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Offroad Newb

Discussion in 'Off-Roading & Trails' started by Cheetah223, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. Jun 17, 2009 at 1:44 PM
    #1
    Cheetah223

    Cheetah223 [OP] Member

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    First off, a little background. I used to have a '90 Cherokee that I'd take out in the woods on occasion. Nothing extreme, but enough to get me convinced I wanted to pour every available penny into making my Heep into a real Jeep, even though I was struggling to keep it running.

    Fast forward a handful of years and a couple of very offroad incapable cars to today, and I'm looking at getting myself a Tacoma. I need a new car to replace my worn-out BMW before the end of the year, so I'm considering a brand-spankin' shiny new truck. I already know it's going to lure me offroad sooner than later, but since this'll be the first vehicle I own that isn't nearly as old as I am, I'm afraid of doing too much too fast.

    And so begins the learning. First and foremost, terminology. As I said, the extent of my offroad experience is summed up in an almost perfectly stock Cherokee, so where I've got a basic understanding of a lot of typical modifications and tweaks, a lot of it still escapes me. Suspension absolutely baffles me. Replacing or otherwise working on stock suspension on a car is one thing, but knowing what to use for what application in terms of building up a vehicle is like another language to me.

    I'm not trying to come out with a truck that towers over me, it's going to be a daily driver before anything else, hauling a lot of heavy scuba gear on weekends, with the occasional couple times per month jaunt into the desert or hunting down other trails around socal. It's going to haul me 2 hours to the coast almost every weekend, so retaining at least decent mileage is one of my biggest priorities. I'm not asking what I should do to my truck at all, just a simple (or not so simple more than likely..) "where the hell do you start?"

    I've been lurking here for several weeks just reading, and I've picked up quite a bit of information, but a lot of things still escape my grasp. I guess before I pull any specific questions out, mostly because I've got a handful that are quite varied, are there any good sites out there that can cover a lot of basic things, from common modifications to recovery techniques, pretty much anything that teaches anything I'm willing to absorb. If I already know it, I'll re-learn it, maybe I had something wrong. If I can't glean enough information from whatever this raises I'll come back to pick your brains with specific questions.

    Thanks guys.
     
  2. Jun 17, 2009 at 1:56 PM
    #2
    tacoskim

    tacoskim Tuned By Gadget

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  3. Jun 18, 2009 at 6:02 AM
    #3
    Cheetah223

    Cheetah223 [OP] Member

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    Awesome! I honestly expected a negative response, but that's even better than what I was hoping to find. Thanks tacoskim.
     
  4. Jun 18, 2009 at 6:07 AM
    #4
    DanGer

    DanGer Avatar approved by 98tacomav6

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  5. Jun 18, 2009 at 10:40 AM
    #5
    tacoskim

    tacoskim Tuned By Gadget

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  6. Jun 18, 2009 at 12:39 PM
    #6
    Cheetah223

    Cheetah223 [OP] Member

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    Dgerm, thanks for that link, that actually helped quite a lot. And I'm in Iraq for a few more months, so I'm kind of trying to decide what direction I want to take the truck in and pick up as much knowledge as possible while I'm here. Kind of use the time to my advantage so I can make the best choice possible for what I want my rig to do. For now I've got some simple "mods" like a new stereo HU, strip the decals, rocker guards, rhino line the bed, clearcoat the paint to keep it from chipping/scratching...Then anything in the way of suspension or serious performance upgrades will probably be a few more months at the minimum.

    It's going to be stuck to the roads for a couple of months at least, but I just talk too much shit about people who drive trucks and never actually utilize their abilities to not take mine into the sticks as regularly as I can afford..
     
  7. Jun 18, 2009 at 1:52 PM
    #7
    luni

    luni Resident Gun-toting Hippie

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    If you're getting a new gen it's got a composite bed, not metal, so rhino lining would be kinda ridiculous. Might as well get a bed mat.

    I took the last couple months of my deployment to do my homework and finally bought everything a couple weeks out and did all the mods a couple weeks before block leave. Got the new wheels on the day before I signed out and went on a 3000 mile road trip. Iraq should give you plenty of time to think things through before you pull the trigger.

    If I had any advice, don't cut corners. Do any mods the right way the first time or they'll just piss you off every time you look at them. One of my pet peeves is messy wiring and I used to rush through wiring jobs just because I hated them and wanted to get it done but it was such an eyesore every time I went to work on my truck. A half-assed job will make you regret modding and wish you were still stock. A quality mod will feel like a better more capable vehicle.
     
  8. Jun 18, 2009 at 2:00 PM
    #8
    Cheetah223

    Cheetah223 [OP] Member

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    I wasn't aware they had composite beds...Guess that could save me some good money.

    I won't even get the truck until either on block leave or just after most likely. I've gotta test drive a few because I'm not quite sure exactly which model I want to get. That's another reason I'm only looking at generic adjustments like rocker guards, they pretty much apply on any combination of truck I'm considering.
     
  9. Jun 18, 2009 at 2:03 PM
    #9
    Chickenmunga

    Chickenmunga Nuggety

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    You may consider using the saved cash to spend on the tailgate reinforcement mod. You can search for it on here, but the basic rundown is that you add a diamond plate to the tailgate to prevent it from bending under weight. I haven't bent mine yet, but when I stand on it I get real nervous.
     
  10. Jun 20, 2009 at 2:14 AM
    #10
    Cheetah223

    Cheetah223 [OP] Member

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    One question that I've been sort of curious about. I see a lot of various suspension components on the market, a lot of them just variations on the same component, but still quite an abundance of options for someone who doesn't know jack shit about suspension. I'm just curious if there are any fundamental differences in how you would set up your suspension for desert racing vs. rock crawling or whatever other application you may be after.

    I have a pretty good idea of what capabilities I want my truck to have, but I have no idea how to get it there, and I really don't think buying shock A because of the price and manufacturer's statement about being "the best shock available" and matching it with UCA's from dealer X because they're on sale is going to necessarily get me to where I want my truck to be..
     
  11. Jun 20, 2009 at 4:01 AM
    #11
    Janster

    Janster Old & Forgetful

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    Don't put the cart before the horse.....Get out there and go offroad with the truck in its stock form first & foremost. Depending on the type of wheeling you do will depend on the type of suspension & upgrades you'll want/need. You'll soon learn what you need. Then, you can come back here and research the types/brands to buy based on others input.

    A lot of people are gonna tell you what you should do - but unless they go offroad at the same places you do, they really don't know what you need.
     
  12. Jun 20, 2009 at 4:22 AM
    #12
    Cheetah223

    Cheetah223 [OP] Member

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    I'll definitely have my truck out stock, like it or not, I know I won't have the money to do much of anything for a while once I buy the truck haha. I just figure loading my guns early just gets me ready for when the fight comes.

    That, and it's nice to daydream :)
     
  13. Jun 20, 2009 at 6:02 AM
    #13
    65tacodude

    65tacodude Well-Known Member

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    OEM running boards and roof rack. Yellow fog bulbs and WeatherTech mats and window visors.
    Alot of people have the same set-ups on here as well. With alot of land and mods between all of us, you could get a pretty good idea of what you want to acheive.
     
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