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9/27/2012 1:03 PM
 

We are now located smack dab in the center of thousands of miles of remote country, but lots of it has very little water.  There are way to many sweet looking rigs driving around this town, and I know a fair number of you have nice rigs. So lets hear it, what do you have, does it get use, mods, what would your prefer to have, how do you use it, etc... This thread is open to dirt bikes, dual sports, atvs, side by sides, jeeps, etc...

My truck is a 2011 Tundra Crewmax with bench seats front and back in silver.  Silver because it doesn't become a heat trap like darker vehicles and it was the best of the light colors available when I bought. I bought the crewmax because there were way to many times that multiple vehicles were requried to get folks and gear to the trail or even around town.  Having everyone and gear in a single vehicle is really nice.  It gives you lots of flexability.  The truck has way more power than I need, but for a main use truck is a good choice for me. Mods include bedliner, water proof seat covers, duramax floor mats, a step-up topper (contains dogs, conceals bikes and gear, and the step-up makes it very easy to get into and out of), and OME suspension.  I specifically got the base model because I wanted benches and I am not impressed with the features on the TRD packages, which unlik the tacoma are basically cosmentic.  As a result I knew I would be upgrading suspension.  I went with the OEM because unlike the donoahue I had on my last truck it is designed for years of trouble free use on poor roads (thank overlanding in Australia vs Baja racing).  It is also designed to be as good as possible without messing with factory geometery.  Why a Tundra, well I have owned 3 and walked away from a totaled one. I trust their quality and they seem to win most reliable truck year after year. I went with the Tundra over the Tacoma, because the Tacoma just felt a bit cramped.  A truck over and SUV because a seperate area for wet dogs is nice. 

What would I change? Nothing with this truck, and if I had to do it again I would probably go with a Tundra again.  That being said when it is just me running errands around town or me and the pup going somewhere it seems like a bit of overkill.  The wheelbase and width is an issue doing offroad (not crawling just getting around), and I kind of feel bad going out and bumping around in a nice new truck.  As a result I have been thinking about getting a dual sport or more likely some kind of open air vehicle (jeep, older bronco, FJ40, etc...).  The plan would be to have a top for shade, and otherwise just run it open. At this point I have owned four bikes including 2 harleys, two boats, and it might just be time to try something different.  The practical side of me leans towards a TJ Wrangler (1997-2006), and if money was no object an LJ (two door unlimited).  The nostalgic part of me leans towards a CJ7 or 8 (scrambler) or early 70s Bronco.  I am not really interested in big tires and agro crawling just something clean simple and capable. 


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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9/27/2012 10:06 PM
 

In the summer I use 3 off road motorcycles to get really far back into places and often I have it all to myself as most folks are ATV users and cannot use the steep single track trails that have steep drop offs.  It's pretty cheap and economical way to get out an really far back in forests.

 

My dad cannot ride bikes, walk far, and is pretty immobile so I got him an UTV SxS and he enjoys it well enough.  We also have 2 ATV's but I'm the only one that rarely uses my ATV, and it's mostly for plowing my driveway.

 

One thing you might consider about ATV's and SxS vehicles is that they can be tracked and used all season in mud, dirt, and snow.  A  lot of folks are now using these type of vehicles to get around in the winter in deep snow and while slow, they do get around well.  Also if you get an 450cc or larger dual sport motorcycle there are ski and track kits for these now that allow deep snow use in powder and then conventional wheel travel after winter season.  That's an huge advantage offered over an traditional Jeep or Bronco and if winter snow country travel is on your list than it's the way to fly.

 

As far as Jeeps and Bronco vehicles go, I like them, but I am of the opinion that mechanically an person cannot beat an well set up small Toyota pickup or 4Runner.  The part quality is superior and there's quite an bit of aftermarket for them.

 

An uncle of mine is an supplier of bearing to Japanese auto manufactures and he's told me that his Japanese customers/manufactures want demand higher quality parts and steel specs from thier suppliers than do American and other vehicle makers.  This I don't doubt one bit and in Afganistan it's no wonder that the most sought after car is the Toyota Corolla, and in the countryside Toyota pickups are the preferred mode of transportation.

 

I get an new diesel truck every year and compared to my grandpa's Tundra my domestic diesel trucks are far heavier built, haul bigger loads, and are more powerful, no doubt.  But at the end of the day, I've had so much trouble and issues with new diesel domestic trucks that I've grown to hate them for the downtime they cost me.  All the while the Toyota Tundra of my gramps and others I know of keep truckin and don't have any issues because of higher build quality.  The downside is that Tundra's get crappy fuel economy.

 

If you are set on an Bronco, I know of an early 70's Bronco that is clean/restored and the guy has mentioned selling.  It's not jacked up but restored to stock configuration.

 
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9/27/2012 10:36 PM
 

 I normally use my legs, but if I was to choose another method it would be a dirt bike. It's the fastest by far. I don't think atvs are very safe, we usually have a couple rescues a year. I would choose a jeep or other good vehicle over an atv , a dirt bike though, i see some advantages.


http://www.seekoutside.com | sig added by EH... go check out Kevin's stuff!
 
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9/27/2012 10:41 PM
 

I am a big Toyota fan.  Right now we only have a RAV4 that is my wife’s car.   We have outgrown a couple Tacomas and an old 4Runner.  Currently we have an ‘07 GMC Sierra Crew Cab.  It works great for hauling the dogs, people, loads of camping gear, etc.  However, for me it’s off-road capability is limited.  One day it will be replaced with a Tundra.  For solo trips or trips where it is just me and my son, our ‘07 Jeep Rubicon works great. It will get us and our packs to the most remote trail head even with some nasty road conditions.   And it is just flat fun to drive around.  It is my third Wrangler and when it wears out, I will buy another.  Getting there is half the fun.

 
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9/28/2012 12:21 PM
 

I am a huge Toyota fan, but I am also coming from a motorcyle, 99.9% on road riding. I have looked at a lot of dual sports, and even ridden a couple. For a few reasons I kind of lean away from a bike. First and the most major is that I can't take my dog along with me on a bike, and I guarantee he wants to go along, and I like having him along.  The other thing is that I feel like the extra carrying capacity of a vehicle provides a bit larger margin of safety in that you can haul more water, food, and tools very easily.  On a bike you are really space limited.  The other thing is that I am not sure I want to be ridding a bike back after a long hard hike or backpack trip when my legs are already shot and I am tired. 

I lean away from an atv or SxS simply because I want to be able to take off from my front door and not have to trailer it to get where I want to head out from.

I have never had a jeep and my time in one is limited, but my sense is that you get more of the open out there feeling (if doors are off and you are just using a minimal top for shade) like you do on a bike. I like that feeling, and that is why I really keep looking at another bike, perhaps even another harley, but I am wondering if the jeep (using this term to denote any rig that is open) will just give me a more capable vehicle for what I want to do with a similar sense. That is also why I am not really looking at an older toyota pickup.  I just flat don't like the look of the older 4-runners.

OPC, thanks for the heads up on the Bronco, but the move depeleted my fun money account so it is going to be alittle while before it gets built back up enough to get anything.

 


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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9/28/2012 12:37 PM
 

oldpinecricker wrote
 

An uncle of mine is an supplier of bearing to Japanese auto manufactures and he's told me that his Japanese customers/manufactures want demand higher quality parts and steel specs from thier suppliers than do American and other vehicle makers.  This I don't doubt one bit and in Afganistan it's no wonder that the most sought after car is the Toyota Corolla, and in the countryside Toyota pickups are the preferred mode of transportation.

 

This.

After a stint in ATO, and talking with the mechanics that were contracted to work on MRAPs, HMMVEEs, a few other weird gun trucks, Land Rovers and Toyotas (Land Cruisers and Hi-Lux)...there was no question for me.  When I returned, I sought out and found (finally) a well cared for Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-80.  Superb vehicle.  It is my battle wagon, BOV and 'out there' camping/hunting vehicle.  Would that America could make such a beast.

A Jeep might fit most civ needs, it is no where as reliable as the Toys.  And it is just too small for a family.

 
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9/28/2012 12:40 PM
 

You just need a side car for the pooch and extra items :) Just kidding. Road legal has a lot of advantages. I honestly don't see much advantage to an ATV for NF, wilderness use. Total time commitment is probably as much as a jeep when you consider a trailer etc for an ATV.

 

Be careful with getting to open air where there is a lot of elevation changes. I have a friend that now permantly carries a 0 degree bag in his jeep, becasue he has done stuff like go over the mountains open air on a nice day, spent more time than he wished and drove back open air over 11,000 in a snow storm at night. freexing his butt off.

Dirt bikes can flat out fly though. We deploy dirt bike first responders on a lot of rescues. They cover in 10 minutes, what it takes 45 in a jeep to do.

 

 

 

 


http://www.seekoutside.com | sig added by EH... go check out Kevin's stuff!
 
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9/28/2012 11:08 PM
 

This may be of interest to anyone interested in a dual-purpose bike:

 

http://www.moto-mule.com/trailers.html

 

The topic of the dual-purpose motorcycle being the "horse" in the downhill portion of Peak Oil has come up before,  This thing may be the packhorse to accompany it.

 
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9/29/2012 7:26 PM
 

I guess I look at a jeep as a motorcycle with side car and trunk.  I test rode a Ural a few years back, and frankly I am not sure if the foot print is really that much smaller than a Jeep. 

Kevin, I have been there only on a motorcycle and, in Evan's old toyota truck come to think of it.

I hear you guys on the toyotas, but all the FJ40s I see are either beat to crap, POS rusted out hulks, or they want a grip of cash for them. 

TAK sweet link good to know where those are.


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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9/30/2012 8:42 PM
 

We have an 84 cruiser we would be willing to sell. We just don't have enough time to give it the attention is needs. Runs fine, lots of little things. Could be a great vehicle.


http://www.seekoutside.com | sig added by EH... go check out Kevin's stuff!
 
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10/1/2012 2:54 PM
 

If your wanting to bring an dog and some supplies than an jeep or some type of Toyota is the best option.  I only suggeted ATV or UTVs because they are easily tracked for all year use in snow country and where I live we have low elevations but typically heavy snowfall that makes tracked vehicles the only option for year round use.

 

The great thing about the Jeep vehicles is that it;s like the AR-15 or Harley in that there's lots of aftermarket and parts support.  That is an plus.

 

Personally I'm just so brainwashed and biased towards Toyota that I don't see anything else coming close for the $$$ spent.  Im actually looking for an old Toyota truck with an 4cyl as my next vehicle, because my nephew is getting an mechanic degree at his local high school/college tech center. 

 

 

 
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10/1/2012 4:39 PM
 

Pinecricker, I was amazed at the number of pre-Tacoma Toyo 4x4's on the road in your neck of the woods.  I love 'em but they are weak, as in the power dept. so towing is out for anything over a ton, but I don't own anything that heavy anyway.

As for jeeps, I'd hold out for a Rubicon with  the inline-6.  People want a pile for 'em but there is a reason for that.  I also would NOT have a ragtop, especially in snow country BTDT.

 
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10/1/2012 5:51 PM
 

I dont know TAK. Our friends that own a jeep rental / tour business swear by the sports. They buy one Rubicon a year, as a rescue vehicle. A stock sport will get you almost anywhere here except maybe poughkeepsie gulch. I would steer clear of modifing anything if I could. I was driving down from Yankee Boy Basin this summer in my Nissan Nizmo (very good off road ) and saw a Rubicon with a broken axle. The ruby was decked, they must have put 50k in it, but I suspect those that did the work, did not account for changes in stress. I know it would suck to get that thing out of there. A stock sport pulled them out of the way so others could pass.


http://www.seekoutside.com | sig added by EH... go check out Kevin's stuff!
 
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10/1/2012 9:02 PM
 

I know where you're coming from Kevin, you don't need to build a "killer" jeep to run FS/fireroads.  I would turn  your arguement around and say a Rubicon is the ideal starting point BECAUSE it is already overbuilt with Dana 44 axles front and rear, and the trasfer is beefier as well, plus it comes with air lockers.  I'll bet the Rubicon you saw with a broken axle had stupid big (probably 37in) tires.  Rubicons come stock with 31's and are already geared properly for that tire size.  You could step up to 33's and drive sensibly if you wanted.  You cannot just slap 33's on a stock jeep without snapping stuff, if you use it hard, even occasionally.

I guess it all depend on what you are after.  If wrenching is your hobby, then just get an old square headlight YJ and build it up.  They want a pile even for those old things though.

Any 4x4 build begins with tire size.  The bigger the tire, the more money it'll take to turn 'em and not break.  IMO, 31's are the minimum, because that is what full size trucks have, and you can get stuck in their ruts if you are running little 29's like a Wrangler or Tacoma come stock with.  33's buy a bit more capability, but the non-Rubicon jeeps have a mall-cruiser drivetrain that won't hold up running them off-road.  Some Wranglers have Dana 44 rear ends, I wouldn't consider one that didn't at least have that.

 
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10/2/2012 12:26 AM
 

oldpinecricker wrote

"In the summer I use 3 off road motorcycles to get really far back into places and often I have it all to myself as most folks are ATV users and cannot use the steep single track trails that have steep drop offs.  It's pretty cheap and economical way to get out an really far back in forests."

AND

 "As far as Jeeps and Bronco vehicles go, I like them, but I am of the opinion that mechanically an person cannot beat an well set up small Toyota pickup or 4Runner.  The part quality is superior and there's quite an bit of aftermarket for them."

 

 

I picked a couple setences from OPC's post, because I couldn't agree with him more.  I don't have all the funds I need for my perfect transportation setup yet,  but when I'm there, I'll have a "built" 4Runner and a TW200.  Those two will get me anywhere I want to go, with reliability and decent fuel economy.  I'll also have my xtra cab Tacoma which I still love after 16yrs,  and treat it accordingly.   My XR650L has plenty of power on the pavement, but more weight than I like in the mountains.  It's the Leatherman Supertool of bikes--------------it covers all the bases, but not as well as ones that are specialized for certain jobs.

 
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10/2/2012 10:51 AM
 

I have to agree with  overbuilding. My take is that after market suspension is worth the cash, but do you research so you stay within the angle limitations of the stock drive train unless you plan on replacing all that anyway.  For my uses 33 is the biggest I would go and 31-32 might win out. 

The first 5 years I had a drivers license I was living in Colorado and my only transportation was a motorcycle.  Heck this time I am looking at 4 tires instead of two, a windshield, and top (no sides or doors).  Part of what I am wanting is the open air feel of a motorcycle in a more practical package.  I have talked to more than one guy who has both and the report is the jeep (generic term) gets way more use, is more fun in a lot of ways, and gives you almost the same feel as a motorcycle.  For me part of the requirment would be the ability to run with just a top and no doors.  I expect to do that year around and expect to have to have a jacket and stocking cap for parts of the year.  That is why a earlier toyota truck is not a no brainer.  It is also why I lean towards jeeps when I am really a toyota guy.  Toyotas give you only two options I am aware for topless and that is a 4-runner (which years?) and an FJ40.  I have already addressed my issue with the FJ.  I guess I could be talked into a 4-runner topless, but I don't really know much about those. 

Great discussion though. 


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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10/2/2012 11:07 AM
 

I know where you're coming from Kevin, you don't need to build a "killer" jeep to run FS/fireroads

Kevin's comments are particularly interesting to me because jeeps in a rental fleet where he lives likely see more aggressive technical use than just about anywhere, Moab included. If memory serves the Jeep roads around there are very technical but stop short of needing a rock crawler, whereas in Moab it seems to go from good gravel road to "need a rock crawler" pretty quickly with very little in between.

One distinction that the off-roaders make is betwen "crawling" and "overlanding". Overlanding has to do with longer distance travel in the backcountry -- using a streetable but capable rig to get way out there in places you couldn't walk to due to distance or lack of water or whatever. For me personally, if it gets to the point that I could ride a bicycle or walk faster than I could travel in a vehicle, I'm not interested. That rules out a lot of modifications and argues for closer to stock. On the other hand, if I can use a rig to get 20+ miles back into an area that I'm not likely to see anyone else (and then start walking), I'm suddenly very interested. There are hundreds if not thousands of square miles around us that match this classification and seem to require some modification. Suspension at least.

That's an ongoing discussion with us. How gnarly of roads are we really interested in traveling and just how far from stock do you really need to go to open up that class of road?


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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10/2/2012 1:15 PM
 

Evans assement is spot on. Moab is basically gravel and sand or rock crawler, not a lot in between. Ours are mostly somewhat technical, but rarely requiring modification more than a couple inch lift.  The usage is probably pretty agressive, due to the inexperienced nature, or folks not wanting to drive that way with thier own car.


http://www.seekoutside.com | sig added by EH... go check out Kevin's stuff!
 
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10/2/2012 1:33 PM
 

I've owned a '69 Bronco, a '68 M715 and a '72 FJ40.  I had a college buddy with a CJ-7 that I drove some.  IMO much of the romance of these older rigs dies off quickly after you drive it a while.  In other words, they've "got their moments" but you've really got to love them to remain loyal to them----------------which is very hard to do if you've also got a new, quiet, smooth, warm/cool rig that tracks straight down the road, starts every time, and doesn't leave you tired when you get there.   That said, I still miss those older rigs, and want one again.

FJ40s CAN be found in good condition, but you'll pay for it.  And I'm not sure if you want to spend that kind of coin and then expose it to Colorado salty roads.  Additionally, FJs have been called "a Jeep, but a thousand pounds heavier."  The frame and drivetrain is something to behold, but you might still be better off with a CJ7.  Especially if you can find or build one with a fiberglass tub and a powder-coated frame.  That'd maximize your investment in the salt.

Regarding older Toyotas, don't overlook the option of building take-off doors.  It'll give you all the wind and road dust you'll want, without having to remove a top.

Another thought is a fullsized Bronco-----------one of the '78 or '79s.  They're a little bigger than the earlier ones, but built stronger, and aren't collectible, so you can score them for a song and invest more money in new parts.  For just running USFS roads and pavement with the top and doors off, I'd be a great way to go IMO.

For everyone's entertainment, with a little education in the process, here's a 22min video to watch.  The star of the show is a '79 Bronco.

www.youtube.com/watch

 
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10/2/2012 2:00 PM
 

That is why I am looking hardest at TJ Wranglers (98-2006) as they are basically modern CJ7s with all the more modern components and less up keep.


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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