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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Input on my list of potential camping/trial rigs

Hey folks,

4 cars aren't enough, so the GF and I are on the hunt for #5!

We're wanting something we can load up for weekend road/camping trips (likely to include bikes and kayaks). At most, we'd just be hitting scenic off-road paths (nothing crazy). Depending on what we get, I'd maybe consider a little lift and wheels/tires down the line.

Goals;
-Reliable
-Decent road manners
-Affordable
-Room to sleep 2

For a budget, I'd like to keep it below $3k. I know that a sub $3k vehicle is likely to need some maintenance, which is fine with me. I do my own work, so no biggie (that's how a teacher is able to have his own fleet). That said, I'd like to do my best to avoid major repairs (wouldn't we all?).

Here's what I'm thinking for a list;

Xterra-Decent support, good reliability, looks the part, prices are pretty steep (even on 1st gen's).

Pathfinder (wd21 or r50)-Limited support (probably enough for what we'd ever need), reliable, good highway drive (r50), decent prices.Plain looking stock, but lift and tires do wonders!

Rodeo/Passport-Just started researching them today. May be more reliable and capable than I had thought. Maybe the best value of my list?

Montero-Cheap.......not sure what else!

I know a 3rd gen 4Runner would be a good fit, but the prices are just too high (double what we want to spend).


We thought we may have found an Xterra, but we showed up to find some undisclosed issues (including rust).

Given our budget and needs, I'm thinking a broad net is best (regarding make/model). Also, we're in somewhat of a rural area, so I need to stay open minded and be patient.

I did just find a '98 Rodeo that I'm waiting to hear back on (around $1k).


Also, I'm not totally new to 4x4's. I had a 2nd gen 4Runner for a couple years. It looked great (almost new condition), but the mechanicals were a nightmare. Ditched it after finding oil in the radiator (3vze......).

Something I should add to my list? Any input is appreciated!
 

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Find a 00-05 blazer or s10
They are body on frame,cheap and the 4.3/4L60e or nv3500 are very reliable
If you can find a zr2,factory lift and fullsize truck diff in the rear
Toss a canopy on the back or ladder rack and a roof top tent
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Buy a motor home and how water you want to play with that day

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
Don't want to mess with a portable house! Plus, city ordnance means no parking it on the street (only option).

Find a 00-05 blazer or s10
They are body on frame,cheap and the 4.3/4L60e or nv3500 are very reliable
If you can find a zr2,factory lift and fullsize truck diff in the rear
Toss a canopy on the back or ladder rack and a roof top tent
I had a Silverado of that generation that rotted out thanks to Dex-Cool, so I have a bit of a bias against GM products of that era. that said, may be worth doing a little research. The more options I have, the better!
 

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Find a 00-05 blazer or s10
They are body on frame,cheap and the 4.3/4L60e or nv3500 are very reliable
If you can find a zr2,factory lift and fullsize truck diff in the rear
Toss a canopy on the back or ladder rack and a roof top tent
I had a 96 Sonoma, loved the 4.3/4l60e but I can't imagine it would last like a Japanese rig on dirt roads, even at 115k miles it felt more creaky and loose than my current 2nd gen and 3rd 4runners with ~270k. Also, they need a 6" lift just to get 33s under there.

Op, I would be looking for a 3rd gen 4runner, I got our 96 limited, grandma owned for $3700 so I would think you could get a decent one for 3k. The nice thing about them is that they made a billion of them, so parts are pretty easy to find. Also, they are pretty common to find with the locker, a lot of people don't even know what they are. I just did the adjustable 5100s in the front on the 2nd setting (3/4" of lift) and some 285s (33s) with just some slight plastic trimming.

I don't have anything against the other options, I have a buddy with an amigo that has been pretty solid despite him beating on it. He does seem to have a fair amount of electrical gremlins, sometimes parts can be hard to find. At the same time, when you do find them, they are cheap because no body wants them. The other bummer is he decided to make it into more of a mild crawler which there is no support for, even with the aftermarket 3:1 tcase gears and 5.38s his crawl ratio still sucks.

Although I don't know shit about them and I hate the way they look, the Nissans might be the best option. Not as expensive as Toyotas, but still pretty common when you need parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Your budget is tight but I'd do Grand Cherokee or Tahoe/Sub.
I really don't want to go full sized (although, the space would be nice). Plus, full size suv's have a high resell in my area.

I really should add Cherokee's to the list. a quick search doesn't turn up anything particularly interesting right now, but out of what is available, the prices seems pretty good.

I had a 96 Sonoma, loved the 4.3/4l60e but I can't imagine it would last like a Japanese rig on dirt roads, even at 115k miles it felt more creaky and loose than my current 2nd gen and 3rd 4runners with ~270k. Also, they need a 6" lift just to get 33s under there.

Op, I would be looking for a 3rd gen 4runner, I got our 96 limited, grandma owned for $3700 so I would think you could get a decent one for 3k. The nice thing about them is that they made a billion of them, so parts are pretty easy to find. Also, they are pretty common to find with the locker, a lot of people don't even know what they are. I just did the adjustable 5100s in the front on the 2nd setting (3/4" of lift) and some 285s (33s) with just some slight plastic trimming.

I don't have anything against the other options, I have a buddy with an amigo that has been pretty solid despite him beating on it. He does seem to have a fair amount of electrical gremlins, sometimes parts can be hard to find. At the same time, when you do find them, they are cheap because no body wants them. The other bummer is he decided to make it into more of a mild crawler which there is no support for, even with the aftermarket 3:1 tcase gears and 5.38s his crawl ratio still sucks.

Although I don't know shit about them and I hate the way they look, the Nissans might be the best option. Not as expensive as Toyotas, but still pretty common when you need parts.
A decent (not great, just decent) 3rd gen 4Runner will easily be $6k+ in my area!

Parts and support would be difficult with the Isuzu.

R50 Pathfinder seems to be a good balance of value/on-road drive/reliability/off-road potential.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Find a 00-05 blazer or s10
They are body on frame,cheap and the 4.3/4L60e or nv3500 are very reliable
If you can find a zr2,factory lift and fullsize truck diff in the rear
Toss a canopy on the back or ladder rack and a roof top tent
Did some research, and the zr2 is an interesting truck. It seems pretty capable in stock form, but hard to get over the goofy looks! Plus, why did they only offer it in 2 door?
 

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Fly out to ca and buy a 96-97 4runner. Drive home and throw a water pump, timing belt, and steering ends at it.
 

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Does each of your 4 current cars serve a real purpose?
Good idea might be to sell off 1 or 2 and increase your budget here for a decent rig.

Simplify if you can. Cheaper on insurance and registration as a bonus.
 

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A Subaru forester is exactly the car for you. This assumes that your feelings won't be hurt by people questioning your gf's sexual orientation. Throw some 1" pucks under the coils to give it some lift.

A Lincoln hearse with a luncbox locker will do everything you're asking as well.

Also, from what you said you are brand new to 4x4s.
 

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Does each of your 4 current cars serve a real purpose?
Good idea might be to sell off 1 or 2 and increase your budget here for a decent rig.

Simplify if you can. Cheaper on insurance and registration as a bonus.
That's what I just did for this very same purpose. Bought a single cab F350 long bed, put a camper shell on the back. Now I'm selling my AWD impreza and Dodge one ton van. This truck will serve as an extra tow rig, family camping rig and I'm knocking two cars off the insurance maintenance budget.
 

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Bought a single cab F350 long bed, put a camper shell on the back. This truck will serve as an extra tow rig, family camping rig
Same here, picked up a cap for my 05 single cab long bed, so much room for activities!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Fly out to ca and buy a 96-97 4runner. Drive home and throw a water pump, timing belt, and steering ends at it.
Flights are $$ out of my area, so once I figure in travel costs, I wouldn't be saving all that much.

I'd rather just try to be patient for a local deal.

Does each of your 4 current cars serve a real purpose?
Good idea might be to sell off 1 or 2 and increase your budget here for a decent rig.

Simplify if you can. Cheaper on insurance and registration as a bonus.
Maybe I'll want to scale back one day, but not yet! I enjoy owning a variety of cars (my daily, classic pickup, roadster, and care for GF's daily).

A Subaru forester is exactly the car for you. This assumes that your feelings won't be hurt by people questioning your gf's sexual orientation. Throw some 1" pucks under the coils to give it some lift.

A Lincoln hearse with a luncbox locker will do everything you're asking as well.

Also, from what you said you are brand new to 4x4s.
Hadn't really considered a Subaru (pretty rare in my area). while I don't know what the future will hold, I'd like the option of something I could do some mild mods on (lift, wheels/tires, etc.).

Not sure what that last sentence means???
 

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Discussion Starter #19
What is your area where flights are expensive and 4Runners are too?
I'm in west Texas. The economy is petroleum based, and even with low crude prices, car prices are pretty stupid.

Because this is an oil hub, flights often sell out (driving up costs), and I cant get very far without some connections.

On the plus side, I do make trips to the Dallas area, so I may have a chance to check around there before too long.
 

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I'm in west Texas. The economy is petroleum based, and even with low crude prices, car prices are pretty stupid.

Because this is an oil hub, flights often sell out (driving up costs), and I cant get very far without some connections.

On the plus side, I do make trips to the Dallas area, so I may have a chance to check around there before too long.
The only thing the orel feld clowns care about are diesels and SA200 welders. Friend of mine keeps picking up Toyotas out west for nothing and 2x-3x his money by listing them in SA or Austin. Amazing what a tune up and cheap paint job will do.

So no, I don't believe you cant find an inexpensive 20 y/o 4x4 in west Texas. Just have to beat the meskins to it.
 
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