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Old Aug 02, 2011, 10:25 AM
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What's Your Vehicle of Choice For Reaching DS Sites?

What's the most capable off-roader to make it down to Vincent, Weldon etc? We've tried a few different 4wd vehicles down to Vincent and the only one that's made it back up without digging was a souped up mid-90s Bronco I with locking diffs.

I'll be in the market to replace my 2WD truck in a few months and would like to consider something with the offroad capability to reach those places without too much effort. I've heard the Toyota FJ Cruiser 4WD is pretty capable bone stock. Any others?
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Old Aug 02, 2011, 11:28 AM
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More like crunchman....
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Shank's pony.
It's a British thing.
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Old Aug 02, 2011, 12:36 PM
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building season is here.
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I've seen Range Rover Discovery stk, 95 Jeep Cherokee V8 , toyota 4 runner V6 all make the vincent climb.

Sam
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Old Aug 02, 2011, 01:19 PM
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A friend of mine uses a Mazda Miata for Parker.
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Old Aug 02, 2011, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by vespa View Post
A friend of mine uses a Mazda Miata for Parker.
I've seen just about everything up at Parker (guess it depends how much you like your undercarriage, exhaust and rear diff!). I'm talking about the loose dirt trails like Vincent, Weldon, Norco...
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Old Aug 02, 2011, 01:47 PM
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The toyota pickups seem to do really well, but lack locking diffs for the gnarliest of stuff. It seems most of the "modern" 4WD vehicles use some form of traction control in lieu of traditional LSD / Locking Hubs. The FJ seems very capable, but I would buy a Ford full-size if I were in the market and didn't care about gas mileage. John's Landcruiser is plush and capable. Spencer's Tacoma TRD is amazingly capable and smooth. My F150 gets me where I want to go despite only 2WD/LSD. The good ol' Wrangler can do it all, but no room for stuff. Ground clearance is more important than entry/exit angle for the types of roads we have to go up and down. 4wd of any flavor will get you into most places (chuckwalla being the exception!).
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Old Aug 02, 2011, 03:21 PM
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I like my Tacoma. The long bed holds 2m and 80" wings but they have to go at a slight angle for the tailgate to close. I really like the looks of the FJ Cruiser and am sure it would be capable of tougher offroading than my Tacoma. Only drawback would be dealing with the longer wings, etc... Also, I imagine it could get too crowded for 2-3 people with lots of slope gear... The Tacoma gets descent mileage if you drive it gently.

Spencer
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Old Aug 02, 2011, 11:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sll914 View Post
I like my Tacoma. The long bed holds 2m and 80" wings but they have to go at a slight angle for the tailgate to close. I really like the looks of the FJ Cruiser and am sure it would be capable of tougher offroading than my Tacoma. Only drawback would be dealing with the longer wings, etc... Also, I imagine it could get too crowded for 2-3 people with lots of slope gear... The Tacoma gets descent mileage if you drive it gently.

Spencer

Thanks Spencer. Any issues with rear traction in the pickup due to the lack of weight over the rear axle, or do a few K100s back there take care of that problem?
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Old Aug 03, 2011, 02:02 AM
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Dom

My old 95 4 runner makes it up Weldon,Vincent,Norco no problem. Its bone stock. Any 4wd with a low range tcase should be fine. Add a couple of detroit lockers and you'd be super.

Good luck with the car shopping.
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Old Aug 03, 2011, 07:41 AM
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Like Rockbus said. A transfer case with 4L is a good start.
There are several Tacoma p/u's that have rear diff locks. I think there are FJ's that don't so you gotta choose wisely. I like my new 4Runner. It has a locking rear diff and off-road traction control that I've been impressed with and I get 22-25 mpg on my trips to Weldon! The 4R sometimes gets negative reviews for ride because it is truck based. A full sized p/u is not a popular choice for many off-roaders due to it's size on trails.
My brother went all the way up the South ridge at Weldon but it took a modified FJ to do it.
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Old Aug 03, 2011, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by 1000MPH View Post
Like Rockbus said. A transfer case with 4L is a good start.
There are several Tacoma p/u's that have rear diff locks. I think there are FJ's that don't so you gotta choose wisely. I like my new 4Runner. It has a locking rear diff and off-road traction control that I've been impressed with and I get 22-25 mpg on my trips to Weldon! The 4R sometimes gets negative reviews for ride because it is truck based. A full sized p/u is not a popular choice for many off-roaders due to it's size on trails.
My brother went all the way up the South ridge at Weldon but it took a modified FJ to do it.

That's great gas mileage, Stu. I do find that my Yukon is wide for a lot of the trails, and it's got some pin striping on the sides from years of slope abuse (hitting brush trailside).

I'm a little surprised to hear the 4Runner will do Vincent up and down, as we had a fun afternoon getting Justin Moon's Nissan Pathfinder 4wd, with 4L, back up the hill. Even Daniel's Bronco I with locking rear diffs was an adventure getting back up that trail. I may look into an older 4Runner, then.

Looking at the FJs, you're right that they don't all have locking diffs. With all the off-road equipment, it prices out at about 30K. The crazy thing is that 4-5 year old FJs are running 25-26K used with more than 50K miles on them. That's Toyota resale for you.

I have a car I use during the week for commuting, so this one will be solely for hauling surfboards and gliders on the weekends. Makes comfort and mileage something less of a consideration, although I'd like it to do better than the 16-18mpg my Yukon is giving me on the highway. It's about a $40 trip to Vincent/Parker/Grass these days.
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Old Aug 03, 2011, 11:05 AM
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That's impressive to make it up the south ridge at Weldon!

I haven't specifically noticed the loss of traction on the rear only because I haven't had to push it that hard. It does Weldon,Vincent,norco,mars, etc no prob. Surely if I tried the southern ridge at Weldon, I'd have a different answer about the rear traction question... I guess in the end you have to make a compromise between mileage, space, and off roading ability. Guessing the 4 runner is a near optimal balance. I went the truck route so I could also move furniture, etc with the open bed if necessary.
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Old Aug 03, 2011, 01:44 PM
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4 runners are great. Mine is an older one and does well but would do even better with a rear diff lock. Still gets it done so I cant justify buying one for it but they are easy to find factory installed. I think I would go for the new 4runner if you going new. They are pretty sweet! Even the older ones are good for thrashing around. I think you want 99 and up though. 3.4L V6. The older V6 motors they used are crap. Mine is 99 and runs like a top. I abuse it.
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Old Aug 03, 2011, 02:10 PM
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The older Series Landrovers are rather handy for this sort of thing as they are narrower than modern stuff, and more capable off road in most instances. Plus, they don't break, and when they do, all you need is a wrench, a mallet and some bailer twine

My ex-military Series 3 lightweight (3.5 V8) would go anywhere, and was bullet proof, and whats more, you could buy one now and sell it in a couple of years for the same or more than you paid.

For what its worth, mine had locking diffs front and rear and a locking centre diff. Bit modified from standard, but it would climb a 45 degree muddy wet slope with ease

Although it only did 12mpg or so
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Old Aug 03, 2011, 02:25 PM
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What makes the hill at Vincent difficult? Steep, slippery, rutted?
Jeeps and Land Rovers are fun and capable but most of us probably don't need any more punishment inflicted on our internal organs.
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