Bkennedy's SAS and Rebuild Thread | Page 130 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Bkennedy's SAS and Rebuild Thread

As some of you know, I am working on building a parts list for a shortened Dana 44, long radius arm with coil overs SAS. 5:13 gears to match my rear axle and an ARB, maybe an electric locker. I have a pretty good list so far. At the same time, I am going to swap out the rear drum brakes for discs off of a 99 Explorer.

Please note: The plan is to keep this project as simple as possible with mostly off the shelf parts. I am not a fabricator, just a decent welder with a what I would consider the minimum required tools (chop saw, cut off wheels, air tools, welder, etc.), who likes doing his own work. Your opinions are welcome, but what I really need is technical advice. I have been thinking about this for several years and now have the time and cash to make it happen. Please keep on topic with your advice and don't go off on a side track about how you would do it as a four-link, or caged arms, or leave the axle full-width because that is not what I want. I want a simple-ish set up that works.
 



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dang! we need to get you a plasma torch
Looks really nice so far!! I like the flush mount led's
I was looking at them last night, but would get a new welder before a plasma. I ended up doing the final filing with a hand file and a burr attached to a drill. Both my Rotor tools broke within 10 minutes of each other. My compressor hasn't worked well in a few years, and I rarely use it so I ordered a electric die grinder.
 



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Smoothed out all the welds, and ground the spindle sleeves down flush with the top of the bumper with 60 grit flap discs. Plug welded in the spindles so the hubs have 3/16" space in between the bottom of them and the bumper.
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Remounted the hubs to the gas can and tire carriers. Having them sit a little lower got them more centered on the main piece of the carriers. I never liked how flat bar gussets look on square tube so I got creative. I made gussets out of some 1x2" tube I had in the junk pile. It took a little longer, but I like the results. I still need to clean up these welds, but it came out pretty good.
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All under the watchful eye of Sasha
20200424_153739.jpg

Next step is to remount the bumper, check fit of everything, fab some side supports, remove, smooth metal a little more, repaint, remount, WHEEL!!
 






Looks great. How did the original carrier hold up with a 35 hanging on it all these years?

Give Sasha pets for me.
 






Looks great. How did the original carrier hold up with a 35 hanging on it all these years?

Give Sasha pets for me.
Original carrier held up well, which is why I am reusing that. The mount inside the bumper cracked a few times. The Maxxis Razr I have hanging off there now is the heaviest tire I have had to date. Part of the reason I decided to redo the hinge. I think the way I have the carriers locked down with a bolt instead of a clasp makes it much stronger and doesn't allow any movement. It keeps it from shaking itself apart. I have a 3/4" ratchet wrench in the driver door pocket, so it only takes a minute to open.
 






dang! we need to get you a plasma torch
Looks really nice so far!! I like the flush mount led's

Gotta use what you got sometimes...
 






the bumper updates are looking great. interested in how you like those backup lights. I need some better lights on my truck.
 






The lights I got are 40 watts each, so plenty bright for reverse lights. They have a decent looking aluminum housing. I'll have to see how they hold up. Being 40 watts each, I don't want to use an extension of the reverse light wiring like I have done in the past. I need to use the reverse light wire as a trigger for a relay, so I need to run some new wire. I also purchased a amp for the stereo that I need to wire, so will do that all at the same time.

I got the bumper installed for the final check and to fab up the side supports. I mounted the tire and gas can carrier to make sure everything lined up. It did. Now, all the movement is from the frame wobbling.
It looks good. I am going to slightly modify the driver side of the ends where I boxed them in. Did not get the angle I wanted, but that should not take very long. I also marked the spots that I am going to drill holes through the top of the bumper for the spring loaded stops. I am going to finish grind all the welds, and wire wheel the rest of the bumper to try and get some of the old paint off before I repaint.
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I added gussets to the spindle sleeves. The gussets that welded to the inside of the face of the bumper go right along the outside edge of the holes for the reverse lights.
 






Question:
There has always been quite a bit of movement in the frame at the bumper mounts. With the tire mounted on the bumper, the bumper can be wiggled for lack of a better word. Would there be any issue with welding the last cross member to the frame? Its riveted now, not sure if it would really do anything, but could it cause any issues?
 






Frame flexes like an inch back there. I think that's why its riveted on.

After I added the tire carrier, mine moved/shook as well. I cured it by adding braces (sq tube) from the side extensions, to the frame.

To let those side supports flex with the frame, I simply used two sections of tube, and bolted on a slip over connector. No more wiggle wiggle on the trails.
 






I would run side supports to the frame. JP has been done like this and it helped stiffing the rear end. But under heavy twisting the rear frame still moves. I would rather have it move a bit then crack or split somewhere.

The only way you get rid of more, is to tie the cage into the frame.
 






I am already going to run side supports to the frame. I have some 1" square tube that will work very well for that. Going to bolt it on both ends to make it easier to remove the bumper. The old sides had supports running to the frame. It didn't do that much for the wiggle.

I could also get new poly body bushings. I hear that helps.
 






Boxed in the ends of the sides so they can become side support mounts. Made all the brackets for the side supports. I did a final grind on the bumper with 120 grit flap disc, then wire wheeled the bumper, stripping all the old paint. That was fun, killed my longest lasting 4.5" angle grinder, a Hitachi I bought at Costco about 15 years ago so its lived a good life. Best part is I can return it for a full refund.

I am going to paint everything, then install the bumper hopefully for the last time before fabricating the side supports. Should get painted tomorrow.
New side support mount (that's the inside of the driver side)
20200427_142057.jpg
 






I have a green hitachi grinder too....they are tanks! I killed a black and decker, a dewalt, and the hitachi eventually... Hitachi makes good power tools. I like them because they also make elevators and heavy equipment.. Now I use a Metabo, which is the grinder brand most tile setters go to....Metabo grinder puts all those others to shame, it spins WAY faster and it WAY tougher.......
friggin stimulus bumper looks awesome! That 120 flapper did a good job

If you still have the stock body mount bushings..... Poly would be a HUGE improvement for you, big job, but huge improvement. One of my fav mods I did to the BII was poly body mounts.
 






I have a green hitachi grinder too....they are tanks! I killed a black and decker, a dewalt, and the hitachi eventually... Hitachi makes good power tools. I like them because they also make elevators and heavy equipment.. Now I use a Metabo, which is the grinder brand most tile setters go to....Metabo grinder puts all those others to shame, it spins WAY faster and it WAY tougher.......
friggin stimulus bumper looks awesome! That 120 flapper did a good job

If you still have the stock body mount bushings..... Poly would be a HUGE improvement for you, big job, but huge improvement. One of my fav mods I did to the BII was poly body mounts.
I'm going to miss that grinder. I'm currently stuck with two Harbor Freight units that I got on sale as backups.

I didn't know that body mounts would make that much of a difference. I still have the OEM mounts so I guess I need to put those on my list.
 






I had to pull out the easy up because it was getting too hot. Side yard paint booth.
20200428_104616.jpg

I think it came out pretty good. I could have smoothed out the metal a little more but its a off-road bumper that, if I'm using the Explorer correctly, is going to get banged up.
20200428_103536.jpg

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I'm not sure if I am going to mount it today, or wait until tomorrow. I'm not good at waiting, so...
 






Installed. Need to wire the reverse lights, hook up the towing plug wires and whenever the new license plate lights show up I can install those. Still need to fab the side supports as well. Should get to that tomorrow or Saturday. I think I will have it finished just in time for it to be too hot outside for the trails.
20200429_143718.jpg
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Fabricated the side supports today. Took longer than I anticipated, so I didn't get to the wiring today. Maybe tomorrow, maybe not..
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I also boxed in the sides of the front bumper to match the rear. I have always thought about doing that because it always looked unfinished to me. I used some 1/8" plate since its purely cosmetic.
Open
20200430_105827.jpg

Boxed
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I finally got the wiring finished. Everything is secured and all tucked up out of the way. I rerouted all the bumper wiring so its inside the bumper instead of on top of the cross member. I also added a mini-fuse panel with four slots, mounted inside the driver quarter interior panel. I used two of them, one for the reverse lights, and one for the cargo lights I put in a while ago. I had the cargo lights wired into the 12 volt charge plug, but rewired that so they are on their own circuit. Power goes to the fuse panel directly from the auxiliary battery. I used 10 gauge wire and mounted it onto the stud for the 200 amp breaker protecting the main battery wire, so its also protected from a short.

I always underestimate the time it takes to correctly run wiring. Most of the time spent is thinking of where to run the wires. I ran this one around the inside of a body seam and into the interior through the old rear hatch window washer tube hole, which is located behind the driver side tail lamp assembly. CB antenna cable, wire to activate the reverse light relay, and the reverse lights wiring also go through that hole. I kept the original plug when I removed the reservoir so its sealed. When the new LED license plate lights arrive I will call this project finished.
Mini-fuse panel
20200501_154842.jpg

Bumper pics
20200501_163154.jpg

Reverse lights are fairly bright. Fair warning to all who are behind me on the next night run.:p
20200501_163249.jpg
 



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