Which One? 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, Taco or Tundra

imagodave

Adventurer
I am a confessed Newbee Lurker who really enjoys this site, looking at what mods each of you have added to your rigs and Scotts articles. :wavey:
I am ready to go purchase another vehicle for myself as a daily driver or I'll take my wifes '05 4Runner V8 Sport Edition (remove x-raes shocks) and transform it into an Expedition Rig and get her a Camry Hybrid or something. I could use the Yellow FJ Cruiser in conjunction with wrap around advertising for my business (Solar Contractor) but really want advise from ya'all on which you would go with. Scotts articles on the ARB rig have pulled me back to considering the 4Runner, then I see where Scott mentions he is considering the Tundra as the replacement for the Taco. We will not be doing any real tight trails and mainly will be doing trips to Baja and I have always wanted to do the trip that Desert Dude is on to the Artic Circle. This will be a good transition for us as we become empty nesters and I can't get her to ride a KTM......I live in Fresno and have seen the Sportsmoble plant and considered going that way but they are just to big and for some of the trails we head to up here in the Sierras with the 4Runner I could not see such a large vehicle geting there. I know they are good rigs and a great company, but not yet maybe in another 10 years or so. I have several Tundras we use as work trucks and 2 old 1 ton Toyotas with 300 to 400,000 miles on them as service trucks. Toyota reliability is important to me. I probably will go get the Chaser or equivalent trailer too, looking forward to Scotts follow up articles and long term review. Thanks to all of you and your post and ingenuity:luxhello:

Thanks
Dave
05 4Runner

OK let the suggestions begin!
 

BajaTaco

Swashbuckler
Wow, you are in a very fun position right now. I absolutely love the ARB 4Runner. It's a very comfy-while-capable machine and the power is really nice. For my tastes though, it uses too much fuel and would be on the extemely heavy side fully kitted for a long trip. An Adventure Trailer goes perfect with it in that respect.

I really dig the new FJ's. I think they have tons of potential. Unfortunately, they are just a little on the short side for my tastes as an expedition vehicle. Though I would still be tempted to get one and use it for that. Some of the ideas I have thought about for an FJ Cruiser are a litte on the exteme side of things, but would just be a blast to work with.

The Toyota trucks make a lot of sense for expedition style travels. The reason I say this is that even when fully kitted, you can still obtain reasonable gross weights and fuel economy. I managed to get a few tanks of fuel on this last trip to Colorado and through the Rockies that were in the 17-18 mpg gallon range (My truck weighs in somewhere in the mid 5,000's). They also have a longer wheelbase which in my experience tends to be a good compromise between trail capability and utility.

If I had to pick one of your 3 choices right now, and money was absolutely no object, I would get the FJ. If I had to be more conservative with the design and with cost, I would pick a Tacoma.

I plan on driving my truck long enough that I will wait to see what offerings Toyota will have in the coming years. I think I am going to hold out for a genuine Toyota diesel solution. I hold longer range and better fuel economy in high regard. In a perfect world, we would have the option to buy something like Graham Jackson's D110 and build it up like he has. Oh man...
 

BajaTaco

Swashbuckler
By the way, welcome to the forum! :beer:

imagodave said:
I could use the Yellow FJ Cruiser in conjunction with wrap around advertising for my business (Solar Contractor)
That is awesome!!! :sunny:
 

imagodave

Adventurer
bigreen505 said:
All very capable vehicles, but each one a different size. What fits what you need to carry best?
Am rethinking what I need to carry by reviewing this site for 3 day short trips to 4 week treks. I know with the wife I will need a hot shower and thick mattress:suning:

Maybe with the smaller rig (FJ) I will definitly need the Chaser.
On quick short trips rig without trailer up in the Sierras with roof top tent and on longer runs use Chaser transfer roof top tent to chaser?????
I am still trying to figure out weights and volume of what I will be taking, but thanks to this website am learning how to downsize from F250. Fuel milage and fuel capacity i.e. extra tanks important too.

Thanks

Dave
 

bigreen505

Expedition Leader
BajaTaco said:
For my tastes though, it uses too much fuel and would be on the extemely heavy side fully kitted for a long trip ...
... I managed to get a few tanks of fuel on this last trip to Colorado and through the Rockies that were in the 17-18 mpg gallon range
Are you suggesting that a 4Runner is worse than that? And if so, are you talking about stock form or the ARB Runner? Ultimately this is the beginning of a rant that this is not the place for, but I'm really tired of these new trucks with engines designed for maximum power at the expense of fuel economy (and with it, range and payload), especially in the face of rapidly rising fuel costs. This comes from the same briliant minds that bring us tiny electronic devices with tiny buttons, even though our fingers are the same size they have always been.

Anyway, Bajataco brings up some great points, but it still comes back to size and the fundamental difference between a SUV and truck and what that means on gear storage. One advantage of a Tacoma is it is in many ways a turnkey solution insofar as there are many great examples to copy -- you don't have to reinvent the wheel, but if you choose you can.

It seems to me that you have a good idea of what you want, so decide what you will need to bring on these trips and then which vehicle will be the best platform to haul it. Since you already have the 4Runner, why not take some weekend trips and see what you are missing and what you refuse to give up. We all want a kick butt off road vehicle, but how much kick buttness are you willing to give up for a cushy ride to your destination (in my case, a lot!)? Are you willing to sacrifice your gear getting dirty at the expense of keeping your vehicle interior clean (i.e. truck vs. SUV), or do you want everything inside and easily accesible (SUV over truck).

I recently had the pleasure of a short trip with many people on the site and got to see 10 different ways to build a truck for 10 different needs. Each one was different, but all well thought out for the intended goals. For example the Expeditions West and BajaTaco Tacomas are both built on similar platforms, but are completely different based on the notion that one is a sleep-in vehicle and one has a tent. That one premise results in two totally different vehicles. Graham's Rover and Nathan's Rover are totally different on the inside since one uses a drawer-based storage system and the other is case-based.

What is my point? Think from the end and work back to which truck to buy instead of starting with a truck and trying to work around its limitations. Then figure out what you are willing to compromise on and what you absolutely must have.

The answer is out there. :)
 
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imagodave

Adventurer
BajaTaco said:
By the way, welcome to the forum! :beer:



That is awesome!!! :sunny:


:beer: Cheers!

Thanks for the reply and the advice. Nice ultimate rig. I wonder how soon Toyota will bring those wonderful diesel motors here? We could even run BioFuel for around .75 cents a gallon if you make your own. BYOD! Well meantime back in Toyota reality.....they seem to send those rigs anywhere but here.

I agree fuel milage and capacity if very important. I wonder what I could do to the inside of the back of an FJ, i.e. remove back seat......... will visit dealer tomorrow and take a tape measure with me.


Thanks Again!
Dave :sunny:
 

imagodave

Adventurer
bigreen505 said:
What is my point? Think from the end and work back to which truck to buy instead of starting with a truck and trying to work around its limitations. Then figure out what you are willing to compromise on and what you absolutely must have.

The answer is out there. :)

What? Me think:confused:

OK this could take awhile:lurk:

Thanks Bigreen! Your right...

Dave
 

asteffes

Explorer
The 4.0L V6 in my '06 Tacoma is a great engine. I don't see any need for a V8 unless you want to tow a very heavy load. These large-displacement V6es are very flexible - lots of torque down low but it isn't afraid to wind out when you need it to. The idea of a V8 4Runner or V8 Tacoma is interesting, but I don't by any means feel under-powered with the V6. I certainly do prefer the fuel economy.
 

Dave Bennett

Adventurist
asteffes said:
The 4.0L V6 in my '06 Tacoma is a great engine. I don't see any need for a V8 unless you want to tow a very heavy load. These large-displacement V6es are very flexible - lots of torque down low but it isn't afraid to wind out when you need it to. The idea of a V8 4Runner or V8 Tacoma is interesting, but I don't by any means feel under-powered with the V6. I certainly do prefer the fuel economy.
I agree. And I am still getting 300+ miles per tank even with all my armor, and I have room for friends AND gear! :victory:
 

ChuckB

Expedition Leader
I wouldn't totally discount a used Land Cruiser either. Having said that, I have never owned a truck before, but I find myself becoming increasingly interested in them, I'm sure this forum has nothing to do with it :exclaim:
 

BajaTaco

Swashbuckler
bigreen505 said:
BajaTaco said:
For my tastes though, it uses too much fuel and would be on the extemely heavy side fully kitted for a long trip.

... I managed to get a few tanks of fuel on this last trip to Colorado and through the Rockies that were in the 17-18 mpg gallon range
Are you suggesting that a 4Runner is worse than that? And if so, are you talking about stock form or the ARB Runner?
Yes, I am suggesting the 4runner (V8 version, which he said they currently own) is worse than that if equipped with expedition kit. Likely 15+ mpg at best, and dipping below 12mpg at worst. Maybe Dave can give us an idea of what his is getting in stock form for comparison.


bigreen505 said:
Are you willing to sacrifice your gear getting dirty at the expense of keeping your vehicle interior clean (i.e. truck vs. SUV), or do you want everything inside and easily accesible (SUV over truck).
I would just mention that a truck can achieve very close to the same effect by putting a good camper shell on it. (but usually end up lighter) And a double-cab is even closer to the SUV with all of the added interior space within the cabin compartment (but is heavier than a std. or xcab with shell).

Bill, your post has a lot of good thoughts and is right on. Good stuff.
 

BajaTaco

Swashbuckler
imagodave said:
I wonder how soon Toyota will bring those wonderful diesel motors here? We could even run BioFuel for around .75 cents a gallon if you make your own. BYOD! Well meantime back in Toyota reality.....they seem to send those rigs anywhere but here.
Well, I am hoping it won't be too much longer. With the new low-sulphur diesel regs going into effect here, I don't think they will really have any reason not to. Especially with rising fuel costs and the phenomenal increases in diesel vehicle sales and aftermarket goods. Registration for diesel passenger vehicles in the US is up 80% since 2000, with 31% of that increase last year in 2005.


imagodave said:
I wonder what I could do to the inside of the back of an FJ, i.e. remove back seat......... will visit dealer tomorrow and take a tape measure with me.
Dave, I have checked them out and will tell you this - there is room behind the rear axle for an aux. fuel tank. And there is barely enough room inside the body to accomodate some in the 5'-10"-5'-11" height range for sleeping - BUT - it would require removal of the rear seats, and making a platform that could extend forward, so that when in camp, you slide the front seats forward, and extend the sleeping platform. The downside is that if you build 2-person sleeping quarters in the back, there is no room for a fridge. A roof tent would be the way to go (except that it will hurt the fuel economy). An Adventure Trailer would be compliment a FJ Cruiser REALLY well.
 

Scott Brady

Founder
Take the 4Runner from the wife. You already own it. Then buy her a vehicle with good mileage.

The 4Runner with a Chaser would be a killer combination IMHO.

Oh, and welcome to ExPo :)
 

bigreen505

Expedition Leader
BajaTaco said:
The downside is that if you build 2-person sleeping quarters in the back, there is no room for a fridge.
I'm just asking here, having never seen one close up, but would it be possible to build a sleeping platform that would be high enough to go over a fridge, but still allow enough room not to feel claustrophobic?
 
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