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    Thread: TCL, I need your help! (4x4 content)

    1. Member Engineer90's Avatar
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      04-15-2019 11:20 AM #1
      So, my wife and I are very outdoorsy and have been for many years... but never got around getting a proper off road vehicle. We are considering getting a cheap 4x4 to beat up. She was convinced after seeing an Xterra going in 2 feet deep of water without a lift and also seeing it’s articulation.

      I was thinking something under 5k, not extremely high miles, auto or manual, rear lockers are a PLUS, preferably body on frame. Want to get into this slowly and then in a future get a proper Wrangler.

      I don’t know much about Xterras, but do they have rear lockers? Are they reliable? I was looking at these two:




      I was also looking at some XJ Cherokees, YJ and TJ Wranglers, Tacos (those are expensive even with high miles), Frontiers, etc.

      Please let me know suggestions and thoughts. Thanks!
      Last edited by Engineer90; 04-15-2019 at 11:24 AM.
      2016 GTI S 6MT 2door

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    3. Member beefjerky's Avatar
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      04-15-2019 11:25 AM #2
      Jeep XJ is cheap, reliable, a lot of them are already modified. They aren't valued nearly as high Wranglers, but are more limited in articulation than the wrangler without big lifts and or fender cutting.

      How extreme are you looking to go?

    4. Member Engineer90's Avatar
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      04-15-2019 11:27 AM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by beefjerky View Post
      Jeep XJ is cheap, reliable, a lot of them are already modified. They aren't valued nearly as high Wranglers, but are more limited in articulation than the wrangler without big lifts and or fender cutting.

      How extreme are you looking to go?
      I do like the XJ Cherokees. A buddy of mine had one like 10 years ago. I wasn't too sure about them but as you said they seem to be reliable and I have found a few that are already lifted with 33s or 35s.

      Not too extreme. The place I want to explore is the Pine Barrens here in NJ. There is no rock crawling, but tiny hills, water crossings, and some serious dips.
      2016 GTI S 6MT 2door

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      04-15-2019 12:12 PM #4

    6. Member beefjerky's Avatar
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      04-15-2019 12:25 PM #5
      I've gotten pretty far in the Pine Barrens with my Subarus, it's a lot of deep sand and water crossings. Some of the more technical places like the climb Hill at Reed Road near 6 flags would definitely necessitate a 4x4 but XJs are definitely a popular choice. I regularly see modified ones rolling around and I'm in the Trenton/Princeton area

    7. Member johnny_p's Avatar
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      04-15-2019 12:27 PM #6
      Watch for rust on those Xterras or anything that old in general. Like, crawl under it with a hammer and make sure it doesn't go through the frame when you whack it.
      I like bikes.
      Gone: 2010 VW GTI

    8. Member Baltimoron's Avatar
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      04-15-2019 01:08 PM #7
      Any Jeep older than 05 will have rust somewhere in N. NJ
      Here's the alphabet soup lineup from best to worst options for weekend wheelers, and cost effectiveness


      XJ's have bad floors and rocker rot, big enough for a camping rig the negative is that meth heads love cheap XJs
      ZJ's have rocker and fender rot, it's a more comfortable daily driver than an XJ and it can tow - also a big meth head ride
      WJ's see above and gas tanks fall off, more comfortabler than a ZJ but holds less cargo - starting to find favor with the meth heads
      YJ's have bad floors and frame rot at the rear leaf mounts, no cargo room for camping but holy **** it drives like a model T
      TJ's are dying from rot at the rear control arm mounts, no cargo room for camping but holy **** are they fun
      KJ's have terrible motors and suck overall, it's like the bastard child of an XJ and PT Cruiser
      Last edited by Baltimoron; 04-15-2019 at 01:12 PM.
      The content above does not represent the views or opinions of any sane or logical human being. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

    9. Senior Member UncleJB's Avatar
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      04-15-2019 01:20 PM #8
      I was drooling over this yesterday morning while perusing CL.

      https://nh.craigslist.org/cto/d/manc...861382453.html

    10. Member G0to60's Avatar
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      04-15-2019 01:53 PM #9
      I had an 04 Xterra way back so I can't really comment on reliability but I can say that it was a pretty capable rig. We took it camping a lot and it mainly saw forest service roads and logging roads with the occasional rough patch between. It handled them all great.

      Mine was a supercharged v6 which really doesn't mean much at about 210 hp. They are slow and get meh MPG but that's not what they're really about anyway. As far as I know they did not come with lockers from the factory (mine didn't) but they do have low range. Also, a weird quirk that I remember is that the rear seats fold flat but you have to remove the seat bottoms to do it. Then you have to find a place for them or leave them at home.

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      04-15-2019 02:03 PM #10
      Xterra's have issues with the integrated trans cooler in the radiator cracking and allowing coolant to enter the trans fluid resulting in catastrophic damage. There is a Stillen aluminum replacement available that doesn't have this issue.
      (The same issue plagued 3rd Gen 4Runners too)
      Just something to think about.

      Two winters back I opted for a 2001 4Runner. 206,000 miles for $4,000. It's never left me stranded and hasn't required any repairs. I did the radiator and lower ball joints as preventative maintenance. I love the damn thing to death.

      Last edited by lyonsroar; 04-15-2019 at 02:05 PM.
      2012 VW GTI( (Stage II APR)
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    12. Member Lifelong Obsession's Avatar
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      04-15-2019 02:09 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by lyonsroar View Post
      Xterra's have issues with the integrated trans cooler in the radiator cracking and allowing coolant to enter the trans fluid resulting in catastrophic damage. There is a Stillen aluminum replacement available that doesn't have this issue.
      Isn't that just on the '05+ generation? Specifically '05-'10. Also, looks like you can just bypass the transmission cooler.

      https://www.thenewx.org/forum/11-pow...r-outcome.html

      https://www.thenewx.org/forum/15-how...ooler-pbr.html

    13. Member Baltimoron's Avatar
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      04-15-2019 02:12 PM #12
      That 2Door XJ is cool but it is not worth $9500 with a D35 rear axle. Hope he did a C-Clip eliminator when that lunch box locker was installed.
      The content above does not represent the views or opinions of any sane or logical human being. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

    14. 04-15-2019 02:33 PM #13
      Heard from a buddy who went Xterra shopping that there is some widely known issue with the coolant mixing with oil/trans fluid, or some sort of issue where fluids are mixing. Take it for what it's worth, but I'm sure someone will know what I'm talking about

      Edit-- referenced in Post #11

    15. Member The_Real_Stack's Avatar
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      04-15-2019 03:12 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by beefjerky View Post
      Jeep XJ is cheap, reliable, a lot of them are already modified. They aren't valued nearly as high Wranglers, but are more limited in articulation than the wrangler without big lifts and or fender cutting.

      How extreme are you looking to go?
      Maybe XJs are cheap where the OP is, but around here they are priced like they come with a brick of gold in the trunk.

      XTerra sounds perfect for getting his feet wet.
      Quote Originally Posted by Volkl View Post
      My wife wanted a SUV with a manual transmission. I suggested a Wrangler, she said no way, too masculine

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      04-15-2019 03:24 PM #15
      OP, I don't want to rain on your parade, but I would consider holding out for a Wrangler. Invest in one of these, and you likely end up spending on repairs/maintenance/improvements and such and delay the Wrangler even further. Your budget isn't too far off an older Jeep and those AMC straight 6s are not only cool but supposedly make for a fun package.

      Quote Originally Posted by beefjerky View Post
      Jeep XJ is cheap, reliable, a lot of them are already modified. They aren't valued nearly as high Wranglers, but are more limited in articulation than the wrangler without big lifts and or fender cutting.

      How extreme are you looking to go?
      OP is in NJ; maybe it's a little better there but here XJs are either rusted to dust or immaculate (and pricey) garage queens. I would love it if that weren't the case though.

    17. Senior Member Cousin Eddie's Avatar
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      04-15-2019 03:34 PM #16
      Best 4.0L XJ/ZJ/WJ you can find for your money.
      Quote Originally Posted by cockerpunk View Post
      yes, i am bored by FWD driving dynamics, and anyone who doesn't drive there cars to the limits and the beyond.

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      04-15-2019 03:48 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by Lifelong Obsession View Post
      Isn't that just on the '05+ generation? Specifically '05-'10. Also, looks like you can just bypass the transmission cooler.

      https://www.thenewx.org/forum/11-pow...r-outcome.html

      https://www.thenewx.org/forum/15-how...ooler-pbr.html
      It is also only on the automatic models, it doesn't effect anything with a manual trans.

      The 2nd gen Xterra had a factory rear e-locker on the Off Road package models that were later renamed to Pro-4X.

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      04-15-2019 04:26 PM #18
      Whatever 4Runner you can afford. /thread

    20. Member Engineer90's Avatar
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      04-16-2019 08:35 AM #19
      So this is what I'm getting. If I go with an Xterra, 2005 and older with manual is the safest bet. 4Runners and XJ Cherokees are solid choices. Most older Wranglers are good too but gotta watch out for rust... which basically applies to most trucks.
      2016 GTI S 6MT 2door

    21. Member Engineer90's Avatar
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      04-16-2019 08:38 AM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by ghost03 View Post
      OP, I don't want to rain on your parade, but I would consider holding out for a Wrangler. Invest in one of these, and you likely end up spending on repairs/maintenance/improvements and such and delay the Wrangler even further. Your budget isn't too far off an older Jeep and those AMC straight 6s are not only cool but supposedly make for a fun package.



      OP is in NJ; maybe it's a little better there but here XJs are either rusted to dust or immaculate (and pricey) garage queens. I would love it if that weren't the case though.
      I would love a JL 2-door or a JLU, but problem is that they are pricey and you don't get the best. What I mean by that is that both engine choices as of now are imo underpowered. My GTI has the same torque as a JL whether it's the 2.0T e-torque or the Pentastar. If it came with a HEMI or a high torque diesel, then I'd be singing a different tune.
      2016 GTI S 6MT 2door

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      04-16-2019 09:05 AM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by Engineer90 View Post
      I would love a JL 2-door or a JLU, but problem is that they are pricey and you don't get the best. What I mean by that is that both engine choices as of now are imo underpowered. My GTI has the same torque as a JL whether it's the 2.0T e-torque or the Pentastar. If it came with a HEMI or a high torque diesel, then I'd be singing a different tune.
      If you want a "offroad" SUV with a V8, your only choices are a Lexus GX or a 4th gen 4Runner, or a H3 Alpha.

      Edit: Oh wait Land Cruisers too, duh.
      Last edited by Quinn1.8t; 04-16-2019 at 09:08 AM.

    23. Member Engineer90's Avatar
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      04-16-2019 09:18 AM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by Quinn1.8t View Post
      If you want a "offroad" SUV with a V8, your only choices are a Lexus GX or a 4th gen 4Runner, or a H3 Alpha.

      Edit: Oh wait Land Cruisers too, duh.
      If I buy something used like an Xterra or a old 4Runner to beat up, I don't need a V8.
      2016 GTI S 6MT 2door

    24. 04-16-2019 09:36 AM #23
      Find the best 3rd Gen 4Runner you can and be happy.

    25. Member The_Real_Stack's Avatar
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      04-16-2019 10:45 AM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by Quinn1.8t View Post
      If you want a "offroad" SUV with a V8, your only choices are a Lexus GX or a 4th gen 4Runner, or a H3 Alpha.

      Edit: Oh wait Land Cruisers too, duh.
      Grand Cherokee
      Quote Originally Posted by Volkl View Post
      My wife wanted a SUV with a manual transmission. I suggested a Wrangler, she said no way, too masculine

    26. Member Crispyfritter's Avatar
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      04-16-2019 10:59 AM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by beefjerky View Post
      I've gotten pretty far in the Pine Barrens with my Subarus, it's a lot of deep sand and water crossings. Some of the more technical places like the climb Hill at Reed Road near 6 flags would definitely necessitate a 4x4 but XJs are definitely a popular choice. I regularly see modified ones rolling around and I'm in the Trenton/Princeton area
      With it being TCL and all, I figured there'd be one guy suggest a Subaru in a BOF 4x4 conversation.

      Quote Originally Posted by The_Real_Stack View Post
      Grand Cherokee
      This is probably your best bet outside of the Xterra. Like others have said, watch for coolant and transfluid intermix and you should be good to go.

      A ZJ or WJ would also be a solid choice. You'd just want to add a small lift and a locker.

      Chris
      | 2017 Elantra | 2018 JLU Sport | 2003 Mercedes S55 AMG | 2001 BMW 740 iL (x2) | 1991 Toronado | 1974 SuperBeetle | 1962 Ford Unibody | The poster formerly known as 200HP4dr

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