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Old 06-14-2009, 12:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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The Basics

I've been lurking for awhile now and it seems the expedition class of a 4x4 is very vague.

What would you say are the specifics that define the expedition class are in terms of engine output (top speed, HP, RPM, etc.), Body (min wheel base, length, # of doors, height, etc.) and suspension?
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Old 06-14-2009, 07:23 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I agree that things here seem to be across the board - from daily drivers that people take camping to full-on purpose-built, self-contained vehicles that could make a month-long trip into desolate wilderness with no assistance.

I wouldn't say that engine output is a determining factor. Something reliable and that will power your vehicle through demanding terrain. But you aren't necessarily looking to set land speed records.

Body style likewise could be variable. Something suited to get you through the terrain and large enough to carry you and what you need for the trip.

Suspension would be determined by terrain as well. Different suspension for rocky mountain vs. desert vs. whatever.
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Old 06-14-2009, 07:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'd add that to me, the basics of an "expedition vehicle" would start with issues of self-sufficiency. Storage for tools, extra parts, extra fuel, and camping gear. Recovery tools. Communication and way-finding equipment.

Basically, you're not going to be calling AAA when you encounter problems and you have the ability to surmount anything that comes up on your own.
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Old 06-14-2009, 12:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I've been lurking for awhile now and it seems the expedition class of a 4x4 is very vague.

What would you say are the specifics that define the expedition class are in terms of engine output (top speed, HP, RPM, etc.), Body (min wheel base, length, # of doors, height, etc.) and suspension?

Are any of the other classes overly well defined? This is primarily a rock-crawling site. Look around... There is no real definition of what makes a rock crawler, other than it can in fact be used to drive over rocks.

If say you're building a truck to compete in a specific event, that is a different matter. Now you have a rule book which stats what you can and can't do, and how you can or can't build it...

However, expeditions rarely have the 'specific event' mindset or rulebook. There is a few events that could be considered 'competitive expeditions', but it's not the norm.

So, what you're left with is your own devices. Where do you want to go? For how long? How fast do you want to get there? Where do you plan to stop to refuel, resupply, or repair?

Me, I for now I'd say I want to be able to go upwards of 1000Kms between having to stop. Either on the highway, or on dirt road. Or upwards of 400Kms on 'unimproved' dirt road which requires technical driving, the use of the actual 4wd capabilities of the my rig (37s, dual lockers), and quite possibly every piece of recovery equipment I have. And I'd like to be able to be self-sustained in a very ROUGH manner for about 5 to 7 days. Will it work out with the vehicle I have? Probably not, but I'll find out when I get there.

In north america any expo rig will probably have to be capable of highway speeds. It's too hard to avoid the highway all the time. So, that will define your minimum power requirements. Also, you'll need to fall under 'street legal' for where-ever you intend to go. Wheelbase and vehicle size is totally dependent on what you want to do. My WB is about 104". And I have 2 doors and a hatch...
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The folks at ExpeditionPortal (aka ExPo) did a great job imo coving the basics:

Basic Definitions:

Car Camping: Traveling in a vehicle to an established campground. If there is a picnic table there, it is probably car camping.

Backcountry Adventure: A one-day, or multi-day off-highway trip in an adventure motorcycle or 4wd.

Overland(ing): Vehicle-supported, self-reliant adventure travel, typically exploring remote locations and interacting with other cultures.

Vehicle-Dependent Expedition: An organized, vehicle-dependent journey with a defined purpose, often geographic or scientific in nature.

Expedition Vehicle: A 4wd or adventure motorcycle prepared for self-reliant travel over long distances, through unpredictable weather and over variable terrain.

ExPo: An abbreviation of the website Expedition Portal.

You can read more detailed definitions here:
http://www.expeditionportal.com/edit...erlanding.html
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Old 06-15-2009, 03:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Wow I thought there might be a little more numbers and specifics tossed around from this question. So it sounds like every body is comfortable calling a monster truck with a sleeping bag, and 36hrs of food and gas an expedition vehicle. Is a Rock crawler with the same as above an expedition class? Or am I missing the point that its not about the vehicle and more about the equipment?

if it is more about the equipment, is the vehicles' suspension considered part of the equipment. Or does a lead sled or a raised body mall crawler with 36hrs of food and gas become an expedition vehicle? I think these would be more of a poser. But where is the point that it the vehicle and or equipment go from posing to being adequate and even acceptable?


BTW I know there is no right answer, but I know there are plenty wrong answers
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Old 06-15-2009, 04:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Wow I thought there might be a little more numbers and specifics tossed around from this question. So it sounds like every body is comfortable calling a monster truck with a sleeping bag, and 36hrs of food and gas an expedition vehicle. Is a Rock crawler with the same as above an expedition class? Or am I missing the point that its not about the vehicle and more about the equipment?

if it is more about the equipment, is the vehicles' suspension considered part of the equipment. Or does a lead sled or a raised body mall crawler with 36hrs of food and gas become an expedition vehicle? I think these would be more of a poser. But where is the point that it the vehicle and or equipment go from posing to being adequate and even acceptable?


BTW I know there is no right answer, but I know there are plenty wrong answers
Most expeditions don't require crossing red rated trails, therefore you don't need a vehicle with 38" tires. You want something large enough and comfortable enough to travel long distance in.
The goal with expedition vehicles are self contained rigs.
How many rock crawling rigs / buggies do you see that can travel 600 or more miles w/o searching for fuel? How many rock crawlers do you see that carry every tool they need as well as a weeks supply of food/water, and camping gear?
You're talking about 2 completely different purpose built rigs.
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Old 06-16-2009, 12:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm by no means an expert, but I think the main difference between an expedition rig and a crawler is a build philosophy that favors mostly mild enhancements that improve reliability and comfort for long durations in the bush.

For example, most expedition rigs top out at 33" tires -- maybe 35" max -- with a high quality lift just enough to clear them for the vehicle in question. This is done for mileage, comfort, driveability, etc. since rock crawling is generally not a requirement.

Many very experienced expedition builders recommend little to no engine modifications whatsoever, again with reliability and serviceability in mind.

As others have said, I'm pretty sure you won't find any hard numbers that define what is and isn't an expedition vehicle. If it gets you out there (wherever "there" is in your mind), keeps you comfortable, and gets you home, I'd say it qualifies.
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Old 06-16-2009, 01:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm by no means an expert, but I think the main difference between an expedition rig and a crawler is a build philosophy that favors mostly mild enhancements that improve reliability and comfort for long durations in the bush.

For example, most expedition rigs top out at 33" tires -- maybe 35" max -- with a high quality lift just enough to clear them for the vehicle in question. This is done for mileage, comfort, driveability, etc. since rock crawling is generally not a requirement.

Many very experienced expedition builders recommend little to no engine modifications whatsoever, again with reliability and serviceability in mind.
That's pretty much how I define and built my rig, which is based on an 89 XJ. I spent the majority of my money on going through every thing I could to make sure it was reliable, pretty much keeping it stock on the drivetrain.

Dodge Dakota Steering Box, Late model brake booster, Dana 44 in the rear, 33" tires, a RE 4.5 lift, and 4:56 gears pretty much describe the major mechanical upgrades.

Right now, I'm working on the rear bumper and swingouts which are going to be the base "rack" that I'll build my kitchen around.

I'm pretty much seeting it up to go for a week or more in the outback like I did in the Maze District of Canyonlands a few years ago.
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Old 06-16-2009, 01:27 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Wow I thought there might be a little more numbers and specifics tossed around from this question.
what kind of #'s are you looking for?
Are you expecting someone to tell you ideal horsepower and torque numbers for expo rigs? Don't really get it. Those #'s are tossed around by racers to brag about how quick their car is. Very rarely do you hear anyone talking about an off road rigs performance #'s as there are many more factors involved... like weight/size of the rig, low range gearing, transmission used, gears in the diff.... etc.
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Old 06-16-2009, 05:44 PM   #11 (permalink)
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The term expedition seems to be misused quite a bit. In the technical sense of the word expedition implies something big. A very mildly modified or even stock SUV could be loaded up with camping gear, food and water and with some basic tools and equipment, travel around for 3-5 days on unimproved roads camping in cow pastures or washes or caves along the way. To me, this is not an expedition at all.. Its a camping trip that happened to have a different campsite each night and you had to drive on a road or a trail to get to the next campsite. I see lots of stuff in this sub-forum that people call expedition that fits the description above. Very cool trips, good fun, etc., but not an expedition.

In most of these united States, an "Expedition" is all but impossible. The exception would be if travel were tied to something like driving from Alaska to Tijuana using as only dirt roads or small country roads when not on dirt, camping in remote locations in the back country, etc.

Travelling from Alaska to Tijuana on intra-state or inter-state highways and camping in various places along the way is not an expedition. That is a camping trip or a road trip with a bit of a twist..

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Old 06-16-2009, 08:35 PM   #12 (permalink)
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...In most of these united States, an "Expedition" is all but impossible. The exception would be if travel were tied to something like driving from Alaska to Tijuana using as only dirt roads or small country roads when not on dirt, camping in remote locations in the back country, etc....
I disagree sorta. In the traditional sense it might be impossible, then again there are few places in the world that haven't been traveled over and over by foot, by boat, by bike, by car, by plane, etc. To me an expedition denotes a purpose far and above just driving and camping, that would be overlanding. But if the driving is a just a component of a trip, ie your searching and documenting ruins or arches in the western states, or your mapping geologic features, historical sites, ghostowns, etc in depth on a project that could take a week or years of individual trips... that is an expedition to me.

Thats not to say folks can't prepare for an expedition by taking smaller trips, no better way to test your skills, your vehicle and your mindset.
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Old 06-16-2009, 11:46 PM   #13 (permalink)
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what kind of #'s are you looking for?
Your right I am from a race background, so I'm used to seeing all sorts of numbers tossed around. I guess I figured that with expoing there might be some general numbers that have propagated through the community that haven't been accumulated in one spot.
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Old 06-17-2009, 12:17 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Your right I am from a race background, so I'm used to seeing all sorts of numbers tossed around. I guess I figured that with expoing there might be some general numbers that have propagated through the community that haven't been accumulated in one spot.
Racing usually denotes a rather standard criteria, a drag track, circle track, industry and sanctioning body standards, etc. These don't exist in the overland scene, they simply can't. Too many variables, size of party, terrain to be encountered, miles to travel, fuel, food, water needs and re-supply options. Add to that any special projects or plans along the way, mapping, hiking, river trips, biking, etc. Far too many variables in this style of travel to try and build a cookie cutter formula.
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Old 06-17-2009, 07:12 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I think that cruiseroutfit's definitions are a good starting point - it all really depends on what you're talking about doing. You aren't going to find that you need xxx horsepower or xx" of wheel travel or xxx" wheelbase until you define where you are going and what you are trying to accomplish.

There are just so many variations to an "expedition" that your vehicle is going to likewise vary. As I stated before, I wouldn't consider a bone stock SUV with a sleeping bag and a cooler an "expedition vehicle." But on the basic end of the spectrum I would consider Brian's Toyota a well thought out expedition vehicle. He had a purpose in mind and covered the bases to do what he needed to get done. On the other end of the spectrum, I doubt many would argue that those Unicat 8x8s are anything but an expedition vehicle.
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Old 06-17-2009, 01:58 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I personally think the ultimate "Expo" rig is the one that gets you to and from wherever you go.
As for specific numbers, Expo rigs can be a 1968 VW Beetle up to an 8x8 Man truck that you could survive an around-the-world trip after a nuclear holocaust.
The vehicle (as has been mentioned) is specific to your purpose and the terrain you are planning to traverse. A lot of different vehicles can be used to make the same trip.
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Old 06-18-2009, 06:24 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I think the ideal expedition rig is fairly close to stock standard ,so you need a rig that can take you the places you want to go without having to modify the hell out of it.
Remote areas can be very unkind to custom builds when they need parts or local knowhow to solve a problem.

Expo rigs will usually spend most of their time on the road,even if you are crossing Africa,so they need to be stable at road speeds.
Too high and they will rollover avoiding livestock or some other obstacle

One of the main ingredients to an expo rig is efficient storage of the gear you will take.
You need to be able to get to what you want without having to churn through all the other junk on top.
And of course you need to be an expert at deciding what and what not to take.

Some owners add massive lights,I dont think you need them. The places I go are too dangerous to drive at night regardless of how much candle power you are putting out.
And if you travel at night you miss so much of the scenery.

Roof racks and trailers,if you need them ,then do so. But if you can get away without them its much easier and you burn less fuel
Trailers can be a real pain offroad and add enormous strain to the tow vehicle especially in sand

Expo rigs are KISS projects
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Old 06-18-2009, 07:22 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Expo rigs will usually spend most of their time on the road,even if you are crossing Africa,so they need to be stable at road speeds.
Very good point and its what made me build my rig the way I did. Lift is good, but not extreme, and I spent a lot of sessions (read: money) fine tuning the setup for maximum roadability. My wheeling seems to consist of: Drive 500-1000 miles, wheel deep and remote for a week, then drive 500-1000 miles home.
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Old 06-19-2009, 12:33 AM   #19 (permalink)
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One big question, why does it get called an "expo" rig???

Its not an "Expedition Portal" rig? Its not a "big show or event" ie expo? Expo is definitely not an abbreviation for expedition. Where/why did this name come up? I swear a couple newbies started mixing it up over on the ExPo forum and next thing you know you'd think it was a standard. ExPo is a forum, not a style of build!
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Old 06-19-2009, 04:13 AM   #20 (permalink)
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for me the main thing is reliability over harsh terrain. the places i go, if your
car brakes down and you are unable to fix it then you kark it. simple.
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Old 06-20-2009, 07:36 PM   #21 (permalink)
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One big question, why does it get called an "expo" rig???

Its not an "Expedition Portal" rig? Its not a "big show or event" ie expo? Expo is definitely not an abbreviation for expedition. Where/why did this name come up? I swear a couple newbies started mixing it up over on the ExPo forum and next thing you know you'd think it was a standard. ExPo is a forum, not a style of build!
Why do they call things African "Afro" and European things "Euro"??

Personallly, I have crappy tyPing skills and the shorter the word,the betterER

And shouldnt you be packing for your expo around Fraser Island?
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:07 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Why do they call things African "Afro" and European things "Euro"??

Personallly, I have crappy tyPing skills and the shorter the word,the betterER

And shouldnt you be packing for your expo around Fraser Island?
You know the Afro/Euro connection is the best argument I've heard yet

I should start packing for Aus, but I've actually got a big trip this weekend first. Then I'll be in Moab the following weekend, a customer BBQ and mine exploring trip the following and theeeeeen our trip to Australia Busy summer. This weekend we are doing a run called the 'Relic Run'. 4 days in the Great Salt Lake Desert using 79 & older vehicles. And just to raise the bar we are also doing 70's era camping gear too. Coleman white gas appliances, spring bar tents, 6V lantern battery flashlights

You can check it out here: http://www.relicrun.com
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Old 06-24-2009, 05:47 AM   #23 (permalink)
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You know the Afro/Euro connection is the best argument I've heard yet

I should start packing for Aus, but I've actually got a big trip this weekend first. Then I'll be in Moab the following weekend, a customer BBQ and mine exploring trip the following and theeeeeen our trip to Australia Busy summer. This weekend we are doing a run called the 'Relic Run'. 4 days in the Great Salt Lake Desert using 79 & older vehicles. And just to raise the bar we are also doing 70's era camping gear too. Coleman white gas appliances, spring bar tents, 6V lantern battery flashlights

You can check it out here: http://www.relicrun.com
I hope you post up lots of pics of cruiser related things from oz. Im always amazed at the pics of things that interest Americans when they visit

One thing to consider when you hire a cruiser in oz,is they dont like you deflating the tyres for insurance reasons.
If you look at the videos on youtube of Fraser,its mostly of tourists having to push troopies through the sand with 45psi in the tyres.

There maybe somewhere on the island you can reinflate before you leave
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Old 06-24-2009, 11:08 AM   #24 (permalink)
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I hope you post up lots of pics of cruiser related things from oz. Im always amazed at the pics of things that interest Americans when they visit

One thing to consider when you hire a cruiser in oz,is they dont like you deflating the tyres for insurance reasons.
If you look at the videos on youtube of Fraser,its mostly of tourists having to push troopies through the sand with 45psi in the tyres.

There maybe somewhere on the island you can reinflate before you leave
Ah, thanks for the heads up on the tires . We ended up with some turbo-diesel hi-lux's for the Fraser Island portion of our trip
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Old 06-24-2009, 10:30 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Ah, thanks for the heads up on the tires . We ended up with some turbo-diesel hi-lux's for the Fraser Island portion of our trip
The Hilux should be fun. It will probably have a 1KD FTV which puts out a decent HP
Is there 2 groups in your entourage?
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