View Full Version : Weekend Off Roading/Daily Driving

08-04-2013, 05:04 PM
I've been looking to get into off roading a little bit on the weekends but still have a car that can daily drive so nothing super hard core. I've been looking at Grand Cherokees and XJs as well as the 4Runner. I'm about to go test drive a WJ (2004) Grand Cherokee with the v8 powertech motor (plus leather/heated seats) with 90k on the clock. The I6 while bulletproof apparently is a little slugging in the heavier WJ and comes with a shit transfer case on the WJ/ZJ whereas the 4.7 non HO version gets the same gas mileage and comes with an all around better drive train setup.

I also have a lead on a 4runner Limited v6. 167,000 miles fully serviced to the max and owned by mechanics.

I might stop down in PA to give a look at a few XJs but I've settled on wanting more cargo space which is one of the Audi's problem.

Ultimately I plan to use these for light trail work and some DD work/trips. Keeping a crazy low budget ($10k or less). I'm trading in the Audi on whatever I buy. It's been nothing but a problem and I'm saving for a wedding. So whatever I buy only needs to last until next year when I can stop saving every penny for one day and buy something newer/pay off whatever I pick up now.

Figured I'd source some opinions from non jeepforum.com or yotatech guys.

Side note I also have a 2002 VW Cabrio and 2010 Mazda6 (2.5 4 cyl) so me and the wife have 2 other fuel efficient cars and the Mazda will be used for most of our long trips not requiring more space than the trunk can handle. I don't travel enough for my job to care about the Jeep's fuel really. I think my Audi needs to be filled up this week and it's been a month since I filled it. WFH = rarely on the road.

I should mention whatever I get would get an extremely mild lift 2inch or less (and maybe not at all) and just a good set of tires. So it doesn't need to be heavily modded for now.

08-05-2013, 04:12 PM
I should mention whatever I get would get an extremely mild lift 2inch or less (and maybe not at all) and just a good set of tires. So it doesn't need to be heavily modded for now.

you say that now buddy but really......its addicting! My dad bought his FJ in 2007....prolly has $10-15K in it now. I have 2....both pretty heavily modified and now a days I dont even off road that much anymore since we had the baby and she doesnt really enjoy it right now.

Here is the thing i would look at...
my brother had a 2006 grand with the V8 in it......gas....AWFUL! somewhere around the 13-14 mark. However that thing was a MONSTER in the snow/ice. but not that great of ground clearance, and has IFS suspension (which if you are going to buy a jeep get a Solid Axle). From what I have heard these arent the most reliable things out there. They are great for a DD that you take skiing or something.

The Jeep XJ...these things can be retarded monsters! I have heard they are much more reliable Cherokee, do have a solid axle. would be good for driving everyday with a 3-4.5in lift. and would be able to tackle pretty much anything you throw at it off road from mud, sand to rock crawling. Good ground clearance as well. my cousin just sold his 89 Cherokee that had 190K miles on it that he had to start with a screwdriver, 4x4 didnt work, and the engine was going out.

The 4runner will be the most reliable. My runner has 210K miles on it (bought it with 192K) and I used to daily drive it (before work provided me with a truck) but i still drive it every day to the gym and every weekend. a stock one will get you about 20-22MPG a mild lift and tires will prolly take you to 18-20MPG. As long as it has a 3.4L or the 4.0L V6 you will be fine on power. also easy as shit to work on if you used to work on Honda's.

The breakdown is the 2004 Grand will be the most to upgrade. not as many people do it so parts will be more expensive.
the XJ will be cheaper but they are a car that is heavily modified so it will be cheaper than the newer jeep.
the Toyota 4runner. you could put a 3in lift kit for under $500 EASY! I paid 400 for my 3in with new springs, and 200 for my body lift giving me 5in of lift total.

08-05-2013, 04:31 PM
I keep leaning to the Toyota due to how reliable they are but everyone on the yota forums screams up and down don't bother if you aren't going to get the rear locker. Which I can't find on most decent ones for sale and after 1999 they didn't offer them anyway. I wonder if it's just BS for those who can't off road well or just don't want to have to use recovery straps and shit in bad situations.

The 4Runner I've been keeping an eye on is a Limited model (1998) with 167k on it and had oil changes every 3k miles, every 15k trans fluid, front diff and rear diff oil. Timing belt and water pump were done at about 95K, platinum plugs, OEM spark plug wires, valve cover gaskets, cam seals, and crank seal at the same time. His wife drove it from 80k to 167k so while it's a little dirty, it just seems to be in great shape for the mileage. Asking $4300 thinking of offering $4k cash. Has factory roof rack and towing package too.

08-05-2013, 04:53 PM
they offer them after 99....they dont offer stick after that though.

Here is my view on the locker, mine doesnt have one and I have YET to get it stuck! I sunk mine almost to the doors in a mud puddle, did i make it to the other side, no, but did i get out...sure did.
I have noticed some bad times without the locker, when i flex it pretty heavy i will get stuck for a second, but just let it rock a second give it gas and I'm good. I off road with heavily modified Toyota FJ's, A-Trac, E-Lockers, stability-trac, blah blah blah and have yet come to a spot where I didnt make it cuz i didnt have an E-Locker-We are talking sand, mud, snow, slick rock, aroyo, hard packed dirt. however will i get one....you betcha! they do make a HUGE difference! but for saying dont bother if it doesnt have one...bullshit they dont know how to drive.

now if you had the choice between one with it for $4500 vs the one without it for $4300....I would say kick over the extra money up front and get it because its nice to have that additional $1500 E-Locker from the factory. (and the factory is an AMAZING stock part). but if you cant find one dont let it shy you away, I dont have one and mine is a fucking beast.

My wifes truck has one and I've used it maybe two or 3 times. Hope that helps homie, shoot any Toyota questions you got for me I'll keep it real for ya.

(on a side note..if you grey wire mod the stock ones though, it allows you to E-Lock it in 2WD......that makes for some fun time in the sand!)

08-05-2013, 05:09 PM
Thanks dude. Your thread was what caused me to start looking at the 4Runner. All of my buddies are Jeep guys and there are so many Jeep only groups in the area I was leaning that way just for a larger off road group to mingle with.

08-06-2013, 12:05 AM
eh get what you feel comfortable with and you can still go out with jeep only groups. They will just talk shit in a joking matter, dish it back its all in good fun. They wont ever tell you no....just head out that way by yourself when you know they are meeting and they will ask you to join along. if they dont they are douchebags and you dont want to mingle with them anyway.

I've been added to Jeep groups, we've asked jeep people to tag along, I'm friends with some jeep guys that want to go all the time (wish i could but cant). Its a good community to be part of everyone is usually pretty awesome, there is no big macho type stuff like there is with honda or mustang guys. Always joking stuff about jeeps and toyota guys or ford and chevy guys...and everyone on hummers.

post pix on whatever you get man! like i said before I would suggest either the runner or the XJ. and if you get a toyota ill tell ya where to put your credit card on file for the "slight modifications" you will do! :)

soon to be you!.....................................

08-06-2013, 11:56 PM
XJs are nice cheap rigs, but they are a glorified car. Unibody sucks. If you get a 4runner i would get the 4bangar personally. The IFS front sucks, but for what you describe it will work fine. I am big into rockcrawling and hardcore shit but the mild trail riding is pretty cool too.


08-07-2013, 07:54 AM
Yea I considered just going Wrangler but I'm looking for something I can DD on road trips with the wife and dog without complaints while running some mild off road trails on the weekend. Plus interior cargo space is a huge deal hence the GC and 4Runner on the top of the list. I think I'm a little ways out from the real rock climbing and such. Heck this will be my first 4wd/AWD purchase.

My biggest challenge has been finding something that doesn't need major work or that looks like it'll handle some DD work with a minor tune up.

08-08-2013, 09:48 AM
My biggest challenge has been finding something that doesn't need major work or that looks like it'll handle some DD work with a minor tune up.

This would make me lean more towards a Yota. I sunk 400-600 into it right away, new wires, plugs, fuel system cleaner, from breaks, and fuel filter the second day i owned it....so far so good.

but i was going to ask ya...do you want interior cargo room? or just cargo room? if you are okay with outside cargo what about a Toyota Tacoma 1st gen. extended cab and just throw a Tanou cover on it.

08-08-2013, 05:12 PM
Yea really about interior space. I can toss shit on the roof or even get a cargo box to drag around for protected exterior carrying but would prefer inside cargo space. Ah well just waiting until next week to try and see this 98 4Runner Limited. Had diff fluids changed every 15k, oil every 3k, timing belt, water pump, plugs, wires, valve cover gaskets, cam seals, and crank seal all done at 100k. Plus new tires and brakes less than 5k ago. Besides higher mileage (167k), seems to be in solid shape dude's wife just bought a new car. Asking $4300 for it.

08-09-2013, 09:43 AM
I would just on that all day! dont let the high miles scare you, i bought mine with 190K. seems like they kept up with it, pretty good price too. looking forward to hearing more about it once you look at it