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3/30/2014 12:16 AM
 

It looks like I may be cashing in on my 2007 Tundra and am looking for opinions.

I have always run Toyota and they have served me well.

However in the interim between getting another Tundra or Tacoma I may give a Jeep a try.  I would prefer a CJ8 but they may be pretty hard to find.  A CJ7 / Wrangler size would also work…I think.

$6000ish budget. 

What kind of mileage could you expect on the highway with a straight 6 or V8 and 31-35” tires with “normal gearing”.

How hard is it to take the doors off and leave the hard top on? 

Will a hard top roll down the highway at 75mps without making you deaf, shaking your teeth out, or cooking/freezing you?

Would a Cherokee be a better option? 

This will be a hard use hunting and trapping rig.  We shall see just how the Jeeps stack up to the Toyota's for year in and year out abuse with minimal wrenching.  I don’t do any rock crawling or intentionally stupid stuff…but sometimes it just happens.  I have rolled or laid the last 3 trucks on their side while checking traps or hunting. 

What should I look for, plan on adding, or avoid?

Suggestions on where to look? 

Someone sell me on the idea of a CJ8 or CJ7 size jeep over an older Tacoma double or extra cab.

Evan what do you think a Cherokee like yours is worth?  Scot yours is WAY to pimp for me!

 


Talk is cheap...lets compare fur checks.
 
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3/30/2014 11:51 AM
 

At one point I was thinking about a inexpensive woods rig to go with my Tundra so I spent a lot of time reading up on generations of jeeps and which ones to buy.  Simply put the true jeep faithful said if you enjoy wrenching and nostalgia get a CJ, but if you just want solid reliability at a low price get a TJ, otherwise go JK.  Most also said get a lightly modified one or get a stock one and upgrade.  The 4Liter engine is a dog, but the V6 is good to go.  I guess the CJ is the 1911 of the jeep world and the TJ/JK the Glock.

Like you I wanted a CJ8, since I was a kid really, but I found that they were few, and far between and not cheap. Plus most I found for sale were turned into crawlers.  I was hoping to find the modern equivalent which is an LJ.  From 2004 to 2006 Jeep made the first Unlimited (aka LJ), which was a modern scrambler.  Depending on where you live they can be hard to find. For instance in the PNW they were almost non-existent. Around here they are pretty common and I  have seen two nice ones for sale in the last week. Again, they can be more expensive as they were only made for 3 years, but now that used JKs have been around for awhile prices on them seem to be coming down.  I personally don't think you would be happy with a CJ7 or regular TJ. Knowing your uses and how/what you carry. If you can find the right LJ or CJ8 they would be an option.  I have had to change up a bit how I do things with the JK vs a truck.  Organization is the order of the day. You can't just throw stuff in willy nilly.  However, after the initial time to organize life is actually easier as boxes just go in and out, and I carry less crap. 

I can only speak for my JK, but the doors come off in a minute or two each and a fair amount of the time I run around town here without the front doors when it is nicer.  I am thinking of getting a set of soft doors for the front so I can drive somewhere on the highway with doors on then take them off for offroad travel, or in the event of inclement weather. Mainly so I can store them in the rig.  I have left the hard door in camp, top too, and the hard doors will in fit inside, but it is kind of a two guy thing and they take up a LOT of room.  The first modification I did was install topper insulation. It was quick and easy and the kit I used was only 300 or so bucks if I remember. It made a huge difference in both noise and heat/cold. That being said the jeep does heat and cool more than say a tundra.  There is just less insulation, but other than when you first start driving and are getting it warm or cool haven't found it to be an issue. The other thing that made a huge difference was painting the top. It was black, and hot as hell underneath. Those two are needed mods in my experience. I can run down the road at 75, but it seems to be happiest at 70. The ride will depend entirely on what your suspension setup is.  Over multiple tanks of gas over mixed driving with 31" tires I averaged 19mpg and got 22-23mpg on the highway.  I now have 33" and I think I have lost about 3 miles to the gallon.  I say think because I need to get things recalibrated.  The 33s roll over things so much better for offroad travel that I don't mind since I do more of that than true highway travel, but when these tires wear out I might go to something like a 32.5.  On a TJ/LJ the formula actually seems to be a 31x10.5 for a similar set up to mine.  In both cases that is with a modest 2-3" lift, which doesn't cause any issues with the stock geometry whereas higher does. My rubicon has better gearing so in theory I can run a 35, but just don't see the point.  Evan just got new wheels and knows the weight differences of things.

As far as the Toyota vs Jeep, it has been discussed here before. I will say that my Jeep has been every bit as reliable as the Toyotas I have had, but I have only owned it for a year.  I do know that a Jeep is a ton cheaper to get worked on and for parts (1/3-1/2 the cost of Toyota parts) and the aftermarket selection is a lot bigger. From that stand point it wins. Only long term will tell if it is reliable. The Toyota you know will be reliable.  I do kind of miss the tailgate of a truck, and the ability to have dogs and smelly stuff in the back, and not up front with me, but it hasn't been as bad as I thought.  I personally think Toyota jumped the shark with all the current generation of vehicles.  For your uses I think an early 2000s Tacoma double cab would be hard to beat, but they are bucks to buy.  I would also think about that generation or and earlier 4runner.  I would also throw a Nissan Xterra in the mix, based on a couple of test drives and research. There have been a few years with known issues, but over all a great rig. 

At this point in my life I have owned one car, five different trucks (4 Toyotas), and now a jeep. My favorite is the jeep, and I just keep loving it. For what I do and where I want to go it is just the best thing I have found. I love the ability to easily/quickly pull the doors and top and have it open. I like the ability to really choose components based on what I want to do and not be stuck with one or two options.  I like the price of modifications too.  The only downside I have found to the jeep is wanting to modify it.  I know that the Toyota is the world standard for reliability, but well I find the jeep easier from an owner standpoint so far.  Evan takes his Land Cruiser to Safari LTD which is a Toyota shop that specializes in overland travel.  The parts guy there comments about every time I am in that he is a bit jealous of how easy life is with my Jeep.  He has a really nice older landcrusier, but due to age he seems to always be having to work on it to replace or fix something and parts aren't cheap and he is very limited in what is available. Evan owns both a 1998 Jeep Cherokee and an older Land Cruiser so he can talk about the cost of long term jeep ownership and owning an older Land Cruiser.  I will also be interested to hear his take on the JK vs Cherokee.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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4/1/2014 11:55 AM
 

 My only jeep experience was a '95 xj, cheap, cheerful and reliable but when I penciled out the cost to lift, regear, and put it on 31" tires it left that realm (that was mostly because it was a 5speed, I think an auto would be cheaper/easier).

Sold it and bought a gen3 4runner which has more power, better fuel economy, more space, stock 31" tires, and a factory dif locker. I couldn't tell you what it costs to modify since it is the way I want it. Haven't had to work on it either so there could be a surprise waiting for me as well.

I also owned a gen 2 4runner which I wouldn't really recommend to anyone.

For $6000 you could buy a very nice pre-lifted Cherokee in my area, and I would lean more toward an XJ over a 4runner for a woods rig, just because they are a little simpler and a little smaller, but you could buy a pretty nice 4runner for that same money.

 
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4/1/2014 5:12 PM
 

First, I have a hard time thinking that any kind of SUV is going to be better for your uses than a pickup truck. I'm also skeptical that anything smaller than a Cherokee or JK is going to be big enough for you. One caveat with dogs -- sometimes having them inside of a climate controlled space while traveling gives you peace of mind. All that being said, I'll try to answer your questions.

I'm a big fan of the Cherokee. When we bought ours new in 99, it was hands down the best gas mileage you could get out of any true SUV (as opposed to something built on a car chassis). Now it has 210k on it. I've had to re-do brakes, rotors a couple of times, rear main seal, serpentine belt, axle seals, a couple of different crank position sensors, batteries, plugs / distributor, starter, clutch, suspension, tailgate latch, and alternator during that period of time. There is no sign of it, but I expect some work will need to be done on the cooling system sometime here. The driver's seat is ready for replacement. Engine is still running over 95% compression on all 6 cylinders. Parts are indeed 1/2 to 1/3 of what they are on the Toyota with a wide variety of aftermarket upgrade options, and everyone seems to be able to work on it with good authority. What's it worth? Dunno -- worth a lot more to me than it probably blue books at.

It has a very good power to weight ratio and with the 5 speed manual, I have my choice of gas mileage. During one family trip I was bucks down and conserving gas as much as possible. The vehicle was fully loaded with people and gear and traveling over a couple of passes. I was running 31" A/Ts and got 25mpg. By contrast, I had a little heavier load on it last week (the kids each weigh 50lbs more than on the previous trip I mention) on the run over to Denver. I was running 31" M/Ts and optimizing for speed, not fuel economy. Wheel weight was pretty close in both cases since I went to aluminum rims from the factory steelies along with the M/Ts. I got 15mpg. That represents the two extremes pretty well.

It has about a 3" lift on it with an extra leaf in back in addition to a new spring pack. If I had gotten a new spring pack 8 years ago instead of just an add a leaf, I probably would have only needed to add a leaf this year. Suspension simply wears out over time. Really good suspension is probably the best way to avoid rollovers during high speed desert travel. No re-gearing needed if you stick with 31s. You might need to run it in 4-lo a little more often without re-gearing it. It can stall out in 4-hi if you're trying to crawl an obstacle. That's OK, that's what low range is for. You would want aftermarket wheels with 31s to kick the tires out enough not to rub at full lock and also to be able to run chains if that's your thing. With the A/Ts, I was always wanting chains. With the M/Ts, it remains to be seen. I've never run M/Ts before so we'll see how often I need or want chains.

I think they stopped making XJs in 2002 or so. Any one you find is going to be at least 10 years old. Any Jeep already set up for off road travel is going to be a crapshoot. You might be buying into some other guy's properly completed project for a fraction of what he put into it (nice), or you might be buying into a rig that has seen enough abuse that the spending has only just begun (not so nice). Used road ride that you upgrade yourself is the safest play.

The 93 Landcruiser was purchased 3rd or 4th owner. I think it was only a road ride before we got it. It has 230 or 240k on it. So far it has needed brakes, suspension, radiator, rebuilt power steering, starter, a couple engine seals, belts, some pulleys, and I can't remember what else. On par with the Jeep if not more. Certainly more expensive due to parts cost. Because we haven't owned it for its entire life, I don't have a good sense of where we are on the curve of replacing parts one could expect to need replacement. Anecdotally with a very small sample size, I'd have to say that the Toyota hasn't proven to be any more reliable than the Jeep. It helps that the Jeep was a bare bones, manual everything vehicle whereas even as early as 93 the Landcruiser was kind of a luxury ride with a bunch of useless electronic crap that creates more trouble than its worth as the vehicle ages. It sure is a beast though. Very capable off road and very smooth on road.

I'd really like to see what the auto industry could come up with if they used modern engineeering, materials, and parts to deliberately build a vehicle for simplicity and reliability. They'd probably have to ignore safety and EPA regs, but I'll bet they could build a legitimate 500k vehicle that would cost less than your average econobox.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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4/2/2014 12:31 PM
 

 Scot, Fowler, and Evan,

Thak you for the detailed posts!!!  Lots of great infomation and headaches saved.  I am still doing research...but aren't we always.

It looks like I may be giving a 98 TJ 4.2L a try for a little bit.  We shall see just how cramped we get.  I may put a set of 31x10.5 Copper STT's on it and see what it can do.  If I don't like it, it will go on the market.  I do agree that the pickup type truck would probaly be a better longer term solution.

I would really like to see the Toyoa UTE availible here in the US.  It seems to be the gold standard world wide.

Evan excellent point about driving style and mileage!


Talk is cheap...lets compare fur checks.
 
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4/2/2014 8:12 PM
 

 I'm impressed by your economy Even, best I could do with my stock baby tires was 23mpg, I bet your taller tires gave you the edge on the highway.

do you know what gearing your rig has? mine had 3.08 and everyone I talked to said you pretty much lost 5th gear when you went to 31s." If I thought I could have got away with it I might have kept it. one of the guys might have had a 4 cylinder now that I think about it....

 

few things Strow, if you want a pickup there is always the jeep comanchee, if they had made an extra-cab version that would probably be what I would drive.

Also, be careful what you wish for, rumor is that toyota is going to merge the hilux and the tacoma in 2015ish. which parent the offsping will resemple more will be have to be seen. also the World Ranger has been getting high praise in south africa and australia (many reviews I've seen like it better then the hilux) and since the Ranger's diesel powerplant has been approved in the ford transit vans in the states the pickup itself could be just around the corner.

 
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4/2/2014 8:22 PM
 

evanhill wrote

I'd really like to see what the auto industry could come up with if they used modern engineeering, materials, and parts to deliberately build a vehicle for simplicity and reliability. They'd probably have to ignore safety and EPA regs, but I'll bet they could build a legitimate 500k vehicle that would cost less than your average econobox.

if mercedes could build a 4000lb car that got 25-30mgp and could comfortably hold 80mph and go 500k over 30 years ago (and did pretty well in the crash-test rating) your darn right they could build a mid-sized pickup/suv with 200hp, 30mpg highway, and 500k between rebuilds.

you could build your own, but you'd probably need $50k to do it.

 
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4/7/2014 7:41 PM
 

 That Ford World Ranger looks like a Hi-lux.  Will be interesting to see.

We ran a Ranger turbo diesel in Argentina 8yrs ago and I was impressed.  Like ~45mpg if I remember correctly.  Loaded to the gunnels with 12 guage ammo, dogs, and guns.  

 


Talk is cheap...lets compare fur checks.
 
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4/7/2014 8:32 PM
 
In the FWIW department...my experience with Jeeps has been minimal, so bear that in mind. Mainly rentals. But I do have experience overseas in some crappy places with Toyota Land Cruisers and 4Runners. The contractors that maintained our crap worked on the standard military HMMVs, MRAPs, and the like. They also serviced some Brit Range Rover stuff and of course, our Toys and some of the local gendarmes' Ford Ranger (purchase by the USG) and lastly some of the Aussie Toy Pradas and Troopies. To a man, they said they much preferred to work on the Toys and claimed they were far more robust and worthy than the others mentioned. When they couldn't come up with a part, they would send a local haji into town and a few days later, the dude would reappear with a part. I know we beat the Toys into pulp and they just kept banging it out....electric windows and all - at least those TLCs that had it. I never worried that they would start and run. The Fords were too new to get much info on them. The Range Rovers sucked. The milspec stuff.......so so. But given the weight they packed, to be expected. I tried numerous times to convince Toy reps to get the Hi-lux imported to the US, or the Troopies....nothing doing. You can guess why. The Toy abuse convinced me, so when I got back, I searched and found a low mileage 96 TLC (130K when I bought it 4 years ago) and have never regretted it. There are rigs with more horse power...more rigs that can carry more....but none as well balanced, rugged and reliable as the TLC. The only bad thing about the TLCs are the people that buy them and abuse them and try and constantly tinker with them, jack up the wiring, etc... Yep, I have no doubt that the Jeep stuff is more prevalent and generally at a lower cost than the Toy. I wish like hell that Toy would come back with a more bare bones TLC, Troopy and Hi-lux. I wish our crony capitalist socialists in DC would get out of the way. But, you know what they say...wish in one hand and .... I think most vehicles, when maintained properly and driven properly will outlast the human behind the wheel. The Toy/TLC to me, is akin to the AK of the 4WD world. It is very popular overseas with a reputation for reliability and robustmess that is second to none.
 
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4/7/2014 9:50 PM
 

Fowler wrote

 I'm impressed by your economy Even, best I could do with my stock baby tires was 23mpg, I bet your taller tires gave you the edge on the highway.

do you know what gearing your rig has? mine had 3.08 and everyone I talked to said you pretty much lost 5th gear when you went to 31s." If I thought I could have got away with it I might have kept it. one of the guys might have had a 4 cylinder now that I think about it....

Don't know for certain what gearing I have, but supposedly with the I6 / manual transmission combo it would be 3.07. At some point the I6 got a decent horsepower bump. Mine is after that bump, yours might have been before. I usually have to drop down into 4th gear (and sometimes 3rd) when climbing a hill, but overall 5th works just fine for highway travel. Bend to Burns, 5th gear for everything but Horse Ridge. Portland to Eugene, 5th gear the whole way. Portland to Pendleton, 4th gear once or twice.

El Mac - I've heard more than one Jeep lemon horror story. I don't remember ever hearing a Toyota lemon horror story. Maybe that's the difference.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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