Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Vehicular Transportation

Call me crazy. Go ahead, won't be the first time! But when it comes to my vehicular transportation, I have my preferences (don't we all!), and they are a bit out of the ordinary from today's "norm". I can't always get what I want, but I was thinking about this and I wanted to share. See what other people preferred and why.

My personal preference is 4x4 (RWD at a MINIMUM), carbureted, with a manual transmission and preferably a V8 (an Inline 6 is good too). Obviously the easiest of these to find are trucks, but older Jeeps, and even the old AMC Eagle work too. Why, you may ask, are these my preferences? Thank you for asking, so I'll tell you!

4x4 - This should be obvious, I live in a semi-rural area where we get snow! There are a lot of benefits to having 4wd rather than anything else. You don't get stuck as easy in the snow, you are able to pull heavier weights (including other vehicles, tractors, fallen trees) without worrying about digging up the front yard or burying yourself in dirt. While there are more moving parts than a straight FWD or RWD, that's Front or Rear Wheel Drive for those who don't know, they really are no more complicated and the increased suspension height that they come with allow easier access to get underneath and work on them!

RWD over FWD - If I can't have 4wd, I would rather have RWD. Even though a lot of people, even some "experts" say that FWD is safer for you, I have never found this to be true. RWD allows you to add sand bags for extra traction and then remove them for better gas mileage when the weather gets nice. Can't do that in a FWD... what are you going to do, strap the sandbags to the hood and obscure your windshield? Don't think so, scooter. Plus, it is easier to work on a driveshaft and a transmission than a transaxle because you can pull them down in seperate pieces rather than dropping the entire thing to work on one bearing.

Carbureted - Ok, now I know this is where I will butt heads with some people because the fuel economy on a fuel injected vehicle tends to be better and there are less issues with cold weather than with a carburetor. The problem in my mind is that once you start fuel injecting vehicles, you have to start adding computer controls and monitors and sensors and wiring all over the place! Those little sensors can get pretty expensive, pretty quick! Plus trying to track down a sensor failure can be a real pain. With a carb, you unbolt it, pull it off, clean it up with some time and carb cleaner, put it back together, adjust the choke and the fuel mixture and you are good to go! Carbs allow loads of adjustment opportunities as well. You can change the jets to get more fuel, you can adjust the jets for high or low altitudes, you can modify them for steep inclines and declines, etc. I know, this is all taken care of for you in fuel injected vehicles, but 1) How do you KNOW it's right and 2) isn't it more fun and rewarding to do it yourself?

Manual transmission - Ok, now with today's advancements in automatic transmissions some of these reasons are not quite so true anymore, but here they are. You have more control of the vehicle. If you are hauling a heavy load, or towing a vehicle, you can put it in second or third and cruise, rather than having the auto decide its going to play the gear changing game. You get better gas mileage. This is one of those that new automatic transmissions are very good at this, but the older ones.. yeah, not so much. I can fix a manual transmission at my house. Automatic transmissions are more difficult, if you can even deal with it without specialized equipment. Last, but not least... Its FUN!! To me it helps me pay more attention to what I am doing late at night or on long trips. And its just fun to me to switch gears... helps me feel in more control of the vehicle and more in tune with it.

V8 - More power, obviously! Ok, so they aren't the best on gas, and in today's market that is a big concern. Unless you need the power. A full load of firewood is not light! Towing a tractor or another car, you need power. Want to pull a stump? Tie the chains on! Carry enough shingles for 20 square? No problem!

I6 - Ok, since the V8 is going to be more expensive and eat more gas than we need all the time, my next choice is for an I6 instead of a V6. Why? What's the difference? Well, the way an inline engine is designed, it makes much better torque than a V6. The V6 might give you higher horsepower, but when it comes to a working vehicle. Torque is King!

Thanks for reading through, have a comment or question? Let me know! I'd love to hear everyone else's thoughts preferences on the vehicles that we like and use. But I think that's about enough for now.

Until Later...


Chris W said...

I'm with ya on that 100%. Years ago I had a '79 F250, and I miss it more than any vehicle I've ever owned. It had SERIOUS balls, that baby was full time 4wd, 351 modified bored 30 over with a holley 680 and blackjack headers that dumped into 3" pipes straight out the side. Sure-it only got 10mpg on it's best day, but that thing would pull over a house, and NEVER got stuck...believe me, I tried. If I ever get the chance, I'll have another old Ford like it. I just love the body style of the 77-79 Fords.If you're looking at 4wd and want to keep the same size truck you 2 have now, look into an older Jeep Commanche. A friend has one, and we've had that thing places the big boys were afraid to go.18" of mud and cow manure and it went right through while his dads newer F250 got stuck in the first 10 feet. You can't beat the frame/suspension on the older jeeps, they were actually made for off road. What a concept!!!!!!
For now we have the Torrent we just got a month ago. We both want a truck, but an AWD SUV does the job for now. The combo of the 6 cyl and 5 speed autmatic shocked me, that thing is pretty quick! Of course I had to test it in the snow, and ran it through the front yard and an unplowed area of a parking lot...never skipped a beat. Not bad for a grocery go-getter, lol.

FarmerGeek said...

That's a coincidence! I had an '80 F250! Extended cab/long bed. Had a rebuilt 302 in it. I loved that truck. Had a '97 Jeep Cherokee and a '88 Jeep Wrangler. I love Jeeps, and a buddy of mine had the Comanche. You're right, its a great truck, but kinda hard to find anymore.

Thanks for the input!