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TM89

Rank 0

Traveler I

60
Bremerton, WA, USA
First Name
Tim
Last Name
McCall
Thanks for having me, everyone. I've really wanted to get into overlanding, just not really sure how to go about it. O do know I need to get a solid vehicle, I'm looking for something older, easier to work on and maintain that will still fix my needs. I've got an 05 explorer with a 4.0L V6 and 4x4 but I plan to get rid of it after hearing so many horror stories about timing chain failures and tranny issues. Here's what I'm considering for a replacement, without brand loyalty:

1st/2nd gen explorer (had a 99 V8 AWD that was rock solid)

1st/2nd gen Grand cherokee

1st-3rd gen 4runner (if I can find one at a decent price

90's era Isuzu Trooper

1st/2nd gen Pathfinder or Xterra

Any and all input is greatly appreciated, thank you. Note: I'd like it to double as my DD and have comfort, room for my wife and two dogs to be out for a long weekend or whatever. Thanks again, I look forward to the discussion!
 
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michiganoverland

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Founder 500
Member

Influencer II

2,335
Michigan
First Name
Nick
Last Name
Howell
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194

First vehicle was a 2002 Tahoe, current vehicle let is a 2004 Suburban. Both are solid platforms albeit larger. The downside is the lack of hang-ons. Meaning, the availability of aftermarket overlanding parts is pretty low and when you do find items they're expensive.

Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk
 
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WJ - Firefly

Rank V
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

2,771
Casey County, Kentucky
First Name
David
Last Name
Goodyear
Member #

0691

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KL7JKC
I am biased towards the WJ (second gen Grand Cherokee), but I don't think you can go wrong with a YJ, TJ or LJ either. The sweet thing about jeeps is there are a ton of aftermarket parts available and the prices are competitive. My WJ has a shorter wheel base than the JKs and turns well on forest trails. Plus the upgrades have been affordable.

Good luck with whatever you choose. Get out there and explore!
 
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WJ - Firefly

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Off-Road Ranger I

2,771
Casey County, Kentucky
First Name
David
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Goodyear
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0691

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The L6 (4.0) generally has a longer life than the V8 4.7 but as long as the v8 is maintained and kept from overheating it does very well. But I like the 45RFE tranny that comes with the V8 better than the 42RFE normally with the six. My wife has an L6 '99' and mine is a V8 '00'. Both were bought used and have been very good to us. Both have around 250,000 miles on them.

Maybe some other WJ owners will chime in with their thoughts.
 
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Smileyshaun

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Member

Member III

2,779
Happy Valley, OR, USA
First Name
Shaun
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Hoffman
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4799

you might want to throw a xj on your list to , simple , reliable and a huge aftermarket . Honestly the best thing you could do would be go test drive whatever Vehicles you're looking at getting. on paper a vehicle may seem perfect but you may hate the seats and the driving position , plus what is comfortable for one person may not be for the next
 

RiverB

Rank I
Member

Contributor I

233
Port Hueneme, CA
Member #

12870

Loved my old 95 Trooper, they’re some bullet proof machines. Only thing to keep in mind about Isuzu’s is that aftermarket stuff can be a little rare (there is some small companies making Isuzu specific stuff like bumpers though)


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Thelgord

Rank V
Member

Member III

2,268
Harlem, GA
First Name
Chris
Last Name
Lyons
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7058

Personally I am slightly biased for Isuzu.

Pros:
Cheap as all get out. (You get them for less than $5k)
Parts are still readily available.
It’s old enough you don’t mind drilling holes or welding on it.
Very capable off-road.
Decent driving on road.

However, it is not without issues.
Cons:
The automatic transmission is rather week if it is the 4 speed.
Some parts (body and trim pieces) can be not that easy to find. Though they can be ordered from japan in most cases which takes 6-8 weeks for delivery.
It’s not really popular enough to get you a ton of follows on instagram if that’s what you looking for, but it does have a dedicated group of fans.
The dedicated group of fans can be as nit-picky as classic Jeep owners about doing things “right”.

The things that could be a pro or con depending on the driver:
TOD-Torque On Demand. Some have the TOD system, which is essentially full time 4x4 with a computer deciding how power to send to the front wheels. It will lock the transfer case in 4Lo just like a normal 4x4. (Actually my favorite part of my Isuzu)
There is a diesel option in some, and a diesel swap is cheep and (relatively) easy. If you like a diesel.
The interior is very utilitarian.

Overall the Isuzu is a good choice for someone who is just starting out. However, make sure you know your way around a toolbox. Most of these are approaching (or have passed) the 20 year old mark. If you don’t, you will learn with an Isuzu.

Just remember that with any 4x4, you always spend more money on it than you can sell it for. Good luck in your search.
 
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TM89

Rank 0

Traveler I

60
Bremerton, WA, USA
First Name
Tim
Last Name
McCall
The 2 door Wrangler variety doesn't have enough room for cargo, two dogs plus my wife and myself. Also, they generally make crappy daily drivers due to bad ride quality and gas mileage.

My current vehicle is the 05 explorer. But, I've heard lots of bad things about their transmissions and timing chains, so for that reason I'm not completely sure I want to use it.

And I've had an eye on the troopers and rodeos when it comes to Isuzu. I like both
 

Thelgord

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Member

Member III

2,268
Harlem, GA
First Name
Chris
Last Name
Lyons
Member #

7058

I had to look that up. I had a 91 explorer. Super reliable. The motor was a pig, but endlessly reliable. Apparently quality went down starting in 2002, and there are a lot of complaints about the issues you mentioned. Getting a first or second gen explorer is a good option if you really like Ford.

Here is a link to a good discussion about explorers:
https://expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/ford-explorer-as-an-expedition-vehicle.101579/
 

TM89

Rank 0

Traveler I

60
Bremerton, WA, USA
First Name
Tim
Last Name
McCall
Well like I said I'm not really brand loyal, I just want something that can be lightly modded, is realiable and easy to work on. I had a 99 with the V8 and AWD, it had 177k on it and I wasn't nice to it at all. Never a stutter. Gas hog sure, but I think they're highly underrated and they're cheap too. Good ones with 150k or less can be had for around $1500-$2000 in good shape. It's also a comfy daily driver.

That's the only reason I brought that platform up. Often overlooked and a hell of a bargain
 
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Smileyshaun

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Member III

2,779
Happy Valley, OR, USA
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Shaun
Last Name
Hoffman
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4799

one of the big issues with the explorer trans is the e4od likes to go into lockup at a rather low speed causing excessive heat and eventual failure. the best thing for them is to turn o/d off when driving around town , install a large trans cooler and service the trans regularly, or just buy a manual .
 

Haminacan

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Enthusiast I

1,556
Columbia City, Indiana
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First
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Lastname
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12524

I have had 7 or 8 jeeps with the straight 6 (4.2 and 4.0) the only problem I ever had was a head gasket blew at 260k miles. (It still got me home). The 4.7 has trouble with exhaust manifolds cracking and the bolts will break every time you try to remove them. As stated above you can make any reliable vehicle work for overlanding, but I would avoid larger vehicles with AWD vs 4WD. The viscous coupling and other methods used to allow full time 4WD seam to be weak links a lot of times. I have seen some nice subarus that look like they are capable, but Subarus around here are a bit pricy for what you get.
 
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Thelgord

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Member III

2,268
Harlem, GA
First Name
Chris
Last Name
Lyons
Member #

7058

I asuppose it depends on what you plan to do. I would agree that Subaru is expensive, and capable for what they are. I would not take them rock crawling by any means. I have watched people try to take them down some very tough trails, and while they made it, it wasn’t pretty. I’m surprised no one has talked about the X-Terra the OP mentioned yet. Even stock it is very capable. I have never owned one, but have seen several on trails.
 

TM89

Rank 0

Traveler I

60
Bremerton, WA, USA
First Name
Tim
Last Name
McCall
The only AWD I'd consider is the V8 2nd gen explorer V8 because I had one and i loved it. Anything else will be traditional 4x4, and would definitely consider the Xterra if I found one I liked. Hopefully in manual
 
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DrRobert

Rank I
Member

Traveler I

271
Bristow, VA
Member #

11858

Use whatever vehicle you currently have. Have fun. Learn what YOU need. Upgrade from there. Don't get caught up in the brand name hype that is the internet . Make your own adventure.

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I like that sentiment. I've been kind of standing on the sidelines watching all these incredible looking Jeeps in our area (NoVA) and thinking I need to buy one of those...but I love my suburban. It's huge and can haul a lot, it's comfortable and has all the features I love. That's when I thought - wait...I've got everything I need! Let's go! And that's how it started.
 

TM89

Rank 0

Traveler I

60
Bremerton, WA, USA
First Name
Tim
Last Name
McCall
Suburbans are fun. I also like to think id enjoy a Tahoe. God knows they're cheap and LAST FOREVER. Tons of space, easy and cheap maintenance, but itbmaybe a bit big for my needs. Unless I intend to sleep in it, that is.