A couple weekends ago I was out wheeling with my club. They brought their buggies and i drove my JKU out there.
me and the buggies made the trail while the other had to winch a couple times. At the end of the day, a good friend asked me at the campfire "I gotta know how much money you have into that jeep"
I get asked a lot because my jeep has a hemi and 1 ton axles and 40" tires.
here is the actual break down of costs.
first, I bought a new 4 door 2011 rubicon in 2010. both tops, leather, nav, all that. 34k
yes, they were a lot cheaper then.
sold the wheels and tires, bought some 35's for about the same cost
sold the soft top and bought a used RE 3.5" lift kit on craigslist for about the same cost. I replaced the bushings and ran it with 35's for a couple years.
The 3.8 in that jeep was an awful POS even with 5.13 gears. I saw a used RIPP supercharger for $2500 and bought it. hated it. it ran so hot it melted the battery box. it surged on the freeway and eventually it blew a head gasket. I replaced the headgasket and sold the engine, trans, harness, blower, and tuned computer for $4200. I bought a zero mile hemi and trans from a grand cherokee for $3000, the install kit for $5000 so i was out of pocket about $3800 for the engine swap.
I was able to source a 2010 super duty 60 for $400. put in the artec truss, arb, gears, ball joints, ried knuckle, and fusion steering. $3000
rear axle was a disk brake 14 bolt. artec truss, arb, gears, tone ring kit, wheel adapters came to about $2000
sold the rubi axles with alloy shafts for $3800 so I was out of pocket only $1200.
wheels were craiglist for $200
tires are $369 each.
I'm under $50k total with driveshafts and extras, but that was spread over 8 years
Now, I said out of pocket a couple times because it is hard to accurately depreciate parts. the alloy shafts in the stock axles were in there for years.
I've also owned the jeep for 8 years. it has over 90k miles and almost 50k miles on the hemi
it all works perfectly. drives 80 mph all day and I wouldn't change a thing if I did it again. (well, I'd use a truck hemi instead of a cherokee)
point is, this can be done for reasonable cost, you just have to be willing to attempt it.