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OldSalt

Am I destroying my pickup?

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Gents,

Am I destroying my pickup? I don’t have an ATV, and use my 4x4 ford Ranger for my prospecting trips. It has limited ground clearance but has very good traction. One day, I will install a lift kit and skid plates. I never abuse my truck while out in the desert; however, I understand that all the rattling and bouncing around does take its toll on the vehicle.

Because I am worried about beating up my only transportation I thought about buying an ATV, but I am able to carry passengers, and lots of equipment with my truck. I’m sure I would not be able to carry as much with an ATV, but would able to access many more places.

If I purchased an ATV, I would also need to purchase a trailer, and pay for registrations, and additional insurance. This could all cost a pretty penny and I’m not sure if it is cost effective as compared to the wear, tear, and repair costs spent on the pickup from off-roading. Thoughts?

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If you truck is your only transportation You should be careful with it ...but you should know your trucks limits and not exceed them , I have been to the desert a lot but it was a log time age ,Here in Alabama I use an ATV and drag a wagon behind it with lots of chit

1i

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Just driving your truck on city streets will expose it to wear and tear, and my guess is the wear on the engine is pretty close whether you are driving it in the city or in the desert. The suspension is designed to take some bumping and twisting and protect the rest of the truck, so as long as you aren't slamming into sand banks or trying to imitate the truck commercials on TV by flying over gullys you probably will be okay. The outside IS going to get some scratch marks from thorn bushes and such.

Make sure to get regular grease jobs, keep an eye out you don't get weeds blocking your radiator or stuck underneath, and if in doubt about the road either find another way around or go it slow or skip it.

I've had my SUV way out in the desert and over some knarly ruts in the road and in places where I had no choice but to keep going and haven't noticed any increase in the wear and tear of it.

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I have driven fords for many years and put them through a lot of rough off road trips and never worried about destroying the vehicle. The key is use common sense whether you are on or off road driving. Don't try rock climbing or radical off road driving without modifying the unit to give you the right ground clearance for the application.

Don't race when off riding off road. Again, use common sense and you should be fine.

My brother had over 200,000 miles on his Ranger when he gave it to his son and it is still running fine. Before he gave it to his son he put his Ranger through about as rough a treatment as one can while using common sense and it is still going strong. Now, my nephew is considering changing the front springs because the factory ones are getting a little weak from the extra weight of the winch which has been there since the vehicle was almost new. He used for hunting about every possible game one can hunt in about every type of weather condition here in Colorado. When hunting season was off, he would run dogs and hunt mountain lion, many times assisting the state in tracking down the dangerous ones. So, that vehicle saw a lot of the rough Colorado mountains all year around.

I only have about 115,000 miles on my 99 Ranger and I don't worry about it breaking down. Again, I use common sense when off road.

You might look to see if you have any skid plates on your Ranger. Most 4x4's come with at least some. At least here in Colorado they do, or at least, they did.

Check your rear end ratio and if you have 411's, you might simply increase the tire size for added clearance next time you change tires. This is something that is less expensive and still gains an inch or two clearance. Obviously, this is more practical to do on the vehicles with the V6 rather than the smaller 4 cylinder.

Again, use common sense and you should be ok. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees nothing will go wrong, but I don't worry about it. I do check the vehicle routinely for logical problems though and correct any I see before they become major ones. It is amazing what can come loose and fall off if one isn't watching. A perfect example is someone lost a tail light assembly that appeared to have simply fallen off on one of the mountain back roads I was on last week. It is common to see lug nuts, but not tail light assemblies lying around.

As for an ATV, if it isn't going to get a lot of use, then if it was me, I would buy used and not try to pick the biggest and best. In fact, my brother hauled his little 250 ATV in the back of his Ranger and used it to haul out many an Elk on his bow hunting trips. You do have to be careful carrying an ATV in the back of the Ranger, though. If not set up right, the ATV can hit the back window of the vehicle. That happened to my brother. Also, I am not sure the larger ATV's such as the large Polaris 500's or larger will fit in the back of the Ranger, but my brothers little Suzuki 4wd older 250 did.

Reg

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The biggest destroyer of a vehicle in the desert in IMO is the HORRIBLE washboard roads. No matter how fast or slow you go over them, they just plain and simple rattle the crap out of you. I have had my Dodge Dakota 4x4 out in the Coolgardie area at least 50 times in the short time I have been prospecting, and I am hearing clunks and rattles I have never heard before. I always go SLOOOOW and literally crawl over anything that is not flat, but eventually those washboards are gonna get ya no matter what.

As Ant Man said, in a nutshell, regular and thorough maintenance will allow your truck to survive those roads longer than if you just went "Dukes of Hazzard" out there. Good luck.

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  1. OldSalt: hey ship mate.remember all the free time in your life where you were restricted to being on board ship,you know Duty nights and weekends haze gray and underway on deployments looking at the never ending horizon's being away from family only we can understand how it felt like( we i mean military in this case the navy) you gave so much of your freedom to your commitment of god and country.Ship mate don't ever forget that.what im getting at is expaned your freedom and your prospecting areas get a ATV,give your truck a brake before it brakes you.the need will out weight the cost and give you more FREEDOM to the pursuit of your hobby you deserve that.so weight the pro's and con's you will see. for one it's easer to replace a quad than it is to replace a truck and i hope you have a back up plan when your out there in the middle of nowhere, liken it to being out to sea ....

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I got a 2011 Ford Ranger 4x4, its only just now got 3,000 miles on it, I got it so I could go where I wanted, I've owned about 6 of these little trucks, and they will go just about anywhere as long as you use commond sense. This new on has the 4.0 liter engin and auomatic. First automatic truck I've owned in many moons. But my clutch leg and hip have given out, so thats how I had to go. Grubstake

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OldSalt im not saying you need or have to have an ATV,for me it has been a long road to where im at now in this hobbie,equipment wise.the quad has become my Mule she has taken me to areas no truck can get to and has saved my truck and me from ware and tear that i would have put on my truck and me if not for my ATV.i stage my camp and pack up my ATV with the required equipment,ie; fuel, water,shelter,detector w/parts ect your imagination is the limet.good luck

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That Ford is a mule ....Just have enough water and a sidearm to walk out with. You will be fine :head: Terry, hope you are on the gold ....

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Mornin Adam good to see you getting the gold,seen your post nice shooting on your part,since we last met i have put a few nuggets in my poke,and i became a new father (a boy) ....so duty at home became a major priority over the last year,im starting to get out more now but not full swing,but soon.what happen to our chargers yesterday???

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You might consider a suzuki samuri...stock they will go about any place I have the guts to drive...but good sense will get you by in your truck without added expense...

Terry, congratulations on the baby boy he will be eager to go with you if you start taking him early...best wishes

fred

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Old Salt ... You are getting good advise here. Skid plates are a must in the desert ... don't leave home without them. More frequent oil changes at no more than 3000 miles is a must if you are in the desert more than a weekend a month. Don't forget to change the oil filter ... don't buy the cheapest ones on the shelf! ... And the air filter should be inspected at that time too ... consider replacing every 3rd or 4th oil change as it only takes a small amount of unfiltered grit to destroy an engine's power. As for the tires, inflate to the max allowed pressure ... that helps to prevent sharp rocks from penetrating the tread. Softer inflated tires actually cut faster than higher inflated ... seems like that shouldn't make a differnce but it does. And get at least "C" rated "LT" (light truck) tires Such as my favorite the BF Goodrich All Terrain T/A KO's will get you in and out most every time without having to deal with a flat. Be sure to rotate the tires more often too ... every other oil change ... rotate front to rear on one side of the vehicle only ... don't put these tires on the left side if they have been running on the right side ... it tears them up faster. I tend to get 50-60000 miles on my previous Silverados (1999, 2003, 2006) and soon will go on my 2011 GMC Sierra. And don't forget the shocks ... those washboard roads found all throughout the deset are shock killers. You won't get 50K out of shocks running in the desert ... more like 25K even with the best of shocks if you are there a lot.

Word to the wise if you put in a lift kit you will need to have a full four wheel allignment after the install as all the adjustments of caster, camber and toe in will be out of kilter and if left at factory settings before the install will literally scrub those expensive new tires away.

As for the ATV ... to have or not to have ... consider that my new Polaris Razr is $12K new with a few optional pieces of equipment ... I bought the 50" inch model to be able to go on limited with ATV trails. A new 4x4 truck is about $30K to $40K depending on the make and model. Let's see now buy one truck or 3 ATV's. I'll opt for the ATV as my desert mode of transportation if my truck is my only vehicle and is my daily driver to boot. Just my humble opinion. Hope this all helps.

Mike F

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One thing you can certainly consider about an ATV. If you are worried about how much equipment t can carry,here is what I used to do on one of my dredging claims. I bought a very small utility trailer that was just big enough to haul the ATV behind the truck, Then from camp I pulled the trailer with the ATV loaded with my dredge and other equipment...It was one of those cheap fold up trailers. Now the trailer works out well on the homestead still being pulled by UTV moving dirt, hauling leaves etc!

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I'm not driving a new truck back in those bushes. Buy a beater just for prospecting. Put a few bucks into it and off you go. My 85 toyota 4x4 gets me in and out of some rough tight spots and I can carry the stuff I need

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Wow, lots of excellent advice and interesting perspectives. I’m going to need to think this over a little more. An ATV or quad will run me at least $10,000, and I will need to spend another $1,500 on a utility trailer. Plus, the ATV will need maintenance and both the ATV and trailer will need to be registered.

This comes to at least $12,000

$12,000 will pay for a lot of repairs and oil changes to my truck, so I’m not sure if it is cost effective. However, I sure like the idea of being able to get all those more challenging locations that an ATV can reach.

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.Alot of great advice has been offered up here, I've personally done it many ways. I spent thousands buffing out my desert rig which I only use for prospecting, I used to use my daily driver and that was always stressfull, but life is way too sweet when (Like T-Bone says) you've got the freedom of going anywhere you want and then some on a quad....life just doesnt get any better than that!! and you can do it for much less, if you buy used, trailers are a dime a dozen used, quads as well, you can buy a low mile used one fairly cheap from someone that thought they would use it more than they do, now they just want to dump it, trailer registration is cheap ,here in Cali you only have to register about every five years, your trailer reg tags will say permanent, although permanent to a politician is 5 yrs. Point is it can be alot less than you think, but hey its still a chunk of change and if its not there then its not there...only you can decide that, if not be careful like the others say...dont take chances and prepare to do some cardio (walking).

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Probably youre best bet would be a prospecting bud and a set of really good tires,keep the cash in your pocket for a rainy day,remember you cant call the cavalry in because most likely no cell service where youre goin,be careful out there regards and happy hunting.

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I opt for the ATV myself. It gets into areas most trucks never could. I drive as far in to areas that I can in my truck. When the road gets too rough or narrow, out comes the ATV.

I also have the ability to drive out for help if either breaks down.

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You and me both Whylee, Personally I think as far as prospecting goes...it was the best money I ever spent, every time I turn the key and the 763cc's of fuel injected 4 wheel drive power roar to life I get a smile on my face that doesnt come off for days...gold or no gold!! Theres nothing quite like that kind of freedom out in the desert.

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Bucket & Whylee when it comes to the diffrence between going where every one else goes because of limitations or it's just easy access.to going remote where you better have the right equipment..ATV baby.when in the sticks im lucky if i see another sole for days and bro ain't nothing like camping from my quad. Yea you can drive your truck ride a jeep,but if you need to vacate in a hurry your ATV will get you out alot faster and safer.better control on a ATV and alot more easy to get unstuck when you put your self in a bad situation. What ever it takes to get to the gold.... TERRY....ANY BODY UP FOR A RIDE? new addition to the family has kept me off the trails and out of prospecting but my plans are being put togeather for a prospecting trip.

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ATVs are for sale everywhere for pennies on the dollar and trailers too. Just missed a yamaha 450 kodiak 4 x 4,winch,front rear platforms with 981 miles for $2400--10 minutes too late-now calling before 9am as others do to now-John

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Your right John, you can find em for penny's on the dollar!! And especially so in a big city like mine, these guys will go out to the dunes or somewhere in the desert with a buddy...have a good time...buy one for themselves and over the next two years use it twice and then sell it cheap, sometimes even with the trailer. I bought my Polaris brand new in 06 and I'm still using the original battery, and with the exception of a few oil changes its cost me nothing in maintenance, and like T-Bone says they are very good for quick departures, I like to sample areas quickly and get out and I cant do it in my truck.

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Hi Bucket,i have a 06 sportsman 500 x2 bought brand new ,the x2 because of the extra room and cargo space.WoW what a machine.. I have had no issue at all( yet ) just keeping up with the maintenance,i keep mine garaged and because i left the battery tender off during my one year off time my battery went completely dead, but it's not to expensive to replace.I watched some of your video's you and your crew are doing a good thing for people trying to get in to this game of prospecting its's not easy but your video,s make it look exciting and fun Thanks for what you do, your compassion for prospecting and being out doors realy shows.I spend most of my time prospecting arizona up and down the river Yuma to needles alot of time spent in quartzsite area.never been to ransburg or the el pasos Yet. mabe some day.i once lived right off mast blvd.but now live in serra mesa off the 805.i like the HD camera you use for your prospecting productions .Terry.........

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Hey Terry, good to hear from you, yeah I work right up the street from you in Kearny Mesa, two buildings west of the traffic court<---(which hopefully you are not too familiar with) I'm glad you like our you-tube video's, we try and keep our video's fun rather than getting too serious. Randsburg is about 4 to 4.5 hrs from us...about the same as quartsite but since its above the Cajon pass and considered "high desert" you can usually extend your prospecting season by going there instead of Yuma due to much cooler summer temps, and there is a ton of really cool stuff to see out there. I've spent considerable time in the Cargo's off sidewinder rd, the potholes by winterhaven and the plumosa's up by quartsite. All of em very fun places to explore.

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