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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am curious to hear who is using something like a Chevy S10, Ford Ranger, Tayota Tacoma, etc. as their potential bug out and/or daily vehicle and what their thoughts are. My current and only vehicle is an all wheel drive station wagon. It is decently capable but not if clearance is needed. I'm an outdoorsman and find myself off pavement a bit but would be off even further if I had something to take me there. There are times that I wish I had a 4WD pickup to deal with situations and be able to beat on it a little (something I do not do with my wagon). I also want something that can pull a trailer if needed.

I've been eye-balling some 1996-2000 S10s as they claim to get up to 20 MPG on the highway with the 5 sp and 6 cyl., they came with a 3rd door for easy access to the extended cab and they aren't very expensive (~$5-7k; could probably go cheaper if I haggled).

This would be my rough'n'tumble hunting/camping/fishing vehicle to keep my commuter nice during the good times and my "get where I need to go" vehicle in any bad times. A buddy of mine who wheels and deals with vehicles a lot suggested this may be a good, economical choice. I wouldn't go crazy with aftermarket add-on's other than maybe some lockers, roll bar and good tires.

Any and all comments welcome!
 

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I have been giving more thought towards this myself lately.

Im not in any position immediatly to buy another vehicle, but what my wife and I are talking about doing is sometime down the road picking up a third vehicle primarily for a BoV.

Right now I am leaning towards something along the lines of a Bronco I with a slight lift kit to it and some decent off road tires. I would prolly add a roll bar of some sort to it and possibly a few other slight things to reinforce it. We then want to of course keep certain items/gear in the truck, and have other items packed up and ready to go if ever we would need them, in the garage next to the truck.

Also we want to get a covered trailer which will also hold some additional supplies, possbily something along the lines of a 6 x 8 or 6 x 10 trailer.

We would use the truck to go to the camp and such of course, but wouldnt rely on it other than that, so I am not terribly worried about its fuel consumption. I want something inexpensive and reliable that I can stock up on some basic parts for, and I can take off road and pull a load. Something that doesnt scream "look at me - come steal me/ break into me! " as well.
 

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I have a '98 Tacoma 4x4 and I love it. The only thing I'm thinking about doing to it is putting a camper shell on the bed so I can have a little more year-round storage capability. I'd still be able to take it off in order to haul something big or clunky. I don't have a trailer but I have pulled stuff before and there wasn't the slightest problem. I used to have an S-10 Blazer with a lot of electrical problems. I found it to be a common problem with them but I don't know if that's been fixed; although with the "big 3" on the verge of failure I don't know that I'd want to jump into that boat anyways. The Tacoma has been very good to me both on road and off. I'm right at 144k and do minimal maintenance (less than I should) and she's been very forgiving of me. Just got a good tune up with a catch-up on maintenance and she's running as good as new. I don't know what my chances of her surviving an EMP are but I wouldn't have any problem moving to an older model Tacoma in order to be pulse-proof.

Hope this helps.
 

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I Just turned 260k on my S10. These are good trucks and very easy to get parts for.
Depending on where you live, parts for japanese trucks are expensive and hard to find.
 

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I'm biased, but I've had every brand of vehicle and I only drive Toyota. You can pick up a Tacoma or pre-Taco (89'-95') in the range you are looking. Hell go with anything older than that and you can still find a great running truck for a couple grand. I wouldn't buy a $2000 S-10 or Ranger.
 

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I've been drive raised 4x4 full size pickups and suv's all my adult live and for some reason a 91 Toyota pickup 4x4 w/a new motor came knockin on my door. Accually a buddy of mine owns a small used car lot, he bought the truck at auction and his mechanics couldn't figure out why it was only firing on 5 cylinders. He asked if I new anybody that was lookin for project and of course I jumped on it, ended up gettin it for less then he put into it, $2000.00OTD. I drove the truck home on 5 cyl, nice little shimmy the whole 2 1/2hr drive, figured out along the way it also needed a thow out bearing and clutch, parked it in the back for about a week.

Ordered a new clutch/throwout bearing. Once it came in I parked it in the shop for install but before I started I decided to pop the hood and see if I could visually see anything that might be cause a cylinder to be fowling. I accually ended up fiddling with everything I could touch UNTIL I grabbed the wires that went to the #6 cylinder injectors and found what was causeing the problem, it was a short, fixed it, next the clutch, tough job but got her done.

Since then I've order wheels and tires (31) off Craigslist $100 for four tires and $100 for four wheels. Next is the body lift kit and I'll install that myself.
These little trucks are said to be pretty dang tough and so I've designated it my BOV.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
My best friend has a Tacoma Xtra-Cab and it is a very nice truck. I have nothing bad to say about the Toyota's other than they are expensive compared to a similar Ranger, S10, or Dakota. Most of them are made in America with American labor and materials if I'm not mistaken but they are still considered a foreign vehicle.

What year was the Blazer you had problems with? My parents have a 2000 Blazer and it has been a champ hauling loads everywhere. Between that and my friend who is a Chevy fanatic is why I was looking at them closely. If I can't fix it, he can. I also like the 3rd door feature and you can roll into almost any place and find parts. I have found that almost any make/model of vehicle will have a known gremlin of some sort. I'm pretty handy and mechically/electrically inclined so having to fix something doesn't scare me.

Thanks for the replies!
 

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I dont know about you all and your little trucks. i dont find as a mechanic anything wrong with big three makin it. tought times are here for em yes but they will be here 15 years from now. i am kinda partial to trucks and suvs in particular the jeeps. The jeeps are the original suv and also military work truck. produced during world war 2 and production. even with chrysler having probllems right now there is still only one jeep not to sound like a commercial. there are several models gas and diesel powered (liberty and Cherokee) all aren't too bad of fuel economy the diesels get about as much as 20% better fuel economy and as diesels do can burn biodeisel and kerosene and no. 1 burner fuel in a pinch. gasoline will not work. and jeeps whether the wrangler or the others i mentioned come in 4 wheeled drive with the diesels in the liberty and cherokee 4 wheeled drive is standard. i think the best standard to follow would still have a reliable vehicle and have neccesary fuel and oil filters on hand, especially fuel filters, neccesary oil and lubricants and coolant some equipment to perform emergency repairs if need for bug out. just something to think about
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I dont know about you all and your little trucks. i dont find as a mechanic anything wrong with big three makin it. tought times are here for em yes but they will be here 15 years from now. i am kinda partial to trucks and suvs in particular the jeeps. The jeeps are the original suv and also military work truck. produced during world war 2 and production. even with chrysler having probllems right now there is still only one jeep not to sound like a commercial. there are several models gas and diesel powered (liberty and Cherokee) all aren't too bad of fuel economy the diesels get about as much as 20% better fuel economy and as diesels do can burn biodeisel and kerosene and no. 1 burner fuel in a pinch. gasoline will not work. and jeeps whether the wrangler or the others i mentioned come in 4 wheeled drive with the diesels in the liberty and cherokee 4 wheeled drive is standard. i think the best standard to follow would still have a reliable vehicle and have neccesary fuel and oil filters on hand, especially fuel filters, neccesary oil and lubricants and coolant some equipment to perform emergency repairs if need for bug out. just something to think about
TD - I agree with you 100%. To be honest, I nearly bought a Jeep Wrangler earlier this spring with ideas to transplant a diesel. The only thing that stopped me was the report the mechanic gave me after only 30 min. of inspecting it. I don't think these would be my ideal vehicles (I don't think it exists or is available at a price I can pay) but these are 2 I have considered:

- AEV Brute (http://www.aev-conversions.com/products/brute/)
- CJ8 Jeep Scrambler

They aren't ideal because even though they have a longer wheel base than your typical Wrangler, towing anything at speed would still be a little squirrely (I'm thinking ~2000 lbs., which is close to the max of a Jeeps capability). The Brute is strictly a 2-seater with little to no interior room for much of anything other than 2 people. The Scrambler is bigger with a SUV-type top. Cost is another problem with both. To have a Brute, I would need to buy a Jeep (~$5-6k) and buy the kit (~$10k w/ shipping, etc). You can get $15000 into this project and you haven't put any labor in yet. CJ8s are rare and command a high price. $6000 usually buys a rusted and/or cobbled together FrankenJeep that would need another couple thousand to sort out the issues and make it reliable. $10k buys you a pretty decent rig but I haven't looked at prices recently. Regardless, $7-10k is out of my comfort zone and as stated above, Jeep ownership is a labor of love. Plus, I think 20 MPG is pretty difficult to have in a Jeep unless you do the diesel swap and regear.

Most of my Xmas list is tools for my car kit. I've been buying parts likes brake pads/rotors, clutch, filter, plugs, repair manuals, etc. for the wagon.
 

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How's it with stains?
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What year was the Blazer you had problems with? My parents have a 2000 Blazer and it has been a champ hauling loads everywhere. Between that and my friend who is a Chevy fanatic is why I was looking at them closely. If I can't fix it, he can. I also like the 3rd door feature and you can roll into almost any place and find parts. I have found that almost any make/model of vehicle will have a known gremlin of some sort. I'm pretty handy and mechically/electrically inclined so having to fix something doesn't scare me.

Thanks for the replies!
It was an '88. It was old when I got it 10 yrs ago and really only lasted another 5 or 6 yrs. My dad never had any electrical problems with his mid '90s S10 pickup and had owned them before that too, but, he really likes his Tacoma now. Maybe it was just those older S-10 blazers.
 

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ive owned rangers and s-10's before both are great vehicles. ive owned jeeps and they are fantastic. ive tried to buy jap scrap but never can do it, they get a premium for vehicles that arent any better than american made. when you go to the auto parts store and a new alternator is $500 for your toyota and $80 for a s-10.

i had a 91' lifted s-10 pick up with 31" tires. it ran circles around a lot of other truck s offroad. also got 22-23 mpg highway with 4.3
personally i think toyotas are good trucks but over rated. they dont have more power, they dont get better mileage. they dont neccesarily last longer. they just cost more.

modern 4x4s can get mileage similar to small trucks. a v-6 f-150 4x4 can get 20+ mpg. new chevies with small v-8's can get 20+ mpg.
 

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what me worry
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well i believe that a jeep is perfectly acceptable and of course with any vehiclethe history will tell you about longevity. as my point was no matter what the bug out vehicle you plan to use. You must plan and consider repairs and maintenance on any of em and have the neccesary guesses on what parts you might need remember rubber parts will dry out over time. wiper blades go bad every year in the heat and sun of the southeast. if you bug out in the aris southwest you will need air filters and such items anextra set ofbelts would also be a good item to have.
 

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I've often thought about getting an older s10/toyota/nissan pickup and installing a 4cylinder diesel engine into it, alot of the frito-lay trucks used them...in a smaller pickup you could easily swing 38-40mpg and it will run on waste veggie oil
 

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I've often thought about getting an older s10/toyota/nissan pickup and installing a 4cylinder diesel engine into it, alot of the frito-lay trucks used them...in a smaller pickup you could easily swing 38-40mpg and it will run on waste veggie oil

how big and heavy is this diesel? i have a s-10 with no engine. the last engine in it was a vortec 350. im waiting to put a alternative power plant in it. diesel, electric, whatever.
 

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i would prefer to just get something like an f-150 or something similar in 4x4 with a 6 cylinder. you get more bed capacity and clearance than the little trucks. and you can pull better with the bigger truck. get it with a standard tranny and you get pretty good gas mileage too. i really like the older body styles from the 80's and early 90's. i think something like that would be a pretty good bov espescially if you put a good heavy duty brush gaurd on it. just not one of those wimpy little chrome ones that are all shine and no good if you hit something as small as even a deer. ya got get a good heavy duty one.
 

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if you get a hankering for a jeep...stay away from the 87 to 95 jeep wrangler with the 6 cylinder carb...its a POSthe factory carb will never function right and no aftermarket carb will work well either..

a post 95 cherokee is a nice vehicle, I like mine for several reasons....

1) it has enough capacity for needs
2) it has a solid front axle
3) I drive extreme and I have yet to hear my 4.0 L gurgle in pain
4) milage is pretty good


keep in mind folks you can put larger tires on any vehicle and maintain factory fuel milage if you re gear the drive train to match the tire size..


my vote would be a cherokee but I guess it all comes down to your needs......some guys love the pick up and others like the SUV
 

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you should go on youtube and watch guys off road cars. when you dont care about the car, you can make them go all kinds of places. i'd love to strip down and chop up a chevette or similar car and make a off road buggy outta it.
 

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I've often thought about getting an older s10/toyota/nissan pickup and installing a 4cylinder diesel engine into it, alot of the frito-lay trucks used them...in a smaller pickup you could easily swing 38-40mpg and it will run on waste veggie oil
You're talking about the Cummins coverion is costly

you should go on youtube and watch guys off road cars. when you dont care about the car, you can make them go all kinds of places. i'd love to strip down and chop up a chevette or similar car and make a off road buggy outta it.
I'ld like to have a little AMC Eagle wagon alwheel drive w/lift kit or I'll settle for a Hornet wagon on a Ranger Chassis with a 5sp 4.0 liter engine
 
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