Upgrading Your Jeep
Q: I have a question about a recent build that was conducted on a YJ Wrangler. The article I am referring to included information about installing JK axles on a YJ. How much would it cost to take a stock YJ and build it the same way the YJ is in the article? I am referring to the lift, axles, fabrication—everything. I am considering a very similar build and need as much info as possible. I am just looking for a ballpark worst-case scenario. Thank you.
Security Specialist, DynCorp International
A: Kelly, thanks for writing. Building a 4x4 can get expensive quickly, but the outcome is a quality rig that will provide many years of fun ’wheeling. Regarding this particular Jeep Wrangler YJ, the breakdown of parts is as follows:
|Mopar Dana 44 JK axle assemblies front and rear||$3,200 each|
|Lift springs and shocks||$1,000-$2,000|
|Spring-over-axle conversion parts||$300-$700|
|Warn PowerPlant winch||$1,500-$1,700|
|37x13.50R18LT Dick Cepek Mud Country tires||$450 or so each|
|8x9 Mickey Thompson Classic II wheels||$160 or so each|
On the low end, you’re looking at more than $9,400 in parts. The high end puts you around $13,500 in parts. You can likely do some careful shopping or even buy some parts used to lessen the blow. Calculating the cost of installation and fabrication work isn’t as cut and dry as pricing parts since labor rates vary from shop to shop and can range anywhere from $75 to $200 per hour. A YJ lift install might only take half a day, but installing the Mopar JK Dana 44 axles could stretch in to three, four, or more days. By my estimate (not to be quoted to any shops as proof that this particular build should be completed in this specified time), the installation of the JK axles, switches and wiring, driveshafts, lift springs and shocks, tires, wheels, front winch bumper and winch, and rocker guards could take up to two weeks or more. If you’re paying $75 per hour, that adds up to more than $6,000 in labor for 80 hours. You’ll also need to add in the cost of tire mounting and balancing as well as alignment. Add it all up and you can figure on spending around $15,000 to $20,000 to complete a similar build. Hope this helps. ’Wheel on.
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