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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-15-2003, 02:34 AM
suladan
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Need Impartial Arbitrators



From Dave from Portland, Oregon (503-977-5185)

I think this is the only place I could get the help I need, and I hope no insult will be taken that I have not chosen a GM 4x as my vehicle of choice.

Although I've been intrigued by the look of the Jimmy and Blazer II's, I've decided that I'm going to buy either a 4-runner or a Cherokee from the late 80s or early 90s. I am still open to arguments in favor of a Jimmy or Blazer, since I really haven't checked out either, so "have at" if you'd like to sway me in one of those directions.

So, I've come here to get "unbiased" opinions on 4-runners and Cherokees of those years. I'm not as concerned with ride as being able to work on a car myself, and having good availability of parts at prices that are not astronomical. I also have a goal of 15 mpg city, 20 mpg country. I also intend to keep this vehicle for MANY years as my main ride. (I STILL HAVE my 1964 Dodge Dart, bought in 1977, so that's how serious I am about getting the right car. I also researched that little beastie before buying it: the library's Consumer Reports rated it as the best service and repair record of any U.S. car ever).

In any event, those are my goals. Also, I will use it mostly in the city, but I do a lot of getaways to country and mountain parts. Not for 4-wheeling for the most part, but exploring. So though I have to be pretty much ready for anything, I don't need sustained extreme conditions. But I figure that if I buy something that is built for such conditions, I will increase my odds of getting something that will last.

Thanks very much for forwarding any thoughts and insights you might have.


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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-15-2003, 11:02 PM
 
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Re: Need Impartial Arbitrators

Dave,

First off, it might be a good idea to NOT post a phone number on a public bulletin board. You're opening yourself up to all kinds of stuff here!

Since you mentioned the date ranges as late 80's to 90's, I'm going to give an opinion towards the Toyota 4-Runner. Here's why:

1. Toyotas were still "trucks" before they went cush like just about every other maker.
2. Manual hubs, baby!!!
3. The v-6 is a good platform. Only thing to watch out for is to make sure that your engine has been through the head gasket recall. They had a problem with the gaskets not being formed right and they would break up and leak. Toyota was pretty good about fixing it.
4. Aftermarket parts -- performance bolt-ons, suspension, etc. are pretty abundant.
5. You can fit 31" tires without having to lift it. I think stock gear ratios on the v-6 platforms were around 4.33 to 4.88.
6. A lot of stuff on those trucks -- t-case, tranny, ball joints and a-arms were all over-engineered, which is a good thing.

If you are still thinking the Chevy route, there's always the option of the ZR2 blazer, which is a very powerful platform, already lifted, and pretty much has a better aftermarket following than the standard Blazer. Just a thought... I have a friend with a '99 ZR2 Blazer and he loves it.

Hope that helps.

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-16-2003, 02:24 AM
suladan
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Re: Need Impartial Arbitrators


J.R. (or anyone else who cares to answer---definitely like variety of opinions!): Thanks for the thorough and informative reply. I've been getting a fair amount of advice saying, with 4Runners, to go with the 4 cylinder engine. And saying actually to avoid the V6. I guess the 4 cyls have a great reputation and are very very sturdy and long lived, even though not lots of power. (I don't need a lot of power, really, and have a goal of at least 15 mpg city and 20 highway). I'd be interested in your perspective on the 4 cyl vs. 6 cyl. engine question?

Also, someone told me that, since my driving is just occassionally to the mountains, I could get a softer set of springs put on. True or not? Much money involved? Thanks. (dave)

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-16-2003, 01:21 PM
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Re: Need Impartial Arbitrators

If you go for a 4runner, get either an 84 or 85 SFA versions. I wouldn't get a Cherakee (I don't think I spelled that right). They are uni-bodies and will cost you an arm an a leg to fix. The S-Series trucks and Blazers have vacuum actuated IFS and an electric transfer case. Not real great. But you can find S-Series trucks everywhere. Plus in classic Chevy style, they made most of their engines and trannys interchangable with their fullsize line of trucks. There's my 2 cents.
post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-18-2003, 07:31 AM
 
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Re: Need Impartial Arbitrators

Let me say from experience -- 4 cylinder + mountain roads = NOT COOL! [img]images/graemlins/thud.gif[/img]

I used to have a Toy 4x4 4 cylinder and for it to get anywhere uphill I had to keep it pegged at about 4,000 RPM all the time. It was not pretty.

That being said, yes, the 4-bangers are very stout. But aside from the problem I mentioned earlier with the V6 head gasket, my father's Toyota had nary a problem.

As for the springs, the Toyota 4-runners tend to sag in the rear after (a long) time. What type of spring setup is actually entirely dependent on the type of off-roading or street driving. I would talk with a spring shop and see what they can come up with as far as suggestions.

Personally, if I were to get a Toyota, it would be an '89-93 truck, with the v6, put on some Total Chaos a-arms in the front (10-14" wheel travel), and then some 62" extremely soft springs in the rear. But then again I'd be trying to see how fast I could go in the desert... [img]images/graemlins/RockOn.gif[/img]
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-30-2003, 12:43 AM
suladan
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Re: Need Impartial Arbitrators


Thanks y'all for the responses. (We don't have southern drawls in Oregon, but we have a good time faking it just to throw people off). Looks like I'm going to get a 4runner. Any reason I shouldn't lean towards an 89 with removable top? One person recommended 84 or 85 with SFA,, but I'm not sure what SFA is. I'm also kind of thinking the 84 or 85 might not have the production numbers of later years because those were the first years (so maybe parts harder to get), but I'm not really sure. Another writer mentioned S-series and vacuum actuated IFS. I'm sorry, but I don't know what those are, and would be interested to know that, plus whatever the advantages are. (And if they are a factor in 4runners. Anyway, knowing that I'm probably headed towards an '89 (last year with removable top), if anyone has any final words, I'd very much appreciate it. Thanks. (dave)
post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-30-2003, 07:25 AM
 
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Re: Need Impartial Arbitrators

</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
Thanks y'all for the responses. (We don't have southern drawls in Oregon, but we have a good time faking it just to throw people off).

[/ QUOTE ]

Sometimes it pays to keep people on their toes!

</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
Looks like I'm going to get a 4runner. Any reason I shouldn't lean towards an 89 with removable top?

[/ QUOTE ]

I hear "removable top" and think "oooooh, this'll be fun!" (not car related), but the only problem I can think of relates to keeping the seals nice and clean so they don't leak. Might want to check the Toy boards to see if that is actually a problem with that model year.

</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
One person recommended 84 or 85 with SFA,, but I'm not sure what SFA is.

[/ QUOTE ]

SFA = Solid Front Axle, vs. IFS = Independent Front Suspension

</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
Another writer mentioned S-series and vacuum actuated IFS. I'm sorry, but I don't know what those are, and would be interested to know that, plus whatever the advantages are.

[/ QUOTE ]

Vacuum actuated sucks. No, literally! The concept is that you have a cable that runs to the front differential that engages via the use of a vacuum "plunger" that engages the four-wheel drive (the front end). There have been problems with this system but seems like they don't happen so often.

Advantages? No hubs to turn and the engagement is pretty solid and quick. The design means the front end is constantly turning (just not turning the front driveshaft) which keeps the parts lubricated at all times. Unlike your typical automatic hubs, you don't need to go into reverse to disengage them; they just come in and out of 4x4 mode.

</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
...if anyone has any final words, I'd very much appreciate it. Thanks. (dave)

[/ QUOTE ]

Don't know what type of wheeling you do but I will still check out if you can find a good ZR2 Blazer. The extra power alone will make it worth your while. BUT Toyota's are good trucks as well. You just have to have it come down to personal preference. But definitely try before you buy!

We were coming back from San Felipe with my Full-Size, a '99 ZR2 Blazer and an '87 4-banger 4-Runner. That poor 4-Runner could NOT keep up in the hills, which is a pet peeve of mine... Anyway, something to think about.
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