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Bare Frame Build-Up...


Explorer Addict
March 14, 2002
Reaction score
City, State
Bremerton, WA
Year, Model & Trim Level
1992 Explorer XL
I have a frame that I am building up to put under my Wife's `93 Explorer 4x4.

Here are the ground rules:

Keeping the TTB
Keeping the 8.8"
Daily Driver
Keeping the 4.0L/A4LD
4" lift Max. No Body Lift. (my wife is 5'5", and the current 2" lift is doable, but 6" to 8" of lift is un-reasonable for her)

I have a line on a Manual TC for $75....I have rebuilt my Shift Motor, with Steel bearings in place of the plastic bushing. Since then I have not had any issues with my E-shift always shifts when I want it to....and this is my wifes vehicle, for now. We will be getting her a new car someday, and this will eventually be a 'bad weather' and Camping/Trail Only Vehicle.

I have 2" drop brackets for the Radius Arms, and that's about it. I haven't bought the TTB Drop Brackets, or Springs and Shocks.

I am already going to do the C-Clip Eliminator for the D35, and Upgrade the U-joints all around...

If it was YOU, what would you do? And WHY?

I have 31" tires now, I will possibly upgrade to 33" and re-gear (currently 3.73) keep that in mind.


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And as far as suggestions I am looking for....

Lift Components....brand? Mods to to the brackets? Which to absolutely avoid?
Poly Bushings....worth it? Where? Everywhere?
Painting the frame....Paint? Rubberized Undercoating? POR-15?

Skyjacker class 2 or James Duff brackets, pretty much everything else has proved weak. At the bare minimum, don't get a kit which used a plate to drop the pass side bracket, they will poke a hole in your diff. If you can afford a long arm kit get it, the difference in flex and ride quality is apparently amazing.
Poly bushings are good for a street truck, but limit travel of a 4x4 rig.
I've herd great things about POR-15. If I had my body off the frame, that's what I'd be using.

I don't have much experience with the lifted stuff other than helping my brother with his dakota and hearing of others experiences. That being said stick with rubber bushings, you want the suspension to flex, not be stiff. I know that my brother and Turdle have both had problems with poly bushing not lasting long in offroad terrain.
For the frame I would coat it in por-15 we did it to my brothers truck a year ago and it is holding up great so far. Another option if you have bare frame is to have it powdercoated.

PowderCoating a frame is BIG $$...not gonna happen.

Poly was first used in Offroad vehicles....wierd that you guys don't recommend..

I have found the big difference between the Skyjacker/Duff and (new design) Tuff County TTB Axle Pivot Drop Brackes are the additional gussets added. SJ/Duff has them from the factory. The TUFF COUNTRY brackets don't have them...but I can unless I can get a GOOD DEAL on the SJ/Duff ones I will get the TC's and modify them.

Steering Stabilizers....worth it? Not worth it?

Extended Stainless Steel Brake lines...

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How about cut & turn the beams instead of pivot drop brackets?

Joe has tried a lot of different coils. Some were stiff, some were soft, might check in with him.

Turdle found some RA extensions that thread onto the stock radius arms, then you weld them but you'll have to move or install new brackets.

Then you'll have to deal with the rear. What are you thinkin there??

I didn't want to C&T the beams....

I'll look into the extensions that Turdle was talking about...

I already have a I was going to AAL, or New Re-arched Spring Pack...depends on fund availability after I get the front done.


You'll probably want 2 AAL and the shackle (if you keep the stock leafs), to make it sit closer to the 4" the front is getting. I've got 1 AAL + shackle in the rear and only 2" springs in the front, it looks pretty good. I started with just shackles in the rear, and the rear sat too low compared to the front for my liking.

Daystar poly body mounts? anyone run them?

I think Jakee is using them.

if your working with the frame off the vehicle, id fab up a better rear shock mount system and eliminate that bulky crossmember where the spare tire winch and junk goes. I also am going to tell you to go with either a skyjacker or duff brackets. I personally haven't seen the duff brackets, but the skyjacker stuff is pretty beefy. also check out stone crusher steering for a new steering kit for the ttb, in this post you can see pics of it flexed out since the site doesnt have them up yet. they are in development/possibly production, I heard some other people have had success emailing the guy about it. I also heard that they will have a tie rod kit, but the ones they have so far are just heim kits.

It depends more on what you want to do and how much you have to spend.

Personally I'd stick with the 2" lift, 31" tires, and stock 3.73 gears. Using the RA drop brackets gets you back the droop normally lost when doing the 2" lift. This saves a lot of dough, and makes for a great on/off road vehicle that's not too much of a monster truck for the 5'5" person driving it.

If I *had* to go with a pre-fab lift, it would likely be Skyjacker or Duff as suggested, but you really get into the money with all the parts for the lift, plus the gearing front and rear, plus the tire and wheel package. It's a high price for an extra few inches of lift, and why just going big to a 5.5 lift is usually done.

The Energy Suspension poly bushing kit makes a great upgrade. Worn out rubber bushings are probably good for a trail-only rig, though.

I'm not sure about the Daystar spacers, yet. Probably worth it if enough of the factory mounts are falling apart, but because of the way the mounts are constructed, the best fit comes from butchering the factory mounts for the hardware, and just replacing the rubber part with the polyurethane, so you wind up either buying the factory mounts to rip the rubber off, or having to come up with your own hardware solution. If you're going to be popping the body off anyway, I'd definitely agree that it would be prime time to put the urethane mounts on.

I'd probably Rustoleum the frame. POR15 has some mixed reviews, and seems pretty dang expensive.

I suppose if cost wasn't a problem, just going with either complete 4" lift kit, whichever wheels and tires you like best, and a full powercoat of the frame would look great.