Winter Only Vehicle

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What would be an excellent winter only vehicle under 5K? It has to be reliable, durable, and have a proven 4WD system. A Jeep Cherokee comes to mind. What else has proven itself a superb winter vehicle?
 
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all highway or all offroad or a mix? full time 4wd, AWD or a something like toyota had in some of it corolla's that used a center diff and only engaged when wheel slip was sensed? Do you need a truck/suv or could go with a wagon or sedan like subaru? Depending on your needs I could give you a better opinion. There are lots of good options
 
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I have a 96 explorer with 4.0 ohv. I have 206k on mine and cant kill it. I had a jeep cherokee and let me say I am not a jeep fan after that experience.
 

Bill in Utah

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Older Subaru or Cherokee. Both do well and both the boxer (once the heads have been fixed) or the 4.0l I6 are bullet proof. Bill
 

Bill in Utah

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 Originally Posted By: raaizin
I have a 96 explorer with 4.0 ohv. I have 206k on mine and cant kill it. I had a jeep cherokee and let me say I am not a jeep fan after that experience.
But they are a pain in the rear end for getting to the oil filter. I'd LOVE to meet the engineer who "designed" that placement!
 

Bill in Utah

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 Originally Posted By: stockrex
subaru?
Excellent in snow. Better than anything I've driven (and I've driven them all).
 Originally Posted By: OVERK1LL
Explorer. I never found the filter to be an issue on my '97 4.0L OHV???
I change the oil in my Uncles 1993 Explorer and the filter is one of the worst ones I've had to get to. Ok, not as bad as my 1998 Accord or Dads 2001 Civic. But its not easy... Bill
 

OVERKILL

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 Originally Posted By: Bill in Utah
 Originally Posted By: stockrex
subaru?
Excellent in snow. Better than anything I've driven (and I've driven them all).
 Originally Posted By: OVERK1LL
Explorer. I never found the filter to be an issue on my '97 4.0L OHV???
I change the oil in my Uncles 1993 Explorer and the filter is one of the worst ones I've had to get to. Ok, not as bad as my 1998 Accord or Dads 2001 Civic. But its not easy... Bill
You might be a larger person than me, I'm only 5'9, 160lbs. I crawl around like a spider monkey under these things, hehe I'm not overly fond of the filter position on my Expedition though. 4.0L Jeep is probably tied with the 300 I6 as the easiest filter to remove in my books.
 

Bill in Utah

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 Originally Posted By: OVERK1LL
You might be a larger person than me, I'm only 5'9, 160lbs. I crawl around like a spider monkey under these things, hehe I'm not overly fond of the filter position on my Expedition though. 4.0L Jeep is probably tied with the 300 I6 as the easiest filter to remove in my books.
I'm 6ft 6 and 300lbs. A little bit bigger. My cousin had a 1994 F150 with the I6 and yep, easy it was. For me, the filter on a Chevy truck (1999 on), Toyota 1zzFE and the 2 you listed are the easiest. My 99 Ford Taurus with the Vulcan was pretty easy too. Actually quite a few MFG these days are better than yesterdays. bill
 

OVERKILL

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 Originally Posted By: Bill in Utah
 Originally Posted By: OVERK1LL
You might be a larger person than me, I'm only 5'9, 160lbs. I crawl around like a spider monkey under these things, hehe I'm not overly fond of the filter position on my Expedition though. 4.0L Jeep is probably tied with the 300 I6 as the easiest filter to remove in my books.
I'm 6ft 6 and 300lbs. A little bit bigger. My cousin had a 1994 F150 with the I6 and yep, easy it was. For me, the filter on a Chevy truck (1999 on), Toyota 1zzFE and the 2 you listed are the easiest. My 99 Ford Taurus with the Vulcan was pretty easy too. Actually quite a few MFG these days are better than yesterdays. bill
Just a touch bigger ;\) Agreed, those GM filters are quite easy as well. Not quite in the same category, but the filter (canister) on the 312 Interceptor in our old '31 Chris-Craft was a breeze; sitting right on top of the engine at the back. It was as easy as opening the hatches, spinning off the wingnut and swapping out the cartridge.
 
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lancerplayer

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 Originally Posted By: tuckman
all highway or all offroad or a mix? full time 4wd, AWD or a something like toyota had in some of it corolla's that used a center diff and only engaged when wheel slip was sensed? Do you need a truck/suv or could go with a wagon or sedan like subaru? Depending on your needs I could give you a better opinion. There are lots of good options
Equal mix of city and highway driving. I was thinking an SUV. I like to be a little higher up in the winter. This will only be driven in the winter months. It will be used in NE Ohio where there usually is a good amount of snow and bad weather driving.
 

01rangerxl

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Explorers are great. 1991-1994 models use the Twin Traction Beam suspension in the front. It's durable and good for a vehicle that will be lifted or see a lot of off road use. 1995+ models use a SLA fully independent front suspension. It rides and handles better than TTB, but it isn't as cheap to modify and it doesn't have quite the same capability off road. In 2002, 4-doors got an independent rear suspension, but Sport models (2-doors) continued to use the solid rear axle. All 4WD Explorers have a Dana 35 front differential and a Ford 8.8 rear differential...that's a good thing. 1991-1994 models have automatic hubs that can be swapped out for manual ones. In 1995+ models the half shafts always turn. 1995+ models have better automatic transmissions than previous years. In 1997 V6s got a 5-speed automatic. A 5-speed manual (Mazda M5OD) was available from 1991 to 2003. There are a number of different 4WD systems in the Explorer, but I think they all use variations of similar Borg Warner transfer cases. A manual transfer case was available up to 1994, but you can swap a manual t-case into a newer one. Some Explorers have part time 4WD, some have auto 4WD with a low range, and some are AWD (V8s). Check used ones for rust on the rocker panels and radiator support. Also, check the condition of the transmission fluid, oil, and coolant. Explorers can last a very long time, unfortunately it seems many people don't take care of them. The ultimate Explorer for durability would probably be a 1991-1994 with the 5-speed manual transmission and manual transfer case. Swap in some manual hubs, and you will have a bulletproof winter beater for no more than $1500.
 

01rangerxl

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One more thing on the Explorer: there are two variations of the 4.0 V6. The OHV (pushrod) 4.0 was used from 1991 to 2000. The SOHC 4.0 was standard on some models and optional on others starting in 1997. It is still used in new Explorers. I would choose the OHV 4.0 over the SOHC for durability. The SOHC can last a long time, but they seem somewhat more prone to head gasket problems than the OHV 4.0. The 5.0 V8 was available, as a 2WD or AWD, from 1996 to 2001. The 4.6 replaced it with the 2002 redesign of the four door models.
 
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I bought a Cherokee last year as a "winter" vehicle and ended up liking it so much I basically drive it year-round now. I put 20K on the Cherokee last year and only about 6K on my much newer car. I will say that the NP231 part-time 4x4 box isn't very useful for what most consider winter driving. If you're driving regularly on totally snow-covered roads it's fine, but if you feel like putting it in 4x4 every time there is a flurry, you're going to want one with the full-time box. IMO, 200 lbs. worth of sand over the rear axle does much more for you than the 4x4 does anyway.
 
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I had a cherry cherokee I got from my work, had only been driven on-road, usually a 60 mile highway round trip. Still in great shape at 160k with a couple dozen drivers trying to flog it. Last summer explorers were CHEAP what with gas prices. If you can wait until June I bet you'll get some deals. Forget $5000, as 01ranger said you can do $1500. Spend a few hundred on top of that on dedicated winter tires.
 
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I don't think its been said yet, but IMHO narrow snowtires trump AWD or 4WD with 3 season tires, for 99% of on road winter driving. Especially hwy driving, even if you are aquaplaning on slush the narrow tires atleast act as better "rudders" than wide tires until your tires make good contact again. I have a 4x4 tracker but it still needs snowtires to stop quickly on snow or ice, 4WD and AWD don't really help you stop much once you are going. Ian
 
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well if it's winter only vehicle, he probably will put good winter tires on it, or at least a good set of All Terrians if it's an SUV. We don't need to start the "ALL Season" tires are the worst tires ever invented [censored] again. I'd say subaru. my 92 legacy wagon is great in the snow. Even with those dreaded all season tires.. My previous winter mobile was a 91 ranger. 5 speed, 3.45 rear that I upgraded to posi. 2wd. 3.0L v6. 27x8.5x14 BFG All Terrian T/A Kos. Needless to say even without sand in the back I could go anywhere. Starts were sometimes tricky (manual), but I never got stuck. 400lbs of sand helped too :)
 
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