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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hey guys i am new to off road and i am really interested in it i have mechanic and auto body experience but do not know much about off road i would want something that is still streetable but could handle some nice off road shit too

what would you recommend getting that is pretty cheap to pick up and easy to find parts for

thanks

ozz
 

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Ok, kind of loaded question. What kind of off roading do you wish to do. Rocks or mud? For rocks usually people choose smaller vechicles so that they can squeeze betwen rocks with minimal damage. Mud on the otherhand, wheelbase and horsepower are usually kings!
You are then going to run into the brand X vs. brand Y debate with bashing of the others respective brand. Now that being said let me try to answer you question.
Toyotas run forever (can you tell my bias) are fairly cheep to find and have mass aftermarket parts availiable. The same can be said for Samurais. I personally am biased for the older toyotas. pickup and 4runners. Have an '85 which has the solid axle and EFI. Not a lot of power but will run forever and can be made into a damn good off road vehicle while retaining the drivability. Jeeps are plenty availiable as well with a lot of aftermarket support. Each brand you look at will have pros and cons and you need to look at them all. (example, early toyotas have notorius weak birfield joints, replacement Longfields correct this weakness.)

Hope that helps.

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Look around on the mudding forum and see what everyone is running. Older chevy and fords are all around!
 

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Mid 70s to late 80s chevy 3/4 or 1 ton.
 

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I am a rock crawling jeep guy so my opinion doesn't count for much in this discussion but "anyways, lets get down to the nitty gritty."(Nacho Libre) IfI were to get into mud I would go with a short bed chevy or ford. Just personal opinion and based solely on style. I think any full size rig 3/4 to 1 ton like Lehi said would do just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thanks i appreciate the help

how do you think a cherokee would fair in the mud with a 3 inch lift
 

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Clearance woldn't be bad but it does not have the power to get the wheel speed.
 

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For mudding, specifically, you don't need to worry about flex one iota. But you do need to have tough sumbich axles, plenty of lift, you don't need a deeply-geared transfer case...but it should be gear-driven iron instead of chain-driven aluminum (the NP-205 is perfect...and if you want gears you get a 205/203 doubler from...who's that? ORU?) Buy a beat-to-shit truck and get more clearance by cutting out fenders with a chainsaw. Alright...not a chainsaw. A sawzall...just wanted to see if you'd do it. Finally, don't spend a lot of money on anything but your axles and your tires. Everything else is irrelevant.

That's my specific opinion on this one...that said...

I recommend reading until your eyes bleed. Get all of the Primedia magazines that are specific to off-roading and read *every* article, even the ones that don't interest you. That's how you learn what's good for what. After the articles start repeating themselves, which takes about 24 to 36 months, you cut back and just read the new shit. When something's not clear in the article...don't ask the magazine, come to a place like this and get clarification. I come here and, because my rock crawler is a 1995 Chevy half ton pickup, I go to http://www.fullsizechevy.com/forums/ . You'll find that sites like these two are full of folks just as knowledgable as the magazine writers and editors....they just don't spell as well. If you send your question off to a magazine, good luck - hope you're patient and lucky. Nah...mostly you deserve the infinite wait you'll probably get, 'cause I warned ya.

After you've started reading a lot, perhaps within 4 - 6 months, you'll begin to understand basic strengths and weaknesses of each of the truck makers, the SUV makers, and the rest. You should use that info to choose a vehicle and not what someone around you says. Because when you listen to what someone around you says, you end up buying what that someone likes. Not necessarily what you'll like.

Remember that different types of rides have different downsides/challenges with different costs. Chevy trucks and SUVs (depending on capacity and type) all went to IFS in the late 80s to early 90s. Many of the hardcore off-road crowd (including me, but excepting the pre-runner folks) will spend the nominal $3500 to put in a solid front axle. Toyotas are fantastically tough, but the Birfields (as you read above) are notorious for failing. And again, after certain years their truck and SUV moved over to that street-comfortable, but weak in the dirt and rocks, IFS. Dodge and Ford both kept solid front axles longer, but old Dodges suffered from the corporate nasty habit of picking one of the worst of either the front axle or the transmission or the transfer case, etc. on each vehicle. It's like they meant to poison most of the trucks they built. Fords seem to fall in line with European rides in that they don't get the same horsepower per cubic inch/cubic centimeter/liter as Chevy or Dodge does. Jeep provides a great out-of-the-box off-road vehicle, but it's not good for much else. There's no real room except for the front passengers and the 4.0 inline 6 cylinder and the 2.x (2.4?) 4 cylinder get crappy mileage while dealing out crappy performance...though the 4.0 gets respectible torque. Hummer doesn't give you the bang for the buck that ANY of the other manufacturers can (and personally I don't think the H1 Alpha...supposedly the creme-dela-creme of off-roading...is worth half of what it costs...and from those that I've driven I'd spend my money on a gray-market military version if I could find one.)

Are you beginning to see why so many folks say "it depends"? You need to learn what you want, then buy what you can. And that's the best you can do.

And, to add a bit of confusion to everything I said above, there are exceptions all along. Some wonderful Dodge 1 ton trucks with the D-70 axles front and back with a fairly strong 360 or 440, Ford has its legendary 460/C-6 combo, and the C-6 tranny is everything the wonderful Chevy TH400 is (but not quite as phenom as the 4L80E)...

This could go on and on forever.

-Mikey-
 
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