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3rd gen Explorer Coilovers

rangermidtn

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I am thinking about trying something and want some opinions about it. I know that to get lift on our Explorer we have to install the spacers, but by doing this we lose the full use of our struts. I am thinking about trying to redo my lower control arms. My idea is to weld a 1/4" plate into the hole where the strut bolts to the lower contol arm. I will brace it on the bottom. Then I want to weld some coilover mounts to the arm. This should give me the same lift as the spacers, but I would still have the full travel of the struts. What does everybody think about this?
This is the mount I would use.

images
 


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JoshMcMadMac

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How do you think this to be beneficial over spacers? It does the same thing, just you are adding a weld point on a critical suspension junction. You can do it, but I can see no reason to.
 




Ronin8002

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Mike, I had thought about doing this same thing on my 3rd Gen. Maybe I'll do it to the front of my new truck down the road. I think it's a great idea. Especially because a lot of these coilovers have smaller diameter springs than the OEM strut assemblies, so you gain more clearance for the upper control arm uniball cup as it travels down. It would eliminate the need for the truxxx or BTF spacers. Limiting straps would still be a good idea since a lot of coilovers don't like being topped out without something to take the jolt. You need to fabricate an upper mounting bracket also for the way most of these coilovers are set up. With the right setup you could get an inch or maybe more of droop. Your lift would really come from the mounting brackets since they would be offset from the original mounting points by an inch or so. That way you wouldn't need much if any preload on the springs so you would have a good ride in addition to more travel.

I would look into the Fox 2.0 coilovers.... with maybe a 400-600 lb spring. I would stay around a 5" travel shock as a starting point.

Look at this thread for some ideas of how to make mounting brackets. You can probably leave out the gussets on the shock tower since our trucks are designed to bear the weight of the truck on the shock tower, unlike the 2nd gens:

http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=330954&highlight=coilovers

EDIT: I think you might as well leave the spacers in the rear and keep the stock struts back there. Even with aftermarket coilovers in the back you are limited in travel because of the "frame hoops" that the CV axles go through, so probably no advantage to upgrading the rears. Besides, the rears have more travel than the fronts and since you're running a rear locker anyway, having 1 wheel in the air is no issue with traction.
 




Ronin8002

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Oh and here are the Fox coilovers I was suggesting:

http://www.offroad-engineering.com/980-99-000-a.html

More info on the 5" travel coilovers. Though the extended length is shorter than that of the OEM front struts, you should be able to make up the difference with your upper/lower brackets. Also consider getting an extended Eyelet for the lower mount to clear the front CV axles:

http://www.foxracingshox.com/product.php?m=offroad&t=shocks&p=3374&ref=filter

You can get Eibach springs for them at the same site also:

http://www.offroad-engineering.com/coil-springs-eibach-2-5--i-d--coil-over-springs.html

Probably good to get the shocks first, then figure out what springs you need.
 




rangermidtn

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Ronin, I agree with the you about the rear. Not to much we can do with it do to the hole in the frame. My plan does include usinf the 2.0 coils. What I am thinking about doing is cutting out the old spring bracket and using one something like this.
images
 




Ronin8002

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Ronin, I agree with the you about the rear. Not to much we can do with it do to the hole in the frame. My plan does include usinf the 2.0 coils. What I am thinking about doing is cutting out the old spring bracket and using one something like this.
images

That would work, but might be more work than its worth. You could just as easily cut off the top flange of your truxxx spacers in the front, and then weld some tabs onto that so you can bolt in the upper eyelet of the fox shock. That way it would bolt right up under the top of the strut tower.
 




rangermidtn

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Yea that would be the way to go, I don't want to make it any harder than I need to. I got some old used LCA's for 10$ at the junk yard, so I will use these to try this.
 




rangermidtn

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Oh and here are the Fox coilovers I was suggesting:

http://www.offroad-engineering.com/980-99-000-a.html

More info on the 5" travel coilovers. Though the extended length is shorter than that of the OEM front struts, you should be able to make up the difference with your upper/lower brackets. Also consider getting an extended Eyelet for the lower mount to clear the front CV axles:

http://www.foxracingshox.com/product.php?m=offroad&t=shocks&p=3374&ref=filter

You can get Eibach springs for them at the same site also:

http://www.offroad-engineering.com/coil-springs-eibach-2-5--i-d--coil-over-springs.html

Probably good to get the shocks first, then figure out what springs you need.

Hey Ronin, how would you know what coil length you would need for the coilovers?
 




rangermidtn

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Alright I think figured out the coil length after doing some reading. I found that you if you get a shock with 5" of travel, you need a 10" coil.
I have also been thing about the rear, and think the only way to fix this would be a solid axle swap. I am following this thread to see how he does is http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=365704.
 




Ronin8002

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Correct. Also, found out that the o.d. of the eibach coil springs is 3.75". im pretty sure the OEM type coils are 5" or more so you can see how you'd get some uca clearance there.

As for spring rate I think you're looking at a sprung weight of about 1300 lbs or so on the front corners. So maybe a 500-550 lb spring? That would compress it about 2.5" at ride height giving you 2.5" of strut travel in either direction. Not sure if I'm right on that, maybe one of the resident experts can chime in.
 




rangermidtn

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This is the shock I am looking at, FOA 6", for 160$, and then a 12" coil for 55$.
coil_LRG.jpg
 




Limited02

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My only concern with the above pictured shock is once you put the coil on, the coil may interfer with the drive axle.

I would imagine something more along the lines of this design would be better(F150 Shock)-
co-25-rr-main.jpg
 




rangermidtn

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My only concern with the above pictured shock is once you put the coil on, the coil may interfer with the drive axle.

I would imagine something more along the lines of this design would be better(F150 Shock)-
co-25-rr-main.jpg

Your probably right, but I should be able to clear the axle with the bracket mounted on top of the control arm.
 




Ronin8002

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Your probably right, but I should be able to clear the axle with the bracket mounted on top of the control arm.

The second shock you posted with the long lower eyelet can be done with fox coilovers. You just need to buy the 3.75" long lower eyelets when you order the shocks. The old eyelets unscrew and the new ones screw right on. This also gives you a longer extended length so your brackets don't have to be as long to give you the correct geometry
 




rangermidtn

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The second shock you posted with the long lower eyelet can be done with fox coilovers. You just need to buy the 3.75" long lower eyelets when you order the shocks. The old eyelets unscrew and the new ones screw right on. This also gives you a longer extended length so your brackets don't have to be as long to give you the correct geometry

I am going to go with the Fox 2.0 with 5" travel. Found the for about 200$ a piece. The longer eyelet is a extra 35$ a piece. I found some 550lb springs for 55$. I got the lower mounts on order. Now I need to start saving for everything else and firgure out a upper mounting point.
 




Ronin8002

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I would use 1/4" plate to build the upper mount. Maybe a 5" square piece with holes drilled in the upper strut mount pattern. Then just thread some bolts up thru that and tack weld into place. That takes care of the basic mount. For the upper eyelet to mount to that just weld 2 tabs coming down from the bottom side of the first piece and drill them so a bolt can be put thru the tabs and the upper eyelet.

One thing to think about: the upper and lower mounts lengths should be added to the extended length measurement of the shock to give you a total effective length. That total effective length should be about equal to the length of an OEM strut with a truxxx spacer on it, measured from the lower eyelet hole to the upper flat part of the truxxx spacer where the studs are. You might be able to go a bit longer on effective length but that would be a good starting point since you would keep the same amount of lift as u have now but have much more up and downtravel.
 




rangermidtn

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I would use 1/4" plate to build the upper mount. Maybe a 5" square piece with holes drilled in the upper strut mount pattern. Then just thread some bolts up thru that and tack weld into place. That takes care of the basic mount. For the upper eyelet to mount to that just weld 2 tabs coming down from the bottom side of the first piece and drill them so a bolt can be put thru the tabs and the upper eyelet.

One thing to think about: the upper and lower mounts lengths should be added to the extended length measurement of the shock to give you a total effective length. That total effective length should be about equal to the length of an OEM strut with a truxxx spacer on it, measured from the lower eyelet hole to the upper flat part of the truxxx spacer where the studs are. You might be able to go a bit longer on effective length but that would be a good starting point since you would keep the same amount of lift as u have now but have much more up and downtravel.

Thats my only worry about the 5" Fox coilovers, I am worried even after putting the tabs in they will not be long enough. I know they only measure around 16" extended. I know our struts are around 21" without spacers. Thats why I am thinking about the 6.5"s to be safe.
 




Ronin8002

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Thats my only worry about the 5" Fox coilovers, I am worried even after putting the tabs in they will not be long enough. I know they only measure around 16" extended. I know our struts are around 21" without spacers. Thats why I am thinking about the 6.5"s to be safe.

Don't forget about the 3.5" extended eyelet.

EDIT: looked up the numbers. the standard eyelet is 1.68" lng. So the 3.75" eyelet will make the extended length 2.07" longer than the standard listed numbers. So with the standard eyelet, the 5" travel shock is 16.4" extended length. With the 3.75" eyelet, it should be 18.47"
 




Ronin8002

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EDIT: found some info in my old notes. You're right, extended length of an OEM strut from upper mount to center of lower mount eye is around 21.25"

The truxxx spacers are about 1.625" tall, so if the above is correct, that means the effective length you're going for is about 22.75"-23"

So you've basically got to make up about 4.5" in brackets, split somehow between the upper and lower mounts.
 


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corkey

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i have a second gen with coilovers

one thing i would like you to find out before you go ordering the 5 inch travel shocks is,
cycle the shock all the way from bottom to top that is on there right now,and find out how much travel it is for a stock application,

after that , that will give you the proper collapsed and extended length for the coilovers you want to buy,, don't just guess, do it once, do it right,,
after that you have to look at the height that the top eye will be raised,, than ply through the Fox Catalog at the collapsed and extended numbers till you find the proper ones,

i know it sounds easy to say oh they just have 5 inches of travel,,
but do they really ???

Fox's site has some numbers for collapsed and extended, but the 800 number and a call is easiest way to get the whole story i figure,,

if your going to do this, i would like to see it done to perfection the first time so that your rig will work great and it will benefit others that want the same thing,
 




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