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Thinking about a new truck. What are my options?


Jerry
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Please give me your 2c! image_209027.gif

I'm thinking about a newer truck so I can give my MJ some TLC and time off.

As some of you may know I'm not from round these parts originally so my knowledge of US/CAN trucks is limited to what I've learned in the while I've been here. Seems I'm getting to know a lot about MJ's though :yes:

 

Anyways, I'd appreciate some input if ya don't mind. The deal is my MJ does everything I need of a truck and I don't know what the options are for a newer truck that could do the same duties. I've been looking around but all the other 'less than ten year' old mid size trucks I've seen just don't match the Comanche's abilities. Why did they stop making them!

 

Here's the list of essentials I'm looking for based on my experience with the '86 V6 gem in the pic over there:

Driven every day so fuel economy is important. A full size would be OTT for me. Good power - yes, excessive power not necessary.

Very capable off road with just the addition of good wheels and tyres. Again, a full size truck won't do it 'cos they can't squeeze down the knarly trails we like to head for, they're just too big.

Can haul stuff, big stuff, like an 8ft camper! So short boxes are not an option, must be at least a 7ft box.

Good history for reliability.

Easy to work on.

 

At the moment I'm thinking my best option is to look for a really good clean low mile original long box 4.0L MJ :D

 

Whadd'ya reckon guys? Is another MJ the best way to go?

 

Thanks in anticipation :wavey:

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I think if you found a 4.0L MJ, it would turn your world around from the 2.8L. They can be had out there, and you would be amazed with the increase in power. I think that for what you want, any '87-'92 LWB MT 4.0L would be just what you want.

 

Rob L.

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There isnt much to choose from in what youre looking for, anymore. I can't reccomend any GM products, and I don't like the Dodge dakota... too big. The Ford ranger is too small... maybe, but I'm not sure you can even get a longbed in one of those. I hate to say it, but you really can't go to wrong with a Toyota, but I have no idea what their larger engine options are. Nissan is out, just because. Mitsu is just a rebadged Dakota. Not much to choose from is there? If it was me, Id look at a shortbed Ram 1500, but you don't get much wider than a Ram... not good for narrow trails. Good luck man, let us know what you get!

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At the moment I'm thinking my best option is to look for a really good clean low mile original long box 4.0L MJ

 

Whadd'ya reckon guys? Is another MJ the best way to go?

I have been pondering the same question, and my conclusion is that unless you need a 4-door cab, the only viable solution is another MJ. Realistically, the other compact PUs are junk. A friend of mine bought a NEW Toyota PU a couple of years ago. It was only rated to carry 800 pounds! None of the small pickups have any capacity at all. If you need a 4-door, I think I'd look at a Dodge Dakota -- it's in an intermediate size class that it pretty much occupies by itself.

 

But any used PU ten years old or less that isn't a candidate for the scrap heap is going to be selling for $10k or more. For that kind of money, you could buy an MJ with a decent body and have the engine rebuilt as a preemptive strike, and have the equivalent of a new truck -- for probably half what a ten-year old used one would cost.

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Dasbulliwagen just hated nissans. The first gen frontier is actually a great truck. That little 3.3 engine would never let you down. I had a 93 pathfinder with the 3.0 (same block) that I sold with over 250,000 on it. Its still on the road today.

 

A 2000 or newer Toyota Tacoma wouldn't be a bad choice. Pre-2000 ones had potential frame rot. I had an O1 doublecab with the 3.4 auto 4wd and it never bogged down even at full load. I kick myself in the butt for selling that truck. Aside from steering rack issues I never had problems.

 

I'm extremely partial to imports tho. My MJ is the first american vehicle I've owned that's been worth a crap.

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I DD a 2004 2wd, 3.0 V6, single cab, shortbed, Ranger as my work truck. I am very impressed. Sure it is small, but has 180K miles on it and gets 20mpg in very harsh city driving. Being a company truck, it has suffered the harshest conditions and still runs down the road great. I had to get the ball joints replaced to pass the MO inspection. According to my company, this was the most expensive maintenance ever done to the truck. If I ever wanted a Ranger for personal use, I would get an extended cab, just for the extra head and seat clearance.

 

However, I am building my MJ as a DD. The cab space is perfect for me, and the 4.0 fulfills what I will need. Plus it will tackle the trails I love out in CO.

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I'm partial to the second gen Daks. I have a 2000 and love it. A clubcab v8 4wd Dak would be a nice compliment to an MJ. gives you some more power, interior space, and more of the comforts of a modern truck. :thumbsup:

 

 

97_dodge_dakota_4x4_club_cab.jpg

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Thanks for all the feedback guys :thumbsup:

The options are limited eh! I have been eyeing the Dakotas as looking about the right size for me but they all seem to have 6ft beds. Can anyone verify that? If I could find one of those with 7ft bed it would work. What are they like off road in comparison to an MJ?

 

I think a Ranger is out, the box is too short, and narrow as well I think.

 

A Toyota would be good, I like their reliability record (not counting the recent issue!! :yes: ) especially if it's a diesel.

 

For less money than a newer truck though, as Eagle said I can probably get a GREAT(!) Comanche and spend the rest of more road trips.

 

It's starting to look like a no brainer :D

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Thanks for all the feedback guys :thumbsup:

The options are limited eh! I have been eyeing the Dakotas as looking about the right size for me but they all seem to have 6ft beds. Can anyone verify that? If I could find one of those with 7ft bed it would work. What are they like off road in comparison to an MJ?

 

I think a Ranger is out, the box is too short, and narrow as well I think.

 

A Toyota would be good, I like their reliability record (not counting the recent issue!! :yes: ) especially if it's a diesel.

 

For less money than a newer truck though, as Eagle said I can probably get a GREAT(!) Comanche and spend the rest of more road trips.

 

It's starting to look like a no brainer :D

 

They did make longbed Dak's. Don't think I have ever seen one in an extended cab longbed flavor in the second generation style... I like them, and is most likely what I would drive if it wasn't an MJ.

 

Awhile back, I found my dream Dak, half the country away. 2001 Black Shortbed extended cab 4x4, with the 4.7, and a 6 speed manual. :brows:

 

Too bad it was too far away.

Rob L. :drool:

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2nd gens all had the exact same bed (except for the 4 doors which were only 5ft). I've got a 7ft MJ too and I've never missed that last foot in the Dak. :dunno: Only the first Gen Daks (and only regular cab at that) had the option of a 7 footer.

 

think of it as trading a foot of bed for 2 feet of back seat room. :yes:

 

And their ability offroad depends entirely on you definition of "offroading". There are plenty of Dak owners out that that swear by their rigs, but they are a bit longer and wider than an MJ, so tight trails will be, well, tighter. But it's not like you're giving up the MJ, so it'll still be around for those adventure cravings. jamminz.gif

 

Awhile back, I found my dream Dak, half the country away. 2001 Black Shortbed extended cab 4x4, with the 4.7, and a 6 speed manual.

 

 

:drool: :drool: :drool:

 

Except I'll never buy another black truck again. Silver or dark blue are my Dak faves. :yes:

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and now I know why I was mistaken. seems that the LB (8ft) was indeed an option 97-99. Just in time for it to disappear when I was researching them when I bought my 2000. :shake: Also, for some reason I've never seen one. :dunno:

 

So there ya go. :D But it's only available in regular cab.

 

 

By the way, the regular length bed is 6.5 ft. :thumbsup:

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i still say he should buy that mj in nanaimo and call it done. -- waaaaaaaaaaay more class, unique-ness, tough-ness, and with the savings he could spend the whole summer cruising around bc camping. ---

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and now I know why I was mistaken. seems that the LB (8ft) was indeed an option 97-99. Just in time for it to disappear when I was researching them when I bought my 2000. :shake: Also, for some reason I've never seen one. :dunno:

 

So there ya go. :D But it's only available in regular cab.

 

By the way, the regular length bed is 6.5 ft. :thumbsup:

Thanks Pete, I'll look into a 97-99 and see what's around.

I want to find something with a minimum 7ft bed and regular cab because of the weight distribution. The camper is over 1000lbs and that weight HAS to be carried as far forward and low as possible. It fits the MJ just perfect with a few inches on the tailgate.

i still say he should buy that mj in nanaimo and call it done. -- waaaaaaaaaaay more class, unique-ness, tough-ness, and with the savings he could spend the whole summer cruising around bc camping. ---

:clapping: Sounds like a good plan :yes:

Can I assume that if it's an '89er it'll have the 4.0L?

Shame it's an auto. I'm not sure how I'd get on in the rough stuff with an auto. I've never tried it though!

Any thoughts on wheeling with an auto by comparison to a manual?

image_209027.gif

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:clapping: Sounds like a good plan :yes:

Can I assume that if it's an '89er it'll have the 4.0L?

Shame it's an auto. I'm not sure how I'd get on in the rough stuff with an auto. I've never tried it though!

Any thoughts on wheeling with an auto by comparison to a manual?

image_209027.gif

 

I have heard that wheeling an auto is nice, as you aren't inclined to be riding the clutch all the time. Which I can see, but I don't wheel enough, or do hard enough trails to where I would get tired of clutching.

 

I'll stick with my manuals.

Rob L. :D

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i definitely prefer an auto in this neighbourhood. especially in the coast mountains, what with all the tight roads and cross ditches. also better with the camper i bet. -- when i first got mine i seriously wanted to convert it to auto and am still hoping to find one ( gotta be a 4.0 though).

and yes, I'm sure that 89 would definitely be a 4 litre. if u havnt driven a 4.0, you really gotta give it a try.

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Any thoughts on wheeling with an auto by comparison to a manual?

image_209027.gif

 

 

The two worst things about wheeling an AW-4 auto are:

 

A) the friggen downshift to first.

 

it happens when you least expect it, and usually don't want it.

If you put the shifter in 1/2, and are in 2nd gear,

expect when you hit a certain MPH (while de-accelerating), SLAM it's going to bang 1st gear.

 

I countered this by either 1) not accelerating fast enough in 1/2 for it to upshift to 2nd (it can't slam into 1st if you never leave first),

or 2) whenever it does shift to second, put the shifter into '3'. Less control, but you don't have to worry about it slamming 1st.

 

The other bad thing is:

 

B) very easy to drive through the brakes in low range (especially going down hill).

shifting into neutral is the only way to avoid this, but that's not usually a good idea.

only other way is to anticipate it, and try not to build too much speed in the first place.

 

After 10 years of only wheeling manual trans Jeeps, I bought the 98 XJ (in 01),

first trip out I thought I had lost the brakes. :eek:

 

Scary part is you can get more control with lower gears, but then the brakes are even less effective.

 

 

Other than those two things, the auto is even easier to wheel than the 5spd,

most of the time you put it in low range 1/2, and your only job is to steer. comancheB.gif

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Shawn! Dude! Look what you made me go an do! :fs1:

 

:yes: '89 Pioneer. Is there anything special about a 'Pioneer' package guys? Or does that just mean it's got a fancy stripe down the side?

It's all mostly good, 93k miles, refurbished suspension throughout including an add-a-leaf package, BF Goodriche AT tyres, topper and bed liner.

The bad - Minor dings here and there, LH rear wheel arch rusted out at the top edge and the floor pans need some attention (don't know how much yet). edit: and the rear bumper has got holes in it too.

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:clapping:

 

YES!!!! Another multi-mj owner!!! How do you like the 4.0L? The pioneer package was a step up from base, and made things like a cloth bench standard. But, as we all know, packages didn't mean much if the Original owner wanted to order a bunch of weird stuff.

 

comanche.gif

 

Rob L.

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