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HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsVehicle Mobilit...Vehicle Mobilit...Backcountry via Gas PowerBackcountry via Gas Power
New Post
10/2/2012 12:18 PM

Yeah, I understand your thinking.  I'd specifically consider the Rubicon edition.  Stock Dana 44 with lockers, and geared low enough for 33's.  About the only things I don't like about 'em are the lack of front hubs (maybe retro kits are available?), and the lack of the old school metal dash.   Other than those issues, I think it'd make very capable rig.

New Post
10/2/2012 2:53 PM

I was just having this conversation with my wife recently, as I expressed the desire for a cross-type bike (KLR 650) and she said; to damned way, I'll buy you an ATV instead.  I looked at UTVs but up here the price tag is upwards of  $12,000 and I know a good second-hand Wrangler Rubicon I could get for half that.  Also, up here is the issue of UTVs on assigned ATV/sled trails not being generally allowed.

All that being said, I prefer to walk and my next big, planned hunt  above the treeline will be on four legs, not four wheels.

New Post
10/2/2012 3:00 PM

After having all the cool off road toys, Ford Bronco, dirt bike, ATV's and snowmobiles I got rid of them all. Lifes much better using a 40 mpg car to get as close as possible and using your leg power the rest of the way. Plus you get fat if its easier just to ride or drive somewhere. Not to poo poo the subject but my life has been so much better without a bunch of gas drinking money pits. My only advise is whatever you buy keep it as stock as possible. It will save you money, many headaches and will preserve the value when you want to sell it. I can get my little jeep most of the places those guys with 44 inch tires on their little toyos and Suzuki's can go, even places they cant in the winter. The only thing I would consider buying now is a scooter that gets 90+ mpg. I can get one of those down some brushy roads that are not drivable.

New Post
10/2/2012 5:09 PM

One of the reasons I am enjoying this thread so much is the context and experience that folks are basing their decisions on, and articulating.  For instance, I can't think of a single place in the PNW that I went that a passenger car wouldn't get me there just because leaving pavement means good, graveled, logging roads as WEG suggests.  On the flip side, to this day I remember renting a Blue CJ7 in the town that KevinT lives in and taking it to the top of the pass.  Never been to the third world like El Mac and OPC, but I have heard over and over that Toyota is king in those areas.  Heck, I am sure I am not the only one who eyeballed the pictures of the Tacomas in Afghanistan early on.  In the end experience and context, or in this case, location is really what drives decisions or should, but there seems to be some universals like less is more, and toyotas rock. 

I guess part of my problem is that I wake up looking across the Valley at the eastern end of the Bookcliffs, and knowing that they run from here 120 or so miles to Price and beyond them is miles and miles of land with little water and lots of cool areas to check out.

I am all about foot travel but just like in the winter I think about using a snowmobile to access the wilderness boundary.  Basically, a way to cover the first 5-20 miles to get to the really cool stuff in the time allotted.

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
New Post
10/2/2012 8:52 PM

The last couple posts reminded me of my diesel VW Rabbits I once owned.  They both made very economical mountain rigs, since I stayed on the roads.  They handled great on gravel roads, could tackle snow as deep as the belly pan, and I only got stuck in the mud once going where I should have known better-------------that was a long night and valuable learning experience.  Anyway, 40+ mph on $1 a gallon farm fuel meant I was seeing the world for pennies.  The ENTIRE time I longed for a CJ7  though, convinced it was the key to a happier life.  I still haven't been able to completely quiet that thought.

New Post
10/3/2012 7:17 AM

I've longed for a CJ Scrambler, but no such thing. You know what is a really good , seldom talked about off road vehicle ? The Isuzu Trooper. I've owned two, and stock they handled almost anything around here a jeep could, they are good road drivers, getting near 20 MPG, and are large enough to sleep in the back if you build a platform. I've slept myself and two boys out in Moab, or done a couple quick overnighters with my wife this way. They are a nice mix of overland comfort, and 4WD trail capability. My 1995 has close to 200,000 miles. The only issue I had was a couple starters , a timing belt (my fault) and a locking hub (which are pricey). Get manual hubs instead as they are so much less expensive. I'm glad to have mine back, as the amount it is worth for sale, is not represenative of it's capabilities.

Kevin | sig added by EH... go check out Kevin's stuff!
New Post
10/3/2012 11:38 AM

I hate to say it but, I agree with Kevin and Scot (I am a die-hard F150 guy) about Isuzu's and Tacoma (technically the diesel version known as the Hilux).  I have used these in Bosnia and Afghanistan and they never fail to impress me, the Ford Ranger even worked well there due to weight and size.

New Post
10/3/2012 12:16 PM

My first car was an early 80s VW Diesel Jetta. I took that think a lot of places due to the front wheel drive, short wheel base, and good handling.  It was also great on snow, but where it feel down was clearance.  It just doesn’t have enough to get to where I want to go.  To this day I laugh at the 30-40 mpg hybrids. I was getting 55+ back in the day.

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
New Post
10/3/2012 4:42 PM

It'd be interesting to have a "What's in your" thread for gas powered rigs. I'm sure I don't have it all covered.

I was at Bumping Lake two years ago doing a sled dog demo with my son for his scout troop, and I kid you not, winds over 100 mph with healthy looking old growth snapping all around us. One trunk was 5 ft. diameter across the road. Chainsaw + axe as a wedge + trucker's chain eventually took care of it, at least to the point we could get our rigs on by.

I think Fred Beckey's PNW guidebooks also recommend toting a chainsaw.

New Post
10/4/2012 6:46 AM

I wouldn't seriously consider NOT owning a 4WD, especially living in snow country.  Sounds like a Jeep of some sort is your huckleberry Scot.  If you don't wanna wrench, get a Rubicon, if that isn't an issue. buy and build it up as you see fit.  I can't help you with selecting a proper ring & pinion ratio, but that is the first mod you need to consider, and you HAVE to decide what tire size you'll go with.  Then, since you or a mechanic will be tearing into the differentials, you may as well install at least one locker, your choices are air and cable operated, DO NOT install auto lockers in snow country. The ARB/Super 30 for the front axle puts you in the same league with the Rubicon's Dana 44 front axle. Lift only enough to clear the tires at full compression, check by crossing up the Jeep in a ditch, one wheel fully compressed with the other at full droop.  A two inch suspension lift combined with a 1-2in body lift is the way to go, IMO.  The only way to get true ground clearance gains is with taller tires, and the taller tire will have a longer radius, lifting the body off of the frame the same amount  as this increased radius is the best solution.


New Post
10/4/2012 8:31 PM

I figure I better jump in here since Toyota has been mentioned as a posible rig. My first experience with a Yota was with my dad who was a uranim geologist and spent many a mile riding in or on the side running boards of his 71' FJ40 while doing field work. It got us into a lot of places never seen before by most from Eastern Wyo., MT., E. Washington to the deserts of Aridzona and New Mexico and all over Colorado. I even got a chance to role it on Genesee Pass/I70  when the asphault went from dry to snow covered black ice in a heart beat. The tow truck flipped it back over and the next moring it started right up after a little sawbbing of oil from the cylinders through the spark plug holes. 

The next one was my first new rig, a 1987 xtra cab deeeelux 4x4 pickup with the 22r carberated engine and 5 spd. After many miles of travel and adventure, and the unfortunate radiator hose fiasco followed by the Buick V6 replacement motor I bought 1984 FJ60 Land Cruiser. A great rig albeit a bit under powered. Then came the 1985 SR5 xtra cab 4x4 Picup which I still have now sitting in the drive way getting lighter each year through the chemical process of rust.

And last is my 1996 FJ80, pobably the best all around family/hunting/crusing/vacation rig of the bunch. This is the one I would suggest to seriously look into. Doesn't have the open air qualities of the jeep, or the gas mileage of the pickups or the trooper and even a little tighter inside fit than the FJ60. But it just goes...and goes...and goes. It will cruise at 75 mph all day long until you hit the steep hills but will get up them just fine. It has a very tight turning radius, more so than the pickups and with the 2-3 inch Old Man Emu lift and 285/75/ R16 tires it has taken me anywhere I have wanted to go including some fairly serious jeep trails.

SLG can attest to the deep snow cruising abilities from last fall busting through 2-3 ft. drifts in the Little Belt mountains. The straight six motor is about as reliable as they get and after some 50k miles I've put on the rig on top of the original 118k I haven't really had to do anything to it but change oil and fill  up the tank.

About my only complaint would be gas mileage (12-15 mpg) and not being able to sleep full length in the back with rear seats folded up like I could in the FJ60 or the pickups, but then, thats what a tent is for. They only come in automatic and were basically built for the upper crust with all the acutrements for comfort but under the skin the rig is pure overland adventure truck ( its getting thick now!).  They can be had for about 1/5 their original cost and there are plenty around W. CO for a test ride.

My next best would be another clean, no rust 1985 FJ60 with either a chevy 350 or newer toy I6 (maybe with the turbo kit) or evena toy BJ series diesel under the hood and 3" lift with 35" tires. All it takes is money. | sig added by Evan. Go check out Rod's work.
New Post
10/5/2012 6:20 PM

Ive had a few Toyota 2wd trucks and each got over 300,000 miles in thier lifetime and one is still going.  An lot of my 4x4 time in Toyota and Miller trucks has been in this country and out of country with these vehicles.

The Miller vehicles and modded Landcruisers are tough and are used in solid rock environments that can be dusty, muddy, corrosive, and at times terribly humid and unreal hot in temp.  I'm not cetain an mainstream off the lot truck or 4x4 could last an day in the environs the use Toy/Miller trucks in.

New Post
10/9/2012 9:09 AM
I live in SE Minnesota, and love my 96 Jeep Cherokee Sport. It is basically stock, I put Firestone A/T tires on it and a stainless exhaust. It has gotten me through many hairy snow storms and knock on wood, never been stuck. I like it stock, so its cheaper and easier to keep it on the road. I tore the carpet out of the cargo area and put the DIY Herculiner back there. Works great for hauling my dogs or firewood. I also did a DIY paint job with Rustoleum duck blind paint, easy to touch up. The times I have not had a 4x4, I swore to never go without again. To me it is worth the $ and maintenance for it. I went to school for Auto/Diesel/Industrial, so I do everything I can at home. One day I do see a crew cab Tacoma w/ topper in my future though. I agree with you guys, too many people worry about big tires and not drivetrain. If I had the funds I would build for strength and reliability, then worry about capability. Just my opinion though.
HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsVehicle Mobilit...Vehicle Mobilit...Backcountry via Gas PowerBackcountry via Gas Power