At PW , I have often come across articles regarding 4 x4 . What do you think ? How much should it cost ? What should I put in ? Which one is better ? !................... ( I am of the above opinion during my quest to find a CJ-7 original hard top across all the available forums ). I think that any person persuing a 4x 4 should be clear in head about what he wants .So following is what I think :
1- 4 x 4 Required : WHY?
-you want it to be your only transport ( Ans : Go for a cheap simple machine like Cj 5 , M38A1)
- Your second car ( Ans :You have money to spare . scroll down for answers)
- You like outdoors - travelling / offroading (. Ans : you have money as well as a specified desire . scroll down for answers)
- You want a rig which turns heads : ( Ans : U r loaded and can have anything . Still scroll down)
2- How much a 4 x 4 Costs ?
The answer to this question is : Guys as much as you want the 4 x 4 to cost you for your satisfaction.
Range however can start from:
upto 250 K
: Run down vehicle with some reliability issues ( never take paint finish ,tyre rims as a benchmark to quality)
350 - 450 K :
Reasonable Range for a well thought out vehicle . Medium performance backed by good reliability ( Willys, M38 A 1 , Cj 5 , CJ 7 and maybe basic FJ 40 can be made )
upto 650 k :
Well this is the interesting range for 4 x 4s . Here you can play with the options . Petrol , Diesel , Turbo , Diff. Locks , Tyres , rims, AC , fancy stuff like lights CD player, winch , exterior shape , add-ons from other vehicles etc etc . Do it right and you can have a vehicle which will be almost as good as new ( remember , 4 x 4 are only maintained by guys who dont mind going under the chasis for greasing , oil change OR guys who keep few tools in their garages)
Above 650 K :
I dont want to comment on this range as I cannot venture into this UTOPIAN range .but SKY IS THE LIMIT . Original wranglers, cherokee , Surfs, Prados , Amazon, Landrovers, Pajeros etc .
3- Which 4 x 4 is good ( My opinion only after you have answered the above questions)
The correct answer is : NO 4 x 4 is bad . It is what you like . My opinoin is as follows on available 4 x 4s in Pakistan:
- Willy 1942 - 50 ( and some variants) : Probably the best 4 x 4 offroader ever made . Simple, elegant , tough, small and it goes places. Probably unstoppable . ( Becoming quite rare these days )
- M 38 A 1 : The most rugged , tough 4 x 4 . Most suitable ,if bulk use is "off the road " . Pak Army's most used vehicle and is still in service in some units.
- CJ -5 : Almost same as M38 A 1 if used in civilian role.Most abundant vehicle these days and mechanics are well versed in required modifications. ( Wrangler body can be fitted on this chasis)
- CJ -7 : A great 4 x 4 . Spacious , with multi purpose effectiveness both on road as well as off road. ( Not really an extreme off road as the above mentioned models) and becoming quite rare. ( Perfect for wrangler body on CJ 7 chasis)
- MUTT M151 : Abundant availablity . Cheapest at the monment . Can be found in good condition. BUTT has some limitations in terms of gear box , axles and playing options. It has very comfortable ride but can be termed as a medium offroader due to complexity of its mechanical parts availability in Pakistan. It also is a "low bed" vehicle which means that ground clearance is low . Neverthe less it can quench the thirst for a 4 x4 fan.
- Toyota : ( RKR, FJ 40 etc) . I am not into Toyota 4 x4 but I can say that these are the best Japanese 4 x 4 s. A bit on the high cost side due to its liking in the NWFP & Northern Area belt s but these 4 x 4 are probably best in terms of parts availability and their original shape is probably the best looking . These 4 x 4 have good re sale , and most of the time do not require shape modifications. Abundantly available in soft and hard top versions.
- Wagoneer : I love it . There are quite a few available . These are predessor to the famous Cherokee. Great suspension. Big Engine space . Hard top . Big 4 x4 . Rugged. Can be a family car also . So if you have a nice piece , then this 4 x 4 is a real multi purpose vehicle. Spare scarity is however a reality .
- Land rover: These British vehicles are no less to none. Range rover , Defender all are part of a family which is synonimous to high performance vehicles . These are however not very frequently seen on Pakistan cause their numbers were limited in the military / civil till very recent . You own this vehicle and you have one of the finest under you only compared to the American "Jeep" . Part availability , to my knowledge , is very rare under "Kabli " stuff . So maybe , it is a bit expensive vehicle to maintain.
4- How to make a 4 x 4 ?
It is the most tricky question.
Firstly if your 4x4 is already in "made " condition , then just go and find a good mechanic and browse the spare part markets and enjoy the ride .
But if you want to make a 4 x 4 according to you taste then ( you may )follow these principles :
1- Original is the best : Any 4 x4 in its original combination can never be equalled . No amount of engine power can beat it . Trust me . These vehicles are designed in a ratio - sync under defined numeorus operating conditions. Local modification may give you , for example , speed but it will compromise some aspects of performance . This is the bottom line but it has to be backed up by higher operating costs ( due to original petrol engines ) and effort ( due to spare parts availability issues)
2- By now you know why you need a 4 x 4 and you are also aware of the costs involved. Another aspect is your revenue expenditure ( running expenditure ) . Most people i know, spend a fortune on a 4 x 4 renovation. These people are "well off " also . But they would not like to spend money on petrol. I mean if you can buy a Prado 2006 , then I am sure you can also afford petrol / diesel. I mean to say that a prado with 6 cyl petrol engine running on CNG is by no means what I would do personally . i would rather go for a prado 2006 original diesel. Please understand this point before you embark upon renovation.
Any ways , it is your decision and answer the below in sequence to come up with your 4 x4
a- Engine: Based upon your usage ( %age on road , or offroading level ) select an engine which has the benefit of cost- power-spares . I would suggest that follow a trend that is prevailing in the market ( e.g in diesel 2 L - 2LT- 3 L T , 1 B - 2 B - 3 B, I C - 2 C - 2 CT- 3 C- 3CT etc . Latest versions are better usually ) . Sanity should however prevail. If you want just a reasonalble power then do not go for a 1 KZ Prado engine cause you will be coughing out extra for brand name also . Also the latest version of engine might have higher spare costs . In general , the Kabli maal determines the engine selection . For Example , these days 2500 ,3000 cc toyota petrol engines along with land cruiser v -8 are abundantly available in the market and hence the engine cost - spares is quite feasable . Same goes for any diesel engine . Thumb rule tht I follow is that Toyota Engines are the best in Pakistan .
b- Gear Box & Axles : Please give this area highest priority . Otherwise you may end up with a vehicle which starts from zero in 2nd gear or after top speed of 100 kph the engine fails to speed up the vehicle . The answer to this area is ask your mechanic the ratios . Example is
-Engine RPM ( diesel eng are relatively low rpm engines than a petrol engine . Similarly in each type of engine the rpm are different . Surf the internet to compare)
- Gear box / differential ratios . Meaning 100 revolution of drive shaft will turn the wheel axle how many times ? You will be surprised that I have seen vehicles having this ratio as high as 6.5( 6.5 revs of drive shaft rotating 1 rev of wheel axle )
In short : the first ratio issue can occur in gear box ( the engine rotates but the 1st or top gear of the gear box does not sufficiently rotates the drive shaft or VICE VERSA) . The second is drive shaft to wheel axle ratio . This ratio if is around 4 , then you have a motorway speed rig . If you have this ratio in the range of + 5 , the you will be comfortable with the offraod performance .Lastly do not forget , that the tyre -rim combination resulting in the overall height of the tyre also effects the final result of these ratio synchronisation . ( as one wheel axle revolution will depend on the height of the tyre which then translates into how forward the vehicle will go in one rev of tyre- wheel axle)
PLS TELL YOUR MECHANIC WHAT YOU WANT THE JEEP FOR . CONSEQUENTLY , YOU WILL THEN HAVE A FEW OPTIONS WHICH WILL BE FINALISED BASED UPON 1- COST , 2- DURABILITY , 3 - RATIOS AND DRIVE SPEEDS.
Do not forget , that a 4x 4 is essentially an offroad vehicle . It does have some level of road worthiness but this is something that is your call . You have to define it first and then buy stuff.( personally , my jeep is my car which should take me anywhere . So i have a relatively high speed ratio combination backed by offroading capability including differtial locks . But my Jeep is not perfect for severe offroading . This is a decision that you need to make first)
- Leaf Springs : Again your usage will define the type if leafs installed . Rocky , Diahatsu , Land Cruiser or original 4x 4 leafs all can be installed . The level of "on -road" comfort will be different for each but then performace on off-road is inversly propotional to comfort on the road . IT IS YOUR DECISION based on type of use.
- DENTING - SHAPE : the final shape of the 4 x 4 is the sole proprietry of the owner . Trust me . Owners of pathetic 4 x 4 love their vehicles where as the most high performance vehicle might not be appreciated when it comes to looks. But beauty i is skin deep only . Even if men dont agree this philosophy in women , in case of 4 x 4 , this is true.( for me I like orginal shape as it has character)
The point I want to emphasise is the denting . 9 out of 10 renovated 4x4 will creak after 1 year. Rust will appear here and there at the end of 2 year . 3 rd year will surprise you with totally rusted floor and so on . Can nothing be done?
Answer is yes . It can be done . I have seen renovated 4 x 4 lasting more than a decade as if they were out of the workshop a month ago . Pls give due attention to denting , rubbers , fittings, paint base and paint in totallity so that you can enjoy the 4 x 4 after first 3 years without issues. Any cost cutting / quality lapses in this area ( by usual "poteen" cover up ) is like a dracula dressed as a queen .
Only one piece of advise . Keep it as simple and standardised as possible .
Simple : Meaning the circuit should not be made extra complex by installing chinese fixtures which stop working in 4 months . Keep quality gadgets and only those which y9ou require
Standardised : Means that good quality DC cables should be used . Conduits should be made and routed . Lastly never allow the electritian to use "Nitto" tape as a cable joint insulation. It is criminal as when you get your engine bay cleaned by spraying diesel and surf cleaning , the "Nitto " tape will fail like anything. Use cable jointer and cable lugs insted with cable glands. LIFE WILL BE SIMPLE AND YOUR VEHICLE ELECTRONICS WILL BEHAVE BETTER THAN WAPDA.
I hope that starters will appreciate my write-up though the word of caution is that there is no ulitamate answers to the 4 x 4 of your choice . It is up to you and your satisfaction only .
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