What kind of vehicle is best on rough roads?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by backwoods, Mar 9, 2005.

  1. backwoods

    backwoods Well-Known Member

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    As I told y'all below, our Dodge Caravan needed struts. These roads we run on are either rough rock or pot-holed tar and chip, with so many patches that you can't possibly miss all the bumps, and they just destroy a "normal" car. I'd like to find a vehicle that can take the rough roads, is high enough off the ground to make it into our woods road which is partly dirt for now, can haul 5 people, is fuel efficient, and won't cost a fortune to have worked on. Do you all have any ideas what might fit the bill? The fuel efficiency is really important, as we run up a LOT of mileage, since we're approx. 30 miles to any town big enough to have a Walmart or "chain" grocery store, and also to check on my mom at least twice a week. I would like 4 wheel drive if it weren't SO expensive to have fixed. I know I'm probably dreaming, but if I could come even close to meeting all these needs, I'd be happy!
    Thanks for suggestions.
     
  2. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

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    Yes, a dream vehicle. A diesel powered Suburban or F250 with crew cab may fit the bill. More fuel efficient than gas powered, large and high enough, sturdy enough, but diesel is not cheap to repair. A diesel Land Rover would work very nicely :)

    If I remember correctly, you got 70k miles out of the Caravan before the struts went, that is really not so bad considering the abuse you're putting it through.

    Any way you slice, vehicles will ding your pocket book sooner or later... one way or another regardless of what you drive.

    cheers,
     

  3. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Really best vehicle for rough back roads is one with heavy frame and solid front axle. Course this isnt going to get you 50mpg either nor drive like a sportscar. Maybe a diesel powered Jeep CJ type vehicle would get decent mileage. I know they made them at one point to sell overseas, but dont know if any got sold in this country. There is a reason 60's and earlier pickups were made with mono beam front axle using kingpins and straight six (well, all but GM which went to independent front suspension and rear coil springs on pickups in 60s). They old design pickups were used on farms and backroads at slower speeds as work vehicles, not as cars. They were designed simple with low maintenence and easy repair. Not soft riding vehicles, but they held up under rough conditions.
     
  4. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    I love my Astro vans. They are the only small van on a truck body. No struts, just shocks. All of mine have around 300,000 miles on them and my road is pretty bad 90% of the year and nearly impassable 10% of the year. All of mine have the 4.3 liter engine, six cylinders and I'm told that the engine blocks are cut down Chev. 350's which was always a dependable engine. Mine are service vehicles and constantly carry a ton of equipment, tools and merchandise. If I need more room, I pull trailers or stack stuff on the ladder racks.

    They are a bear to work on, motor wise, but fortunately, I never seem to have problems. Takes a good 45 minutes to change the stinking air filter though! Mine are loaded so heavy, I've never needed four wheel drive, maybe have to chain up once or twice a year, if that, on N. Idaho winter roads. If you absolutely have to have 4x4, you can get the Safari version.

    I don't get great milage, but remember that I'm hauling 2000 plus pounds constantly and still manage 15mpg average.

    I like to pick them up around 10 years old or 100,000 miles. Around here, they are fairly inexpensive and parts are easy to come by, new or used.
     
  5. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ...............Jeep , is almost ready to reintroduce their Pickup , except that the new model is going to have a Turbo charged Diesel which should get excellent fuel milage . Estimated price will be 28 to 30 k fully optioned out . fordy.. :eek: :)
     
  6. backwoods

    backwoods Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all your suggestions. A Land Rover would be my "dream vehicle" for sure, but NO WAY to afford that one! I have considered a Suburban, but again, the price is up there not to mention the gas mileage is terrible. DH was thinking of checking into a Huyndai Santa Fe or something like that? I don't even know what they look like, or anything about them yet. Seems like anything "foreign" would be costlier to fix, but I may be wrong. I'll post back when we decide on something and how we like it.
    Thanks again!
     
  7. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    A VW bug with Baja fenders and big tires just eats up dirt roads and are very good at staying together,but 5 people is tight.Economical and cheap to repair.Last forever if you dont flat out drop the frontend into a 2 foot deep hole going 40 mph or something equally ridiculous.And if anything can hold the road better,it costs a LOT more.Can outdo most trucks that arent serious offroaders no sweat,I used to eat up my neighbors 4X4 truck.He told me once pacing me on a desert dirt road he was white knuckling it,I was cruising comfortably.

    So been there,done that,still love the old VW.Baja bugs are great offroaders.Still have mine,also a GREAT snow car too.When the snow hits,we see them crawling all over the place here in our local Mtns.

    BooBoo
     
  8. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Also remember driving thru a blizzard,me,wife,5 dogs.Lost a snow chain off one tire.So only one chain.A tow truck was following ME,and all kinds of fancy new 4X4 trucks stuck in the snowbanks.I swear its the truth,gotta love a car that can do that! :worship: BAJA BUG, :worship:

    BooBoo
     
  9. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    hey fordy!! that gladiator is quite the weapon!! had a jeep j20 ,pull the house any where you want !8miles to the gallon! my choice ?mercedes benz unimog!plough your field then go to town!! any older chev truck or blazer even the two wheel drives do great in mud ,stick a winch on the front or better yet receiver hitch front and rear. we got dodge and their good too but any joe mech can fix a chev! not fond of the suburban too long a wheel base.
     
  10. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    I'd agree with some of the others...any vehicle that doesn't have struts and uni-body construction should fit the bill.
     
  11. Ozarks_1

    Ozarks_1 Well-Known Member

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    A diesel Suburban would be a good choice, but maybe a Jeep Cherokee would work almost as well? Lots of them around.

    Several friends and family members have tried "foreign-brand" vehicles, but have switched to - or in some cases, switched back to - Jeep Cherokees. My mom got a brand new Kia last year - she HATED the thing (constant minor annoying problems) and got rid of it 6 months later.
     
  12. Big country

    Big country Well-Known Member

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    How about a Ford Ranger with twin I-beam front suspension? I don't think the new ones have the twin I-beam suspension, so you'll have to find an older one. Anyone know what year they changed to control arm susp.? The twin I-beam design can take a lot of abuse and aren't that hard to work on.
     
  13. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    The twin I beam is getting harder to get a front end alignment on. Not too many places do it any more. I would go with a pre 94 s-10. Lots of iron and easy to work on. I've had 4 with great luck over 200k on them all@ about 20 mpg and all 4x4.


    mikell
     
  14. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    For a light pickup (I refer to mine as a "half scale" pickup) that seems to take rough roads really well, I've been happy with my S10. It handles horribly in deep mud/snow/etc., but on dry, rough, potholded, washboarded roads, it's extremely reliably and handles well enough. Mine has -- knock wood -- 142K on it and it's never been in the shop. I replaced the shocks at 120K and the front brakes at about 90K and that's it. I drive on dirt roads daily, and it's a 2001, if that gives you any idea of the amount of abuse it takes. Lots and lots of nasty dust, too.

    Eats batteries, though -- be nice if someone could suggest a BATTERY that will take rough roads.

    Leva
     
  15. herefordman

    herefordman Well-Known Member

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    This is an easy one, a 4 wd Subaru Forester, they're all over out here, very reliable and will drive through anything, if you climb to the tops of the mountain trails out here, all you'll see parked up there are Subaru Foresters.
    Many of these Mountain trails are so high and steep, even the big bad boy Suburbans can't get there, why ? Simple, they weigh too much !!!!
     
  16. Paul72

    Paul72 Well-Known Member

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    An old International pickup. Lasted forever big bus sized engine and was tough. would love to find another one.
     
  17. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    We bpught an old 84 gas hog suburban 5 years ago when my wiferolled her 95 dodge pickup..... we only have about 1/4 mile of gravel we drive on.... now i aint saying i aint took it where i shouldnt have, like pushing 2 feet of snow to get to my dad-in-law and his hunting dogs when he had problems [never do that one again either at least with the wife on board], chaining up all four corners was a pain, but it did not have a rattle in it [was a used WSU vehicle] and now it seems weekly it finds something else to shake loose and cause me to hunt it down and tighten it or something..... but at 7000 pounds it holds the road EXTREMELY well in most every type of weather ive been in.... at 12 mpg it isnt bad either for a 4x4 with a 350 [out of a 71 wrecker unit rebuilt just before i bought it] in it and 3/4 ton.....

    I have my 78 Ford Crew cab wth a 351 morphidite in it which gets 13 empty and 9 pulling a 2 horse trailer, and my regular cab 77 ford f250 which gets about 13 or so and has 400 ponies pulling it down the road [could have 500 but i dont want to put the 4 barrel on her] both of those are 4x4 and they rattled from the factory i spect cause they aint changed much over the years.

    good tires, lower air pressure [i run 60 pounds in mine cause i haul to much at times] will also keep you from shakin your teeth out, 1/2 ton over a 3/4 or 1 ton undercarriage will give you a better ride, but may not last as long either....

    I put 61 3/4 ton springs from under a International in my 73 chevy 1/2 ton 2x4 when i was hauling firewood commercially..... was neat to see the look on some people faces when they saw a cord and a half on that ole rig and it not sitting down either.... but i digress.....

    the only rigs i know of that will totally hold up on rough terrain are tractors, crawlers [although you have to use lower gears] and motorscooters...... al which are hard to move the family with.

    William
     
  18. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Might want to consider the old Toyota 4runner. Sounds like it might be just what you're looking for.