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Build A Cheap Truck From The Junkyard - Stimulus Beater Building

Posted in Project Vehicles on August 1, 2009
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Tough times call for BELT tightening, penny pinching, and perhaps a temporary end to our big-buck spending. However, that doesn't mean we have to neglect our need to build an off-road rig or ignore the dream of buying an old trail jalopy. If you're as keen a shopper as we are, then you know there are some great deals on cheap rigs right now. We've been eyeballing 4x4s on the Internet for months. These are the same vehicles that sold a year or two ago for thousands of dollars more.

Since you have a copy of 4-Wheel & Off-Road in your hands, we assume you know something about four-wheel-drive vehicles-which ones work, which ones don't, and which ones you wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole. So you know better than to run out and buy the first rig with a 4x4 badge on the side. Being thrifty consumers, we know that finding a running 4x4 truck or SUV for around $1,000 is commonplace. We found some amazing deals on four-wheel-drive vehicles in the Midwest on Craigslist. Picking one up would be a cheap date, since a one-way flight to almost anywhere in the U.S. is now around $100-yes, we did our math. A drive home from anywhere in the Midwest in an old truck is more than a blast; it's an adventure.

Looking through websites for different parts of the country, we found running 4x4 Fords, Chevys, Dodges, SUVs, and Jeeps commonly priced under $2,000, and some were under $1,000. These are beaters, nothing pretty, but we wouldn't hesitate to give them the once-over and head into the sunset with our newfound friend. There's also an abundant supply of later-model 4x4s available for $10,000 or less, but we're looking for trail beaters, not show trucks.

Some of the best deals around have always been junkyard finds. With our economy in a tailspin, these treasures are an even better steal since scrap yard owners are more willing to negotiate prices. Scrap yards are not only a great place to find you next trail rig, but also the parts to fix it. It doesn't hurt to shop around. Call before you stop by and ask about a negotiable price. Knowing what vehicles are going for will give you some haggling leverage. Keep in mind that impulse buying is almost never smart. Remember what your mom always told you: "Do your homework."

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