle, but I would never want to drive more than an hour, let alone 3-4 in it. My only bitch with the subie is headroom and legroom. At 6'4" I have some difficulty with little cars!! (Samurai has a soft top)

 

And a serious +1 on the BFG AT tires. Made the mistake of going with Toyo's once and road noise and loss of traction were serious issues.

 

WL

 

WL

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My 78 J-10 would fit all your req.s except the dog would have to share the front seat with you or ride in the 7' bed. That's right, 7'. Still short enough to maneuver in the woods. It was AWD but with the pneumatically engaged Quadratrac lock all 4 wheels could be locked so no getting out in the mud and snow to lock hubs. 318 V8 got about 16 mpg. It absolutely road like a car on the highway. The brush bar and roll bars were useless but looked cool. I sold mine in the 90s when it started leaking tranny oil. Wish I'd kept it now.

enhance

enhance

The 1962 Willy's wagon was great for going slow off roads but not too pleasant road tripping on the interstate. Flat head 6, 3 speed manual with selectable low range got shitty mileage but had plenty of room inside.

enhance

The brody nob was a real arm knocker!

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Had a '74 Wrangler for some years, we kept it at Mom's summer place on Prudence Island in Narragansett Bay, RI.  Great little rig and room for a dog and stuff in the back.  Not bad on the highway either....  All the kids learned to drive in it, including my Nephew Aaron, who scared the shit out of himself when he sidestepped the clutch and peeled out, burning rubber!!:lol:

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In the words of Boothie, "Nice Jeep, peasant."

Jeeps are good off-road because their wheel base is short. My Isuzu has a short wheelbase too, strong like an ox, five speed manual with the granny gear, indispensable. Those FJ Cruisers, good too, short wheelbase.  Clearance is a function of wheelbase, a big ol' jacked up long-bed has about the same effective clearance as a regular old short wheelbase vehicle. And these people who have off-road vehicles with automatic transmissions, what the actual fuck?

The most useful off-road machines imo are street-legal dirt-bikes, because they have two wheels and can fit through anything, then rip the open road. Those side-by-sides are good, but not street legal, gotta trailer them up to the fun stuff. So if you insist on street-legal four-wheeler so your gal can ride along without having to pilot a dirt bike, there is one vehicle that is above all others, the Suzuki Samurai ...

Suzuki1.jpg

I've seen what looked like a stock Samurai dust even the side-by-sides on on the rocks, and blow past the Rubicons that cost as much as a vacation cabin, even pull a Bronco out of the mud. Other than dual sports, they're the most capable street-legal off-roaders out there.

 

Ultimately, every street-legal off-roader is a compromise between road and rocks/dirt/mud/snow. You can't have it both ways, and it even applies to the dual-sport bikes. (The a KTM with a baja kit will ride like a magical beast.) If you want a vehicle that performs well on the road, you're going to have a dog in the fun stuff. If you want a capable off-roader, it's going to be a bouncy ride on the road, or not enough high-end. But the Samurai gives so much capability off-road that what it gives up on the road is a worthy trade.

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When I have traveled to South America and Africa I see more Toyota 4-wheel drive vehicles over anything else...    and we're not talking about new ones either...

Just saying..... 

 

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10 hours ago, Bump-n-Grind said:

if it's two people and one old large dog, forget about any sort of CJ or Jeep wrangler.. your dog will demand you pick him up and put him in the car every time... I went thru this last winter with a 90 lb lab and a 2dr wrangler.. ended up pitchin the Wrangler and buying a little jeep liberty.. we were both a lot happier with her having a door she could climb in an out of. so having said that, I'll put in my .o2 for almost anything 4wd and 4dr... find something with a hitch so you can plug in a bike rack or drag a little trailer around behind ya. 

Try 2 90lb labs. Take the back seat out. It's useless anyway. 

20160109_120824.jpg

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Thanks all for the great info!  Lots to research now, thank you.

I'm definitely NOT interested in a long wheelbase pickup or anything full size like that.  I'm also not a gearhead or wrench turner, I never got into that and I just don't have the time, quite frankly.  I'd rather have something reliable and bullet proof and when it needs occasional MX, I'll just throw some money at it for a local shop to fix.  

When I lived here before going overseas - I had a V-8 Durango with stock road tires and that seemed to get me almost anywhere I wanted to go.  Only occasionally did clearance become an issue.  So maybe something like that with some bigger hybrid tires and lifted would be the way to go.  Rain and mud are definitely not a factor - It's raining right now and the last rain we had here was last April.  So it's almost 95% dry dirt and rock with some snow in the higher elevations.  

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4 hours ago, bmiller said:

Where do you live? Let us find it for you on CL!

That would be great!  I'm in Las Vegas.  Now that I'm armed with the Jeep model numbers, I'm going to start scouring through the local classifieds and such.  

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I have had a similar need over the years, but no dogs. Look at Jeeps, but make sure you take one on a long test drive first, they can get a bit tiring on pavement. A friend had one of the 90's vintage and the noise and twitchy handling on road was a problem, so think about your on road/off road use ratio. I have had good luck with nissan extended cab pickups. Super reliable, and less expensive than the toyotas especialy on the used market. The full size trucks tend to be too wide for some of the forest roads and tight spots in this area, and subarus do not offer the ground clearence needed. The issue is not rock crawling but rather ruts and big potholes on the more popular access roads.

Finally, I agree it makes sense to go inexpensive and not too clean. You will be leaving the vehicle at remote trailheads for long periods of time so it is best not to attract too much attention. When we used to do hike in camping I would sometimes leave it unlocked since it seemed better to have some local teenager rifle the interior without breaking locks and windows. A hidden ignition switch and crappy stereo is a good idea. At the time I had a stereo with a pop off face plate that I carried with me, I am not sure they make those anymore.

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2 hours ago, bmiller said:

If budget is a concern Cherokees can be had for a modest invest and they do just fine.

Yeah, really cheap. For some reason the I-6 Cherokees -- absolute jewels in the rough stuff -- are less expensive than the V-6s, V-8s, and about the same price as the I-4s.

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2 hours ago, bmiller said:

If budget is a concern Cherokees can be had for a modest invest and they do just fine.

ayup... since my liberty got accordian pleated in the wreck driving home last march.. I was left without a tow-behind. 

found a 1996 Grand Cherokee with all the right transmission and transfer case parts to pull behind the RV without any fuss..

2k. even compression across all 6, tracks straight as an arrow, all the power shit works.. windows, locks.. the A/C will fucking make ice. 

adding some aftermarket seat heaters. also adding a 1.5" lift kit and slightly taller tires. all up it weighs about 300lbs less than the liberty. 

 

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4 hours ago, Willin' said:

My 78 J-10 would fit all your req.s except the dog would have to share the front seat with you or ride in the 7' bed. That's right, 7'. Still short enough to maneuver in the woods. It was AWD but with the pneumatically engaged Quadratrac lock all 4 wheels could be locked so no getting out in the mud and snow to lock hubs. 318 V8 got about 16 mpg. It absolutely road like a car on the highway. The brush bar and roll bars were useless but looked cool. I sold mine in the 90s when it started leaking tranny oil. Wish I'd kept it now.

enhance

enhanceThe 1962

I had a '74. blue over white... with a giant iron winch mount front bumper. mounted a fighting chair on it when I lived in FL.. was on my way out west to meet up with a buddy and go up to Mt St Helens. Stopped to ski a couple days in Summit County and the volcano went off. woke up one morning to about a 1/4" of ash all over the truck. stayed in Dillon for the rest of that season.  

not mine, but same color scheme. 

image.jpeg.6b6e10c267d7f7d1adc2ce960720b4c9.jpeg

pretty sure mine was a 360

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That J-10 is sweet. I'd love to replace the Tacoma with one of those, but alas, I don't have the time to wrench on it. An XJ based Commanche would be great too, as I have a "Must be Fuel Injected" rule these days. 

BnG - was that 96 a Grand Cherokee (ZJ) or a Cherokee (XJ)? Both great cheapie 4wd's these days. 

The 4.0 inline 6 is a big advantage in the early ZJs because of the NP242 transfer case (with a 2wd setting) ages much better than the v8's NP249 - which has no 2wd setting and the viscous coupler clutch goes bad and really affects street drivability.  The V8s had no 2wd settings because the rear axle was too weak for the power. 

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17 hours ago, Mrleft8 said:

 It would climb a tree, but it's  top speed, down hill with a tail wind, completely wound out, was about 50MPH.... And that was scary.

Mrleft, 

    I immediately thought of this when I read your comment, 

 

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2 hours ago, Burning Man said:

That would be great!  I'm in Las Vegas.  Now that I'm armed with the Jeep model numbers, I'm going to start scouring through the local classifieds and such.  

Done.

https://lasvegas.craigslist.org/cto/d/coyote-springs-jeep-cherokee-xj/7275305495.html

More done 

https://inlandempire.craigslist.org/cto/d/loma-linda-1996-jeep-cherokee-xj/7274874205.html

 

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image.png.d51b8dcddf1f4561bf9e46d46f2b1744.png

   I had a Suzuki Samurai on St Croix that had been rode hard and put away wet (salt water wet) for a decade or so by a dive shop. It was my second Susy Suki (first on St John) and the Dive Shop one was so rusted out that the only thing holding it together were the hundreds of dive shop and dive gear bumper sticker all over it. Taught my daughter to drive in in 4WD on the mountains of St Croix overlooking Salt River and it was surprisingly capable off road. A road trip all the way out to the Yacht Club on the far end of the Island (25 miles?) seemed like an all day trip though. 

     Wish I had this bumper sticker though

Image result for suzuki samurai

image.thumb.png.8bf0d902ce7bb55c727b2ff88dd77d7b.png

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21 minutes ago, gptyk said:

That J-10 is sweet. I'd love to replace the Tacoma with one of those, but alas, I don't have the time to wrench on it. An XJ based Commanche would be great too, as I have a "Must be Fuel Injected" rule these days. 

BnG - was that 96 a Grand Cherokee (ZJ) or a Cherokee (XJ)? Both great cheapie 4wd's these days. 

The 4.0 inline 6 is a big advantage in the early ZJs because of the NP242 transfer case (with a 2wd setting) ages much better than the v8's NP249 - which has no 2wd setting and the viscous coupler clutch goes bad and really affects street drivability.  The V8s had no 2wd settings because the rear axle was too weak for the power. 

its a grand cherokee. one of the few that I found with an actual transfer case that you can put in neutral for flat towing. 

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16 minutes ago, bmiller said:

Bill, love those two door cherokees.. that was what I was really looking for this go around, but was trying to keep my $$ under 5K. 

the prices on those fuckers have gone thru the roof in the last 5 years or so. I remember pages and pages of those on CL for 2-4k. 

at that price it left open an engine swap.

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5 minutes ago, Rasputin22 said:

image.png.d51b8dcddf1f4561bf9e46d46f2b1744.png

 

Raspy, I was doing a delivery from Clearwater FL to Tortola back in 86 or 87... we had issues with the boat and pulled into Great Inagua for a few days. 

Rented a 6 month old samurai to go exploring on the island while we waited for parts from the UK. In 6 months, probably 60% of the floorboards and undercarriage had already been eaten away by the salt on the island. it was truly a flintstone mobile.       

Inagua is(was?) a Morton's Salt factory. a good portion of the island has been dug up into pools, into which they let seawater to evaporate. then dig it up with heavy equipment and load it on barges or whatever. there were tons and tons of rusted out dozers and loaders scattered all over the island. One guy we spoke with said that the average lifespan of a brand new Cat Dozer was about 2 years. 

We visited the lighthouse on that island and got the tour from the 4th or 5th gereration lighthouse keeper.. that was pretty fucking cool.  the lamp was a cloth oil burning mantle that spun on a pool of mercury. has probably been upgraded since. 

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7 hours ago, bmiller said:

And the whole "overland" marketing scheme is nauseating. Posers come up here all the time with tricked out SUV's just to find my suby already at the trailhead.

I'd guess that 90pct of the Defender, Land Rover, land Cruisers, luxury SUV's sold today never venture off road. In practical terms they could be replaced with a mini van.

I did venture off road and because my poor skills I ended up in ditch. Edge of mud pool collapsed when I tried to drive past it.

71n3z9v8bvr51.jpg

 

I do not recommend this car for normal use, it is not too fun in winter.

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While entertaining as this thread is, we (in classic SA style) are drifting away from the question at hand.

No clapped out Troopers, Samurai or Land Rover will fit the bill.

No "I can do a trail fix" vehicle when it inevitably breaks something miles from anywhere.

4-5 hr highway drive = no lift kit or boggers.

$ are not a concern (we are spending Jeff's money here folks).  Reliability and spousal comfort are important.

On a scale of 1-10, how important is taking the top and doors off?  It's fun here and there, but does add some logistics to the equation.

As a JKU owner myself , spousal comfort and dogs with the top and doors off is... complicated.

I'd suggest a Toyota, anything newer, with 4wd.

Reliability, check
Trail/logging road/desert ready, check
Comfort and dog friendly, check
Coolness factor, meh
Doors/top off, nope

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, bmiller said:

Ok now those are tempting!  Especially the first one for $8500.  The more I look, the more a lifted, big tire Cherokee or a similar SUV in that size range is making more sense than a pure Jeep Wrangler for my use case.  I definitely don't want anything bigger.  And I think that would go pretty much anywhere I want to go.  What is the maintenance on those older Cherokees?  I have no desire to spend hours under the hood or under the car fixing stuff constantly.

And how does the Cherokee compare to say the Nissan Pathfinder and the Toyota 4runner?  I assume they are all comparable size SUVs, right? 

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2 hours ago, Bump-n-Grind said:

 

found a 1996 Grand Cherokee with all the right transmission and transfer case parts to pull behind the RV without any fuss..

Which combo was that? Are you pulling 4 down with a tow bar? I have an 04 WJ with I think “Selec Trac II” and just bought a motor home. 

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36 minutes ago, Windward said:

While entertaining as this thread is, we (in classic SA style) are drifting away from the question at hand.

No clapped out Troopers, Samurai or Land Rover will fit the bill.

No "I can do a trail fix" vehicle when it inevitably breaks something miles from anywhere.

4-5 hr highway drive = no lift kit or boggers.

$ are not a concern (we are spending Jeff's money here folks).  Reliability and spousal comfort are important.

On a scale of 1-10, how important is taking the top and doors off?  It's fun here and there, but does add some logistics to the equation.

As a JKU owner myself , spousal comfort and dogs with the top and doors off is... complicated.

I'd suggest a Toyota, anything newer, with 4wd.

Reliability, check
Trail/logging road/desert ready, check
Comfort and dog friendly, check
Coolness factor, meh
Doors/top off, nope

Thanks, I'm sorta coming to this conclusion as well.  Although I wouldn't say $ are not a concern.  In a perfect world, something under $10K would be ideal.  I'm not a fan of the Tacoma pickup.  I think FJs are ugly as shit, but they're certainly fit for purpose.  Are the 4runners a good off road vehicle?  I don't know much about them.  

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4Runners are an excellent off road vehicle, except for hardcore rockcrawling. A good friend has a 4th gen one that I got to winch him out of 3 ft snow. (He bought a winch after that) - But I had to winch myself too. It's his DD, unmodified (I think maybe 31" tires but no lift or body mods). He tows a power boat with it. Had it for like 10 years, and he had a 3rd gen one before that. I'd pick a 4runner way before the current capsule-shaped FJ (same reason, FJ is ugly as hell) 

A 4runner (if it fits your pricepoint) is a great vehicle for generic off-roading, hauling dogs, and small boats. They do indeed have the Toyota tax added to the price, but that's either a feature or a drawback depending on opinion. 

 

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20 hours ago, Henley Hornbrook said:

Toyota Tacoma 

My son swears by his and not at it.  I took him into the woods with my (first) divorce vehicle:  A jeep on steroids.  We had fun.  You'd probably not like getting stuck on top of a mound of earth meant to keep vehicles off the trail.  We did get off.  4 wheels off the ground.  The jeep sat there with me and two little ones.  Another group passed on the legal road and asked what we were trying to do.  I said to go in.  They gave us a push.

The number of excellent vehicles today exceeds the imagination.

I always buy 4 wheel drive with a low option but rarely need either.  

I see the Ferrari drive through the neighborhood.

At least my Harley makes noise.

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1 hour ago, Burning Man said:

Ok now those are tempting!  Especially the first one for $8500.  The more I look, the more a lifted, big tire Cherokee or a similar SUV in that size range is making more sense than a pure Jeep Wrangler for my use case.  I definitely don't want anything bigger.  And I think that would go pretty much anywhere I want to go.  What is the maintenance on those older Cherokees?  I have no desire to spend hours under the hood or under the car fixing stuff constantly.

And how does the Cherokee compare to say the Nissan Pathfinder and the Toyota 4runner?  I assume they are all comparable size SUVs, right? 

4Runners are great, that's why they hold their value. Pathfinders as well. If you're considering a Nissan look at an Xterra also.

XJ Cherokees are just a step below the 4Runner but still very capable, IMHO.

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We have a 96 two door XJ. 5 speed 280,000 miles. Just changed the clutch last year. Batteries, alternators and tires are all it has needed. And some rust repair.

Two tracks and snow are why it is our third vehicle. An old school Toledo built Jeep is a great value.

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Mine will have a stainless steel body...4BF9F710-CEA7-400B-9213-A4004E3A07BF.jpeg.bd2f788a9d39dfc8122281e683063c32.jpeg

Big industry here in PI in jeep knockoffs. Full custom frame, engine, tranny, body. Stainless body with sturdy Japanese diesel is typical. But 4X4 is rare. They even copy late model Wranglers and such. About $US4000 new. Trivial to repair as zero complex parts. Most are not gaudy like the pic here. 

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7 hours ago, Windward said:

While entertaining as this thread is, we (in classic SA style) are drifting away from the question at hand.

No clapped out Troopers, Samurai or Land Rover will fit the bill.

No "I can do a trail fix" vehicle when it inevitably breaks something miles from anywhere.

4-5 hr highway drive = no lift kit or boggers.

$ are not a concern (we are spending Jeff's money here folks).  Reliability and spousal comfort are important.

On a scale of 1-10, how important is taking the top and doors off?  It's fun here and there, but does add some logistics to the equation.

As a JKU owner myself , spousal comfort and dogs with the top and doors off is... complicated.

I'd suggest a Toyota, anything newer, with 4wd.

Reliability, check
Trail/logging road/desert ready, check
Comfort and dog friendly, check
Coolness factor, meh
Doors/top off, nope

 

 

 

 

Shit, do what I did, the Lexus GX. Comfy. Low mode, air lift shocks built in. Crawl mode. Unless you’re really off-roading it’s totally fine in the trail kinda stuff like the granite ride over to hot springs out of Huntington

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Here ya go! Found this over in Hobots thread LOL

1963-jeep-wagoneer.jpg

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On 2/11/2021 at 6:42 PM, warbird said:

See the source image

Just a heads up.....Not sure about elsewhere but F Series are VERY popular to steal in the PNW right now.

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3 hours ago, hobot said:

Just a heads up.....Not sure about elsewhere but F Series are VERY popular to steal in the PNW right now.

As with all Fords, it has a 100% effective theft deterrent device ... It will break down before they manage to get it to the end of the driveway.

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On 2/12/2021 at 12:31 PM, Rasputin22 said:

image.thumb.png.8bf0d902ce7bb55c727b2ff88dd77d7b.png

 

It's shocking what a devastating off-roader they made with that Samurai. A well hardened Samurai and driver can outrun a side-by-side, and then just jump onto the road, street legal, to the next section of trail. That little gal essentially IS a street legal side-by-side! Hard to find though.

They one you had in St. Croix, did it have the two-stroke? Those are nearly impossible to find in the USA, but I've heard they're more common out there in the rest of the world.

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7 hours ago, hobot said:

Just a heads up.....Not sure about elsewhere but F Series are VERY popular to steal in the PNW right now.

 

3 hours ago, mikewof said:

As with all Fords, it has a 100% effective theft deterrent device ... It will break down before they manage to get it to the end of the driveway.

I accept the humor and sarcasm of these responses. My post was just a positive options post. I have Ford, Dodge, and Chevy friends.

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2 hours ago, warbird said:

I accept the humor and sarcasm of these responses. My post was just a positive options post. I have Ford, Dodge, and Chevy friends.

My Dodge truck is dead nuts money reliable.

I know that without any doubt at all, that it will reliably guzzle gas, the bed will reliably rust through, the electrical system will reliably develop mysterious and untraceable faults and the suspension will reliably imitate a drunk hula dancer.

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On 2/13/2021 at 7:08 PM, mikewof said:

 

It's shocking what a devastating off-roader they made with that Samurai. A well hardened Samurai and driver can outrun a side-by-side, and then just jump onto the road, street legal, to the next section of trail. That little gal essentially IS a street legal side-by-side! Hard to find though.

They one you had in St. Croix, did it have the two-stroke? Those are nearly impossible to find in the USA, but I've heard they're more common out there in the rest of the world.

That rusted out POS was probably a four stroke but was probably down to just two working cylinders by the time it was through with me. Or maybe all four cylinders were actually two stroking... I have a great story about getting stopped by a St Croix cop in the Suzuki. 

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You are asking for too much.  If you want a vehicle that will carry you in comfort for 4 or 5 hours, the it won't do so well off road.  If you want an off road vehicle that will go almost anywhere, then it will suck on the highway.  The Samurai is pretty capable of road, but with two people and la large dog, you have used most of it's interior capacity and it is not a comfortable long distance driver.  My Mitsubishi Pajero is 20 years old is almost unstoppable off road but it isn't much bigger than a Samurai, and it sure isn't comfortable enough for a 4 or 5 hour drive.  The Mitsubishis they make now are just another bloated SUV.  If you are going over rocks, you want all the ground clearance you can get, but they don't make many new 4x4s with that kind of clearance.  

I say get an old Land Rover Defender or a surplus HMMWV.  Those are about the only ones that will do what you want within reason.  Otherwise you are going to have to sacrifice comfort or off road capability.  As mentioned above, the market nowadays demands something that looks like it is a serious off road cruiser but is really the millennium version of a station wagon that met a mini van.  Of course you can buy something and mod it, but that comes with its own problems.  If you are really serious, get something you can comfortably cruise in and pull you off road vehicle behind you.  That's the only way you will get what you want.  Decide what's most important to you, highway or off road and then try to work with that.  Good luck, you'll need it.

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On 2/12/2021 at 2:09 PM, Burning Man said:

Ok now those are tempting!  Especially the first one for $8500.  The more I look, the more a lifted, big tire Cherokee or a similar SUV in that size range is making more sense than a pure Jeep Wrangler for my use case.  I definitely don't want anything bigger.  And I think that would go pretty much anywhere I want to go.  What is the maintenance on those older Cherokees?  I have no desire to spend hours under the hood or under the car fixing stuff constantly.

And how does the Cherokee compare to say the Nissan Pathfinder and the Toyota 4runner?  I assume they are all comparable size SUVs, right? 

If you are leaving something at a trailhead for days, I donno if ether of those tricked out Cherokees would fit the bill. I know I would be nervous leaving a tricked out 4x alone.  A plane jane subi or something less "Cool" would be my. choice.  I would worry that the light bar etc would be gone by the time I got back.  

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