Cheap, big, and functional is what many of us look for when purchasing our first 4x4. So when our buddy told us about a '77 Plymouth Trail Duster that he could pick up for only 500 bucks, we told him to go buy it and we'll show him how to build it on the cheap. Like many of us, he didn't need some super wizbang buggy, but rather, he simply wanted something he could place a big tire on, fit the entire family in, and that wouldn't break the bank with a never-ending modification list.
To give the Trail Duster a little elevation, we bolted on a 4-inch Rough Country suspensio
Since he picked up the Trail Duster for such a bargain he decided to go ahead and do what many of us do: put a on an inexpensive lift kit and squeeze on the biggest tires he could fit within reason. Of course a Sawzall, a big hammer, and a grinder ended up making this task a lot easier.
For us, there's something about a complete disregard for sheetmetal that makes working on a budget beater rig so much more enjoyable. For this installment we tossed on a heavy-duty 4-inch lift kit from Rough Country Suspension along with a set of 39-inch Pit Bull tires. Check back next month as we toss in some low-buck traction aids and see what this classic fullsize is capable of off road.
Most of the older straight-axle trucks use a side-mounted swinging pitman arm, so instead
To help cushion the ride of the heavyweight classic, we installed a set of Rough Country 8
In the rear of the Trail Duster we opted for a complete replacement spring pack to give us
Though Rough Country suggests the use of a 35x12.50 tire for the 4-inch kit, we had bigger
If you're looking to keep your metal inner fenders, then don't be afraid to grab a hammer
The last thing you want is your expensive new tires getting sliced by your old sharp fende
Before you start trimming up the sheetmetal be sure to look behind everything you are cutting to check for things like fuel, brake, and electrical lines. Also, try to avoid removing body or sheetmetal support braces. Instead of removal, we suggest modifying said brace to keep the body panels from flopping around.
We are applying the "less is more" strategy everywhere we can on this rig. This meant peeling off the hardtop and factory bumpers to give the truck a little more visibility, to make for better approach and departure angles, and to lighten it just a touch.
MT's & Big Bulls
For tires and wheels we went with 39x14.50 Pit Bull Mad Dogs and fitted them on 15x10 Mickey Thompson Classic IIs. While the tire tread is extremely aggressive, just the way we like it, the overall package felt very lightweight for a set this size. The big cleats definitely give this $500 beater a new look and a much-needed larger footprint.
Mickey Thompson Tires & Wheels
4600 Prosper Drive
Pit Bull Tires
1815 Locust Street
Rough Country Suspension Systems
1400 Morgan Road