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Thread: Current diesel SUV's in the US - making the best of what's here?

  1. #1
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    Default Current diesel SUV's in the US - making the best of what's here?

    Hi all,

    I am looking at a newer (V6 versus the old V10) VW Touareg, W164 (2007 or 2008 for me) ML320 CDI (pre-Bluetec), or a used Grand Cherokee with the Mercedes diesel.

    Has anyone driven all three off road - if so, what did you think? As for parts, I know that there are plenty of things available for the Jeep so far as suspension goes, a few euro items for the VW, and as far as I can tell, nothing for the W164 Mercedes ML other than the factory air suspension (which might be okay now that they are on their third compressor and relay design). I will not be doing any rock crawling. I will be spending a bit of time off-road (light), helping a friend to tow odds and ends to his farm (light) and trying to do a few long trips (road and light off-road) as time permits.

    Cheers,

    Kyle

  2. #2
    Hello Kyle,

    Well I am not located in the USA, but here my Insight.
    I am a VW nut, but don't no if the Touareg is the right choice. All depending how much Off-Road do you really want to go. With that said
    From your Options i would go with a Jeep. Cheap parts, lots of parts and so on.

    Here some other ideas:

    Land Rover Discovery II, in europe they at least make them with a TDi

    Just a idea that spooked in my Head.
    Tahoe/Suburban as Base (very cheap in the USA, compered to Trucks)
    Install a 6bt cummins (kick *** engine)
    Cut the rear body away, and buildt nice straight wall body with a tent roof.



    All depending how much 4 wheelin do you want to do, how much do you want to spend and so on .....


    Mike

  3. #3
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    If you can find one, you could always fix up a nice TD Isuzu Trooper...

    Bart
    2001 Isuzu VehiCROSS | 1991 Isuzu Trooper | 1989 Isuzu Trooper RS
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -----> http://www.isuzugeek.org | http://isuzugeek.blogspot.com/ <------

  4. #4
    haven is offline Expedition Portal Moderator Expedition Leader
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    Since you're in North America, I'd skip the Touareg and ML320 in favor of
    the Grand Cherokee. As you note, the Grand has some support in the
    USA after-market, while VW and MBZ depend on a few Euro sources.

    With the cost of diesel fuel rising faster than unleaded regular, the
    argument that diesel will save you money is getting a little thin. So I'd
    say you need to be
    (1) a certified diesel enthusiast or
    (2) somebody who needs 7500 lbs of towing capacity
    to even consider a diesel SUV. It would be a lot cheaper to buy a Grand Cherokee
    with gas V8.

    If you're thinking about a vehicle for world travel, or a larger vehicle that
    will carry a heavy camper, then the equation changes somewhat.

  5. #5
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    Hi guys,

    Thank you for the thoughts and advice. Of the three, the Jeep makes the most sense... a standard gasoline/petrol Jeep or even and older diesel truck makes even more sense, I know. I guess I wanted to try something a little different without getting in over my head (or emptying the wallet).

    Other options -

    Trooper - I didn't know they did a TD trouper in the US - I will look around a bit.

    Suburban - I was trying to go for something that I could daily drive as opposed to having a commuter and a truck/weekend rig. I don't want to jog around DC in a Suburban, Expedition or Ram. With the price of some of those options though, I could probably keep a cheap commuter and leave the truck with a friend who lives outside of town.

    Global Expedition - I will hold off on the global expedition rig until I am in a country where I can get a four door diesel Hilux as a base rig, and will drive forth from there. I have seen some neat BJ4* and Defender diesels (coming in with the 25 year rule) but I am not keen on either of those as a daily driver (seems like a waste of a vehicle that should be out roaming around) AND I really like Hilux parts availability outside of the US.

    As for why a diesel - I have lived overseas (Aus & around SE Asia) for 8 years and have grown accustomed to diesel powered truck - torque, range, and economy in most places. I could probably tow most anything I am looking at in the next year with a V6 Grand Cherokee, much less the V8. After the diesel coffee though, it is difficult to go back.
    Last edited by Nomad_K; 05-19-2010 at 03:56 AM. Reason: Cleaning things up a bit

  6. #6
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    Jeep sold about 10000 2.8L diesel Liberty's in model year 2005 and 2006. Quite a few more than the 3.0L Diesel Grands.

    I own one of them.

  7. #7
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    yes, those CRD libertys are quite nice little vehicles. but they are little. I was debating whether to get a cherokee or a liberty deisel for the wife, but I could see gasoline being put in on accident... and the room would be a little bit tight for family outings. (plus I like the parts selection of xjs better)
    2004 Jeep Wrangler X
    2000 Jeep Cherokee Sport

  8. #8
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    Hi Bugnout, nbleak21,

    Thank you for the thoughts about the Liberty. I helped a friend look for used Liberty's back in 07 - we read and heard (via chats with a Jeep mechanic or two) that there were a few issues with the transmission (torque converter) and the Motori diesel that hadn't been sorted at the time.

    Is there a short list of things to look out for and things to do to get the CRD in order for a few years of reliable touring?

  9. #9
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    Nomad, wish I could help you out, but the extent to my knowledge stops at a couple of short test drives around town and some light off road (fire trails) in which it performed flawlessly. only the slightest bit of lag from a stop, with plenty of pep, and handled the trails just like any other KJ that I've been in.

    Space and aftermarket availability stopped me before I started researching the mechanicals.

    Good Luck with your quest, though!
    2004 Jeep Wrangler X
    2000 Jeep Cherokee Sport

  10. #10
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    There are a couple of issues that are correctable.

    First issue is the fuel management head - original was prone to develop air leaks and need constant priming. The design has been revised and many had it replaced under warranty. The new part number fixes the issue. I replaced mine early on with a RACOR which was std on the 2004 and earlier export models.

    The Torque converter for both years was replaced under recall. At the same time they reflashed the TCM to change the shift points and reduce torque slightly. I don't notice the difference much but some owners were peeved by the reduction. There is at least one vendor that will reverse this for you. Fairly popular to replace the std TC with the model from the export Wrangler Diesel or the after market Suncoast TC

    The lower ball joints were replaced on recall. popular upgrade is the Moog greasables.

    Lots of owners had problems with EGR valves failing. mine was replaced under warranty then I fixed the issue permanently. An operating EGR will foul the MAP (Manifold Absolute Pressure) sensor, less now that we have low sulfer fuel. Inspection every once in a while is recommended.

    Thats about it for what to look for.

    Some other popular mods:
    -Remove the muffler or replace with glasspack for less restrictive exhaust
    -ECM programming - at least two companies will optimize engine operation for performance or fuel economy
    -Lift pump - not strictly neccessary, but the injection pump sucks fuel from the tank through the fuel head. Most diesels using the CP3 injection pump have an intank lift pump to supply fuel at 3-4 psi instead of suction. Jeep contemplated a lift pump because the wiring, relay and fuse are already there, just the pump is missing.

    Main differences between 2005 and 2006:
    2005 have ABS with wheel sensors on front and a speed sensor on the rear diff
    2006 have ABS on all 4 wheels - to faciliate Traction Control

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