I also agree that there are far too many threads in the Newbie Section saying, "Bought my first truck, need help with SAS" That's ridiculous. But I think that you would agree that at some point you know what you want out of your truck, and that it would be nice to build what you want the first time.
Yep, and that's why I advocate the order I do. If you go armor, gears/lockers, tires when you need them, lift when you absolutely decide what you NEED, you haven't wasted any money that will just be cut off later. With what I have done to my rig, if I decided to SAS, the only thing I would be out is front gears/locker, the Budbuilt skid, and the Sonoran steel crossmember - all of which could be sold for almost what I paid for them.
My last point is this: Who is SAS not for? With the exception of desert trucks, what can't a SAS truck do decently well? They don't have to be as extreme as everybody builds them, and if they are built right, they ride just fine down the highway. There just doesn't seem to be nearly as many limitations, and that right there is the appeal to them, IMO. I don't want to start an IFS vs. SAS debate, but really I completely understand why everybody goes that way. YES, IFS will get you through 99% of every trail in Colorado. A SAS truck will too, but with reliability, and less wheelstands...
A SAS is NOT for people who can't do the welding themselves. To get the advantages you tak about, more is involved than just buying a SAS kit and off you go IMHO. It is a SERIOUSLY expensive ($3,000 is bargain basement, and goes up from there, unlimited) modification, with not much upside over properly done IFS. The Return on Investment just isn't there IMHO.
As for the wheelstands statement - more flex, having tires on the ground instead of the air, does NOT result in a more stable truck. As a matter of fact, if the suspension is heavily droop-travel biased (as most SAS rigs are to keep the height under control), I would argue that it results in a LESS stable rig. Look at Molly's rig vs. mine. The COG gets outside the wheel track, and you're going over, no matter what kind of suspension you have!
Yes, if you want to do the absolute hardest trails out there, IFS won't cut it. But you know what - neither will having body panels/glass you care about keeping. Even built, it's not really a smart idea to count on driving home from those trails, so you need a tow rig. By the time you get to that point, you have a buggy that is no longer fun on the vast majority of trails. Ask cchark, ActionJackson, ... they have all gone that way and come back to "less built" rigs.
I know I sound like the anti-SAS crusader, but few people have been in my situation, being able to compare two otherwise pretty identical vehicles one SAS the other IFS.