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Built Not Bought – Response to Dirt Road Trip

Posted by on January 3, 2017

My buddy over on Dirt Road Trip climbed up on his soap box, (because he wanted to be heard, not because he is short) and proclaimed that the “Built Not Bought” slogan proudly asserted by those who turn their own wrenches is a load of crap. I guess I agree on some level, but take issue with some of his points used to make the point.

Rock Bouncer

He claims that it is better time management to let the shop do the upgrades or repairs on your vehicle. Sure, I guess. But if I have to exchange a weekend of driving around George Washington National Forest on the dirt roads some claim to be off-roading trails so I can install the new suspension on my truck, I’ll do it myself. In the end I have saved over a $1,000 by doing the install myself and the money saved will go towards a longer and more eventful trip in the long run.

Old Man Emu suspension

Let’s back up here for a minute and let me explain my mechanic abilities. They suck. I am not nor will I ever be mistaken for a mechanic. I can’t weld either. At best I’m a parts exchanger. If the alternator goes out on the truck, I can switch it out for a new one. But if the truck won’t start for some reason, don’t ask me to figure out why.

Built Not Bought

Even with my lack of professional training in mechanics, I’m a real man and ain’t afraid to get my hands dirty and work on my truck to save a few dollars.


If I had to pay for a shop to do most of the work on my current Tacoma, I could have never afforded to build it. Sure, I had to go to the guys at Forge Specialties to weld up my sliders and replace the front coils after I was sold the wrong pair for my truck, but other than that, my wrenching saved me enough money in the process that I was able to build the truck.

The current parts tally for the Tacoma is around $8,000. That is just the cost of the parts and that took me over a year to save up that much money. I can’t imagine how much the shop fees would have been. I gave up fine dining, going out on dates, cancelled my cable TV and ate a lot of hot dogs and mac and cheese to raise the funds.

budbuilt skid plates

Given the choice over wrenching for the weekend or out fishing and running the trails, I’ll choose out playing every time. So for me and I think most of us poor folks, we wrench because we have to.

You’ll never hear me talking trash about how my truck and I am superior to those bought guys because I wrenched on my rig, but I do feel a sense of pride knowing I did it all by myself.  I also know that when on the trail and something goes wrong and breaks, I can hopefully fix it or jury rig it enough to get me back home.

Augies Adventures Toyota Tacoma

Or maybe I will jump on the band wagon of the “Built Not Bought” and get some stickers made:

“Augie’s Adventures, we build them, go overlanding, and we break them, can someone come get me please.”