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Land Ops - The Off Road, Navigation and Amateur Radio Search Club
We'll be using this forum for discussing vehicle reviews, general modifications and outfitting for specific vehicles to help you make an informed decision on a make and model that best suites your intended use. There are many factors to consider such as will this be a dedicated off-road adventure vehicle or will it be your only vehicle and therefore a daily driver, will you have clearance for parking in a garage or underground structure if necessary, do you have the skill to work with an older vehicle or will you need the reliability (?) of a new(er) one, will you sleep in it or will you prefer to tow a trailer, etc.
There are other forums that are more equipment specific including camping, electronics, engine performance, suspension, body, interior, lighting,etc.
There are plenty of experienced members in all aspects of the topics we will cover and there may well be someone that has done just what you are contemplating.
Thanks for starting the tread Michael. Looking forward to all the good advice we'll be sharing here.
For those who may be starting to outfit your vehicles. I would have you know that about 50% of the upgrades on my Jeep were done by 4 Wheel Parts, but after experiencing their low level of quality I do not and will not use them anymore. Nearly everything 4 Wheel Parts installed I had to fix. The last items I installed myself or used Michael Rozenstraten to install; Winch, Roof rack, off road lights and new shocks.
A note about this forum.
Land Ops is not limited to Jeeps, FJ's, Land Rovers or any other 4x4. What we have in common are vehicles that are off road capable. You will find just about every make a model off road vehicle in this group.
Personally. I currently drive a 1999 Jeep Wrangler.
Looking for input on a Jeep Cherokee. My goal is to be able to pull a 2,500 lbs trailer on multi-day overlanding trips. This will not be a daily driver. Looking for input on which model would be a good fit. The models I'm considering are XJ (1983-2001), ZJ (1993-1998), WJ (1999-2004) or WK (2005-2010). Most of the vehicles I’m seeing have 150,000+ miles on them. How concerned should I be on these high mileage vehicles. I'm capable of performing most of my own repairs, but a major engine swap is a little of my head.
I've narrowed my search to a 2002 -04 WJ with the Qudra-Drive. I choose the years because of the change to a 4.7 liter high output V8. My thinking is that when loaded down with all of the gear and pulling the trailer the higher HP and torque would come in handy. Although the 4.0 liter straight 6 has good reviews. The WJ is the last model with straight axels. The Qudra-Drive automatically controls traction between all four wheels. Hoping that this will take the place of lockers for the overland.
Looking for input
Greg, do you know anyone in the group that has this vehicle with the qudra-drive feature?
Chatting with Michael about your trail/tow vehicle, we came to the same conclusions. The only thing about a full-time system is that the transfer case has a differential, more than likely a viscous type of center (http://www.wjjeeps.com/tcases.htm). Also beware of aluminum rear center sections on the rear D44 axle. Both can be upgraded/replaced by the aftermarket, depending on your checkbook. Nice thing about the WJ, it probably has the nicest interior of all the unibody Jeeps.
Other choices would be 4-Runners/Taco's with the V6, and almost any Land Cruiser. Even though Toys have a great aftermarket support, it tends to be higher costs for what is essentially the same part as for a Jeep. Other contemporary notables are Land Rovers, from the Disco's to the Sports. Decent engines were found in late model Dakota's, but the aftermarket for off-roading never really materialized. If you like retro, you can find some diamonds like FSB's, K5 Blazers, Power Wagons etc., or even ex-military G-Wagons, with the first 3 fairly large, and lasts fairly expensive.
Chris, I'm not aware of anyone with the Quadra-Drive. It became available with the Grand Cherokee WJ model in 1999.
Jacoby and Michael, Thanks for the input.
The transfer case is like you said a viscous type. The transfer case contains three modes, 4-All Time, Neutral, and 4-Lo. In 4-All Time, 100% of torque is sent to the rear axle in normal conditions. If the rear axle starts spinning at a higher rate than the front axle, hydraulic pressure builds up in the gerotor and causes the clutch pack to progressively transfer torque to the front axle until both axles return to the same speed. Neutral mode is intended for towing the vehicle. In 4-Lo, the front and rear axles are locked together through a 2.72 reduction gear ratio. The NV247 transfer case is mated to front and rear axles containing Jeep's Vari-Lok differentials. Vari-Lok differentials also use a gerotor to transfer torque between the wheels on either side of the axle. The major advantage of Quadra-Drive was that the combined transfer case and progressive locking differentials in each axle could automatically control traction between all four wheels. However, only the center differential could be permanently locked, and only in 4Lo. Another possible upgrade is to get Dana 44 axles out of a JK Rubicon along with the 21 transfer case. I'm going to give the Qudra-Drive a try. for the overloading and Land Ops trips I'm not sure you need any locker at all. I'm sure it's not nearly as good or strong as a selectable locker. I'm thinking that 32" tires are as big as I would go so this should not stress the parts too much.
I gave serious consideration to 4-Runners and Tacoma's. The Land Cruiser is starting to get too big in size as are the Blazers, Yukon. The Toyotas are pricy as compared to the Cherokee. I have a 2002 Land Rover Discovery II and loved it except that I had a emission problem that I spent a lot of money on and never fixed. The last reason is that I would like to do trips with Jeep Expeditions group and need a Jeep for that.
I hope that I'm making a good choice because I bought a 2002 Cherokee on the 4th that has high miles and needs major engine work. More on that in another post.
This may sound strange, but maybe you should check out a Land Rover LR3. You may find one with a rear locker like mine. Used ones in my era around $5-7 k and for a couple grand you could convert the air suspension to coils which many overlanders have done, eliminating the most vulnerable system. You get comfort, and towing capacity along with terrain response, traction control and a 4.3 liter engine with 300hp. And it's always nice to see another Landy on a Land Ops adventure!