Good ol JR Cash sure knew how to speak to the American way of life and “One Piece at a Time” is one of the many great classics from the Man in Black himself. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the song, it tells a humorous story of a Cadillac factory worker who desires one of the very cars that he helps produce. Unattainable with his blue-collar salary, he conjures up a plan to steal parts one at a time and build the car himself at home. Things are fine until he tries to put it all together and realizes his parts span a 25 year production period. With help from his friend, however, they produce a complete car and prove that a little redneck ingenuity can indeed go a long way.
So what in the world does this have to do with off-road vehicles?
No, we are not saying steal parts from your work and use them on your truck. To us, the song speaks to the use of parts from vehicles other than your own. As we all know, almost anything can be installed in almost anything given the use of torches, welders, and crazy minds. However, many parts can be swapped to other vehicles with minimal or no modification at all. Finding these parts requires some trial and error, but luckily a lot of the work has already been done by others and is documented on the interwebz. These parts are typically much more inexpensive than aftermarket “upgrades,” can increase the performance of our vehicles, and are extremely satisfying to find and install. Most of the time they don’t even require the help of an “a-dapter kit!”
Here are just a few examples that we have installed over the years:
- High-Pinion Dana 30 Front Axle
- Approximately 30% stronger than LP30 due to reverse gear-rotation. Increased ground clearance.
- Ideal source: Jeep XJ, 1995-1999. No vacuum disconnect and stronger u-joints.
- Straight bolt-in swap to Jeep TJ, LJ, ZJ, MJ, and XJ (00-01).
- Typically 3.55 gears but can be 3.73 or 4.10 (in 4 cyl Jeeps)
- Price: $50-200 (we paid $125)
- JK-Unlimited Shocks
- Can be used on Jeep XJs (and possibly others)
- Same length as most shocks provided in XJ 2-4 inch “lift-kits”
- Source: Jeep JK, 2007-2015
- Only requires the removal of the metal sleeve on the axle-mount bushing. Bar-pins can be reused or a BPE can be installed if desired.
- Black shocks provide a softer ride than the red shocks (from Rubicons)
- Price: $0-100 (we paid $10 for a complete set)
- YJ Front Brake Lines
- Direct swap onto Jeep TJ, LJ, and XJ
- Approximately 3 inches longer than stock
- Source: Jeep YJ, 1987-1995
- Raybestos P/Ns: BH38861 & BH38862
- Price: $30 (we paid $30)
- Pic source: stu-offroad.com
There are tons of more examples! Let us know what parts you have swapped over the years!