The Overlandy Index

It’s that time to buy a new rig. Or maybe it’s that time to plop down a major “investment” into the current rig. You want to know that your money will be well spent, and that you can live with the modifications day-to-day. After all, some add-ons also subtract-off in some other way, and this is unacceptable in a daily driver where 98% of your time is in traffic on paved roads. For example, we know that adding big, aggressive tread tires will give us better ground clearance, grip in the slick stuff, and let’s face it, provide a better look. But big tires also take away fuel economy, noise comfort, tight turning circle, acceleration, and ride comfort on top of the $1G you spent just to acquire them. We’re willing to put up with all of this on our purpose-built weekend truck, but not so much on our daily driver.

“Ah ha!” you say, “but what if I add gearing to compensate for the increased tire size?” To which I respond, “Mmm, sounds cheap. Should probably add lockers and beefier axles while you’re in there.” See, it’s a complex question. Until now, all we’ve had is years of personal experience of trial and error on top of fruitless online forum debates to consult for our questions.


That is about to change.

I’d like to introduce the Overlandy Index. It’s a graph I made up that will attempt to solve this quandary, or at least add light to it, or just be for fun, or perhaps fuel the fire, or make everything worse. For those who DD their rig, this is for you.


How It Works:

Just like in Pre-Algebra class, there’s a horizontal and a vertical axis on a graph. On the horizontal axis, you have “Purpose-Built” on the positive side and “Daily Driver” on the negative side. On the vertical axis, you have “Advantageous” on the positive side and “Compromising” on the negative side.


A stock vehicle starts at (-6, 0). Every option ticked in the corresponding category will add or subtract a point moving the dot left or right, up or down. Where the green dot lands is your score.

Illustration for article titled The Overlandy Index

For example,

2004 Toyota 4Runner “Marge”

  • 4.0L Limited 4WD
  • FJ Springs, Bilstein shocks, Daystar leveling kit
  • RTT, recovery gear (160lbs)
  • Firestone Destination A/T 265/70R17 (stock size)
  • ATRAC, HDC, stock gears, push-button locking center diff (AWD)
*Old photo
*Old photo

Result: (-4, 3) Very much a daily driver w/ some added capability.

Item List:


  1. Non-selectable front and/or rear locker (1)
  2. Every 3mph of speedo inaccuracy at 70mph (1 for every 3mph difference)
  3. Solid front axle (2)
  4. Armor items added: Customer bumper, Rock slider set, Skid plate, Heavy-duty roof rack, etc. (1 for each piece)
  5. Extra mounted items: hi-lift jack, fuel canister, RTT, fridge, recovery gear, etc. (1 for every 50lbs)
  6. Extra exterior lighting (1)
  7. Each 3" of lift (1 for every 3")
  8. Swaybar delete (1)
  9. Snorkel (1)
  10. Roll cage/exocage (1 for any roll cage, +1 for exo)
  11. Safety harness, each (2 max)
  12. Beadlocks (1)
  13. Portal axles (2)
  14. Mud-terrain tires (1)

Daily Driver:

  1. Independent rear suspension (2)
  2. Undefeatable traction control (1)
  3. Stock gears w/ tires within 1 size of stock (1)
  4. Highway-tread tires (1)
  5. Less than 7 years old (1)

Advantageous: (things that work well on and off road)

  1. Off-road traction control: ATRAC, HDC, crawl control, etc. (1 max)
  2. Push-button locker: front or rear (1 each, 2 max)
  3. Clutch interlock switch, manual trans only (1)
  4. Defeatable ESC (1)
  5. Sway bar quick disconnects (1)
  6. In-cab tire inflation (1)
  7. All-terrain tires (1)
  8. 4WD w/ AWD option a.k.a. push-button center diff lock (1)
  9. O&E sticker (1)

Compromising: (things that do worse than the alternative)

  1. 20"+ wheels (1)
  2. Independent rear suspension (1)
  3. Chrome accents (1 for each added, 3 max)
  4. < 8" or > 18" of minimum ground clearance (2)
  5. No A/C (1)
  6. No low range (1)
  7. Carburetion (1)

Amoral items:

There are an infinite number of items I could’ve added to each list but decided to withhold, as I could not determine them as either good or bad, advantageous or compromising. In other words, they are “amoral” items. For example, both manual and automatic transmissions have an equal number of benefits and disadvantages; so do engine sizes and configurations. It’s more of a personal preference, so those are out until the online forums decide otherwise.


Beta Test:

Tell me what you think! I know this index is not perfect yet, and yes, the graph is terrible, but it could be great with your help. I’m looking for people to help me refine this index by using the questionnaire on their current hoopdie and making suggestions based upon the results. Let me know your thoughts on categorization and items that need to be added or removed.


Please take the test and place the results alongside your vehicle profile (with photos preferably) in the comments section.

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