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Old 10-13-2016, 08:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Save and buy once or build as you go?

Just wondering what you guys experience with building solid rigs says. Looking to get a Jeep and the upgrade it with they typical stuff. Axles, lift, bumpers, bigger tires. But because of budget there is no way i can swing the purchase of the Jeep and all the mods at one time.

So do i get the jeep then buy and add one part/set of parts when funds become available....

or get the jeep and rock it stock till i can save all the money to do most if not all the mods at one time.

Thanks for your thoughts and sharing your experience.

Last edited by GotCox; 10-13-2016 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 10-13-2016, 09:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would say figure out what your end game is and buy mods once. I bought things as funds became available though. Tires/lift at the same time, bumpers at the same time and so on.

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Old 10-14-2016, 08:04 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotCox View Post
Just wondering what you guys experience with building solid rigs says. Looking to get a Jeep and the upgrade it with they typical stuff. Axles, lift, bumpers, bigger tires. But because of budget there is no way i can swing the purchase of the Jeep and all the mods at one time.

So do i get the jeep then buy and add one part/set of parts when funds become available....

or get the jeep and rock it stock till i can save all the money to do most if not all the mods at one time.

Thanks for your thoughts and sharing your experience.
There's no right or wrong way to do a build.

I started stock, and I've changed my rig 2 or 3 times as my desire and offroad parks changed.

I think starting stock gives you a better appreciation for the mods you do. I had just as much (or more) fun wheeling stock as I do now. It's actually pretty amazing to see how capable a stock Jeep is.

For me, it was easier to spend smaller chunks of money over time, than to spend one huge chunk of money up front.

Your best bang for the buck will be to buy a good rig that is already built...but that's not nearly as much fun.

Last edited by StanF; 10-14-2016 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 10-14-2016, 10:31 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Good advice so far:

1. Try and plan ahead to know what your end game will be will minimize, but probably not completely eliminate the need to change things more than once. Think about the type of wheeling you will likely do and whether you like to fabricate stuff more or wheel. Is wheeling going to be something you do every weekend with lots of technical obstacles or are you in an area where a serious wheeling trip is 10-15 hours of travel and you go 3X a year and you spend most of your time fabricating stuff for those occasional trips? Is this going to be a daily driver, something you occasionally drive locally on the street or a 100% non-street legal trailer queen? All of these questions will help shape your path forward.

2. Most people cannot afford to buy everything at once, but saving is SO boring so buy what you can afford now and wheel it. I would however suggest that you look at buying something that has some level of modifications already completed. Reason being is that from a cost standpoint it's much cheaper to have someone else buy the new parts and then you are essentially buying them "used" and already installed. The only downside to that would be in that you would want to know that they used "good" parts and that they were installed correctly.
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Old 10-14-2016, 10:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Yup... plan ahead. Purchase parts in batches but don't buy parts that won't work with your future plans (except wear items such as tires).

For instance... I've got big plans for my ZJ, however, funds wont allow it right now. For the time being, I'm doing a junkyard lift and some decent rubber. By the time I finish getting parts together, the tires will be due or can be sold and I wont have much money at all in the lift.

I have to do things little by little as funds allow and also because if I take a project off the road for too long, I lose interest.
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Old 10-14-2016, 09:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks guys for the posts. Good food for thought in there. My basic plans are woods jeep. Mainly see mountain roads, mud and snow. I want as close to a bullet proof drive train as possible. And it will be part fab project and fun shop time. And after the drive train is solid and proven a chevy 350 v8 will get swapped in. But that is down the road after everything is sorted.

My initial thoughts are Dana 60's with spool in the rear and selectable locker up front. Low geared...not sure on the gearing i will need, but i want to be able to have beyond billy goat slow crawl speed. This might require more than diff gears, maybe an atlas transfer case.
Home built triangulated 4 link front and rear. Tire size somewhere around 35-38's.
Home built bumpers, skids, rock sliders, tire carrier. Most of this stuff can happen when ever i get time and really doesn't matter what else is done to the jeep.

The drive train is the one were adding one part without another really might mess with things.
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Old 10-14-2016, 11:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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buy a built rig in the classifieds for 1/3 the cost of building one.
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Old 10-15-2016, 09:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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buy a built rig in the classifieds for 1/3 the cost of building one.
Thanks for the reply. But that is not what i am looking for. I want the project of working on and building up my jeep. I am a wrencher, not a pay someone else to work on my rig guy.
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Old 10-15-2016, 10:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for the reply. But that is not what i am looking for. I want the project of working on and building up my jeep. I am a wrencher, not a pay someone else to work on my rig guy.
buying a built rig is far from "paying someone else to work on my rig"

you will still have to do a lot of work to anything that gets wheeled. if you bought a jeep from the factory and then modified it, it would be hardly any different.

think of it this way.

you can go into pirate classifieds or CL and buy a rig with all or most of the right parts for, for your build, for 1/2 or 1/3 what all those components would cost new. especially when you are talking about axle and motor swaps.

you could then completely disassemble it, and rebuild it to your liking. all for less time and money than it would cost to have bought all the parts and assembled from scratch.

its simply an option, you don't have to do it that way.

but as someone who has taken a nice stock jeep and spent the last 6-7 years slowly building it, watching it decrease in value as it gets wheeled, despite pouring thousands of dollars and hours into it; I wish I had sold it for what it was worth as a stocker and put that money into a used trail rig.

thats my .02.
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Old 10-16-2016, 01:31 AM   #10 (permalink)
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IMO a big part is having a plan and thinking about the direction you are wanting to go. On my first build I made the mistake of starting too small leading to spending a lot more money in the long run. I would get to wheeling what you have and learn about what you want and the type of wheeling you want to do, then start to make the larger investments.
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Old 10-16-2016, 12:54 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
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buying a built rig is far from "paying someone else to work on my rig"

you will still have to do a lot of work to anything that gets wheeled. if you bought a jeep from the factory and then modified it, it would be hardly any different.

think of it this way.

you can go into pirate classifieds or CL and buy a rig with all or most of the right parts for, for your build, for 1/2 or 1/3 what all those components would cost new. especially when you are talking about axle and motor swaps.

you could then completely disassemble it, and rebuild it to your liking. all for less time and money than it would cost to have bought all the parts and assembled from scratch.

its simply an option, you don't have to do it that way.

but as someone who has taken a nice stock jeep and spent the last 6-7 years slowly building it, watching it decrease in value as it gets wheeled, despite pouring thousands of dollars and hours into it; I wish I had sold it for what it was worth as a stocker and put that money into a used trail rig.

thats my .02.
This.

Unless you're planning to do something so radical that there isn't a similar rig that can be found and modified to suit, it makes a LOT of sense to start with an already built rig. You'll wind up changing a bunch of stuff, but with a lot of the bigger purchases having been made, you wind up paying pennies on the dollar compared with buying parts and building from scratch.

My XJ cost me $100 to buy. I found $23 in change in it. So, $77. I have dumped over $10K into it, probably more like $12-14k now. Big purchases (axles and axle parts, doubler, tcase, etc) and many many small purchases (brackets, tabs, steel, shifters, electrical, paint products, junkyard small parts, etc etc). A friend asked me what I figured I could sell it for when it was all done and cleaned up, I said I figured $4-5K, if I was lucky. It makes no sense to do.
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Old 10-16-2016, 09:39 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I love the build myself as well but did similar to climbit suggested. I found what I wanted an older Wrangler with a sbc and 3/4 ton axles. Now have changed it to 60's front and rear and slowly build the things I don't like/don't work for me. I do my modifications slowly. I can't afford to throw it all down at once so made a plan on what order to do parts and knock off things one at a time. Each took time to save up parts as I like to put it all together and have that unit set to test and make sure it's right before moving to next project
My list went like
Beadlocks
Dana 60 front
Cage
Th400
Full hydraulic steering

Efi is next then it's just upkeep

All I will say is have fun and whichever direction you go make a plan and stick with it so you save cash on rework
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Old 10-17-2016, 01:32 PM   #13 (permalink)
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now that ive built one, id buy a complete rig and tweak to fit you.
im running out of blood sweat and tears to give to things other than family.

id never tell anyone to not build your own. the experiences you gain are invaluable. `
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Old 10-17-2016, 05:07 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Pre kids, build from stock and evolve and grow the rig as you do. Post kids.....tweak a built rig if you can lay out a chunk of change at one time. But for me building is 3/4 of the fun.
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Old 10-17-2016, 08:01 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Great stuff guys. Thanks for sharing all your experience and thoughts on this topic. I am sure there is no wrong way to own, buy, build a jeep. But it is good to hear some feedback.
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Old 10-18-2016, 04:44 AM   #16 (permalink)
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A big question to ask is how much funding are you working with and how much can you allocate? what's your wrenching/fab experience?
If it's a woods Jeep, sounds like you don't need to throw a TON of money at it. And you don't need an atlas to get good crawling gears. A granny geared tranny with a doubler or 4:1 low kit in a D300 will get you some pretty deep crawling gears.

If I was you, based on what you said your end goal was (solid woods jeep) I'd be looking for a YJ & leave it leaf sprung- SOA with waggy springs and maybe 3/4 ton Ford axles or even Waggy axles. Throw some Spartan lockers in both ends and rock and roll. Later on throw in a sb302/np435, adapt a flipped D300 (4:1 low kit), You'll be good up to 37's and it'll get you in the woods for under $10k and not have a jeep sitting in the garage for months at a time.

All these things you can prep for, accumulate your parts and do in chunks over a weekend here and there.
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Old 10-18-2016, 05:59 PM   #17 (permalink)
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A big question to ask is how much funding are you working with and how much can you allocate? what's your wrenching/fab experience?
If it's a woods Jeep, sounds like you don't need to throw a TON of money at it. And you don't need an atlas to get good crawling gears. A granny geared tranny with a doubler or 4:1 low kit in a D300 will get you some pretty deep crawling gears.

If I was you, based on what you said your end goal was (solid woods jeep) I'd be looking for a YJ & leave it leaf sprung- SOA with waggy springs and maybe 3/4 ton Ford axles or even Waggy axles. Throw some Spartan lockers in both ends and rock and roll. Later on throw in a sb302/np435, adapt a flipped D300 (4:1 low kit), You'll be good up to 37's and it'll get you in the woods for under $10k and not have a jeep sitting in the garage for months at a time.

All these things you can prep for, accumulate your parts and do in chunks over a weekend here and there.
Good questions and great points. For budget i was hoping to get into the Jeep for under $5k and then from what i have been looking up and researching looks like I will need another $5k+ to get it were i want it.

I have been home building race cars, derby cars and rebuilding motors since i was 15. So i have a little experience but still have a ton to learn. My weakest knowledge point for Jeeps in the 4x4 drive train. Like how you were talking about a granny gear tranny or doubler.....I don't know what that means. The only gearing changes i have ever done are rear end gears or changing the whole transmission. I am learning about different gear sets in transfer cases and trying to understand all the different ways to change gearing.

This lack of understanding in the drive train is one of the reasons i want to build my rig up. I want to understand it all and how many ways there is to change gearing. Jantz's super jeep drivetrain setup still has me confused as fuck...two transmissions...and an over drive...and a transfer case.
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Old 10-19-2016, 04:19 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by GotCox View Post
Good questions and great points. For budget i was hoping to get into the Jeep for under $5k and then from what i have been looking up and researching looks like I will need another $5k+ to get it were i want it.

I have been home building race cars, derby cars and rebuilding motors since i was 15. So i have a little experience but still have a ton to learn. My weakest knowledge point for Jeeps in the 4x4 drive train. Like how you were talking about a granny gear tranny or doubler.....I don't know what that means. The only gearing changes i have ever done are rear end gears or changing the whole transmission. I am learning about different gear sets in transfer cases and trying to understand all the different ways to change gearing.

This lack of understanding in the drive train is one of the reasons i want to build my rig up. I want to understand it all and how many ways there is to change gearing. Jantz's super jeep drivetrain setup still has me confused as fuck...two transmissions...and an over drive...and a transfer case.
Well, you know you can change gear ratios in the diffs, you can also choose different transmission & transfer case gearing based on what gearboxes you decide to go with. Some transmission come equipped with a "granny gear" like an np435 or T18A which is a really deep 1st gear (like 6.68:1) that you wouldn't use on the street but is great for farting around offroad. In some transfer cases you can also add kits that deepen you gearing (like a 4:1 low kit) or even crawl boxes or doublers that further lower your gear ratios.

The trick is to find a combo that works for you that gets you in the motor RPMs and/or the crawl speeds you want to be at when combined with your desired tire size.

google "grimmjeeper gear ratio calculator" and use the calculator to select your existing drive train and gear ratios and compare it to other combinations, diff gearing, tire sizes, etc. It will show you crawl speeds (FPM), RPMs, road speed (MPH) and cool stuff like that for the selected combination.
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