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Old 11-30-2016, 08:14 PM   #11 (permalink)
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How about an old CRV? Good mileage, reliable. No bench seat though.

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Old 12-02-2016, 10:14 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I just found the thread.

Quote:
What I want is unavailable: an FJ40 with a bench seat, good crash test results and decent mpg or electric drive.
  • Vanagon Westfalia Synco $4000
  • with an EV conversion $40K
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Old 12-02-2016, 11:35 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Not sure if a Vanagon would qualify as crashworthy anyways...

About "small" 4WD rides with a front bench seat, what about a 2nd-generation Chevy Blazer? Even though I have never seen one with a bench seat, drop the one out of an S-10 and call it a day. If you prefer a 'Yota, I'm not sure about the newer ones but eventually you can get the seats of a Hilux truck which had some versions that, even though not fitted with a real bench seat, could accomodate 2 (rather skinny) passengers beside the driver.
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Old 12-03-2016, 01:07 PM   #14 (permalink)
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They're rear-engined, so you go off the road backwards. That's much safer.

But in addition to the bench seat, you have a 'rock-and-roll' bed in the back. And the possibility of Subaru or electric power-trains.
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Old 12-04-2016, 02:28 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by freebeard View Post
They're rear-engined, so you go off the road backwards. That's much safer.
The rear-engined rear-wheel drive layout actually makes them quite off-road capable even in 2WD. Gotta love those sandrails and Baja Bugs
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Old 12-05-2016, 09:57 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Found an Explorer, have questions, etc.

General: anyone know a bunch about 2nd Gen Ford Explorers? I found a 2000 with OHV V-6 (not the SOHC one with the timing chain guide issues) with a 5-speed that is only barely starting to rust on the body underneath. 149K miles, drives well with one exception: it "dances" when going over bumps/expansion joints, etc. Very similar to my 1999 Prizm with blown struts, in fact. It has the inner edge of the driver's front tire worn down to exposed metal belts, too. Looking for experience with these sorts of issues. According to Ford Fleet literature, they were available with a bench seat for 6-person occupancy, but I'll need to find the unobtanium 60/40 front bench or dig one out of a Ranger and adapt it to fit. The stock buckets are really narrow - narrower than the ones in my Prizm.

The 1996 Cherokee I actually went to look at was too rusty, so I test drove that Explorer, and was impressed.

roosterk0031:
Quote:
Thought about a Montero or Montero Sport, can be had pretty cheap, some Montero had 3rd row, and limited generally get rear LSD. All V6's have timing belts.

The Montero's in particular seem to age pretty well.

2002 Mitsubishi Montero-7 Passenger,4wd,V6,Cloth,1 Owner,Nice suv

2001 Mitsubishi Montero Limited 4WD
Unfortunately, only the 1995 meets my crash specs. Interior looks amenable, though. On the list. BTW, don't need a 3rd row. Won't turn one down if it has it, but that's not a deciding factor.

Quote:
S-10 Blazer if you can find a nice treaded one had low range right up till the end I think, parts are easy to come by, ok mpg and easy to work on.
The Blazer/Jimmy/Bravada line only had 1 good year as well - 1998. On the list.

It seems the early years of adding airbags to SUV's/pickups was pretty "hit and miss" in terms of crash safety.

pete c:
Quote:
How about an old CRV? Good mileage, reliable. No bench seat though.
If they were available with low-range, sure. I'll want to go 'wheeling before I can afford an EV conversion, though, so without low-range, it's a no-go.

freebeard:
Quote:
I just found the thread.

Vanagon Westfalia Synco $4000
with an EV conversion $40K
Pricey. :-/

cRiPpLe_rOoStEr:
Quote:
Not sure if a Vanagon would qualify as crashworthy anyways...
Yes, that is an issue - they don't. :-/

Quote:
About "small" 4WD rides with a front bench seat, what about a 2nd-generation Chevy Blazer? Even though I have never seen one with a bench seat, drop the one out of an S-10 and call it a day. If you prefer a 'Yota, I'm not sure about the newer ones but eventually you can get the seats of a Hilux truck which had some versions that, even though not fitted with a real bench seat, could accomodate 2 (rather skinny) passengers beside the driver.
The 1999-up 4Runner is an option, but they have a frame that is more likely to rust than other trucks (not quite to the point of a recall, but nearly as bad as those that were) and we salt heavily up here, so undamaged ones are difficult to find without spending $$$$.

freebeard:
Quote:
They're rear-engined, so you go off the road backwards. That's much safer.

But in addition to the bench seat, you have a 'rock-and-roll' bed in the back. And the possibility of Subaru or electric power-trains.
cRiPpLe_rOoStEr:
Quote:
The rear-engined rear-wheel drive layout actually makes them quite off-road capable even in 2WD. Gotta love those sandrails and Baja Bugs
freebeard and cRiPpLe_rOoStEr, while I do admire the old VW's, I still have settled on 4wd with low-range and minimum 4*/4* crash rating. Around here, the 'wheeling will be mud to plow through, rocks to crawl over/climb when it is beyond "rutted dirt road". Then there's the daily driving on winter-mix covered roads, where RWD without traction control isn't something I want to try to get used to, really. A lockable 2WD might do the off-road stuff, but without low-range I'll be smoking a clutch or frying an auto and probably still need the winch/strap more often than not on the stuff I used to do.

Thanks, all! Still getting great info here.
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Old 12-05-2016, 01:00 PM   #17 (permalink)
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My boss has had 2 Tacoma frame failures, first one 1999? just after he gave it to his son, son took into Toyota for something and they found out about the frame rot, was about 30 days from being too old and wouldn't have been covered. Boss paid $5k, kid got $12k. His current 2005? had the frame replaced last fall.

Had a 94 explorer it was OK, had to replace factory auto hubs with some Warns. If I could find and 00 or 01 might be a good one to replace the Stratus for my 17 yo and I can use it on weekends. Wife got a Rogue instead of the Grand Vitara Saturday don't think she's going to let me use it on weekends for deer hunting. I've had a deer in the truck of the cobalt before so might again this weekend.
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Old 12-14-2016, 09:16 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Bought one!

roosterk0031:

Quote:
My boss has had 2 Tacoma frame failures, first one 1999? just after he gave it to his son, son took into Toyota for something and they found out about the frame rot, was about 30 days from being too old and wouldn't have been covered. Boss paid $5k, kid got $12k. His current 2005? had the frame replaced last fall.
Sounds like they "won the warranty lottery" on those.

Quote:
Had a 94 explorer it was OK, had to replace factory auto hubs with some Warns. If I could find and 00 or 01 might be a good one to replace the Stratus for my 17 yo and I can use it on weekends. Wife got a Rogue instead of the Grand Vitara Saturday don't think she's going to let me use it on weekends for deer hunting. I've had a deer in the truck of the cobalt before so might again this weekend.
Well, I bit the bullet and put down a deposit on a 2000 Ford Explorer XLS with the "X" code older style OHV 4.0 V6 (not the newer SOHC), 4wd (Auto, 4Hi, 4Lo modes) and a 5-speed manual transmission. 149k miles. Decent green color with a few scratches here and there, very clean light tan/beige cloth interior, no busted things inside, no busted things outside (other than non-functional aftermarket fog lights), and generally great condition for a Minnesota truck. Rust is just showing on the upper rear wheelwells (cracks, minor bubble - can be fixed and covered with fender flares relatively easily) plus a few door inside bottoms and the back-side of the rocker panels. No serious or visible holes anywhere on the body - floors are good, just getting some edge corrosion on the various welded-on reinforcement panels you can see from underneath. Frame is solid, a decent patina of fine-grained rust over all of it. All doors open and close well, though the power lock on the driver door gets sticky when cold. "Dances" a bit over bumps in the road, so I suspect shocks and/or swaybar links/bushings, and/or cranked torsion bars and pumped up rear air-lift shocks.

Known issues: needs tires (getting an appointment shortly for some General Grabber HTS's, they seem to be a decent compromise between ability and price), and the parking brake does not hold. Also a crack in the windshield but I think I'm going to let Winter go by a while before getting it replaced. Has a rotted out driver's rear spring shackle, but there's enough meat to drive on without issue for a while. The "rocker arm" or "lifter" tic is there on cold start if it hasn't been driven in a while, but with up to a few days between starts it is not present. (These engines have poor oiling to the rocker arm/pushrod interface, so they wear out over time. When the hydraulic lifters can no longer make up the difference, it tics. Ditto when the lifters bleed down.)

I've been getting estimates from a so-far-proven-to-be-good local mechanic (my usual mechanic is too far away and keeps making noises about retiring...) and I keep forgetting how much quality labor costs. The point of this truck is partly to get me back in the garage and working on a rig, so I think I'll use those estimates as a goad to do more DIY. If I can swap shocks, leaf springs, axles, shackles, shackle bushings, etc, on an FJ40 I should be able to do basic work on this Explorer. Apparently these things are known for valve cover leaks, so that may be where the oil is going - I'll need to clean it off and check, maybe add some UV dye.

What sub-forum would be good for a "I got this, I'm gonna build it!" thread?

Thanks for all the info!
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Old 12-14-2016, 11:17 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Found a 08 GV 5 speed with 61,000 I was going to go look at Monday, but after thinking about it, my daughters wouldn't drive it if they ever needed to borrow a car if their car is being repaired so decided to stick with an auto. Oldest has driven my Cobalt 5sp, but an incident at a uphill stop light and a police officer I don't think I'll get her in again. Other one just says no, even offered $100 for 10 minutes of driving it around town.

Found a high mile 2011 Rogue instead for my 17 son that will do all the offroading that I will do. Got 33 mpg indicated over 45 miles bring it home just setting cruise at 55. He's already pulled it down into the 20's with his 4 miles to school and back. Some concerns about the CVT, but price was good enough I'd still be OK if I have to replace it. Need to get a hitch on it so I can use the hitch buddy to carry deer etc..


https://simpletire.com/nokian-235-75r15-t428178-tires

I'm thinking I'll go with these when it's time for new ones on the 2011 if they have the right size available. Or WRG3s

Last edited by roosterk0031; 12-14-2016 at 11:29 AM..
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Old 12-19-2016, 03:51 PM   #20 (permalink)
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roosterk0031:
Quote:
Found a 08 GV 5 speed with 61,000 I was going to go look at Monday, but after thinking about it, my daughters wouldn't drive it if they ever needed to borrow a car if their car is being repaired so decided to stick with an auto. Oldest has driven my Cobalt 5sp, but an incident at a uphill stop light and a police officer I don't think I'll get her in again. Other one just says no, even offered $100 for 10 minutes of driving it around town
I remember my first stick-shift lesson. A hill, and my Dad's BMW... Firmly cemented the smell of burning clutch in my head! I think he quickly taught me the hand-brake trick, but I think it was mostly his not yelling at me about it that let me keep at it. If you want to give your daughter another reason to try, my sister learned and drove stick and blew the minds of just about every guy she knew. Most of them couldn't drive stick, and were impressed! She even got the hang of coasting to lights with the clutch in to save gas when she was a college student trying to stretch her gas money. All by herself.

My first truck had a stick. Learned the hard way how to drive without a clutch when the slave cylinder blew out one day. That truck had a 2-pump clutch until that episode, which involved me being stuck in neutral until I crawled under with a wrench and banged on the linkage jammed between the throwout arm and the slave cylinder piston that was sticking out and cocked sideways in the end of the bore. Popped the link rod out, and now I had no clutch but I could move. Luckily that truck had no neutral safety switch, so I could start in gear. Blame a poorly done V8 transplant by the PO. Miss that truck still!

Quote:
Found a high mile 2011 Rogue instead for my 17 son that will do all the offroading that I will do. Got 33 mpg indicated over 45 miles bring it home just setting cruise at 55. He's already pulled it down into the 20's with his 4 miles to school and back. Some concerns about the CVT, but price was good enough I'd still be OK if I have to replace it. Need to get a hitch on it so I can use the hitch buddy to carry deer etc..
Sounds like a good choice - keep the CVT happy and it ought to do quite well on fuel. IIRC they are finicky about clean fluid, yes? Not sure about heat, though - they're too different than the regular automatics.

The Explorer turns out to have been a very good buy - according to the mechanic (yes, I had it inspected *after* I bought it - rolled the dice...) the front end appears to have been serviced recently - all the ball joints and tie rods are tight. I need to make sure the upper balljoints get regular greasing as the boots are torn, but otherwise it should align without any issues. He said the front shocks look pretty new, too. No oil in the coolant or coolant in the oil (it had passed my sniff test/visual inspection, but that was a relief to hear!), and he found a minor coolant leak up top (water outlet and upper radiator hose). I knew it had a bad rear shackle - he confimed it. He said the shocks would actually be at the bottom of his list of things to replace - wait until I can't stand the ride. Check engine light (came on 10 miles after buying the truck, go figure...) is for the rear (after cat) O2 sensor, so I can wait a while on that. Parking brake doesn't work (knew that) and mechanic said the driver's side cable was broken. Only bummer was 98% worn rear brakes, so I'm having that done along with the shackle and the coolant leak. Then, once he tore into the rear brakes to replace them, he found that the driver's side parking brake shoes were also basically worn away - apparently having only one side do the work for a while (and, being a foot-activated brake, be left on a lot...) leads to that. He was apologetic, and is doing that side's shoes for the parts cost alone. (New mechanic in the area, seems to be a good guy, so far he's getting my business.) Not doing the cable yet, so the parking brake still won't work properly, but it won't have to come apart again to replace the cable. Might DIY, dunno yet - time is as budgeted as cash.

Quote:
[https://simpletire.com/nokian-235-75r15-t428178-tires

I'm thinking I'll go with these when it's time for new ones on the 2011 if they have the right size available. Or WRG3s
I ended up putting on some General Grabber HTS tires in the stock size. http://www.discounttire.com/en/buy-t...er-hts/p/29590

I looked up what was available at the Discount Tire near where I was buying the truck (exposed driver inner side steel belts = new tires now!) and checked out ratings on Tire Rack. 85% of the rating at 74% of the price for the best rated Michelin Defenders - and the next step down had no treadwear warranty and very mixed reviews. Next step down from that were much worse in ice/snow. I wanted to get snow tires on the 15" rims and do summer/all-terrain on some 16" rims, but I ran out of time to min/max a set. Got the tires on in less than 30 minutes right at the end of the day. Guy selling me the truck gave me $50 for the 4 used tires afterwards, too, so I netted $62 off the price of the tires with the $3/tire disposal fee waived - covered the 3% convenience charge for using my debit card to buy the truck. Also got $40 rebate on the tires - DT promotion for using their CarCareOne card. I know I'll pay a bit of interest using their card, but most likely a lot less than $40 worth.

All told, I'm only about $150 over my original cash budget for the whole truck, including the tires and initial repairs. The rest of the budget will come from selling my Chevy, once I find the title for it or get a duplicate. I am going to let the broken windshield wait until spring - a cold snap would just snap a new one. I'll see if the parking brake will hold one-sided, but for now I'm just not using it, at least until I figure out how to make the brake light come on when the parking brake is on so I don't burn it out on the first drive. No idling in gear without a foot on the brake or chocks on the tires, but that's bad for fuel economy anyway, right?

I'll check into low-hanging ecomod stuff after I get a few tanks under my belt and get used to driving it, plus develop a baseline fuel-usage. Roof-rack delete looks like a good idea if I can fashion some nice hole-fillers and the rack ends up easy-on-easy-off. Rear fender skirts might be easy - I think the tires fit fully inside the fenders. That'll wait 'til spring, though, else they'll just fill up with 500lb of ice/snow/salt/gravel mix. A stick shift ought to lend itself to plenty of eco-driving. I think I'll spring for a ScanGauge or equivalent once I sell the Chevy and have more cash.

Thanks again to all for the input! I know I could have found a smaller/more fuel efficient rig - like a Grand Vitara or similar - but this truck ticked enough of the items off the checklist that I went for it, and it is hard to argue with that little rust at that low a price here in MN. That and it isn't a fullsize, so it should end up doing relatively well.

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