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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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swshawaii

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After more research my alignment shop got mine dialed in very well. Rather have straight tracking than a perfectly centered steering wheel and smooth return to center after turning. 1-5/8 degree or higher camber kits are a must for a 2-3/4" to 3" front drop to get within factory (green) spec.
 



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CDW6212R

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The high camber adjustment kits are the big item, I wish they made one that got a little more camber. I've tried three or four brands, and they all seem identical.
 






blakshukvw

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The high camber adjustment kits are the big item, I wish they made one that got a little more camber. I've tried three or four brands, and they all seem identical.
I have camber correction bolts now. They are the max adjustment they sell. I specifically always buy them when I lifting or lowering an X. The least camber I could get on the driver side was -.9 degree. Any lower and the camber will only get more negative. I don’t wanna she’ll out $700 for custom arms so I guess I’m stuck at this height.

I run stock size tires up front on my marauder so a 235/50zr18. I’m sure you could easily run a 255. Maybe even a 275. The issue will be wheels with the right offse to accommodate it so they don’t stick out of the Fender. Of course in your application, that may or may not be an issue.
 






blakshukvw

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We are guessing of course, but I do think the 25mm offset is a little too much for the 9" wheel and 275mm tire. The 20-25mm offset is in that range of being so close you have to test fit it to know. If you find a wheel that you really love in the 25mm offset, and you are set on it, I'd get it and be prepared to need a small spacer.

Higher end wheels will be stronger and lighter, plus the hub thickness should be thick(strong) enough to allow a spacer without longer studs. My low end brand 18" wheels are too thick at the hub. I should measure that the next time I can, to post it and say avoid a wheel which is that thick at the hub area.
On a 9” wheel up front, I’m running a 255/45. I have roughly 1/2” between the tire and ball joint. 275 wrapping outside the edge of a 9” would most likely rub the ball joint, imo. If you’ve done 265, CDW6212R, on a 9”e24, then that’s a proven combo that is probably the max.
 






blakshukvw

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Good info Don. I had the same issue as @blakshukvw not getting the three inch drop I wanted with the torsion bolts removed from the stock keys. Years ago AirBagIt was one of the only sources to get re-indexed lowering keys, but now there are several choices and they're cheaper too. I've been riding without front bump stops since installing and have never bottomed out.
I too had to remove my front bump stops at the height im at now just so it didn’t hit them under compression. I don’t think I’d like the rear as low as it needs to go with my wheel tire combo I have now as it would have almost no suspension travel in the rear and be nearly on the bump stops all the time. I’m at a point now where I stop where I am and deal with some fender gap or just put it all back to stock and just drive it. I don’t feel like spending a lot of money on 19’s and tires to actually fit it better. I’m kinda over it now.
 






CDW6212R

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On a 9” wheel up front, I’m running a 255/45. I have roughly 1/2” between the tire and ball joint. 275 wrapping outside the edge of a 9” would most likely rub the ball joint, imo. If you’ve done 265, CDW6212R, on a 9”e24, then that’s a proven combo that is probably the max.

My combo then was on 18 x 8.5" wheels and with the spacers effectively a 24mm offset. That cleared inboard well I thought, those tires lasted under 30k miles. The 255/55 tires fit better with the smaller diameter and nothing rubbed or was even close. So the 275mm tire might just fit on a 9" wheel as the last member stated with his truck above. I think that's all about a difference in clearance between over 1/2" and down to barely fitting.

If you cannot get the front down enough with a decent camber, then it's really frustrating to try to work big tires under it. My black truck wouldn't go down far enough with the full front rebuild I did. But it was for work temporarily, so I lived with it up near stock height for the time being. I'll get more serious and make it go down properly when I go at it again.
 






blakshukvw

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My combo then was on 18 x 8.5" wheels and with the spacers effectively a 24mm offset. That cleared inboard well I thought, those tires lasted under 30k miles. The 255/55 tires fit better with the smaller diameter and nothing rubbed or was even close. So the 275mm tire might just fit on a 9" wheel as the last member stated with his truck above. I think that's all about a difference in clearance between over 1/2" and down to barely fitting.

If you cannot get the front down enough with a decent camber, then it's really frustrating to try to work big tires under it. My black truck wouldn't go down far enough with the full front rebuild I did. But it was for work temporarily, so I lived with it up near stock height for the time being. I'll get more serious and make it go down properly when I go at it again.
I don’t see how a 275 on a 9” would fit the front. Like I said I only have about a finger width between my 255’s and the ball joint. 20mm is nearly an inch. That is on a 17” wheel though.

I suppose I could buy the custom upper CA’s to correct the camber. Id need to install taller blocks in the rear though still. I checked where 2.5” blocks would locate the axle and I would be right at the bottom of he foam bump stop. That’s no good. I need a 3” block. That would have the axle right below the bump stop bracket. Do people remove the metal bump stop bracket when going that low? What other option is there?
 






CDW6212R

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The Explorer Express suspension kit they had 20 years ago was made for 2 3/8" lowering, their specially made blocks fit very well. I have that on my Mountaineer, unfortunately EE went out of business over ten years ago. They made the best/biggest rear sway bar.

Their rear bump stops were from Energy Suspension evidently, and you can buy those from Summit for about $73 last I looked; Energy Suspension 9.9109G Energy Suspension Bump Stops | Summit Racing
Those will give you more clearance before bottoming out, but you have to cut them down part way. The EE part was already sized down for what they wanted, the unaltered ES part is urethane and has two levels, there's two big holes in it. You can just shorten it by taking off the top level.

I'd hunt around and see if by chance anyone else makes a lowering block for the rear, which is over two inches, and ideally not square(the proper shape is angled to fit the leaf springs better). I have a pair of 1.5" lowering blocks under my 99, they were a generic brand and all square 90* corners, they worked okay but the bump stops were stock too.
 












blakshukvw

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The Explorer Express suspension kit they had 20 years ago was made for 2 3/8" lowering, their specially made blocks fit very well. I have that on my Mountaineer, unfortunately EE went out of business over ten years ago. They made the best/biggest rear sway bar.

Their rear bump stops were from Energy Suspension evidently, and you can buy those from Summit for about $73 last I looked; Energy Suspension 9.9109G Energy Suspension Bump Stops | Summit Racing
Those will give you more clearance before bottoming out, but you have to cut them down part way. The EE part was already sized down for what they wanted, the unaltered ES part is urethane and has two levels, there's two big holes in it. You can just shorten it by taking off the top level.

I'd hunt around and see if by chance anyone else makes a lowering block for the rear, which is over two inches, and ideally not square(the proper shape is angled to fit the leaf springs better). I have a pair of 1.5" lowering blocks under my 99, they were a generic brand and all square 90* corners, they worked okay but the bump stops were stock too.
Good info on the bump stops.
I have a set of 2.5” blocks at home too. I could barely get the 2” installed and the trailing arms bolted back up. It was a huge pain in the ass. The 2” blocks are tapered. I can’t imagine trying to install the 2.5” blocks.
 






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