Stay 4runner or go back to Jeep...

jktowhere

Observer
So, i feel I need to start planning things out. First car was a Jeep TJ. I have owned a 2015 JKU Sahara. I have had multiple 4runners. The 4runner will need tires at the end of the year and being all stock right now I am trying to plan and make a smart choice.

Option 1 - Current ride - 2004 v8 4runner. 237k. I do all the service on it. Minus a few normal to do things, it runs perfect and I stay on top of service. Just to cold right now to do the minor things I need to do, but this truck has never let me down. Its stock at the moment. The plan would be to build this up (bumpers, armor, 35's etc) as our go to explore /camp/off road truck. I takes us in the back country to spots of fire roads and easy trails as is, but I think having a jeep before on 35's I am my own worst enemy on thinking what the 4runner can and can't do. To build it up to that point with 35's and how I want the truck lets say we would be 5-8k over time all said and done. My hold up would be the miles. Yes its a toyota an it runs perfect, but if I build it up and engine or trans go I would be at a point where I would just swap them out then due to the time and money involved. Paid off. DD right now but would become a third vehicle in the next year or two if I decide to get a commuter car.

Option 2 - Jlu. Always been a jeep guy. Love the top off and that I can point it anywhere and go. Would be a rubicon and 37's and the works. Build cost lest say 5-10k in added parts. I had a Jku before and loved it, but with the upgrades and the better sports bar / cage (thinking about a little person and wanting them safe which is why I don't want a Jku and the old cage or am I overthinking this would would save a bunch more money by going jku again) and overall upgrades I would go Jlu, but I am not 100% saying no to a Jku again. But, I would be in a car payment for 3 years which is never fun with the jlu. Would be DD for some time, not worries about that.

Here is the question. With us working to start a family this year, having two dogs and going camping and exploring every chance we get, what makes more sense? While the flashy new ride swoons me, is it really worth it when we play hard and use our vehicles for what they are made for? We work hard and can get the things we want, but we are not wealthy by any means and I just want to ensure I make the right choices. My fear with the 4runner would be the miles (starting to mod a vehicle so high) and what can it really do? We don't hardcore rock crawl, but we have done Red Cone, Kane Creek Road and other various trails in the jeep and I never had any doubts. Rubicon would be fun one day. I worry about black bear pass and other various trails that the 4runner will be limited in where I can take it. What makes the better financial choice in this situation you think that will still give us the freedom while ensure we have fun and a well built and safe vehicle for little people.
 

4runnerteq

Explorer
The cheapest vehicle to have is always the one you already own. And, really there is just no need for 35s on a 4runner. 33s are fine. And really, for what most of us are doing we dont even "need" 33s. If things are worn out then replace and upgrade if you want, but $8k buys a lot of fuel. Avoid a car payment if at all possible.
 
Last edited:

NatersXJ6

Explorer
Life will change in hundreds of ways you never expected when you have kids. Both time and money become short on supply. I would personally wait to make a major change until I was in year 2 or 3 of kid life.

Just catch up on maintenance and fix the little things, also put a high focus on preemptive changes of reliability stuff.

All of “her” priorities will change as well, you may find that she is no longer okay with a topless Jeep, or that both Jeep and 4 Runner are deemed too small. It really has a lot to do with individual personalities, also subject to change when Kids enter the picture.
 

Todd n Natalie

Observer
Having two dogs and possibly a baby will mean tight quarters. Babies take up a shocking amount of room in a vehicle!.

Plus, I'd imagine you'll want to keeps the dogs separate from the baby seat? Assuming they'll even fit back there with a rear facing baby seat (not sure the breeds / size of dogs)

Possibly the dogs will have travel in the cargo area?
 

jktowhere

Observer
Sorry should have added I have a cdn m101 trailer and roof box. Not worried about space so much but the dogs will be in the cargo area yes.
 

JDaPP

Adventurer
I would wait until the kid is a couple of years old. You are probably not going to be topless near as much when they are young and in a couple of years a used JLU will be a little cheaper. Also rear facing child seats take up a lot of space, I dont know about the 4runner but it is tight in the JKU unless you put them in the middle and then the lean over to put them in becomes an evolution (especially with lift and bigger tires). You are over thinking the roll bar thing.
 

locrwln

Expedition Leader
I wouldn’t worry about your 4Runner at that mileage. Sure it probably needs some TLC, but that’ll be much cheaper than buying new. The Rubicon is certainly an outlier of off-road travel and it does help (a lot) to have clearance (tire size) to cross it. My first crossing in ‘94, it was very doable on 31’s. 35’s are what I would consider minimum if it’s your first time.

As far as Black Bear Pass, totally doable in a stock 4Runner. I did most of the San Juan trails last year in my stock (31“ tall tires, same as a stock 4Runner) Colorado Bison including BBP.

Jack
 

85_Ranger4x4

Well-known member
We looked at Wrangler's, didn't actually try it but the backs seat looked cramped for a rear facing car seat, especially with me sitting in front of it. If we have a second kid and now it seems like they have to sit rear facing until they are like 15 or something... so you can't get away from them for years.

Those stupid seats eat A TON of room.

For now we only have one, he rides behind the passenger seat.
 

PSea

Active member
the mileage on your 4runner puts it at mid-life. if you've done all the maintenance yourself, i wouldn't think twice about investing in it. you don't need huge tires. 32's work great especially w/ a 1" body lift. keeps it looking close to stock, doesn't kill mpgs, goes just about everywhere you'll want to go. good luck!
 

Metcalf

Expedition Leader
If I had to start over, I would go with a JLU Sport with the Diesel package. You get the heavy duty automatic, a normal ratio t-case ( which I think works better with the 8-spd automatic ), and the larger Dana 44 front and rear axles. That gets you most of the way to the Rubicon package for less. Add in some aftermarket lockers ( or even buy the factory ones ) and install them with independent control that you can use in any range, front or back or both.
 

m-l_johnny

New member
I'm a Jeep guy, have a CJ7 I rebuilt and a JKU with an Ursa Minor top that we got last year. Love them both, but it's only two of us and usually a Red Healer. I think aftermarket support is a little better for Jeep mods, BUT, as some of us in a Jeep club I used to be active in would say: "Don't wheel anything you make payments on."
My opinion reflects some that have already been expressed, keep the 4runner. The cheapest vehicle is the one you already own. New families will have expenses in ways you haven't experienced yet; time, money and energy.
You may even want to consider a trailer.
 

deserteagle56

Adventurer
Personally, I don't get the love for the "topless" scenario...unless you use it on pavement only. Seems like most places I go during the summer the "bug dust" is deep and I'm on a road that allows me to go only 15 mph...but there's a 20 mph tailwind blowing that cloud of dust over me. I'm NOT going to start wearing one of those horrible dust filtering masks I see the side-by-side drivers wearing, while driving my Jeep!
 

Metcalf

Expedition Leader
Personally, I don't get the love for the "topless" scenario...unless you use it on pavement only. Seems like most places I go during the summer the "bug dust" is deep and I'm on a road that allows me to go only 15 mph...but there's a 20 mph tailwind blowing that cloud of dust over me. I'm NOT going to start wearing one of those horrible dust filtering masks I see the side-by-side drivers wearing, while driving my Jeep!
The best thing about the Jeep body style is the modular panels. Hard or soft, you can replace the top, windshield frame, etc if you happen to bonk something or flop it. For me, this gives it a clear advantage over to the 1-piece SUV style body tubs.
 

85_Ranger4x4

Well-known member
Personally, I don't get the love for the "topless" scenario...unless you use it on pavement only. Seems like most places I go during the summer the "bug dust" is deep and I'm on a road that allows me to go only 15 mph...but there's a 20 mph tailwind blowing that cloud of dust over me. I'm NOT going to start wearing one of those horrible dust filtering masks I see the side-by-side drivers wearing, while driving my Jeep!
Same.

Wife is getting a new Bronco, I would rather have a quiet steel roof like a 4Runner that will never leak. She is a fair skinned redhead so I doubt the top will come off often.

Our house is on gravel, my Ranger doesn't have A/C. I know the "hurry roll the windows up" gig when meeting an oncoming vehicle well. Not sure how well that works when there is no roof.

Only perk I see is for most hail storms 3/4 of the vehicle won't get hurt.

I voiced my concerns but mama wants what mama wants...
 
Top