2WD Overlanding

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Justin Roach

Rank I

Traveler I

Hey guys, new to the forum and wanted to get some advice on how to get into overlanding with just a 2WD Ford Ranger. I have a truck cap for it and have built a drawer system and platform bed to sleep on. I have planned out a 3 day trip up the east coast (I'm based in Maryland) but that is just hoping from campsite to campsite via the pavement. In a perfect world I'd love to travel via dirt road or mellow trails but I'm having trouble finding areas like that. Any advice about anything overland would be appreciated, I'm a sponge ready to soak up all your information.

Justin

P.S.- Sorry if there is already a thread similar to this, I searched around for a little while and couldn't find anything.
 
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vegasjeepguy

Rank V
Member

Advocate II

2,566
Gravette, AR, USA
Member #

1130

When I am heading out to do some camping, the biggest limitation for my 2WD friends is ground clearance. There are some places we go that the lower profile of a 2WD vehicle make it very difficult to get to without getting stuck or suffering major damage to the vehicle. It only takes one small section of a trail to make it impassable to low clearance vehicles. Many times we don't even use 4WD, but the ground clearance of our lifted vehicles is a must.

That said, stick to mild trails and get to know the capabilities of your vehicle when off road. And if you're going off road, it's always smart to go in a group of at least one other vehicle. If you were out here in the desert southwest there are plenty of places we would take you and also have the recovery gear to get you out of trouble if you do have traction issues. The more you get out, the more confidence you gain. But overconfidence is what get many into trouble.

Being back east I would think that sand will biggest challenge without 4WD. Good tires can help, but I wouldn't even get close to a beach without 4WD.
 

Justin Roach

Rank I

Traveler I

When I am heading out to do some camping, the biggest limitation for my 2WD friends is ground clearance. There are some places we go that the lower profile of a 2WD vehicle make it very difficult to get to without getting stuck or suffering major damage to the vehicle. It only takes one small section of a trail to make it impassable to low clearance vehicles. Many times we don't even use 4WD, but the ground clearance of our lifted vehicles is a must.

That said, stick to mild trails and get to know the capabilities of your vehicle when off road. And if you're going off road, it's always smart to go in a group of at least one other vehicle. If you were out here in the desert southwest there are plenty of places we would take you and also have the recovery gear to get you out of trouble if you do have traction issues. The more you get out, the more confidence you gain. But overconfidence is what get many into trouble.

Being back east I would think that sand will biggest challenge without 4WD. Good tires can help, but I wouldn't even get close to a beach without 4WD.
Thanks for the advice! I have been looking into possibly lifting to increase the ground clearance but I think I'll just save my money and buy a new rig soon.
 

The other Sean

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

2,271
Minneapolis
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2292

Awesome. my last truck was an '03 Ranger edge. Yours is built on the 4WD chassis, so you have ample ground clearance for a 2WD truck. I ran 31x10.5 All terrains on mine.
 

ASNOBODY

Rank VI
Member

Advocate II

3,984
Detroit, Michigan
Member #

3270

Good tires and smart driving will get you to most of the places you want to go. I wouldn't worry to much about the 2WD issue. Seems like there are a bunch of places you could test your rig in and around Maryland. I think Chaos Offroad Park is only about an hour and a half from you. Good safe place to get to know what to expect from your truck in more challenging conditions maybe?
 
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GreyWolf

Rank II
Member

Traveler I

365
Springtown Texas
Member #

6557

One upgrade you could do is go with a rear different locker, which would increase off road traction tremendously! And add a body lift, usually very inexpensive, to add in larger tires for better ground clearance. You would be able to fit 33'so at least. Or a suspension lift is easy to do on a 2wd, but costs more. Just depends on what you want to spend, and how long you are going to keep your Ranger.

If you looking for some good 2wd over landing friendly campsites. Head to Lincoln National forest near CloudCroft new mexico! It's beautiful! You can just drive and camp where you want. That's one of my favorite spots.

Happy trails bud!
 
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britz

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Off-Road Ranger I

3,089
Musselshell, Idaho
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5767

Ham Callsign
K6YTI
Also airing down helps all rigs, from saving teeth chatter on washboards to sucking up rocks. And it gives you way more traction on certain types of snow. Try out different psi's, probably best to stay above 15psi if you're not running bead locks, I found my sweet spot at 18psi front and 20psi rear loaded up. I call it crockpot driving, slow and low will get you far.
 

GreyWolf

Rank II
Member

Traveler I

365
Springtown Texas
Member #

6557

Also airing down helps all rigs, from saving teeth chatter on washboards to sucking up rocks. And it gives you way more traction on certain types of snow. Try out different psi's, probably best to stay above 15psi if you're not running bead locks, I found my sweet spot at 18psi front and 20psi rear loaded up. I call it crockpot driving, slow and low will get you far.
"Crockpot driving", I like that:laughing: Will be a term I use now, thanks mate!
 

Justin Roach

Rank I

Traveler I

One upgrade you could do is go with a rear different locker, which would increase off road traction tremendously! And add a body lift, usually very inexpensive, to add in larger tires for better ground clearance. You would be able to fit 33'so at least. Or a suspension lift is easy to do on a 2wd, but costs more. Just depends on what you want to spend, and how long you are going to keep your Ranger.

If you looking for some good 2wd over landing friendly campsites. Head to Lincoln National forest near CloudCroft new mexico! It's beautiful! You can just drive and camp where you want. That's one of my favorite spots.

Happy trails bud!
I am thinking about keeping it till I can justify buying a new truck. Love the rangers though, part of me wants to just buy a new 4x4 one or do a 4wd swap into my current one. The body lifts for it are cheaper than i expected, might think about that before getting a new set of tires.
What would you say made the biggest difference for your ranger? Btw it looks awesome and i'd love to see some pics!!
 

Justin Roach

Rank I

Traveler I

Also airing down helps all rigs, from saving teeth chatter on washboards to sucking up rocks. And it gives you way more traction on certain types of snow. Try out different psi's, probably best to stay above 15psi if you're not running bead locks, I found my sweet spot at 18psi front and 20psi rear loaded up. I call it crockpot driving, slow and low will get you far.
I have been looking at possibly getting a set of bead lock wheels when i upgrade tires, do you have any recommendations for a set if you have experience with them?
 

GreyWolf

Rank II
Member

Traveler I

365
Springtown Texas
Member #

6557

I am thinking about keeping it till I can justify buying a new truck. Love the rangers though, part of me wants to just buy a new 4x4 one or do a 4wd swap into my current one. The body lifts for it are cheaper than i expected, might think about that before getting a new set of tires.
What would you say made the biggest difference for your ranger? Btw it looks awesome and i'd love to see some pics!!
Thanks I'll send more pics. It's an 08 Fx4. I would say the body lift and bigger tires. Body lift allowed more clearance, ability for bigger tires. Before the lift my bumper would get hung up if the approach and departure angles were to steep.
 

britz

Rank VI
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Off-Road Ranger I

3,089
Musselshell, Idaho
Member #

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Ham Callsign
K6YTI
I have been looking at possibly getting a set of bead lock wheels when i upgrade tires, do you have any recommendations for a set if you have experience with them?
Research beadlocks thoroughly and see if that's what you really need. See what airing down on your current rims does for you first. I had them on my rockcrawler, but I don't run them on my overland jeeps. I used mine on Rubicon and some wheeling in the desert, but that was it.
It's personal preference, but I get more use with a good 35 on a 15-16" rim, since that gives you around 10" of tire to absorb good size obstacles and traction. We keep our trail open several miles to our cabin in winter, so we use chains. There's maintenance involved with beadlocks, and I've seen so many folks drop $$ when they really don't need them for their driving. Find out what you really want first.
 

Justin Roach

Rank I

Traveler I

Research beadlocks thoroughly and see if that's what you really need. See what airing down on your current rims does for you first. I had them on my rockcrawler, but I don't run them on my overland jeeps. I used mine on Rubicon and some wheeling in the desert, but that was it.
It's personal preference, but I get more use with a good 35 on a 15-16" rim, since that gives you around 10" of tire to absorb good size obstacles and traction. We keep our trail open several miles to our cabin in winter, so we use chains. There's maintenance involved with beadlocks, and I've seen so many folks drop $$ when they really don't need them for their driving. Find out what you really want first.
Thanks, wasnt planning on jumping into anything right away yet, want to test out he rig as much as possible before i make any real decisions.
 
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