We live in an age when many gas stations make you pay to air up your tires. Yes, you're coughing up as much as 50 cents for air. So when life's little necessities start draining the pockets, we know that the allowance for modifying your truck begins shifting commas and decimals to the east. Therefore, we've put together a list of items you may be surprised are so budget-friendly-plus a sampling of sky's-the-limit stuff you can get if you've got some (or a lot of) money to burn-and your tires are already filled.
Part: Form-a-Flex radiator-hose kits.
Details: The hoses are made from corrugated 300-series stainless steel rather than copper and can be permanently bent by hand. The hoses fit 1 1/2- and 1 3/4-inch inlets, and kits are available in 1-, 2-, and 3-foot lengths.
Buy: Earl's Performance Products, 310/609-1602, www.earlsplumbing.com
Part: Slave-cylinder hose replacement for '97-and-newer Jeep TJs
Details: This kit allows you to replace stock plastic hydraulic clutch lines with stainless steel braided line for improved heat and abrasion resistance and more flexibility.
Buy: Advance Adapters, 800/350-2223, www.advanceadapters.com
Part: Diesel-controller pillar mounts
Details: A direct replacement for the driver-side A-pillar cover, so the company's Attitude diesel monitor/controller is within reach. It's made from 0.125-inch-thick ABS plastic and can be painted to match the interior.
Buy: Edge Products, 888/360-3343 or 801/476-3343, www.edgeproducts.com
Part: Super Turbo muffler
Dollars: Starts at $59.99
Details: This direct-fit system has all-aluminized, mandrel-bent pipes. Patented flow directors are used to channel exhaust flow for bueno performance.
Buy: DynoMax, 734/384-7807 (dealer locator), www.dynomax.com
Part: Traditional bikini top for '76-'86 CJs and '87-'91 Jeep Wranglers
Details: It's a soft top in camo colors (military, urban, and desert). The top will have reinforced edges, hard-core buckles, and webbing.
Buy: Bestop, 800/845-3567, www.bestop.com
Part: Heavy-duty shackles
Dollars: $64.95-$79.95 per pair
Details: Swap out your stock shackles with the Rock Crawler line, with tow-bar attachment for the '76-'86 Jeep CJs and Scramblers, and boomerang-style rear for '87-'95 YJs. They have 1/4-inch-thick side plates and Grade 8 hardware.
Buy: Currie Enterprises, 714/367-2232, www.currieenterprises.com
Part: Bed and surface protection
Dollars: $14.95 for basic black (prices vary based on color)
Details: Tuff Stuff spray-on polyurethane will fight off abrasion, impact, and corrosion, and won't crack or peel. You spray on up to 1/4-inch thickness, and it'll bond to the surface.
Buy: Rhino Linings, 888/744-6604, www.rhinolinings.com
Part: Limiting straps
Dollars: Start at $45.75 per pair
Details: The heavy-duty Rock Ready straps come in 16-, 20-, 24-, 28-, and 32-inch lengths, and have a 7,000-pound rating. Each has double webbing, and the metal pieces are zinc-plated to last.
Buy: Skyjacker Suspensions, 866/423-3253 (dealer locator), www.skyjacker.com
Part: Leveling kits for '01-'06 GM HD trucks
Details: The kit uses a pair of re-indexed torsion-bar cogs to create 2 extra inches of lift in front to make room for 285/75-R16 rubber (around 33 inches). Longer shocks and an alignment are extras.
Buy: Off Road Unlimited, 818/563-1208, www.offroadunlimited.com
Part: Heavy-duty yokes
Dollars: Start at $37
Details: If you want to upgrade to a larger U-joint, going with a stronger pinion yoke is a wise swap too. Plus it's simply one more beefy component on your truck.
Buy: Randy's Ring & Pinion, 800/298-9541 or 425/348-9002, www.ringpinion.com
Part: Track-bar brackets for Jeep TJs and XJs
Details: They center the axles side to side, which helps with lifted 4x4s that may have improperly offset axles due to the lift. These adjustable pieces work on XJs and TJs with up to 6 inches of suspension lift.
Buy: Black Diamond, 866/680-6666, www.blackdiamondoffroad.com
Part: 8.5mm Super Conductor spark plug wires
Dollars: Around $80
Details: The 50 ohms per foot of resistance via a copper conductor that's wrapped around a ferro-magnetic impregnated center core for very high EMI suppression ... oh heck, a high-performance wire and maximum spark energy is where it's at.
Buy: MSD Ignition, 915/857-5200, www.msdignition.com
Part: 9-inch skidplate for early Broncos
Details: Coverage for the diff and pinion via 1/4-inch-thick plate steel. It has a two-piece design for quick-and-easy installation.
Buy: James Duff Enterprises, 360/683-2160, www.jamesduff.com
Part: Radiator cap
Details: It's not just any ol' cap-you can classy up your cooling system with a tri-lobo machined aluminum cap with an embossed logo.
Buy: Be Cool, 800/691-2667 or 989/895-9699, www.becool.com
Part: Replacement high-flow air filter for '05 Ford F-150
Details: The ReChargeable cotton gauze filter is washable, reusable, and meant to hang in there as long as the engine does.
Buy: K&N Engineering, 800/858-3333 or 951/826-4000, www.knfilters.com
Dollars: About $90
Details: They're built from 14-gauge aluminized steel and range in size from 2 to 3 1/2 inches, with center and offset inlets and outlets. The Ti-Tech coating on 'em is a high-temp, heat-resistant finish.
Buy: Edelbrock, 800/386-8326, www.edelbrock.com
Part: Swaybar quick disconnects
Dollars: Start at $87
Details: Upgrade your Jeep Wrangler's or Cherokee's suspension by disconnecting the front swaybar for 5 extra inches of off-pavement travel. Disconnecting the rear link adds an inch.
Buy: Superlift Suspension Systems, 800/551-4955 (tech) or 318/397-3000, www.superlift.com
Part: Pinion and differential set-up kits
Details: The roller-bearing and cup combos are designed to make it easier to press on and pull off bearings during a ring-and-pinion/differential install. Because they slide on and off by hand, it's possible for quick shim changes for getting the right pinion depth and backlash.
Buy: Precision Gear, 800/660-0524 (orders) or 734/946-0524 (tech), www.precisiongear.com
Part: Shock relocation brackets for '97-and-newer Jeep Wranglers
Details: These'll stop the shock bodies of upgraded shocks from hitting on the rear coil mounts-and also allow for these twin tube shocks you see here.
Buy: Rubicon Express, 877/367-7824 or 916/266-4635, www.rubiconexpress.com
Part: Side panels for '97-and-newer Jeep Wranglers
Dollars: About $82
Details: The TrailArmor rocker-panel protection is made from Dura-Flex diamond-textured thermoplastic. You don't need to drill to install.
Buy: Bushwacker, 503/283-4335, www.bushwacker.com
Part: Steering stabilizer
Details: Have larger-than-stock wheels and tires? This is a quick fix for shimmy and for having to work so hard behind the wheel.
Buy: Rancho, 734/384-7804 (tech), www.gorancho.com
Part: 35-spline Dana 60 stub shafts
Dollars: About $99
Details: These 4340 chromoly shafts come machined for full-circle snap rings, and are said to be 40 percent stronger over stock 35-spline shafts. Custom applications will cost more.
Buy: Wagoner Machine Shop, 918/482-2669, www.wagonermachine.com
Part: Security bolt lock
Details: Got something you don't want stolen that's mounted by bolts? Say, a winch, tools, or off-road lights? This lock prevents sticky fingers from being able to access a bolt or nut via a deadbolt effect.
Buy: Tuffy Security Products, 800/348-8339, www.tuffyproducts.com
Part: Throttle-body spacer
Details: The Powr-Flo is a bolt-on spacer said to make a compacted air charge that heads through the throttle body and builds pressure in the combustion chamber for gains in ponies, throttle response, and fuel economy. It's compatible with other aftermarket power upgrades.
Buy: JET Performance Products, 800/736-4061 or 714/848-5515, www.jetchip.com
A complete axle handed to you. It's the fantasy, baby! Sure, a Pro 60 front axle assembly that'll fit '92-'02 Dodge 2500s with the Cummins diesel will set you back $5,988, but to repeat: Complete. It has a high-pinion housing, Warn manual locking hubs, heavy-duty 35-spline axleshafts, Spicer 1480-series U-joints, macho vented disc brakes, your choice of ring-and-pinion ratios, and much more. Plus, you can pick a locker (although that'll cost you a bit more). For more info, contact Dynatrac at 714/596-4461, www.dynatrac.com.
There's bling, then there's bada-bling. In fact, bling is a word beneath what you see here. These ... well, let's face it, we're not hip or even familiar enough with luxury to come up with a noun, adjective, verb, or noise to describe these wheels. Therefore, we'll just tell it like it is: They're Asanti AF115s from the Forged Stone series and are inlayed with a total of 63,000 carats per set of four wheels, and those jewels are princess-cut, cubic-zirconium stones. You can roll on 20s, 22s, 24s, or 26s-for just $250,000 for the set (although you can nab a set with single accent stones and other designs within the series). For more info, contact Asanti Wheel Corporation at 866/457-6649, www.asantiwheels.com.
We showed you this engine back in "Guide to Crate Engines & Blocks" (May '05) and you may have figured the price tag was a typo. Negative-that $37,000-plus cost means you'll score a complete 366ci twin-turbo small-block gas engine that'll put out 1,100 hp. We hear rumors that a twin turbodiesel that's worthy of 750 hp and 1,000 lb-ft of torque will arrive in 2006. For more info, contact Gale Banks Engineering, 800/277-1991, www.bankspower.com.
"This is my favorite picture of one of our chassis; it is a Bruiser 2, 106-inch wheelbase. Her name is Fast Delivery. To build a turnkey of this caliber runs $88,000 to $120,000. A bare chassis for a Bruiser 2 goes for about $3,500." That's the folks at Poison Spyder Customs telling us about the toys they can build for you. Besides the base-chassis Bruiser and full-turnkey version, there's a roller with supporting components added and shipped for an assemble-yourself buggy/rockcrawler/mud/sand rig. For more info, contact Poison Spyder Customs at 303/777-4820, www.spydercustoms.com.
You have money to burn on a custom interior? And maybe the truck's innards would best express who you are in the form of a stingray? Huh? Well, Mike Ambrose Custom Interiors (818/891-8819) has seen it all, including a guy and his Escalade; they both rolled into the shop with a vision-a vision that involved freeze-dried stingrays incorporated into the seat-cushion inserts. Mike says it actually turned out better than he'd expected, despite the bizarre texture and the feeling of sitting on an innertube (the owner was thrilled with the final product). The cost was $8,000, so if you've got big ideas for the interior-fish-themed or otherwise-people like Mike can make it happen. Just know the more out-there, the more costly.