97 Explorer Limited with ARC and saggy springs... What do I do? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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97 Explorer Limited with ARC and saggy springs... What do I do?

cloud2or3

Well-Known Member
Joined
February 9, 2011
Messages
233
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2
City, State
Burnaby, BC, Canada
Year, Model & Trim Level
97 Explorer Limited SOHC
Hi All!

I need some help/guidance on how best to fix my saggy springs issue.

Firstly, I had the ARC shocks replaced with NEW ones from Suncore Industries. Also all ball joints control arms and endlinks replace withj new.

I'm reading that the Limited with ARC had weaker springs installed from the factory to begin with. I understand that the ARC doesnt really help with weight or load, it just brings the height back up to normal.

So I may have a few issues... 1> My air ride needs a 're-zero' and 2> my leaf springs are week.

I notice that 1 side of the vehicle sits lower in general. My thought is that even with the air ride, those springs are just kaput.

I also carry a load all the time... I am bouncing from left to right and front to back almost all the time over driveways and small pot holes...

My questions...

Do I need a full leaf replacement? Where do I buy it? Online? Links? How-to links?
What are my options for a full or partial leaf replacement? Options, Companies, websites, links?
How do I rezero the Air system?
Has anyone heard bad things about the Suncore Industries products?
If I've got leafs in the back, what is in the front? Just the shocks? (sorry i'm a car guy... shocks and struts and springs front and back)

Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks for looking at this!
 



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despite no response, I thought I'd update you all on what I have done so far...

New springs in the back, brand new. Bought from a local manufacturer nearby. Stock code were apparently 900 load and the new ones are 1250 load... not sure if thats lbs or kg... either way its about 1/3 tougher than the stock ones when they were new.

Found out about the 5th shock and I have a feeling that this is a partial culprit for some remaining side to side action when going over speed bumps and driveway entrances. researching on these at the moment. as I carry load and i like have the best or close to I can find... i will probably go with the bilstein option. for those that are seeking this item there is also a monroe option that is about 1/3 of the price.

Also read about replacing the front swaybar bushings. Purchased Moog offering and am installing on Monday. If I'm on the ball I will post another updat on that result. I'm hoping it will firm up the front as I am running out of things to replace (haha) up there. If this fails it looks like I will be replacing these Suncore industries air replacements (and at that point NEVER recommending them) with the Bilstein's and ditching the air ride altogether. I'd love to keep it but it may seem like they are not up to the task or requirements of this style truck, atleast from Suncore Industries.

Cheers,
 






Upfront you have shocks yes, but those are to dampen the bounce, what holds the truck up is the torsion bars.

good choice on the new leafs. how did getting the old bushing in the frame go for you? everybody has to take a torch out and just burn them out. on my 96' EB I have regular shocks, not the air ride stuff. they work very well. so if you want to switch over it may be a good idea. the 5th shock is not so much for ride, but more for a driveline vibration dampening. This is what I have read, there is a thread on here about it.

For my sag, which I still have I am going to an aftermarket air bag system. not to replace the shock, more just a helper for the leafs. Although you already bought new leafs, for future reference you can re arch the leaf springs. it can significantly bring back the height.
 






@1996BLKBauer

No issues removing the bushings.

RE: the 5th Shock, I've read many things so far, and people that have replaced them find the ride better. It helps with the side to side movement it would seem... it helps keep the truck from 'twisting'. We will see...

RE: re-arching the springs, I did not know this, but since i carry load I thought it would be best to replace and upgrade the springs any way. The ones I have now have a much higher rating. I will keep that in mind though when and if these one age. I have definitely noticed a smoother ride in the back end at this point.

Cheers!
 






greetings from Van - similar jobs done

Hi Cloud2or3,

I'm also from Van and have a 97 limited SOHC and 97 limited 5.0 AWD. I didn't read you post very thoroughly here (in a rush) but I'll check back and give you some insight (I realized your initial post was a year ago but whatevs). I've done tons of work on both trucks with new springs; adding a leaf; taking out/replacing air ride with normal gas shocks. Dealing with the air ride can be the most daunting task ever.

So i'm guessing you went to that burnaby industrial place to get your springs rearched? (can't remember the name but off of the number 1); I originally dealt with that place a couple of years ago. I'm assuming it all worked out for you and thats good; however, I found it best to go to a auto wreckeer and either do the job yourself or get them to do it. you can get great springs for a 10th of the price. and Yes the 97 limiteds have ARC so the springs have a lower rating than non-limited explorers (I always hated this). I have added leaves to my leaf packs on both explorers and replaced all with gas shocks for a little money.

anyways I won't go on. I've got much more insight I could provide you with if you havent already solved the problem and still have questions. Just thought I'd say I'd give you a whats up and don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions about these 97 limiteds.

Steve
 






Hey another bc boy here:can:

I have a 2000 limited that came with the same sag, i had my rear leafs rearched and a leaf added to give it more strength lifting.

also your lean, is the gangster lean. im assuming your X leans to the drivers side? this is because of the driver and gas tank being on the same side. pretty typical

as for 're-zeroing' the shocks, there is an adjustable sensor under the truck you can work with to give you the height you want, i modded mine to lift my truck more, i can also go under and make the back end go lower

Btw throw up some pics if you get a chance! :chug:
 






Hey another bc boy here:can:

I have a 2000 limited that came with the same sag, i had my rear leafs rearched and a leaf added to give it more strength lifting.

also your lean, is the gangster lean. im assuming your X leans to the drivers side? this is because of the driver and gas tank being on the same side. pretty typical

as for 're-zeroing' the shocks, there is an adjustable sensor under the truck you can work with to give you the height you want, i modded mine to lift my truck more, i can also go under and make the back end go lower

Btw throw up some pics if you get a chance! :chug:

Thanks for your response...

It def has a gangster lean, however, it leans even with me not in it.

In general, none of the four corners seem to sit at the same height despite the arc system and all my upgrades... so i'm at a lose to try and pinpoint what to do.

next up are new torsion bars and keys, I guess.
 






Hi Cloud2or3,

I'm also from Van and have a 97 limited SOHC and 97 limited 5.0 AWD. I didn't read you post very thoroughly here (in a rush) but I'll check back and give you some insight (I realized your initial post was a year ago but whatevs). I've done tons of work on both trucks with new springs; adding a leaf; taking out/replacing air ride with normal gas shocks. Dealing with the air ride can be the most daunting task ever.

So i'm guessing you went to that burnaby industrial place to get your springs rearched? (can't remember the name but off of the number 1); I originally dealt with that place a couple of years ago. I'm assuming it all worked out for you and thats good; however, I found it best to go to a auto wreckeer and either do the job yourself or get them to do it. you can get great springs for a 10th of the price. and Yes the 97 limiteds have ARC so the springs have a lower rating than non-limited explorers (I always hated this). I have added leaves to my leaf packs on both explorers and replaced all with gas shocks for a little money.

anyways I won't go on. I've got much more insight I could provide you with if you havent already solved the problem and still have questions. Just thought I'd say I'd give you a whats up and don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions about these 97 limiteds.

Steve

Hi Steve... def still having issues. I bought this truck with the arc because i thought it would be beneficial as i carry weight constantly.

I already bought new springs and installed them... thats done and i'm going to leave it as is. I bought them from a place in Surrey by the patullo bridge... Dendorff Spring I believe. ~$400 as I recall.

I would love to get the system all zero'd up, but I may be leaning towards ditching the system altogether and getting some Bilsteins ... seems like a waste though as I bought these new shocks from Suncore industries for $400+.

Thanks for your reaching out. Are you available to meet up? Send me a message... if you are able to help me i'd really appreciate it.

Message me if you can, and we can discuss... Cheers!
 






mine leans without me in it too
 






and with gas the way it is i typically dont ride with a full tank...

so minus my weight and about 60 liters of gas... it still leans lol
 






late reply - 97 limiteds with ARC

Hi Steve... def still having issues. I bought this truck with the arc because i thought it would be beneficial as i carry weight constantly.

I already bought new springs and installed them... thats done and i'm going to leave it as is. I bought them from a place in Surrey by the patullo bridge... Dendorff Spring I believe. ~$400 as I recall.

I would love to get the system all zero'd up, but I may be leaning towards ditching the system altogether and getting some Bilsteins ... seems like a waste though as I bought these new shocks from Suncore industries for $400+.

Thanks for your reaching out. Are you available to meet up? Send me a message... if you are able to help me i'd really appreciate it.

Message me if you can, and we can discuss... Cheers!

Hey Nate,

Sorry for the late late gone reply.. I don't check this when away at school really. Anyways if you've solved it thats great. Right now for me, I"m actually on sunshine coast at summer place working on my 97 5.0 limited (keep it up here while doing work on it - other explorer comes out to uni with me). I'm working on my rear springs - decided to put brand new springs on it to really give it some solid lift - I've got a heavy duty high-rated hitch which really weighs things down and I will be towing in the future. I also decided to put 4 new ranchoo rs5000s on here from cdn tire for 54 each on sale.. my other explorer (97 sohc limited) is doing great but I'd like to give it a break and start using other one long term now..
hope its going okay for you.

Steve
 






Has anybody ever used the bolt-on helper springs to deal with the rear end sag?
 






For half the cost the spring shop wanted to do a bolt on helper I was able to buy full-on new set of springs from a local spring manufacturer.

A helper spring IMO is if you have good springs already and are gonna be towing or carrying weight. if your springs are saggy already, at best it will probably just bring back a bit of life to the set. If one side is saggy over the other, it may raise both, but will still probably sit uneven.

I was very happy with replacing my springs with new.
 






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