Budget Rigs for 10K and under?

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DreamsofIron

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Don't really know where to post this as I'm mostly new to this site. Apologies if it is in the wrong area!
Essentially my question is what's in the title, what vehicle would you choose today If you only had a budget 10K and why? The reason why I'm asking this is because I will be selling my TJ wrangler shortly, so I would like to get into a bigger vehicle. Some of the options I've been looking into would be the Grand Cherokee, Isuzu Trooper, Xterra, Pathfinder, Montero, and many more, even including the Disco 1. Just want to see what other options there are!
 

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Don't really know where to post this as I'm mostly new to this site. Apologies if it is in the wrong area!
Essentially my question is what's in the title, what vehicle would you choose today If you only had a budget 10K and why? The reason why I'm asking this is because I will be selling my TJ wrangler shortly, so I would like to get into a bigger vehicle. Some of the options I've been looking into would be the Grand Cherokee, Isuzu Trooper, Xterra, Pathfinder, Montero, and many more, even including the Disco 1. Just want to see what other options there are!
If you look around and are patient you might be able to pick up a good example of a 3rd or gen 4Runner or a Tacoma!

They both make great Overlanding vehicles.
 

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What if I told you there is a body-on-frame SUV, available with a 263hp 3.8L V6, part-time 4WD with Low Range, 5000lb towing capacity, 5-star crash safety rating, and is almost completely overlooked by the off-road/overland crowd? You'd be interested, right?

What if I told you it is a Kia Sorrento - specifically a 2007+ model year, LX trim. They can be found dirt cheap.
 

Bostongal62

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Don't really know where to post this as I'm mostly new to this site. Apologies if it is in the wrong area!
Essentially my question is what's in the title, what vehicle would you choose today If you only had a budget 10K and why? The reason why I'm asking this is because I will be selling my TJ wrangler shortly, so I would like to get into a bigger vehicle. Some of the options I've been looking into would be the Grand Cherokee, Isuzu Trooper, Xterra, Pathfinder, Montero, and many more, even including the Disco 1. Just want to see what other options there are!
I just bought a 1999 TRD off road with locking rear diff extended cab Tacoma in January for $4800. I’ve put about $2800 into it in repairs. It came with a Leer high rise shell and I just finished building out back of it. Even with the buildout and buying tools to do it I’m well under 10K.
 
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DreamsofIron

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If you look around and are patient you might be able to pick up a good example of a 3rd or gen 4Runner or a Tacoma!

They both make great Overlanding vehicles.
Unfortunately, as much as I do want one of these, they're just massively overpriced now. even if I did find one in good condition for 10k or under, it will most likely be 200k miles or more. I have even found some examples at around 150k miles that people were asking 20k or more for.
 

DreamsofIron

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What if I told you there is a body-on-frame SUV, available with a 263hp 3.8L V6, part-time 4WD with Low Range, 5000lb towing capacity, 5-star crash safety rating, and is almost completely overlooked by the off-road/overland crowd? You'd be interested, right?

What if I told you it is a Kia Sorrento - specifically a 2007+ model year, LX trim. They can be found dirt cheap.
That is pretty interesting! There are some pretty great videos on these models out there doing some pretty gnarly offroading, and OME makes a lift kit for them too. Definitely on my list.
 

Bama_Kiwi

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That is pretty interesting! There are some pretty great videos on these models out there doing some pretty gnarly offroading, and OME makes a lift kit for them too. Definitely on my list.
My second suggestion would be something on General Motor's GMT360 platform:
You may not be able to find a Saab 9-7X for under $10K, though, as that is probably the most desirable, and least produced.

Third suggestion would be either a Mitsubishi Montero Sport or Montero. The full-size Montero prices have been climbing - the secret is out with those. You can probably still find a nice Montero Sport for cheap, though. Although, I'd guess most sold in NA were 2WD, so you might have to shop around a bit.
 
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I have an 02 Xterra and its been pretty rock solid, the only problem is aftermarket support. Lifts are available from 4x4parts.com, and ARB makes lockers for it as well as some others, but all the typical Jeep and Toyota accessory goodies and stuff just isnt there. But if you're ok doing custom stuff its a super capable platform.
 
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MidOH

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Montero's are clapped out. If you find a nice one grab it.

Disco's, well good luck with that. Unless you know someone that's a hardcore Disco enthusiast. Rust free in good shape in Florida everywhere for $3500. But you'll need an LS swap and a trans rebuild..... Perfectly clean Disco's are $3500 for a reason.

Troopers and Grand Cherokees are perfect for demolishing derbies (if allowed), and ''tough truck'' competitions. There's a scarcity of them due to such.

So that leaves the Xterra and Pathfinder. Both are puzzles to work on, I'd go with the Xterra. Most rust free Pathfinders left, are no more capable than a Subaru. I'd love to say XJ. But your TJ already is one, mostly.
 
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Jim SoG

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Well I went from a Jeep (Wife Drives now) for off roading to a 1st gen Sequoia strictly for the room in it, Paid 10.5 for it but 126k miles on it and a Cali car (zero rust), also sold the 3rd row seats for 3 so really paid 10.2 for it. I am thrilled beyond words, this thing bone stock was good with the diff lock Toys have, now I have added all the stuff one thinks of and am still building, in works now is a sleeping platform with storage under.

Coming from Jeep I was unsure about Toys and bugged the heck out of Michael (Founder of OB) and others about the technology and research Toyota does, Glad I made the switch, now capable vehicle and can sleep in it, easy peasy.

Jim
 

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what ever you decide on, maybe try looking at local auctions. a guy who used to work for me would ever so often show up to work in a different vehicle...one time he showed up in a decent looking dually. i figured i must be paying this guy too much, but come to find out, he hit local sheriff's auctions and the like and found some great deals. he got a car one time for $300.

worth a try
 

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I gave some thoughts on what you might want to share to help us with our suggestions here: If you're going to ask "what vehicle is best..."


That said, I'm super-biased and love WJs. ZJs are a good option too, but most everything got better in the WJ (electrical, susp design, brakes, trans, interior, etc.). I've written about WJs pretty extensively here, but my $0.02 is a V8 Limited or Overland is the way to go. The whole point of a WJ is getting a pretty well equipped, luxurious SUV with factory multi-linked, coil-sprung solid axles. Getting a "stripper" Laredo is too close to "just get a XJ" to me. Now, the elephant in the room is the valve seat issue with the 4.7s. Is it blown out of proportion? Yeah, probably. But does it happen? Yes, absolutely. Mine dropped 2 valve seats at about 110k miles (which seems really low). It seems like most make it 150-200k before it happens, and I've seen plenty of original 4.7s go well past 200k. In my case, I think it was the victim of a bad overheat due to a cracked radiator when my wife's younger brother (who we supported from 14-18) was still daily driving it. Either way, if you are getting a 4.7 WJ I would either find one that has the heads done, a full motor rebuild, or plan on doing the heads. Now, that might sound like a deal-breaker, but WJs are such a bargain IMHO it's worth it. Even in this absolutely insane market I still see pretty nice 4.7 Limited WJs go for $3-5k. That leaves you tons of budget to do the heads. If you can find an Overland it's better-yet w/ the HO 4.7, the Quadra Drive with Vari-Loks etc. With a 3-4" lift and 31-32"s they're extremely capable yet still very comfortable and daily drivable. You almost certainly will have to repair the driver's door wiring harness (the wires break where they flex as the door opens/closes) and replace the HVAC blower motor resistor as well - but neither is a big deal, and I don't really think any sub-$10k Overland rig will be 100% problem-free.

-TJ
 

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Do you want to buy a vehicle for $10k and then baseline maintain it, or is $10k your total vehicle and baseline maintenance price?

I went from a TJ to a 100 Series Land Cruiser (I still have the TJ, but no longer take it on extended trips). 6 years ago, the old Land Cruiser plus the maintenance costs for a 250k mile vehicle came in well under your $10k budget... today? It's probably not going to happen.

If I was in your situation, I would take heed of @tjZ06's advice and look for a WJ, but with the 4.0 not the 4.7.

EDIT: I lied. There are still reasonably priced Land Cruisers for sale. This one just came across my screen and would be a fantastic place to start.
Screenshot_20220517-175104.png
Screenshot_20220517-175126.png
 
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Neon Paradise

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At that budget, I would do my best to find the nicest 2001-2006 z71 Tahoe/Suburban 4x4 I could find. I used to have an 06 Jeep Commander Hemi that I miss dearly, but from my experience, the Grand Cherokee WK/XK (05-10) were not very well built. Never ending electrical issues and stall problems that couldn't be solved even with lots of money thrown at the issue. I still look for them for fun and that's the years you'll find in that price range.

If you can find an 05+ Xterra, those are really nice. But you have to make sure the transcooler/radiator issues have already been addressed with the updated part.
 

DreamsofIron

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Thanks for all the responses, guys! And tjZo6 is correct, maybe I should've included more info, But I really am open to pretty much anything for 10K, and the 10k doesn't include the baseline maintenance. My goal is to have a vehicle that will be my daily driver and adventure vehicle. I will be moving to either AZ or Texas soon. I am not the crazy rockcrawling kinda guy, I just want to to do mostly moderate trails to maybe some mild technical ones. My main focus is getting out there and just enjoying myself. I am pretty mechanically inclined, since I've done the majority of work to my TJ. I'm also a welder, but I am not a body man, lol.
 
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DreamsofIron

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I gave some thoughts on what you might want to share to help us with our suggestions here: If you're going to ask "what vehicle is best..."


That said, I'm super-biased and love WJs. ZJs are a good option too, but most everything got better in the WJ (electrical, susp design, brakes, trans, interior, etc.). I've written about WJs pretty extensively here, but my $0.02 is a V8 Limited or Overland is the way to go. The whole point of a WJ is getting a pretty well equipped, luxurious SUV with factory multi-linked, coil-sprung solid axles. Getting a "stripper" Laredo is too close to "just get a XJ" to me. Now, the elephant in the room is the valve seat issue with the 4.7s. Is it blown out of proportion? Yeah, probably. But does it happen? Yes, absolutely. Mine dropped 2 valve seats at about 110k miles (which seems really low). It seems like most make it 150-200k before it happens, and I've seen plenty of original 4.7s go well past 200k. In my case, I think it was the victim of a bad overheat due to a cracked radiator when my wife's younger brother (who we supported from 14-18) was still daily driving it. Either way, if you are getting a 4.7 WJ I would either find one that has the heads done, a full motor rebuild, or plan on doing the heads. Now, that might sound like a deal-breaker, but WJs are such a bargain IMHO it's worth it. Even in this absolutely insane market I still see pretty nice 4.7 Limited WJs go for $3-5k. That leaves you tons of budget to do the heads. If you can find an Overland it's better-yet w/ the HO 4.7, the Quadra Drive with Vari-Loks etc. With a 3-4" lift and 31-32"s they're extremely capable yet still very comfortable and daily drivable. You almost certainly will have to repair the driver's door wiring harness (the wires break where they flex as the door opens/closes) and replace the HVAC blower motor resistor as well - but neither is a big deal, and I don't really think any sub-$10k Overland rig will be 100% problem-free.
I've been looking mostly at the ZJs, especially the 5.9 variants. Given recent gas prices, they have been dropping in price lately. I am not opposed to the WJ though, especailly with my experience with the 4.0 engine. It all depends on what I can find for the best shape in my price range. And yes, I don't think any sub 10k rig will be issue free at all either. but hey, that's part of the fun!
 

DreamsofIron

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Well I went from a Jeep (Wife Drives now) for off roading to a 1st gen Sequoia strictly for the room in it, Paid 10.5 for it but 126k miles on it and a Cali car (zero rust), also sold the 3rd row seats for 3 so really paid 10.2 for it. I am thrilled beyond words, this thing bone stock was good with the diff lock Toys have, now I have added all the stuff one thinks of and am still building, in works now is a sleeping platform with storage under.

Coming from Jeep I was unsure about Toys and bugged the heck out of Michael (Founder of OB) and others about the technology and research Toyota does, Glad I made the switch, now capable vehicle and can sleep in it, easy peasy.

Jim
The Sequoia is definitely high on my list! I was actually just reading your build thread on The General. I do like that body style as welll.
 

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The Sequoia is definitely high on my list! I was actually just reading your build thread on The General. I do like that body style as welll.
I second that. I had a Wrangler and now have a new Bronco (which I love) - but I pass two Sequoias at a used car lot several times a week, the lot never has anyone working it, it’s like a holding lot for a larger used car place in Tampa. If either of these were 4WD I would have picked it up long ago!
 

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Thanks for all the responses, guys! And tjZo6 is correct, maybe I should've included more info, But I really am open to pretty much anything for 10K, and the 10k doesn't include the baseline maintenance. My goal is to have a vehicle that will be my daily driver and adventure vehicle. I will be moving to either AZ or Texas soon. I am not the crazy rockcrawling kinda guy, I just want to to do mostly moderate trails to maybe some mild technical ones. My main focus is getting out there and just enjoying myself. I am pretty mechanically inclined, since I've done the majority of work to my TJ. I'm also a weld, but I am not a body man, lol.
Ok then. I went from a TJ rubicon to an 80 series Landcruiser, actually it is badged as a Lexus LX 450. As far as automobile decisions it’s easily the best decision I’ve made in 50 years. The TJ is a great vehicle, but it has almost zero payload, and designed to last, maybe 200-250 thousand miles. So not a good overland truck. You can still find 80 series for 5 thousand & up. Hells bells, I’ve been offered 25 for mine and payed less than 10 for it nearly 10 years ago. Dependable? 356,000 miles and no fear of taking long trips out west or up into Canada. Maintenance? Normal stuff, it likes old fashioned oil and lubricants. About every 175-20k miles the head ought to come off to replace the old gasket and install valve stem seals, that about it. Suspension bushings last 100-150k miles. Bolt on bolt off parts last 150-200k miles. I’m on only the 2nd set of driveline universals and the have over 175k on em. Bottom ends, transmissions, transfer case, rears, etc are tractor like and have never been opened up. Want the near perfect overland truck? Do all the research you want. Good luck with your choice! But, I’d do the same thing all over again.
 
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