4x4 "Family Size" Prerunner Platforms

Brett_408

Active member
Joined
Jun 29, 2022
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135
Lets get some opinions and discussion on what year, make and model vehicles make good Prerunner/prelander platforms with the following criteria.

Most important features

- 4x4 first and foremost
- 4 seats minimum "family sized"
- More go fast, no jeeps or donkey rock crawler
- capable of mild 4x4 trails so you can see more places then desert and sand.

Lets hear about pro's and con's of different vehicles. Aftermarket support, easy of building to maximize usage to garage down time ratio, can it use factory parts (hubs, steering, driveline,ect...) , barrier to entry as far as prices on the used market in stock forms, so on and so on.

Starting this thread to try and get idea's for my next build. Currently I have a 2001 tundra Prerunner that's 2wd with 3 full size seats. I am just about done with the rebuild on the front end and will most likely be looking to sell it once competed. Reason being I now have 2 little boys and a wife so we will need more seats. On top of that I do not like the idea of only having 2wd on solo runs with the family. I personally am leaning towards a Bronco because I love the aftermarket support from mild to wild and ease of building. They also look awesome IMO. Major con is the cost of finding a stock or mildly built one. Whatever I build need to be able to confortable cruising In the desert at a moderate speed and be able to run trails like big bear or whatever with ease. I will NOT entertain the idea of a razor or any SXS mostly because I like women, also my wife hates them more then me!

Hopefully this tread gets some interest and let's hear what you all think!

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In 2007 I sold my 2 seat Ranger and I went back and forth on a few trucks to build(Supercrew, Bronco or a 4 door F250). I wanted needed 4 full size doors and knew that I’d be towing to and from the Dezert. I had just bought a new Titan and was never planning on buying a diesel, so a 4 door full-size was my original plan, but I knew it was going to be WAY to heavy for a gas truck to tow with. So I was started looking at 4 door midsize trucks and ended up going with a Sport Trac. 4BA5681C-1C9B-44B5-9C01-AC83AC9BC579.jpeg
 
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With that being said, I’ve never really had the need for 4wd, and only put my Raptor into 4wd twice before. But if I did I’d sell my current Motorhome and buy a Diesel pusher and I’d love to build a F250 4 door 2F3953E7-8168-4584-B8B2-6937F6126E4D.jpeg2767E3B1-B322-49B4-AA82-98C51ED8777D.jpeg8FD8EF4B-4239-4260-BEED-D033D704A683.jpeg
 
In 2007 I sold my 2 seat Ranger and I went back and forth on a few trucks to build(Supercrew, Bronco or a 4 door F250). I wanted needed 4 full size doors and knew that I’d be towing to and from the Dezert. I had just bought a new Titan and was never planning on buying a diesel, so a 4 door full-size was my original plan, but I knew it was going to be WAY to heavy for a gas truck to tow with. So I was started looking at 4 door midsize trucks and ended up going with a Sport Trac.

I remember years ago seeing your sport trac in the Costa Mesa area always loved the look of it! That f250 is BAD. 4wd for me is must this time around. 2wd a spool and a heavy foot will get you a lot of places but I plan on being able to do slower 4x4 trails like multi day camping trips ect..
 
If I ever build another truck, it'll be a chevy or gmc 2500 gasser. I'd build it exactly the same as my sonoma, though. Frame graft a bronco frame on (d44 ttb), simple links, single coilover all around (I'd go larger diameter/maybe bypasses as well), and it already comes with a 6.0L LS and 4L80 trans. The one thing that setup has on my truck is more cab space, but it will definitely be much wider. I'm at 81-82" track width, which is super nice for fitting on tighter trails.
 
I built a 1st gen 4runner and if I had to do it all over again, in order of preference, I'd go:
-Bronco
-1st gen Sequoia
-Dbl Cab Tundra
-V8 4runner

The Bronco platform has been proven and theres so many companies out there that offer almost every part and configuration you could imagine to build it just the way you want, its a no-brainer.

All of the toyotas above would be built with TTB, no more plowing crossmembers into the ground at bump.
 
Looking like the general consensus is the Bronco platform! That's pretty much what I have been set on. The double cab tundra for a long time was pretty intriguing for me see as I could swap all my suspension from my current truck onto one and have the bigger cab but that would still be 2wd. The 4x4 front "kits" for those trucks leave a lot to be desired.
 
I built a 1st gen 4runner and if I had to do it all over again, in order of preference, I'd go:
-Bronco
-1st gen Sequoia
-Dbl Cab Tundra
-V8 4runner

The Bronco platform has been proven and theres so many companies out there that offer almost every part and configuration you could imagine to build it just the way you want, its a no-brainer.

All of the toyotas above would be built with TTB, no more plowing crossmembers into the ground at bump.
i knew you were a ford fan boy.

I agree the bronco has surprised me with how good it does. Helped a friend with a low buck build, and hell it does better that my f150 ecoboost with bigger shocks.
 
Broncos are sweet but it's the 90's Ford maintenance that makes me hesitate. Luckily I need to fit a family of 5 so they're a non starter anyways.

I'm currently in a similar boat of trying to figure out how to off-road with a family of 5. This limits me to crew cab full size trucks or full size SUVs. Raptors have not dropped in price nearly to my level but a Fraptor is easy enough to build and should work well enough with mid travel standards. I thought about beaming a crew cab truck but the road manners make me pause every time. A solid front axle makes a capable trail rig but does not ride great at speed and are typically super tall. I tried the Jeep thing and did not like going slow. I'm trying out the long travel IFS thing on my current truck to see if it could be scaled up and open the possibility of using later model reliable vehicles with a ton of fab work. Ultra 4 cars seem to work pretty well with the same technology. At this rate I'll probably just build my wife's second gen Sequioa and deal with the huge body.
 
Looking like the general consensus is the Bronco platform! That's pretty much what I have been set on. The double cab tundra for a long time was pretty intriguing for me see as I could swap all my suspension from my current truck onto one and have the bigger cab but that would still be 2wd. The 4x4 front "kits" for those trucks leave a lot to be desired.
Don't like the solo xlt 4x4 kit?

Sean
 
Don't like the solo xlt 4x4 kit?

Sean
My truck currently has a 2wd camburg race kit. Don't have any experience with the solo 4x4 kit. Been in a couple tundra's with the chaos 4x4 kit and they were a little lack luster maybe because of the stock location single 8" coil over idk. The tundra platform is pretty good but they get stupid wide mine sits at 93" front and 91" rear track width. Really to big for most trails not in the desert.
 
My truck currently has a 2wd camburg race kit. Don't have any experience with the solo 4x4 kit. Been in a couple tundra's with the chaos 4x4 kit and they were a little lack luster maybe because of the stock location single 8" coil over idk. The tundra platform is pretty good but they get stupid wide mine sits at 93" front and 91" rear track width. Really to big for most trails not in the desert.
I think it is either a 4.5 or 5.5 over kit with custom axles and a spindle replacement. Uses a 10" coilover iirc. Probably close in width to your current setup but yeah, not going to get any less wide but it would be better than the chaos/burg/btf/mcm/wtfever 3.5 overs that use the stock spindle.

Sean
 
I think it is either a 4.5 or 5.5 over kit with custom axles and a spindle replacement. Uses a 10" coilover iirc. Probably close in width to your current setup but yeah, not going to get any less wide but it would be better than the chaos/burg/btf/mcm/wtfever 3.5 overs that use the stock spindle.

Sean
I just checked out the solo 4x4 kit it does look impressive but WOW 10k into a bolt on front end that's a hard pill to swallow.
 
A 2000-2006 Tahoe or suburban would be ideal. The frames are strong, parts are everywhere, and i believe Cho/Richer Racing make a crossmember for put TTB’s on them. That opens the door to everything from cut and turned stock beams and 33” tires to fully fabricated beams and swing steering with fabricated uprights, hubs, and 40”s. For the rear you can have Deaver make a spring under setup and make a cantilever kit or poke 18” bypasses through the bed floor, or link it if you are trying to get the absolute most out of it. Suburban would favor a more traditional link setup since you could use crew cab spaced lower links and have the shocks mounting behind the rear seats. The wheelbase on those trucks is 116” for the Tahoe and 130” for the suburban, so they are fairly close to most rangers for comparison and drastically shorter than a crew cab silverado.
 
That damn @fablab got me thinking about this again over the weekend. An FB marketplace voyage shows that 1st gen Sequoias are stupid cheap even in 4wd and V8. I daily a 1st gen Tundra so am comfortable with the not quite full size package. The frames are too wide, steering is terrible, and spindles are too weak to keep 4wd arms but a super duty axle fits well up front and race take-off 40s could fit all around with slight trimming. I can fit two buckets in the second row and stagger a third into the trunk for the kids. Bonus is if it wads up I can just build the rock buggy I've always kind of wanted. Three link front, four link rear with coilovers and airbumps at every corner. Cut body liberally to obtain low ride height with decent up travel and it should be a decent mid speed overlander. I can always put fiberglass fenders on front to preland it up.
SAS Sequoia6.JPG
 
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