View Full Version : Trail-Rig opinions

12-23-2009, 10:18 AM
I'm looking at getting back into off-roading, and am trying to decide what to get. I'd like to hear opinions on what people are happy/or not with. Not wanting to do any hard-core crawling, I can ride along with buddies for that:D So what i'm considering is 1st gen 4runner vs. fj62 vs. fj80/fzj80 or ??? I'm thinking 33's, lockers, something to explore in with my wife and newborn and use as an occasional driver. A/C is a must, fuel injection, and I swore to myself I'd never buy another automatic, but if the right one comes along... maybe. Budget is pretty low, so 80 series might be out, but if you figure the cost of adding lockers into the build, it might happen.

After moving out here almost 2 years ago, I got the bug again.

12-23-2009, 10:23 AM
Dude, 80 series are cheap these days. I've been pretty tempted to sell my Tundra and get one, but I would be losing some functionality that I need on a more regular basis. Just get one, it's got everything you want, easy to fit 33s, already come with lockers, just add a little bit more $$ for protection and you're golden. Automatics really aren't so bad...

12-23-2009, 11:26 AM
I have two 80's, a few 40's and have had 1st and 2nd Gen Runners along with several minis.
My favorite is the 80. It will go "almost" all the places my 40 will. I REALLY have to quit trying to prove that to myself!
If you wait for the right one, you can get some killer deals on 80's now.

12-24-2009, 03:41 AM
Not wanting to do any hard-core crawling

I'm thinking 33's, lockers, something to explore in with my wife and newborn and use as an occasional driver. A/C is a must, fuel injection

Those look like tell tale signs for an 80 series, later model 4Runner, or 4 door Taco :)

Key points IMO are what is going to be "comfy" for the wife and baby. An 80 series makes an AWESOME family wheeling rig. Plenty of space, comfortable, capable, etc. I'm sure a later gen 4Runner and a 4 door Taco would work just as well. What sells me on the 80 series is that they are getting relatively inexpensive, relatively easy to maintain (but not necessarily inexpensive to maintain, keep that in mind), and mods for what you are wanting to do could be done for $4K or less (lift, bumpers, tires).

If you are patient, you could probably pick up a locked and built 80 at a good price so all you'd have to do is jump in and go :thumb:

12-24-2009, 08:52 AM
I have had a 1967 FJ40, a 1985 mini truck, a 1986 4Runner, a 1995 FZJ80 and a 2000 4Runner. The best family wheeler hands down is the FZJ80. Get one with factory lockers.

You will be amazed what you can do with it in 7 man foam seated air conditioned comfort and still cruise 85 mph all day long. :D

And you can fit 33s on it without even lifting it if you go skinny. :thumb:

12-24-2009, 09:23 AM
an 80 is way more comfortable than a first gen runner ;)

12-24-2009, 10:57 AM
1996 or newer 4Runner would be my suggestion. The 80's while very nice are higher in price as are their parts. Once you get more into it the higher lifts really start adding up.

The 1st gen 4Runners are great, I have one but not very family friendly i.e. putting the kind in the back.

3rd gen 4Runners are to me a nice combination of the two. You can run 33" tires with no problems, comes with a locker adn A/C. All the things you are looking for for a fair price. Aftermarket parts are plenty full and when you really get into it again you can always throw a Dana 44 under their with a dual case and crawl your way to the top.

Just my two cents

12-24-2009, 03:10 PM
Automatic is the way to go for sure. Wheeling with a clutch sucks. Get yourself a 100 series Land Cruiser 98 & 99 were offered with a factory rear locker. 33's fit with no lift. Super family friendly. Get something you can spend time with the family in rather than time away from the family working on old broken down junk. I haven't met anyones wife yet that didn't like riding in the 100. A 98-99 can be had for $5-6k Think of is as a minivan on 33's, but with the heart of a LandCruiser.

12-24-2009, 03:47 PM
I have two 80's a 3rd gen and 4th gen 4 runner.

The two 80's and the 3rd Gen are built for wheeling and all are comfortable and meet your needs. Owning both and having wheelled both I would pick the 80 as a personal preference. My daughter Rachel likes the 3rd gen better.

The 80 is solid front axle, the 4runner is IFS

In my experinace, the parts cost are bout the same depending on what you are getting. The Rotors for my 4th gen 4runner are twice as much as the 80. Brake pads about the same price.

12-24-2009, 04:52 PM
A runner or Taco is a little cheaper to build up (bumpers sliders winch) but if you can find an 80 already built then there you go.. best family wheeler there is.

12-24-2009, 05:10 PM
1996 or newer 4Runner would be my suggestion.
I'd disagree and say 80 series is the best option over any 4Runner until the 4th gen (2003-2009). When you factor in price, the 80 series seems really hard to beat for space, comfort and capability. I can just see a wife and kid getting pretty tired of being tossed around in a 4Runner. Hell, I get tired of being thrown around in a mini truck after a while and if I wasn't such a fan of 5 speeds, ~20 MPG and WilderNests I would probably have gone to an 80 series a long time ago. I was spoiled years ago riding in Crash's FJ62... For all their behemoth size and sh!tty mileage, big Cruiser wagons are the Cadillac of trucks.

12-25-2009, 10:53 AM
Cool guys, thanks for all the replies. I kind of figured the 80's would be at the top of the list. It sounds like one would be the best option for keeping everyone happy. Now, to find one in my price range.

12-25-2009, 11:34 AM
What's your price range?

12-25-2009, 12:56 PM
Not really sure yet, I know there's probably a huge range depending on condition. I have some other vehicles I'll probably sell 1st and see what I can come up with. I've seen 'em on CL from $3500 for really high miles, and up.

12-25-2009, 03:22 PM
At lower price points, look hard for an 80 that has up to date maintenance so you don't have to spend off the bat for baselining.

You want the 80. Once you get it out on the trails and realize what you can do with it, wife and kids onboard, the bug is going to bite harder.

Moving up to 37's is nothing more than gearing (although 35's are certainly somewhat simpler) - my wife drove ours on 37's back from Moab this year and I could hardly get her out of the driver's seat after 4 hours behind the wheel.

It is still every bit as comfortable and daily driveable as when it was on 33's, on about an inch more lift, but it's a monster for any "normal" offroading you might want to do.

Can't beat that.