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Discussion Starter #1
Alright guys, I need some ideas and advice. I am from a sportscar racing background, and have only a small amount of offroading experience in mostly stock or mildly modified trucks. I am an engineer though, and always build everything myself.

So here is what I am trying to do.

Build an off-road desert/dirt racer on a budget with most of the parts fabricated myself. I have built multiple chassis and suspensions for on-road vehicles, but I will be learning the tricks for off-roading as I go. It will be a 4x4, with a decent amount of power and suspension travel, and a 2 seater. I will design and build the entire frame myself.

So to the questions..

#1 - Donor truck options - I would like to harvest most of my driveline from one vehichle, this will be the most budget friendly route and easiest on fab time. Right now I am leaning towards a 95 Chevy Z-71, I found a cheap one with the 350 and auto that does not look to be abused. Any ideas or suggestions?

#2 - Suspension components - Fabricating the suspension arms will not be an issue, I have done that many times before. But what suspension systems should I look to for components and inspiration? Such as what would be good "junkyard" components for knuckles, power steering and such.

Most of my other questions will be based off of the ideas I get from these.

Thanks,
Casey

Oh, and in advance,
I realize this is not an easy task.
It will not be a cheap task even though I am trying the budget route.
And I could probably buy a decently modded truck for half or a quarter of what I will put into this.
But this is for enjoyment, and something I look forward to doing and learning from.
 

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If you want to go the budget route with a 4x4 in the desert you are pretty much stuck with either a ford or toy. The cheapest in my opinion would be a ranger with a d35 ttb front end and an 8.8. Cut and turn the housings, build some radius arms, run your favorite color 2.5 inch coil overs up front (or FOAs if you're super budget minded). Some chevy 63" springs on the rear with a 2.5 inch smooth bodies and connect it all together with a solid cage. A toyota 4x4 you could build your own arms and use t100 axles and run some springs in the rear. Chevy 1/2 ton IFS stuff is pretty worthless anyway. If you really want to go that route Id look at Pro-4 trucks for inspiration.
 

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find a fullsize bronco of f150 with D44 ttb, and a 9". Throw some coilovers or coils and good shocks and some 64" deavers and good shocks, cage it and have a shit load of fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys, this is exactly what I was looking for.

Alright so scratch the Z-71 idea, and look for ford ranger or bronco components. I would go the toyota route, but I am really looking for V-8 power, and I'm not familiar with mating the 350 or 302 to the toyota driveline, nor am I really familiar with the toyota trannys or t-cases at all.

So, from what I know I can find it looks like I will try to pickup a ford front end, either d35 or d44 depending on what I can find. A 9" is pretty common around here, so I can pick one of those up as well. What trucks did the 63" springs come on? A noob question, what are FOAs?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So what steering system would be recomended? The one I can get with the front suspension or is there another "junkyard" type that could be pulled and adapted to work better?
 

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63" spring come out of any half ton chevy from late 80s to I think 97. There are a ton of write ups on here and other websites. Just search for chevy 63" spring. For steering on the ford ttbs for now just leave it stock unless you want to go big and run a swing set/crossover setup. As long as you keep it strapped at a reasonable level (16" or so) you wont have any problems. Id probably put he money for a V8 swap elsewhere in the truck. Half the fun in a ranger is trying to keep the thing moving with that 2.3 or 2.9 singing away under the hood, make sure its a 5 speed though. You probably dont need a 9 inch either, 8.8s are 95% as strong and thats what comes in rangers, if your real ambitious go find an explorer 8.8 with disks and 31 spine axles that will bolt in.
 

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rx2 on anger with exploder axles. if you want to see the budget way to do this click my sig and go to the last page.

if you are dead set on v8 power, then go the F-150 or bronco route. Also, a 302 can be slammed into a ranger for a killer power to weight

For steering on the beamed truck, run it stock it doesnt work that bad. You can do swingset later if you dont mind a little fabbing and engineering.
 
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