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Discussion Starter #1
So, I am starting to feel like my daily driver YJ isn't really practical for baby/bike hauling. Plus I want to take it off the road for a while and fix some nagging issues with it.

Any recommendations out there for a decent used car or truck that isn't boring as a beige sofa to drive?

Only critera I have are:
- must be available in a manual transmission
- must be a 4door (or a crew cab but a large crew cab to accomidate baby seat).
- if a pickup must have 4wd.

This is purely academic, not in a position to make a move this week. Just kind of want to feel things out and talk about it. I am open to new vehicles too but must be finanicable and under $25,000

I was considering one of those nissan 4WD, 4door pickups. nice looking, easy to load, manual trans option.

I used to be a toyota truck fan but the frame rust issues I have been hearing about lately scare the crap out of me.

I heard the 01-05 exploder sport-Trac came with a manual - but after DiamondJ's experience with his exploder I am a little leery of ford.

Anybody ever own a Subaru Baja? they look like fun.
 

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Usually the longer the cab the shorter the bed. My midsize Dakota pick up with standard cab and bed has a bed about 3" short of being able to close the tailgate with the bike in it. I find this to be an annoying negative. I am going to try and modify one of the swing out cages to it just to keep loose stuff from sliding out the back
 

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Discussion Starter #3
yeah, I don't care if I have to use the gate to haul a bike. I work an office job, there aren't going to be tools and crap rattling around back there.
 

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why the need for a manual trans ? You live in a city.
Your statement is a little confusing, you open with not bike related yet suggest you want a pick up to haul bikes ?
If you're looking for a mid-size SUV I'd go Subaru Forester.
 

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Get one of these like i did ;). Won it on ebay in the fall. '79 Westy, flat 4 2.0L FI.

V__E75E.jpg

- - - Updated - - -

btw its almost useless to haul full sized bikes
 
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4 door wrangler.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
why the need for a manual trans ? You live in a city.
Your statement is a little confusing, you open with not bike related yet suggest you want a pick up to haul bikes ?
If you're looking for a mid-size SUV I'd go Subaru Forester.
I live in Columbus Ohio. More speifcially I live in a partially rural suburb of columbus.The kind of suburb where they don't get around to plowing till noon.

I want a manual trans because...well just because. Every car I have owned has been a manual trans except two: a 1995 blazer (which I won in a raffle and didn't have a choice) and the GTO (and I have all the parts to convert but with a TH400 and a manual valve body it was a good brackets car). I am a life long member of the cult of the manual transmission and I don't expect to turn it in any time soon.

Yes I want to haul bikes, but not often. I can do it now with the wrangler: pull the top off, pull the rear seat and luggage compartment out, fold the passenger seat forward and in she goes. I can haul baby also, but I need all the stuff in it to do that. I just think it would be nice once in a while to be able to haul both baby and bike. I own a trailer but my "lifestyle community" won't allow me to store it on site, plus I split it with my dad and he owns the tow vehicle (a 1999 tahoe 2 door) so I am not in a rush to go out there and pick it up. I thought a quad cab pickup might be the solution, let him keep the trailer and I can haul bikes once in a while.

Ideally a 4 door wrangler is on the bill, but let's be real...no wrangler should cost $20K-$30K used. And the prospect of 5000lbs of vehicle being pushed around by a 200hp 3.8L dodge engine just sucks - the 3.6 300 hp pentastar powered ones aren't cheap enough yet...and probably won't be for a while.

So far I am tossing around the idea of a manual 4x4 quad cab dakota (made until 2007, and there seem to be a ton in WI - 400 miles from here), a Quad Cab Nissan frontier, The subie Baja (though a friend just confirmed that a bike won't fit in the bed even with the gate down and the bike angled so it might be out), and the exploder sport trac. There aren't a lot of SUV manual trans options - the Xterra and well...the Forrester...and that's about it. If I am going to buy a forrester I might as well buy a WRX hatch and get a trailer hitch. I thought about an older A4 Avant, but I am starting to see why people don't own audi's past the warranty (I've already been warned about the A6 Allroad).

Toss some ideas out. No matter how wacky. I was looking at e34 bmw wagons and pricing out manual trans swap parts earlier today to give you an idea of my headspace.
 

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The Quad cab Dakota has a 5 1/2 foot bed. I have a '04 with the 3.7L V6 and I use it to tow my VW race car on a lite weight single axle trailer. It get's damn near 20MPG towing (2500lb total trailer weight) , but it does need to be downshifted to go over big hills. I've done some pretty long distance tows with it too. Not great with low end torque, but it sings along happily at 4000rpm up a 7% grade in second gear at 60mph with a lite touch on the throttle. My old Jeep Cherokee with the 4L inline 6 would just grunt it out in high gear.

The Dakota has been rock solid dependable since I bought it new. Dakotas can be bought inexpensively, since they don't have a Ford or GM badge on 'em. However, I've never seen a stick shift version. Probably a California thing. We don't have the same options the rest of the country has.

The '03 and earlier had the 3.9L V6 that is based on the old 318/360 engine. Not at all fuel efficient. '04 and later have the Mercedes era 3.7 V6 or 4.7 V8.

My son had a 2007 Tacoma with a V6 and a manual trans. It ate the input shaft within 10,000 miles and the dealer tried to make him pay for it. That truck seemed cheaply built compared to the Dakota, although they got better reviews. Personally, I wouldn't own one after seeing how the dealer treated my son.

Edit:
Dodge (Ram) is supposed to be coming out with a 4 cylinder turbo diesel this year in the 1500 truck. Supposed to get 30MPG highway and have an 8000lb towing capacity. I doubt it can be bought for under 30K though
 

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This will sound off the wall but get a GMC Safarai with AWD. They come in digfferent trim levels but front buckets and middle captains or mid row as a benchg and rear bench are standard configurations. Great in snow. Reasonable MPG, comfortable enough, boring as all get out but take out two rows of seats and a GT750 Suzuki or FZR400 fits in there and you can guess how I know that.

I have been reduced to driving our old Frontier king cab with AWD and auto and it's totally competent, but I'd rather have the van back - it died at 275k miles.

Time to think inside the box. :)
 

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The Quad cab Dakota has a 5 1/2 foot bed. I have a '04 with the 3.7L V6 and I use it to tow my VW race car on a lite weight single axle trailer. It get's damn near 20MPG towing (2500lb total trailer weight) , but it does need to be downshifted to go over big hills. I've done some pretty long distance tows with it too. Not great with low end torque, but it sings along happily at 4000rpm up a 7% grade in second gear at 60mph with a lite touch on the throttle. My old Jeep Cherokee with the 4L inline 6 would just grunt it out in high gear.

The Dakota has been rock solid dependable since I bought it new. Dakotas can be bought inexpensively, since they don't have a Ford or GM badge on 'em. However, I've never seen a stick shift version. Probably a California thing. We don't have the same options the rest of the country has.

The '03 and earlier had the 3.9L V6 that is based on the old 318/360 engine. Not at all fuel efficient. '04 and later have the Mercedes era 3.7 V6 or 4.7 V8.

My son had a 2007 Tacoma with a V6 and a manual trans. It ate the input shaft within 10,000 miles and the dealer tried to make him pay for it. That truck seemed cheaply built compared to the Dakota, although they got better reviews. Personally, I wouldn't own one after seeing how the dealer treated my son.

Edit:
Dodge (Ram) is supposed to be coming out with a 4 cylinder turbo diesel this year in the 1500 truck. Supposed to get 30MPG highway and have an 8000lb towing capacity. I doubt it can be bought for under 30K though
2007 is when Toyota revamped their whole line and made everything overkill heavy-duty. I only paid $1000 for my 97 Dakota with 200k miles on it. Still runs like a champ, gets 17-20mpg. 3.9-V6. I still say the one truck I would have bought in a heartbeat was a Chevy S-10 only made in Mexico around the early 2000's. S-10 extended cab, 4 door, dually with a 5.7 (350ci)
 

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When I was looking for a vehicle a while back I asked about the exploder thing with the toolbox, er, I mean bed on the back. I asked he salesguy if there was any way to get a bike in the back of one. He literally laughed at me.

Toyota made noises about getting into the heavy duty pick up truck market a few years back. They abandoned that idea soon enough.

I've owned a few automatic vehicles and have tried to convince myself they're just fine, but I can't do it. I have a Focus now with a 6 speed dual clutch "automatic" and the shift strategy drives me fucking nuts. Especially in "sport" mode. I special ordered a Mercedes once just to get a manual, one of the salesman could not understand why I'd bother. Also had to special order a Cherokee back in the day to get the manual. Well worth the wait IMHO.

The one wagon I rally wish I had looked more seriously at was a '64 Falcon wagon that was at a lot near where I work for a while. That would have been a cool car...

Geeto - have you thought about a Ford transit? They just redesigned it and have a long wheelbase option from what I've heard. Even the previous version can hold a bike if you build a chock for the wheel so it fits over the the center console or something like that. I looked into it about a year ago and forget the details now but it didn't look too involved.
 

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4 door isuzu landscaper truck.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I have to live in a residential neighborhood so I think the Isuzu and the Ford Transit Connect are both out they are commercial vehicles. The transit connect isn't bad but Ford will no longer sell you a manual trans with the "wagon" body style new. I guess it isn't too hard to convert the van into a wagon but it is extra money that has to be spent to put seats and a window in it, and even then it is bike or baby, not both.
 

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Why not go with a vehicle that best suites the majority of your daily family/ life needs .
Then just get an inexpensive, compact folding single rail or a tow dolly for the random bike toting.

I have a little CRV with just a tow dolly and use it to drag rescue and flip bikes home ( or deliver them ) semi-frequently .
 

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Subaru Baja is too small to tow a bike in and unless you ge the turbo they have no power and you overpay for the turbo so it just doesn't work out. On the other hand a Subara Brat turbo in nice condition would fit a bike in the back and be worth every penny, plus it has real 4WD that I dont believe the BAJA does. Although I think A. you are a little too big for it and B. Your wife may not be keen on the idea of baby riding backwards in a jump seat. :D

Honda Elements are not the most beautiful cars in the world but I loved mine. Could fit a bike in it no problem hauled kids no problem, got decent gas mileage, manual trans and a heck of a lot of room for just about anything. You can really spread out in those things. Downside is its only AWD although I did drive mine down the sublime trail in the Grand Canyon and out on the beach a bazillion times.
 

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I too also agree though that getting a vehicle that fits the bill of 95% of your life and have a trailer for the other 5%. When I got rid of my Element I wanted something else exactly like what you are looking for and just couldnt find it. I now have a Toyota 4Runner daily driver and a 1979 GMC G20 van to haul bikes. I paid $1000 for it, 400ci V8 and enough room to fit 2 full size motorcycles. I also use it to haul around a kayak or mountain bikes etc. Nice to not have to worry about scratching it or getting it dirty because that is what its there for. Although you would probably have to get a nicer one than mine to fit in to your neighborhood.
 

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Taking the jeep off the road to do a few things?

i put a '71 cb750 in an element once....

But really in this day and age only looking for a manual is a dumb.
None of the one ton hauling trucks use them, most of the larger trucks don't either.
and as far as the "conection of man and machine". That is about as gay as anything a Brooklyn hipster ever even thought about saying about a cb350....

smart move over would be just to spend a few grand fixing up the jeep, but I assume the piggy bank is off limits and the idea is to finance the new whip...
still have the euro trash murder wagon?

you need to actually fit a motorcycle IN the vehicle or just boxes of parts?

Did the jeep liberty ever come in manual? Thought some did.
toyota is a way better built truck then the Nissan. Don't think the rust issues are on the newer trucks, and they seemed to have steped up to fix the problem and make owners whole.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I don't mind AWD if it is a car. Pickups don't come AWD just 4WD and 2WD and a 2WD pickup doesn't fit my needs.

There is this hippy, granola, chick that lives in my apt complex with an apricot Honda Element. She can't drive for shit and for such a tree hugger she's pretty inconsiderate and nosy. For that reason alone honda elements have a bad association for me. She's ruined it.

anybody have any experience with the Toyota "Van" from the 80's? Apparently they came in stick and RWD or 4WD and are super tall (as in tall enough to get a bike inside). They look like what every unfuckable computer programmer in 1985 was driving so there is a level of kitsch cool to them. And they have a cult following. There are 2 for sale near me in RWD, and one manual trans 4wd with no pictures. thinking about taking a look....
 

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the previa? or the cabover?
 
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