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Explorer to Aviator front brake upgrade

Discussion in 'Modified 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by firefly1246, August 20, 2013.

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    1. firefly1246

      firefly1246 Active Member

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      So I took some measurements of the two assemblies:

      Aviator
      ball joint 1.695"od
      Knuckle
      Overhaul height 18.125"
      Lower balljoint to hub height 5"
      Lower balljoint to steering 3.875"
      Lower balljoint to full clock 3.75" front
      Lower balljoint to upper balljoint 3.5" thick
      Lower balljoint to hub 4.5"
      Lower balljoint to wheel mount 4.75"

      Sport Trac
      ball joint 2.000" or 1.900 OD
      Knuckle
      Overhaul height 14.5"
      Lower balljoint to hub height 5"
      Lower balljoint to steering 4.5"
      Lower balljoint to full clock 3.75" back
      Lower balljoint to upper balljoint 3" thick
      Lower balljoint to wheel mount 4.5" thick

      So.... the 3rd gen balljoints definetly won't press fit into the 2nd gen upper A arm. The 2nd gen are 2.00" (i also found some aftermarket ones at 1.9") and the 3rd gen are 1.675"(including some surface rust). Might need to look at F-150, 4th gen, etc and see if there is another alternative.
      Most things are in the about in the correct spot relative to one another. The hard stop for a full clock are on opposite sides of the knuckle, but the 3rd gen knuckle has material in the correct spot to stop the turn. The overhaul height is a concern as well as the 3rd gen knuckle is 18.125" plus about 1.5" for the ball joint boot area and the 2nd gen is 14.5" plus 1". That is a 4.125" difference in overall height. I have a 2" TT, which would put the upper A-arm at 2.125" above the normal height.

      Update:

      The 97-03 F-150" Upper Balljoint is 2.00" or 1.90" and has a taper fitting that goes into the knuckle like the 3rd gen. I will just need to check the size of the taper fitting vs a 3rd gen balljoint
       
      Last edited: March 16, 2016
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    3. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      They wouldn't work without dropping the lower control arms the 4" difference between spindles. The angles of everything would be way out of wack as the suspension travels. I think it would be way closer to swap in place for a 4" superlifted truck than a stock truck.
       
    4. firefly1246

      firefly1246 Active Member

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      So I did more measuring and whipped out some trigonometry.

      Went to Advance Auto and measured a F-150 Moog Ball Joint, and the taper is a bit bigger than the 3rd gen upper ball joint.

      F-150 Moog Ball Joint K80014:
      1.900" Press Fit
      Taper Section tapers from .7690" to .629" over .861" or 10 degree taper
      M14x1.5 Threaded section
      Balljoint can bend up to 45 degrees from center, 90 degrees total motion.

      I also have compared the angle and amount the A-arm would need to be adjusted from the frame.

      The A-arm is 10" from the center of bushing to the center of the ball joint and difference in knuckle height is 3.625" (my original calculation in overall height was wrong). Since I have a 2" TT the overall upper A Arm will move up 1.625".

      The below calculations assumes one has already done a 2" TT (like I have):

      A arm would be 9.22 degrees up from stock and the A-arm would need to move toward outside of vehicle .133". Then minus 0.500" due to difference in location of upper and lower balljoint from 2nd to 3rd gen. would make you need to move the A-arm .367" toward the center of the vehicle.

      If you then compare this to doing a 2" TT: The A-arm is 11.3 degrees lower than stock and the A-arm has to move .210" toward the center of the vehicle. I already have a 2" TT and therefore my A-arm is already .210" toward center of vehicle. Therefore the A-arm would only need to move another .367"-.210" = 0.157" toward center of vehicle.

      If one did a 3" TT, the angle would be 16.6 deg and the A-arm would need to move .460". Since i know people have done 3" TT, I am pretty sure it should be able to move the .367".
      However: If one has not done a TT then the A-arm would need to move .180" toward outside of vehicle and the angle would be 19.9 degrees.

      In conclusion, the overall height of the 3rd gen knuckle should not pose an issue from a geometry concern. On the other hand still would need to find a upper balljoint that would work. Or one could ream the taper on the 3rd gen knuckle deeper to use an F-150 balljoint.

      Hope you enjoy all those numbers :)
      -Scott
       
      Last edited: March 16, 2016
    5. 87350gta

      87350gta Active Member

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      Did you ever check the 06-10 explorer upper ball joint?
       
    6. firefly1246

      firefly1246 Active Member

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      No, advance auto didn't have one. I believe most of them must just replace the whole upper A-arm. It also looks like the part that presses into a arm is not tall enough by the photos. Anyone out there able to measure their 06-10 explorer upper ball joint?
       
      Last edited: March 16, 2016
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    7. rewind1

      rewind1 Collector of Broken Fords Elite Explorer

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      @firefly1246 , Thanks for the idea and the write up.

      I just went to the junk yard and got the whole setup for $120 total. That includes the knuckles, calipers, caliper brackets, pads, rotors and I think even the hubs. (edit:yup,hubs too!)

      I had planned to replace my upper control arms in the coming weeks. To hell with scope creep! This will be a huge upgrade and for very little money.

      If time allows, I will do some testing with fresh pads on the original rotor before the swap and equivalent pads on the aviator rotors after for comparison.
      I am on 31s so I expect the times/distances to be a bit higher than the factory numbers but should provide a good picture of the improvement.
       
      Last edited: January 19, 2017
    8. 06bluez

      06bluez Active Member

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    9. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      Just want to bump this thread to see if anyone has managed to fit them under an offset 16" wheel? I'm running ranger wheels on the wifes 04 Explorer and want to upgrade brakes.

      I test fitted a wheel on the knuckle and it almost sat down flush, was probably 10 mm of less from seating. It hits the very front of the caliper (pushed all the way forward as if pads were worn down) and just the edge of the dust shield by the tie rod. It looks like a little trimming and a very small spacer and they will work.

      17" wheels is not the answer I'm looking for. I already have 5 265/75r16 Goodyear Duratracs on the truck now and with the ranger wheels it sits perfect.
       
    10. Number4

      Number4 "I'm counting to 3, then I'm getting your dad." Elite Explorer

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      Will grinding some of the caliper off help?
       
    11. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      It's not even close to fitting past the drop center area of the wheel so grinding the caliper won't help. Judging by the steel 2nd gen (same offset she is running) spare I have, a small wheel spacer will keep the caliper off the wheel. I need to pull one of her aluminum 16s off to see if it's similar in fitment.
       
      Last edited: April 4, 2017
    12. firefly1246

      firefly1246 Active Member

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      So I put the 16" wheels from my 1st gen sport trac (same offset as a 2nd gen explorer) on my 3rd gen explorer and the wheels don't fit with the aviator brakes. The sport trac/2nd gen wheels have a larger offset (~1" or so need to double check exactly). You would probably need at least a 1" spacer with 2nd offset or 2" spacer with 3rd gen offset. At this offset the wheels would be pushed out past the fenders. The 2nd gen wheels on a 3rd gen has the edge of the tires right at the edge of the fender.

      If you ground the caliper you would have to grind almost 1/2" off as the 17" wheels barely fit.
       
    13. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      A little more out the fender won't bother me, Its the wheel spacer im not too keen about. I am not sure if I want to put spacers on the wifes DD, just an added place for an issue but she tears the hell out of stock rotors and would love to upgrade to larger rotors.

      Did you by chance try the wheel on a rear aviator brake setup?
       
    14. JW

      JW Third Gen Collector Elite Explorer

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      I'd go with wheel spacers long before I'd grind material off the caliper.
       
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    15. firefly1246

      firefly1246 Active Member

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      @JW I reread my post and didn't realize I didn't emphazie how bad grinding 1/2" off the caliper would be. Being an engineer the caliper would have zero strength.

      I never mounted the rear aviator brakes as it is only a 1" larger rotor.
       
    16. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      It's an honest statement and no other way to better discribe it. These calipers are very stout and some material can be safely removed. Just not a whole .5" haha
       
    17. rewind1

      rewind1 Collector of Broken Fords Elite Explorer

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      @firefly1246, I'm in the middle of my upgrade now.
      Did you use the explorer brake lines on the aviator calipers?

      The aviator lines run upward off the caliper while the explorer lines run down and then curve back up very close to the caliper. I don't think they'll fit around the larger aviator caliper unless I bend the lines. At this point I'm thinking I'll use the aviator lines and just bend the bracket that mounts to the frame so that it matches up with the line from the master cylinder.

      Thanks again.
       
    18. 87350gta

      87350gta Active Member

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      For what it’s worth I used the aviator hoses in the front.
       
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    19. firefly1246

      firefly1246 Active Member

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      @rewind1. Sorry for the delay. I reused the explorer lines in the front. But got new copper crush washers. I had to message the lines just a little bit to make them work.
       
    20. rewind1

      rewind1 Collector of Broken Fords Elite Explorer

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      Thanks for getting back. I ended up using the avi lines like @87350gta since it looked like they needed a lot less bending. Brakes are working but I feel like there is a lot of pedal travel. Bled the lines twice. Think I'm going to do a full flush and change fluid out for new stuff.
       
    21. JW

      JW Third Gen Collector Elite Explorer

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      Has anyone tried to use EBC rotors for this upgrade? I had to abort the upgrade, because the rotors wouldn't fit over my hubs. The Explorer and the Aviator should have the same hubs, correct?
       
    22. JethroBodine

      JethroBodine New Member

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      Does this swap affect the turning radius?
       
    23. firefly1246

      firefly1246 Active Member

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      This upgrade has zero effect on turning radius. The Explorer and Aviator have identical hubs.
       

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