Re: Back country vehicles

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Posted by Jed on October 09, 2003 at 19:12:09:

In Reply to: Back country vehicles posted by possum on October 09, 2003 at 17:50:56:

Well you do have to maintain them. My Cherokee with 4.0L Six and automatic transmission has been all over the remotest deserts of Baja, California, Nevada and Arizona with no problems whatsoever while offroad. They also have superior suspension travel over most IFS Toyotas and other newer designs, a bonus in rocky desert terrain. As to reliability, I did replace the water pump at 55,000 miles (the previous owner had not maintained/changed the coolant regularly) and CPS sensor at 115,000 miles, both items failed while in-town and neither stopped the vehicle entirely. One thing a lot of people don't know is that the 4.0 Six Cherokee's automatic transmission is in fact the same one used in Lexus cars, and is well known for its reliability!

Toyotas are normally fine vehicles but not impervious to failures, I've seen more than one Toyota wipe off the drain plug of the rear differential on a rock, break front suspension parts (the IFS of the Toyota isn't as rugged as the Cherokee's solid axle).

There is no magic vehicle that has 100% reliability. And anecdotal experience of one or two owners is rarely useful. But if off-road reliability is your primary goal, I'd suggest a solid axle 1-ton pickup with a swapped-in Deutz air-cooled, mechanically injected diesel engine and manual transmission. No coolant, radiator, spark plugs, water pump, distributor or electronic sensors to fail. Given fuel and battery power, it should last indefinitely.

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