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2-3" lift - rear spring/shock options

Discussion in 'Modified 1991-1994 Explorers' started by shran, March 26, 2019.

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  1. shran

    shran Elite Explorer

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    I have a 1992 four door Explorer that I want to lift just a little bit for ground clearance. I find myself getting hung up on my skid plates and rock sliders more often than I would like.

    I have the front handled - I have an '87 Ranger High Rider truck that will be donating its springs and lift bracketry.

    The rear is what I am more concerned with. I am having a hard time finding lift springs for it. Right now I have an add-a-leaf and it sits roughly an inch below where I think it should. I would like to be 3" over stock height.

    I am tempted to try the 4" Skyjacker springs that fit a Ranger and hope I get enough lift out of them - I would imagine with the extra weight of the Explorer itself and 3-400lbs of gear in the back, it might be OK? I could do an add-a-leaf to the Skyjacker springs as well.

    Doing a spring over conversion, reusing my current springs and playing around with shackle length is also not totally off the table but this truck sees a LOT of highway miles and ride quality is important - although I think it would give me roughly the height I'm looking for.

    I also will need rear shocks. Fronts are easy to find since I can just order them for the Ranger application but rears are another story - Looks like they are available in stock height and 4" lift from Rancho and Bilstein. I would like to go with a high quality shock all the way around - any input on this? I feel like the stock height are going to be too short but the 4" ones might work if I end up with a 3" lift.
     
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  3. Blue m&m

    Blue m&m Elite Explorer

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    If you have an add a leaf already, I would recommend swapping out the shackles.
     
  4. shran

    shran Elite Explorer

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    I could do that but I'm guessing, based on the Belltechs I have on my Ranger and the weight of the Explorer, that I'd get maybe an inch out of it. So that would put me right where it would have been as a new vehicle and I would like to be 2-3" higher than that. Plus the shackles hang down further and I already drag them through the rocks occasionally.

    Another option is just making a custom spring pack. I do have a bunch of springs I could use. Kind of last resort though.

    If I hadn't had one bad experience with Skyjacker springs bending, I would just order them and be done with it but I'm hoping someone here has some insight. I may get a hold of Deaver or Alcan and see if they can put something together too.
     
  5. RangerX

    RangerX Elite Ranger Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    The high rider package was only 1.5” of lift. And if you put that on a heavier Explorer, you will most likely end up with less, especially considering the high rider coils are old and sagged.

    Explorer leaf springs have a deeper curve to them compared to Ranger springs, so if you put Ranger leaves in, you will have 1.5” loss in lift. Ranger guys swap in the stock Ex springs to get that 1.5”. Aftermarket leaves may or may not be the same, but I figure they designed the amount of lift based on the stock height of the specific vehicle.
     
  6. gmanpaint

    gmanpaint It's Always Something! Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Sprung under:
    Franken packs with the Explorer main & F-150 short leafs for 2" over stock. Add a leaf for more lift. Figure 1/2" of lift for each extra (stock curved) leaf added. $100 with new hardware, used F150 leaf packs, and an add a leaf kit.

    I'm running one rig with the Franken packs for 4" of lift, and one rig with custom made packs (spring shop) for 4" of lift.

    I can tell you that they will ride better with some weight in the back, if you use anything but the high end packs.

    Wait to do the shocks, as your measures might be different then on paper. After an actual measure for extended and compressed lengths, you can research easier using catalogs for most brands available.

    .
     
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  7. shran

    shran Elite Explorer

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    What ever the front ends up being, is fine. If it's only 1.5", no prob. Both tires rub on the wheel well liner at full lock and I think the small lift will fix that. I will have to pull a tape on my donor truck and see how much lift it actually has - it's a 2.9 truck, and I have another 4x4 Ranger of the same body style and wheel base that is a 4 cylinder to compare to. The high rider truck cleared a new set of 31's on stock wheels and did not rub anywhere.

    What year(s) F150 were used for the frankenpacks? I seem to recall that some had 3" wide leaves and others were more narrow? 2wd vs 4wd thing maybe? Certainly not opposed to this option.

    I don't mind a stiff ride, I just want to end up with a slight rake when the truck is empty so that it will sit level-ish when all my camping gear is loaded up.
     
  8. gmanpaint

    gmanpaint It's Always Something! Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Correct, the 2wd uses the 2.5" springs.

    If you can zoom in on this picture, you can see what's what for years & sizes on springs.

    leaf_springs%20chart_zps40iu4jdw.PNG

    Just using the stock Ex main, and the F-150 lowers, you can gain 2" of lift. Add a couple more leafs for another 1"+ lift. I did this and added a 2 leaf (short & long) BDS add a leaf kit, and got around 3.5".
     
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  9. shran

    shran Elite Explorer

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    I tracked down a set of F150 springs and will be giving it a shot - will post up some pics when I get around to it! Thanks!
     
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  10. shran

    shran Elite Explorer

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    I'm pretty far from done with this but this is what I've done so far:

    The Ranger lift did get me 1.5" higher in the front. Very pleased with that. I ordered some spacers from Bronco Graveyard for the driver's side. It sits an inch lower. I think I can get it very close to where it should be.

    The F150 springs I got were from a 1993-4ish 2wd F150 and had three leaves and an overload. I used the middle two F150 leaves and my Explorer top and overload. I got... a whole half inch of lift. Somewhat disappointing. I then added my short add-a-leaf and that brought it up roughly another inch. The truck more or less sits level now - was hoping for another inch.

    Before doing a shackle lift on the rear I am going to try load leveler shocks. I ordered a set of Monroes - some of the reviews mention getting over an inch of lift out of them. I'd be happy if it just sits where it is when I've got my camping crap loaded up. Maybe I'll get a little bit of lift when it's empty or maybe not...we'll see... the truck still had the factory Ford shocks in it and one was totally blown out after my AZ trip.

    While I have everything apart I'm also doing pivot bushings, radius arm bushings, coil insulators, leaf spring eye bushings and a new steering box. Hopefully someday I'll have an Explorer that doesn't ride like a sloppy mess!
     
  11. shran

    shran Elite Explorer

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    FWIW I got roughly 2" of lift out of the load leveler shocks. Bronco Graveyard spacers fixed the leaning driver's side - had to use all four of them.
     
  12. RangerX

    RangerX Elite Ranger Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    So how’s the ride after all you’ve done?

    What are the bronco graveyard spacers like? Plates that go in the leaf pack? Or also something for the coils?
     
  13. shran

    shran Elite Explorer

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    Haven't driven it yet, I have a couple small things left to do before it's roadworthy. But I'm close. I'm guessing it's going to ride pretty stiff... I can always play around with the spring pack if it's really bad... removing the add-a-leaf completely crossed my mind.

    The Bronco Graveyard (coil) spacers are pretty cool - there's two styles, one with a hex shaped hole in the middle and one with a round hole. They're 1/4" thick. You stack them between the axle beam and the lower coil cup...starting with either one or two hex spacers to go around the pinch bolt and then round hole spacers on top of that depending on height required. I used three total and it sits about 1/8" higher on the driver's side now.

    I went with these vs the Duff spacer because Duff only offers it in 1/2".

    Part numbers 93535 and 93537.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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