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Discussion Starter #1
I'm in the market for a new vehicle, but I'm having a hard time finding a comparable truck to my RRC, with its full-time 4wd / twin axle setup. Anyone have any ideas?

  • I know the 2015 Toyota 4Runner Limited has full-time 4wd, but only rear solid axle, same for the new Land Cruiser, which is ugly as heck
  • I know the manual FJ Cruiser has it, too, but also only rear solid axle
  • I've heard the new GMC Denali pickups have full-time 4wd, but I can't find any detailed info on their specific setups
Other than those, all other options I've found seem to be some form of electronic AWD, not mechanical 4wd and not permanent. The key here is permanent, always on, 4wd.
 

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Do you want full time 4wd or AWD? Both front and rear live axles? That's a tall order. A crew cab RAM power wagon is interesting. Coil springs on all four corners, solid axles front and rear. It uses a part time transfer case and selectable locking differentials front and rear. The new rovers are cool, but the depreciation one might experience in the first couple of years isn't for everyone. The RAM could be worth driving for comparative purposes. For that matter the new Grand Cherokee with a the eco blah blah Diesel might be interesting to drive. It's more of a AWD variant with an option low range if you order it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Do you want full time 4wd or AWD?
Full time 4wd

Both front and rear live axles?
Ideally, yes.

That's a tall order.
That's what I'm learning. Just full-time 4wd is a tall order apparently. The only vehicles I've been able to find with it and at least one solid axle are:

- Land Rover vehicles
- Toyota FJ Cruiser (manual version only)
- Toyota Land Cruiser
- Toyota 4runner (Limited trim only)
- Apparently the new Denali pickup, but haven't been able to verify this
- I've heard the Escalade has full time 4wd, but I wouldn't be caught dead in one of those ;-)

A crew cab RAM power wagon is interesting. Coil springs on all four corners, solid axles front and rear. It uses a part time transfer case and selectable locking differentials front and rear. The new rovers are cool, but the depreciation one might experience in the first couple of years isn't for everyone. The RAM could be worth driving for comparative purposes. For that matter the new Grand Cherokee with a the eco blah blah Diesel might be interesting to drive. It's more of a AWD variant with an option low range if you order it.
Yeah the Power Wagon is interesting. I don't think it's full-time 4wd though. I don't have an unlimited budget. Ideally I don't want to spend more than $50k, but if the right things shows itself I might push that. So far, my favorite option I've found is the 4runner Limited. Land Cruiser & RR blow my budget. FJ Cruiser is like going from a Bentley to a WWII tank. I've had an Audi and several Subarus, and I've liked them all, but for the trail running I want to do, they're not beefy enough and I'm afraid I'll break something off a unibody ;-) I want full-time 4wd because when my wife drives it, she's not going to bother dealing with a transfer case when she probably should, and I've been used to all 4 wheels pushing all the time on all the cars I've owned in the last 10 years, and I like it. Unfortunately it looks like my second best option is a Subaru SUV or something... but I prefer having the mechanical hardware (in addition to or instead of) a big fancy computer if you know what I mean.

The Grand Cherokee with a Hemi is kinda interesting. Unibody though.
 

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Not sure but the slightly older Grand Cherokee's had quadra drive which was permanent 4WD with live axle front and rear and special Ltd slip diffs ( think they had a gerotor pump for the lsd which was supposed to react quicker than a normal clutch pack with springs?). A lot of manufacturers have got rid of a live front axle in favour of a front diff and driveshafts for a more car like feel similar to a Ford Explorer. Not sure how new you want to go or if the car is mainly for off road with some road use, or mainly road with the occasional off road.

Also a lot of part time 4WD are quite good. being more economical running just RWD (make sure the engine is mounted North South not transverse as this is an AWD set up with a FWD and puny transfer box to transmit power to the rear via a skinny prop and some sort of Haldex coupling) until it detects rear wheel slip and engages the front prop and axle, again the 2000 Ford Explorer was like this or with a twist of a switch the 4WD could be engaged permanently. However I would never suggest a Ford Explorer build quality was up to RR standards!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It'll definitely be a DD, but the places I go regularly are pretty harsh trails (by my standards). To put it in perspective, there's no way my wife's 2013 Subaru Forester would make it through them... Body clearance for starters would be an issue.
 

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The power wagon is definitely part time 4wd - and the folks at RAM were careful to design it that way I gather, due to their target market. I have a friend who retired from the logging business and he prefers GMC everything. When he was actively logging (up through 2012) he used GMC light duty trucks for maintenance and crew vehicles. As you can imagine -they were tortured. If they couldn't get to a work site, they were drug there with a log skidder. Some years ago GM moved to independent front suspension on their 3/4 and one ton chassis equivalents. So, no solid axles front and rear. On the other hand, it's hard to argue with their ability to do most of what's asked of them. It's a little different when someone uses a truck in a work environment in that the cost of the use is weighed against what you're making or saving from it's use. In the fish business, we never expected a pickup truck to make it more than 3 years, and almost none of them did. It comes down to getting what you want, and getting full time 4wd without a viscous coupling somewhere in the drive train I would have to say is impossible this day in age (read AWD). If your off road activity is light enough to accommodate a viscous coupling, you can likely get away with unibody construction. The teenagers in my neck of the woods do just fine with the 90's era Cherokees. (of course you wouldn't want one after they've had there fun with them). The 4Runner is a very nice vehicle and 2 of my 5 vehicles wear a Toyota badge. I have nothing but praise for the engineering and reliability of the brand. The Range Rover Classic is extremely unique, however, even when compared to other rovers of the same era. I might look at spending the money to make the RRC exactly what I wanted. You won't get the money back, but you won't get it back from a new vehicle purchase either (the 4runner won't depreciate all that fast to be sure). I can see where spending 20K on a properly built 4.6, some HD axle and suspension components, along with interior and body panel "refreshing" would make for a nice RRC. Where I struggle is with the transmission and electrical issues. Outside of stripping the interior and going with minimal circuits (not wife friendly), and swapping in a more torque capable transmission, I'm not sure how to handle those limitations exactly. (more$$$?)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yeah I've already put probably a total of $10k into my RRC including the purchase price, and it's about as good as I expect it to get unless I want to spend another 10k on a motor and tranny, which I don't.

As I've hammered on about in my other threads, my primary concern is always reliability, which is what is drawing me to Toyota. I've never owned one though, so no personal experience.

I've heard the GMC Denali pickup has full time 4wd. I like the truck, but it's out of my budget a little. I could deal with independent front suspension since my only other option seems to be another Land Rover.

Maybe I'll go ask the salesmen a little more about them, and if they are indeed available with full time 4wd then I'll test drive one. Otherwise it's looking like a 4Runner is the best bet.
 

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As I've hammered on about in my other threads, my primary concern is always reliability, which is what is drawing me to Toyota. I've never owned one though, so no personal experience...
Most folks that haven't owned a Toyota before have wondered why they waited to get one once they've had it for awhile, especially if they bought it new. I don't cycle through new cars quickly, so I've found the 10 year plus ownership costs on Toyota very reasonable. I've only had Land Rovers as off road toys, so I don't know what it would be like to have to rely on one for transportation. I suppose having a Toyota or Subaru in the stable is key to enjoying vehicles with more "personality".
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Haha that sounds very true. This RRC is really my first vehicle from a brand that does NOT have a reliable reputation, and therefor my first experience with pretty severe unreliability.

I enjoy working on it which is why I bought it. And I'll probably keep it. But I'm learning that it's no replacement for a reliable car.

Thanks for your feedback.
 
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