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Off Road Vehicles


Dove76
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I am looking to purchase a 4*4 with a standard transmission. We do need this. To get to my dads you need one to get up a long logging road from the 1860s. To go to the beach here, need one. We already got stuck once! Lol! Where we will be moving to, dirt road with snow and rain....ya. And we weren't able to go down some of the roads in Big Bend when we were there last month. We have some trips planned that need a 4*4. So I am looking for one. I have had a couple. A samurai and a Bronco. Loved them, but I went to the city and didn't need one for quite a while. 

What would u all recommend? My needs are different now. Ill be hauling my travel trailer, ill need to make sure I have a chainsaw to see my dad. The pines fall on the road all the time. Haul water and a cooler. Maybe some camping gear if I decide to hike for a few days here and there. I need something easy and basic to work on. Easy to find parts. The simpler the better!

I asked this in another forum, but looking for a different ideas. 

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Michael aka Mac

Well Dove,  I really am not sure how to answer your question.  Are you asking me for advice for the best type of vehicle that fits your needs? or are you asking me what type of vehicle would I use under that criteria? or are you more on the line of asking what consumer reports would say?

You see when you ask a question like what kind of truck to buy, your asking a question that will give you 100+ answers from a huge array of people with different backgrounds, hobbies, and all will have used their trucks for different purposes. This is why buying a vehicle is such a personal choice.

I am a very particular, picky, and demanding  individual.  When I was looking to buy a vehicle, I was looking for comfort, durability, tow capabilities, 4 wheel drive, spacious leg, waist & shoulder room, exceptional A.C. , high end audio, decent size cargo area, good acceleration and braking distance, sufficient horse power and when I finally bought it I installed front and rear Brush guards  (crash guards), and metal brake light protectors.

In your situation though, I would prefer to use either an Land Rover, or a Jeep Wrangler. No matter what truck or SUV you buy, have a winch installed. Winches come in very handy when you get stuck in the snow or mud, amongst other tasks that require some pulling of weight. The advantage with the Jeep is the removeable doors and roof, as sometimes when you get badly stuck you need to start reducing your vehicles weight . If price was not an issue I would throw the Hummer H1 into the pile. A Nissan Xterra would also work.

One of the deciding factors though will be how heavy your trailer is. 

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You answered my question. I am more worried about meeting the criteria.  And I could care less about consumer reports. There is just something about that publication that doesnt appeal to me. I dont know why. 

The land rover doesnt have high enough clearance for the old logging road. There are a few spots that boulders are popping through and it would tear right through the underneath of it. 

The wench is already on my list. Had one on my Samurai. Loved it. Very useful. 

Hummer seems too clunky for me to operate. 

My travel trailer is a homebuilt tiny travel trailer. Love the damned thing so much! lol! Its maybe 1200 lbs(ish).  VW bug could pull it. Its very light. My husband and I can push it from spot to spot.

I totally forgot about Exterras. 

I am now between the jeep and the Exterra. 

Thank You!

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Michael aka Mac

Dove, I am going to assume that you are not buying a new vehicle.  With that said, since it will not be a new vehicle you have more options at your finger tips and you do not need to eliminate a Land Rover or any vehicle due to ground clearance.  When I lived in California I came across individuals that would meet up in the valley to show off their car and truck modifications, and it are these modifications that I would like to introduce you too.

A trucks ground clearance can be altered by changing out the tires for much larger ones, changing out the struts and shocks & springs, risers. The extreme to this are the Monster Trucks like Big Foot 4*4.  I am not suggesting 10 foot tires lol, but you can raise a vehicle by several inches.  There is a point though when raising your vehicle too high will not only change your center of gravity but will greatly increase your odds of flipping your vehicle when coming off a highway with a sharp turn is involved. For this reason I wouldn't suggest raising a vehicle greater then 6-8 inches (depending on vehicle your raising).

One thing about the Nissan Xterra,  it has a powerful engine and it has really vamped up acceleration. A slight force on the accelerator and I felt like I was in a race car.  Of all the trucks I tested it had by far the greatest acceleration, which is both good and bad, the bad being darted out like a bullet from a tap on the accelerator. 

Depending on how long you have to drive off road and how rocky /bumpy the ride is, you may even want to consider suspension seats. These seats are suspended on springs to help take the brunt of the 'shock' when you drive over rough terrain and keeps you from bouncing around.

BTW Jeeps are designed to handle off road situations, and why it was top on my list at get go.

If these posts have been helpful to anyone , please click " LIKED" so that I know to post /respond to these type of threads.

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I wont be getting a new vehicle. the roads back home would tear up a new vehicle. And i really dont want payments either. Also, trying to find a manual transmission in a new vehicle is hard to find and expensive. 

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  • 1 month later...
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I can only offer one suggestion. If you can afford it, look for a Toyota 4runner, Tacoma or Tahoe.  They are pricier than other used vehicles but with proper care they last forever. I recently sold a 1997 Tacoma 4x4, std transmision, with 360,000+ miles on it, Replaced it with a 2015 Tacoma. I also have a 2003 4runner with 260,000 miles on it. They just run and run and run.  In the past I've owned 4 or 5 Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee and had trouble with every one of them, including a Comanche I bought brand new. Also 3 Samurai with varying levels of modifications but at this point they are toys mostly,  parts are hard to find. 

I do use the 4 wheel drive regularly, not a mall crawler.  I don't know much about the various Ford, GM, or Chrysler/Dodge options. There are a thousand forums for 4wheel questions, but you do have to seperate the wheat from the chaff. Good luck!

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Michael aka Mac

The main question alcap is what is the clearance of the Tacoma or Tahoe, as for the terrain she is going over there needs to be enough ground clearance so they do not get stuck in the middle of no where, thus the limitations of which vehicle for her to buy.

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I don't know the clearance spec but the stock tire on 4x4 Tacoma and 4runner is 31" diameter. Larger (taller) than stock tire on the much vaunted Jeep Wrangler. Unless she is seriously going OFF road, the clearance is more than adequate.  I know I sound like a Toyota fan-boy, but I drove the above mentioned Tacoma in Big Bend, the Rocky Mountains and East Texas woodlands for 18 years. I've owned the 2003 4runner at least 10 years and so far I've put an A/C relay in it.  I believe in them. 

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Michael aka Mac

She is going seriously off-road...  I have taken my 4wheel drive in some real !@!# hole areas in upstate NY in the mountains where there is no pavement only rocks and fallen debris, and what she is going over makes that look like a freshly paved road.  She is installing a winch to help get her out when she gets stuck, if that tells you anything about the terrain.

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The terrain is the Rocky Mountains. Its an old logging road my ancestors made in the 1860's. A lot of the road has been worn from rain and snow.  When we went this past September, there was one part where the top of the boulders had started to show through the road. getting around and ontop of the boulders took a while. I was surprised how much of them were above the dirt this year. On our way back down the mountain, one of the pines had fallen across the road. We ended up having to take the chainsaw and cut it up. This happens a lot up there. A high clearance, 4x4, with a winch, and plenty of room in the back for a cooler, food, water, gas and a chainsaw are needed. 

Also,went to the beach a couple summers ago and got stuck. My sis and her husband had to pull us out. lol oh my!

Then...we went to Big Bend in January. There are many places we wanted to go that required 4wd. 

I'm sorry, but maybe it was the way I was raised, but I really don't like automatic transmissions. They're good for city driving. But even then, I don't feel.as though I have control of my vehicle. 

My target date to buy is  end of May. 

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