Need help picking a solid truck/suv/car, newbie at the wheel! - JeepForum.com
Search  
Sign Up   Today's Posts
User: Pass: Remember?
Advertise Here
Jeep Home Jeep Forum Jeep Classifieds Jeep Registry JeepSpace Jeep Reviews Jeep Gallery Jeep Clubs Jeep Groups Jeep Videos Jeep Events Jeep Articles
Go Back JeepForum.com > General > General Discussion > Need help picking a solid truck/suv/car, newbie at the wheel!

WJ Shackle Tabs: Tow-Hook Replacements2014 Spartan Locker Special - While Supplies Last! Dana 3FS: 2007-2013 Jeep Wrangler "HALO" Angel Eye Kit

Reply
Unread 08-28-2013, 05:09 PM   #1
Drame22
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 2
Need help picking a solid truck/suv/car, newbie at the wheel!

Hello everyone,

I'm not sure where to put this, 'General Discussion' seemed close enough.

Let me just start with some basics. I live in Portland, OR. I'm 22, I've been driving for 4 years or so. I have a part time job, not many bills, so I do have a decent income for this project. My problem is this:


I have only had one car so far under my name, a beater '97 Ford Taurus. It was a fine town car, but it couldn't make it over anything more complex than a gravel road, which meant in effect I was cut off from my favorite hobby; remote camping. It was also an automatic, which I've heard kills your mpg vs. a manual. Now I'm in the market for a new car(or should I say, truck!) and I've gone to several different car forums to get some assistance.

I've been browsing pictures and online sites in the hopes of finding something that would work for me. A few weeks of searching later, and I fell in love with the Land Rover Defender. Small, military-style, boxy, soft-top, AND a 4 cylinder engine? Sign me up!

The only issue is, at least according to the Land Rover Association of America(or some such silly name), is that very very few Defenders were ever imported to the States, which was backed up by my research into buying one. A 1996 Defender, ex-military, was $54,000. A 95 that was more rust than car was selling for $16,000. I would have posted up the site but those prices caused me to just shut down my research for the day.

I'm just wondering, is this really the pricing for Defenders? My theory is that I came across either collector's models or museum-quality refurbished models. At least, I'm hoping and praying that theory is correct. Who would pay brand new Corvette prices for a likely over-used milsurp 90's truck? Insanity!

Alternatively, if for some reason they really are that pricey, does anyone know a different truck that might fit my goals? My needs are fairly simple:

4 cylinder engine(diesel is preferred as I will eventually be making my own bio-fuel, but I know gasoline is far more common)
Enough clearance to manage rutted dirt trails(stock wrangler height is fine)
Soft-top


Bonus points if you know of a truck that has fold-down windshields! And extra bonus points if it's boxy. Don't know why, I just love bricks on wheels.

I should mention I will be doing a few modifications to whatever I end up buying, in case that influences the responses. I plan to add a thin skid plate underneath(there are a fair amount of sharp rocks on the road to my favorite camp site, that caused a lot of worrisome scraping last time), as well as a few hooks for shovel, pick, gas cans, etc. Additionally I'll be adding(or removing) anything that would help get me more mpg. I know a truck, and especially an off-roader, won't get quality mpg, but every little bit helps.

Essentially, I'm going to make whatever I buy look as military-issued as possible. With my own little spin on what that means, of course.

My research has found these so far:

Rover Defender
Nissan Patrol
CJ Jeep


And again, the Defender, for me at least, is 100% perfect, even if some of them have right-handed driver positions. Hopefully I've been looking for trucks in all the wrong places, and there are some fairly priced Defenders or similar looking models out there.

Lastly, has anyone ever worked on little diesel engines? I've been told they are both better and worse than gasoline engines. I'm looking for reliability over all things in the engine department. It should run long after I'm dead.

C&C encouraged, I am a newbie, especially to the off-roading/trail world, so don't be alarmed if I say something extraordinarily stupid,

Cheers!
Drame22

Drame22 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 08-28-2013, 05:30 PM   #2
91YJ4X4
Registered User
1995 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: New York City, NY
Posts: 1,101
Jeep YJ

/ thread
__________________
THE OFFICIAL TRAVELING JEEP
91YJ4X4 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 08-28-2013, 05:56 PM   #3
2006_Sport
Registered User
2006 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Sherrills Ford, NC
Posts: 10,829
Flame suit engage.
__________________
SUPPORT THE TROOPS

2006 Jeep Wrangler|BDS|BFGoodrich|Uniden|Upol|HiLift|Cragar| IPF|Alpine|JKS|PoisonSpyder|Truck-lite|Aussie Locker|Novak|Trail Gear|Firestik

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson View Post
There are no women on the internet either. Learn that. It's a fact.
-Zach
2006_Sport is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 08-28-2013, 07:13 PM   #4
Kevin108
Registered User
2000 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Portsmouth, VA
Posts: 3,819
M715



/thread
__________________
My build thread has pics again. http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f177/kevin108s-2000-xj-build-867428/
Kevin108 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 08-28-2013, 09:31 PM   #5
Concolour
Registered User
1994 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 610
T4r with a tarp over it....
Concolour is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 08-29-2013, 06:22 AM   #6
Nafpu
Registered User
2012 KK Liberty 
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Tigard, Oregon
Posts: 546
Stay away from the Defenders. Nothing wrong with them, but with so few imported, parts support will be terrible. Also, small foreign diesels suffer the same problems for parts, especially older ones. 4-Banger YJs are great little vehicles, but they won't get you any better MPGs than the I6 realistically. Most diesel YJ's that you will find are going to be equipped with the BT4, swapped in by a previous owner. Again, nothing wrong with that engine, but you really have to know your stuff with something like that. Diesels are better in that they are typically more efficient than gas, and get you much better low-end torque. They are worse when you take into consideration things like weight, cost of maintenance, aftermarket support, and trusting that the person installing the engine didn't cut corners in the case of a swap.
Quite honestly, if you are looking for reliability, try branching out a little and looking into an I6-equipped YJ, either the 4.0 (EFI), or the 4.2 (carb). Better tranny (89+), better support, more power, comparable MPGs. Also, they run for a good long while, assuming proper maintenance. And by the time it does eventually die, you will have had plenty of time to research diesel swap options (swaptions?).
And finally, welcome to the forums, and HAIL from Tigard!
__________________
95 YJ, gone...
80 CJ7, gone...
12 KK, still here...
Nafpu is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 08-29-2013, 08:10 AM   #7
vadslram
Registered User
1990 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: VA Beach
Posts: 4,679
If all you are looking for is a camping capable vehicle then Ford Explorer, Toyota forerunner, ANY Jeep etc. They can all get you where you want to go.
Steer away from the strange/ bland rovers, They are way more expensive the they are worth and tougher to get fixed.
Auto trannys used to get worse milage back when I first started driving but these days not so much. Manuals are MUCH more fun but really no better for MPG.

But If you are looking for any serious trail riding to rock climbing stick with solid front axle sturdy little toys like a YJ/ TJ. Newer Wranglers are good too but it hurts a lot less to scrape up an older 2 - 5 grand vehicle than it would to rock rub a $23k Rubicon.
vadslram is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 08-29-2013, 08:27 AM   #8
Indy
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WY
Posts: 2,932
All trucks have fold down windshields. As long as you have a sawz-all and a roll of duct tape.
__________________
Odds are im typing on a tablet. It takes too much effort to add some punctuation. Im lazy, get over it

Never underestimate the power of stupid.
Indy is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 08-29-2013, 08:38 AM   #9
bobjp
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,353
Yes, those are representative prices for a Defender. I don't see affording one on a part time job.

Get a Jeep Cherokee.
__________________
97 TJ sport.
bobjp is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 08-29-2013, 10:22 AM   #10
WhiteOut
Web Wheeler
 
WhiteOut's Avatar
1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 8,146
Most importantly, what is your budget? Are you going to buy cash or get a loan, this will affect the year of vehicle you can buy.
WhiteOut is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 08-29-2013, 01:23 PM   #11
Drame22
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 2
I like the look of that M715, but it looks like a collector's type of car. In other words, expensive.


Flame suit?

I did consider a 4runner, however I'm trying to find more options beyond the basic "You can pick Chevy, Ford, Toyota, Jeep, or Nissan".

Cheers all,
Drame22

EDIT: That was weird. Those last three messages didn't appear until I had posted. I don't necessarily have a problem with 4runners or Explorers, I would just rather have a straight edged car than a rounded one. Unless it seriously affects the vehicle quality, in which case it doesn't matter too terribly.
Drame22 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 08-29-2013, 01:36 PM   #12
2006_Sport
Registered User
2006 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Sherrills Ford, NC
Posts: 10,829
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drame22 View Post
I like the look of that M715, but it looks like a collector's type of car. In other words, expensive.


Flame suit?

I did consider a 4runner, however I'm trying to find more options beyond the basic "You can pick Chevy, Ford, Toyota, Jeep, or Nissan".

Cheers all,
Drame22

EDIT: That was weird. Those last three messages didn't appear until I had posted. I don't necessarily have a problem with 4runners or Explorers, I would just rather have a straight edged car than a rounded one. Unless it seriously affects the vehicle quality, in which case it doesn't matter too terribly.
Because you aren't going to find any of those cars/trucks/whatever you want to call them that you listed for a good price and what you consider cheap. Nissan Patrol won't be found here, try europe. LR Defender? Good luck finding a clean one under 20k that isn't a complete rust bucket. Not to mention LR Defenders aren't exactly common here in the US, again try Europe. Your best bet is a CJ/YJ, and that's if you can find a clean one that isn''t rusted to hell or molested.

Just find a non rusted to hell 1st gen 4runner, put a soft top on it, lift it with some 33s and you're good to go.
__________________
SUPPORT THE TROOPS

2006 Jeep Wrangler|BDS|BFGoodrich|Uniden|Upol|HiLift|Cragar| IPF|Alpine|JKS|PoisonSpyder|Truck-lite|Aussie Locker|Novak|Trail Gear|Firestik

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson View Post
There are no women on the internet either. Learn that. It's a fact.
-Zach
2006_Sport is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 08-29-2013, 02:00 PM   #13
Concolour
Registered User
1994 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 610
I don't think this qualifies as "round" a first gen t4r or yj are probably just what you need.
image-2607118123.jpg

image-1168731695.jpg

Concolour is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 08-29-2013, 03:47 PM   #14
ajmorell
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Posts: 7,144
I agree you need to set a price range. Personally I'd find a 1st gen Tacoma, 4wd/CC/3.4 6-cyl. That'll do decent on gas and do everything you need and you can throw all your camping stuff in the bed. Wranglers are capable as anything, but they're so damn small that unless you're camping by yourself you can't fit much in them.
ajmorell is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 08-30-2013, 01:57 PM   #15
Drame22
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 2
Well, let's say my budget for now is $6,000. I don't absolutely need a car at the moment, so I can keep saving if need be, but I'm hoping to find something used and older.

Well, that's what I was afraid of with the Defenders. Are there any solid pickups or suv's that could have some work done to have a soft top? Really all the stock car needs is to have a straight, boxy body, a smaller engine, and at least 2 seats. Then I'll modify it piece by piece.

Wranglers are my back-up option, I'd prefer something with a bit more space. However, whatever model of the Wrangler has the bed extended an extra foot or so would work perfectly fine too.

Essentially, I want the end product to look similar to the picture below. A mini-army cargo truck.

Cheers all,
Drame22
dsc_0499.jpg

Drame22 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the JeepForum.com forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid e-mail address for yourself.
Note: All free e-mails have been banned due to mis-use. (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.)
Don't have a non-free e-mail address? Click here for a solution: Manual Account Creation
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Thread Tools






Jeep, Wrangler, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and other models are copyrighted and trademarked to Jeep/Chrysler Corporation. JeepForum.com is not in any way associated with Jeep or the Chrysler Corp.