Peter Stewart on December 20th, 2011

December 17, 2011Off Road 4wheeling Trip Report

Destination: Tillamook State Forest, Browns CampOregon
Distance: 150 Miles
Attendees: Brad (2000 Amigo), James, Peter (1992 Isuzu Pickup)

[vimeo clip_id="33951646" width="585" height="435"]

Our off road adventure started about 8:30 on Saturday morning.  James and I met up with Brad at the Shell gas station on hwy 6 on the way to Browns Camp.  This was James first time off road; well at least true off road “Oregon” style.  Brad has driven off road for many years but this was the maiden voyage for his Isuzu Amigo with a recent Dana 44 solid axle swap.

Brad's Isuzu Amigo on Firebreak 5


We aired down and headed for Firebreak 5 one of the most popular trails in Tillamook State Forest.  The trail was fairly dry for this time of year but there was still plenty of mud which made the rocky sections challenging.  Both our vehicles drove through the obstacles with some spotting and careful lines.  My ARB front and rear lockers proved to be especially helpful in many sections of the trail.

Firebreak 5 - Off Road

We both drove down Saddle Up which is a very steep rocky decent.  From there we headed to Hogs Back which has a steep, rutted hill climb.  We both drove up the hill fairly easily and decided to do it again to get some video.  My tires caught some air with the low travel IFS but there were no issue with traction thanks to the BFG KM2 tires and ARB Lockers.

Our final trail was Archers Firebreak.  This firebreak has the longest series of trails at Browns Camp.  It stretches the majority of the state OHV area.  There are several fun sections of trail including rocky uphill, can opener and the waterfall.  We avoided the double black diamond trails but did some crazy off camber hill climbs.

View from Saddle Up Trail

It was an excellent trip with great company and no major failures except a bent track bar mount on the Amigo.  There will be more Isuzu adventures to come.


Tags: , , , ,

I’ve been considering purchasing a full size truck for a while.  Last year I drove a 2007 Chevy Silveraldo 1500 and was very impressed with the power and styling.  The positive Nissan Titan reviews and the top selling Ford F150 also caught my attention.

This review is a comparison of the trucks and determining which best fit my needs.


I seriously considered the:  Ford F150, Chevy Silveraldo 1500, Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan.  I was looking for 6.5ft truck bed (5.5ft too short / 8ft too long), 4 wheel drive and it needed four true doors.  I wanted a truck that was comfortable, quality, maneuverable, reliable, efficient and powerful.


Ford F150 SuperCrew features 5.4L 310HP / 365LB FT, 6 speed Automatic, 14 mpg city / 18 mpg hwy,  11,100lb max towing and 1,810lb max payload, spacious interior (leg room front 41.4″ / rear 43.5″), overall length 243.7″, good quality construction, average turning radius and average reliability.  The biggest factors for not choosing the F150 were the reported transmission issues (new design), overall length / maneuverability and exterior styling feels dated.

Chevy Silveraldo 1500 CrewCab features 5.3L 315HP / 365LB FT, 6 Speed Automatic, 15 mpg city / 21 mpg hwy, 10,400lb max towing and 1,655lb max payload, spacious interior (leg room front 41.3″ / rear 39.0″), overall length (not available in 6.5ft bed), good quality construction, average turning radius and average reliability.  The biggest factor for not choosing the Chevy Silverado was that the 6.5 ft bed was not available with the CrewCab.  This truck has the best rated fuel mileage and excellent exterior styling (personal preference).

Nissan Titan CrewCab features 5.6L 317HP / 365LB FT, 5 Speed Automatic, 12 mpg city / 17 mpg hwy, 9,100lb max towing and 1,644lb max payload, spacious interior (leg room front 41.8″ / rear 40.4″), overall length 244.2″, average quality construction, average turning radius and good reliability.  The biggest factors for not choosing the Nissan Titan was the plastic feeling dated interior, poor fuel mileage and overall length/maneuverability.


Toyota Tundra DoubleCab features 5.7L 381HP / 401LB FT, 6 Speed Automatic, 13 mpg city / 17 mpg hwy, 10,200lb max towing and 1,620lb max payload, reasonable interior leg room (front 42.5″ / rear 34.7″), overall length 228.7″, good quality construction, good turning radius (44ft) and excellent reliability.


I chose the Toyota Tundra after extensive research for the following reasons:  best maneuverability, shortest overall length with 6.5ft bed, incredibly powerful engine, reasonable fuel mileage (many have reported 16-20mpg online), reputation for reliability and good resale value.  I like the exterior styling (personal preference), interior layout, quiet/smooth ride and storage spaces.

The next best options were the Chevy Silverado, Ford F150 and Nissan Titan (in that order).  All of the trucks are good and highly competitive.


My Toyota Tundra is a Limited TRD.  My favorite features include: parking sonar, rear view mirror backup camera, JBL 10 speaker stereo w/ Ipod USB/ XM / Sub, power adjustable headlights, power folding mirrors, memory seats / steering wheel, power sliding rear window, heated leather seats, dual zone climate control and shock tailgate.  Have you heard about the TRD Supercharger?  It boosts the engine over 500 HP!  Although, this truck seriously doesn’t need it with factory 0-60 times in the low to mid 6 second range.

I’ll share my future modifications and long term reliability feedback.  Feel free to post your comments or questions.

Peter Stewart on October 15th, 2009

Bigger tires are an excellent upgrade for off road driving but they decrease gas mileage on road.  It’s not uncommon to experience a 2-4 mpg reduction in gas mileage with your off road tires.  Why is this?

1. They are HEAVY.  Most weigh 20+ lbs more than stock tires.
2. Increased Rolling Resistance from aggressive tread.
3. Incorrect odometer & speedometer.  Larger tires travel further per rotation.

Tire Rotation Diagram - Distance Traveled per Rotation

Tire Rotation Diagram - Distance Traveled per Rotation

There’s nothing that can be done about the tire weight or rolling resistance of your tires (beyond proper air pressure).  But you can do something about the odometer.

There are 2 simple ways to learn how to calculate your gas mileage after increasing your tire size.

1.  With GPS:  Drive your vehicle at 50 mph (gps speed).  Read your odometer speed.  Take your odometer speed minus 50mph and multiply by 2.  This will tell you the % your odometer is off.

2.  Without GPS:  Measure the diameter of your old tires and new tires.  Divide your old tire diameter by your new tire diameter.  Subtract from 1.  This will be the % your odometer is off.

Odometer Calculation Chart

Odometer Calculation Chart

If your vehicle odometer registers 250 miles and it takes 16 gallons to fill

Multiply 250 miles by 10% (amount odometer is off calculated above) = 25 miles.  Add 25 miles to your odometer reading = 275 actual miles traveled.  Divide 275 miles by 16 gallons = 17.18 MPG

Your non-adjusted gas mileage would have been 250 divided by 16 gallons = 15.62 MPG

That’s nearly 2 MPG better!  It’s also good to know your “actual speed” on the highway and in school zones to avoid getting tickets.  We will talk about the other expensive alternative alternative (regearing) another time.

Share your comments and questions!

Peter Stewart on October 11th, 2009

September 10-14, 2009Off Road 4wheeling Trip Report

Destination: Rubicon Trail – Lake Tahoe, California
Distance: 952 Miles
Attendees: Peter, Rich

[vimeo clip_id="7012429" width="585" height="435"]

Our expedition began September 10th; we hit the hwy after making final adjustments and checking everything on the Toyota 4runner.  Our destination was the Rubicon Trail entrance where we planned to camp for the night.  We stopped briefly for additional supplies, gas and lunch in Eugene.  At this point we had fallen behind schedule but we were determined to camp at the Rubicon.  We drove non-stop until after midnight when we finally rolled into camp.  We setup camp in the dark and slept like a rock or was that on a rock.  :)

The next morning Friday September 11th we broke camp and loaded up the 4runner.  After doing safety and mechanical checks we discovered the rear elocker wasn’t engaging.  Who needs a rear lock for the Rubicon anyways?

I’ve never driven a trail with so many people!  It was an off road traffic jam.

Rubicon Trail 2009

Rubicon Trail 2009

The first sections of trail were fairly easy and required limited technical ability to navigate.  Our truck was fairly well equipped with 35″ BFG KM2 tires, gears, front elocker, broken rear elocker and armor.  I can imagine driving this trail with an IFS rig on 33″ tires would be intensely challenging.  About 1 mile into the trail our rear axle seal blew out.  We decided after considering our options to continue on rather than turn around.

The Rubicon Trail earns it’s difficultly rating.  The trail is a relentless non-stop rock garden.  Here in the Pacific North West our trails may have are several obstacles whereas the entire Rubicon trail is an obstacle.  Many consider it the ultimate test of a vehicle.

Rubicon Trail 2009

Rubicon Trail 2009

It was dark for the final hour of trail driving which increased the challenges drastically.  Thankfully we survived and made it to the Marlin Crawler Event camp.  We setup camp and enjoyed sleeping on a rock slab.

The next morning Saturday September 12th we ventured into camp to ask if anyone had an axle seal.  A couple campers suggested we find MarlinMarlin is an amazing guy.  He dropped everything to come look at my truck and  then proceeded to help replace the bad wheel bearing and axle seal.  He truly saved the day.  Beyond that he wouldn’t accept any payment.  Thank you

Rubicon Trail 2009

Rubicon Trail 2009

We drove out of the camp via “Cadillac Hill” which is anything but smooth.  Thankfully we survived the entire Rubicon trail.  We camped out at the Tahoe Valley Campground which boasted a heated swimming pool.

The next morning Sunday September 13th we hiked the Vikingsholm Castle trail (about 2 miles).  We had a great time and enjoyed the views and beautiful sunny weather.  We stayed a second night at the Tahoe Valley Campground.

Vikingsholm Castle - Lake Tahoe California

Vikingsholm Castle - Lake Tahoe California

The next morning Monday September 14th we woke up early and began the 13 hour voyage back to Portland, Oregon.  Thankfully our return trip was uneventful.  This trip is certainly an experience that won’t be forgotten!

Sunrise over Lake Tahoe California

Sunrise over Lake Tahoe California

Share your comments and feedback.  :)

Peter Stewart on October 8th, 2009

Update: I’ve driven the BFG KM2 Mud Terrain tires for 7 months; total distance traveled on road was 8,000-10,000 miles.  Trips included:  Portland to Bend Oregon (4 hrs), Portland to Northern California, Portland to Colorado (4,600 miles) and Portland to San Francisco California.  The tires are wearing perfectly and still look like new.

BFG KM2 Mud Terrain - Off Road

BFG KM2 Mud Terrain - Off Road

Off Road Trips Included:  Tillamook State Forest (NW Oregon), Goat Mountain (Estacada Area), McGrew Trail (Southern Oregon), Pacific City (Oregon Coast), Iron Chest (Colorado) and the Rubicon (California).

BFG KM2 Mud Terrain Off Road Driving Conditions (35″ x 12.5″)

Sand Traction: We tested the BFG KM2 tires at Pacific City, Oregon.  We tried to get the truck stuck but couldn’t even with the tires at 35 PSI.  The tires dug down but kept pushing the truck forward.  We climbed a couple soft sand hills without issues.  The KM2 tires did much better than my previous Toyo MT tires which seemed to dig straight down.

BFG KM2 Mud Terrain - Off Road 2

BFG KM2 Mud Terrain - Off Road 2

Snow & Ice Traction: My BFG KM2 tires are siped in the center which increased slippery surface traction.  There were no traction issues whatsoever in wet or rainy conditions.  Ice traction isn’t great in comparison to the Toyo MT tires.  Snow Traction is alright but not incredible; once again the Toyo MT tires are better.  I would highly recommend siping the center lugs if you drive frequently in snow or ice.

Mud Traction: The BFG KM2 tires are excellent in mud.  Here in the Pacific Northwest we have tons of rain, mud and gooey clay.  These tires hook up.  I never hand an issue with traction in mud.  The tread on the tire sidewall helps immensely when properly aired down.  You won’t be disappointed here.

BFG KM2 Mud Terrain - Off Road 3

BFG KM2 Mud Terrain - Off Road 3

Rock Crawling Traction: BFG KM2 tires are incredible in the rocks (very similar to the BFG Crawler tires).  I aired the tires down to 9 PSI and had  ample traction.  The tires grabbed and clung onto every rock surface we drove on.  The sidewall construction is tough; we didn’t have issues with flats or beads coming off.  These are the perfect tires for rock crawling.

BFG KM2 Mud Terrain - Off Road 4

BFG KM2 Mud Terrain - Off Road 4

On Road: Check out our previous BFG KM2 Mud Terrain Review On Road

I would highly recommend purchasing the BFG KM2 Mud tires for all around solid off road traction with good road manners and seemingly long tread life.

Please comment with your questions or experiences.