Trails in a Rainier?

TexasMustang

Original poster
Member
Jun 18, 2012
9
I just bought a 2005 Rainier AWD.

Next week we will be going to Red River, NM. Offroading is very popular in the area and there are lots of forrest service trails through the mountains. The trails are mostly unmaintained dirt roads. They are rutted, steep, rocky, and etc..... We go here most summers and have rented a jeep for the day many times. I've never had to use 4 wheel low on one of the rented jeeps.

Do you think I should try out the AWD on the Rainier this year - or keep it on the pavement and rent a jeep for a day again?
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
All depends on your tires and tolerance for damage, like brush scraping your sides. If you have OEM, passenger or AT tires, the easy parts may be fun. But sharp rocks can take half the life out of passenger tires. If you have running boards, there's a huge handicap. And if it's new to you, have you tried the spare tire winch to lower your spare? Without regular lube and maintenance, they rust up and jam horribly.

And I always mention to new owners the surprisingly short 50K mile interval for transfer case fluid change. Do you have the maintenance history of the truck, and has the transfer case been done religiously?

The AWD system on your vehicle is normally just 2WD with only 5% torque being sent forward to the front tires. The system depends on detecting wheel slippage, THEN engaging clutches in the transfer case to get more traction. Not quite like a true full-time AWD system. Experiment, have fun, and explore the envelope. Just have a plan to back down hills that seem too extreme, and never do DOWN a hill you don't have an assured escape path from (either further down and out, or be able to get back up the hill you just went down.)

Also practice having a spotter give directions from outside the truck, using PASSENGER or DRIVER'S SIDE verbal cues instead of the easily-confused "right" and "left".

And carry some food/water/shelter supplies if you're out of communication range, and leave a flight plan with somebody not going with you, for safety.
 

Jkust

Member
Dec 4, 2011
945
In addition your Jeep likely had a locking differential. I can't recall which year the G80, locking differential, went from standard to optional in the Rainier. I know it was standard in the 04 and likely 05 as well. Look for the G80 RPO code in your glove box. I hope you do go off roading and let us know how it went.
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
Nov 18, 2011
49,665
I would try it, but I try lots of things.

The rental jeeps are likely base model and prolly open diffs. Less chance of failing or getting people in over their heads.
 

TexasMustang

Original poster
Member
Jun 18, 2012
9
Thank you for the suggestions.... I think I'll give it a try next week.

I don't know history, but at 90k miles I just had the transfer case, differentials, and transmission flushed. The spare tire was missing when I got it and I just bought one from a junkyard so I know it is good. Tires are an all season type; "Firestone Destination LE"..... I'll update after we go.
 

Wooluf1952

Member
Nov 20, 2011
2,663
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Jkust said:
In addition your Jeep likely had a locking differential. I can't recall which year the G80, locking differential, went from standard to optional in the Rainier. I know it was standard in the 04 and likely 05 as well. Look for the G80 RPO code in your glove box. I hope you do go off roading and let us know how it went.

Is that true for all 360's and 370's? Or just the Rainier?
 

Jkust

Member
Dec 4, 2011
945
Wooluf1952 said:
Is that true for all 360's and 370's? Or just the Rainier?

Well ignoring the SS and the 9-7 where the G86 was always standard, no. The deal was that the Rainier gave you a higher level standard level of equipment then sneakily stopped giving you a G80 as standard. The thing is though if you look at the reviews of the Rainiers over the years, they simply copied the 2004/first year review and barely changed what they said but never figured out that the G80 became an option. I only saw one sight that showed that the G80 wasn't a standard in the latter years. Even the Denali didn't give you a G80 and 3.73 as standard. All those little quirks are what lead me to our first Rainier three 360's ago. The problem is that a G80 on icy roads with the on Demand AWD in conjunction with worn tires was a recipe for a lot of unintended 180's.
 

TexasMustang

Original poster
Member
Jun 18, 2012
9
We had a great time in NM! But the couch at the rented condo isn't nearly as comfortable as the couch at home and my wife made me keep it on the pavement.

This was the first long trip in the Rainier and it did great, but I was disappointed with my mileage. It only got about 17 on the trip.
 

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