Did we mention how much we like going to junkyards, recycling centers, auto salvage establishments, and the like? Nothing is more fun than spending a day hunting for treasures. Every gearhead we know wants to go into a junkyard and find an awesome part for next to nothing, and we hate to say it, but there are fewer and fewer yards out there that don't know the value of a front Dana 60, an NP205 and Dana 300 transfer case, or an aluminum LS1 V-8 for that matter. But have no fear; just because these golden ticket parts are scarce, doesn't mean there is nothing left to build a cheap fun 4x4 out of. In fact, we have a new rule; look at any car or truck in the yard and you should be able to find something that you could put on a project, be it the mirrors, seatbelts, or e-brake handle.
We spent a weekend cruising through some yards and found an armload of stuff with possibilities, and that's half the secret to building a budget trail rig-looking for ways to make unwanted parts work. Of course it can lead to some compromises and, if you're not careful, added expense. However, if you use some ingenuity and have some mechanical or fabrication skills and the time to use them, then oddball parts can be junkyard treasures that when assembled form a unique, one-of-a-kind trail rig.