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Old 07-18-2019, 09:54 AM   #51 (permalink)
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Start with a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and there is no need for upgrades. Just wheel it.
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Old 07-18-2019, 07:56 PM   #52 (permalink)
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You must of missed the part of the cheapest and cost effective.
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Old 07-19-2019, 02:59 AM   #53 (permalink)
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You must of missed the part of the cheapest and cost effective.

The cheapest 4x4 you can find locally. That's the answer then.
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Old 07-20-2019, 10:30 AM   #54 (permalink)
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Anything V8 with solid axles. A ZJ on 33s can work without regearing and mild cutting. I daily drive a WJ with 33s, 2 inch lift, some cutting and stock gearing, mileage is not that bad.
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Old 07-20-2019, 10:13 PM   #55 (permalink)
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87-91 ford F150
5.8L
NP435
1356
2005-2007ish super duty axles/brakes/wheels
37s
Build extended radius arms using factory mounts
rear shackle flip

Go play.

$5k

Basically my truck-in-progress
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Old 07-20-2019, 11:34 PM   #56 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by risenol View Post
Anything V8 with solid axles. A ZJ on 33s can work without regearing and mild cutting. I daily drive a WJ with 33s, 2 inch lift, some cutting and stock gearing, mileage is not that bad.
I had a ZJ with about 1" worth of spacer lift and 33s. Definitely not what I would describe as mild cutting. I cut as much as I could, beat the shit out of the firewall with a sledge and the tires still rubbed really bad just turning on flat ground. It was fun with the V8, but the stock driveshaft and cv axles are stupid weak. I think a civic uses the same size cv's.
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Old 07-23-2019, 09:42 AM   #57 (permalink)
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I had a ZJ with about 1" worth of spacer lift and 33s. Definitely not what I would describe as mild cutting.
Well, I didn't mention how much lift on a zj but 1 inch seems like no gain at all. I mean, cost effective for initial buy sounds perfect to me,

ZJ 2k (or a lot less), set of tires 1k, bolt on 4 inch lift 650 = $3650

And maybe reach the 5k limit with an 8.8 axle, gearing for f/r, and a rear mechanical locker.

Yeah, you get into detail about driveshafts, they're crap, but you'll need to swap them soon and maybe a sye, then once you start wheeling harder and harder, then you'll find you need bigger axles, bigger tires, better TC, roll cage, better suspension and suddenly your daily driver is now your hard core wheeler.
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Old 07-23-2019, 01:33 PM   #58 (permalink)
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Well, I didn't mention how much lift on a zj but 1 inch seems like no gain at all. I mean, cost effective for initial buy sounds perfect to me,

ZJ 2k (or a lot less), set of tires 1k, bolt on 4 inch lift 650 = $3650

And maybe reach the 5k limit with an 8.8 axle, gearing for f/r, and a rear mechanical locker.

Yeah, you get into detail about driveshafts, they're crap, but you'll need to swap them soon and maybe a sye, then once you start wheeling harder and harder, then you'll find you need bigger axles, bigger tires, better TC, roll cage, better suspension and suddenly your daily driver is now your hard core wheeler.
You said 2", another 1" of lift wouldn't have solved my problems

Like I said, it was a fun rig, but the axles being so fragile kinda killed it. A Nissan pathfinder or Mitsubishi montero with some 33s crammed under it would do just as well and not break every trip.

I was really tempted to grab some axles out of a 94-02 dodge 2500 and throw them under it. But around here people think they're worth a bunch of money.
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Old 07-23-2019, 06:14 PM   #59 (permalink)
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Put this in newbie section because it will probably help newbies. So in your opinion what is the best road legal wheeler for the price with upgrades.

Essentially I’m curious of where is the sweet spot for a build. I would think a vehicle with a stock drive train, leads a 44/60 setup 37s lunch box locker/welded rear would be the cheapest most cost effective setup for a crawler that is still street legal.

What would u build for most cost effective but capable street legal wheeler. And for how much?
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Great answers so far, yea my 97 tj with the 4 banger 4.10s and 33s would get passed by truckers going up hwy50.

I say street legal because where I live people don’t have acres to store a off-road only vehicle.

So to modify the question a bit, if you are trying to build a rig that’s still streetable and can handle fordyce’s winch hills what would you build? How far would you build it up. I’m not talking about being dragged Up the trail and broken down all the time, but it seems like everyone wants 42s and tons to do trails that guys were doing 15 years ago on 35s
I have never ran Fordyce, and I agree that many people over build, but to answer you question, basically this:
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Originally Posted by arse_sidewards View Post
The most cost effective crawler is going to be any old shitbox sitting on a pair of tons from an '05+ superduty.

XJ, Explorer, doesn't matter, you're gonna want it on tons eventually.

Whatever you do don't be an idiot that pays a premium for a particular vehicle (yes, I know that basically rules out every Jeep with a folding windshield and all Toyotas). In the long run you're not buying a vehicle. Just a body and interior.
That said here would be my builds:

For hard trails and less fab work
It is pretty hard to beat a late/mid nineties XJ. They are compact, light, and cheap (although ones in decent shape are getting harder to find, and people seem to be asking more these days than they were 5-10 years ago).

You get the uprated 4.0L, solid transmissions & transfercase, a high pinion 297X joint Dana 30, and a good suspension and wheelbase with tons of aftermarket support. You can try to find one with the Chrysler 8.25, which you may be able to get by on, or just plan on spending a few hundred bucks to swap a 31 spline Explorer 8.8" in, which are plentiful, strong, cheap, and an easy swap. A 2 door is preferable since you can cut more out of the rear wheel well and it has the same 101.5" wheelbase as the 4 door.

Go with a 4-5" lift with good arms (flex joints or long arms), put 5.13s and lunchbox lockers in. Weld in some unibody stiffeners, stubby bumpers, and rock sliders in. Run 33-36" tires on wheels without much backspacing and hack the shit out of the fenders. That setup will work pretty good, but you will still want some lower gearing, so see if you can find a Teralow 4:1, Rubicon NV241, or go for a doubler (best). You will embarrass a lot of better built rigs as long as you keep it light, and it will be fairly reliable as well.

Alternatively, a 1st gen 2 door Explorer is not a bad option either, but I would give the edge to the Cherokee since the TTB is a bit of a limitation, and makes the suspension a little more complicated to work with. Basically all the same mods as the Cherokee listed above, but a doubler is the only option for really low gearing. The aftermarket suspensions are also more expensive and shittier, so some mods & jeep springs will be necessary to make the TTB flexy.

For extreme trails and more fabwork
Start with a 1st gen 2 door Explorer, 2nd or 3rd gen 4.0L Ranger regular cab short bed, or Cherokee since they are all compact, light, cheap, and have decent powertrains.

Swap '05+ Superduty axles in. If you shop around, you can find some factory 4.30 axles with the factory rear locker so that you might be able to get by without re-gearing the axles, at least right away. Run a lunch box in the front (and rear if you didn't get a factory locker). Run a doubler to get the crawl ratio you need. Run 40-42" tires and hack the body to fit. Use a Ruffstuff 3 link kit or similar in the front and a junkyard bastard leaf pack in the rear (the Explorer can probably get away with just doing a spring over). Build your own armor.

Tada, you can run the hardest rock trails around for $5,000-$7,500 depending on the deals you find.

Last edited by '84 Bronco II; 07-23-2019 at 06:16 PM.
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Old 07-24-2019, 09:38 PM   #60 (permalink)
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Here ya go turn key.
https://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/vehi...0-crawler.html
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Old 07-25-2019, 07:22 AM   #61 (permalink)
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I have to say '80-'96 fullsize Bronco or a squarebody K5. They are undeniably big heavy fullsize pigs, but they skip all of the drivetrain and power problems you run into using smaller vehicles like Toyotas and XJs.
My personal pick would probably be an 80s bronco with a 300 straight 6 and an np435. You have a load of low-end torque and a pretty usable crawl gear, not to mention a stock fullsize (even with TTB) will handle 33s just fine. And if you want to go further SuperDuty axles are just around the corner. Very affordable package to start with, and they're nearly indestructible if left stock.
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Old 07-25-2019, 08:15 AM   #62 (permalink)
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I have to say '80-'96 fullsize Bronco or a squarebody K5. They are undeniably big heavy fullsize pigs, but they skip all of the drivetrain and power problems you run into using smaller vehicles like Toyotas and XJs.
My personal pick would probably be an 80s bronco with a 300 straight 6 and an np435. You have a load of low-end torque and a pretty usable crawl gear, not to mention a stock fullsize (even with TTB) will handle 33s just fine. And if you want to go further SuperDuty axles are just around the corner. Very affordable package to start with, and they're nearly indestructible if left stock.
Superduty axles bolt into an 80-96 F-series or FSB with the same amount of fab work it takes to install a hitch receiver. If you want a wheeling rig that can take the family go FSB. If you want a road trip rig that can do ok on trails then get a Suburban.

That said, wheeling a fullsize on tight trails sucks.

If you never have plans for tons then K5 all the way since it comes with solid axles.

Last edited by arse_sidewards; 07-25-2019 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:36 AM   #63 (permalink)
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jeep tj, hp 30, 8.8 rear, 35's, lockers...and a rubi case. that would take you alot of places if you learn to drive.
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:21 AM   #64 (permalink)
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Economical? Best is find a well sorted off-roader someone else dumped cash into and is getting rid of.

But if you want something now... craigslist is full of Land Rover Discovery Series 1's. Not hard to find under $4k. V8, solid axles (even full floater in rear), 4 link coil suspension, moderate aftermarket support. Basically a cheap solid platform to start with. Series II Discoveries got a bit more cushy; some (02-04) canít lock their transfer case, airbags instead of coils, etc. But can also be modded and also dirt cheap. Either wonít offend your neighbors.
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