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Expedition (not rockcrawling) wheeling: relative value of mods for 80?

Discussion in 'Expedition Builds' started by e9999, Jul 27, 2005.

  1. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    I'd like to hear a bit more from the folks who have experienced or indulged in expedition-type wheeling in contrast to the hardcore rockcrawling that seems to dominate the airwaves here.

    I find myself constantly having to fight the buying impulses generated by reading the great mods done by folks here, having to force myself to analyze more objectively whether I would indeed or not need such and such mod for the expedition type wheeling that is my goal.

    By expedition type wheeling I mean driving over dirt or gravel or sand or even rocky roads, but with the purpose of getting someplace, not going over the biggest rock I can find just for the fun of doing that. I mean I would try to avoid such rock if I'm in the middle of nowhere. That doesn't mean I would not encounter obstacles, of course, but it's a different set of practicalities.

    This suggests to me that maybe the typical mods we hear about here may not be the most appropriate. For expedition type wheeling, for instance, I would think that reliability should be first priority. In particular, I'm thinking that the high lifts we see here may not be that necessary for expeditions. I'm thinking that after good tires, a good skid plate underneath should maybe be first choice. This to get you out of there. I'm starting to think that sliders may not be as high priority as I thought originally but maybe still second in line. Are lifts even really needed? What about bumpers?

    Anybody cares to comment, especially those of you with some Western US / desert / Mexico type of expedition under your belt?
     
  2. CharlieS

    CharlieS

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    I am in the Northeast, so I'm not sure I count due to the narrowed scope of your question.

    However, I will say that for the kind of off road driving I do, which I guess you could call expeditions (certainly not rock crawling), reliability is first, a forgiving suspension is next, a mild lift and larger A/T tires to get off the center hump of the two track roads. A solid front bumper is nice too (deer or moose can ruin a trip fast - I almost got sideswiped by a moose last week - but the bumper wouldn't help there).

    A winch and f/r lockers are the things I want next for self extrication. I imagine a winch will cover that base just fine.

    Although, I haven't found a situation (YET) that the factory low or CDL couldn't get me out of where I drive. These things really are tanks.

    Charlie
     
  3. Hltoppr

    Hltoppr

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    I've kept things simple and minor for mine, as the ROTW thread shows. I keep stock tire sizes, or maybe slightly bigger, but no larger than 33s. I prefer 31s because they're not very heavy, don't sap engine power, and I can find 'em anywhere....try finding a 35" or 37" tire in a llanatera (tire shop) in the middle of Mexico....it ain't happenin'

    I like BFG mud terrains, as they're the closest thing you can reasonably get to a Michelin XZL in the States, and the low pressure ratings are actually lower than the XZL. For Mexico I usually only take one spare, and have never needed it!

    Lifts are also kept to a minimum...2 1/2" usually, more for improving approach, break over and departure angles than being able to fit more tire. (Plus, without my roof tent, I can still fit in my garage...even with the Con-Fer rack! The mounts have been modified to lower the rack.)

    Engine and drivetrain is stock...no blowers, "high performance" exhausts or headers...I want to be able to tear down the engine in the field if necessary, and don't need anything that'll cause the engine to operate outside of OEM parameters.

    The great thing about the 80s (and most Toyotas, if not all Land Cruisers) is that they're overbuilt from the start. If you keep it mild, then chances are you'll never break anything. I've owned 4 cruisers and have yet to break a birf' in the mild situations I'm in.

    I prefer a winch over sliders...and I'd rather winch myself out of a situation than try and power through it, risking breakage.

    -H-
    LosAmigosSign.jpg
     
  4. santiagol

    santiagol

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    My driving is clearly expedition-type, as opposed to rock-crawling, mostly over sand to find offbeat beaches that are not crowded or otherwise hard to get to. Reliability is a must, it would be very hard to get towed back to the road and the tide comes in twice a day. A winch would probably be nice. Also an inverter in the back to get 110 volts for my piƱa colada/frozen margarita blender.
     
  5. landtank

    landtank SILVER Star

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    E, that's what I've been keeping an eye on as well. For instance I chose a hydraulic winch over the very popular Warn electric. A freind of mine who has done a lot of wheeling trips commented that he only used his winch about 4 times. If you think about it, that's probably what you might expect to use if you aren't in the rocks constantly. The hydraulic was cheaper, lighter by almost 50 lbs, doesn't need any high amp support and can be run for longer periods without needing to cool down.

    Unfortunately the install has been plaqued with small setbacks as since I'm one of the first to do this I've had to basically figure out the hose lengths and routing and source parts like grommets to protect the hoses. I've got everything ready to go, just need to get a few more honeydo projects out of the way before I do it.

    It might have been a mistake, will just have to wait and see.

    But basically I'm trying to keep this in a modest range.
     
  6. photogod

    photogod

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    I'm trying to build mine for expedition driving as well and here are my thoughts. front bumper for protection and to hold a winch, lift to improve clearance allong with 33's, dual batts to run fridge and acc's, compressor for tires after air down, snorkel and bra for water crossings, bag of winch acessories like tow strap tree strap chain etc., stout full length roof rack, rear bumper tire carier, aux gas tank in place of rear tire or H2O tank in place of rear tire, M100 trailer with all the camping goodies and I'm still resteling with which tent options to go with. CB radio, satelite radio. Just some thoughts for you. Keep up on the ROTW and look for ideas there. Some of those guys amaze me.
     
  7. Arya Ebrahimi

    Arya Ebrahimi

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    Here's my list(opinion) in order of importance for expedition type wheeling(assuming otherwise stock 80 w/ lockers):

    1) Aggressive but durable tires. Something with good road manners is favorable in my opinion, i.e. not bias swampers. They wear too fast and can be unpredictable in adverse road conditions.
    2) Armor(reliability is foremost, so we want to protect the underbelly of the truck). I believe sliders are essential as well as skid plates and front and rear bumpers
    3) Extraction equipment(winch, sand anchor for sandy expeditions, straps, shackles, etc)
    4) Gadgetry, i.e. snorkels, GPS, dual batteries, etc (varies with location and environment)
    5) Lift and bigger tires(with armor, lockers, and a winch you should be able to drive or drag the truck through damn near anything, so the lift and bigger tires just lower the relative PITA of clearing a certain obstacle)

    Just my opinions of course, but they're based on fairly logical arguments I think.

    Ary
     
  8. beno

    beno 23424-23216 Moderator GOLD Star

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    e99999999999999999:

    My list:

    1. Reliable truck (ie: you've taken care of the necessary PM before you leave on your trip).
    2. Extra parts (whatever you think you might need, bring it) and tools
    3. Good tires (I'd go with either the BFGoodRich's or the MT/R's)
    4. Mild lift (see Hltopper's explanation) -- also to take care of weight issues on a fully loaded expedition vehicle
    5. Winch (self-extraction)
    6. Inverter
    7. Air compressor (on board)
    8. GPS
    9. Satellite phone
    10. Tinted windows (for sleeping comfort)
    11. 2nd and 3rd rows removed (that's if you are traveling with yourself and one other)
    12. Front and rear bumpers
    13. roof rack w/tent unit, or a trailer pop up unit.
    14. Some type of weaponry--just in case
    15. Fridge
    16. Dual battery
    17. Water purifying/exchange system on board
    18. Laptop with global internet connection

    in other words, check out the NorCal wagons and that is what your truck should look like--Darwood, or NorCalDoug, CDrew's, Alvaro's--these guys have their truck set up perfectly.

    And, Hltopper's truck really epitomizes a good expedition vehicle in my opinion.

    This is the exact reason I got the 80 and I am slowly working towards this as $$$ allows...

    Best.
    -onur
    Akron, OH
     
  9. elmariachi

    elmariachi

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    Here was the expedition rig I built and, like an idiot, sold to Kaderabek. It had lockers, an OME lift + spacers, 315 BFGs, supercharger, snorkle, ARB front with 9500 Warn and Hellas, Kaymar rear with hi-lift, CB, GPS, dual batteries, a serious history of "no-expenses spared" PM and a large caliber automatic pistol strategically stored away. It has been all over Texas, Mexico, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, California, and Nevada.

    The truck I am building now will be similar, only in addition to the rack I am building an M416 to match. I see no use for sliders...no matter where we go I am not going to get that hard core. The only other thing I think is a must for expedition use (besides my nifty rear seat DVD to keep the kids quiet) is an auxiliary fuel tank. And I may actually rig one up under the M416 instead.

    A couple cases of spare parts is essential too.
    80coloradosmall.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2005
  10. Arya Ebrahimi

    Arya Ebrahimi

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    I didn't think sliders were essential either. However I discovered just last night that my driver's side rocker is smushed in a good bit and I haven't done ANY hardcore 'wheeling in this truck. I was absolutely dumbfounded as to how the damage got there. I would have thought I'd notice landing on the rocker like that, especially the driver's side, but apparently not. Sliders are now definately on the list. I have 285s but no lift for reference purposes.

    Ary
     
  11. ChuckB

    ChuckB SILVER Star

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    Great thread... very informative!!
     
  12. dmc

    dmc

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    I'm building my 80 for the same usage. I won't lay out my full list because a lot of it has been mentioned already. Two things on my priority list. Spare tires and fuel.

    I'd like to have the ability to carry two full size spares when I need to. Short term I'll store one in the stock location and one on the rear bumper (after I build it.) Long term i'll have to come up with another solution once the wallet opens up to allow for a long range tank.
    dmc
     
  13. elmariachi

    elmariachi

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    That's the number one reason I changed out the axle and hubs on my M416; to be able to run the same wheels and tires as my Cruiser.
     
  14. Jim_Chow

    Jim_Chow

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    I mainly drive my rig on long road trips combined w/ some short expedition offroad. Here's what I've useful:
    1) good tires (slightly larger than stock, but not so large your acceleration suffers on the highway going uphill.)

    2) ARB bullbar/winchbar--almost ran into a herd of deer in southern Canyonlands NP at dusk in late Dec '02 (no, they didn't stare into my headlights, plus I was driving 70mph on that country road). I managed to hit the horn, causing them to run in the direction I was travelling. That bought me the extra distance I needed to stop. Had I hit 'em, it probably would have damaged the radiator...60 miles to Blanding, UT, the nearest town, and it was cold outside.

    3) suspension: stiffer springs than stock, so you don't bottom out when driving fast on dirt roads. A small lift (2") is nice.

    4) spare tire: get the spare on the rear bumper...much easier to access the spare, especially with the pathetic clearance under the 80's stock spare location.

    5) lighting: good driving lights are an absolute must. Good headlights, like e-codes or HID's, also help.

    6) dual battery system would be nice, though I don't have one. I don't see why one needs inverter power unless you plan on recharging batteries or something for extended stays. And if so, you're still burning precious fuel to generate the electricity. For light, I use flashlights and folding candle lanterns.

    7) sliders if you anticipate driving through rocky riverbeds, etc.

    I generally avoid going places where I might get stuck and/or can't turn around and don't know where the road goes, as I don't travel with another vehicle. IMHO, a winch would be more useful if it were mounted in the rear. In the front, it seems more useful for winching out your invisible buddy.
     
  15. reffug

    reffug

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    I think both can be accomplished quite easily. Alot of the trucks being mentioned in this thread do rockcrawl. I think I recall seeing a picture of Norcaldoug's rig on the gate that definately didn't seem expedition wheeling to me. If you truly want to look for something set up expo style per say then look no further than the build up of the Tubby Explorer in Trails. There is a truly expedition style set up. And unless one is planning a trip like that or some of the stuff 'photoman' does then its not really the kind of set up which is necessary. Most of the stuff we encounter here in the US doesn't truly qualify as expedition type wheeling. Just 02.
     
  16. CharlieS

    CharlieS

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    reffug,

    You have sort of an extreme definition of "expedition type wheeling".

    What is the term you prefer for the kind of non-rock crawling offroad driving done by "people in the US" (assuming you have fit us all into the same stereotype).

    Charlie
     
  17. concretejungle

    concretejungle SILVER Star

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    If i think of expedition, obviously i think of get me there and get me back. So for that i would want front ARB with winch for extraction and protection from hittng deer/moose/elk whatever. Next would be extra fuel and spare tire. I'm not sure how important lockers are because you are not rock crawling so really you should only need a winch for those bigger than expected mud holes or unknown extractions. A good set of tires is important. Spare parts are vital and don't forget the tools need to fix things; spare parts are useless without tools. Next would be spare fluids like brake fluid, antifreeze, gear lube and grease. I think those are the essentials. A lift would be excellent but not necessarily critical. another important item would be either a CB or a cell phone.

    EDIT: i would think for expedition type trips two batteries would be vital also. If one dies you still have another to crank the truck or winch with.
     
  18. dmc

    dmc

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    Thanks Jim. Now I have to go back into the roofrack vs. trailer thread and change my vote. But that is a good idea. For me I'd have to make a large psychological shift to a trailer but I'm beginning to see the positive aspects of it.
    dmc
     
  19. Boston Mangler

    Boston Mangler

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    I am kinda in your boat e9999

    I just built up a very nice and capable SOA FJ60 that had 35's, was fully locked, and bla bla bla. I built it, in part, due to the hype. I did the spring over conversion and hated it! It was too high and too unstable (for my liking anyway) to really take anywhere. After much discussions, i sold it and bought my 80 and LOVE IT!

    I have been down to baja when it was stock and noticed a few things i needed RIGHT away (in the order i want them down):

    -Beefier Suspension (had 6 people in the rig with gear) and it was sagging big time

    -Long Range Fuel Tank, stock tops out at 250 miles or so per tank, i would really like more! Ideally, i would like to get all of my gas here in the states before i head down there.

    -Beefier Front Bumper! I had all sorts of people cutting me off and running in front of me. I dont ever want to have to use my ARB for that, but i am sure glad i have it now!

    -Hi Lift (and places to jack from) Some of the roads and dunes we were on, would have been a PITA to have to change a flat on. I thought about a hi-lift but then also thought, i would need to make some places to use as jack points. I dont think the stock bumpers or running boards would do to good being jacked from

    -Winch, no explanation necassary. I dont know why on earth i bought the NON Winch ARB, but i kinda of starting to regret it!

    -Real roof rack (makes it much easier to sleep in the rig and not have to unpack everything!

    LATER MODS

    -Upgraded headlight harness and upgraded bulbs, nuff said
    -Heavy Duty Power Inverter
    -Dual Batteries
    -Aux Water Tank (this is kind of a mexico only needed mod) :D
    -Hot water shower
    -Spare OEM Alternator
    -On Board Air System
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2005
  20. reffug

    reffug

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    Yup guess I do, but to each there own.

    Consider it an offroad adventure, usually with some asphalt not to awfully far away in regard to what I consider to be an expedition. The 'people in the US' comment was meant to be exactly what it was. People in the US, I am not so obtuse as to not realize this is a very diverse board with members all over the world. Also the comment was geared towards the individual who asked the question to begin with, who I know is a resident of the US.

    As I said in my previous post it was my 02.