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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm a former Marine who just graduated from college and landed my first big boy job.

I have a 2010 rock warrior that I have offroaded a few times but nothing that was too difficult because I didn't want to break anything expensive. Now that I'm starting work full time again I can afford to put some money in parts and set aside some money if I break something expensive.

My question is - how do I prioritize spending my money so that I get the things that will give me the most bang for my buck in terms of capabilities first.

What I'm thinking about:
Tires first - looking at Cooper ST Maxx 285/75r17 because they have deep tread and are a true 34", I know I could fit them on my stock rock warrior because they are the 285 width and just 1.3" taller overall than the stock 285/70.

Suspension- Bilstein 6112 in front on the second from top setting with 5100's and CB +1 or +2 shackles in rear. I'll do a carrier bearing drop if I do the +2, but I'm leaning against the +2 because I don't want to overextend the 5100's. I can't justify the 5160's as I don't think I need the extra lift in the rear because clearance is much better on the rear.
I want to keep a lower center of gravity and don't want to sacrifice CV joint reliability up front, I may do control arms later, but not at first.
Should I just go with my stock RW suspension until I have an issue? It's pretty much 5100's w/ no lift yes?

If I did the lift first I'd consider getting the 315/70r17 ST Maxx's but they are only 34.5 inches tall, so I don't know if a 1/4" more of differential clearance is worth the rubbing/clearance issues the 30 mm wider tires would cause. However the I found the 315/70r17's for $30 less per tire, which was surprising.

I think eventually I'd like to do a front bumper and a winch as well. Wondering if this should be higher up the list in terms of value for capabilities added.

Also looking at the Maxtraxx recovery boards, start with 2 or go ahead and get 4 instead.

Recovery strap

A few lights.

Portable air compressor, are the cheap ones adequate or do I need to spend some money here?

Some rock sliders


So basically, if you were starting over - where would you prioritize your money to maximize capability? Anything else I should be looking into? Any recommendations on specific brand or model of product I need that you feel is a great value?

Thanks.

Mike
 

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Hey Mike. Thank you for your service and congrats on graduating.

One additional thing to think about when allocating your off road funds should be in a full size spare and tool/equipment necessary to change a tire on a lifted truck in the middle of nowhere. I didn't think much of this when I was planning my 6112/5100 lift and wish I would have researched it more ahead of time.

Good luck and enjoy!
 

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What tstieb mentioned is one of the first things I recommend to people as well. A full size spare, basic hand tools, a tire patch kit, and a compressor are all great things to keep on you no matter what. Viair compressors aren't too expensive, and they have never let me down. My first one lasted me at least 5-6 years before I sold the Jeep that it was hard mounted to.

After tires, the biggest difference you can make to your traction off road by far is a locker. If your truck doesn't have one already, I would very highly recommend one in the rear, especially if you're trying more difficult trails. Air and E-lockers are awesome for convenience, but can get expensive, and something with full-time lock like a spool or a Detroit locker can be loud and a PITA on the street, but a good compromise that won't break the bank is something like a Powertrax No Slip.

These are just about invisible on the street, and only really show themselves when you really need them. They sort of act like a limited slip to some degree before they lock your axles together completely. Mine served me well for many years over some pretty tough trails. Powertrax isn't the only one with a solution like that, of course, just one that I've had the most experience with personally.
 

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You can build an extremely capable offroad truck but, if your driving skills don't match what the truck is capable of you have no business doing so LOL.

1. Driving skills to match what you want to do with the truck. DO NOT outdrive your driving skills...this is the most common result of injury or death out on the trail.
2. Proper recovery equipment, tools, spare parts, etc.
3. NEVER...NEVER offroad alone, always have someone else with you...in another vehicle....also its best that the other person, or persons have a vehicle larger than yours to be able to pull you out if you get stuck.
4. Now you can start with your modifications after 1-3 are completed.
 

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Proper recovery gear should be #1 . Also make sure as you start taking on more challenging terrain, that your recovery gear is still able to help you.
 

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Thanks for your service, my youngest son is a combat vet. Did you see active duty?

There are different ways to off road, what's your style? Fast & occasionally airborne? Slow crawling over rocks and obstacles? Big mud with big horse power?
The answer might give some direction to your best modifications.

I'm personally not subscribing to the theory of always going with company. When I drink alone I prefer to be by myself.

As a marine you're going to understand what I am saying next, be careful, be prepared, be self reliant & know your limits.

The permanent gear in my rig includes enough survival gear to last a week or so as well as some spare clothes and a pack. There are entire forums of people calling themselves "overlanders " that go alone from Alaska to South America & more.

If you're new to this and completely green, make an effort to get stuck every time you go out. Just do it close enough to civilization to walk in for help. The process of getting yourself unstuck is the learning curve. Shovel, jack, axe, bowsaw, HD come-along, basic mechanic tools (enough to remove a bent drive shaft)

A good ham radio and a CB are another layer of security. First aid kit, I'm bringing OxyContin and pints of hydrogen peroxide in addition to the standard jizz jazz.

Sorry for the rambling post, it happens when I'm sipping whiskey sometimes...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks gents.

Tsieb - right after I posted I was on my way to run some errands and thought I forgot to include a Hi-lift.
I have most of all the tools I need and I am budgeting to go ahead get the spare swapped over with a matching tire, especially since I bought the truck used and the spare was never rotated I wouldn't trust it anyway.


Autoanything - A locker will probably be down my list, because I'd want an ARB air locker. I'd be worried I'd destroy my rear end trying to install it and I know the labor would be expensive on top of the part. I had read up on the Auburn LSD but had seen quite a few people have issues with them on road, but I'll read up on the powertrax no slip.

Dragos28 - I saw the thread where you fabbed a bumper and some sliders. When I'm ready for that I think I'll go that way. I figure I can pick up a decent welder from craigslist and I saw a $300 plasma cutter that had great reviews, and a get a pipe bender and still save money compared to the prices of a bumper and sliders combined.

Gosolo - I was a grunt, did Afghan in 2010 and 2012. I won't be going fast and airborne. I'll be doing more crawling and going on trails to get to remote spots to camp. I'd thought about a winch but I think I'll pick up a few come alongs and put the winch off for a bit. I'll look into a CB radio as well. I agree that if you are going out with the intentions of pushing the the capabilities of your vehicle it's certainly safer to be in a well equipped group, but sometimes it's just nice to get away by yourself or with just your family and you can still be safe doing that. I'm more of bourbon guy but a I'll raise a toast to you tonight anyways.
 

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the CB is ok, but a HAM radio will give you much more distance. line of sight is easily 30+ miles

i have the ARB locker and its worth every penny, take it to a pro to have it installed.

since you're not blasting through stuff at 80mph you can do your setup based on your usage. but i'd still suggest going with rebuildable shocks, such as FOX or ADS

have you thought about a Roof Top Tent?
I'd highly suggest a fridge, nothing sucks worse than having your food floating in melted ice.

be prepared to spend a lot of $$$
:D
 

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the CB is ok, but a HAM radio will give you much more distance. line of sight is easily 30+ miles
HAM is much better for distance, but is more expensive and in my experience, is far less commonly used. Most trail rides and people you encounter will be running CBs due to how common they are and that they are dirt cheap and easy to install/setup (and of course, no license needed).

The best answer is obviously both, but if you're not doing anything too serious, or if you're usually going out with friends/clubs/forum members, a CB is great to have. If you're a lone wolf way out there, a HAM would definitely be a good idea for safety reasons, as help will almost always be reachable that way.
 

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others have mentioned HAM and CB. You might also consider a SatCom device. I carry the InReach Explorer (inReach 2-Way Satellite Communicators, Street Atlas USA, Atlas and Gazetteer, Topo North America, XMap, Digital Map Data, and Professional Mapping Solutions - DeLorme) which allows you to send and receive texts from anywhere on the planet, including to an emergency call center. I tend to lone-wolf it a lot and the 1st time my wife couldn't reach me at a critical time I got read the riot act. My continued adventuring was predicated on me being able to reach help, and my wife being able to reach me in an emergency. This was the most cost effective solution I could find.

BTW. I'm pretty sure your first "big-boy" job was with the Marines. Thank you for my freedom.
 

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Thanks for your service, my youngest son is a combat vet. Did you see active duty?

There are different ways to off road, what's your style? Fast & occasionally airborne? Slow crawling over rocks and obstacles? Big mud with big horse power?
The answer might give some direction to your best modifications.

I'm personally not subscribing to the theory of always going with company. When I drink alone I prefer to be by myself.

As a marine you're going to understand what I am saying next, be careful, be prepared, be self reliant & know your limits.

The permanent gear in my rig includes enough survival gear to last a week or so as well as some spare clothes and a pack. There are entire forums of people calling themselves "overlanders " that go alone from Alaska to South America & more.

If you're new to this and completely green, make an effort to get stuck every time you go out. Just do it close enough to civilization to walk in for help. The process of getting yourself unstuck is the learning curve. Shovel, jack, axe, bowsaw, HD come-along, basic mechanic tools (enough to remove a bent drive shaft)

A good ham radio and a CB are another layer of security. First aid kit, I'm bringing OxyContin and pints of hydrogen peroxide in addition to the standard jizz jazz.

Sorry for the rambling post, it happens when I'm sipping whiskey sometimes...
This stuff mentioned should be your priority. The lift and tires and such can wait as they will get you in more trouble.
I will add having recovery straps and maybe some way to tap into boulders as well as a winch.
I do disagree with going alone until you have gained enough experience. Your sergeant didn't send you out alone the first time did he?
Having another vehicle, even way smaller may be enough to get you out of whatever predicament.
I got my 2wd stuck enough that it wouldn't go on it own, a prius would have been enough to help. I did unstick myself alone but it was hours of work .
 

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3. NEVER...NEVER offroad alone, always have someone else with you...in another vehicle....also its best that the other person, or persons have a vehicle larger than yours to be able to pull you out if you get stuck.
I'm a little confused by this. Doesn't that mean that the person you bring with a larger vehicle would also need to bring someone else with a larger vehicle and so on and so forth?

Now I'm no expert, but a winch, some pulleys and tie off equipment (on your vehicle or the other) may go a long way to increase the capability of a smaller vehicle.





Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I'm a little confused by this. Doesn't that mean that the person you bring with a larger vehicle would also need to bring someone else with a larger vehicle and so on and so forth?

Now I'm no export, but a winch, some pulleys and tie off equipment (on your vehicle or the other) may go a long way to increase the capability of a smaller vehicle.





Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
ignore wildbill... he rambles nonsense most of the time.
 

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Proper recovery gear should be #1 . Also make sure as you start taking on more challenging terrain, that your recovery gear is still able to help you.
Agree 100%. D-rings shackles, tow strap, and a Hi-lift jack to name a few. Your recovery gear is cheap insurance and will save your butt.
+10... I used to wheel my bronco in high school... alone... at all odd hours, day or night... and learned a lot from being dumb. :D One night, I had to hike 6 miles, in the snow, in sneakers and bluejeans with a rain jacket in 2 degree weather (Fahrenheit, not Celsius and only part of it was uphill and I didn't have a cello on my back), while being stalked by a mountain lion at 2 AM because my truck was incapacitated. That was before the days that kids had cell phones, or most people for that matter.

I feel that good recovery gear should be your number one priority. With modern cell phone service, you might have to make a small hike to get reception, but unless you are deep in the thick of things a cell phone and charger should be on the list, IMO. But that doesn't preclude you from needing a secondary com device like CB, VHF, or HAM. I'm in the CB boat simply because they are cheap and ubiquitous.

Otherwise, I think you're game plan is very well thought out and and course. Personally, I did things in a very similar fashion. After some good recovery gear, I chose a good set of slightly more aggressive all-terrain tires, followed by minor suspension mods (I now sport 6112/5160's at the lowest settings), and some doodads to make life on the trail easier and more enjoyable.

I would stick with the 275/65/r17 tire; the section width matches the stock width but, as you pointed out, increases the height of the tire to help increase ground clearance. The larger size, IMO, has more disadvantages than advantages. The wider section width will put more stress on the front end components like ball joints and wheel hub bearings, as well as require more steering effort and stress the steering system more at low speed maneuvers. Since it sounds like you are less in to high speed whoops or mud bogging, I think the narrower, closer to stock, tire width will better suit your needs.

As for traction, I literally just got back from having an Auburn Pro installed in the rear of my truck - WAHOO! I though long and hard about using and Auburn limited slip vs an ARB locker. In my case, I much more time on the road than I do off the road. Often times I travel in inclement weather. The ARB is not only more expensive, but does absolutely nothing for me on road or in inclement weather, which is where I spend most of my time. The auburn, on the other hand, is cheaper but, more importantly to me, aids traction in all sorts of weather and on all road surfaces - on road or off. I understand that it is not a full locker, but I'm ok with that. I don't plan on burying my truck up to the frame in mud (though it may happen). But I decided to choose something that would benefit the truck all the way around. For example, when there's snow on the road, I usually run around in 2wd instead of 4wd; I hate having to click in and out of 4wd when the road gets patchy. Starting from a stop, I often times get one wheel spinning and the traction control goes bezerk. With an Auburn, I'm hoping to eliminate this problem to some degree. Sure, you can flip the locker on to do this, but you would constantly be switching it on and off to go around corners without sliding all over. But those are my needs and my 2 cents...
 
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