Economical is a loose term to most. For some it might mean a $25 upgrade while to others it may mean closer to $1,000. After all if you score a $1,500 suspension kit for $1,000 you've saved some money and shopped economically. Some upgrades are economical because they save money right away while others save you money over time. Some upgrades may seem more economical to those with more money. Some upgrades are purely economical and are sure fire methods to saving you money. Some upgrades are simply cheap and will cost you very little but still offer benefits. Take a look at the following compilation of economical upgrades. You will likely find something to improve the performance or capability or look of your 4x4 without having to bust open your piggy bank.
Installing a fresh set of shocks is the easiest way to improve the ride of your 4x4. Depending on the size and brand of shock you select, you can sometimes fetch a good deal, too. Many shock manufacturers offer specials like buy-three-get-one-free promotions that make new shocks much more affordable. Look for deals around the holidays and at the end of the year especially. A Rancho RS9000XL Nitrogen-charged shock with nine-position tuning capability is shown. The nine tuning positions allow for soft damping during trail use to gain greater flex and range to firmer damping for highway performance and towing. The RS9000XL uses a 2.75-inch body and an 18mm chrome rod. Rancho also offers its economical RS5000 shock that is tuned to each application. We have used both shocks on various projects to very good results.
Sway Bar Disconnects
Use of sway bar disconnects will help get your 4x4 further up the trail by allowing full use of suspension flex. By design a sway bar limits suspension travel so it can do its job of controlling vehicle movement and ride quality. By disconnecting the sway bar for trail use the suspension can flex without the sway bar binding and limiting available spring and shock travel. Many companies offer sway bar "discos" but JKS Manufacturing is one that specializes in them. The company's latest Quicker Disconnects are robotically MIG welded and feature grease zerks for easy lubrication and proper flow of grease to adjustment threads and bushings. For ease of operation JKS Quicker Disconnects use tapered stainless-steel mounting posts and floating, spherical polyurethane bushings. Additionally, the Quicker Disconnects are adjustable in length to accommodate varying degrees of vehicle height changes so they can still be used after you install a lift.
Heavy-Duty Locking Hubs
If you're ever tempted to use pliers to turn your locking hubs then it may be time for an upgrade. Many hub kits are available to meet varying budgets. We've seen sets advertised for less than $100, as well as those offered for more than $500. Why the huge price span? Design, manufacturing process, strength, and materials used all play a role, and you typically get what you pay for. In the upper price range is a set of Dynatrac's DynaLoc hubs, which are said to be three times stronger than any other Dana 60 locking hub. DynaLoc hubs only require 1/8th of a turn to engage and won't disengage under high torque load. They use gears made in the USA from heat-treated, chromoly steel and offer a low profile knob assembly that decreases impact with rocks and obstacles. Dynatrac's Stub Hub conversion kit, which decreases the side profile of the hub by more than 1.5 inches, is also shown. Many companies - including Omix-Ada, Superwinch, Mile Marker, and Warn - offer hub kits to fit just about any 4x4 and budget.
Track Bar Support
Jeep Wrangler JKs and TJs tend to experience factory weld failures where the OE rear track bar bracket attaches to the axle tube. To correct this potential problem many companies, such as Superlift, offer track bar braces. The Superlift brace is a cost-effective weld-on brace that is included with Superlift JK suspension systems. A bolt-on track bar bracket with an integrated brace is offered for JK owners who don't want to weld. Either brace can be purchased separately. The brace can be used on stock-height JKs and should fit JKs equipped with other brands of 2- to 4-inch lift kits.