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Advice for new Explorer trailrig project

About a month ago I bought a 92 Explorer for the sole purpose of offraoding it. Vehicle cost was $300.

Here's the details; 1992 Ford Explorer, 4.0L V6, 4x4, automatic, four door, power windows/locks, burgandy, bone stock grocery getter. Dana 35 TTB front, 8.8 rear, 3.27 gears. This rig got rolled onto it's side (not top) about two years ago. The roof is smashed pretty bady on the drivers side, the left rear door is bent on top with no glass, flat spots in front fender and rear quater panel. The drivers door is perfect, I adjusted the left rear door to close correctly. No other damage on the vehicle ever. The drivers side rocker panel is completely rusted out. It drives great on the highway (took it to 70MPH, no problems) and has fairly new brakes. Autohubs are not working, otherwise it seems to be all good mechanically. Exhaust makes some noise due to some holes in it, but it passes IM. Even the interior is nice. I have a clear title in my name for it, the previous owners and thier son were still driving it most every day.

Here's what I know is going to happen; The roof will be cut from the B pillars back, the tops of the back doors will be cut off and glass removed to make half doors, the top half of the rear hatch will be cut off to make a tailgate, new bumpers front and rear with reciever mounts and pull points, rock sliders in place of the rocker panels. Dash, doorpanels, center console, remaining headliner and all seats (with vinyl covers) will stay, everything else interior will go. Floor and bed area will be rhinolined.
The burgandy paint will be sanded down and a navy blue/grey blue/dark grey/black camoflage will be rattlecanned on. I've already swapped out the front bumper, grille and headlight sorounds for a black set from my freinds 1990 Ranger. (His truck looks sharp with that chrome Ex front! Mine looks more badass. :cool: )
A rollcage will definately be added, I like Msuperteks. I don't plan on daily driving it, but it needs to stay street legal to get to the trails and mall :cool: .

Where I am hanging up is how I should go about lifting it. I'd like to run about six inches of lift and an aggressive 35 inch tire for dirt/rocky trails, mud/marsh, gravel/rocky beaches. I have no problem cutting the fenders, but I don't want to run a body lift, with the lack of reinforcement from the roof. I do not want to run full width axles under it. I'd like to have a WMS around 58"s-60"s.

If I lift using the stock axles; SOA the rear, and likely a Skyjacker 6" kit in the front. (Skyjacker seems to be the recomendation) 4.56 or maybe 4.88 gears and carriers would need to put in, front and rear traction devices, Warn manuel hubs. If I can get the third members set up, I can do the rest of the work myself.

I am also consider a solid axle swap, based on cost, durablility, and improvement of the driveline as a whole. Rear will stay leaf sprung, and the front will likely be coil sprung/extended radius arm. Early Bronco axles (the whole suspension setup really) is appealing for it's simplicity and correct width, but I am weary of having a low pinion front axle. Full size axles (most likely a 5 lug D44/9 or maybe the HD D44/60 with 8 lug pattern from a late 70's F-250) would give me a high pinion, be stronger, but would have to be narrowed with shortend axleshafts aquired. It would make the Explorer easier to align and lift. With a front axle out of a full size my bolt pattern would change, the current rear axle would need new axleshafts with the new bolt pattern, or the whole rear axle changed completely with a narrowed fullsize one to match the front. (I'm leaning toward the latter)

I haven't ever done something like this, but I have been reading and researching for a long time and understand the processes pretty well. I'm pretty mechanically inclined and eager to start in on this Explorer. Half the reason for the rig is so I can learn this kind of stuff.

Anyway the pressing question; do I invest in the TTB as described, or go straight to a SAS? Cost is always an issue, but I have no problem spending money to do it right. Any thoughts, question and comments on anything I posted are welcome!
 


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stretch

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PICS!! :bounce:
 


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AlaskanJack

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wow!! I didn't realize you were cutting the top on this thing.

I may have to make a run down to the penenisula to check this out.

I am trying to find someone on the Northern4x4 coard to take me dip netting down there since I have never gone dip netting before.

I would definitely go with the 4.88's chad put the 4.88 in his Ex after upgrading from the 4.27's which I now have. He was also running 36's and he said it was a huge difference.

I don't know if full width axles would really be that big of a deal up here since on most trails the Ex will be too wide anyways. Dang Jeep trails!!!
 




AlaskanJack

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Oh and they are right on mating up the d20, its not easy. I have decided to just go with an EB c4 and d20 combo but you have to get a c5 bellhousing off a BII with a 4.ol engine

Best bet is to talk with Andrew I am drawing a blank on his screen name I think it is akbroncoII. he has so much bII and early bronco stuff laying around its not funny.
 




Name Brand

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Homer + Anchorage, Alaska
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I'll try to get pics up in a few days...it's pretty sick!

AlaskanJack - I am in Anchorage if you want to stop by; I just list Homer becuase I lived there for about 20 years. (The apartment address I gave you on Northern4x4 (in regards to the interior plastic, which I still have for sale and is taking up workspace) is no good since I have now moved. If you stil have it, throw it away! My phone is still not hooked up yet, so I don't even know if that number is good either) I'm always eager to get advice, info or critiques.

I've never been dipnetting before either :(

I need to get some axles too, have to really start looking, I've been very busy for the last couple weeks. I'm not in a rush since I have enough other things on the Explorer to keep me busy for some time. Started plotting placement for a rollcage yesterday...
 




AlaskanJack

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Looks like badasscrewcab is gonna take me and enduseraf out dip netting on the chitna and he said the more the merrier.

you should shoot me your address. [email protected]
or give me a call 230-2490 Kurt

I will bring my digital camera in with me today just in case.
Finding axles is really not that hard up here. There are so many people that have vehicles laying around their property out here in the valley. I find vehicles dumped all the time and they have good axles on them but maybe blown motors or trannies.
 




rino351

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just found this while searching.
Any updates???
This sounds pretty sweet.
 




Name Brand

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Sorry everyone for the lack of updates. Work is kinda slow on the Explorer, but progress is being made and things are being well thought out.

I was able to get a Dana 44 from a 77.5 F-250. This axle is high pinion, has a 4.09:1 gear ratio (which means I don't have to get a new carrier for lower gears), flattop knuckles, disc brakes and an 8 lug bolt pattern. Condition is very good, the gears are beautiful, there is no rust/chips/shavings inside. The outside covered in years of oil which protected it pretty well from rust. Nothing more than surface rust anywhere. I've started tearing it down and will be replacing the seals, bearings, hubs, rotors and brake calipers.

I've decided to run a Dana 60 in the rear. Just waiting for a good deal on one, there's plenty to do so I'm not in a rush to pay too much.

I believe I will run a 5.13:1 gear ratio. Traction devices are yet to be determined.

For now I will keep the 4.0L and the A4LD. I traded the rear window for a Borg Warner 1354 manual transfer case. The plan is to use this case and the electric 1354 in the Explorer to make a doubler similiar to this one;http://www.therangerstation.com/tech_library/dualtcase.htm

A 3-link front suspension looks to be about the best choice for this rig. I seroisly looked at the possibility of running airbags but the large diameter just makes it difficult to find locations to mount link attachments and shocks. Also I want to run wheels with a deep backspacing to reduce my width as much as possible. I will be leaving the axles full width. I'm still consider coilovers, but will likely go with shocks/coil springs for the low price.

In the rear I'm going to try reversing the main leaf. This would move the rear axle five inches rearward. This way I won't have to cut into my rear doors for clearance. I'd like to run only as much lift as I need and cut the body where I need clearance. (Keep it lower, more stable) I will likely have about 7 inches of lift and a wheelbase of around 120 inches. I am planning to run a tire in the range of 36-38 inches.

I also stripped out all the wires that I won't be needing from the back of the vehicle up to the firewall. (This includes all the wires from the power windows, rear wiper, defroster, interior lights, etc...) All that is left is the wiring for the tailights, door locks and speakers.

The body has been roughly sanded; it won't get a final paintjob till I finish all the body work including finishing the tailgate, replacing the rocker panels, and cutting the fenders.


That's about all I can think of now, I'll try to update this thread more often for everyone too (I kinda forgot about it). I won't post an update every time I turn a bolt, but whenever I get somthing cool done.

-Kurt
 




bmxking5

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Sounds like you've got a nice project. Can't wait to see some pics. Keep us updated :)
 




Con Seann3ry

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you get any pics yet?
 




Racerx70

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Name Brand said:
I traded the rear window for a Borg Warner 1354 manual transfer case.
-Kurt

That's funny... I traded a t-case for a back window. :thumbsup:

Just bumping this for updates??

I'm thinkin hard about full-width for my X when the tax check gets here.
 




brnbomr

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full width is the way to go. I love it on mine.
 




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