Can you help me find a starting point?

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Can you help me find a starting point?

Postby grinder [OP] » April 9th 2013, 1:10am

Hi I am brand new to the forum - and have a specific project in mind - I am thinking that you can help me avoid a bunch of mistakes with your input.

I have a small hide-a-way in Baja and I keep a vehicle there. Five years ago I took a lifted Cherokee down there, but the conditions really tore it up. I had a gutter mount roof rack with a spare, which basically tore the gutters off and the rest of the uni-body just can't take the road conditions. I need a vehicle with a chassis and the Blazer/Suburban is just a little too bulky for me. Pick-ups are not great due to security of the payload and carrying passengers. So I have been looking at lifted Astro/Safari as an option.

I use the vehicle 80% on road where a 2WD would be fine, and a little low risk two tracking. I use 4WD mainly for security in the sand. I don't need high performance or an "off roader" - I value dependability, distance on road driving comfort with the ability to take a pot hole now and then, and get around on the beach. So my questions are mainly about making a decision on a starting vehicle:

1) I read a lot of people saying their lifted 2WD get along great off the road. Is there a major advantage or problem going with the AWD? I think I would be a little timid on the beach in a 2WD!

2) Is there a set of vehicle production years, models or motor/transmission options that are known to be better or worse for performance or longevity?

3) Overland seems to say that their lift kits improve driveability. Is that the same opinion that owners of lifted vehicles have? I read one post concerned about the driveline angles with a 4" lift.

4) Is there any other advice out there on what to look for in buying the original truck that you can give?

Thanks!

Scot
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Re: Can you help me find a starting point?

Postby Jasen » April 9th 2013, 1:43am

Welcome to A/S
Theres not a lot of differences in these vans from the 1st one off the line to the last, 3 different fuel delivery systems on basically the same motor, viscus fluid T case and in 99 they went electronic T case. I prefer the viscus fluid T case for slippery conditions, but not a lot of snow and ice in Baja. 4 wheel disc brakes and 16" wheel's in 99 and up as well. I'd want AWD for sand driving.
So that being said, if you find one that's been well maintained, your probably going to do fine. These little 4.3's are tough little engines and go for 1/4 million miles no problem, check out how many members we have in the 1/4 mill. mile club, some have over 300K. I'm at 196K on my 97 AWD cargo which hauls my 3/4 ton load of tools every day and I've had no major problem.
I'm a Journeyman woodworker,
Every projects a journey man.

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Re: Can you help me find a starting point?

Postby oman » April 9th 2013, 2:15am

I believe the four wheel disc brakes and 16" wheels didn't come until 2003...
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oman
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Re: Can you help me find a starting point?

Postby Jasen » April 9th 2013, 2:20am

Oman, I think your right on that.
I'm a Journeyman woodworker,
Every projects a journey man.

200k
Ultra gauge

Being a mad scientist IS NOT as easy as it look's on TV



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Re: Can you help me find a starting point?

Postby DRZ » April 9th 2013, 2:38am

Best part to me is on the '03-'05 with the bigger wheels are the way better 4 wheel disc brakes.
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Can you help me find a starting point?

Postby thegreenmachine » April 9th 2013, 2:40am

Oman is right. 2003+ came with rear discs. But I also agree with jasen. My 03 with the electronic Awd is not on par with the the 98 and older full time t case.

I can think of more give me some time.
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Re: Can you help me find a starting point?

Postby DRZ » April 9th 2013, 2:54am

Totally agree on the full time AWD being way better than the newer "on demand" mess that makes you wonder who / what is doing the demanding as it sure isn't the driver. If the need isn't actually what the computer was programed for you never know what the response might be. Really the only thing I don't like about my '04. AND there's no difference in the milage as all the same stuff is turning all the time.
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Can you help me find a starting point?

Postby thegreenmachine » April 10th 2013, 4:38am

That's the only dislike. 4 wheel discs is awesome. My brake job was a piece of cake.
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Re: Can you help me find a starting point?

Postby grinder [OP] » April 10th 2013, 3:00pm

Thanks for your help on this guys! This is a good start point, I will start shopping now and report back as I start my project!
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