Hello y"all!

flyboy

New member
I hope this is the right place to post this thread...
Just wanted to introduce myself...Im Flyboy and I live on the south end of Reno.
Last year I was invited on an annual 4X4 trip in Death Valley and to say the least, It was a life altering experience for me. Ive got a bug to build a rig that hasnt stopped since.
Problem is, I have really NO IDEA where to begin. I ran a search on local orgs., and I found you folks here hoping to find a starting point, glean info, and ask questions and maybe eventually offer some of my own Jedi skills after Ive begun my training.
Im looking to find an old (cheap), (80's- early 90's) ford (ranger), jeep (any) or toyota (pick up), something small and nimble, and build a stompin machine.
If you have any suggestions as to what I should be looking for, types of components (lockers, shocks, lifts etc.), and user friendliness, please let me know because I AM GREEN right now, but willing to learn:D
BTW, Im planning to do the work my self...It seems pointless to embark on this project and pay other people to do the things I NEED to know how to do out on the trails WHEN things go wrong.

Thanks and again, GREETINGS!

Flyboy
 

kairo

Moderator
Staff member
early 90s YJ with the 4.0 engine and a 5spd is where I'd start. Easy to work on, good power, leaf springs all around, large aftermarket support. Others will chime in I'm sure, but if it's not a Daily driver, a short wheel base jeep would be my choice.
Your first thing to do will be to ditch the dana35 rear axle and upgrade to an XJ dana44 or a ford explorer 8.8 with disc brakes. What size tires are you planning to run? I'm not sure weather the YJ comes with a high or low pinion dana 30, but it's good for up to 35" tires.
Welcome to reno4x4!
 

flyboy

New member
Hey Kairo,
I was planning on 33 tires. It wont be a daily driver, but I would like to drive it on trips as opposed to towing. Why would you get rid of the dana 35? Im embarassed to say, I dont know what the difference is between the dana 35 and 40 etc.:eek:
Thanks for the welcome.

Flyboy
 

kairo

Moderator
Staff member
the dana 35 is the rear axle, it has smallish shafts and a low spline count. Alot of people break them simply running 31s and hard wheeling. the dana 44 is a bit heavier-duty and has more splines on the shafts. Another swap option I forgot about is the chrsler 8.25. There are 29 spline versions and for all intents and purposes its as strong as a dana 44. You dont get disc brakes with a dana 44 or a chrsler 8.25 though.
If you're going to run 33" tires, you will probably need to get both axles regeared. With the jeep 4.0 6cylinder, the general gear ratio for 33's is 4.56.
 

Scrub

New member
Also look into XJ's 87 or newer with the 4.0, they can be had cheap and they perform well right out of the box, plus easier to carry passengers, and hold cargo. and i agree with kairo on ditching the 35, right now im building a dana44 with 4.56's locked with disc brakes for the rear of my xj.
 

kairo

Moderator
Staff member
Scrub said:
Also look into XJ's 87 or newer with the 4.0, they can be had cheap and they perform well right out of the box, plus easier to carry passengers, and hold cargo. and i agree with kairo on ditching the 35, right now im building a dana44 with 4.56's locked with disc brakes for the rear of my xj.

agreed, except for the unibody. If it's not a daily driver, there's no sence (in my opinion) to deal with the unibody and it's issues
 

flyboy

New member
Kairo,
Thanks man, thats a good break down of what that means. I had already anticipated that I would have to have gearing done, and that is one thing that I would have professionally done. I dont know what s involved exactly, but it never sounded like it was something that I wanted to screw with.

Flyboy
 

kairo

Moderator
Staff member
flyboy said:
Kairo,
Thanks man, thats a good break down of what that means. I had already anticipated that I would have to have gearing done, and that is one thing that I would have professionally done. I dont know what s involved exactly, but it never sounded like it was something that I wanted to screw with.

Flyboy

Correct. Not something you want to attempt yourself. For the cost of tools to do it properly, you enter the ballpark of having it professionally done. Setting gears requires a number of minute measurements that have to be extremely precise in order for the gears to work correctly.

Many people choose to have a difficult locker installed at the same time they get their gears done to minimize costs. by difficult locker I mean an ARB or an OX locker...something that can't be installed easily at home.
 

Dirty Harry

Moderator
Staff member
Flyboy I think that you are off to a good start just by asking questions and doing your research. The first thing you should determine is what kind of wheeling you want to do. Rockcrawling? High speed desert running? General rough roads? We are fortunate to live in a place that offers all of those types of wheeling. Determining what you want to do will help guide the modifications that you will make, and to a lesser degree the vehicle you purchase. Quantifying your budget will also help you be realistic about what to expect.

I am fond of Toyotas personally, I have a pickup but if I had a family I would consider a 4Runner instead. The Cherokee is a great alternative to the 4Runner, they both have their strengths and weeknesses. Short wheelbase Jeeps like CJs and Wranglers are also a good bet, with the largest aftermarket support.
 

kairo

Moderator
Staff member
Dirty Harry said:
Flyboy I think that you are off to a good start just by asking questions and doing your research. The first thing you should determine is what kind of wheeling you want to do. Rockcrawling? High speed desert running? General rough roads? We are fortunate to live in a place that offers all of those types of wheeling. Determining what you want to do will help guide the modifications that you will make, and to a lesser degree the vehicle you purchase. Quantifying your budget will also help you be realistic about what to expect.

I am fond of Toyotas personally, I have a pickup but if I had a family I would consider a 4Runner instead. The Cherokee is a great alternative to the 4Runner, they both have their strengths and weeknesses. Short wheelbase Jeeps like CJs and Wranglers are also a good bet, with the largest aftermarket support.

excellent point. Once you decide what type of wheeling you want to do, it becomes easier to tailor your build to it. The common type of build around here is rock crawler. That being heavy duty locked axles with big tires and low gear-ratio transfer cases. Not many people build for mud around here (for obvious reasons). My XJ is built as a go-anywhere trail rig--upgraded axles, decent suspension, radio equipment, recovery gear. This sounds like what you're going to do if you want to go on trips with it.
 

rusty_tlc

New member
Or you could get a 85 or older (solid front axle) Toyota Truck and run factory axles. 33's would be no problem. IMHO these are the easiest and least expensive vehicles to modify into something you can do any trail with. Tons of after market stuff availble, but pretty bullet proof to start with. You can find a decent one for less than $2K.
 

flyboy

New member
Hey Dirty Harry,
Thats a good point you make, and I have thought a great deal about the type of riding I want to do. General rough, technichal roads, with some light to moderate rock crawling capeabilities. The hardcore rock crawling is very cool, but I dont find it all too practical for me. On the other hand...If only I were RICH....I really like the Ford rangers, but as Im to understand, theyre not too nice to the new guyz...meaning there is a LOT of fab involved, and Im just getting my feet wet, so Im pretty much counting that out. I love the wrangler style jeeps, but I think that I might like a bit more carrying capacity like the cherokee's. I do really like the toyota pick ups too.
But right now, Im open to just about anything EXCEPT GM's...Sorry, but I just dont think I would buy one again. Had an S 10 and it was the WORST piece of crap that I owned.

Flyboy
 

Dirty Harry

Moderator
Staff member
rusty_tlc said:
Or you could get a 85 or older (solid front axle) Toyota Truck and run factory axles. 33's would be no problem.

Even the IFS Toyotas work really well for most trails. If I was going to build up something on a budget for moderate wheeling, I'd get an 86-89 Toyota 4Runner with the 4 cylinder and a manual transmission. Add a 1" body lift, front ball joint spacers, a longer rear shackle, and fit 33x10.5 BFGs on the stock wheels. Then get some 4.88 gears (you can find these pretty reasonably priced in junkyards since they were a factory option) and a Lockrite for the rear. After that you just need to add armor and maybe lower transfer case gears and you are good to go on most of the trails in our area.

For ideas check out Don West's Toyota and my dad's Comanche. The Comanche is for sale cheap if you are interested, but it is going to need some motor work.
 

kairo

Moderator
Staff member
flyboy said:
Is fuel injection something that I should be considering with early model vehicles?

Flyboy

absolutely. if you're going jeep, all their carb'd engines were bad . the 258 (CJ, early YJ engine) is a leaky, 1bbl carbd piece of garbage. the 4.0 is a stout, torquey reliable engine that'll serve you over 250,000 miles if you take care of it.

I know next to nothing about the toyota engines, except they usually have a 22r. From what I understand, those are just fine carburated. I'll let someone else jump in on toyo engines. I mainly know jeeps
 

Dirty Harry

Moderator
Staff member
flyboy said:
Is fuel injection something that I should be considering with early model vehicles?

If my memory serves me, Cherokees all had fuel injection. EFI became standard on Wranglers in 1991 and an option on Toyotas in 1985. I would consider fuel injection nearly manditory for rough wheeling, plus it tends to get better fuel mileage than carbs.
 

rusty_tlc

New member
For a general trail rig IFS rocks. The fore runner is a great option. IIRC the XJ is unibody compared to the Forerunner body on frame construction, no? Body on frame will last a lot longer than unibody.
 

JOE THE TOE

New member
90 THRU 95 YJ......4.0,FULLY BOXED FRAME,JUST A PLANE OLD TUFF AZZ JEEP.AS FAR AS AXLES GO IT DOES'NT MATTER WHAT YOU PLAN TO DO WITH IT,JUST DO 60'S....YOU CAN'T GO WRONG ,THE MONEY YOU'LL SPEND ON BUILDING A 44 & THE AMOUNT OF PART'S YOU'LL GO THRU,YOU COULD HAVE JUST BOUGHT A 60 WHICH IS CHEAPER OR THE SAME COST TO BUILD(ARB-LITTLE BIT MORE THAN A 44,CROSSOVER STEERING-CHEAPER THAN A 44,PRICE OF AXLE-$1200-$400 MORE THAN A 44,NOT EVER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT BREAKING-PRICELESS!).LISTEN TO MY WORD'S OF WISDOM,I'VE HAD 7 SET'S OF AXLE'S UNDER MY RIG...IF I'D JUST DONE 60'S IN THE FIRST PLACE I'D OF SAVED THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS.:yes: :D
 
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