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Discussion Starter · #121 ·
I thought I would share another recent short adventure that reinforced why I am looking to go "Round-3" on dialing in a suspension system that will meet my needs.

I usually go up to the mountains not far from my home to cut dead wood about twice a year. I have had the Ram for over a year and a half now but this is the first time I took it for wood hauling.











Of course, I have taken the Rebel off-road many times, but not with a full load in the bed!



I estimated that most of my load was pine with some measure of fir and birch thrown in so I used a lower averaged density of 30 lbs./cu.ft. with about 85% of the capped truck bed being filled (.85 x 5 ’x 3’ x 5.5’ = 70 cu.ft.) for a total haul of ~2100 lbs. The Rebel is rated at 1930 lbs. of payload capacity, so when I add in the weight of the topper and gear that I typically haul around with me (~300 lbs.), and myself (~230 lbs.), I figured I was pushing over 2600 lbs. or +700 lbs. overcapacity. Not the best scenario but the Rebel did very well. The stiffer Dirt Logic front coilovers really helped maintain control and the rear factory springs actually did very well too with all things considered (the rear definitely sagged but did not bottomed out). Still, I’ll need to really be careful once I add my winch and mounting hardware as that will greatly reduce my capacity even more.

But made it home in one piece!







What I did experience was exactly how the Dirt Logics are tuned. Both when tackling the slow boulder/rock climb of the lower section for Engineer Pass and then the slow mountain trail comprised of long, washboard sections experienced during this trip, the truck rode horribly as the Dirt Logics are really tuned for fast speed runs (i.e., desert washes and trails). On the slower stuff, the Dirt Logics are just too stiff and really beat you up! I sort of knew this of course but was very interesting to see how the Dirt Kings responded on the washboard sections. Kind of reminded me of the Icons I ran except on a couple of prior builds but even those were smooth in comparison. Anyway, I think I am close to dialing this thing in.
 

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Thanks...been a process for sure!

Yes, the Fabtech system definitely provides more travel over stock based on the coilover and rear shock lengths but I wished I had measured everything myself as I can't find anything published on actual measurements. However, I do believe the factory Rebel Bilsteins have about 9-inches of total travel and the Dirt Logics increase that to 10-inches. For reference, the Carli King shock system that provides 10-inches of travel in the front but 14 inches in the rear!

To answer your question about the BDS 4-inch system, I think it would be a great solution for getting more altitude without going overboard; the system uses the factory struts and UCAs as well as keeping the factory geometry as correct as possible, so it will provide almost the same on-road comfort and off-road performance but you feel the higher center of gravity on high speed turns and/or off-canter wheeling. But for normal road use to very limited off-roading, the 4-inch spacer system will work just fine.

Regarding suspension choices for myself, I have been going round and round in how I want to update my system after bottoming out and causing some damage on my last 2 off-road trips; since I seem to keep selecting trails that are a little more technical than what the Rebel should be doing, I really would benefit from another inch or two of ride height to improve my approach/departure angles when going over obstacles or steep, short inclines.

I also really wanted the BDS 4-inch system too but after talking with BDS, it looks like their base 4-inch system is a no-go for me since the system will not provide a way to upgrade the factory struts and UCAs with better performing coilovers (unlike their similar offerings for Ford and Chevy).

If I want to get any additional lift over my current 3-inch Fabtech/Dirt Logic setup, the only option for me is to maybe consider the BDS 6-inch Fox Coilover system which uses tuned FOX 2.5 factory series remote reservoir coilovers up front (with DSC) and 5" ProRide coil springs in the rear married up with FOX 2.0 IFP performance series gas shocks (also with DSC). I think the system looks killer and would greatly improve my approach/departure angles! But in the end, it is just too high for towing, won't fit in my garage, will highly degrade high speed highway handling, and increase my chances of roll-over during off-canter four wheeling. And I am not getting any younger as lifting heavy loads in/out of the truck bed would eventually (if not immediately) become a pain in the derrière (especially with a topper)...lol.

Another option I thought about is the FOX Performance Elite Series 2.5 Body 2-3″ Lift front coilovers which I believe would seriously up the ante for me for both on- and off-road handling and response, but unfortunately that system would actually lower my current ride height by a full inch which is a serious reduction in my approach/departure angles when off-roading.

So I finally decided that I want to replace my current 3-inch lift Dirt Logic 2.5 Coilovers with the Dirt Logic 2.5 Remote Reservoir Coilovers but with custom valving to provide just a tad more compression response to soften the ride for daily driving (but keeping the rebound settings for off-roading). Fabtech stated that they can start right away but will take 10-12 weeks to make the new coilovers and perform the custom valving due to demand right now (at least it's not because they're waiting for anything to be shipped from China since they manufacture everything here in the USA). That will allow me to at retain my Fabtech 3-inch lift specific UCAs and keep my current ride height while at least enhancing both my street ride while improving my higher speed desert off-road performance. Fabtech also said there is plenty of adjustability in the coilovers to compensate for the added weight when I install my winch setup.

But my final solution really doesn't solve my need for better approach/departure angles without resorting to very heavy off-road bumpers. I guess I could install the BDS 4-inch system and then order some custom Kings to replace the 4-inch spacer for only another $5K...lol.
thanks for the insight. now that you're thinking you need more clearance i'm thinking i should stick with more too and go with the BDS 4". It's between the BDS 4" and the fabtech Dirt Logic resi coilovers for me. How well does the fabtech 3" maintain factory geometry? Could you put bigger bilsteins 5100/5160 on the 4" BDS? the BDS 6" with coilovers would be ideal if it was a 4" system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #123 ·
thanks for the insight. now that you're thinking you need more clearance i'm thinking i should stick with more too and go with the BDS 4". It's between the BDS 4" and the fabtech Dirt Logic resi coilovers for me. How well does the fabtech 3" maintain factory geometry? Could you put bigger bilsteins 5100/5160 on the 4" BDS? the BDS 6" with coilovers would be ideal if it was a 4" system.
Great minds think alike as that is exactly my sentiment; the BDS 4-inch lift with coilovers would be the perfect solution for me as well. Unfortunately, it's not a reality. I have had numerous conversations with the BDS technical group (of which Randy has been very responsive BTW) and there is nothing available from BDS (or anyone else) that will give you both 4-inches of lift and performance coilovers for our 5th Gen Rams. If you want coilovers and a lift higher than 3-inches, you have to go with the BDS 6-inch Fox coilover system. Otherwise, you can have King make a set of custom shocks to provide the lift and replace the spacers, but that will be more than double the cost of the BDS lift in itself (not to mention you'll definitely have to keep rebuilding them as they wear since it would insane to try and replace them over and over). I talked to Ben at Dirty Deeds, and while King could make something, there is no guarantee how it will perform with the BDS system as you'll be extending the available suspension travel (so need custom UCAs as well). Finally, you are probably 6-12 months out before you could even get your order filled due to current backlog and limited production. That was also the issue when I talked to Tyler at Carli; Kings are seriously backordered for everyone it seems, especially if you need custom lengths and/or tuning.

Regarding the Bilsteins, some folks have been able to make the Bilstein 5100s struts work up front but honestly don't recall if the 5160s work for the rear. Fabtech does not completely retain the factory geometry but does a fair job of maintaining acceptable results as their UCAs are designed specifically for the 3-inches of lift with additional suspension travel. The CV angles are notably impacted but within reason (although clearly not near at factory angles and will eventually wear out). The alignment is not completely in spec as there is a very slight canter to the front wheels. But the system provides a good quality ride with near factory steering and handling control and definitely improves the truck's off-road capabilities.

I had pressed BDS about using a Fox 2.0 coilover up front but all I could get out of them was that they can only recommend using the factory struts and UCAs as that is how their system was designed and tested. It seems to me a lot of folks are wanting a true 4-inch lift with real off-road capability (aka 6-inch Fox Coilover lift) so not sure why BDS doesn't bring one out.

On the Dirt Logics, I am still seriously thinking about ordering new front coilovers with custom tuning to be comparable with the Fox 2.5 coilovers. Unfortunately, I did find out that the Dirt Logic 2.25 shocks used for the rear are not interchangeable with the 0"-2" Fox 2.5 Performance Elites with DSC as the Dirt Logics are 1.5-inches longer than the Fox shocks even at full extension. I was hoping to get an adjustable shock in the rear to help deal with towing and increased payload.

I am probably going to keep the Fabtech Dirt Logic system since I do get a more aggressive stance and increased off-road capability over either the factory setup, and for sure much better on-and off-road performance over the BDS 4-inch spacer system, and still have decent towing performance. I just like the overall look and increased approach/departure angles that the BDS system provides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #125 ·
@Desert Dawg does the fabtech set up fit stock wheels? I know the bds won't work with stock wheels. Was thinking of using stock wheels for dedicated winters.
No, unfortunately, Fabtech specifically states that you cannot use the OEM wheels and tires. However, it is about backspacing so you could go with a quality bolted wheel spacer like BORA or Stahl 0.75 inches, 1.0 inches, or 1.25 inches thick which would equate to using about a 0MM, -6MM, -13MM offset wheel, respectively in order to keep the appropriate backspacing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #127 ·
@Desert Dawg just wanted to say thanks for the insight and tips. I took delivery of my 21 rebel Wednesday and ordered a whole bunch of mods for the truck yesterday including the fabtech dirt logic resi setup. 4 week wait begins.
Awesome, congrats on the new Rebel! Be interesting to see what your build progress looks like but great start with the Fabtech-Dirt Logic setup. Be curious to see how you like it too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #128 ·
Took the Rebel off-roading up to Yankee Boy Basin at the base of Mount Sneffels (Elevation 14,150 ft.), Colorado for the day. The Basin is pretty easy to access for most 4x4 trucks/SUVs with good tires although the further in you go, the rougher it gets (heavy rock trails). I finally had to turn around at the point where access is limited to highly lifted, short-wheelbase, 4x4s. While I have no issue with my suspension and tire setup along with my off-roading chops to go further, I couldn't risk damaging the truck or getting stuck trying to get over the the high breakover ridges. Nonetheless, was a great time!















 

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Discussion Starter · #129 · (Edited)
So been a little remiss and distracted to keep my mods moving along. But I did finally get the skidplate facia powder coated and started assembly of the hidden winch mount.

I originally thought that I was going to powder coat the replacement skidplate facia a matte black rather than leaving it stock. But when I took the parts down to the powder coating shop, I just couldn't commit to an all back lower facia as I still like how the Rebel is instantly recognizable from the other models in large part to the front grille and lower skid plate facia. So I took some inspiration from the TRX and compromised with a gun metal grey color that doesn't black out the entire front end in order to still provide some contrast; I thought the color will also work well with my Black Rhino wheel selection as I plan on painting the wheel rings the same color (providing a bit more definition between the wheels and tires) and also tie in with the gun metal grey of the winch hook (per below).





The other thing of note is that I also had the Vice Design mounting brackets powder coated a matte black to blend in more with the matte black grille and trim colors. Since the mount facing will be fully exposed out in front of the lower bumper, I had all of the exposed welds ground smooth prior to the powder coating for a very finished look.



Finally, I wanted a 1.5-inch thick fairlead to provide a tad more separation from the the front bumper. I went with a Warn Hawse-style fairlead also in matte black married up to a gun metal grey Factory 55 Ultrahook.



Now I just need to make time to take apart the front bumper and install with new winch setup!
 

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Discussion Starter · #130 ·
Well, it's been a while since my last post, but finally decided to replace my silver Rebel skid plate with my new powder coated replacement skid plate with a gun metal grey color. The final color selection splits the difference between the factory silver or black versions but still blends in nicely with the overall color scheme of the truck.

First off, I decided that all I wanted to do this weekend was get the new skid plate installed as seeing my self-inflicted damaged skid plate every day (from bouncing around in the desert several months back) was driving me crazy. I didn't have time to do the full hidden winch install since that would have necessitated another day without the ability to use the truck, but I can add the winch anytime (especially since I now know what it takes to remove the whole bumper).

I also imagined that it would be a simple job to just unbolt the skid plate and replace, so I initially didn't bother taking off the entire bumper. While I spent a couple of hours prepping and getting most of the bolts undone, I could not remove the skid plate as there are additional bolts that are hidden and cannot be accessed unless you remove the whole bumper assembly. And that stressed me some more as I had to undo all of my off-road lights' electrical connections as well which added more time to my simple project. I finally got the bumper off (after dealing with the lights, loosening the wheel well fender liners, disconnecting the front bumper wiring harness, and removing the 6 frame mount nuts of which 2 were not easy to do). So, I wasted a half-day in the process.

Damaged plate:





Bumper removed:





All done for now until I get the hidden winch installed; the change is subtle, but I think looks perfect with the color scheme.





 

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Just picked up my Rebel earlier this year, it's a 2019. Only things done so far is black racing stripes and additional tint. I have booked to dark out the back windows and new rims and tires are a must. I am so glad so many people have amazing ideas and there are a lot more people driving these sweet trucks then I thought. Going to keep the stock rims and tires for the winter. I am so happy to be back in a truck and have switched from a Ford guy to a Dodge guy. Used to be in Ford Adrenaline Sport Track. Then was my trusty Journy that served its purpose well. The Rebel is great though.
Car Tire Land vehicle Wheel Vehicle
Cloud Sky Car Land vehicle Tire


Had no idea it was a great off road vehicle, we have some great trails, and off road opportunities up north by the cottage. I use it for driving and style. I would be lying if I said otherwise lol.

Thanks for all the info, I will use a lot of it. I look forward to jumping on and seeing more picks of these finished products.

Mark from Toronto, Ontario, Canada
 

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Discussion Starter · #132 ·
Just picked up my Rebel earlier this year, it's a 2019. Only things done so far is black racing stripes and additional tint. I have booked to dark out the back windows and new rims and tires are a must. I am so glad so many people have amazing ideas and there are a lot more people driving these sweet trucks then I thought. Going to keep the stock rims and tires for the winter. I am so happy to be back in a truck and have switched from a Ford guy to a Dodge guy. Used to be in Ford Adrenaline Sport Track. Then was my trusty Journy that served its purpose well. The Rebel is great though. View attachment 32325 View attachment 32324

Had no idea it was a great off road vehicle, we have some great trails, and off road opportunities up north by the cottage. I use it for driving and style. I would be lying if I said otherwise lol.

Thanks for all the info, I will use a lot of it. I look forward to jumping on and seeing more picks of these finished products.

Mark from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Congrats Mark on your Rebel and welcome to the forum. I like the stripes!

I am also a long-time Ford guy with so many different builds over the years. But also a fellow for Chevy, Jeep, Dodge, Range Rover, and countless other makes...I just love cars...lol. But I am really enjoying my Rebel as well and going into my third year of ownership with only a couple of significant issues so far (truck stranding me in a remote location by not starting, 12-inch screen occasionally "blacking out", and USB module going funky - so, all electronic issues which are result of these newer vehicles becoming so integrated and complicated). But everything else seems to be working great so far.

With the right mods, like any vehicle, you can take the Rebel almost everywhere but it has a great setup right from the Factory to start with. I have taken mine to up almost 13,000 ft. over some really difficult rock sections (easier with lifted Jeeps, very questionable for a long wheel base vehicle like the Ram) and it did well. Immediately after bashing it around, you can then take it on a long, smooth riding highway trip (assuming it starts...lol). Amazing vehicles we have these days.

Anyway, enjoy your new ride!
 

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Discussion Starter · #133 ·
So this little issue just happened. Coming home from a few days ago and I started hearing all sort of noises when going over bumps and on turns, and I thought the ride just got really rough all of a sudden.

So I finally get home and crawl underneath to find this:



I think I must have fatigued/cracked the piston rod when fully extended when off-roading at some point in the past and it took this long to finally sheared off. The rod is hanging on the lower control arm while the coil is deformed and touching different components. Considering the cost that Fabtech charged for this system and Dirt Logic bragging about how well built the shocks are for this application, I am really disappointed this happened as I never had any issues when I hit the trails hard with my King, Fox, or Icon systems on my other full-sized truck builds.

I only need (1) replacement Dirt Logic 2.5 coilover but can't seem to find any as it all of the online vendors only sell them in complete front kits of (2) coilovers which means I have to spend another +$1400-$1800 on top of the +$3200 for the original Fabtech/Dirt Logic system. I thought Fabtech will help me out since I purchased their entire 3-inch lift system but they basically told me that they won't sell me just (1) coilover either but happy to sell me the entire front set of (2) coilovers at full price if I want to wait 8-10 weeks. Scr&w that and and I am now done with Fabtech/Dirt Logic.

I am currently having my shop, Desert Rat Off-road, source a pair of Bilstein B8 6112 adjustable coilovers for now and decide later on what I want to do
 

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Discussion Starter · #134 ·
Update:

Well, I got lucky as my shop was able to get their supplier to overnight a set of Bilstein B8 6112 coilovers and then had a cancellation so they also were able to get my truck into the shop faster for the install (wait time was over several weeks due to their workload).




Considering it's Labor Day weekend, that means I'll get it by mid-next week but I have to acknowledge that having a +25-year long friendship with the shop manager comes in handy.

According to Bilstein, this set is specifically designed to give the Rebel/ORP 2-inches of max lift (or 3-inches over the base Ram); this should put me close to the Dirt Logic height (within 1/2-inch) and still work with my current Fabtech UCAs and aftermarket wheel/tire setup along with the Dirt Logic 2.25 rear shocks. The Bilsteins are definitely high quality products but just not in the same league as higher-end Fox, Icon, King or even the Dirt Logics systems but should get me up and running with decent all around performance (and still much better than factory sourced Bilsteins that originally came with the truck).
 

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Discussion Starter · #135 ·
Got a short trip in to see how things worked out with the new Bilstein 6112 front coilovers!

First, the 6112s are set at their highest level for 2-inches of lift on the Rebel. I retained the Fabtech UCAs along with the Dirt Logic 2.25 rear shocks and coil spring spacer. My existing wheel/tire setup cleared fine including at full lock despite the truck now sitting about 1/2-inch lower than with the Dirt Logic coilovers.

First part of the trip was a 5-hour ride from my home in Albuquerque, NM to Durango, CO and a quick stop in Silverton, CO and finally up into Ouray. Highway speeds average ~75 mph and reported gas mileage right at 16 mpg (which is pretty good for a heavy full-sized truck on 34s and other mods going mostly uphill to over 10,000 ft.).



It was a rainy trip up so only took a couple of quick shots coming into Ouray:







The next day was about finding an easy trail to put the 6112s through some off-road pacing. Luckily, I found one with a lot of ruts and smooth exposed rock shelves that I was able to traverse. The coilovers soaked up everything without an issue and provided a comfortable ride in the process. This is no comparison to my last trip using the Dirt Logics to crawl over high rock ledges and boulders (certainly not going to do that with just the Bilsteins) but it was a good feeling that the 6112s can still take you off the beaten path.









So barring any need for more technical four wheeling, I am pretty happy with the new setup even though I lost some of the stance I wanted with my build. Next test will be out on some desert runs to see how they soak up dips and dunes.

 

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Great shot! The Truck looks great!

keep ‘Em Coming!

quick Question… It doesn’t look like you have a winch installed yet. So, no chance to try out that Vice Designs winch mount yet? Have you mounted it yet? At least the winch plate…
 
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Discussion Starter · #137 ·
Great shot! The Truck looks great!

keep ‘Em Coming!

quick Question… It doesn’t look like you have a winch installed yet. So, no chance to try out that Vice Designs winch mount yet? Have you mounted it yet? At least the winch plate…
Thanks!

No, I was in a hurry to replace my smashed up skid plate so didn't take the time to install the winch plate or winch. It's all still sitting on my work bench.

And to be honest, I am now second guessing if I want to install my winch which is quite the thought considering that I also had the frame custom powder coated a matte black to better match the Rebel matte black trim. But after switching out my Dirt Logic suspension for the Bilstein 6112 system, I am not of the mind to take the Rebel anywhere that is too remote or too technical anymore (after incurring all of the damage during my last adventure) where I felt having a winch was an absolute necessity. Since this is my third suspension system I have installed, I am pretty much done with it. So it doesn't really make much sense anymore to be loading up my front end with the extra weight of the steel mount/frame and 12K winch if I am going to restrict my off-roading adventures to accessible forest roads and soft sand dunes. And then there is the fact that the 6112s are sourced with an Eibach-600lb spring set which will eventually settle down under the added weight thus lowering my approach angle and tire clearance even more.

So I may just sell my Vice Design hidden mount system (custom powder coating thrown in...lol). But because I really enjoy my four wheeling adventures, I may even go ahead and sell the Rebel as well and go back to a Toyota 4Runner that I really enjoyed since it has aftermarket support galore, provides a great blend of daily driving with dog hauling and light towing capability for my trailer, and awesome Jeep-like off-road performance (after mods). I'll throw in a supercharger too to make it a lot more effective for those long mountain runs and just provide more fun to drive overall. I just finished building up my kids brand new 4Runner TRD Off-Road, and my brother still has his kick-a$$ FJ Cruiser, so it's almost a no-brainer if I want to play in the same sandbox (pun intended) as the Rebel is just too big to follow them on the trails they go on.



But then I drove my truck all day today with the sunroof fully open and listening to that glorious V8 with the B2 Fab Magnaflow exhaust sound and thought to myself "am I crazy"? I probably am! 😆
 

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Discussion Starter · #138 ·
Well, this is the end........................................I think.

Earlier this week, I had to get into the office earlier than usual and so I go out to leave only to find that my +$60K , low mileage 5th Gen Ram Rebel is totally dead, again. If you recall, I posted exactly a year ago when I went out for an off-road adventure up in Ouray, CO but found that the truck was totally dead that first morning. First, I had tried a normal jump from another vehicle but to no avail. Since Ouray is a small mountain town with one mechanic (who has a ton of Jeep and 4Runner knowledge but no 5th Gen Ram experience), and definitely no auto stores exist there either, I paid for a service truck to come from another town over 40 miles away to perform a power jump before committing to towing the truck to the nearest Ram dealership that was also over 40 miles away. Luckily, the professional jump start worked and I made the trip back home to Albuquerque, NM. Took the truck to my local dealership and of course they could not find any issues. But since that event, I have had no additional "dead battery" issues...until now.

Luckily, I had purchased a Tacklife battery jumper after my last episode up in Ouray just so I wouldn't get stranded out in the desert or mountains somewhere; I totally don't feel like I can rely on this vehicle not to mention the recurring issues with my 12-inch screen randomly going blank (glad I paid extra for that option) and the console's USB ports shorting out all the time too (and yes, the dealer could not replicate nor find any issues) along with some other minor annoyances. After hooking up the Tacklife, I couldn't get the truck to start and received an error message stating the battery was "too low" to jump. But the device has a "boost" mode just for the occasion so I pushed that and the truck started up after a couple of attempts.

I just turned 20K on the odometer after almost 3 years of ownership and now I have to make another trip to the dealership again. 🤬

So I think this latest event sealed my thought process on changing the Rebel out for something that will more closely meet my need for reliability (not chance getting stranded somewhere remote) and off-road capability. To the former, if I only drove the truck in town and didn't take it on long road trips or to remote areas, I might be more inclined to deal with it more and work with Ram and/or the dealership to figure things out, maybe. To the latter, it's a double whammy as I certainly can't rely on the vehicle to go off-road but also can't really achieve the off-road build I want without investing heavily again into another suspension that won't break on the trails.

I have been toying with the idea of going back to a Toyota 4Runner as I had lots of fun building my last one to my specs (ton of aftermarket) and taking it on a wide range of off-roading adventures due to its smaller size and great off-roading capability (especially after the mods). Plus, it is still a decent daily driver, good for the dogs, can tow my trailer for weekend Home Depot runs if needed, and is a lot more comfortable to take on long distance, highway trips (vs. the Jeep Wrangler/Gladiator that is not good at high speeds and noisy or even the new Bronco that is just too noisy too out on the highway). I went over to the Toyota dealership and placed my name on the wait list for a 2023 TRD PRO or TRD Off-road Premium (yes, the old 4Runners are still very hot right now probably for similar reasons as folks don't want to chance the newer, more complicated versions coming out....aka, new Tundra issues). The current 5th Gen 4Runner is certainly old tech but it works , you can mod them like crazy and beat them up on the trails, and they will last +200K-300K miles without stranding you somewhere.

But I haven't signed on the dotted line yet.
 
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