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01 Explorer XLT suspension issues

OnePieceEnthusiast

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01 Explorer XLT
So, I’ve got an 01 Explorer XLT.
I’ve replaced all 4 shocks already, like, 4 big (blue) ones, no exterior spring.
I’m nearly ready to replace the front control arms, upper and lower ball joints, sway bars, rack and pinions, and the inner and outer tie rods.
My problem is suspension, my vehicle rides like I’m off-roading.
I feel pretty confident that replacing what I mentioned will make the ride smoother, but those are exclusively for front suspension. What can I do as far as rear suspension? Does my vehicle have struts? Struts being the ones with a coiled spring on the exterior and shocks the ones you can see from behind the vehicle. Thanks I’m advance.
 

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OnePieceEnthusiast

New Member
Joined
October 3, 2020
Messages
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City, State
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Year, Model & Trim Level
01 Explorer XLT
So, I’ve got an 01 Explorer XLT.
I’ve replaced all 4 shocks already, like, 4 big (blue) ones, no exterior spring.
I’m nearly ready to replace the front control arms, upper and lower ball joints, sway bars, rack and pinions, and the inner and outer tie rods.
My problem is suspension, my vehicle rides like I’m off-roading.
I feel pretty confident that replacing what I mentioned will make the ride smoother, but those are exclusively for front suspension. What can I do as far as rear suspension? Does my vehicle have struts? Struts being the ones with a coiled spring on the exterior and shocks the ones you can see from behind the vehicle. Thanks I’m advance.
Thanks in advance*!
 
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Hacra

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Nurmijärvi
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1997 5.0 Eddie Bauer
1. Polyurethane bushings, if you have original rubber ones, you _might_ have some play there.
2. You can get coil over shocks, for example from rockauto, gabriel and monroe makes them atleast.
3. You can make your own coilover kit, which isn't too hard if you have any fab skills.
4. Sway bars can be upgraded to stiffer ones.
 
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OnePieceEnthusiast

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01 Explorer XLT
1. Polyurethane bushings, if you have original rubber ones, you _might_ have some play there.
2. You can get coil over shocks, for example from rockauto, gabriel and monroe makes them atleast.
3. You can make your own coilover kit, which isn't too hard if you have any fab skills.
4. Sway bars can be upgraded to stiffer ones.
Thanks for the response. I’ll keep those in mind after tackling the front end of the project, but more specifically, are there stock/factory struts or coil over shocks on the vehicle from I would need to replace? Or do our older explorers only have shocks, and I have the option to get coil over shocks?
 
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96eb96

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Albany, NY
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96 EB V6 OHV 4WD
So, I’ve got an 01 Explorer XLT.
I’ve replaced all 4 shocks already, like, 4 big (blue) ones, no exterior spring.
I’m nearly ready to replace the front control arms, upper and lower ball joints, sway bars, rack and pinions, and the inner and outer tie rods.
Thanks for the response. I’ll keep those in mind after tackling the front end of the project, but more specifically, are there stock/factory struts or coil over shocks on the vehicle from I would need to replace? Or do our older explorers only have shocks, and I have the option to get coil over shocks?
Some of those parts you want to replace have absolutely nothing to do with ride quality, unless they are tested defective. How is anything in the steering system going to loosen up your suspension? Did you check out the parts? The components can be tested by rocking the wheel with the lower control arm loose and then supported. A bad rack either leaks, binds, or has play. Otherwise it is fine and you are wasting time and money. And aftermarket (non-motorcraft) reman ones may be worse than the one you remove.

What do you mean it rides like "off road?"
Maybe your tires have issues. Wheel Bearings?

I have rear coilover/helpers but I think they make the ride a bit more truck like. They do help with stability.
 
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masospaghetti

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Compared to basically all of the other vehicles I've owned (which include Civics, Accords, Corollas, Berettas, Mustangs, Camaros, Envoys, Tahoes...you get the idea), the Explorer has a distinctively "trucklike" ride. In most cases this means it's harsher, maybe this is what you mean by "off roading".

Even compared to other body-on-frame SUVs like the Tahoe and Envoy, the ride quality is significantly harsher.

I've always assumed this was because of the torsion bar and leaf spring suspension setup, both which are not known for their ride comfort. I think this is part of the story but not the whole one. I heard awhile ago that because the front suspension design was adapted to the older 91-94 Explorer frame (which had a different design), the geometry of the independent front suspension isn't ideal and making the ride quality suffer as a result. I don't have the source for this though.

That said I have found it to be generally tolerable except for specific cases, like hitting a speed bump at an angle, which can cause a violent side-to-side motion. Never experienced another vehicle quite like it.

You can buy factory replacement rear coil helpers from Rockauto made by Monroe or Gabriel. They will help a sagging rear end, but I don't think they will improve ride comfort, if anything they will make it stiffer.

The actual shock choice does make a difference. I tried Monroe Reflex shocks awhile ago (marketed as a "sporty" shock) and I found them to be too stiff. Sensatracs or what they call OE Spectrums are a good fit, and I've always had great luck with KYB Excel-G (or anything KYB for that matter).
 
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96eb96

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96 EB V6 OHV 4WD
Compared to basically all of the other vehicles I've owned (which include Civics, Accords, Corollas, Berettas, Mustangs, Camaros, Envoys, Tahoes...you get the idea), the Explorer has a distinctively "trucklike" ride. In most cases this means it's harsher, maybe this is what you mean by "off roading".

Even compared to other body-on-frame SUVs like the Tahoe and Envoy, the ride quality is significantly harsher.

I've always assumed this was because of the torsion bar and leaf spring suspension setup, both which are not known for their ride comfort. I think this is part of the story but not the whole one. I heard awhile ago that because the front suspension design was adapted to the older 91-94 Explorer frame (which had a different design), the geometry of the independent front suspension isn't ideal and making the ride quality suffer as a result. I don't have the source for this though.

That said I have found it to be generally tolerable except for specific cases, like hitting a speed bump at an angle, which can cause a violent side-to-side motion. Never experienced another vehicle quite like it.

You can buy factory replacement rear coil helpers from Rockauto made by Monroe or Gabriel. They will help a sagging rear end, but I don't think they will improve ride comfort, if anything they will make it stiffer.

The actual shock choice does make a difference. I tried Monroe Reflex shocks awhile ago (marketed as a "sporty" shock) and I found them to be too stiff. Sensatracs or what they call OE Spectrums are a good fit, and I've always had great luck with KYB Excel-G (or anything KYB for that matter).
I agree. Either you have body roll or a truck like ride. This isn't a Lexus sedan. It is no doubt built on a truck chassis.
Torsion bars are not progressive either, I think some new GM trucks still use them.
 
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OnePieceEnthusiast

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01 Explorer XLT
Some of those parts you want to replace have absolutely nothing to do with ride quality, unless they are tested defective. How is anything in the steering system going to loosen up your suspension? Did you check out the parts? The components can be tested by rocking the wheel with the lower control arm loose and then supported. A bad rack either leaks, binds, or has play. Otherwise it is fine and you are wasting time and money. And aftermarket (non-motorcraft) reman ones may be worse than the one you remove.

What do you mean it rides like "off road?"
Maybe your tires have issues. Wheel Bearings?

I have rear coilover/helpers but I think they make the ride a bit more truck like. They do help with stability.
When I say “off-roading” I really mean it’s very bumpy, and even the tiniest dip or bump on the road causes excessive bouncing. I’ve had two mechanics suggest I replace the ball joints. My wheels squeak at some turns, and bounce too much in general so I thought it was worth a shot. More importantly nothing has been replaced besides the brakes and tires some years ago. Finally, most of the parts I’ve bought do have to do with suspension, the control arms mainly turn the wheel aside from the steering rack, but don’t they also act as cushion for the suspension? The other parts essentially hold the suspension together. I think it’s the best place to start considering I’ve replaced the main source for suspension and yet the problem persists. Thanks for answering.
 
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96eb96

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When I say “off-roading” I really mean it’s very bumpy, and even the tiniest dip or bump on the road causes excessive bouncing. I’ve had two mechanics suggest I replace the ball joints. My wheels squeak at some turns, and bounce too much in general so I thought it was worth a shot. More importantly nothing has been replaced besides the brakes and tires some years ago. Finally, most of the parts I’ve bought do have to do with suspension, the control arms mainly turn the wheel aside from the steering rack, but don’t they also act as cushion for the suspension? The other parts essentially hold the suspension together. I think it’s the best place to start considering I’ve replaced the main source for suspension and yet the problem persists. Thanks for answering.
Just Trying to help, just don't want you load up a parts cannon and realize it didn't do the trick.

Don't know what brand of shocks you bought, but like others said lower end shocks could make the explorer bounce and roll. Shocks range in price from $10 to $100, so obviously there are major differences. I have reflex in the front and the monroe coil helpers in the back. I would also consider KYB monomax, but I like a firmer ride.

Squeaks could be ball joints. Lowers usually wear on these trucks. Won't make you bounce though, but could make it feel squirrely or wear tires.
Also check stabilizer bar bushings.

Control arms do have bushings, they aren't really a wear item for these trucks, but could contribute to body roll. They are supposed to resist twisting. Control arms come with ball joints.

Steering rack, doubtful. Tie rods, only if you can feel play.
 
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OnePieceEnthusiast

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01 Explorer XLT
Just Trying to help, just don't want you load up a parts cannon and realize it didn't do the trick.

Don't know what brand of shocks you bought, but like others said lower end shocks could make the explorer bounce and roll. Shocks range in price from $10 to $100, so obviously there are major differences. I have reflex in the front and the monroe coil helpers in the back. I would also consider KYB monomax, but I like a firmer ride.

Squeaks could be ball joints. Lowers usually wear on these trucks. Won't make you bounce though, but could make it feel squirrely or wear tires.
Also check stabilizer bar bushings.

Control arms do have bushings, they aren't really a wear item for these trucks, but could contribute to body roll. They are supposed to resist twisting. Control arms come with ball joints.

Steering rack, doubtful. Tie rods, only if you can feel play.
Thank you!
 
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