If you have ever heard the saying Jeep: Just Empty Every Pocket you know most likely it is coming from a Jeep owner. As a Jeep owner on a tight budget I have had to make a list of things I would like to do to my Jeep Cherokee with out breaking the bank. Once the list has been made of the modifications I would like to do, I spend a lot of time doing research to find the best prices.
If you have a Facebook account, there are plenty of 4×4 & off road shops that advertise their specials and a lot of them have specials just for their Facebook fans. Also, check out Ebay as there are sometimes people who have dismantled their rig either because they are desperate for money or it has been damaged beyond fixing.
On Facebook, I have every so often come across a friend who had an XJ they decided to dismantle. One for example, his XJ was stolen and wrecked. At the time he was in a tight situation so he posted what parts he had for sale. I lucked out purchasing JKS sway bar disconnects for over half the price they would be brand new. A business called Blue Torch Fab Works often posts what specials they have going on their website. I managed to pick up two DIY diff covers for half price. Luckily for me I had someone who could weld them together.
On Ebay I found a T-Case skid plate for $76 shipping and all, brand new. A guy on there decided to start making some after he made his own and this one is just as good as one I could have bought from name brand companies. I also purchased a custom made drive shaft for my XJ late last year through Addams Off Road and Driveshaft from Nevada. They are on Ebay and have auctions that you can make an offer on. Since they make drive shafts day in and day out there is no need to send measurements to them. All you have to do is tell them what make, model, year and modifications you have on your rig. They did have a special running with free shipping, a T-Shirt and sticker. Shipping was very quick and they are great with communication. As much as I would like to have had a Tom Wood’s Drive Shaft, my budget wouldn’t allow it. I am very pleased with the driveshafts performance thus far. I also hope in the future to purchase one for the front as well.
Another save from Ebay is that when I decided to go from 3:55 gears to 4:10 I was able to purchase the front and back gears, master install kit and the carrier off Ebay saving me at least $150. But I also had someone willing to install them for me. Again some people are dismantling their rigs and you may luck out. If you have time to research keep searching Ebay at least every few days because you just never know what you will come across. I do want to note a very important tip: Make sure you know if your rig has the reverse or standard gear!
My biggest wish was to have a gas tank skid plate on my XJ. If you have looked online and in catalogs you know most of them run around $300. I lucked out because my best friend and my dad both have scrap steel laying around. So for Christmas my best friend fabricated me a gas tank skid plate just as good as one bought out of the catalog and very little $$ was spent building it. The next skid plate he fabricated was one not a lot of people consider doing although they are for sale out there in catalogs. He fabricated a rear yoke skid plate, particularly since I have sheared the straps off of mine twice :/ This skid plate will hopefully give more protection when out on the trails
If you have scrap steel laying around and know of someone who does welding on the side consider fabricating your own skid plates.
Also, to strengthen my tie rod my best friend had scrap metal piping laying around that we were able to slide over the tie rod. Tiny holes were drilled and the pipe was welded in place. A very simple procedure that has helped save a lot of time and money.
When I first purchased my 3″ lift I didn’t have an SYE. Instead of purchasing the t-case drop blocks, my best friend fabricated blocks from square tubing he had laying around. We purchased the bolts at our local Fastenal. Once I purchased the SYE and purchased Shims from Summit Racing the blocks were then eliminated. So, if anyone needs blocks I have them sitting around!
While you may not be the person who has handy junk laying around consider friends and family that do. They may be willing to give some to you for free or a minimal price. It is even handier to have someone who knows how to weld. The biggest advantage for me though is having someone (ahem) who has a hydraulic lift, my best friend
Want to save money for modifications? Do your research! Be open to finding parts in places other than catalogs because you never know how amazing it can be the treasures you will find along the way.