I am planning a major trip cross country into Central America for a surf trip. I am planning on going through Baja, Mainland Mex, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicoragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and maybe even South America in search of surf. The vehicle that's going to get me there is my '05 TJ. Right now it is stock, but I plan on making a few changes to make it worthy of such a voyage.
Here's where you all come in. I need some advice on what things you might think I will need, and if I am over looking anything. I am planning on putting a 4" suspension lift with 33x12.50 tires. Im thinking of going with teraflex's s4t with bilstein 5100 series shocks. I know I will do a good bit of on-road driving, but when I get off road, things will be getting a bit nasty. Especially during the rainy season and all the washed out rivers and sticky muddy clay that comes with it. I origionally was wanting to put some swamper ssr's on there, but will they wear out too fast? What do you all recomend?
*I have other additions planned, but this is a good start for suggestions/comments
And about 5 grand gas money. For that kind of trip I'd pass on the swampers. Get some bf goodrich all terrains instead. If your set on a mt then get something a little more road worthy, like bf mt or goodyear mtr, or something along that line.
Not a bad idea, as long as wherever you're going will legally let you carry.
If the Jeep is the only thing going, get a winch (and all the necessary accessories like a snatch block, tree saver, and even a pull pal if you have room). GPS would also be a great tool in case you get lost. If you're going to be driving on the sand, then air down your tires to lessen the chance of getting stuck. In this case, you'll also need an air compressor of some sort in order to air up your tires when you're ready to leave. On-board air is very popular (it's reliable and FAST), but I picked up a $14.99 air compressor on sale at Wal-Mart that hasn't let me down (but it's slow as heck). Still on the subject of tires, get some tire plugs in case you catch a nail or something and need a temp. fix before you have it professionally fixed. If you're going to be camping out in the woods/beach, then obviously the regular necessities come to mind, but you may also want to upgrade your vehicle's battery (Optima, Diehard Platinum, etc) in case you're using it to power anything else.
Just a couple things to think about, not nearly everything that you need.
mosquito netting and bug spray- tire patch/plug kit and I dont think id wanna take that trip without a gun (it would probably prevent me from going if I couldnt) Sure sounds like one hell of a good time though, just watch out for the bandits -lol
The problem with the all-terrains is they will become completly useless when I am going to need the 4wd. I have seen they type of terrain, and it would gum them up faster than they could get rid of it. I mean, realistically I will be doing under 8k of highway driving...the rest will be offroad.
On top of the lift, tires, I plan on adding lights, snorkel, winch, hard top, and other stuff to make myself as self sufficent as possible.
I totally agree with taking a firearm as i would definetaly want some kind of protection, however you will be stopped frequently by federales in the backcountry who will search your vehicle. If they find any contraband, i.e. guns, drugs, etc. you will be on the fast track to a mexican jail cell. Wouldn't be a bad idea to take a few playboy's and a couple cartons of cigarettes with you to offer as "tokens of your appreciation" at these backcountry roadblocks, checkpoints, or whenever you find yourself in front of an 18 year old federale with an AK47.
Sounds like a great trip, how long are you planning to be on this surfari? I just got back from Costa Rica and had a blast, the surf is unreal. The roads are terrible and there is a serious concern for theft with unmonitored vehicles. I would say the hard top is a must. I would not try to get too crazy off road if you only have one vehicle. Take it slow and easy down there and you will have the time of your life. Also remember to give to the locals, great people and very poor anything helps.
"Early to finish...Late to start"
google for a website called "driving baja", it has forums with stories of people dealing with fake mexican police and corrupt officers.
After driving into mexico numerous times over the years (never in a jeep, always in a car) I think the best thing you can take is a second vehicle with people in it.
In the Army we call it a battle buddy.
Do not take a gun. I recommend a 5 or 6 cell maglight instead, its legal and will knock the sh** out of someone who tries something.
On another note, I have SSR's on my Jeep and most of my buddies run some form of the same tire and routinely get about 40 to 50 thousand miles on them. They are bullet proof and battle tested and aside from really being a pain in the *** to balance a good tire choice for going just about anywhere.