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What is the best offroader?


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Discussion Starter #1
I'm lookin around for an older truck that i can mod out into a good offroad machine, mostly for hunting, pissing around and maybe some deep(ish) mudding.
Right now looking at a 95 ram 2500 with 5.9L cummins. Want to know peoples thoughts on 2500 or 1500? if 2500, cummins or hemi? And any other advice you may have. thanks.
 

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Well if you plan on hunting in cold cold weather I wouldn't get a diesel. As you could there is a chance of getting stuck out there. As you wouldn't want to leave it running while hunting.
 

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Black & White
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Power Wagon... best off road vehicle outta the factory
 

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Well i have thought of that, a friend of mine put a webasto on in 04 f.250, and i'm considering that, one of the reasons i was thinking diesel is when i go hunting up north i'll be hauling my camper and a diesel would be nice for the pulling power. i'm more looking for advice about which will handle the best in offroad conditions. the diesel being heavier i could see helping in the snow/ice, but hindering in the mud. I don't know a whole lot about offroading as the only offroading i've done previously was in my 2wd '88 chevy 1/2ton and the 'pin it and pray' driving style.
 

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Yeah i've heard great things about the power wagon. however i'm not looking to spend big cash. i want something that if(when) i wreck it, it's no big deal. the 2500 i'm lookin at right now is a 1995 ram 2500 5.9L Cummins with about 400000km on it, listed for $5k
 

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The 96 Cummins I had sucked in mud and ice/snow. The front end was too heavy and it just wanted to push through turns and pull off into the ditches. Also, the cold weather aspect could be an issue unless you have a way to plug it in.

I would recommend a newer 2500 with the Hemi. Should be plenty powerful to pull the camper, plus it is still SFA.
 

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5.7L HEMI
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Since you're asking about off road ability, my vote when to a 1500 with the Hemi. The 2500 Hemi is going to be bigger and heavier, and the 2500 Cummins is going to be even heavier. Your best bet when dealing with mud is going to be a lighter truck so that (if/when) you get stuck, you'll be able to pull it out and not have it sink.

If you need it for towing that's a different story. If the 1500 can't handle what you need to tow you may be forced to a 2500 Hemi, but I still wouldn't get one with a diesel.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The original reason i was thinking about 2500 is i understand they are alot cheaper to lift. is this not correct?
 

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my 04 cummins 3500 would be fine for light off roading as in fire roads and "some mild trails. always started, even in below zero weather left overnight in driveway. the front end is heavy which is why it needed balljoints every 40000 miles. i never lifted mine it was high enough to get to my fishing spots. if the trails that you need take require more mods than just some aggressive tires, you might want to consider a wrangler.
 

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Same Name, Different Game
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My first thought is the Power Wagon, but after that I'd go 2500 Hemi. More solid parts on the 2500 and less expensive to put a lift on, and not as heavy as the CTD.
 

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heminut
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The Cummings is way too heavy and if you really

want reliability,find a 95-98 Cherokee.The 4.0 inline 6 is super tough and once you add a few low buck things like lift,if it has a decent rear ratio,it will be so close to what you want.If you had posted this in early june,I sold my 95 which was super at getting way back,climbing pipelines and pulling loads like my pals 4 wheelers and tons of gear and still would get 16mpg! Just go to any of the Jeep forums and read a bit. Do NOT get a grand cherokee as they were almost all set up for soccer moms and grocery store runs.Also,if ya get a 4 door like mine was,lots of room + great heater.Those engines were the old rambler block and Chrysler just built a good head with F.I.and with 7 main bearings,I ve seen many go 300,000 + miles with never a whimper. After I retired,I worked in a 4x4 shop and of all of the many kinds of 4x4's we did,those Cherokees weere the toughest and easist to up grade. Good luck ! Heminut
 

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Discussion Starter #12
good idea, but i need a truck bed, deer blood+interior do not mix well
 

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I voted for 2500 Hemi. The Hemi will have plenty of power to tow and like others have said, it's lighter so it wont sink as bad when off-roading. PLus the soid axle is cheaper to throw a lift on and will give you more travel.
 

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I dont think he wants to spend that much on a power wagon guys ha
 

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Discussion Starter #17
yeah, i'm pretty hard on vehicles, really don't wanna spend a whole lot on something that i'm probably gonna end up wrecking LOL
 

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want reliability,find a 95-98 Cherokee.The 4.0 inline 6 is super tough and once you add a few low buck things like lift,if it has a decent rear ratio,it will be so close to what you want.If you had posted this in early june,I sold my 95 which was super at getting way back,climbing pipelines and pulling loads like my pals 4 wheelers and tons of gear and still would get 16mpg! Just go to any of the Jeep forums and read a bit. Do NOT get a grand cherokee as they were almost all set up for soccer moms and grocery store runs.Also,if ya get a 4 door like mine was,lots of room + great heater.Those engines were the old rambler block and Chrysler just built a good head with F.I.and with 7 main bearings,I ve seen many go 300,000 + miles with never a whimper. After I retired,I worked in a 4x4 shop and of all of the many kinds of 4x4's we did,those Cherokees weere the toughest and easist to up grade. Good luck ! Heminut
agreed, my 99 has just under 300k and no problems whatsoever. plus its a 5 speed! if you really need a truck though my vote would be a 2500 gasser
 

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The pre 2002 1500's had a straight axel in the front like the current 2500's so they would be cheaper to lift than the newer ones with the hemi. You will not get a hemi ram unless you buy one that is 2003 or newer (IFS) so it is going to be hard to get a hemi for $5k that is running good. My vote for best off road for the money is a Reg Cab 1500 with the 318 or 360 and lift.
 

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Big Green
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Hey you forgot about the 2500 V10 they can be bought cheep due to gas prices and they are rated from the factory with a higher tow rating than a diesel and they have some good power too.
 
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