Choosing the Right Rock Crawling Parts

Choosing the Right Rock Crawling Parts

JWaldron rock crawling

Whether you are building a rock crawler from scratch or simply want to add some custom upgrades to your current rig, installing the right parts will have a huge impact on your trail experience. Oftentimes, gear can be the difference between a rescue (and a heck of a lot of repairs) or a successful run you can brag about. Here are some custom fab ideas to help you get your rig rock ready from the start.

Deciding on a Rock Crawler Suspension
JSmith suspension

Before you consider rock crawling, it is crucial to ensure your suspension system is heavy duty and reliable. We’ve received quite a few stories from crawlers and customers that attest to the difference a custom suspension system can make – possibly one of the most influential upgrades. With that said, the way you use your rig usually determines the parts you need. For example, on an off-road crawler, we suggest either a custom 3 link or 4 link suspension for balanced triangulation, maximum control, better ride quality, and better transfer of power to the ground. Linking your rig will also increase your suspension travel, keeping your tires on the obstacle. These features will lessen your chances of body roll and flex steer (in your lowers).

Photo Credit: Jamey Smith

A Tough Rock Crawling Axle
JWaldron Axle

Axle breakage happens to the best of rigs, but is much more frequent (and unnecessary) when using stock or lighter-duty truss systems. In this case, strength and durability are of utmost importance. So when you choose your axle truss and hardware, prioritize quality of materials and overall structure. A strong-built and well-designed truss will add structural rigidity and also lessen your chances of bending, warping, and breakage. This way, you can ride as hard as you want to without hesitation.

Photo Credit: Josh Waldron

Don’t Forget Off-Road Extras
skid plateThe main components of your rig are only as good as the parts you use to mount and protect them. For example, if you’ve got some heavy-duty rock crawling shocks on your rig, don’t rely on factory or low-grade brackets, tabs or towers – custom mounts will increase your rig’s endurance tenfold. For the axle, try adding pinion guards to gain better load distribution. Then, of course, you cannot forget 4x4 body armor and protective gear like skid plates, guards, and bumpers. These added rock crawler parts and accessories will protect the vulnerable areas of your rig’s belly and front and rear ends, as well as provide maximum clearance against the rugged terrain you plan to tackle.

Still Need Help?
If you need anymore help with a specific part or upgrade project, please give Barnes 4wd a call at (828) 551-7616 or send us an email to