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(2nd gen)98 explorer LOWERED and aggressive

I have a lowered 98 explorer awd, (2 inches) What's the most aggressive wheel set up wheel size,width,offset,backspacing? Considering 18s or 19s as this will be for street/drag. I want to get as much width as possible without rubbing front and rear as well. Not running slicks more like nitto 888r or something similar because I want to still corner lol....
 



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CDW6212R

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If you already installed the caster/camber washers and bolts, then you should be close to knowing if the alignment will be decent for the height you have now.

If it has too much camber, there isn't anything easy to do which will reduce the camber. Longer UCA's could help, but the one choice is about $700 IIRC.
 



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Whacka

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If you already installed the caster/camber washers and bolts, then you should be close to knowing if the alignment will be decent for the height you have now.

If it has too much camber, there isn't anything easy to do which will reduce the camber. Longer UCA's could help, but the one choice is about $700 IIRC.
cambers pretty dang close but if I lower it more I definitely need to change the geometry of the suspension. after saving up again I'll be taking it back to my builder to swap to coils, 4 link, lower it more. I'm happy with how she sits now just had to remove the bump stops lol. Stock wheels and tires do not compliment the explorer lowered that's why I'm researching fitment to hopefully not need spacers and I need the tire width for grip.
 






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That's all a good path, keep thinking ahead. I'm planning to leave the front suspension till last, I already went through mine in my Mounty back in 2006. So I have a good feel for what works well for spring rates, height, sway bar size etc. Now I just have to apply that to my other truck as my new project, I call it "Black Coal" for now.
 






Whacka

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That's all a good path, keep thinking ahead. I'm planning to leave the front suspension till last, I already went through mine in my Mounty back in 2006. So I have a good feel for what works well for spring rates, height, sway bar size etc. Now I just have to apply that to my other truck as my new project, I call it "Black Coal" for now.
you went coils on this platform before? Opinions? how'd it perform? how was the ride quality?
 






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Sorry, I haven't done the coil over shocks, the man to listen to is Greg with his two off road Explorers. He has pushed his 95 a long way, it has a 302 conversion and he has done a bunch with the front IRS, the coil over shocks he did long ago. He has worked with those parts enough that he can guess fairly well what spring rate is needed for height. I expect to rely on his many posts, and a few questions I'm sure I'll have.

I have a stiff front suspension in my 98 Mercury, lowered about as much as anyone, 1.5" front sway bar, "B" torsion bar, lowering keys, and Bilstein shocks. I'd like to soften the spring rate some, and the coil over springs supposedly do that some. The BTF UCA's seem mandatory for some trucks, given the random camber range they have.
 






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Try this thread when you have time to read more details about the coil overs, though it is a very long project thread. This is gmanpaint and his huge project thread; The Black Hole
 






Whacka

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Sorry, I haven't done the coil over shocks, the man to listen to is Jamie with his two off road Explorers. He has pushed his 95 a long way, it has a 302 conversion and he has done a bunch with the front IRS, the coil over shocks he did long ago. He has worked with those parts enough that he can guess fairly well what spring rate is needed for height. I expect to rely on his many posts, and a few questions I'm sure I'll have.
the guy that used to sell the coil over kit no longer does nor will he share the dimensions so thats a pain in the @ss. Custom here we come! not sure how we will end up mounting it all yet tho if it will be similar or not
 






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Do browse Greg's thread when you have time. He has altered his coil over mount brackets and posted about how they might be improved etc. There are only a few people who have a lot of time spent with those parts, he is one them. The clearance around the CV axle is tight there, and he has changed springs and shocks a few times as he dialed in his truck. The spring rate might be the only thing left to guess at once you figure out the bracket dimensions and weld up the tower.
 






Whacka

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Try this thread when you have time to read more details about the coil overs, though it is a very long project thread. This is gmanpaint and his huge project thread; The Black Hole
I'll read through it right now, sitting in a factory baby sitting basically until they run full production for 2 weeks then I can take off. I'm bored at this point.
 






Whacka

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Sorry, I haven't done the coil over shocks, the man to listen to is Greg with his two off road Explorers. He has pushed his 95 a long way, it has a 302 conversion and he has done a bunch with the front IRS, the coil over shocks he did long ago. He has worked with those parts enough that he can guess fairly well what spring rate is needed for height. I expect to rely on his many posts, and a few questions I'm sure I'll have.

I have a stiff front suspension in my 98 Mercury, lowered about as much as anyone, 1.5" front sway bar, "B" torsion bar, lowering keys, and Bilstein shocks. I'd like to soften the spring rate some, and the coil over springs supposedly do that some. The BTF UCA's seem mandatory for some trucks, given the random camber range they have.
I'm going to have to modify the frame in the rear and tub it however the front I still have to think through. Fuel tank is also going where the spare tire was (fuel cell)
 






Turdle

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the guy that used to sell the coil over kit no longer does nor will he share the dimensions so thats a pain in the @ss. Custom here we come! not sure how we will end up mounting it all yet tho if it will be similar or not
For coilover bracket kit get in touch with
@RockRanger . The coil adjustment will be your new ride height adjustment. I'd go with 750 lb springs. Limit straps will also be needed.

With the coils pushing down so hard, if you crest a hill at speed, or, do a wheelie the down travel will need to be controlled to prevent CV damage
 






Turdle

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12" shocks and coils. I also recommend the long steel shock bearing kit from qa1. You need 4 of those. The spring shim should also get a radial bearing shim to allow for adjustment.
 






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Thanks Jon, I know you also have had plenty of experience with the coil over pieces, plus the old Turdle 347. So do you miss that truck? I wish that new owner had been able to finish the 351W swap.
 












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lowered 2 inch causes a lot of clearance problems. but be aware you have awd which means you need exactly the same overall size of tire on all 4 wheels. or good chance you will destroy the awd . and or screw up handling
 






Whacka

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lowered 2 inch causes a lot of clearance problems. but be aware you have awd which means you need exactly the same overall size of tire on all 4 wheels. or good chance you will destroy the awd . and or screw up handling
I've never run different sizes between front and rear always equal. I had an AWD car before this one (focus RS) clearance isn't an issue how it sits currently. In the future the frame is getting chopped to do what I want.
 






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Late to the game here, but I've been doing a lot of digging on the original topic for a while now.

I'm also planning to drop my Sport 2-3 inches via front coilovers. Just planning on blocks in the back to start, but long term a four-link setup is on my list.

For wheels and tires, I've mainly been looking at 17s and 18s and trying to keep the overall tire diameter close to stock.

For 17s, 255/60 and 275/55 tires both look like solid upgrades. 255 isn't wide enough for what I'm going for, but I have some concerns with the 275s hitting the front sway bar. Less offset may help mitigate this. The 17x9 rims I've been eyeing are +24 offset (+12 more than stock) which means the tire will be pulled in about half an inch. That doesn't sound like much, but with an additional 20mm of tire on each side, that's 32mm further in towards the swaybar.

For 18s, 255/55 and 295/45 are both within +/-2% of the stock tire OD. Again, I don't think 255s are aggressive enough. 285/55s are a bit bigger than stock and also an uncommon size, so I've shied away from them. That leaves the 295/45s which are about the width I want. However, with 18x10s and a +24 offset, those are going to have clearance issues. From what I've measured on my Sport, the rear may clear with a thin spacer but the front would require a deeper investigation and surely removed/modified inner fenders.

Right now I'm leaning towards the 275/55 tires on 17x9+24 rims and no spacers. If there's clearance issues up front, I'd feel comfortable adding a 1/2" spacer (and longer lug studs) to bring the wheels out and shift the tire centerline close to the factory +12mm offset. That said, I'd love to see if anyone with a lowered Ex could make the 295/45R18s on 18x10s work...what would it take? Just 20mm spacers and rolled fenders? Or a whole lot of front suspension reconfiguring?
 






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The offset is a poor measurement of clearance inboard, the stock specs are for a 7" wheel, which is unlike almost all wheels people go to for wider tires. I've been sneaking up on the best fit for wheel and tire sizes, I'm not close enough to know what the magic offset is with 9" wheels. but I think the offset needs to be near 20mm to get the tire close to the sway bar etc, in a 275mm tire.

You can usually use a 1/4" spacer with most wheels, but a 1/2" spacer will never fit well IMO, I think that's too much to add to the space where the forces are trying to tear the wheel off. I have 1/4" spacers, and I think those are as safe as possible for an addition like that.

I used special longer studs on my Mountaineer to fit the aftermarket off brand wheels. The hub of the wheels was too thick, so it didn't have enough threads with the spacer. You do not want to deal with longer studs, don't do it. On those front hubs, it is very difficult to remove and install the longer studs. I had a trusted machine shop do mine, because the studs were way too long and I wanted them to cut and re-thread them. The hubs are made so it is very difficult to install them straight. When I got them back, the spacers would not go over the studs, because some of the studs were not quite straight. I had to take them back and leave the spacers with them, they were fine then. But the hubs also were brand new from Ford, and the bearings felt a little loose before I ever installed them. I suspect the lifespan of the hubs will be shorter, due to the trouble they had R&Ring the studs. FYI, the only studs I found were ARP and did not have the proper OEM shank size. The Explorers have a larger stud shank/shoulder, than the 1/2" stud threads. So I had a pair of rotors cut with that smaller hole for the studs. Nobody else will go to that much trouble.

So forget longer studs, just be sure the wheels you use are very high quality and don't have extra thick hub center thickness.
 






97Sandbox

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I agree offset is not to be used as a measure of clearance inboard. Even backspacing alone isn't enough because of the need to factor in sidewall bulge which is largely dependent on the tire (e.g. the 275 will bulge ~10mm more each side than the 255 if the rim is the same).

I've been trying to be more mindful of maintaining an offset close to the stock 12mm (most rims I've been seriously considering are in the 0-24mm range) in order to avoid introducing steering issues and excessive front suspension component wear. The latter is more of a concern when running towards the negative offset direction as I understand it.

The challenge is that most of the rims I like are all further offset in the positive direction (24-40mm) which is where the clearance issues arise hence the need for spacers. You bring up good points about the longer studs, Don. I'm RWD, so I'm less concerned about damaging a front hub when installing studs but after thinking about the mechanics at play, the longer studs will certainly be more prone to deflecting during a launch -- and breaking off a rear wheel at speed doesn't sound fun.

To clarify, Don, the most "aggressive" setup you've run was a 265 tire on an 18x8.5 at effectively a 28.65mm offset? And being lowered ~2.5" in the front your only issue was the tall 60 ratio tire rubbing the inner fender? That's pretty impressive to me, I'd expect way more rubbing with that large of an offset and a 265 tire.

If I'm thinking about it right, your effective rim backspacing would have been about 5.88" [(8.5"+1")/2+28.65mm] and the tires would have been inboard from the hub 6.84" [(265mm+1")/2+28.65mm]. With a 275 tire on a 9" rim with +24 offset, rim backspacing would be 5.94" and inner sidewall would be roughly 6.85" from the hub. I can't say the 17" rim won't have other clearance issues, but it looks to me that if your setup cleared, the 275/55R17+24 should too.
 



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Well done, that's very well thought out. I posted the actual specs of my prior combinations in the hope others could use them to figure out what should get them close with their trucks.

I do wish I had found an 18x9" wheel with 20mm offset, that's about the closest they made for this unique and non Ford wheel. I saw a set of 17x9's with 20mm offsets, after I bought my 16mm versions, but I couldn't afford to buy another set. They were very expensive, and at their age they all would require refinishing, plus the machining. So I stayed with the 16mm offset, I hope they don't stick out too far in the front, thus the small OEM flares O I bought.
 






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