Why do you drive what you drive off-road?


when in doubt, upgrade!
So Jordan, Utah
Ok I will bite.

I grew up in the back of '65 CJ5, which my dad still has, so when I had the chance to get my own in the mid 90's I found a pretty clean '77 CJ5.

That little 5 grew as my college budget could afford until it had 35"s w/D44s locked front and rear. A pretty "built" rig for back in the day. I think that is the last rig I ever drove to Moab and back on a regular basis... (tow rigs are awesome!)

Then early in the 2000's I realized the down side to a CJ5 on the escalator after I went over backwards! Something about 83" of wheelbase that is awesome in places but then not so awesome.

Needless to say I put the 5 back together and still have it mainly for memories, but my current rig is a '81 Scrambler, same CJ feel, but more wheelbase, and now that I am older more room for family. I put the scrambler together to be comfortable on the trail, have the stuff needed to get me home if needed. It has served as a support rig to a race team, but it is way to heavy to get placed in the buggy category.

When it comes to organized trail runs you usually find me and my wife hanging out at the back making sure everyone gets back safely. ;)

The nice part for me has been wheeling the same rig for the last 15+ years, lots of good trails, friends, family, and friends that are now close as family. (You yahoos know who you are)
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.......a few dollars more
Premium Member
Background: My dad had a '48 Willys when I was about 8-12 yrs old. Montgomery Ward galvanized hardtop and a heater. (Still love the smell of the old grease in those--maybe it's a leather shift boot or something?) We should start another thread with stories of mishaps because there were a LOT of those in that Jeep. My dad always bragged about his dad/uncles buying a surplus WWII Jeep and helping people haul their deer out of Farmington canyon and such in the 50s-60s. I have a picture somewhere of that. It's a cool photo of a bunch of people I like with a couple deer in the Jeep that's beyond loaded down. LOVE to find that particular Jeep but that's not going to happen, I'm sure

I got into muscle cars as a youngster and still LOVE those. Just waiting for the Jeep disease to move on from me before I pick up something big block and fun. I bought my first truck in about '94? '76 Chev shortbed. Was really a nice truck in it's day and was well taken care of. Time and Utah winters are not kind to those but it was SUPER reliable and pretty comfortable. I bought some sweet Pep Boys all terrains and thought that truck could go almost anywhere. I always wanted "posi" in both axles and wondered where it would go that way? Sold that truck to get into our first house.

Bought this '77 as a TOTAL project. No floors, WAY lots of rust, 350 and 465.

We couldn't have kids (until I bought this truck, my wife had an '89 Camaro and bought a house that required both of our incomes), but once they came along the truck cab got small FAST. I kept it for a while because I had swapped in 3/4 ton axles, a 402 and T350. It wasn't FAST but was a solid and fun truck.

My wife passed the Camaro along to me and bought a '96 ZJ with UpCountry suspension on a recommendation from @Brent . We used the hell out of that Jeep and she kept it for 13-14 years. I took her once on Poison Spider in the ZJ and she was PISSED. Told me to get my own Jeep. I snagged a '91 XJ for cheap, fixed a leaking ABS line and wheeled that a wee bit. The "frame" held up better than expected in that beast, but like any uni-body, flex is not it's friend.

Answer: I determined I liked the old Jeep "feel"/smells, GM parts (plentiful and cheap) and the Jeep solid axles. I had an '89 Suburban with a TBI 350, grabbed a frame/tub from someone on this board, found some axles (14 bolt from Factory Tubular--eh, take you back a few years?) and started swapping. After selling the blue truck above and my blue XJ for funding, I built the current "Jeep" in about 6 months (? took me that long to swap my engine this fall :D) so the fab isn't "nice". "Nice" fab at my talent level takes a LONG time so it doesn't get a lot of credit in the looks dept, but it works and is a pretty trail proven rig that's been pretty reliable other than the Dana 300 case.

My kids have literally grown up with the XJ and the "Jeep". I went to sell the "Jeep" a few years ago and you thought I was killing the dog. I guess the "Jeep" is part of the family for a while?
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when in doubt, upgrade!
So Jordan, Utah
My kids have literally grown up with the XJ and the "Jeep". I went to sell the "Jeep" a few years ago and you thought I was killing the dog. I guess the "Jeep" is part of the family for a while?
I am pretty sure that the kids would kick me out of the family if I ever got rid of our Jeeps. There is something pretty cool when your 6 year old looks at you and asks, "Dad, when are we going Jeeping?"


Well-Known Member
Price ut
I too love blazers I started with a 77 blazer beater and after a lot of tuition to ord and a few blazer bash trips I got in too far, (47in tires, doubler,full hydro) every thing broke. It was just to heavy and BIG... so I built my buggy, I had the desire to run at ttc and knew everyone there would be on 54’s so I built around them. I love my buggy, I just don’t use it much...



Well-Known Member
I started off with a few K5 blazers then a CJ7 then a YJ. All built to different levels of offroad worthiness but in my mid 20's I found dirt bikes. That's when I realized how cheap and easy off road fun could be. For less then the cost of my custom drive lines on my YJ crawler I had a used YZ 250 that never broke and was always fun. Ive owned a side by side of some type since 2006 and still use the rzr often with my family. I like how versatile the RZR is offroad. I can blast the desert at 65mph, put it in low range and take it in the mountains, fun in the sand dunes, enjoy moab.

That said I would like a well set up tacoma one day set up for longer camping/offroad trips.


Well-Known Member
Layton, UT
In high school I was handed down a manual 1981 Toyota 4x4 Pickup, back before Toyota named them stateside. I threw a pair of Uniroyal ATs on, some white steelies, and drove the crap or if it in the hills and canyons along the Snake River around my hometown in Idaho. 22R was a little finicky, but I learned a lot.

Fast forward to college after an LDS mission and I got back into a Toyota, a 1995 Tacoma 2.4L with a manual. Kept the stock alloys, threw on some Toyo ATs. Lots of memories around Utah in that rig. Including my first true sideways, downhill stuck while winter wheeling.

I sold the Taco to my kid brother (who promptly totalled it when he fell asleep at the wheel) right after we bought our house. Mistake. I'd never been without a truck that could get me where I wanted to go. I was quickly made the Assistant Scoutmaster, and after bringing my wife's Murano home smelling like 12yr old scout and campfire after the first campout, she greenlighted another rig. Hello, Trooper!


A 1992 with manual transmission, factory rear limited-slip, and 4.56 gearing with a low first gear, the thing was a billy goat. Snagged it from a friend for $800. This was my first jump into lifting, threw on 3" OME suspension lift and a 1" body lift. I found some "snowflake" wheels from an earlier Isuzu and ran 265/75 Guard Dogs. I eventually added the rack and installed a third row seat for the wee scouts to use. It wasn't fast, but it was dead reliable and took us everywhere. Best reaction was pulling up to Scout Camp, towing a trailer, carrying myself, another leader, and 5 scouts. The older gentleman doing check-in looked perplexed, as the groups in from of us worh the same number of people had two full-size trucks and battle-carrier trailers!

My current rig came from wanting a little more capability off-road and towing. The Trooper was great, but IFS is limiting, and the tired V6 was pushing 215k miles. So, after much looking and research, I landed in my current 2002 Grand Cherokee Overland in 2015.


It was a two owner. Little old lady for the first 130k, with all factory service documented, and 28k with a family in Spanish Fork who were looking to sell and get rid of a payment. Picked it up for $2,500, and after a new battery, shift linkage, and taillight, it was good as new. I had a few builds to get where I am, but currently at 5" lift with 265/75 Kelly Safari TSRs on painted factory alloys, and a rear rear lunchbox locker. The 4.7 HO V8 runs strong.

Love this thing. Have done Moab twice now - Poison Spider, Golden Spike, Gold Bar Rim, Steel Bender, Hell's Revenge, and Flat Iron Mesa. I'm sure there will be upgrades and more build in the future - bumpers and winch come to mind - but for now, I'm content.
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Premium Member
East Stabbington
I got into the offloading thing when I saw a red lifted ZJ in the U of U parking lot (shout out to Matt Woolam (sp)) and fell in love. Prior to that, I was generally pretty frightened about four wheeling. I was always terrified going hunting as a kid because of the muddy mountain roads, and when I had my first 4x4 (s15 Jimmy) even the fairly basic trails (like the entrance to Poison Spider) scared the living shit out of me. I then bought a ZJ and built it and broke it and kind of fell into the local rock crawling community and the more national Grand Cherokee community. I had lots of ZJ's over the years mostly built for tougher trails. Eventually, I got tired of the expense of keeping up those rigs (not to mention the space needed for a spare vehicle, or a spare tow rig and trailer and vehicle), and the crowds on trails that used to be peaceful all the time, so I sold those off and picked up a more suitable/economical camping vehicle.

I drive a Tacoma because it seemed to be the most reliable of the few small size 4 door truck options and had the ability to run 33's with the least amount of work. It has been an awesome truck with very, very few problems over the last 125k miles. Other than fuel economy, I don't have many bad things to say about it other than my mild allergic reaction to the brand elitism associated with it's maker. I've learned to live with that via snide ashholey remarks at (in)opportune times.

I definitely want to take a look at the new Rangers when they come out, and I wish the Colorado had better aftermarket support. If something of another make came along with similar dimensions, reliability, resale, and suitable aftermarket support, I'd jump ship. I also really miss SUV's from my days driving and destroying Grand Cherokees, and as my family situation changes, I have found myself looking long and hard at the 200 series Land Cruisers.
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Active Member
Ogden, UT
When I was a little kid I always wanted a jeep because I thought it would be sweet to take the top off in the summer time. I was young enough that I didn’t realize Jeep was a manufacture. I just figured every topless 4x4 was a jeep so in reality I was super into CJ’s, Land Cruisers, 4Runners, Blazer, Scouts, Broncos, etc. When I got a little older and was thinking about purchasing my first car I wanted something a bit more unique so I was interested in everything BUT a jeep. I vividly remember being about 10 and my dad pulled up to a stoplight and a “jeep” was sitting next to us. Some ugly bearded man drinking a brown-ish liquid out of a mason jar was behind the steering wheel. I asked my dad what kind of car he was driving and he told me it was a “Toyota Land Cruiser and you should never own one”. Apparently he had a friend growing up who owned one and it was a nightmare. Regardless from that point on I was dead set on owning an FJ40 one someday.

Fast forward a few years I was 15 years old and bought a 1985 Toyota 4Runner as my 1st car. After buying the 4Runner I rode my go-ped scooter down to Mr 4x4 with my remaining stash of hard earned paper route cash in my pocket and ordered the cheapest lift kit they offered for it. The 4Runner was a compromise of sorts as I really wanted the fj40 but my dad semi-approved of the 4runner purchase because he had driven a Toyota pickup as a work vehicle and it treated him pretty well. From that point on I’ve owned Toyota pickup, 4runner, Tacoma, Tundra, Land Cruiser. Aside from a brief 12 months my last year of college I’ve always been the owner of a Toyota 4x4.

I currently drive a Tundra for day to day use, my wife drives a 4Runner, and I have an fj40 as a toy. I guess I’ve stuck with Toyotas because I’ve always had great luck with them and at this point everything is so familiar to me. Oh and they’re the best.


Amish dude
D.C. Area
All started with being a poor kid in the late 90's. Loved being outdoors and in the hills, but my family never could afford any nice cars or 4wd so I took the big ol' wrecked van where I could. Dreamed about having a TJ when I was in high school (they came out when I was a freshman). I found Sammis were cheap and I paid all of 1200 bucks for my first one when I was 17. Sprung it over and found that I learned a lot about feathering the clutch and finding creative lines to get me over obstacles, which made me a decent driver back then. Fell in love with beating Jeeps that had more in their tires and wheels than I had into my entire truck so I stuck with samurais for a while. Plus the kids love them.

Since then I've had multiple samurais and have upgraded to Toyota for the room and wheelbase. I prefer first gen runners for the removable top. Can't stand being closed in with top and doors. I go through cars though... over 40 in my 15 years of marriage, so who knows what will be next... probably an 80 series land cruiser. I've owned several XJs but never really liked Jeeps that much.