Bkennedy's SAS and Rebuild Thread | Page 147 | 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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Companies found that it's easier to blame COVID than their own staff. It's the universal excuse for everything that goes wrong:banghead:
 






I received the heater core today. The end caps and tubes are identical but the core is thinner. I guess it doesn't matter because its a heater core that I rarely use, but aftermarket is never the same as early 90's OEM.
 






I received the radius arm parts today from Duff. They need to remove their statement where you have to agree to about there being stock and shipping delays, and canceling is a 3% fee. Also the crap about there being a 3-7 day lag time before shipping. If I didn't already know they have quality stuff at reasonable prices, I would have gone somewhere else.
 






Got the Explorer mostly back together today. Installed the bushings, rod ends and got the front suspension back together. I have found with those heavy and long Duff arms it's easier to do it backwards and mount the rod ends first, then the bushings. I can then hold the bushings/axle mount in place and shove the axle back with my feet and start the 2 longer bolts I have just for that. Starts to compress the bushings so I can easily start 2 of the regulator bolts. Something else that would be way easier with a lift.

One of the few things that I built that is hard to work on is the upper shock mounts. Nearly everything I made after that has removing it for repairs/maintenance in mind having learned my lesson. I can remove the skid plates and then the trans/transfer case cross member in about ten minutes.

The way the shock hoops curve in front of the mounts makes it difficult. It's impossible to keep the shock rod end spacers in place while wiggling the bolt into the mounts. I made a little slug out of 1/2" solid rod several years ago. Took me an hour to find it. It was right where I left it in the center console. Found it the 3rd time I looked there. It keeps the spacers in place and it gets pushed out with the bolt.

I want to rotate the tires while I have the fronts off, and still need to install the new heater core. I should get it done tomorrow.
 






Finished it up and it's back on the ground. The heater core went in as easy as it came out. I ran the engine for a while before I put the cover back on to make sure it wasn't going to leak. Everything seems to be functioning. Like soon2beexplorer2 stated, the hardest part of it is getting the felt cover back on over the heater box. My center console pushes against the side of it making it hard to line up the push pin holes.
 






Took it for a drive yesterday. No more clunk, no coolant leaks.

I'm always impressed at how smooth it drives down the highway. Much nicer ride than my Silverado. Only issue is the sway on slow speed turns, that and it's gutless. I'm still debating getting a rear off-road sway bar. I'm not planning on doing any further modifications to vehicles until I get farther with the Arizona house.
 






I've been driving the Explorer around town a few times a week since I replaced all the bushings and radius arm rod ends. There is still a slight clunk and its only when the suspension unloads. I am thinking it was there all along, or its coming from the tie rod as it rotates due to the saddle mount for the drag link. I replaced all the rod ends in the steering not too long ago with Ruff Stuff parts. There is also now a weird rumble type bump (multiple bumps in a for less than a second) when I start to accelerate from a stop. It's while the front suspension is unloading and before the vehicle starts actually moving. I can really feel it in the driveway if I let it roll back then slightly accelerate. That's new, so it must be coming from the radius arm stuff I replaced. I'm going to spray the rod ends with a little Teflon and see if that goes away.

I noticed a little play in the track bar rod end, which is on the frame side. The axle end uses a standard bushing, which looks to be in excellent condition. The steering and track bar are from BC Broncos. I called them today to ask about a rod end for the track bar. They said it uses the same rod ends as in the steering. They did it that way on purpose, they are all the same so you don't need a bunch of spares. I have 4 of them here, so I might just swap it out with a new rod end before I take off to Arizona next week. Tech I spoke to asked me what I use the Explorer for. After I told him, he said it might be due just because of its age and that I actually use the heck out of my rig.
 






I'm camping out at KOFA (King of Arizona) Wildlife Refuge. Spending one more night here before heading to my property by Kingman. I took the Explorer on a very long drive today. Left at 10AM, got back to the RV at 4PM. First 20 miles pavement, 60+ in the dirt. I went up Hwy 95 to Pipeline, which is dirt and rougher than I thought it was going to be, about 15 miles to the back side of KOFA. Right turn, taking 3 different off road trails back to King St, which is the road I'm camped off of. I only stopped 4 times. Twice for people coming the other way (we talked directions), one time when I overtook 2 Liberty's, and once for lunch. The Liberty's were going maybe 5 MPH when I came up behind them at 25-30. They moved off trail and I blew by them. About 10 minutes later, I came up behind a TJ. He moved over and waved me to stop. He asked if I saw the Liberty's because they are with him. I said they are moving very slow on a fairly easy trail. He said they had been doing that all day and it took them 6 hours from the highway to get to where they were. It took me about 2 hours to get to the same point. At that rate, they won't be off the trail until well after dark. We also discussed directions until the Liberty's caught up. It was also a little warm today so no reason to hang out in the outback.
KOFA
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Explorer performed wonderfully, never even turned the hubs. There is still a bump noise/feel that I have mostly given up worrying about. As soon as I got back to camp, the up switch for passenger rear window of the master switch failed. Switch works in the rear door. I'll pull it apart when I get settled in the property. Maybe a contact got bent.

As I was walking away from the Explorer with my arms full of stuff I wanted to transfer back into the RV, I looked back, then forward at just the right moment to slam my face into the bedroom RV slide out. I ended up flat on my back with my gear all over. I stumbled around picking it up, then went I to the RV and grabbed a bag of ice. I have a egg shaped lump with a lengthwise purple crease on the right side of my forehead, but I'll survive. Dang that hurt.

Completely different subject, but I downloaded a ap I was told about by a BLM Ranger a few months ago, Avenza Maps. It's a free GPS map program that allows you to download BLM, and other maps, for free. It works without a cell signal, only uses the GPS feature. I really like it. It tracked my drive today and really helped me stay on the right trails.
 






Ouch! I did that on our slideout at Truck Haven. I try to remember to put the pool noodle over the corners now. 20/20 hindsight.
 






Char rammed her head into the bedroom slide on my RV a few years ago. It has a aluminum frame with nice flat edges to hammer the unwary. They are designed to fit flush with the body when retracted. A corner guard wouldn't have helped this time since I ran into it a few feet up. I noticed my chest is sore, it's got a red line and a bruise, so I smacked that too. It's going to be a take it slow and easy day today.
 






Nice! Exploring KOFA has been on my to-do list for some time now. I'm definitely going to have to check it out. I got stuck behind a bunch (10+) of slow JPs today on a desert cruise and it was not fun so glad they were courteous and let you by.
 






Sheesh what a great idea, the shock mount slug. Mounting the kings on the 07, top and bottom by myself about 20 times now that slug you made would be just the ticket!
 






Question:
I was crawling under the suspension because try as I might, I just can't ignore that bump. I noticed the upper rod end on the track bar has quite a bit of side-to-side play, which could cause what I've been experiencing. I have a spare rod end and want to change it.

Here, finally, is the question: will the locked steering keep the front suspension from collapsing when I remove the track bar? I have here a floor jack, some wood, a cordless impact, and a bunch of hand tools.
 






I was overthinking it, which is my nature. I partially supported the body with a floor jack and High Lift. Bolt came right out, used the High Lift to raise the frame the little bit needed to start the bolt. Did not collapse, kill me, then somehow right itself, roll a mile down hill, only to casually come to a stop directly in front of a bus load of nuns, or much more likely here, a bus load of Japanese tourists heading to or from the Grand Canyon Skywalk, killing all aboard, Including the uninsured illegal owner/operator.

It was a simple job after all. What sucks is on this very spot I will have a shop with a 2 post lift some day. That would have made this a very simple job. I drove it back and forth and no bump. Am hopeful this was the rest of the suspension bumping. Will order and replace the lower track bar bushing when I get home.
 






@Brian1
KOFA is very scenic, but it all kind of looks the same, if you get what I mean. The south side is definitely the prettiest. The north side I did this time is just a bunch of desert. It's also popular and populated by novice trail drivers who don't understand trail etiquette. They also seem to think that no one could possibly go any faster than they are because they have Jeeps. Then, here comes a 25 year old Ford covering ground at four times the rate they are going. IMPOSSIBLE their mind screams, and it takes them a few minutes to accept the reality of the situation and get out of the way.
 






@Brian1
Then, here comes a 25 year old Ford covering ground at four times the rate they are going. IMPOSSIBLE their mind screams, and it takes them a few minutes to accept the reality of the situation and get out of the way.
Closer to 30 years old, but point taken…. Obviously a Jeep thing, seen the same reaction up here, “… how to you make it and I couldn’t? I’m driving a Jeep!” - - guess all that advertising pays off.
 






Today, I'm going ghost town hunting. The book I'm using is from the 80's so I suspect much has changed. I just went through the town of Cerbat, which for a short time was the Mohave County Seat. Now, it's a few collapsed buildings and a private mining claim.
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Even the headframe and mill from the Golden Gem mine are gone. Lots of fresh dirt work here.
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There is a picture of this collapsed building across the wash still standing in the book.
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l'll keep posting when I have service. 5G right now.
Looking east up Cerbat Canyon.
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Heading to Mineral Park on secondary roads.
 






Mineral Park is north of Cerbat. Not much left and not easy to access. Most of the original townsite is under this giant modern mine run by Duval Corp.
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This is from the backside of the tailings pile to give you a reference. It's huge.
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I went back there because on my old maps it shows a way through the mountain to the ghost town of Stockton. I got almost to the summit, then turned around as there is a giant boulder blocking the trail. I could see that I could get around it, but the trail only appears to degrade more and it was time to turn around.

There is a few collapsed buildings just north of the modern mine. In the pictures you can see the headframe and mine ruins of the original mines.
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Mineral Park took the county seat from Cerbat in 1873. In 1887, the town of Kingman took over the county seat and currently still holds it. When the seat was voted to Kingman, the residents of Mineral Park refused to turn over the county records. A group of Kingman citizens raided the Mineral Park office, making off with the records.
This area is about 6 miles due east of my property, but as the saying says, you can't get there from here.

I finished up my ghost town tour in Chloride, which is not really a ghost town, but it is at the end of the dirt road I was on. From here, I'll head up to Dolan Springs and back to the property.
 



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Oh, the bump I've been feeling is gone but it still makes a noise. I think it's the track bar bushing. I noticed the front axle is missing the shimmy I used to feel when I went across a bunch of bumps at 35+ MPH.
 






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