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Old 04-14-2011, 04:22 PM
 
10,885 posts, read 41,316,699 times
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OP ... if all you need a truck for is the yearly brush clearing and to haul some things in ... have you considered renting a trailer when you need it for the brush clearing? That would be significantly less expensive than another vehicle cost with license/insurance/ownership costs.

If hauling "some things" is a priority, I'd suggest you look at the Outback Wagons ... they really do haul quite a bit. Another vehicle worth your consideration is an older Volvo station wagon ... and it doesn't need to be an AWD model, the RWD wagons were pretty solid performers in snow climates, too. I had a lot of customers who used these as their winter cars here in the Rocky Mountains ... and later FWD models do very well, too. Since you'll not likely be clearing brush in the winter months, you may want to focus your priorities on what the car really needs to do for you in light of budget, fuel economy, operating costs, and utility.

From my perspective as a shop owner and tech for many years, you couldn't choose much worse vehicles than the Dodge or the JGC. There's a big difference between a GC and the Cherokee models in reliability and durability ... and both are gas hogs compared to many vehicles that can do what you say you need this vehicle to do for you.
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Old 04-14-2011, 04:35 PM
 
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 14,778,033 times
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I'd pick the 4-Runner (and I ditto the Subie suggestions, especially if fuel prices are a concern.) Have no clue about the power steering pump issue.

I did own a 1998 Cherokee for a couple of years in the mid-2000s and loved it. It was very reliable while I had it, and I know other people with Cherokees who seem to get a ton of miles out of them. The only reason I traded it for a minivan was I needed more room, plus it was a beast on gas...I don't think I got more than 15 mpg ever out of that thing.

BTW, I have lived in snow country (Colorado, including over 10,000 feet in the mountains with 11 miles of dirt road to the highway) and Michigan for almost 27 years. I've only ever had two 4WD vehicles, the rest have been 2WD. The only times - twice - I have had to be towed out of a ditch because I slid off was in 4WD vehicles. Not a fault of the vehicle - my fault! I was younger and fell into the common trap of feeling invincible because I had 4WD. I've learned better since then!

And there's maybe been an average of one day per year in all that time that I haven't been able to get where I needed to go because of road conditions.
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Old 04-14-2011, 04:38 PM
 
5,703 posts, read 15,550,420 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
OP ... if all you need a truck for is the yearly brush clearing and to haul some things in ... have you considered renting a trailer when you need it for the brush clearing? That would be significantly less expensive than another vehicle cost with license/insurance/ownership costs.

If hauling "some things" is a priority, I'd suggest you look at the Outback Wagons ... they really do haul quite a bit. Another vehicle worth your consideration is an older Volvo station wagon ... and it doesn't need to be an AWD model, the RWD wagons were pretty solid performers in snow climates, too. I had a lot of customers who used these as their winter cars here in the Rocky Mountains ... and later FWD models do very well, too. Since you'll not likely be clearing brush in the winter months, you may want to focus your priorities on what the car really needs to do for you in light of budget, fuel economy, operating costs, and utility.

From my perspective as a shop owner and tech for many years, you couldn't choose much worse vehicles than the Dodge or the JGC. There's a big difference between a GC and the Cherokee models in reliability and durability ... and both are gas hogs compared to many vehicles that can do what you say you need this vehicle to do for you.
Yes we borrow a trailer from a friend when we hauled the brush away last year using our Explorer. I actually really like the Outback but with a 4k budget not one has ever come up. Also, do these cars come with a trailer hitch? I didn't think so and not sure if I want to go the route of having one installed. We live on almost an acre with over 30 trees so we haul brush around 3 times in the summer.
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Old 04-14-2011, 04:42 PM
 
5,703 posts, read 15,550,420 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiroptera View Post
I'd pick the 4-Runner (and I ditto the Subie suggestions, especially if fuel prices are a concern.) Have no clue about the power steering pump issue.

I did own a 1998 Cherokee for a couple of years in the mid-2000s and loved it. It was very reliable while I had it, and I know other people with Cherokees who seem to get a ton of miles out of them. The only reason I traded it for a minivan was I needed more room, plus it was a beast on gas...I don't think I got more than 15 mpg ever out of that thing.

BTW, I have lived in snow country (Colorado, including over 10,000 feet in the mountains with 11 miles of dirt road to the highway) and Michigan for almost 27 years. I've only ever had two 4WD vehicles, the rest have been 2WD. The only times - twice - I have had to be towed out of a ditch because I slid off was in 4WD vehicles. Not a fault of the vehicle - my fault! I was younger and fell into the common trap of feeling invincible because I had 4WD. I've learned better since then!

And there's maybe been an average of one day per year in all that time that I haven't been able to get where I needed to go because of road conditions.
Ha! You are not far from me. I live along Lake Michigan and get that darn lake effect snow. I'm good with FWD but not RWD. I spent my first two winters dealing with a RWD SUV and it was a nightmare. I got stuck my first winter. Pretty embarrassing getting stuck in the snow with an SUV. Everyone thinks they are all 4WD. I will search for some Subaru's but haven't been lucky thus far.
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Old 04-14-2011, 04:57 PM
 
Location: Eastern NC
18,194 posts, read 16,717,194 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fallingwater View Post
The guy selling the 4 Runner called me back. This is what he told me and maybe you can tell me if this is a red flag. He has reduced the price to 3200.00. He had a guy come out and look it over. The power steering pump is leaking. He said the truck still drives nice. He also added the cruise control no longer works. I could care less about the cruise control, I never use it but wondering if the power steering pump is just the beginning of more and more problems. I mean, Im not expecting the truck to be perfect but know very little about 4 Runners.

The power steering leak is common in 2nd Gen. 4Runners as is the power antenna giving up the ghost as is the power rear window failing to close. The electrical problems can be fixed pretty easily by someone with knowledge on auto electrics and the pump can be rebuilt with a gasket kit. Mine suffers from all three, I just put fluid in the reservoir once a month and the electrics don't bother me too much, too lazy right now to fix.

If you get the 4Runner make sure the head gasket was replaced, a TSB was issued to replace it, and the steering relay rod was replaced, a recall was on that one.
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Old 04-14-2011, 05:01 PM
 
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 14,778,033 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fallingwater View Post
Ha! You are not far from me. I live along Lake Michigan and get that darn lake effect snow. I'm good with FWD but not RWD. I spent my first two winters dealing with a RWD SUV and it was a nightmare. I got stuck my first winter. Pretty embarrassing getting stuck in the snow with an SUV. Everyone thinks they are all 4WD. I will search for some Subaru's but haven't been lucky thus far.
Yup just opposite sides of the state. You get more snow, though. I'll be in the market for another vehicle this summer and would like another Subaru wagon but you are right, people either hold onto them forever or want a bunch of money for used ones. I adored the '85 I had way back in Colorado. It plowed through just about everything....not fancy and slow on long upgrades but it just went and went and went.

I cut my driving teeth as it were on RWD vehicles with manual transmissions and actually prefer that to FWD. Back in the day I liked old-generation Saabs, which are tanks and very practical....built for Swedish road conditions!
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Old 04-14-2011, 05:06 PM
 
5,703 posts, read 15,550,420 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiroptera View Post
Yup just opposite sides of the state. You get more snow, though. I'll be in the market for another vehicle this summer and would like another Subaru wagon but you are right, people either hold onto them forever or want a bunch of money for used ones. I adored the '85 I had way back in Colorado. It plowed through just about everything....not fancy and slow on long upgrades but it just went and went and went.

I cut my driving teeth as it were on RWD vehicles with manual transmissions and actually prefer that to FWD. Back in the day I liked old-generation Saabs, which are tanks and very practical....built for Swedish road conditions!
Opps, I read wrong. I thought you were SW Michigan. I'm just below in N. Indiana. I am originally from the Detroit area though. So it was a shock leaving Detroit with a RWD SUV thinking snow wasn't a big deal. Then I move here and its snow hell. lol. I agree it seems people keep the Subaru's. I am looking right now and found a few but for 4k, I would end up with one around the 200k mile mark. Ouch. I will expand my search to Chicago I guess.
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Old 04-14-2011, 07:50 PM
 
Location: United States
2,497 posts, read 6,249,697 times
Reputation: 2219
Toyota. The other 2 are Chrysler products. Compare the ratings and resales.
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Old 04-14-2011, 08:31 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
13,429 posts, read 42,899,732 times
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Of the three original choices, to me the Toy is the only appealing one. I have to echo Sunsprit's excellent advice though, a Subie will be as capable or better in snow and less thirsty.The story on the Jeep is interesting but at the end of the day it's not that reliable and it's thirsty. Now if you wanted to really drive off-road, and say your DH was a good mechanic, maybe the Jeep would be worth a look, but I don't think this is your situation.
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Old 04-15-2011, 09:40 PM
 
5,703 posts, read 15,550,420 times
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Default update

We checked out the Jeep more throughly and test drove it. What a piece of junk. The kid tore it up. He also lied about the mileage. It has a 149k and not low 100's like he said. Did he not think we would notice? Also didn't realize he got it when he was 16, paid for by mom and dad of course. He had 6 yrs to trash it. The steering wheel was crooked. I am no mechanic but a crooked steering wheel is not a good sign. I am thinking that is why he replaced the radiator. The bumper was replaced as it was much more glossy than the rest of the truck. So I'm thinking he hit something and ran up on it screwing up the radiator and god knows what else underneath. We said no thanks so now the kid is pissed. Hmmm..how about taking care of your stuff and it will be worth something later on.
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