Off Road Mods?

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rockstar
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Off Road Mods?

Post by rockstar »

Anyone here ever do off road mods to their vehicle? If so, how did you deal with future repairs? Would you do it again?

I'm checking out this place for a potential future build for my vehicle, and I'm looking locally to see my options. I live in the southwest, so I have plenty of off road trails to explore.

https://www.tavllc.com/

and some more info:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7_rrNH9V8Y
Jack FFR1846
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Yes, I have a JKU (14 Wrangler 4 door) and offroad with my club in the northeast. I would recommend joining an offroad club and go with them. Not only will you learn the trails available (near me, that's often private land that only a club will have legal access to), but if you get stuck or in trouble, others can help you get out of trouble.

What vehicle you have would determine what modifications are appropriate and where you're going to be able to go. It's pretty universally accepted to first protect your vehicle (skids, rock rails, bumpers), then upgrade other things (lift, tires). When planning your upgrades, be aware of the weight you're adding. You could go total armadillo and add 2000 pounds to your rig and have trouble getting up hills. Picking and choosing appropriate parts saves both money and weight.

Ask around in your offroad club and cruise around appropriate forums. An example of both money saving and protection on my JKU was the rear shock lower mounts. I bought a set of Synergy lower mounts after installing my lift. These mounts move the lower shock mounts up. On a JK, the stock mounts are excessively low, some 3 inches below the axle and is a common point to get hung up on rocks or in shock damage when backing up. By using these mounts, once in place, I was able to use the stock shocks in the proper new location and cut off the low mounting points, increasing clearance and removing the problems with the shocks being so exposed.

If you're looking for places to go around Phoenix, look for books by Scott Deuty. He's been an avid offroader and author for decades. I know Scott from grad school.
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alfaspider
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by alfaspider »

Similar to race car type mods, the more you tailor a vehicle for off-roading, the worse it will be on the street. So if this is your daily driver, you might not want a 6 inch lift and giant A/T tires. PLEASE do not put one of those popular "stinger" attachments on the front of your car that gets driven on public roads- they are a hazard to everyone else.

Before doing any mods, always step back and ask what you are trying to accomplish. Don't modify your vehicle in anticipation of needing it. Do the activity and then mod to overcome specific issues you've found. Don't build some crazy rock crawling rig with portal axles only to find out you prefer fire roads that could be driven in a sedan.
Hayduke
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by Hayduke »

Can you tell us more about your vehicle and intended use?

I’ve built up jeeps, xterras and full size trucks for offroading over the years and spend a lot of time on remote roads around Colorado and Utah. My preference is to build the vehicle myself but I do understand that not everyone has the inclination or resources to DIY it. You’ll never get your money back from modifications you make to the vehicle, but it can be a really enjoyable hobby if you like working on cars, exploring remote places, or technical challenges.

A reasonable starting point is to go up one tire size, maybe upgrade your shocks, and add some sliders to protect the rocker panels. Stock 4x4s can be surprisingly capable and if you’re new to offroading that’s more than enough to grow your experience level and keep the vehicle protected. Basic emergency/recovery gear like a tow strap, shovel, first aid kid, water, etc are also prudent things to bring along.

A good resource is https://expeditionportal.com/, they have decent articles and a very active forum. It’s tilted toward ‘overlanding’ where it’s become trendy to get all kinds of new bumpers, rooftop tents, fancy camp kitchens, etc but none of that is really necessary if you’re just starting out.
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White Coat Investor
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by White Coat Investor »

I've been amazed how much cheaper it is to rent a decked out jeep in Moab for the occasional time I go rock crawling than to actually own and store a rig myself. If your'e not doing this all the time, just rent. Besides, there's a lot of power in "Go for it, it's a rental and you bought the extra insurance!"
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hand
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by hand »

I was pleasantly surprised at how capable a stock vehicle was with slightly upsized A/T tires.

Your location and needs may vary, but my initial shopping list was recovery gear (appropriate tow points, shovel, soft shackles and recovery rope) and skills enhancement (offroad driving and decision making, repairs and recovery).

I'd very much second the idea of seeing what breaks or limits you and then upgrading.

From my limited experience, many of the upgrades don't seem to really up the fun factor, but rather simply push out the horizon where driver skill is required (and fun is had).
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vitaflo
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by vitaflo »

hand wrote: Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:43 am I was pleasantly surprised at how capable a stock vehicle was with slightly upsized A/T tires.
I would agree with this. If you get an actual off road 4wd vehicle, a modest lift (if necessary) and modest tire upgrade is usually all you need. The people who get monster lifts, monster tires, etc, are mostly doing it for looks more than any real improvement in off road performance.

If I was doing an off road rig, the things I'd do to it would be:
- Small tire upsize (33" max)
- Some skid plates if needed where it makes sense
- Better lights (not necessarily a light bar)
- A winch or some Maxtrax at the very least
- Place to store extra fuel

That's about it. You don't need to get crazy if you're just overlanding and exploring. Rock crawling in Moab, sure maybe you need to think about it differently, but most people don't need a lot in terms of upgrades on already capable 4wd vehicles to really get off the beaten path.
adamthesmythe
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by adamthesmythe »

Have you considered buying an ATV and a trailer?
open_circuit
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by open_circuit »

I have a built Jeep. I do most of the repairs and wrenching myself. If you are going to use the vehicle in situations where you might break something, it is pretty useful to know (learn) how to repair it yourself so you can do some trail repairs to get off the trails. I still take the Jeep to the shop for jobs that I don't have time or ambition for, but most work on a Jeep is not very difficult to do yourself if you have a garage and some tools. I didn't catch what type of vehicle you are wanting to modify, but level of effort for the modifications and repairs varies quite a bit between something like a new Tacoma or 4Runner and a 20 year old Jeep TJ.
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rockstar
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by rockstar »

Hayduke wrote: Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:49 am Can you tell us more about your vehicle and intended use?
Right now, I have a crossover with AT tires to get around locally. The tires didn't add much weight, so as a daily driver, it's fine. It's good for forest roads, but I wouldn't go on any 4x4 roads near me. I'll get stuck. I'd like to be able to take my vehicle on the off road trails near me that aren't accessible via hiking trails. I'm good to go anywhere in Arizona or Utah.

I'm figuring out what I want for my next vehicle. I'm in the research phase right now and building a budget. Do I buy a used vehicle and build it out? Do I buy a new vehicle and spend less on a build? I'm not a mechanic, so unless it's something really simple, I'm not going to do it myself. I'm a tent camper, so I don't need to be able to sleep in the vehicle. But I'd like to be able to tow a reasonably small, light camper in the future. I don't want a full size truck.

I rented a Wrangler when I was out in Glacier National Park, and I hated it. I'm leaning towards a Tacoma or a 4-Runner as the base vehicle.
open_circuit
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by open_circuit »

rockstar wrote: Thu Oct 15, 2020 12:45 pm I rented a Wrangler when I was out in Glacier National Park, and I hated it. I'm leaning towards a Tacoma or a 4-Runner as the base vehicle.
I'm not a Toyota guy, but I think a TRD off road or TRD off road pro trim of either of those will get you just about all the upgrades you need (except maybe rock sliders / rocker protection) to do easy and moderate trails. Those only easily accept small lifts and about 33" tires before you need to start doing some real cutting and possibly welding. Even at stock height, those are both very capable and popular vehicle for overlanding and moderate trail use.

What sort of modifications are you considering beyond what the two trims above offer?
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rockstar
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by rockstar »

open_circuit wrote: Thu Oct 15, 2020 1:08 pm
rockstar wrote: Thu Oct 15, 2020 12:45 pm I rented a Wrangler when I was out in Glacier National Park, and I hated it. I'm leaning towards a Tacoma or a 4-Runner as the base vehicle.
I'm not a Toyota guy, but I think a TRD off road or TRD off road pro trim of either of those will get you just about all the upgrades you need (except maybe rock sliders / rocker protection) to do easy and moderate trails. Those only easily accept small lifts and about 33" tires before you need to start doing some real cutting and possibly welding. Even at stock height, those are both very capable and popular vehicle for overlanding and moderate trail use.

What sort of modifications are you considering beyond what the two trims above offer?
I have no desire to pay up for the pro trim of either of those vehicles. I can get after market leather seats and a rock plate for much cheaper than the cost to go to the pro trim level.

My current plan is to keep it simple. I might go with better suspension and rock protection. I doubt I would have to lift the TRD. One of the guys I work with only lifted his two inches. Another option is to go cheaper initially and then upgrade. In that case, I might have to swap out the transmission too. Since this would also be my daily driver, I have to consider the added weight. What does this do to my fuel consumption, and what additional modifications would I have to add to maintain reasonable acceleration onto the freeways here? My current commute is about 15 miles a day, but for the places I want to go, it's much farther. So what do the modifications do to my travel range? These are things I'm trying to figure out.
Carguy85
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by Carguy85 »

I’m an off roader and a Toyota guy. Had a few jeeps, 4 runners and TRD tundras, among others. My XP Turbo RZR 100% embarrasses anything I’ve ever had that was off road capable. I have a CJ7 with several mods including 4 inch lift, 4.10 gears, and 33in “extreme terrain” tires and it’s reserved for street use...totally pointless with the RZR. If you actually need anymore off road capability than what a stock TRD can give then my vote is an ATV or SXS. Otherwise you quickly end up with something that kinda sucks anywhere but the trail. Depending on your state/county a trailer may or may not be needed.
stoptothink
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by stoptothink »

Carguy85 wrote: Thu Oct 15, 2020 3:09 pm I’m an off roader and a Toyota guy. Had a few jeeps, 4 runners and TRD tundras, among others. My XP Turbo RZR 100% embarrasses anything I’ve ever had that was off road capable. If you actually need anymore off road capability than what a stock TRD can give then my vote is an ATV or SXS. Otherwise you quickly end up with something that kinda sucks anywhere but the trail. Depending on your state/county a trailer may or may not be needed.
I am not an off-roader either, but one of my best friends is, and this is exactly what he says. After going through multiple Jeeps, a tacoma and a 4-runner, he just got a RZR and was done with it. If you are thinking of modding a daily driver to be off-road capable, definitely less hassle and possibly even cheaper to just go for something designed specifically to go off-road.
HawkeyePierce
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by HawkeyePierce »

White Coat Investor wrote: Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:32 am I've been amazed how much cheaper it is to rent a decked out jeep in Moab for the occasional time I go rock crawling than to actually own and store a rig myself. If your'e not doing this all the time, just rent. Besides, there's a lot of power in "Go for it, it's a rental and you bought the extra insurance!"
+1

I just got back from a trip to Silverton and did exactly that.

I have a Subaru that can handle "enough" off-road for me while still being comfortable as a daily driver, road trip duty, etc. It's not up for any rock crawling but given the cost of a fully fitted-out Jeep or 4Runner, renting is far, far more effective in my case.
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Nate79
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by Nate79 »

You could try a used/new Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk - very offroad capable from the factory.
Sgnoweht
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by Sgnoweht »

Offloading is an expensive hobby. I live close to tons of public lands with decent off road access, so I believe the cost is acceptable. That's probably not the case for most.
I Daily drive a 95 Toyota land cruiser built for Montana off roading. 35" tires, armor, sleeping platform in the back,etc. I wouldn't trade it for anything! Although i dont want to daily drive it any more. With the newest mod, a custom pop top, my guess is I have close to $25k in it. That includes maintenance, tires, mods, and the cost of the vehicle, everything but gas.
We do extended weekend trips and some week long adventures totally unsupported with no amenities. We bring everything we need.
I like older vehicles I can work on and I'm not afraid of damaging. If you buy new and mod will you be ok using it to its full potential?
90% of places I go a Subaru can get to, but the other 10% justifies the cost for me. There's also more people in the woods than I've experienced before. It's nice to really be able to get away from everyone.
Y
rockstar wrote: Thu Oct 15, 2020 2:41 pm My current plan is to keep it simple. I might go with better suspension and rock protection. I doubt I would have to lift the TRD. One of the guys I work with only lifted his two inches. Another option is to go cheaper initially and then upgrade. In that case, I might have to swap out the transmission too.

Keeping it simple and transmission swap sounds like an oxymoron. Why would you need to do a trans swap?
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rockstar
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by rockstar »

Sgnoweht wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:47 am Keeping it simple and transmission swap sounds like an oxymoron. Why would you need to do a trans swap?
Lots of outdoor trails near me. I'm a avid hiker and backpacker. I have only gone off road a few times in other people's vehicles when I went rock climbing in my twenties.

The base Tacoma model doesn't have a locking transmission, but I'm now leaning towards the 4 Runner as I can fit it in my garage.

I saw some people mention the RZR. One of my neighbors has one. This would be considerably more expensive as I would have to put in a RV gate and add concrete to my driveway to be able to store it. Otherwise, I'd have to pay for storage. There are places nearby me that rent them, so I'm looking at that as an option to check it out. Upgrading suspension on the 4 Runner would be a whole lot cheaper.
stoptothink
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by stoptothink »

Nate79 wrote: Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:55 pm You could try a used/new Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk - very offroad capable from the factory.
I have two buddies with trailhawks. Both wanted a wrangler, but got the Cherokee as a compromise with the wife because it was also supposed to be a "family vehicle". Both regret it, in fact one is trying to sell his now so he can just buy the wrangler.
Sgnoweht
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by Sgnoweht »

rockstar wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 5:50 pm
Sgnoweht wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:47 am Keeping it simple and transmission swap sounds like an oxymoron. Why would you need to do a trans swap?
Lots of outdoor trails near me. I'm a avid hiker and backpacker. I have only gone off road a few times in other people's vehicles when I went rock climbing in my twenties.

The base Tacoma model doesn't have a locking transmission, but I'm now leaning towards the 4 Runner as I can fit it in my garage.

I saw some people mention the RZR. One of my neighbors has one. This would be considerably more expensive as I would have to put in a RV gate and add concrete to my driveway to be able to store it. Otherwise, I'd have to pay for storage. There are places nearby me that rent them, so I'm looking at that as an option to check it out. Upgrading suspension on the 4 Runner would be a whole lot cheaper.
I think your confusing differential lockers with "trans lock". I think you can still get factory rear differential lockers in the Tacoma or 4runner. No factory front diff lock for 99% of new vehicles on the market. Jeep Wrangler maybe the new Broncos, maybe the mercedes G-wagon? You won't need a front diff lock unless you plan on getting pretty serious into rock crawling.
JD2775
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by JD2775 »

If you are serious about getting a Tacoma (Or even 4Runner) there is a much better place to ask your questions and do your research...

Www.tacomaworld.com

Very active forums there and wealth of knowledge

Proud Tacoma owner here :)
Last edited by JD2775 on Fri Oct 16, 2020 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sgnoweht
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by Sgnoweht »

Also check out ih8mud.com. find the 4 runner or Tacoma Sub forum. I don't know how it compares to tacomaworld, but it's THE forum for land cruisers.
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by dknightd »

rockstar wrote: Thu Oct 15, 2020 12:54 am Anyone here ever do off road mods to their vehicle? If so, how did you deal with future repairs? Would you do it again?

I'm checking out this place for a potential future build for my vehicle, and I'm looking locally to see my options. I live in the southwest, so I have plenty of off road trails to explore.

https://www.tavllc.com/

and some more info:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7_rrNH9V8Y
My story. I wanted a truck that I could use on unmaintained roads. I do not like the name, or concept, of "off road. " I just use poorly maintained, or historical roads that have never been maintained. I wanted a truck that could go on any of those "roads" and serve as a family camper as well.
Originally I was looking for a used Toyota truck. I quickly determined I might as well buy new. For years and years I wished I had bought a beater, then I eventually ended up with a beater :)
My progression was slow. Use as is. Modify as needed. If memory serves skid plates was my fist change. Then snorkel for engine and differentials. Then I went from there. On board air compressor (first used for tires, then later lockers), then new bumper, then winch, then air lockers front and rear.
This is a 1994 Toyota xtra cab pickup. Bought new. I do not regret a thing. I had a lot of fun in that truck. I still
use it as my winter beater. Starts whenever I ask it to. Can still go more or less anywhere. I use the lockers and winch once a year, just to make sure they still work.
If you value a bird in the hand, pay off the loan. If you are willing to risk getting two birds (or none) from the market, invest the funds.
Topic Author
rockstar
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by rockstar »

dknightd wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 11:01 am
rockstar wrote: Thu Oct 15, 2020 12:54 am Anyone here ever do off road mods to their vehicle? If so, how did you deal with future repairs? Would you do it again?

I'm checking out this place for a potential future build for my vehicle, and I'm looking locally to see my options. I live in the southwest, so I have plenty of off road trails to explore.

https://www.tavllc.com/

and some more info:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7_rrNH9V8Y
My story. I wanted a truck that I could use on unmaintained roads. I do not like the name, or concept, of "off road. " I just use poorly maintained, or historical roads that have never been maintained. I wanted a truck that could go on any of those "roads" and serve as a family camper as well.
Originally I was looking for a used Toyota truck. I quickly determined I might as well buy new. For years and years I wished I had bought a beater, then I eventually ended up with a beater :)
My progression was slow. Use as is. Modify as needed. If memory serves skid plates was my fist change. Then snorkel for engine and differentials. Then I went from there. On board air compressor (first used for tires, then later lockers), then new bumper, then winch, then air lockers front and rear.
This is a 1994 Toyota xtra cab pickup. Bought new. I do not regret a thing. I had a lot of fun in that truck. I still
use it as my winter beater. Starts whenever I ask it to. Can still go more or less anywhere. I use the lockers and winch once a year, just to make sure they still work.
We have legit off road trails out here. Here's an example:

https://azoffroad.net/broken-arrow-trail

My crossover with AT tires can handle the forest roads near me. But I wouldn't take it out on an off road trail.

https://azoffroad.net/offroad-trails
dru808
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by dru808 »

My previous 2003 ranger was slightly modified. 2” doutsch lift, 15x10 pro comps with 29x11.5 super swampier ssrs. Pain to keep the tires balanced, some shops wouldn’t touch it because of the tires. I’d not do it over again but that was in my younger days.
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dknightd
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Re: Off Road Mods?

Post by dknightd »

rockstar wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:39 pm
We have legit off road trails out here. Here's an example:

https://azoffroad.net/broken-arrow-trail

My crossover with AT tires can handle the forest roads near me. But I wouldn't take it out on an off road trail.

https://azoffroad.net/offroad-trails
I'm not familiar with that particular "trail". My guess is it was an old mining, or prospecting road. You could probably drive it in a bone stock jeep, or powerwagon when it was created. Of course time and erosion could have made harder to drive since then. I would not think twice about taking my truck up and around that trail. I do carry water and emergency supplies where ever I go, just in case. I do not know if they would allow you to take an ATV on that trail. It might be restricted to vehicles that are licensed for the road.
If you value a bird in the hand, pay off the loan. If you are willing to risk getting two birds (or none) from the market, invest the funds.
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