Ford Tremor - Colorado overland/off-road, or Rivian?

Zybane

Active member
I am retiring to my home in central Colorado in a year or two and wish to get into my "retirement vehicle" and I'd like to get peoples thoughts. Especially for those experienced with overlanding the Western US and off-roading the Colorado mountains. I currently own a Tesla Model Y performance seeing as I live in flat Alabama at the moment. I came from a 2016 Power Wagon on 35's.

My use case:
1. I want the vehicle to be able to drive thousands of miles on highway to visit family, and do it comfortably and not wander all over the road requiring a million tiny steering inputs to keep the vehicle in the lane during the trip.
2. I want to be able to overland/off-road 95% of trails in the Western US/Colorado especially. Some mild rock crawling.
3. It's me and two German Shepherds, so I need quite a bit of room to sleep inside the vehicle. I will occasionally stop at pet-friendly hotels for a bed and shower etc. Roof/ground tents are out of the question.
4. I want the vehicle to be relatively stealth/stock looking from the outside. If I stop somewhere, I don't want people to be like "ohh look at that guy sleeping in there". Windows will be tinted fairly dark.
5. Only exterior items will be on a swing out hitch on the back. E-bike, dog trailer, maybe some Max Trax/shovel/Hi-lift etc. I haven't looked to far into how creative hitch mounted setups have gotten lately.
6. Big one: range. I usually stop every 2-3 hours on a road trip. But I also would like enough range to go on remote trails, be able to camp and return even in cold weather to gas station or EV charger.
7. I want to be able to run into a store or similar and have my GSD's have air-conditioning if it's warm outside.
8. I need heating/cooling to handle most climates for camping without an engine running.
9. I need a small fridge/freezer, Microwave and inverter power to charge laptop/phone that can all work without the engine running.
10. I will be removing the rear seats for the build and possibly even removing the front passenger seat and center console to make room for more gear/be easier to move around inside.
11. I want to be able to wake up from camping inside and just drive away in bad weather without going outside.
12. I'd say 80% of trips will be 7 days or less in the CO/NM/AZ/UT/ID/MT/WY footprint. 10% will be long distance trips to visit family in Florida Etc in which I stay in their home. The last 10% would be longer trips to WA/OR/CA, 2-3 weeks and every three years or so a summer up in Alaska.
13. External recovery option outside of Max Trax. A winch required.
14. Max budget is around $130K for the build.

We'll start with a possible order on a 2023 F250 Diesel Tremor and some random thoughts/questions:

1. Being full-size width and 250" long, just how limited would I be on off-road trails? Mind you my Power Wagon was pin-striped to hell. I don't mind branches etc scraping up the truck, even if it cost $90K. Any thoughts on Colorado mountain trails/switch-backs in a Tremor? Is having a rear locker with "just" limited slip in the front, with the diesel weight going to restrict me considerably, even on 37/39's? I am also willing to spend the $$$ on Carli suspension upgrades. I also don't need that 3K+lb F350 rear spring pack on the F250 diesel Tremor and can modify it.
2. I know people love their God-Zillas, but I am only considering the Diesel. I know it's 700lbs heavier in the front. But I don't want a naturally aspirated gas engine while at 8-12K feet going up and down mountains. I want that low end torque. I may also tow a large travel trailer in the future. I also want to be able to cruise along at 90 MPH and get almost 20MPH with a 34gal diesel tank. That range for extended off-road/overland too.
3. How am I going to sleep in a F250 Tremor? I would buy a mid-height bed cap, permanently secure it. I would insulate the bed, insulate the cap, remove the trucks rear window, remove the trucks rear seats, cut matching large openings between the truck cab and the bed and cap. I would use a thick rubber accordion bellows to seal it up. Basically turning the Tremor into one huge SUV. Yes I know some may think I am crazy to cut into a new expensive truck, but that's the kind of stuff I do. I will have this vehicle for 15-20 years so not really concerned about resale value. Anyone think off-roading with the Tremor would frame twist the bed relative to the cab enough to bust a 4" accordion bellows?
4. Inside I would install 4.8kWh of Battleborn heated lithium, with appropriate inverter/charger for connection with starter battery, alternator and solar panels on top of bed cap.
5. I'd put 400-600 watts of "lay flat" flexible solar on top of the cap. Stuff that wouldn't catch on branches. May add a small deflection rail on either side of top of truck. (no roof racks)
6. Some heating could come from the battery system, but I'd probably have a backup diesel heater tapped into the diesel tank for cabin heating.
7. I'd install a 12v air conditioning system in the bed cap area. Like the ones truckers use, I know quite costly. I have a cell phone based sensor that sends a alarms to my phone when temps go out of my set range.
8. I would make a platform/storage system to utilize the freed up space where the rear/passenger seats were. Storage for a slide-out dog ramp, clothes, dry food storage, travel toilet, garbage, skis, water tank, etc.
9. Won't be able to fit into my garage. The truck would be exposed constantly to the outside elements. May consider a car port of some kind to at least keep the damaging sun off it.
10. Reliance on fluctuating diesel fuel prices/global uncertainty.
11. In a SHTF scenario, I'd have to expose myself to acquire more diesel.
12. Can carry extra diesel/energy on vehicle if needed.

Common items for any vehicle build I do:
1. Fridge/freezer. If you want both, are there combo units that do both now? Or is it better to get one of each? Obviously space considerations play a huge role in model selection.
2. Just a small one burner stove. Haven't given much thought to diesel vs propane vs induction.
3. Travel toilet, clothes storage, water tank, food storage, garbage, recovery gear, boot storage.
 

Zybane

Active member
Rivian R1S. Yes, I know people must think I am crazy for comparing or considering a full-size diesel pickup against a mid-size electric EV. But for my usage case there are very limited amount of vehicles to choose from.
1. Would have superior road characteristics than the Tremor. Would also have auto-steer, which lessons long highway drive fatigue. Something I've loved on my Tesla's.
2. Would be smaller and fit on basically any trail.
3. Would have built-in "camping" climate controlled Heat/AC since there is no engine running. Pulling power from its massive 135 kWh pack.
4. No need for any charger/inverters or battery installs taking up valuable interior space. Significant cost savings. SUV comes with 120v 12 AMP outlets which is plenty for running fridge/freezer/small microwave.
5. Air suspension for better ride and ground clearance. Actually better ground clearance than even a Carli Tremor. Better breakover too.
6. 4 motors for basically locked 4 wheels for amazing off-road.
7. Having 4-corner independent suspension will limit articulation.
8. OEM tire size is 34" and looks to fill the wheel wells fairly decent already. Not sure if you can go larger, may limit off-road obstacles some.
9. Much less maintenance/running costs over Tremor. No taking 13 quarts of used oil to Autozone etc.
10. Surprisingly; EV charging at .34/c kWh with Electrify America isn't really any cheaper than Diesel costs in the Tremor. I figure on a cool day loaded up, the Rivian would use about 600 Wh/mi. So this would be about .20c/mi, which is similar to the Tremors diesel cost at $5/gal.
11. MUCH slower "refueling" than an ICE truck. EA chargers aren't know for their speed, especially in the cold. Over 1 hour charging to charge a 135 kWh battery from 10-80% commonplace.
12. Range anxiety; especially in the cold. Rivian has already stated that you reduce range by 15% with the 20" wheels and 34" all-terrain tires. So this brings the range on paper in perfect conditions down to ~265 miles. Now add-in real world numbers, colder temps, heavier weight, charging from 10-90%, I'm thinking more like 150-200 miles range. Now add on power use at the camp-site on remote trails, is that really going to be sufficient enough for my use case? Slow off-roading will blow through the battery pretty quick, especially with elevation gains. I had reserved a Rivian with the expectation that I would only get the 180 kWh battery "max pack", but that doesn't seem to be anywhere on the horizon. Especially for my end of 2023 reservation.
13. Not nearly as much storage/living space as a portal converted 6-3/4 capped bed full size pickup.
14. Non-Tesla charging infrastructure is pretty poor poor right now, but I have to consider the future use of the vehicle when charging infrastructure is much better.
15. My home has a large solar array and battery system as it's off-grid. This means that basically local trips/shopping/town runs are free energy wise. The Tremor would cost me money every time I started it.
16. The 135 kWh battery back in the Rivian would be one hell-of-a nice off-grid battery backup to my homes battery system. Granted I could only extract the power with a loss at 120v-12 AMPS, but still that's plenty in emergencies/bad weather. I could tap off the Tremors 4.8 kWh life-support battery system and charge those with running the Tremors diesel engine, but once again much more costly than the Rivian.
17. Aerodynamics/high speed/range would seriously be hampered by E-bike and other items on the back of the vehicle compared to a Diesel.
18. In a SHTF scenario, I'd having a local running vehicle almost indefinitely as long as my solar array/charger stayed operational.
19. Would most likely require rear-hitch tray/type winch setup unless I fabricated a custom winch bumper for the Rivian. With tons of unknown affects based off of all the Rivian sensors.
20. Rivian would be much quieter. Not only more peaceful for off-roading/driving through the wilderness/mountains, but on the highway too.
23. Can park in garage and keep the cold weather battery drain at bay. Have a warm or cool vehicle ready to drive depending on season.
24. Easier to clean. I generally avoid mud and water when off-roading but sometimes you are forced. Cleaning the underbody of a Tremor that looks like a metal factory exploded versus cleaning the almost completely flat bottom of a Rivian.
25. Dare I say Rivian will be more reliable?
26. Weight would typically be a huge pro for a mid-size SUV over a diesel full-size truck, but not as much as you'd think in this comparison. The Rivian (~7K lb) is only about 1K lb lighter than a diesel Tremor (~8K lbs)
27. Basically eliminates me having a travel trailer. EV's are TERRIBLE at towing.

Some contenders and why I ruled them out:
1. JL/Gladiator. I'm 6'4 inch and interior is cramped, too small of a camping space. Don't want to do tent camping, even on roof.
2. Hummer EV SUV. I have one reserved, but range/efficiency is looking to make it a horrid road trip car. Reports over over 1kW/mi energy use on the highway at speed.
3. Silverado EV. I have the RST reserved with the mid-gate. That mid-gate would make my conversion much easier, but the RST from what I've read doesn't have much off-road capability. If they did a Trail Boss with the mid-gate, that would be very interesting.
4. G-wagon, gasoline only.
5. Another Power Wagon, gas only.
6. I know of no large SUV that has decent off-road capabilities/lockers etc.
7. Not interested in Detroit lockers on GM products.
8. F150 Tremor gas only.
9. ZR2/Ranger too small.
10. New Defender, overpriced and no diesel in NA.
11. Ford Bronco, crazy markups and gas only.
12. F-150 Lightning. Kinda crappy range and no real off-road capability from what I can tell.

Is there anything I'm overlooking? This is basically why I've narrowed it down to a Diesel Tremor and the Rivian R1S. Yes, the Power Wagon would largely do very well but I'm not looking forward to going back to 10 MPG and a "small" 31 gal tank that only gets me 300 miles.

Love to hear any thoughts on anything I've missed, should change or just in general!
 

GeorgeHayduke

Active member
Did you consider a new Tundra/Sequoia or F150 powerboost with the hybrid drivetrain? Can be had with a factory rear locker and inverter for the battery pack. Sounds to me like you want the range, torque and turbos that come with a diesel but unless you need diesel fuel specifically (interoperability with heavy equipment at the property, lower flammability etc) why not consider a turbocharged gas engine + Jerry cans?
 

tacollie

Glamper
We do pretty well in our F250 in Colorado. It has rarely been an issue. It's nice having spotter which it sounds like you won't have. One thing you need to consider it the Tremor will ride much rougher than a PW or Rivian. I would consider adding OBA so you can lower tires pressure to smooth things out.

My only concern with a Rivian are charging stations. I feel like Colorado, Utah, and Idaho are a little behind on installing them. It may require a little more planning. Everytime I head to Kansas and Missouri I'm amazed how many I see.
 

Zybane

Active member
Did you consider a new Tundra/Sequoia or F150 powerboost with the hybrid drivetrain? Can be had with a factory rear locker and inverter for the battery pack. Sounds to me like you want the range, torque and turbos that come with a diesel but unless you need diesel fuel specifically (interoperability with heavy equipment at the property, lower flammability etc) why not consider a turbocharged gas engine + Jerry cans?
Ah good points. I will check them out!

We do pretty well in our F250 in Colorado. It has rarely been an issue. It's nice having spotter which it sounds like you won't have. One thing you need to consider it the Tremor will ride much rougher than a PW or Rivian. I would consider adding OBA so you can lower tires pressure to smooth things out.

My only concern with a Rivian are charging stations. I feel like Colorado, Utah, and Idaho are a little behind on installing them. It may require a little more planning. Everytime I head to Kansas and Missouri I'm amazed how many I see.
Oh yes I forgot to mention on-board air. Definitely will lover that crazy 80 PSI on the rear Tremor tires.

Correct; no spotter. Would like to install some sort of front/chassis camera system.

I hear you on charging stations. Some gaps in coverage like south of Salida in Alamosa.
 

phsycle

Adventurer
You won’t be getting 20mpg at 90mph with a diesel. Especially if you’ve got upsized tires and a lift. A friend with a newer F350 and 35’s with 3” lift gets 15-16 tops, at 75mph.

For me, keeping a vehicle for 15 years means keeping it as stock as possible. I’d not want to deal with failures due to cutting up the body or other extreme mods.

No way I’d go electric right now either. Out here in the west. Not great infrastructure.

Given you want something to sleep inside with connection to the cab, the only vehicle I can think of that would be a good fit is the new Sequoia. Has a rear locker, big enough for the 3 of you. Only problem right now is the availability of mods.

Me personally, I like the F150 Powerboost platform. Having that power available at camp without bringing a generator. So we if I were in your shoes with 2 dogs, I’d probably get a Powerboost, supercab, 6.5’ bed, high rise cap with a sleeping platform. Lift and tires. Done.
 

Zybane

Active member
You won’t be getting 20mpg at 90mph with a diesel. Especially if you’ve got upsized tires and a lift. A friend with a newer F350 and 35’s with 3” lift gets 15-16 tops, at 75mph.

For me, keeping a vehicle for 15 years means keeping it as stock as possible. I’d not want to deal with failures due to cutting up the body or other extreme mods.

No way I’d go electric right now either. Out here in the west. Not great infrastructure.

Given you want something to sleep inside with connection to the cab, the only vehicle I can think of that would be a good fit is the new Sequoia. Has a rear locker, big enough for the 3 of you. Only problem right now is the availability of mods.

Me personally, I like the F150 Powerboost platform. Having that power available at camp without bringing a generator. So we if I were in your shoes with 2 dogs, I’d probably get a Powerboost, supercab, 6.5’ bed, high rise cap with a sleeping platform. Lift and tires. Done.
Do we know yet if the Sequoia TDR Pro has a limited slip in the front? If it's open diff, probably wouldn't have enough off-road capability for me.

I'll look into the F150 Powerboost. Do you have a name or link I could check out a high rise cap with sleeping platform?
 

vtsoundman

OverAnalyzer
This is easy - van. Sprinter 144 diesel. Lifted and all kitted out. Massive range with aftermarket tanks, plenty of power to run A/C if you fit a big battery bank. Diesel is plentiful.

I have a lifted 144 with a pop top. My mpg is 14-17.5 depending on speed and head wind. It is an all weather vehicle...and has done trails from the Lost Coast to Bear Tooth pass and places in between. It drives great and easy to lay down massive miles without lots of fatigue.

You want a house on wheels for you and your dogs....so just do it. Either a sprinter or a F250/2500 4 door with flatbed + camper.

Sent from my Pixel 4a using Tapatalk
 

phsycle

Adventurer
This is easy - van. Sprinter 144 diesel. Lifted and all kitted out. Massive range with aftermarket tanks, plenty of power to run A/C if you fit a big battery bank. Diesel is plentiful.

I have a lifted 144 with a pop top. My mpg is 14-17.5 depending on speed and head wind. It is an all weather vehicle...and has done trails from the Lost Coast to Bear Tooth pass and places in between. It drives great and easy to lay down massive miles without lots of fatigue.

You want a house on wheels for you and your dogs....so just do it. Either a sprinter or a F250/2500 4 door with flatbed + camper.

Sent from my Pixel 4a using Tapatalk
In my experience, a sprinter in The Colorado trails…. Wouldn’t work so well.
 

phsycle

Adventurer
Do we know yet if the Sequoia TDR Pro has a limited slip in the front? If it's open diff, probably wouldn't have enough off-road capability for me.

I'll look into the F150 Powerboost. Do you have a name or link I could check out a high rise cap with sleeping platform?
What makes you say open diff would not have enough capability for you? I ran open/open in a LOT of Colorado trails. Sequoia has atrac as well.
 

plainjaneFJC

Deplorable
I’ve owned a modern 4x4 power stroke- 2017 model with a cap on the bed. I’d get the rivian- the diesel is going to nickel and dime you to death. Only advantage of the tremor is the larger bed. Especially when you consider power at home is free and your probably home 75% of time.
 

ABBB

Active member
Surprised no one has mentioned the yet to be released Ineos Grenadier. Sure, no plans for diesel in the US market but large cargo capacity, a platform built to be individualized, aftermarket will love this thing, larger version will be available than the “wagon” that will be first release, and is has front, rear and center lockers.
 

Explorerinil

Observer
Ford what your doing, get a f250 tremor with the diesel and the longest extended warranty you can get, that power stroke will have super costly repairs after the factory warrenty runs out, take in mind you have to lift the cab for major repairs. Get yourself a caravan camper shell and a titan extra fuel tank, leave the truck stock and drive it. Get it in white so it doesn’t look terrible scratched up on trails.
 

vtsoundman

OverAnalyzer
It's all about comfort level....the dude wants A/C for his dogs...and he is going to be laying down huge miles... and driving across country...and wants to be able to get up and drive w/o going outside... that's a van all day long.

An overbuilt 4x rig sounds awesome, but doesn't fit his 99% use profile.

RE trails : depends on where you're headed /what you're doing. Lots of people 'aspire' to build an overland rig to do Jeep trails...and then few of ever do it. Sure, there are trails I wouldn't talk the van on...but I have been on far more trails with the van then people with 'tougher vehicles' would ever go. So I rarely find a road that I want to go down, but can't.

And then there is going out by yourself deep into back country where only a 'jeep could go' - which is not smart to go alone. I also have a Rubicon and have been stuck solo out in the back country (with the van and jeep) l. It sucked. And I will no longer venture that far alone...



Sent from my Pixel 4a using Tapatalk
 

plainjaneFJC

Deplorable
Surprised no one has mentioned the yet to be released Ineos Grenadier. Sure, no plans for diesel in the US market but large cargo capacity, a platform built to be individualized, aftermarket will love this thing, larger version will be available than the “wagon” that will be first release, and is has front, rear and center lockers.
An all new British vehicle with a bmw powerplant- it’s neat but who wants that headache….
 

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