Thanks for all your comments, truly. The cruiser would not be a daily driver (I walk/bike), but likely a trailhead/summer road trip vehicle. My concerns aren't so much with the additional and costly baselining, but the catastrophic engine/transmission failure happening before, say, 300,000...
Read a million articles and threads about 80s but have never owned one. Currently considering this one for sale in Seattle: https://seattle.craigslist.org/see/cto/d/seattle-1991-fj80-toyota-landcruiser/7095930949.html
- '91 with 263k for $5500
- $2600 in (last 3k miles) recent...
Considering your budget, I think going the truck w/ camper route likely makes the most sense.
Truck wise, I'd consider gas. The pre-ULSD 7.3/5.9 market is borderline insane, and the 10k premium over their gas counterparts doesn't make sense economically unless you plan on driving/towing a lot...
I'll echo previous sentiment and say that it would be a good idea to trade into a 3500 dually. Doing so opens you up to more spacious campers. Resale value for pre '06 cummins' is great right now and I think you'd be surprised on what you could get truck wise, especially if you were willing to...
A cheaper way for longterm storage is just to remove the starter/fuel relay. Has worked great for me, but would get tiring if you drive it often.
steering wheel locks/clubs are great physical deterants for the lazy thief, but they can be easily broken in seconds (just check out youtube).
Considering the campers you've listed, yes. With full tanks, your family, and all the gear, I'd suspect you'd be at or way past your GVWR. This is not to say that people don't make it work, but often suspensions upgrades and airbags are necessary to alleviate the rear sag and ride comfort...
Considering all the models available for import into the U.S., I'd go with a 75 series single cab. If money is tight for the build, I'd try adapting an older FWC to the fit the truck bed. Otherwise, a bare bones custom unit from Phoenix shouldn't be too prohibitively priced.
Happy trails and...
I have no direct experience with these tire choices but 3 of my cousins who did Anchorage-Ushuaia can also vouch for the durability of the Marathon Extremes, as they used the same set for the entire trip.
Vehicles must be 25 years or older to be importable from the U.S., and at least 15 years old for Canada.
Someone could get a temporary import for I believe a year, but the vehicle must leave after that period.
Here's one with 147,000 for $20,000. A little steep in my opinion, but hopefully you could hash out a deal.
It's also pretty close to you, especially if you're in W. Montana.