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Old 11-12-2009, 11:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Weekend Warrior VS Trailer Queen

So this is my situation.

Several years ago I used to daily drive a bronco II with a 6" lift on 33's, 4.56's lockers etc; it wasn't too bad but I avoided the interstate, road trips like the plague. As I got older and started an actual career, I started making pretty decent money. I decided I'd dedicate my bII to the trails, put 36's on it chopped the top etc. and bought a gooseneck trailer and dodge 2500 diesel to pull it around. Within the past couple of months I decided I was bored with the ttb rig and wanted to kick it up a notch- so the bII is tore down and I've been collecting parts like d60, 14b, etc. I've added up the costs of the build possibilities ie. leafs, coils, gearing options, and no matter what, it adds up to a pretty dumb amount of money, and huge amount of labor, for something that takes up two stalls worth of garage that I get to use maybe once a month during the summer. This was expected, and this was my plan since I was 16 years old. I never want to quit wheeling trucks but this almost doesn't seem realistic. I pay 400$ a month for my dodge which sole purpose is to pull the bII- so you can essentially account 400$ a month plus insurance and maitenance on a diesel for the bII. The gooseneck doesn't cost me monthly but I still need to store, liscence and maintain it. And in the mean time I'm supposed to come up an extra 5-8G's to build a 1-ton wheeling truck. It's definitely possible... If my priorities are fugged up and I focus all my funds on wheeling and ignore house maitenance and being unprepared for unexpected situations life throws at you.

I've been considering backing out of building a 1-ton trailer queen bII, selling the dodge, selling the gooseneck, and buying a newer jeep. I would mildly build the jeep, eventually be on 33's or 35's. Anymore I don't know if I feel the need to do super hardcore climbs etc- I just enjoy crawling the average trails around the badlands etc. I'd rather not do something retarded to prove something and then be in a shitty situation. I would hold on to the escort to commute to work.

Comments or thoughts? Anyone have wisdom to pass on that's gone from a trailer queen to a driven rig? had regrets? Does anyone drive their rig to the trail that thinks the cost and maitenance of tow rig and trailer is totally worth it?
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds to me like you already know your answer, otherwise you wouldn't be questioning it.
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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theres just something cool about the fact that i can load up the jeep with the family, hit the trails, and drive home. if i were in a business that required a diesel truck to actually work with it could be more justifiable. i would probably use it to trailer to the places that are a little further away.

but keeping up maintenance on tow rig, trailer, and trail rig plus insurance, and gas for both vehicles, tires etc... the list goes on. then storage of them is an issue too.
it all adds up quick.
i vote for the changeover - ditch the bronco, get something a little more road friendly and build it to suit your needs.

look at it this way, would you rather have a non-street driveable hardcore trail rig, a big diesel and trailer?

or a nice moderately built trail rig and maybe a little car for when/if the other breaks down.(with no truck or trailer to have to maintain)

just my $.02
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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im broke and i have a trailor queen. i live by my moto eversince i rolled 5 times "ever day could be your last so live it up."
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hard to really have fun in a DD rig becuase you have to drive it home and dont want to challenge your driving capabilities or your rig capabilities becuase it would leave you stranded. At least thats my experience. Trailer queens rock, you can ravage them and not care if your break and throw it on the trailer and let it sit until you have the $$ or time to fix it. You challenge yourself and your rig because your not worried about breakage.
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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theres just something cool about the fact that i can load up the jeep with the family, hit the trails, and drive home. if i were in a business that required a diesel truck to actually work with it could be more justifiable. i would probably use it to trailer to the places that are a little further away.

but keeping up maintenance on tow rig, trailer, and trail rig plus insurance, and gas for both vehicles, tires etc... the list goes on. then storage of them is an issue too.
it all adds up quick.
i vote for the changeover - ditch the bronco, get something a little more road friendly and build it to suit your needs.

look at it this way, would you rather have a non-street driveable hardcore trail rig, a big diesel and trailer?

or a nice moderately built trail rig and maybe a little car for when/if the other breaks down.(with no truck or trailer to have to maintain)

just my $.02
good points, however...what if you drive 4 hrs to harlan and break an axle shaft and possibly cant make it home w/o a trailer

sorry, had to
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Old 11-12-2009, 01:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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My setup is I have 95 powerstroke towrig/dd and 98 tj that is getting ready to go under the knife To still be a street legal crawler that I will tow to the trails in case of any breakage.
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Old 11-12-2009, 01:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Sell the truck to get rid of the payments. Buy a much cheaper used truck and keep the trailer. That should free up some money to build with. I wish I had the money to have a truck and trailer. It sucks always wondering if you're gonna make it home.
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Old 11-12-2009, 01:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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my setup is : cheap sentra dd. fantastic mpg, not that fun to drive
cheap 1st gen cummins. cheap. cummins. pretty solid
97 tj. trail rig but still street driveable.
trailer. for longer trips.

I still drive it to Uwharrie to play but anything longer/harder gets the tow rig and trailer. works for me, all vehicles/trailer are all paid for so it's just maintenance and fuel
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Old 11-12-2009, 02:18 PM   #10 (permalink)
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IMO your on the right track as far as finances goes, ie your priorities are right. IMO your right on about getting rid of the truck payment.

IMO it doesn't make sense to me to make car payments on a Jeep, or any brand for that matter and wheel it, because then your going to inevitably get in a situation where you need it monday morning, and its busted and the payment is due. Things happen, unless your sure you don't want to challange yourself at all, or stick to fairweather moderate wheeling.

If it were me, I would only make car payments on a dd, thats only if I wasn't in a position to pay cash.

IMO buy a reliable dd that fits the family, build your toy street legal. That way if you bust the toy, you save until you can get it fixed and still get to work monday morning or sell the trailer and put that money into the toy. As money and time permits, get a old school Scottsdale, F250, Dodge paid for in cash and then take the toy to the next level.

No car payments, pay as you go, still have fun is the way to go. Wheeling is an expensive hobby but taking care of business should be the priority.

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Old 11-12-2009, 03:23 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Meh I was am at the same point. Before the economy fell out and I was forced to sell my rig, I had a pretty serious crawler that was more or less a trail only rig. Yes it was street legal...kinda, more like 90/10 trail and street use. It could do highway speeds, track straight down the road, but it wasn't supposed to be on it, the suspension was way to soft and sloppy, huge sidewalls that like to flex, makes noise, draws alot of attention. The tires were too expensive to be wearing out on the road and the Jeep literally spent its last year under my ownership in the backyard minus maybe 10 wheeling trips.

Now if things ever get better, I will buy another. I won't be doing anything crazy to the suspension. The tires will be 35" radials that do offroad and onroad very well. I will be putting an engine with some fuggin horsepower in it this time, and I will probably stick with a granny 4 speed/300 combo. I'm like you, I have better things to do then spend my weekends fixing things, I want to be able to just drive it comfortably. Unless you are in an area that DEMANDS you have a rig running 40s and 1tons to be able to run with the crew, then theres nothing wrong with not being extreme but still being capable.

Good Luck
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Old 11-12-2009, 05:09 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I would sell the currunt stuff and get a nice used Rubicon. Don't do anything crazy to it.....put a RE 5.5 long arm and 35" tires on it, done. Then u have a very capible on and off road vehicle that you can drive anytime anywhere. This is the exact thing I am doing at least.

I noticed you are in Peoria. I live in Bloomington-Normal. If you want to check out my rig or go wheeling sometime let me know. Anyway GL with the decision.
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Old 11-12-2009, 06:25 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Thank you all for the replies so far, these are exactly the kind of replies I was hoping for. When I searched for DD threads all I could find were people that DD there junk so of course the opinions are biased. The concept of being able to push your skills and equipment to the limit is the big one in favor for the tow rig setup.

It kind of makes me sad to think I would consider not being as "hardcore" as I can be. Makes me feel like I'm getting old and letting a "childish" dream fade. I live in central illinois and don't really plan on any 800+ mile trips towards the west coast to hit up some more of the serious parks. I goto the cliff's insane terrain which is about 45 minutes from my house, and the badlands which is about 3 hours from my house. I've seen a jeep on 33's conquer the majority of both of those parks. Sure there's a few hills/rocks the milder rigs can't tackle, but just like a drag car- is another 5000$ invested in the motor worth cutting 1 second off your 1/4 miles time worth it? my ttb bII on 36's followed most any solid axle rig any where they went. I am invisioning a tough looking jeep on 35's with 4.88's and some armor that's a convertible in the summer, and fun 4x4 in the winter. Something I can drive to the badlands in, run some trails, and drive home. I have 3-stalls worth of garage. One stall is full of future BII parts, on stall is full of the bII, and the other stall has my lawn mower/quad etc. The vehicle I make payments on and my DD sit outside, no big deal, just strikes me as dumb. In future house purchases it will be necessary to look for one that can facilitate a 14' trailer, a 20' gooseneck, a 20' dodge cummins, a 8' bII, and a 8' escort, 4' mower, 4' quad- that's 78' of shit on wheels before a wife's vehicle is introduced?!? is this getting rediculous or cool? lol.

At the time I bought the dodge I had virtually no established credit at all
and the financing rate is kinda gross. After paying on it for 3 years I owe about what I could sell it for- makes me cringe to think if I backed out now the past 36 payments of 415$ would be for nothing. Of course I'd also get raped trading it in on a newer Jeep but I view this payment as a toy payment. It seems like if I were to build a mild jeep it would cut costs in the long run not repairing a diesel truck. The payment is a bit higher than ideal but I can afford it; its just gonna be hard to find the time and money to build a serious trailer queen in a reasonable amount of time while paying for the rest of life.

and btw. sure a diesel motor may last 300k, but all of the retardedly expensive transmissions, u-joints, wheel bearings, alternators, tires, fuel pumps and starters don't. It costs around 300$ just to replace the two huge batteries in the damn thing. It seems like everything costs 300$ + when it comes to buying parts for a cummins truck. If you are reading this and are planning on investing on a tow rig, buy an old beater gasser, diesels aren't all they are cracked up to be, and this is coming from a guy that's been through diesel tech school and now works in engine research and developement for Caterpillar. Unless you use the truck for your work, gas is the way to go.

I've been dedicated down the tow rig path for sometime now and I am weighing my options. I don't want to make a rash decision and liquidate everything to end up stranded on the side of the road in a Jeep. I would like to think I'll just be patient and just ride my sportsman while SLOWLY collecting parts and building the BII.
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Old 11-12-2009, 07:28 PM   #14 (permalink)
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i love my trailer queen. i rape, pillage and force feed her shit, when im done no matter what breaks right back on the trailer tow it home and fix, clean it up and get ready to do it again. i dont have to worry about having to have it fixed to drive it to work monday and as someone else said, if im broke and break something major. who cares, it can sit in the shop until i get it fixed.
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Old 11-12-2009, 10:41 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I have been going through the EXACT same line of questioning for myself.

My YJ is my first car and got it handed down from my family when I was 15.
Drove it for about 10 years, slowly wrenching and building it along the way. One thing that always bugged me was if I broke something on it, I was screwed. No driver to school, work, etc. unless I borrowed or rented another car until my YJ was fixed.
Years ago, I also debated selling it and building up a more economical platform like a full size bronco or K5 but I always remembered folks who wished they kept their first car and I always loved the wide eyed looks I got from running around on 35s back in the mid 90s when that wasn't as common. Eventually, I am going to run 40s on it.

A few years ago I got a house and some other stuff and realized that little YJ was good for a single guy but sucked for a family so I bought a 4dr accord and towed it behind the YJ when I moved. YJ handled fine but wasn't comfortable letting anybody else try it.

Well that lasted for all of 6 months and I realized I needed something that could pull a bobcat trailer when I did some landscaping on my house, move around lawn mowers, TVs, gym equipment, etc.

I traded in the honda for a 7.3, F250, CC, SB truck. I also realized that if the jeep was under the knife and I had to move (military), that I was fucked if the jeep wasn't safe to flat tow.

I thought long and hard on a trailer and finally decided to buy a 20+3 gooseneck for 3k that was close to me. I thought about a bumper pull but like the characteristics of the G/N more. Well, like any other kind of gearhead, I promptly dumped about 7k into the truck (exhaust brake, hi capacity cooling systems, OBA, gauges, trans controller, heavy duty transmission after I blew the 1st one, etc.)so I could safety tow the 4500lb. jeep on a 15k trailer with any other parts I had been accumulating to install but not had the time before I had to move again.

I will continue to add on to the truck as needed. Probably a winch, 19.5 singles for higher weight on the rear axle or maybe a drw drivetrain but it is fine for now.

In order to get the trailer road safe for my own requirements, I upgraded the tires, replaced the lights, wiring, brakes, etc. and will probably switch to LEDs. I added a few running lights, backup lights, 2 x spare tires, snow chains for artic driving, etc. and now have a trailer with about 6k total in it. Eventually I will probably add a few storage boxes, winch, new decking but it is fine for now. I might add 10ft. to the trailer too but it is fine for what I need right now.

Somewhere in there I got married and bought the wife an accord (go figure) for her and little jr. as a daily driver and we use it when driving into town as it fits into every parking garage and parking space a lot easier than my truck. No lift on the truck but not the best city car.

So here I am now. I have a truck (paid it off this month), a trailer (paid off), a jeep (paid folks a 1 for it), and a honda (will be paid off by next year). I can probably fit both the honda & jeep on the trailer if needed but haven't tried yet.

If I need to run to the hardware store I have a truck with a short box and don't have to worry too much about driving a DRW truck. If I need to haul something larger that a half sheet of plywood, I hook up the trailer and instantly add 20 ft of flat deck plus a 3ft dovetail and can fit a DRW axle equipped vehicle.

I can also now take my time on the jeep as my budget allows and not have to worry about getting it done on time for work on Monday. Also, if I break it while fourwheeling, I grab my truck, drag it back to the trailer, and if the jeep is dead, I run jumper cables to the battery to winch it onto the trailer until I have funds to splurge on a trailer winch.

I store the trailer on post if the house I am living in doesn't have a decent driveway for it but most of the houses I have lived in I could store it on my driveway or off to the side without much fuss.

I already have a dana 60 DRW & 14 bolt, upgraded shafts, arbs, gears, and hubs for my YJ (SOA, OBA, A/C, hardtop, 1500w stereo, rhino lined, CB, flat dash, electric fan, etc.) sitting in my garage on H1s and with another 10k, I'll be about 75% complete on the YJ once I buy a NV4500, atlas 4 speed, body armor, highlined fenders F&R, roll cage, and a few other things. I already have a few thousand into it and will tweak a few things.


Do I regret anything?

Yes, I should have bought the truck instead of screwing around with the 1st honda and should have bought my wife an SUV instead of the accord as it would have been cheaper on both counts. To make up for this, we are going to drive her accord ('05 4DR, ex-l, etc.) for a few more years to make up the savings with fuel costs.

Aside from that, I like having the flexibility of 3 cars and with 1 child and another 1 coming in a year or two, I won't have to worry about rushing to fix something to have a car to drive.

Keep in mind I started all this when I was 18 and am 31 now.


So in laymen's terms, keep pursuing the dream. Just realize it won't happen overnight.
Most of the folks on this board with the nice rigs have taken years to get them to that point.
Don't be deceived into thinking you are watching a bunch of 18 year olds build stuff.


Your experiences may vary.

Last edited by 89breaker; 11-13-2009 at 01:42 AM.
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Old 11-12-2009, 11:58 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Take the loss on the truck. Sell it, buy something older that could still handle tow duty, but will also be an ok DD. ..Maybe put the Bronco back together and sell it too, then buy a cheap ol' beat up YJ to throw your tons on...
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Old 11-13-2009, 04:48 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Hard to really have fun in a DD rig becuase you have to drive it home and dont want to challenge your driving capabilities or your rig capabilities becuase it would leave you stranded. At least thats my experience. Trailer queens rock, you can ravage them and not care if your break and throw it on the trailer and let it sit until you have the $$ or time to fix it. You challenge yourself and your rig because your not worried about breakage.
BUT - driving, wheeling, and driving home is a challenge too. plus i found that if i have another vehicle to drive when to jeep breaks down i just put it off and it takes forever to get it done. when it was my only car i HAD to get it fixed right away to drive it to work, so it was always driving/running. which meant it was always ready to wheel.

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good points, however...what if you drive 4 hrs to harlan and break an axle shaft and possibly cant make it home w/o a trailer

sorry, had to
haha.... i consider that a challenge i conquered
consider it a learning experience. i got no regrets.
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Old 11-13-2009, 04:51 AM   #18 (permalink)
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meh, everybodys got a bolt on rubicon.......

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I would sell the currunt stuff and get a nice used Rubicon. Don't do anything crazy to it.....put a RE 5.5 long arm and 35" tires on it, done. Then u have a very capible on and off road vehicle that you can drive anytime anywhere. This is the exact thing I am doing at least.

I noticed you are in Peoria. I live in Bloomington-Normal. If you want to check out my rig or go wheeling sometime let me know. Anyway GL with the decision.

edit: and i also bought mine and was wheeling it 6 months later - still making payments. that the nature of the beast. most of us got into wheeling when we were young and obviously couldnt afford a truck and trailer, so we learned how to drive it AND wheel it. thats a challenge in itself as much as challenges on the trail. my driving skills grew and my jeep grew and now i consider myself a pretty good driver with a good sense of what to do and not do to make sure i can get home. (even if i have to limp home)
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Old 11-13-2009, 05:49 AM   #19 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=ohiozj;10583401]meh, everybodys got a bolt on rubicon.......

Very true, but there is a reason for that! Very nicely set up right out of the box. Like I said.......lift it and go have fun!
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Old 11-13-2009, 06:24 AM   #20 (permalink)
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It is just so nice after a long weekend of wheeling to pull the dirty ass jeep up on the trailer, hop in the Clean Tow rig, set cruise and relax.

Nothing worse that driving 4 hours muddy, white knuckle driving because you knocked off all your wheel weights, and the breaks are packed with mud.

Yea we spend a lot on this hobby, (time and money) but what would your rather be doing?

I always hated DD the wheeler...
Dents and scratches with the top down and radio blaring is cool in the summer, but in the winter you just look poor hahaha
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Old 11-13-2009, 06:27 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I have run into this problem as well. I had a 98 Cherokee lifted with just 32's that I wheeled and it was my dd. I put it on it's side at Morris mountain and it made me sick. This all happened when gas prices started shooting up to about 4 dollars a gallon. I fixed the jeep and then sold it and bought a chevy cobalt 38 mpg is nice. I bought a 74 cj5 and have been building it up ever since. The jeep won't be a trailer queen but a weekend warrior and sometimes a dd during the summer. I figure if I break something on the jeep then I got the car to drive and vice versa with the car. My wife also has a grand Cherokee though. Just my 2 cents. I have saved a crap load of money in gas with that car and it is very dependable.
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Old 11-13-2009, 06:34 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I went through the opposite debate as you. I went out and bought an 04 Rubicon with the idea of if you're going to get a Jeep to take off road, get the Jeep that was built the best for off road. Downside to the Rubicon is that it's also the most expensive Jeep made.

I already had a diesel truck and a trailer, so I didn't have to worry about breaking the Rubicon as it wasn't my DD all that much anyway. My issue was cost. A newer Jeep is just that, a newer Jeep. They are worth a lot more in good shape than they are banged up and no matter how much you say you want to do light wheeling, you're going to keep pushing and pushing it until you're doing everything that the rig can handle. I was going out with a $14K Jeep and doing the same things that guys with $4K Jeeps were doing. It wasn't a matter of capability, it was a matter of cost. A $14K rig with a dent in it is worth a whole lot less than a $4K rig with a dent in it.

My solution was to do the opposite of what you're talking about. I sold the Rubicon and picked up a dedicated trail rig. If you look here on Pirate, you can find very capable rigs for very little money. I ended up with a YJ on tons and coilovers for just over half the cost of the Rubicon. Sure it's not as nice and it's not as pretty or whatever, but I can take it off road, bang the crap out of it, load it on a trailer and bring it home. It's paid for, parts are cheap and it's got the good stuff on it that makes breaking it more difficult than a stock Jeep, and if I do break something, I put it in the garage and can take my time fixing it because it's never going to see street use other than going to a club event with it.

IMO, you've already got the BII and you've already got a game plan worked out for it. I'd follow through with that. If you go out and buy a Jeep, you're going to put a lot more money into making it nearly as capable as a Bronco II on tons. Not only that, but if you're used to wheeling a certain way, you're not going to be happy not doing that kind of wheeling anymore. It's like skiing. If you're used to running the black diamond slopes, are you really going to have fun on the bunny slopes? Probably not and then you're going to try to do black diamond slopes with equipment that was only meant to handle bunny slopes and your damage potential goes up.

I've wheeled everything from old full size Chevys, to Toyotas, to Jeeps and I can tell you from that there is nothing more fun than taking a rig that you don't care about and going out and really pushing it. You had a plan and an idea when you decided to build the Bronco II. I'm sure that stemmed from something you saw your buddies doing, saw on TV, or whatever. You obviously want to do a certain type of wheeling, or you wouldn't have bought the tons for the BII. No matter what rig you get, you're still going to want to do that type of wheeling. It doesn't make sense to me to go out and buy something newer and nicer when you're just going to end up right back where you are now.
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Old 11-13-2009, 07:03 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 75PPE View Post
I've wheeled everything from old full size Chevys, to Toyotas, to Jeeps and I can tell you from that there is nothing more fun than taking a rig that you don't care about and going out and really pushing it.
i guess thats why im a little different. i like my full bodied rig, and i do care about it staying together. i wheeled alot of pretty tough stuff when i was stock axles and 32's. but i was so limited with what i could do because of tire size. and i didnt want to run 35s on stock axles. so i upgraded cause i didnt want to break. i drive pretty conservatively so i dont break. like i said before thats part of the challenge. sure i try to push it to see what the rig is capable of sometimes. but thats not my goal when i go out.
build a capable rig and drive it accordingly to minimize your downtime. if you want a balls out conquer every obstacle out there type rig, it probably wouldnt make a practical d/d. - just depends on what you want to do
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Old 11-13-2009, 08:22 AM   #24 (permalink)
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I wheel my dd moderatly too but avoid the more difficult stuff, because I have found it to be an inconvenience to source parts Sunday night for monday morning.

I drive the Taco drive out to Colorado every summer with the family, run Mosquito Pass, Hancock and Tin Cup type trails, but Blanca Peak, Holy Cross, Independence type trails are out of the question. I ran Chinaman's gulch clean in both directions on 32" tires and that isn't something I want to try again. I know very well that it sucks to source parts in remote places and I have a 750 mile drive back home.

The Jeep? I can try stuff that I would otherwise pass on. Its nice to know that if something happens I am not going to be scrambling or making my family rearrange their schedules to accomidate my misfortune, bad luck or poor judgement.

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