What would you start with?

Orso

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I need help guys... I'm not real happy with the new trucks out there today. Wheather (SP?) of high cost, or design, or various other reasons. If I had my choice of new vehicles I think I'd go with a Toyota Hilux, but I don't believe they are available in the US...?

So what used vehicle would you guys start with to fix up? And what mods would you add? Total available cash set at $15k, maybe $20k. After all is said and done it needs to be reliable.

My requirements...
Needs to sit 4 people relatively comfortably, be able to pull a 4000lb trailer, 4WD.

It will not be my day to day vehicle. It will be used weekly to haul my hound to hunt, plus at least 1x a month to hunt in central calif, and about 4 trips a year pulling my tent trailer. It will need to be reliable as MOST of the miles will be freeway miles but it has to be able to get me in and out of the mountains when hunting.

Gas or diesel costs are obvious concerns so maybe a 4cyl? But it still needs to pull a fully loaded truck and trailer.

Thoughts?

Thanks....Orso
 



SDHNTR

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Personally, I'd find a old Chevy 3/4 ton with a straight body and solid, straight frame. If seating is an issue, get a Suburban or Blazer. With your budget you can completely re-do it. Put in a brand new 350 and all new accessories, turbo 400 tranny with a big cooler, Dana 44 axles, new transfer case, all new wiring, suspension and steering linkage. Maybe replace the seats for comfort. You'd have a reliable vehicle, that is easy to work on. Parts will be available everywhere and will be inexpensive. It will have all the power you need. I've always wanted to do this.

Toyotas are great, until you include the towing part.
 

Rancho Loco

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Nate nailed it.

For me second choice would be a LandCrusher FJ60 or 62. They won't burn up the road, but they'll go anywhere and last forever - just about bombproof drive train and suspension. Towing 4,000 would be pushing it, though.
 

barel74

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In the 20k range, I would think you'd be better off buying a '03-'05 midsize (F150) 4X4. Get just under 20mpg, and be able to tow. As much as I like '70s style pick-ups, they are NOT good on gas.
 

spectr17

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The 1/2 and 3/4 ton trucks are just a bit long many times in the mtns. An older Blazer or Bronco would work much better on the switchbacks and tight spots.

Gas mileage is gonna suck tho. 350 Cheby has parts everywhere you go. Mine took a dump in Baja one year and I had a boneyard there to pick through, almost all Cheby.
 

quack_head

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Spec has good point. Bronco or Blazer. It won't be a everyday driver show fuel should not be the primary concern. I had a bronco for a long time. I took it to CO and got 15-16 mpg once. Of course I drive around 55-65.

I would go with a mid 80s-mid 90s. I like the Bronco, I had one. Never had a blazer. Parts would be easy to find. And they are built pretty tough, both.

All though, the Suburban would give you four doors. Four guys in a bronco might get crowded. I would spend the money on making how you want it. If go duck hunting, build it for that. If go Elk hunting build it for that.
 

jackrabbit

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Can't have it all!! When you add in towing and multiple seating you severely limit the choices for off-road capabilities. Like quack said, you need to focus on your primary need and concern. I have an early bronco which is awesome in the rough, but with a detroit locker in the back axle and short wheel base, it is super scary to tow a 2500# bass boat behind it on the freeway (torque steer). But I also have a 4wd 1 ton crew cab, long bed F350 diesel which is awesome for towing but about as manueverable as an aircraft carrier, even on city streets! So I have both extremes in my play toys, but they both have very limited, and well defined purposes. When you want one vehicle to serve your needs, you have to define your needs very explicitly. With the budget you have I think you can do very well to build what you need, but you need to define the parameters in more detail to get the best advice -- just my humble opinion. Good luck!
 

swampy tim

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Orso, when I was stationed in Long Beach I was faced with a similar situation. I chose the IH Scout II. If I had to do it again I would have replaced the IH drive train with a more modern one that I could find parts for anywhere. As it was I had a 396 IH V8 with a torque flight tranny. It was bullet proof. It ran from Joshua tree back to Long Beach with no water pump once, and didn't hurt the crank, mains, rings or pistons, ( it did warp the heads and burn the valves but it got me home).I like the size of the scout II, bigger than a jeep, smaller that a blazer, and with that kind of budget one could easily be outfitted with a small diesel engine or a 6 cyl gas motor. Very rugged, nostalgic, truck like and still available. I'l bet there still fairly cheep as to there bad reputation. But you guys don't have a lot of rust issues out there. Good luck on your quest and good fortune at being able to make this decision. S/T
 

machine

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Anything Pre smog........ and with nothing less then 8 lug nuts!!!!!!!!
 

Orso

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Thanks guys... As Jackrabbit says, I need to define my parameters. I think I'm leaning towards an older crew cab p/u. I need to get the hound (hopefully hounds, plural, before too long) to the hunting grounds so I'm thinking a truck might work best. Good feedback guys.
 

Mt Goat

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Dont know if your still looking but you might look at the 4x4 Toyota tacoma double cabs. The 6 cyc is enough for a small trailer, and you have room for dogs, plus its small enough to hunt out of if you end up on tight Mt roads and need to do a U-turn. Im 6-6 and weigh in at a light 295 and you'd be suprised how much room you get in the back seat of that 4 door tacoma.

Thats going to be my next Birddog/Hounding truck.

Larry Lowell
www.PointingDogTrainer.com
760-963-9790
 

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