Originally Posted by JSQ
It brings back a lot of memories of both the old group trips and driving the 110 with the 2.5 NA and no p/s.
The fourwheeling is tricky but fun. It's going up a long steep highway at night that's completely exhausting. Woof.
I fell in love with the 2.5 NA on this trip. While slow, it was rock-solid and never gave me a bit of trouble. It averaged 22 mpg and climbed several dozen high passes over the course of the week. The lack of PS is a bummer but I got used to it; it was only a problem in during some of the more rocky wheeling. I quickly learned that hitting a rock with a wheel will spin the wheel hard and fast enough to hurt your wrist if you were foolish enough to have it between the spokes. This enforced proper steering wheel posture and I now maintain this--something that I never did with the NAS wheel in my old D90.
The 2.5's milage and the NATO can lockers made a huge
difference in quality of life for me. I no longer had to move cans to get to my storage and I quit worrying about fuel consumption entirely. Unlike the last trip where I was bumming gasoline off of the group after 200 miles, my fuel gauge never dropped below 1/2. This is a little embarrassing to admit but I have no idea how many gallons my tank holds. I've never had to let it run empty.
Before my truck had left England, I had already bought a crate three hundy and air-freighted it here:
I also bought a freshly rebuilt R380 and LT230 from Rob Dassler. I bought these things because I wanted to get them while imports were still possible. I'm still going to install the new stuff but I'm having major doubts about ditching the 2.5 NA and existing driveline. I trust this motor and I'd love to hang onto it and put it into an 88 for my son someday. I think that the 2.5 NA in a Series is the perfect setup for a 16 year old. Bulletproof and not fast enough to get into serious trouble. He's only 11 months old, though, and I'm not sure how I would preserve it for 15 years.
A few other thoughts...
Sleeping in the 110 was amazing. The Tithonus roof and door button up very tightly. When you shut the door, it's like a good hotel room: the sound is almost entirely gone. I'm a light sleeper and all of the little critter noises that wake me up at night are never heard. I don't even hear the rain, unless it's coming down hard. The only real problem with my current setup is the Pelican cases. To sleep in the tub, I have to pull them out every night. This gets tiring and it tracks in a lot of mud and rocks over the course of a week. I don't care how ExPo it is, I'm going to build a sleeping platform. I want to keep the cases underneath and have a full-width platform above them. The convenience of having a nice surface to hold my Thermarest is too good to pass up. No more moving cases and no tent setup.
Ham radio was a huge help this year. From here on out, nobody comes on this trip unless they have a ticket. Unlike last year where we were dealing with crappy FRS as a lowest common denominator, everybody used 2-meter this time. We were doing a lot of exploring and with six trucks and good comms, we could send each truck out individually to scout routes. Over time, we got very good at this. I would pass a side track and call it out; the next truck to pass would take the turn and explore while reporting back. We covered a lot of ground and found some really nice spots. I'm going to mount my Icom in the Tuffy box as soon as I can. I think I will continue to use the FFR antenna mounts. They are grounded with straps to the frame and I get around 1.1 SWR across the 2-meter band.
Tires. XZLs are fucking amazing, period. So much quieter on the road than my KM2s (or my old KMs) and the traction in the dirt and rocks was incredible. As I was picking my way up the canyon at 2AM, I was thinking about this moronic post
on DiscoWeb and laughed. On a side note, I really hope Jason posts the picture of that pissed-off bull snake striking my tire.
Besides the motor swap, I'm also having serious reservations about lifting this truck. This truck has incredible suspension. The ride is much softer than my D90 with it's OME springs and LTRs, yet I can load six very heavy Pelicans and a full Engel in the tub without any sag. This never happened in the D90. It was always dragging ass when loaded. After Ben's debacle with the dual cardan DS, I hope that I can leave the stock DSes in place. I don't want to have to deal with a centering ball and I believe that they are unreliable unless regularly maintained (which is a pain in the ass).