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Axle Pivot Locations - Superlift

Discussion in 'Modified 1991-1994 Explorers' started by TxCowgirlInCo, July 16, 2018.

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    1. TxCowgirlInCo

      TxCowgirlInCo The Neverending Quest for my next “parking rock” Elite Explorer

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      Ok, I've got a question for all those well versed in the TTB especially lifted ones. Initially the 2nd previous owner installed the 5.5" Superlift incorrectly I believe bc the Axle pivot bolts were placed in the upper of two holes in the new drop brackets. Realizing this appeared to be incorrect, the AP bolts were moved to the lower holes and that's when things got very weird. The truck must have been run in the upper holes for a long time (PO had the truck several years) bc it was not happy with axle pivots placed in bottom holes, even if that was where they should have been in the first place.
      Things I noticed following their 'drop' to the bottom holes.

      - Ride height - major butt sag
      - Camber - majorly negative / \ (even with adjustable eccentric bushings this seemed uncorrectable)
      - Caster - way too positive (top of springs and shocks leaning way back)
      - Tires pushed outward away from vehicle center.
      Springs no longer close to perpendicular with frame rails.
      - major front tire scrub
      - radius arm bushings blowing up and even all metal RA locking nuts loosening themselves rapidly even though torqued to spec, Even after new AP bushings put in as well.
      - bump / thrust steer & major steering wander

      This is just what I can remember off the top of my head. But what on earth is going on? I've got people coming at me with all sorts of theories or saying I'm imagining the problems but I'm certainly not and therefore wanted to see what you guys, the experts, thought. Thanks a million!
       
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    3. 410Fortune

      410Fortune Snow Season Staff Member Moderator

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      pictures
      How much camber? It can be corrected up to 1.75 degrees

      When you changed the beam pivot points you changed the geometry of your front end = you need an alignment now, toe and camber

      Pictures would help a great deal because its quite possible the upper holes were working fine as long as the front end was able to be aligned.
      Pictures will show us what is going on in that front TTB setup. Does it have stock steering? Are those Superlift 5.5 coils? Which superlift radius arms (there are like 3 updates)?
       
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    4. TxCowgirlInCo

      TxCowgirlInCo The Neverending Quest for my next “parking rock” Elite Explorer

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      410Fortune- thanks a million for your quick response!

      I ended up using the Moog adjustable camber bushings that go up to 2.25° just for sh!+s--grins to see if it was correctable and it was still at least 1.5° negative cambered.

      It doesn't have stock steering...it's got the FA500 I believe drop Pitman arm and shockingly my steering angle was pretty darn close to ideal with the tie Rods being almost perfectly parallel with the beams (with the bolts approx 1" above center of the hub)

      They are the superlift 5.5" coils and I think the arms are the 2nd 'generation' as they've got the heavier duty steel plating over the tabs that go over the I beam from the radius arm...I honestly wasn't aware there was a 3 generation of them (more to look into, thx) but I know for sure they're not the 1st edition bc the other 4dr 1st Gen I've got has the 1st edition and uggh those poor tabs!!

      Here's where it gets particularly odd. Over a short period of time getting driven a bit (my baby the sport is down for engine / trans misalignment) strange things started happening. For instance I noticed one day the steering angle had changed from not so great to damn near perfect but yet it had more bump / thrust steer - nothing was changed on the truck. The Axle pivot bushings blew up as did another set of Moog RA bushings and the RA locknuts still wouldn't stay tight (sometimes tightening/torquing 2-3 times in 15 miles) . It then sat and was only driven once in a blue moon but all of a sudden after giving it a good pressure wash, I noticed extreme signs of metal fatigue / stress corrosion & pitting anywhere the frame or suspension would be under stress during cyclic vibrations and especially flexing out. I mean it went from a little body rust in the rear kick panel and powder coated unders to massive corrosive rust with scaling and flaking only in high stress areas (coil buckets, RA brackets, crossmembers, body to frame mounting). Distorted rivets on the main engine crossmember (underside against frame rail) appeared and the once tight AP bracket bolts were clearly moving around and wallering out their holes. It appeared as of the metal around the huck rivets was encountering friction almost as if the crossmember was moving kinda but the rivets going through the shock towers appeared & sounded good & solid. The tcase skid and trans crossmember were clearly twisting back and forth and also had to be tightened regularly. The leaves have really begun to get weak much more rapidly than one would expect and I'm sure it's beginning to get axle wrap back now as the DS angle is off stressing out the pinion crush sleeve and it's mangled the front ujoint on the rear shaft twice in less than 500 total miles.

      OH I completely forgot to mention this one has a darned 3" body lift I've not had the chance to take off. It honestly seems as if the change in steering geometry, alignment & axle position combined with the body lift has caused this truck to literally start tearing itself apart but only since the AP were dropped.

      I'll work on uploading some pics shortly as well as attaching a Ford TSB I came across during my research. Thanks again!!!
       
      Last edited: July 16, 2018
    5. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      I installed a used 5.5 lift on an explorer about a year ago and ended up using the top holes because I couldn't get the alignment right at the bottom holes because the springs were sagged. Even installed the crazy up to 4* moog bushings. We decided to add f150 spring spacers and then we're able to get an easy alignment on the bottom holes. All in all the 5.5 spring tend to sag to close to 4.5 from what I have seen.
       
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    6. TxCowgirlInCo

      TxCowgirlInCo The Neverending Quest for my next “parking rock” Elite Explorer

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      Thank you Boomin! Yeah these TTB's can certainly be the finicky creature for sure. Think we all make the mistakes the first go round of not appropriately babying them and send up blowing bearings & bushings like mad until we get better educated. Not being a quitter and a lot stubborn i didn't give up after the first one lol. His front end is perfect..now lol. And I guess I'm a glutton for punishment bc there's now 3 first gens and 1 - 2nd Gen that I call kids lol.

      How's your ex now? Still happy with your setup?
       
    7. 410Fortune

      410Fortune Snow Season Staff Member Moderator

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      Weren't the bottom holes for the 8" lift?

      I would prefer to use the upper holes myself, more ground clearance Then you can shave off the bottom of the drop brackets
      I have never really liked the 5-8" drop bracket lifts, the drop brackets just are so tall!
      We had one 95 Ranger Superlift that was impossible to get correct, turned out to have a bent drop bracket (after days and days of struggles, ordered $80 part from Superlift and fiixed it)
      If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it!

      My camber shims are stock with 1/2 degree of correction.
      I run 6" coils with a F150 spring seat, 2" drop brackets and extended arms. I achieved factory like geometry by cutting and turning the beams, best mod a TTB could ever hope for IMO
       
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    8. TxCowgirlInCo

      TxCowgirlInCo The Neverending Quest for my next “parking rock” Elite Explorer

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      8" of lift???? Now you've got me wondering and wanting to go check product descriptions lol. Having not actually sourced one is the lifts new I couldn't swear one way or another.

      Isn't it a pain when you've got one you throw time and money at and have to go through every conceivable possibility (sometimes twice lol) to end up with with a "well....didn't plan on that". Reminds me of a meme: Adulthood is like looking both ways before crossing the road, then getting hit by an airplane
       
    9. TxCowgirlInCo

      TxCowgirlInCo The Neverending Quest for my next “parking rock” Elite Explorer

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      ] did you cut and turn them yourself or send the beams out? Thanks!
       
    10. 410Fortune

      410Fortune Snow Season Staff Member Moderator

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      we built our own beams, still have the jigs and templates too!

      [​IMG]
       
      Last edited: July 27, 2018
    11. TxCowgirlInCo

      TxCowgirlInCo The Neverending Quest for my next “parking rock” Elite Explorer

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      Really? That’s amazing! How long ago was that. Can I PM you and pick your brain a little bit more?
       
    12. 410Fortune

      410Fortune Snow Season Staff Member Moderator

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      Oh geesh it was years ago
      The jigs are in Colorado, it was a simple geometry lesson
      Each beam is a traingle, from upper and lower ball joint to the pivot
      My beams are cut and turned 3" and extended 1.5" track width per side
      Only mod needed was a custom axle shaft, dana 44 shaft we had cut to length and re splined.
      I have 6" coils with a 2" drop bracket and stock like geometry, stock camber correction

      Yes of course you can PM me I live and breathe Ford trucks
       
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    13. Maniak

      Maniak Moderator-Stock 91-94 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Another possible option may be to pick up cut/turned beams from BTF Frabrication. They do the cut/turn by moving the lower balljoint out. It's the cut/turn beam I've been using.

      I'm "assuming" they still do the cut/turn and last time I checked it as "around" $200 to have it done (it's a bean exchange, as in you send them your beams once you get the new ones). BTF fabrication

      ~Mark
       
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