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What is the cheapest truck to build into a prerunner

Jakob Hinkle

New Member
This is my first post so sorry if I'm doing something wronge here also I did search this up but didn't find anything. I'm a college student and have been saveing for a truck for awhile and am now in the position to buy a truck and slowly turn it into a prerunner. I know doing this won't be cheap but I know things like long travel suspensions will be cheaper for one truck versus another. I grew up rock crawling a Cherokee in Moab but have never really been around off-road raceing so I am not very knowledgeable as if now but this is something I want/ am going to do, any help would be appreciated thanks.
 
A half finished beamed ranger, preferably already caged (usually the biggest expense). Pre96 toyotas are pretty cheap too if you can find one already with a kit and cage


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J Prich

Well-Known Member
What does your budget look like? And what kind of fab skills do you have?

Best bet in my opinion is to start with the furthest built truck you can afford. Always cheaper in the long run to buy something that's already built than to build from scratch so based on your budget, I'd look for a Toyota (I'm biased...) or a Ranger that's already got as much done as you can afford. Then you can slow roll the rest as you are able to save.

Either way, in my opinion the best bang for your buck is a Toyota or Ranger type truck. Tons of aftermarket options available for each, easy to build piece by piece as your budget allows, etc. You can check out how we built our Toyota on our FB page...daily driver Tacoma to race truck in about 18 months.
 

ChrisW

Well-Known Member
This is my first post so sorry if I'm doing something wronge here also I did search this up but didn't find anything. I'm a college student and have been saveing for a truck for awhile and am now in the position to buy a truck and slowly turn it into a prerunner. I know doing this won't be cheap but I know things like long travel suspensions will be cheaper for one truck versus another. I grew up rock crawling a Cherokee in Moab but have never really been around off-road raceing so I am not very knowledgeable as if now but this is something I want/ am going to do, any help would be appreciated thanks.
I would suggest that whatever money you've saved for a prerunner, you instead invest it in furthering your college education. Reading your post is the reason I say this:

wrong not wronge
saving not saveing
racing not raceing

Sorry to be so harsh, but being a college student as you said, you should know this!
 

vegasloki

Well-Known Member
There are a ton of older Rangers here and in the CA high desert. That's pretty far from you though. We're looking for a good Ranger donor right now. The difference is we have all the tools to build one and have built cars for a while now. What I'm finding here are title issues more than anything. If you were going to build a race truck there are all sorts of good deals if you don't need a title. Toyotas are also pretty popular around here. Like the others are saying, lots of aftermarket and junkyard parts for both of those.

If you can find an abandoned or stalled project you'll be that much more ahead of the game. The only drawback there is some of these projects may have to have the fab work ripped out anyway.
 

Zac Reish

Well-Known Member
I Have a 89-93 toyota with a stroked 2500cc 22re race engine (pump gas), rebuilt trans 1000 on engine and trans
JD Fab kit with 2.5 king coilers, bump stops on the front
Linked rear with bypasses, 9" trussed rear
fully caged, fuel cell. Fabwork is solid
2 spare tires. I call it the trophy truck. Its an old 1450 toyota.
Ive put 1000 miles on the truck since I bought it and rebuilt everything. It needs paint, body work, a new cell(or refurbish existing, and needs a bypass shock each side up front (suspension is too soft in front. Its a bad ass truck for $9,000 with trailer. There is no paper work. No it isn't stolen.
 

Jakob Hinkle

New Member
Thanks for the replies everyone sorry about the spelling the dyslexia kinda sucks usually my phone auto corrects for me. As for the fav skills my dad would be helping me he built the bumper on the keep in my profile pic. I don't really want to buy someone else's project I would rather start from scratch and make it my own. As for a budget this is something that would be a very slow build process just saveing up paychecks for the next mod. I'm thinking about something like a 2006 tundra sr5 anyone have any experience with this truck?
 

Ol' Curmudgeon

RDC's resident crackpot
What do you hope this "cheap" truck to be able to do?

How much do you expect your final cost to be?

Do you have another vehicle for a daily driver?

Where do you expect to "prerun" in TX, or is this a "stylin' and profilin'" exercise?

Tundra will NEVER be cheap, not even reasonable, compared to pre Tacoma pickup or a Ranger.
 

Jakob Hinkle

New Member
What do you hope this "cheap" truck to be able to do?

How much do you expect your final cost to be?

Do you have another vehicle for a daily driver?

Where do you expect to "prerun" in TX, or is this a "stylin' and profilin'" exercise?

Tundra will NEVER be cheap, not even reasonable, compared to pre Tacoma pickup or a Ranger.
I don't really have a final cost I'll put into it what I can now and when I get a better job I'll be able to get better parts for it. Mostly I want to be able to get the basics so I can go out to the dunes and have fun, there are dunes a couple hours away in Oklahoma and I spend the summers in Utah we're there's plenty of space to off-road. I do have a daily driver but I still want this truck to be street legal. This is definitely not just for looks I'm not a ricer. Good thing I asked about the tundra thanks for letting me know it will be expensive. I'm guessing a mini truck like a ranger or taco would be better than a full size right? Would for have cheaper parts since it's domestic?
 

Ol' Curmudgeon

RDC's resident crackpot
More weight and power generally equals higher costs.

I think you are asking if Ford has cheaper parts, not necessarily, and, if you have to replace them more often, are they really any cheaper?

I think you should consider a UTV and a trailer to haul it to OK or UT. AZ licenses UTV for street use, I believe UT does as well, will TX?

If you build a pickup into a well performing off road machine, you won't have a very streetable truck. And when it breaks hours from home, how are you and it going to get home?

Speed, price, quality: pick two.

How FA$T do you want to go?

Here's a couple of reputable firms that provide suspension bits, etc.

https://camburg.com/vehicles/98-12-ranger/

TOTAL CHAOS FABRICATION
 

vegasloki

Well-Known Member
A lot of guys do what you are looking to do Jakob. There are 3 or 4 in my neighborhood alone. There are tons of them in town, many with RDC stickers and many that don't make it off the pavement that often.

A lot of them use mini trucks because parts are relatively cheap, donors are plentiful and they are fairly easy to work on. Cheap is going to be about $10k depending on the donor and doing your own fab. That's going to be more of a trail truck than proper prerunner. Around here at RDC many (perhaps most) consider a pre runner a (near) full blown race truck built for comfort to pre run the course. Non racers may call a pre runner anything you could take off road. For cheap you won't be able to go fast off road (suspension travel and reliability counts as much or more than engine power) and it may be cranky to drive on the street but if it's not your primary vehicle and you aren't trying to blast across the desert you'll be fine on the low end.
 

biggjim

Well-Known Member
Im about 25K into mine and still havent caged,done any engine/trans work, no paint, and Me and a Buddy or 2 have done ALL of the labor. Its an 02 silverado that I scooped up crashed for 1k
 

Dy_lon

Member
If you are in Texas and interested in off-road racing, check out the Texas Desert Racing Association. We always need volunteers. You can bring your jeep and get a feel for what all it takes to race.
 
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