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97 ARC sensors

Jgb6502

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City, State
Pa
Year, Model & Trim Level
97 Limited AWD 5.0
I seem to have an odd problem with my 97 limited. the bottom bracket on my front driver side arc sensor has broken off so the sensor swings freely. I just got it in November and its rusted through so i know its been like this to combat the height difference the previous owner cranked up the torsion bar so there is minimal height difference but i noticed it seems to sit very low i broke out the tape measure and the fenders are all in the neighborhood of 31 inches off the ground. So is this a normal height and does anyone know where to get replacement brackets or where i can find the other sensors so i can see if any of them are broke?
 



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You should just pull out the ARC shocks, get normal ones and do lift shackles and adjust the torsion bars.

ARC = giant headache.
 






Personally I think the arc is pretty cool and would keep it for that alone. You could always go to the junk yard and grap one. Or have a machine shop make one. I would guess that's your only options
 






Can you post a picture of what you have left?

I bought a whole set of ARC system parts years ago and installed the 99-01 ARC version. I still have the front height sensor, the 95-98 ARC module, and two very very rough shocks.
 


















Okay, is that bracket a bolt on part? I have only seen a couple of those in person, I don't remember.
 






there are two bolts there i haven't even tried to turn them yet i just started shooting pb blaster at it cause they are so rusted im headed to a local junk yard soon they have other arc parts for my year so im keeping my fingers crossed that they have the bracket
 






Excellent, then the threads in the control arm are the important thing to save. Work on getting those bolts out, and then you can bolt on the next bracket.

Those are welded on for earlier cars, my Mark VII for example.

Any 95-98 Limited will have the ARC(standard), plus any rare high option trucks that someone paid extra for it. I've never seen or heard of one of those though, just hunt the Limited.
 






thanks ya it was bolted i just got it taken off heres some pics of what i have left.
img2012041100039.jpg

By jgb6502 at 2012-04-11

img2012041100038.jpg

By jgb6502 at 2012-04-11
 






Just to add though do you know if the stock fender height is around 31" it just seems super low to me for an suv and i had an explorer sport before and it was at least 6" higher when i went under it to take off the bracket i can barley fit under it without jacking it up. there's maybe a foot between the ground and the under side.
 






I cannot say, I know that the early 95-97 Limited's did set lower than regular trucks. I test drove a 95 Limited with 21k on it in 1998, and noticed the much softer ride and lower ride height.

I have learned that the fenders are not mounted evenly on the trucks, they should all measure higher on one side than the other.

The frame is the baseline, and the suspension needs to be level to provide even handling. If you jack up one side to make the fenders level, then the handling will be different turning left versus right, like NASCAR does on purpose.

I measured my Mountaineer and Explorer by the LCA front mounting bolts. My Explorer wouldn't lower anywhere near as far down as my Mountaineer is, they are about 2" different. I think my Merc is about 8.5" from the ground to the center of those bolts. My Explorer is probably around 10.5" there.

The ride quality changes quite a bit at different ride heights, as does the handling. Make it as low as you can for handling and safety, but the ride gets rougher as you do to.

To lower the height of an ARC vehicle is difficult, most people can't understand how it's done properly. The ARC wants a specific height, and any normal changes made with torsion key adjustments don't affect the ARC decisions. The ARC will add air to achieve its height, and let out air to get there, as needed.

To lower an ARC vehicle requires a change to both the height sensors and the vehicle(normal methods). I lowered the back of my 99 ARC Explorer by about an inch or so. I used 1.5" lowering blocks, plus altered the rear height sensor mounting point. So the final height is 1.5" down, plus a little up from the ARC system. If I had not changed the ARC height sensor, the ARC would have added air to regain the original height. If I altered it to go below the 1.5" amount, then the ARC would let all of the air out of the shocks(attempting to drop it below the 1.5"). In one case that would achieve no height change, but pump up the shocks too much. The other case would result in shocks without any air, which is also bad for the shocks.



So if you do want to alter the ride height, plan it carefully. You need to be sure that the ARC shocks always have some air in them, the ride height should be in the middle of its sensor range(not above or below the limits). That means that the sensor length has to be changed to allow the ARC system to be wanting the height you set mechanically.
 






thanks for all the info its been hard to find since they arnt all the exact same height i wanna try and raise mine up cause the cat sits real close to the ground and i live around alot of dirt roads and crappy roads so i belive if i re mount the sensor that would raise it up enough so i could crank the torsion bars and get the added fram height??
 






First you need to find out where the ARC system wants the height to be stock. You don't know that yet because the sensor has not been attached. I suggest when you mount the new bracket that you find, consider how you might create new holes or slots for the sensor to mount to.

Here's a picture of my 91 Mark VII control arm. Note that the little height sensor bracket has three slots, almost circles, connected, for three OEM height choices. Each slot is a good 1/2"-3/4" different from the next.

PICT2927.jpg


If you look close, you can see a fourth hole, I added one long ago to lower the car more.
 












I just hunted my spare front Explorer sensor, and it has both brackets still on it. It all looks like new, I'm surprised because the shocks looked awful. I got these from a parts source here, likely some things came from different vehicles.

From what I see, you are going to have a hard time changing the ride height from the existing system. I didn't have much trouble doing the back of my rear only ARC system.

I think the best hope is to be able to wallow out the bracket mounting bolt holes. Take a look at the brackets you have there, both top and bottom. See if you can tell what could happen if you make the holes slotted up or down.

With your sensor just hanging disconnected, the ARC system should be seeing a fully down condition, and run the compressor constantly to raise the front. I bet the compressor is either disabled or worn out.

I wonder what condition the front shocks are in too, people mention needing new ones on functioning trucks. Can you tell at all if the air bladder in those are deflated, how do they look, and is there an electrical wiring/connector on the shock, near the top? You may have to do more than you want to if you want the air system to work. I know that the compressor can be had NOS for about $175, but those are typically never in need of replacement. The shocks are the tough part, the aftermarket kind were about $160 long ago, I don't know what they are now.
 






well the person who had it before me had the air ride turned off i turned it on a couple times and could hear the compressor run and about a week ago i had the back loaded with 70 pound blocks and it worked like a charm the compressor kicked on and raised the back up so i would assume its in decent shape as for the front shocks i was planning on makeing that a summer project to replace them they have to be atleast 10 years only because the rust on them is about the same as everything else on the truck so if they were ever changed it was years and years ago
 






If you cannot locate a decent used one, it would be very easy and cheap to make replacements from flat stock. Best advice is to remove the unbroken one from the other side and use as a template. Since you obviously have some cancer, I would replace both just for future piece of mind. Flat steel is sold by the linear foot. 2"X3/16" cold roll might be overkill for the application, but only $1 more than 1/8" and still under $6 a foot. Use a hack saw to cut to length and a metal cutting drill bit to drill the holes. For the tab, cut or drill a notch and hammer the bend in a vice. I don't believe any of the holes are tapped so doubt it would take 15 minutes to make 2 of them using regular hand tools. Also, if you make your own you can build it a little longer and put multiple attachment holes for the sensor so you can adjust the height to your taste.
 






Thats actually a great idea thanks so much i didnt even think of it. im still gonna check the junk yard because i need the peice quick and dont have the time to build one now but i am almost deffinetly gonna invest and build my own this summer for all three. my goal for my old explorer was to try and fit 31" tires
 



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well the person who had it before me had the air ride turned off i turned it on a couple times and could hear the compressor run and about a week ago i had the back loaded with 70 pound blocks and it worked like a charm the compressor kicked on and raised the back up so i would assume its in decent shape as for the front shocks i was planning on makeing that a summer project to replace them they have to be atleast 10 years only because the rust on them is about the same as everything else on the truck so if they were ever changed it was years and years ago

That's good, you don't want to have to also chase a non working compressor, It's always easier to fix a whole and running machine than one in pieces or dead.

I think there are only two sensors on the Explorer, so just a left front. Check that because it's been many years since I was looking at those in yards.

I can sell you these brackets, but of course it'd take a couple of days to get them there.
 






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