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Another SOA in progress

Maniak

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Well, I finally did it.. I sort of went SOA (not finished). I tried not to go SOA as the SUA rode great BUT I got sick of hitting the springs, spring plate, shocks etc that hang under the axle.

So, last Friday I grabbed the 8.8 SOA conversion kit I got from RuffStuff a while ago and decided it was time...

When I started (I didn't take a pic) the Front fender lip was 40.5" and the rear fender lip was 37". On top of that, there was only 1/2 tank of fuel in the truck and it was sagging that bad.


A quick shot of the SOA kit installed. I drilled out 2 of the holes on the top plate. The center one for now and the front one in case I want to move the axle back some. I also had to drill out the front/center hole on the spring perch. I'm using m10 bolts (allen head style) as the spring bolts.


almost done with soa by maniak_az, on Flickr

At the end of day 1 I had the axle under the truck (u-bolts not tight yet). I still had to put on shock mounts etc.. The truck is about the height I want (I love my tall jack stands) and the rear suspension is sitting on jack stands in the pic.


almost done with soa by maniak_az, on Flickr

I welded on the shock mounts on Sunday. I welded them onto the sway bar brackets. I put them near the bottom (I don't have a pic yet).. They do hang a little lower than the axle but as I see it, if I didn't do that I would lose up travel and I like my up travel as its more stable than down travel plus it has more weight on the tire then.

Here it is as it is now (took the pic last night). I have it on its own weight. I still have on the War-153 shackles and I have a set of stock springs with the overload removed. The Rear Rancho shocks are being replaced (on the way from amazon). Both shocks are now stuck on 10 (stiffest setting) and that in combination with the stock springs makes the rear very stiff compared to the front.


SOA - on its own weight by maniak_az, on Flickr

The front fender measures 40.5" and the rear measures 41". That 1/2" higher in the rear makes it look worse than it is. I'm going to try a set of Warrior 115 shackles (5.75" eye to eye) to drop it 1.5" and put on my softer springs. If that doesn't work I'll see what I can make out of my 2 sets of springs but I'm going to wait until I get the new shocks on.


I'll grab some more pics as I work on it more..

~Mark
 


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Maniak

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Ok.. A few more shots..

My Rs9000's showed up today (thanks Amazon)..

You can see the angle I put the lower shock mounts at. I tried to keep the static legth of them with SOA the same as when it was SUA. Its close.

I welded them onto the lower portion of the sway bar mounts. If I would have welded them onto the tube I would have lost more up travel than I would have liked.


Pic 2 - New shocks on SOA by maniak_az, on Flickr

and...


Pic 3 - New shocks on SOA by maniak_az, on Flickr

Currently I have them set soft (on 2). I can tell that the rear springs are stiffer than the front springs. I'll see if they loosen up any. I also need to flex them to see if I get enough droop with that factory clamp still on them.

If they don't loosen up I'll make another franken pack, or at least attempt to. The Spring pack I was using for SUA, I think, will give me too much lift. I'll get 5/8" lift just by the extra thickness of the pack. The pack on now is 3 leaves and the old pack is 6 (no overload on either). On top of that the old pack was a 2" or so lift pack (hard to tell nowadays) but was really soft.. I like how it rode.

I do have a set of stock shackles so I can try the old pack and the stock shackles. I'll probably do that before I remake the frankenpack.

~Mark
 




Albino 94LTD

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If possible, turn your shock bodies around so the adjuster is facing front (or buy a bunch of replacement adjuster knobs) Been there, done that.
 




Maniak

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Surprisingly, I only broke off one adjuster knob on the old rs9000's when they were in the factory (read: low) spot with SUA. I still have 1 more spare but I'm not sure if the old style rs9000's (white) adjusters fit the newer (gray) ones.

I did dent a "shock can" too though when wheeling and once that happened I could no longer adjust the shock..

I can't flip around the shock as the shock mount isn't deep enough to allow it to fit, plus I wouldn't be able to adjust them again.. I like them soft for wheeling and stiffer for road. I do have a couple ideas for a skid plate/protection system for the adjuster though.

I did drive the X to work this morning and I can really feel the difference in spring rates between the front and rear springs. If the rears don't loosen up any (I doubt they will) I'm going to have to build a frankenpack.

~Mark
 




Maniak

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I worked on the Springs last weekend and again today.

The Stock spring I grabbed from the yard were the right height (settled to 40.5") BUT they were stiffer than I wanted. It made for some odd handling/feeling when the front suspension was so compliant.

Last weekend I took off the Stock springs and the Warrior 153 shackles and put on my OME-36 Frankenpack and a set of stock shackles. That combo lifted the rear about 1.5" and the rear still felt stiffer than I wanted..

This morning I went to the neighbors to use his lift and in 1 hour I managed to take apart both OME-36 spring packs and remove the non OME-36 leaves and put the OME-36 leaf that was removed when I made the franken pack. Now the rear end is at 40.5" (center of fender lip to ground).

I drove it around the neighborhood hitting every rut in all the un-maintained roads (living in the boonies has it benefits).

I then drove it into town and I think the rear spring rate is correct again. I may just tighten up the rear shocks some but otherwise I think the OME spring rates are just what I'm used to and match my front well.

Once the Explorer is back home I'll play with it some more to make sure the rear is how I want it. It's currently getting the trans rebuilt/modified for wheeling. As it is now its setup more for performance (high stall & very hard shifting) plus I lost engine braking... 4 years ago :)

Hopefully this info will help someone in the future.. Its at least letting me keep things straight as I work on it.

~Mark

Edit: I found a pic I took of the X with the Franken pack & stock shackles.. Its the right height for 35's, but not for the tiny 33's :)


SOA with Frankenpack by maniak_az, on Flickr
 




tenny

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I think the rear height looks good.

as long as it feels the way you want, its all good.

I like a slight rake to my trucks.
 




malohnes

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I agree, I like a slight rake as well.

Thanks Maniak for the write up...this was very helpful to me as I prepare to preform an War153 and a SOA later in the winter.
 




cloaked_chaos

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I'm glad to see you finally went SOA. I went SOA a long time ago, but I still don't have proper shock mounts. I currently have stock length shocks bolted to the top bolt hole of the sway bar mount, which is definitely not good. I want mine to be mounted in the same position as yours, but with a removable mount.
 




Maniak

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Well, I finally gave up on the OME-36 springs with stock shackles.. They are beyond worn out..

Here's a shot of the springs after I took out the center bolt.


I measures the distance flange to flange for my drive shaft and came up with 51" when on the ground and 51.75" when drooped on the lift. From what I can tell the stock shaft when in the middle of the spline is 49" long.. Soo, I dropped off my rear shaft today to have it extended.

And.. Here is how it sits with a set of 2nd gen springs with WAR-153 shackles AND the axle moved rearward 1".



~Mark
 




Maniak

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I got my driveshaft back after having it lengthened. Really they just replaced the tube..

When asked what color, I told him I wanted something bright so it could be seen when night wheeling..



I guess OSHA Yellow will be bright enough.. It is close to the yellow I have on the engine anyway..

~Mark
 




5spdman

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With the risk of sounding a little stupid;

Is it absolutely necessary to have the drive shaft lengthened, or could you just run with it at stock length? I mean, I guess I understand the reasoning behind it, but questioning the absolute necessity for it.
 




Maniak

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With the risk of sounding a little stupid;

Is it absolutely necessary to have the drive shaft lengthened, or could you just run with it at stock length? I mean, I guess I understand the reasoning behind it, but questioning the absolute necessity for it.

IIRC our old shaft measured 49" long when in the middle of the slip joint travel.

The resting distance after the soa and the axle moved was 51" so I had no choice..

Now, before I moved the axle I did run the SOA with the stock shaft BUT I picked up a vibration with it as I had the slip joint pulled most of the way out just sitting there.

So, the answer to your question is "maybe".. Many people can get away with the stock shaft but it really depends on where you axle sits after the SOA.

I would say, if you measure axle flange to xfer case flange and get 50" or less then you "should" be ok.. If you measure and you get over 50" you will need a new shaft. If that shaft separates when you are moving at speed it can do all kinds of damage and even pole vault you which is way on the really bad side of the bad scale..

My total cost for the rebuild, with new u-joints using .083 (I think that is right) thick tube was < $250.. That is including balancing and the fancy paint job.

~Mark
 








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