Budget Rigs for 10K and under?

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KD7WCD

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Jayson
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KD7WCD
I found myself in a similar position burying the pandemic. I got T-boned hard enough to roll me over. I fortunately want to wait fine but the rig I spent 14 years developing and perfecting was totaled. Being a 14-year-old vehicle insurance company was less than generous about what it was actually worth. This left me with a little less than 10 grand to find a replacement and get back to what I love doing.

My last rig was an 07 Xterra with the OFF ROAD package. If you can find a second gen Xterra with the OFF ROAD also rebranded as the PRO-4x4 package I would grab it. They are mountain goats and can go anywhere. I did very minimal mods to it and it was great. Easy to work on and with so many Xterra around parts are easy to come by. This package includes better suspension, 4wheel drive with a rear locking diff and good amount of under body armor.

Unfortunately I couldn't even find one that was within 1500 miles. So I had to broaden my search. I eventually ended up landing on a Hummer H3 with the adventure package. It is a 2006. I have been happy with it so far. I have finally fixed all the little annoying things you find with a used vehicle to get it to what I feel is up to mechanical snuff. At first I was worried that this being a limited run vehicle and such an old vehicle I would have a hard time getting parts for it. The drivetrain is GM all the way so engine type stuff is easy. Some of the plastic parts and specific body parts to the H3 are a little harder to find but there is a great online community representing these vehicles a wealth of knowledge that makes working on them easier.

If you're going to look for an H3, do a little research so you know what you are looking at when test driving one. GM did a bad job at marketing the different versions of this vehicle. The adventure package is basically the equivalent of a similar generation Jeep Rubicon. Depending on the year you'll get at least a rear locking diff. The later models have front and rear lockers. They also have plenty of underbody armor and a four to one gear ratio in four wheel low.

Good luck and let us know what you land on.
 

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DreamsofIron

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201
Illinois, USA
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kenneth
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lafontaine
I found myself in a similar position burying the pandemic. I got T-boned hard enough to roll me over. I fortunately want to wait fine but the rig I spent 14 years developing and perfecting was totaled. Being a 14-year-old vehicle insurance company was less than generous about what it was actually worth. This left me with a little less than 10 grand to find a replacement and get back to what I love doing.

My last rig was an 07 Xterra with the OFF ROAD package. If you can find a second gen Xterra with the OFF ROAD also rebranded as the PRO-4x4 package I would grab it. They are mountain goats and can go anywhere. I did very minimal mods to it and it was great. Easy to work on and with so many Xterra around parts are easy to come by. This package includes better suspension, 4wheel drive with a rear locking diff and good amount of under body armor.

Unfortunately I couldn't even find one that was within 1500 miles. So I had to broaden my search. I eventually ended up landing on a Hummer H3 with the adventure package. It is a 2006. I have been happy with it so far. I have finally fixed all the little annoying things you find with a used vehicle to get it to what I feel is up to mechanical snuff. At first I was worried that this being a limited run vehicle and such an old vehicle I would have a hard time getting parts for it. The drivetrain is GM all the way so engine type stuff is easy. Some of the plastic parts and specific body parts to the H3 are a little harder to find but there is a great online community representing these vehicles a wealth of knowledge that makes working on them easier.

If you're going to look for an H3, do a little research so you know what you are looking at when test driving one. GM did a bad job at marketing the different versions of this vehicle. The adventure package is basically the equivalent of a similar generation Jeep Rubicon. Depending on the year you'll get at least a rear locking diff. The later models have front and rear lockers. They also have plenty of underbody armor and a four to one gear ratio in four wheel low.

Good luck and let us know what you land on.
Sorry to hear about that accident, glad to know you're still alright! I will make sure to take a look at the Hummers, I've always liked them, still do.
 
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tjZ06

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...I would take heed of @tjZ06's advice and look for a WJ, but with the 4.0 not the 4.7
I just really don't like the 4.0 in the WJ. It's underpowered for the platform (it's adequate at best in a lighter XJ) and the WJ was all about being luxurious and powerful (for it's time) before that was a common thing in SUVs. Also, the auto trans in the 4.0 WJs is hot garbage (it's not the same one that 4.0 XJs, TJs etc. got). Just my $0.02 though.

-TJ
 

tjZ06

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I've been looking mostly at the ZJs, especially the 5.9 variants. Given recent gas prices, they have been dropping in price lately. I am not opposed to the WJ though, especailly with my experience with the 4.0 engine. It all depends on what I can find for the best shape in my price range. And yes, I don't think any sub 10k rig will be issue free at all either. but hey, that's part of the fun!
I love 5.9 limited ZJs... but they're hard to find and starting to get spendy. That said, I wouldn't expect any ZJ or WJ (even the 4.0s) to get great MPG. As I just posted, I really don't like 4.0 WJs, but I'm biased. If you're 100% opposed to a 4.7 because of the valve seat issue, then I'd prob be looking at V8 ZJs (even the 5.2 is pretty good) myself. I still want a ZJ someday, but IMHO the WJ has lots of advantages (better brakes, improved susp and steering designs, nicer interior, more reliable electronics - though still not perfect by any means, etc.).

-TJ
 

AggieOE

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I found myself in a similar position burying the pandemic. I got T-boned hard enough to roll me over. I fortunately want to wait fine but the rig I spent 14 years developing and perfecting was totaled. Being a 14-year-old vehicle insurance company was less than generous about what it was actually worth. This left me with a little less than 10 grand to find a replacement and get back to what I love doing.

My last rig was an 07 Xterra with the OFF ROAD package. If you can find a second gen Xterra with the OFF ROAD also rebranded as the PRO-4x4 package I would grab it. They are mountain goats and can go anywhere. I did very minimal mods to it and it was great. Easy to work on and with so many Xterra around parts are easy to come by. This package includes better suspension, 4wheel drive with a rear locking diff and good amount of under body armor.

Unfortunately I couldn't even find one that was within 1500 miles. So I had to broaden my search. I eventually ended up landing on a Hummer H3 with the adventure package. It is a 2006. I have been happy with it so far. I have finally fixed all the little annoying things you find with a used vehicle to get it to what I feel is up to mechanical snuff. At first I was worried that this being a limited run vehicle and such an old vehicle I would have a hard time getting parts for it. The drivetrain is GM all the way so engine type stuff is easy. Some of the plastic parts and specific body parts to the H3 are a little harder to find but there is a great online community representing these vehicles a wealth of knowledge that makes working on them easier.

If you're going to look for an H3, do a little research so you know what you are looking at when test driving one. GM did a bad job at marketing the different versions of this vehicle. The adventure package is basically the equivalent of a similar generation Jeep Rubicon. Depending on the year you'll get at least a rear locking diff. The later models have front and rear lockers. They also have plenty of underbody armor and a four to one gear ratio in four wheel low.

Good luck and let us know what you land on.
An H3 could be a cool option. I'm not sure on available maintenance parts though.

I'd be hard pressed not to do something similar to this, a 3rd Gen 4Runner for half the budget and then spend the rest on maintenance, updates, and upgrades:
 

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Maintenance parts for a H3 are a mix between canyon and trailblazer parts. Besides body panels alot of things under them are interchangable with the chevrolet cousins. They are great rigs but have terrible outbound vision inside the cockpit.
 

DaJudge

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The best advice is to wait. Used prices are ridiculous no matter what you are buying. The Chevy dealer across the street from my job offered me $5800.00 for my 2013 Impala! It is in great shape but I wouldn't pay that for it.
And a lot of people are saying "buy an ancient Toyota with 260K on clock", but if you do that, be VERY careful that the maintenance has been done properly. Like any vehicle, they only last a long time if they have been properly maintained. Unfortunately after the fifth owner, they probably haven't been.
And this is not an anti-Toyota comment, just a caution. I have seen several people buy old Toyotas following some forum advice, only to have them die almost immediately! They are not indestructible! However, if you find a nice 100 or taco, 4runner, Sequoia, LX that has been maintained, they are great vehicles and I would probably buy one over anything else with highish mileage.
I love my XJ but it has no power, drives like your TJ and is really small compared to most vehicles available. They are also getting expensive!
 

MidOH

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I like to spend more to get more reliability. $10k, and you're going to have to go over everything. Which is fine.

.........but there's plenty of Jeep guys overlanding, and those haven't had any kind of reliability for decades now. (and rovers)