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How did I get 6 Rigs??
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Discussion Starter #1
All right, I know that this is an open ended question that everyone is going to have a different opinion on. I am not trying to start any arguments or anything, but get some feedback/opinions from guys that have built rock crawlers. I have an '89 351W C6 that runs fine, but looks like crap and the inside is lacking. I was going to use it as a parts truck for my '89 DD.

Today, I was telling my son about places to go off roading around here (Truckee/Lake Tahoe) and he commented that he thought it would be cool to do that. So, I figured I would take the rig that I bought for $500 and make into a rock toy, but have no idea where to start.

So, knowing that it is stock and I am willing to throw some $$ at it, what would y'all suggest are the minimum requirements to get me rock crawling? I am not looking to build the ultimate machine that would be featured in a 4x4 magazine or win any awards, but something that might be able to handle the Rubicon or the like?

If this is the wrong forum, I apologize.
 

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I took my '82 bronco through the rubicon with only the fallowing modifications:

rear spool
4" lift
cut fenders
35" tires

and it was fine... i also drove it there (from southern california) and drove it back afterwords.

although, it all depends on who you ask... i have friends with more capable trucks that wouldn't dare attempt the Rubicon for fear that if something broke it would be a nightmare getting it back out.
it really depends on your mechanical skills, how many friends you have (who are also good mechanics) and how willing you are to say, change a steering box or axle shaft in the middle of a trail some day.

I think a good budget build for you would be: 4" lift, 33's, sawzall to fenders, and a spool for the rear. go to the junkyard and get a 9" rear from an 80-86 half ton ford too, it is a bolt in swap and a good upgrade from the 8.8


basically, start small and just do wheeling your comfortable with (i wouldn't go to the rubicon on my first day).. as you wheel more, you get a feel what your truck is capable of, and what mods you want next.
oh, get a roll bar for sure.... this is not an optional mod!

also there are ways to lift your truck with very few parts if you have some welding skills. you can pretty much make your own lift (just need front springs)
 

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How did I get 6 Rigs??
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Discussion Starter #3
OK...noobie question. What is a rear spool? Also, are you talking about a body lift or suspension lift? I assume the cut fenders are for the larger tires, to keep from rubbing? What about shocks? I have access to a 79 Bronco at a fairly cheap price. I assume that I could use the 9" from that?
 

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a spool is a type of locker. basically, it is locked all the time. horrible if your driving it on the street, but works great off road. if you plan to drive it on the street much, you'd be better off with some kind of mechanical locker.

im talking about a suspension lift. body lifts suck.

i don't know if the '79 bronco 9" is the same as a '80-86 9". there are probably others on here who know the answer to that.
would you really part out a '79 just for the axle anyhow?

and yes, you will need to cut out the fenders to prevent tire rub. make sure that you have enough clearance that tires never rub.
 

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This isnt the best forum for a Crawler build, And yes you are going to get a million opinions on this one...

My suggestion is to go read the "FORD" section on Pirate4x4.com. I emphisize the word "read" . If you are new to offroad do not ask any questions there, you have been forewarned.

I am an avid offroad Bronco builder and i compete in many crawling events, every truck is built on personal prefrance and functionality. One major point, if you want to play on Rocks , Build it Over-kill Beefy or you will spend time and time again fixing broken running gear.


i can help you get started though. But first a couple questions

#1 what kind of offroading do you want? Mud,trails,snow, or Rocks? or something versitile?

#2 how much fabrication experience do you have? can you weld,cut,drill,tap, and use a grinder?

#3 low budget build? or do you have a few bucks to spend on the good stuff?

#4 Do you have Automotive mechanical knowledge? or is this an entire new ball game for you?

#5 will this be a daily driver? or can you trailer it? basically do you need it street legal? or close to it and dont mind the occasional ticket here and there?

Edit: here is my build link so you can see what i started off with. Before i tore it apart i wheeled it offroad for 8 years. i can give you the ins n outs and help you avoid wasting time on some things that youll just change again later.http://www.fullsizebronco.com/forum/showthread.php?t=201652
 

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Go slow with your build. You can probably wheel the Rubicon with no lift, 33's with cut fenders, and a rear locker. I love my spool for my trail rig - and it sees some street too. Later add some lift, 35's and a front locker and you'll be set for harder stuff.

BTW, 3 inch or more body lift with no suspension lift does suck. A small (1 or 2 inch) body lift to clear tires - with or without a SL - is smart. A BL causes LESS increase in COG than the same amount of SL alone. BL gets a bad name from the posers who have huge BL's, huge gaps and bumpers lower than the body because its a cheap way to lift for looks. The best way to go, IMHO is mild SL plus mild BL. Keeps COG as low as possible and keeps driveline angles from getting out of hand. Gives you more room to work underneath as well.

Good luck and have fun wheeling with your son. I've had a blast wheeling with 2 sons and daughter!
 

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get a roll bar for sure.... this is not an optional mod!

NO DOUBT for Rock Crawling... BETTER SAFE THAN DEAD !!! :rockon
 

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I scrape on both sides
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roll bar, you can find at pick n pull for i think 50 bucks on a half off day out of an 80-86 bko
sliders, cost about 100 bucks to make yourself (assuming you or one of your buddys has a welder)
tires (get mud tires off craigslist... i would never buy them new, theyre about half the cost on craigslist with 75 percent tread)
im now running 37"s on just a 4" lift with fender cutting, but my other rig is a 6" with 35's
aussie lockers are great for the front, they're fairly cheap, and hold value really well
if you want to give it a test stock, i recommend slick rock trail off highway 4, tim was able to make it through stock on 33's
 

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If you want to do this semi-cheap and have a rig you're happy with, I'd do a 6 inch lift with the extended radius arms, 35" tires and an Aussie locker in the rear. Should be able to get all of this used for $1000 or less. You'll notice a little loss of power on the street unless you re-gear, but you'll be fine on the trail at low speed. Ground clearance and patience is key for the Rubicon; go light on the gas pedal and don't take the same lines the Jeeps do. Don't be afraid of a little body damage and turn around when you start feeling uncomfortable...
 

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I wheeled my TTB through the Rubicon multiple times...it's not ideal but it works. Doesn't sound like he wants to do any extreme wheeling anyway...
 

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I own a bunch of Broncos 10 or so . Lol
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36's or 35's with no lift and a locker or rear spool as stated . is a great start. i would keep it as cheap as ya could to start with . then spend the big money on what ya learn ya want to do as it goes.
 

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How did I get 6 Rigs??
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607 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Hey everyone. Great feedback, which I appreciate. I am not looking for extreme type stuff. Just something to go out and get a little thrill going and go some places a regular Bronco couldn't go. I need "Building a Rockcrawler for Dummies 101".
 

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I scrape on both sides
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Hey everyone. Great feedback, which I appreciate. I am not looking for extreme type stuff. Just something to go out and get a little thrill going and go some places a regular Bronco couldn't go. I need "Building a Rockcrawler for Dummies 101".
i know i've replied this same type of repost to you on a different thread, but you can wheel slick rock trail off highway 4 on a pretty much stock bronco and 33's and you dont need a lift for that. to be honest, thats really were i would start if i were you, the trail is a breeze and its a great way to get your feet wet so to speak... not to mention ill be with you the whole way if you decide you want to make a run
 

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Be jealous of my
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My opinion on this, you can build the most bad ass rig out there, but it won't be worth a damn unless you know how to drive it.

Word of advice I'd give you is before getting too serious on building the rig up, find a local wheeling group, or better yet hit up the locals off of here to show you the ins and outs and tricks to fourwheeling. Remember, four wheel responsibily, stay on the trail, and have fun with it!

Side note, I've had my vehicles up some pretty rough terrain, and none have been overly built... most "build" I've had was a 02 Ranger with a torsion bar crank, 33's, and a fresh limited slip and got through some pretty cool places. Hell my Bronco, when it was running was stock on 31's running places Jeeps on 35's were having issue with..... it's all about driver knowledge and experience
 

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My minimum requirements for an enjoyable full size on the Rubicon would be: aggressive 35s, at least one locker, min. 4" lift, and sliders. I know no lift/cut fenders is the cool thing to do these days, but I don't feel it's viable for a full size on this trail, unless you love the sensation of slamming into every rock. Even if you don't care about the body, sliders are invaluable on that trail as pivot points.
TTB works fine, but puts a lot more stress on components. If you're going to go out a lot, 37s, gears and a solid axle make it a lot more comfortable.
There are some easier trails like Strawberry and Deer Valley that aren't too far away that are good "intro to rock crawling" areas.
 

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Hell, why don't the broncos in Sac make a run when I get down there? I'll be there the 31st of December or the 1st of January (haven't quite decided yet) but I'm looking to find out where some trails are. I know my Bronco can make it in some tougher trails with only LSD's
 
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