What car should I live in next year?

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 21 - 40 of total 95 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
briham89

Big Wall climber
los gatos. ca
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 7, 2012 - 09:02am PT
Hahaha I think Locker has a winner there.

I have about 10 grand saved up for a car, but the less I have to spend on the car the longer I can stay on the road.

eKat that van looks pretty appealing. I like the soccer mom cover up. The "secret dirtbag van"

Elcapinyoazz are westys with rebuilt engines a decent option or are those engines still crap? I've been looking into buying one with a blown engine and swapping either a Subaru or ford engine into it. Is it worth the work? Or should I stay away?
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Aug 7, 2012 - 09:21am PT
The rebuilts VWs engines...I wouldn't touch one myself. The Suby swap is semi popular, but it is a big project and involves more than just sticking a different engine in it, like you'll need to get the conversion parts to mate it to the tranny, mess with the wiring harness, etc.

There are some good resources on the web.

10k, I'd get the Honda or Toyota, and be happy to never turn a wrench on it, sell it after you're done and get most of your money back (or drive it into the ground if you don't mind driving a minivan as your daily). Or if you need part of that 10k for living, go the Astro route, just find one that already had the tranny rebuilt.
Enthusiast

Boulder climber
Port Townsend WA
Aug 7, 2012 - 09:26am PT
A Ford Ecoline van is very simple, cheap, durable and has a lot of space when the back is cleared out.
Dapper Dan

Trad climber
Menlo Park
Aug 7, 2012 - 09:27am PT
As someone who's done that lifestyle in a Honda accord , and now an older Toyota 4x4 , I can say having the 4x4 has made so many more roads possible . Dirt roads , forest service roads , mining roads , steep roads , whatever , the little Toyota has never let me down .

You can sleep in the back with a camper , and get about 24mpg with a 4 cyl. There's no substitute for ground clearance , and 4hi and 4low .

Pllus , only lesbians drive Suburu's right ?

Silver Canyon near Bishop . This 4x4 road leads up to the White Mtns.
Silver Canyon near Bishop . This 4x4 road leads up to the White Mtns.
Credit: Dapper Dan
Credit: Dapper Dan
briham89

Big Wall climber
los gatos. ca
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 7, 2012 - 09:30am PT
And plus , only lesbians drive Suburu's right ?

LOL!

Truck with a camper is a good options as well. Ideally i would like more than two seats, but I guess I could get by with the small rear seats on some tacomas.

What about a mazda mpv 4wd? Yeah they look kinda dumb, but they have good clearance, 4wd, and can take the seats out to sleep in. Anyone know have any experience with these?

Edit: Damn those pictures make that look like a really good option!
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Aug 7, 2012 - 09:39am PT
For me, the conversion van with hightop has been very good, except of course for the poor gas mileage(averaged 15mpg on last cross-country trip, gets 13 in off-highway). I have had an '88 GMC one for the last 2 years(but alas...it won't pass inspection now and what will I do?)

I need a little more room, because I really do live in the thing from November-April, carry inventory for the chalkbags and hair accessories I sell, and also have a dog. Plus, I am not a young guy who is willing to suffer a bit or else drink themselves into the denial of how cramped they are for space.....

But - the things that make me feel a conversion van (with all but front two seats ripped out, and platform installed) are a good way to go are:

 Tinted windows keep out some of the heat from sun during the day, and also allow for privacy. I could change clothes parked right next to people and they could be looking right at the van and have no idea.
 High Top gives enough room so you can sit on the platform to read or do whatever, and still be comfortable. My platform was set high enough I could slide 17 inch tall bins underneath.
 The conversion vans have extra insulation compared to regular vans or other vehicles. This makes for great comfort on cold winter nights, and also helps keep interior heat down in the sun. If you have a dog, this is really important, since there are times the dog must stay behind.
 Very easy bivy in places others can not. Especially if the conversion has those fancy window shades.
 Fairly secure, as far as vehicles go, and because they look the way they do, aren't going to attract the attention of thieves thinking construction gear, as with a cargo van. The tinted windows, and under-platform storage also mean people can't peak inside and see what's available for the taking.... Opportunity IS the reason most thieves act. Reducing opportunity is important, when your world possessions depend on it.
 You can cook inside when weather is sucky.

I have seen plenty of people living out of their vehicles the last two years and they make the best with what they have, but having enough space that you don't have to maneuver stuff from one section to another just to sleep is really good.

Sure, I would like to have a Sprinter, but they are SO expensive. And that's without outfitting the interior.

A Westie/Vanagon? It's the romantic's vehicle, but the reality is less rose-tinted.


One thing - if you go with a cargo van that has been used commercially and has no interior work - definitely put in extra insulation and flooring with covering to help keep out the cold.

eKat

Trad climber
BITD3
Aug 7, 2012 - 10:00am PT
eKat that van looks pretty appealing. I like the soccer mom cover up. The "secret dirtbag van"

yeah. . . she's rad.

I made some really killer black out curtains for the front windows (the side ones have factory limo tint and bitchen shades) and bought a custom fit windshield cover . . . so when I need to dirtbag, I cruise the spot where I want to sleep (usually a high end hotel) get the lay of the land, drive away to somewhere that I can set everything up, have the curtains ready to deploy and slowly drive back to the hang, park it, slap the curtains (they're rigid) in the front windows, jump in the back and close AND LOCK the doors.

VOILA!

Pretty rad.

AND. . . if I keep my foot out of her, I can get 27mpg. . . but, since she's so frikken powerful and handles like a dream, I rarely keep my foot out of it!

:-)

K
mwatsonphoto

Trad climber
los angeles, ca
Aug 7, 2012 - 10:39am PT
Hey eKat,

What year is that? 4 cyl or 6?
eKat

Trad climber
BITD3
Aug 7, 2012 - 10:43am PT
What year is that? 4 cyl or 6?

2004

6

I bought her new and I'll drive her frikken wheels off. I sort of inherited my dad's penchant for taking really good care of cars. . . and she's pretty much spotless, as we speak. She's got 105K miles on her - almost none of which are stop and go, city jive. Most of them are wide open, kick ass road trip miles. . . that and ski area miles. There are 10 - 14 days at a time when I don't even start her up. . . so I'm told she's low mileage for her years.

She rocks. . . she's like a WAY respectable HippieWagen.

:-)
khanom

Trad climber
The Dessert
Aug 7, 2012 - 11:38am PT
I've had two long road trips, one in a Toyota Rav4 and one in an older Dodge van with a Sportsmobile conversion.

Each had their pros and cons. I paid so little for the Rav4 that when I sold it a few years later I made money. It was great on gas, and the perfect size for me and the occasional road trip partner. I drove that thing everywhere... Squamish, Devil's Tower, back east... about 60,000 miles in two years. Having the AWD was really handy 'cause I explored everywhere. When I went back to work I was so broke I lived in it for six months.

The van I got mainly so I could work a bit while on the road and extend my trip -- ended up being a couple months shy of 4 years and I'd still be going if I hadn't met a wonderful woman. I knew if I kept the Rav4 that I'd probably have a shorter trip. The van is fantastically comfortable and has a stove, fridge, a sink with 25 gal water tank, solar panel, etc etc. To me it was the perfect solution for an extended trip as having that comfort made it possible to go year-round and not be brought down by being out in weather all the time. When you're on the road that long you need your days off and your space. Being able to cook and hang out inside when it's raining or snowing is just so key. My only real regrets with my van are the MPG (the $5+ gas was really painful) and my tendency to take it places I shouldn't. I got stuck so many times, but became very adept at dealing with it.


So I've run into a lot of different rigs and their are some common themes:

 Older conversion/camper van: Generally older folks who trade money for comfort and/or who live in it for a long time. You need to be able to afford the MPG. If it's a conversion van you might be a bit more on the radar than a camper, which often is mistaken for Grandma and Grandad.
 4x4 Tacoma with shell: 80% of trippin' climbers, people who like to explore, people who aren't living in it all year round or for extended periods. This is what my girl and I currently use and it's awesome. Descent compromise on MPG -- we can get 25 highway if we're careful.
 Astro van: A lot of people with this, and it's a fantastic option. They are pretty reliable and decent on gas. The space is easily converted to a nice loft, cooking area, etc. You can do some pretty trick things.
 Minivan (Toyota, Honda): Folks who had a bit more money and wanted something with even better MPG and enough space for indoor hangout space. Stealthy helps a lot too sometimes. More reliable and better driving than Astro. The space is less conducive to a camper set up, but not by much if you are creative.


From what you've said so far I'd guess that the Astro or Minivan options would be a good fit for you. Probably the Astro because with your mechanical skills you can deal with the odd issue that comes up -- it's never usually that big, from what I've seen but a Toyota minivan will generally have no issues at all.

One other thing: Don't forget the gas. On a road trip it really adds up and can severely shorten your trip. But you have to balance up front cost and MPG -- do the math to avoid the surprises.
Dapper Dan

Trad climber
Menlo Park
Aug 7, 2012 - 12:20pm PT
One other thing: Don't forget the gas. On a road trip it really adds up and can severely shorten your trip. But you have to balance up front cost and MPG -- do the math to avoid the surprises.

This is really good advice . My g/f and I did a cross country motorcycle trip this summer , my bike gets 40-45 MPG , and I fill up about every 150 miles . Each fill up would only cost about $13 , no big deal , that's a bargain right?

By the end of the trip my gas bill was almost $700 dollars , you don't really think of the cost when it's only $13 at a time , but it adds up .

A mexican drinking under Mexican Hat .
A mexican drinking under Mexican Hat .
Credit: Dapper Dan
FRUMY

Trad climber
SHERMAN OAKS,CA
Aug 7, 2012 - 12:30pm PT
Well I really like Vans, big or small -but this is what i've been using the last 5 years
4x4 - 16 city 19 highway
Yukon XL
Yukon XL
Credit: FRUMY
This trailer was pulled up to Dawson city in the Yukon by a toyota -- ...
This trailer was pulled up to Dawson city in the Yukon by a toyota -- It's being towed home by a GM. The toyota didn't make it home.
Credit: FRUMY
Crossing the Mackenzie river about 150 miles north of the Arctic circl...
Crossing the Mackenzie river about 150 miles north of the Arctic circle.
Credit: FRUMY
Credit: FRUMY
Credit: FRUMY
Credit: FRUMY
Credit: FRUMY
Credit: FRUMY
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Aug 7, 2012 - 12:38pm PT
I had a Volvo 240 that I lived out of for a while.

Great car, wish I still had one.
briham89

Big Wall climber
los gatos. ca
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 7, 2012 - 12:49pm PT
Thanks for the advice everyone! I knew this group would have some great personal insights. I'm leaning towards either a van conversion or tacoma with a camper shell now.

Dan a motorcycle would be rad! But a. i have no throttle control and b. I have way too much sh#t to bring along the way.

FRUMY that setup looks cool but I can't afford that MPG.

I like the high clearance of the tacoma and the 4x4 capabilities...but my parents actually have an old Honda odyssey that I might be able to buy from them and convert...hmmmmm thinking time. Keep the ideas coming though, thanks a lot!
t*r

Mountain climber
alis volat propriis
Aug 7, 2012 - 01:03pm PT
i think you should pick honda or toyota anything. OR a subaru wagon but watch out for the head gaskets
khanom

Trad climber
The Dessert
Aug 7, 2012 - 01:38pm PT
I simply can't fathom doing what you propose sans 4wd. It locks you out of so MUCH!

I love exploring remote locations and have taken my van nearly everywhere I wanted to go. The only road I have ever backed off of was the Laurel Lakes road. I'm sure many of you know that one. I got about 1/2 way up when I started to encounter issues with clearance. But I never got stuck -- I just rolled back down about 1/4 mile to where I could turn around.

The van has huge clearance, so my strategy with 2WD has been driving skill, good tires, momentum, chains, come along, tow strap... roughly in that order.

So while I wouldn't buy 2WD next time, that's me. I love to explore and find remote bivies, and I love winter camping, so it's worth it to me to have 4x4. But for the average road tripper, especially if you want to go distance, I think 2WD is a better fit.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Aug 7, 2012 - 01:44pm PT
DMT I often see quite the opposite: Subris - the condition of thinking your Subaru is infallible with it's AWD so you drive too fast.

My Subaru is usually on CC at 9 mph over the speed limit. Some people may get pissed at me when: I drive somewhat fast up the grade, but slow down going over the summit and down the other side when it's snowing/icy. Of course these were the people going slow up hill but speed up going downhill in slippery conditions - dumb. Or they get pissed because I'm not tailgating the person in front of me, so they pass on the right so they can tailgate the guy in front of me and get there 2 seconds faster!

Then you got the boy racers in their WRXs with big wings on the back and LED lighting under it. And of course you do get the granolas with the Outbacks going super slow in all conditions even when they should be speeding up to have momentum to get through a snowbank left over from a plow...

Anyway, good advice so far. I would highly prefer a van to live in. You can live in a van, anything else mentioned you just survive in. I'd rather get the better mpg and space of a minivan and do more hiking, than deal with crawling into the camper shell of a Toyota P/U and having to shuffle stuff around all the time to sleep, eat, drive, climb (I've done it). If you do get a p/u with a shell, at least get a storage box for the roof to get a lot of your stuff out of the way. I wouldn't want to live out of a station wagon (suby/volvo), unless I set up a tent base camp somewhere at each location.

You can find Toyotas 2004+ and Hondas 2001+ used under $10K now. The Hondas can have tranny issues though. Get a Toyota with about 100,000 and it will go 200,000 probably no problem. 27 mpg highway, very reliable, and ok driving and clearance.

A full size van with a 6 cyl will give you more room at the expense of mpg.

A conversion van would be nice but not good mpg. Class B camper vans are great but always expensive.

I've never owned a Astro, Aero.

A Dodge/chrysler minivan would be cheaper but less reliable and probably not any cheaper over the life of how long you keep it.

If your parents have an Odyssey I'd go for that. You can fold the 3rd seat flat most of the time but if you want to give a few friends a ride you can.
You'll lose a little in terms of 4WD, but you can use chains for snow, and carefull driving will get you to a lot of places. You have good space, mpg, and reliability.
this just in

climber
north fork
Aug 7, 2012 - 01:54pm PT
There's a guy in El Portal that fixes up Salvage Title Subarus and sells them from 3,000 to around 6,000, depending what he has. I know three people who have purchased from him and they love their cars and have never had a problem. I've talked to him and he's a cool old dude. If you're interested, email me and I'll track down his contact info.
t*r

Mountain climber
alis volat propriis
Aug 7, 2012 - 02:12pm PT
lol dingus! i've been considering a subie since i've heard tell they're better for snow driving, but i've resisting the switch to subaru for awhile now. perhaps that's why. plus i kind of want to keep buddy for awhile longer... was thinking i'd keep it 'til at least 350k.
Jebus H Bomz

climber
Reno, Nuh VAAAA duh
Aug 7, 2012 - 02:22pm PT
My wife has the subie. I'm usually doing the safe 7-10 mph over the speed limit too.

But, hell, I'll admit that when I'm feeling it, I'll take my time in whatever vehicle I'm driving. I like to c*#k the rearview so I can't see you fuming behind me, flashing your lights, shark swerving behind me. I don't care ;). And I'm NOT diving into some crap gravel pull out to let you go by either. Nope. Man up and pass me if you've got to get there.

My jam is a Toyota Echo. 35 miles or so per gallon. I get it up some rutted dirt roads like at Needles, CA. I wouldn't live out of the sonofabitch though.

edit: Hahaha... I guess ST doesn't like the safe uses of the word "cock"!
Messages 21 - 40 of total 95 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
 
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks


Try a free sample topo!

 
SuperTopo on the Web

Review Categories
Recent Trip Report and Articles
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews