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Old 04-12-2009, 04:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hardcore trip, but not hardcore fab

First off, I just want to say that after having browsed and searched this forum for a few months, I finally registered and decided to post. I was a bit hesitant before I wanted to post up my questions, cuz I have realized ya'll don't like stupid, or shall I say, ignorant people. Completly understandable.

So here is the deal. I am taking an extended surf trip driving from Florida all the way down to Chile (and then most likely going from there to Brazil). Yeah, Im a bit crazy, but whatever. This includes all C. America, and most likely crossing the Darrien Gap. I plan on surfing the majority of the Pacific Coastline.

Because of the nature of my trip taking me to the middle of nowhere, I want to build up my TJ to be bullet proof as possible. Most of the offroad situations I will encounter include rocks, mud, river crossings, desert, etc. Pretty much every type off offroad senario. I was at first thinking of selling the TJ and building up an old Toyota SR5, but I think the shorter wheelbase of the TJ will be more advantageous for the terrain I'll encounter. I have decided on a few modifications necessiary, but always open for suggestions.

Right now everything is completly stock. My main plan is to change out the suspension to the Clayton 4" long arm, add a body lift, skid plates/tummy tuck, 35" tires, winch, new transfer case (atlas), axles, snorkel, bumper, etc.

I am trying to decide between a dana 44 and a ford 8.8 for the rear. I know a lot of you guys do 9", 60's or 14 bolt, but I dont see that necessary. Im not running anything over 35" tires, and don't have a lead foot. Yeah I will go through tough terrain, but I'm not stupid. As for the front Im thinking of swaping out to a HP30. I plan on locking both. Thought about arb, but now leaning more twards detroit for the lockers.

Another important mod is the front bumper. I want that thing stirdy as s*** in case I get in a wreck, hit some random animals, or banditos. At first I was thinking ARB, but the Road Armor/Overkill Eng seems a bit more bomb proof. Like I said before, I am always open for suggestions.

I could go on, but I dont feel like going into full details all at once. So help me out, what do you all think?! Where should I start first? I understand all these mods will cost a lot of money, but I dont mind saving up and doing it right the 1st time, saving myself headache down the road.
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Old 04-12-2009, 05:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 04-12-2009, 05:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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No worries man, as long as you took the initiative to do some of the leg work on your own thats all anybody can ask for, its the guys that come in here that expect you to hold their hands that piss people off.

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........
Right now everything is completly stock. My main plan is to change out the suspension to the Clayton 4" long arm, add a body lift You don't need a body lift for 35"s, skid plates/tummy tuck, 35" tires, winch, Id get a better transmission too infact one of the bulletproof 4speeds like the NP435, T-18 or SM465 new transfer case (atlas), axles, snorkel, bumper, etc.

I am trying to decide between a dana 44 and a ford 8.8 for the rear. If you are going to keep the stock Dana 30 go with the 8.8, its pretty much an easy install with a kit, bolt patterns are the same, I would replace the carrier with a locker of your choice, For cash and because its a rear I would spool it however. I know a lot of you guys do 9", 60's or 14 bolt, but I dont see that necessary. Im not running anything over 35" tires, and don't have a lead foot. Yeah I will go through tough terrain, but I'm not stupid. As for the front Im thinking of swaping out to a HP30. I plan on locking both. Thought about arb, but now leaning more twards detroit for the lockers.

Another important mod is the front bumper. I want that thing stirdy as s*** in case I get in a wreck, hit some random animals, or banditos. At first I was thinking ARB, but the Road Armor/Overkill Eng seems a bit more bomb proof. Like I said before, I am always open for suggestions.

.......
Check out any of the board vendors for bumpers and rockers, BTF, poison spyder, pretty much all of them here make good quality offroad stuff. Make sure they have recovery points. I would even buy a front sport cage. Give these guys a call. http://www.swracecars.com/Files/pdf/CATpg22.pdf
You are talking about spending ALOT of cash. If you are just trying to get over washed out dirt roads. My basic build would be....

Stock Jeep TJ
-4.0L engine

-T-18/SM465/NP435 You couldn't pay me to run an auto when I absolutely needed things to run right and not fail. $200-400

-Atlas/stak 4x4/Dana 300 with or without 4:1 kit thats your choice with one of those 4 speeds you are gonna have pretty good crawl already. $100-2500

-Ford 8.8 (95 or later) with 3.73 gears if you use a 4:1 kit in the t-case otherwise 4.10 gears and a spool $500

Get your front end first, that will dictate what T-case and Transmission you want to run.
-Dana 30 or Rubicon Dana 44 if you have the cash. You would have to do research as to how reliable the rubicon locker is, if you run the Dana 30 Id just run and aussie locker. 3.73 or 4.10 gears. You may even consider upgrading to chromoly shafts. Expect to spend significantly more money on your front axle. $700-1000+

-WARN winch, accept NO SUBSTITUTES
-Rocker guards
-Bumpers
-Roll cage
-Hi-lift Jack
-on-board air
-on-board welder
-AK-47 rack for your AK-47 that you are gonna need for personal protection and to shoot the banditos that will try to steal your shit, see the Outdoor Sports and Recreation forum for the thread reguarding this topic
-military grade first aid kit
-code reader
-any sensor that might go bad
-spare u-joints, tune-up parts
-If your TJ is used change out the fuel pump, they have a bad habit of dying aroudn 70-90k


My sister and her boyfriend go surfing in Costa Rica quite frequently. I can not stress enough how dangerous it is down there (Latin America). You need to be on your guard and be self sufficient at all times. Guys get robbed and killed quite often because somebody puts a small hole in one of your tires, waits until you head out then tracks you down when you are broke down way out in the forest alone. I would go so far to say that alot of guys that wheel their rigs in some of the most insane places in this country would take special precautions and considerations when taking a trip like this. Things that aren't nailed down or protected will get stolen no matter how small and frivolous you might think they are. Theres no such thing as people just looking to "Help" if you are broke down and some guys come offer to "help" you grab your AK out of that pimptastic quick release mount you found in the OSR forum and politely tell them you will be fine. Some guys will think I'm nuts but thats the reality of the situation.

Good luck and I hope your have good credit because rigs like this usually take many years to build. I would also recommend joining a 4x4 club and getting some experience and helping out. You will learn to help yourself by helping others first.
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[QUOTE=Dieselmh]I'll cave his fucking head in with a shovel, just to show him that just because he has opposable thumbs, that doesn't put him on the same badassedness level as humans. Stupid arrogant possums. :shaking:[/QUOTE]

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Old 04-12-2009, 07:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Why would you recommend a rear spool for a multi-thousand mile trip?

Good call on the arsenal though, central america can be pretty rough.
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Old 04-12-2009, 09:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Simplicity, cost, strength. God forbid he blows a shaft doing god knows what and takes out the detroit too which happens quite frequently. You gotta figure too, as soon as hes on the gas or down shifting his locker and a spool are basically the same. The 1% of his driving thats coasting through tight corners and pulling into a parking space is negated in my personal opinion, especially since everywhere hes gonna surf is probably gonna be dirt roads for the most part.

You gotta understand YOU DON"T want to get stuck down there, theres no parts to be had, they drive totally different vehicles in central america and south america. Getting stranded is a really really bad thing with very real consequences for non-indigenous persons. If hes lucky the worst he will lose is his belongings.
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[QUOTE=Dieselmh]I'll cave his fucking head in with a shovel, just to show him that just because he has opposable thumbs, that doesn't put him on the same badassedness level as humans. Stupid arrogant possums. :shaking:[/QUOTE]

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Old 04-13-2009, 03:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I think you will need a 1 inch body lift for the tummy tuck. If no body lift, you will need to modify the hump in your Jeep to provide clearance for the TC.
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Old 04-13-2009, 04:00 AM   #7 (permalink)
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keep it simple, reliable and serviceable. I wouldn't stray too far from a Rubicon. Something I know I can get parts for at any Jeep dealer in the world.
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Old 04-13-2009, 05:41 AM   #8 (permalink)
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keep it simple, reliable and serviceable. I wouldn't stray too far from a Rubicon. Something I know I can get parts for at any Jeep dealer in the world.
where I'm going, there are no Jeep dealers. On the other hand, mechanics down there are freaking majicians.

Although this will be my 1st trip to Central and South America by car, it is not the first time I have been down there. Between work and play, I have taken many solo trips to Central and South America, traveling by bus through many countries. Having said that, I am well aware of the dangers I am putting myself in. Yes, I am a gringo, but I am your typical stupid american gringo. The one that brings those bad situations upon himself because of his ignorance and lack of comon sense. Down there, the sad truth is that I dont trust anyone other than myself and my dog. My Spanish is pretty good, and I will be heavily armed. I will have a gun along with my Doberman (who is currently going through personal protection/attack traning).

Black Sheep is right, I do not want to get stuck. Getting stuck so bad (weather it be mechanical failure or terrain) I need asistance can mean days or weeks before I can get moving again. I dont really want to be stuck in a shitty town for a few weeks because I'm waiting on some odd ball part.

Thanks for all the advice thus far, keep it comming!
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Old 04-13-2009, 05:43 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I think you will need a 1 inch body lift for the tummy tuck. If no body lift, you will need to modify the hump in your Jeep to provide clearance for the TC.
yeah, the body lift I was talking about would be for the tummy tuck, not to fit the tires.
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Old 04-13-2009, 06:09 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I wouldn't buy a rubicon. Rubicons were built for guys who thought they knew what wheelin was and had deep pockets. I would probably take the axles, in a heart beat, throw some Longfield Dana 30 birfields in the front then deal with the transmission and T-case. The 4.0L motor is fine, reliable and its a work horse. The stock tranny and t-case are all pretty good too, but like I said they are medium duty at best and you can't rely on something that is medium duty. If you go with any of the granny gear 4 speeds (T-18, SM465, NP435) they all have HUGE bellies that hand down for the large counter reduction gears and your tummy tucker skid plate won't work. Its not the end of the world to have a shop rig up a skid plate or to make your own. Guys do flat skids with these transmissions all the time.

And If you are going to be strapping an AK to your doberman I ecourage you to come to the OSR forum, we will definetly want to see this.
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[QUOTE=Dieselmh]I'll cave his fucking head in with a shovel, just to show him that just because he has opposable thumbs, that doesn't put him on the same badassedness level as humans. Stupid arrogant possums. :shaking:[/QUOTE]

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Old 04-13-2009, 06:19 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Keep in mind special bullet proof custom parts can break too. Build it stupid simple, reliable and repairable.
If I were doimg this trip it wouldn't be in a Jeep. Toyota is more representeed in the third world
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Old 04-13-2009, 08:38 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Do you weld?
I would heavily recomend you install an onboard welder under the hood and if you dont weld, learn quick. As was said, anything can and will break, and having the means to weld on the trail is very valuable. Especially where you're going to be.

Also Onboard air is a must... and a good tire plug repair kit

TBS already pointed these out, but I wanted to reiterate their importance.
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Old 04-13-2009, 09:25 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Keep in mind special bullet proof custom parts can break too. Build it stupid simple, reliable and repairable.
If I were doimg this trip it wouldn't be in a Jeep. Toyota is more representeed in the third world
Yeah, I understand things are gonna break. I guess I am just trying to reduce the chances of that happening. I am trying to keep things simple as possible and to where parts will be easily exchanged.

My origional plan for the trip was sell my Jeep, use the cash to purchase and build up an old Toyota Pickup (sr5 i think is the model). Swap out the axles, tranny, and put in a desiel engine (cuz of the internal combustion). I guess somewhere along the line I decided to keep the Jeep. Part of the reason was the wheel base diffrence between the 2 vehicles. I think the terrain favors the shorter wheelbase of the Jeep, but I do like the added space that the truck bed allows.

Like I said, I'm open for suggestions. I havent spend any money yet on the Jeep because I've been saving up so I can do everything at once. If you all think its better, I can still sell the jeep and start building up the pickup.
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Old 04-13-2009, 09:28 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Do you weld?
I would heavily recomend you install an onboard welder under the hood and if you dont weld, learn quick. As was said, anything can and will break, and having the means to weld on the trail is very valuable. Especially where you're going to be.

Also Onboard air is a must... and a good tire plug repair kit

TBS already pointed these out, but I wanted to reiterate their importance.
Onboard air for sure, never thought about the welder. I can't weld right now, but I really want to learn. Now I know I need to learn.


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I wouldn't buy a rubicon. Rubicons were built for guys who thought they knew what wheelin was and had deep pockets. I would probably take the axles, in a heart beat, throw some Longfield Dana 30 birfields in the front then deal with the transmission and T-case. The 4.0L motor is fine, reliable and its a work horse. The stock tranny and t-case are all pretty good too, but like I said they are medium duty at best and you can't rely on something that is medium duty. If you go with any of the granny gear 4 speeds (T-18, SM465, NP435) they all have HUGE bellies that hand down for the large counter reduction gears and your tummy tucker skid plate won't work. Its not the end of the world to have a shop rig up a skid plate or to make your own. Guys do flat skids with these transmissions all the time.

And If you are going to be strapping an AK to your doberman I ecourage you to come to the OSR forum, we will definetly want to see this.
Cool.

My doberman is smart, but he cant shoot a gun....he can only rip your arm to shreds. One of these days I'm gonna post up a vid from traning session of him doing some bite work.

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Old 04-13-2009, 10:34 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I painted venomous and Universadi de Colorado (spelled it wrong)on my windows when I went. Amazing how well that kept people away. When they asked I would amke rattlesnake noise and everybody would back up. Also give some guy half a ten dollar bill and he will take care of your rig while you eat, whatever. Give him the other half when you come back. I still have some of my books from the trip, PM me address if you want them. I found the trip to Panama pretty easy. After that I was constantly lost. I took a stock 84 wagoneer. Never really had a problem. If I did it again. SAT phone and GPS would be nice. It will be cool. Need someone to ride shot gun. I got my own.
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Old 04-13-2009, 11:19 AM   #16 (permalink)
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First off, I just want to say that after having browsed and searched this forum for a few months, I finally registered and decided to post. I was a bit hesitant before I wanted to post up my questions, cuz I have realized ya'll don't like stupid, or shall I say, ignorant people. Completly understandable.

So here is the deal. I am taking an extended surf trip driving from Florida all the way down to Chile (and then most likely going from there to Brazil). Yeah, Im a bit crazy, but whatever. This includes all C. America, and most likely crossing the Darrien Gap. I plan on surfing the majority of the Pacific Coastline.

You plan on driving across the Darien gap?

[QUOTE=Wikipedia]
History
The Gap is frequented by Four Wheel drive (4WD) and other vehicles that attempt intercontinental journeys. The first post-Colonial expedition to the Darien was the Marsh Darien Expedition[1] in 1924/25, supported by several major sponsors including the Smithsonian.

The first successful vehicular crossing of the Gap itself was by the Land Rover La Cucaracha Cariñosa (The Affectionate Cockroach) and a Jeep of the Trans-Darién Expedition 1959-60, crewed by Amado Araúz (Panama), his wife Reina Torres de Araúz, former SAS man Richard E. Bevir (UK), and engineer Terence John Whitfield (Australia).[2] They left Chepo, Panama on 2 February 1960 and reached Quibdó, Colombia on 17 June 1960, averaging 201 m (220 yd) per hour over 136 days. They travelled a great deal of the distance up the vast Atrato River.

In December 1960 on a motorcycle trip from Alaska to Argentina Danny Liska[3] transited the Darien Gap from Panama to Colombia.[4] On the trip across the Gap, Liska was forced to abandon his motorcycle and proceed by boat and foot. 1962 saw a failed attempt by General Motors with a team of Chevrolet Corvairs supported by a bulldozer and a fuel truck.

A Range Rover on the British Trans-Americas Expedition in 1972 led by John Blashford-Snell is claimed to be the first vehicle-based expedition to traverse both American continents north-to-south through the Darién Gap. However, this expedition used boats to bypass the Atrato Swamp in Colombia which lies on the 'direct' Trans-Americas route and received substantial support from the British Army. "The Hundred Days Of Darien", a book written by Russell Braddon in 1974, chronicles this expedition.

The first fully overland wheeled crossing (others used boats for some sections) of the Gap was that of British cyclist Ian Hibell who rode from Cape Horn to Alaska between 1971 and 1973. Hibell took the 'direct' overland south-to-north route including an overland crossing of the Atrato Swamp in Colombia. Hibell completed his crossing accompanied across the Gap by two New Zealand cycling companions who had ridden with him from Cape Horn, but neither of these continued with Hibell on to Alaska. Hibell's 'Cape Horn to Alaska' expedition forms part of his 1984 book Into the Remote Places.

The first motorcycle crossing was by Robert L. Webb in March 1975. Another four wheel drive crossing was in 1978-1979 by Mark A Smith and his team. Smith and his team drove the 400 km (250 mile) stretch of the gap in 30 days using five stock Jeep CJ-7s. They travelled many miles up the Atrato River via barges. Mark Smith has released his book Driven by a Dream, which documents the crossing.

The first all-land auto crossing was in 1985-1987 by Loren Upton in a CJ-5 Jeep, 741 days to travel 125 miles (201 km) all on land. This crossing is documented in the 1992 Guinness Book of Records. In addition Upton returned in 1995 and became the first to drive a motorcycle, a two-wheel drive Rokon motorcycle, all on land through the Darien Gap, 49 days."
[/QUOTE=Wikipedia]

I mean it sounds really cool, and if you do decide to go for it, more power to ya, and I wish you the best of luck and hope you'll be safe. Even if you make it through the gap, from what I have read, this is not a very friendly part of the world, gringo or not.

You might want to read / contact the following people.

http://www.alongdrive.com/

The recently drove a FJ Cruiser from Inuvik to Buenos Aires. After a side trip to Antartica (No, they didn't take the FJC) they are just now begining the return aproach of shipping the FJC back to the US from Brazil. Pretty cool trip, definitely an epic adventure. They opted to ship ship across the Darien gap, and the following thread might be helpful for you should you decide to do the same.

Shipping from Panama to Colombia

They had quite a bit of hassle getting it done, but they highly recomend the agency they used to help make it happen. Contact details are in the link above.

You also might want to check out the Expedition Vehicles section here for other ideas / suggestions. You should probably also reach out to some of the local 4x4 groups that are in the areas you will be travelling through. You might want to try to post something in the international and mexico section on here. I've seen some pretty cool stuff from down that way, and should you need help for parts they could be a great resource!

I personally think your crazy as hell if your planning on crossing the gap. but I am also jealous as hell of the entire trip. This sounds like quite the amazing journey you are talking about. Regardless of how you do it... take LOTS of pictures and post back as often as possible. I'll be watching!!

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Old 04-13-2009, 05:55 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I think you'd be better off with the Toyota. There are metric shit tons of them world-wide so parts are readily available. A straight axle yota with very near stock suspension but everything beefed would be better in my opinion than a TJ with custom suspension and special parts. My opinion, take it or leave it. Sounds like a cool trip though.
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Old 04-14-2009, 09:43 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Alright boys, so I've pretty much come full circle. After a few days of heavy research and weighing out my options, I think im going with the Toyota pickup or 4runner. All the money I'd be pouring into the Jeep seems like a waste considering if I sold my Jeep I'd have money left over after my toyo build is over. Plus having that extra space for boards, tools, supplies, etc is worth the wheel base i would be giving up. I dont think I will sell the Jeep, but you get the idea. Thanks for all the help.

On a side note, I didnt really realize how many other sections are to pirate4x4, and the wealth of knowledge that is available here. I will be posting up my same story elsewhere, so if your intrested, stay tuned. I still have plenty of questions for you guys, so thanks again for your help.
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Old 04-14-2009, 09:45 PM   #19 (permalink)
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You will want to post in the Expedition forum. Beware of the Toyota forum, they can be rough
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Old 04-14-2009, 09:57 PM   #20 (permalink)
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sweet...


subscibed, please post a link to where ever you end up posting your journey.


oh, the attention span is short here, so lots o pics please.


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Old 04-14-2009, 10:02 PM   #21 (permalink)
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sweet...


subscibed, please post a link to where ever you end up posting your journey.


oh, the attention span is short here, so lots o pics please.


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Lots of pics!
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Old 04-14-2009, 10:03 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Oh, and get a spot locator so we can track you via GPS.
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Old 01-25-2010, 05:03 PM   #23 (permalink)
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(double post)

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Old 01-25-2010, 05:07 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Bringing an old thread back to life. So I had it in the works to pick up an '84 4runner for 1k this last weeked. The day I'm getting ready to drive and pick the thing up, I was over at my dad's friend's house working on my brother's TJ. Getting to talking to him and my dad, basically them telling me that I would be wasting too much time and energy into building up the 4runner, delaying my trip, and to stick with my Jeep. Worst came to worst, broke down needing a hard to find part, they could buy the part here and then ship it to wherever I was. A few bus rides to a big town later I'd be fixed and on my way.

With all of this research and time I've spent on finding and figuring out the logistics of my toyota build, I've learned how I can build up the TJ much cheaper than origionally planned. With the help of my dad's friend (who is quite handy with a welder and not lacking in ingenuity) putting it all together wont be as difficult and expensive as previously thought.

So here is where I stand now:
1) I'm figuring on swapping out my d30/d35 combo for a HP30/8.8 combo. Much cheaper than throwing any money at my d35, and d44's aren't very easy to come on the cheap. I can get an 8.8 for like 160 at the local pick and pull.

2) Thinking most likely I'll end up with 35" sneakers.

3) I would like to have a twin stick transfer case. Dana 300, atlas, I dunno. Which one would be better, and why? I won't mind saving up if the Atlas is worth it, just don't know the pros and cons of each.

4) Going to 4-link the suspension. Probably still going to go with Clayton. I could build up my own, but from what friends have said, it is much easier when you have the parts all there. How much money would I be saving if I built up my own vs getting the Clayton kit?

5) Custom welding up my own bumper. Need to do a search for those on the forum.

Before I was going to buy all this stuff that was pretty much completely unnecessary and a huge waste of money. Thanks Pirate!
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Old 01-25-2010, 08:08 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Location: NorCal
Posts: 66
Global, this is based off of some trips I have made to costa, panama, and brazil.

1) if you absolutely plan on running a Jeep, keep it as simple as possible, and run no more than 33x10.5's, they will be plenty with appropriate gears and lockers. A good Warn winch with extra segments of cable / strap. You will most likely be doing some long, light pulls. You are probably not going to be crawling as much as flinging out your treads I would look for higher tcase ratios.

2) Clayton stuff is top notch, but IMO I wouldn't spend the extra cash on arms and stick with minimal lift. Spend your money on good tire repair kits, air, mobile welders, fridge, pelican cases, etc.

3) definitely check out expedition portals, they have alot of info addressing your specific questions more in depth. I look at pirate as an excellent tech source and expi as a source for organizing, gear, logistics, etc, for your trip.

4) Your dog is a luxury protection tool, do not rely on it to react the same on a real person as it does on the decoy. Unless you are running scenarios with your dog in a muzzle on a decoy that is not wearing any equipment, you are really going to have to take a guess on your dog's ability until it actually deploys on a bite. IMO a civilian protection dog is more of a liability for you, the public, and itself than anything else. Be very careful and I hope that your trainer has educated you. You are hopefully educated, and your dog is exceptional.

think of it this way. If you have say a mini pin, it will bark and let you know when something is happening. You have complete control over the dog, or you can let it ran around an yap, it really doesn't matter. You are free to engage whatever threat with an alarm and minimal distraction.

with your attack dog you are committed to controlling the dog, letting it go so it can get shot or stabbed by an assailant, or letting it run around and be a huge distraction. If you leave it on lead and have it bark you will have a very difficult time doing anything else. If your dog is trained on gunfire, it is also likely that it will come up the gun on you if you are shooting. It happens to police handlers sometimes. I guess what i am trying to say is there are sooo many things to know about handling a dog it's almost infinite. IMO it is easier to err on the side of caution and rely on your abilities and not the dogs.

After saying all of that, I will give you credit for using a dog as a tool. Also those folks down south are collectively very afraid of large "attack" dogs. I am not condeming your idea, I just want to bring up some points you may not have thought about. If you are aware, that's great, just trying to help you on your trip which sounds awesome.

Good luck, hopefully something I contributed will provoke some thought and help you out.
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