Bkennedy's SAS and Rebuild Thread | Page 154 | 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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Kings are more professional, and not needed by most. They need maintenance and have their issues too. For a oem type use your better off with a Bilstein and if more Offroad biased, go with Fox.

For old basic stuff (jeep, blazer, bronco) Skyjacker M95's are the way to go. I have these on the Bronco and there really good.

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The longer I have these Radflo shocks, the more I like the company. I haven't really had an issue with them in about seven years of beating on them from freeways, to 30-mile-long fire roads, to driving as fast as I can through the whoops, to rock crawling. They just work. I'm not sure now if I'm having an issue, but the way Radflo reacted to me thinking I might have an issue is telling. An engineer came up front to talk to me, and when they rebuild them, he wrote a note on them he wanted to check everything when they were apart. They are priced a little more than Fox, which was 10 weeks out on custom valved shocks when I ordered from Radflo. Radflo is several weeks out in their production now, but when I ordered them, I got them within ten days. That's with me calling them so I could send my triple rate tender springs to them to install so I didn't have to take apart new shocks.

I agree kings are not for every rig, but sheesh man they sure are beefy.....
I've been running Skyjacker "blackmax" shocks on our fullsize rigs, they seem to perform decent, no issues with them yet. I have never had a bad anything from Skyjacker

Hoping the rebuilt shocks with new springs gets your wobble under control!!!!!!

Radflo called and they did NOT find anything wrong with the internal workings of the shocks. They are revalving and rebuilding them. Going a touch softer on compression this time. They should be done today, and I should have them in a few days.

I'm going to pull the rear Rancho shocks and see if there is anything noticeable with them.

Radflo tech just called. They are going to revalve them at 55/80 instead of 65/80. The engineer said it should work better with the spring weights.

Pulled the rear shocks. Removed, cleaned and greased up the adjuster knobs. They are a crappy design prone to getting dirt and moisture inside. I checked the function of the shocks at several different dampening settings and they seem to be working. The difference between setting 1 and 9 is the difference between being able to cycle the shock and not being able to cycle the shock. The shocks felt the same compressing them by hand.

While I was under there I measured the travel length that is being used, it's 9.5" so I could get away with a 10" travel shock and move thr top mount out a few inches. These are 11.3". I have a zip tie pulled tight on each shaft to keep track of max compression.

I used some silicon on my rancho O rings to help keep the debris out
I like the ranchos mainly because I bought the first set in like 2002 for my BII and 4 sets later I am still on the same warranty. I did have to pay a few bucks per shock this last time around because they made them much larger and more expensive. However still on the same lifetime warranty through 4 wheel parts.

If the shocks have been ruled out, what do you think is causing the wobble now? tire balance?

If the shocks have been ruled out, what do you think is causing the wobble now? tire balance?
I rotated the tires and it happened again. Not tires.

If I get it all back together and it still does it, it won't be suspension related.

Edit: I'm hoping I got it fixed just due to the fact that I have replaced everything. Once I get it back together, I'll go for a long drive. If it happens again, I'll stick my go pro knockoff on a magnet mount up under there.

Got the shocks back a few days ago. Got them back in today. The reservoir line fitting at the shock top cap wasn't tight on one shock and it loosened when I was pushing the reservoir around to mount it. I saw the fitting turn and a tiny bit of oil seep out, then I quickly tightened the fitting. The shocks were extended all the way and the gas is on the other side of the IFP in the reservoir so it should be fine. Just shows that no matter who works on them, they still need to be checked prior to install.

Still need to adjust ride height because of the new springs after I remount the tires. I sure hope that wobble is gone.

This picture was taken with the front suspension taking most of the weight. My old lower springs had a distinct bow in them.

Got the Explorer on all four wheels. Ride height looks good, maybe a touch tall in the front. I'll spend more time on that tomorrow after I drive it back and forth 8 orn10 times to help the suspension settle. If everything goes well, I should be able to take it for a good drive tomorrow as well.

Have you measured from the front axle to the rear axle lately to see if they are still square to each other?

Have you measured from the front axle to the rear axle lately to see if they are still square to each other?
Read this, measured it. Still 114" per side

In my experience, 9/10 times it is the track bar. There is no movement in tb joints? Your brackets are solid? I think I asked before but what are you running for toe in?

Ball joints are solid and only a few years old. Track bar has new lower bushing and upper rod end, tow is 1/4" in.

Got the ride height adjusted. I also took it for a two-hour drive, about five miles was on a fire road. It did not do the wobble. I drove across a couple stutter bumps that I am thinking if it was going to start shuddering, it would have done it right there. I could feel the suspension going over the bumps through the steering wheel, but that was about it. I'm not saying it's gone yet, but this is a good sign. I noticed the driver side upper spring is contacting the spring stops on one side. Springs rubbing on spring stops or the shock body is nearly unavoidable with a 2" shock body and long springs, but I can find the sweet spot by taking the weight off that side and twisting the springs around. Neither lower spring is rubbing on the shock body like the other set did, but these are new.

The new spring and valving set up seems to work a little better (12"x225lb upper, 16"x300lb lower, 55/80 valving). It's quite a bit smoother on the highway and I intentionally drove it hard across some shallow ditches and it sucked them up pretty good. There is less body roll, which I am attributing to having a quality set of new springs.

I'm still getting a bump I can feel through my feet when there is a weight shift.

Figured out what the bump I have been feeling for months is from. On these Duff radius arms there are bushings between the head unit and the arm itself. They allow more flex as they take away the binding of a traditional radius arm. They also ride smoother with bushings to take up the road vibration. I always thought the mounting tabs for the bushings were too widely spaced because they would bend in at the front when I tightened the bolts, which would put uneven pressure on the bushings. I noticed one of the tabs was contacting the head unit, so metal on metal. I pulled the passenger side radius arm off, bent the tab straight and inserted a steel bushing, which was just a thin fender washer I had here.
Head unit and radius arms.

Shims, temp on the right.

Took it out for another long drive and some light wheelin'. Drove up to Ramona, then up through Black Canyon to Black Mountain Truck Trail. It did the wobble, but it was all in the steering, very light, always at 55 MPH or over, and dissipated quickly. However, the bump was gone. Gone, no more bump bump bumpity bump. I'm on the right track, because the only wear item I haven't replaced within the last six months is the tie-rod rod ends as they felt solid, but are original to the steering so about nine years old. I really like the way it rides on and off road with the new springs and shock valving. Much smoother and not much body roll, nothing like before. It's still very stable off road, even when flexed out. Don't think I will need that rear sway bar I was looking into. I can save my money up for Radflo rear shocks and air bumps.
Flexes good

I pulled both radius arms and added thicker spacers to the outside mounts, which were really just some metric washers with the correct thickness and outer diameter, that I drilled out to snugly fit over the bolts. I replaced the tie-rod rod ends. They were a lot looser than I though as they felt tight when mounted. I could spin the ball in the socket. I measured the toe and it was almost an inch toe in. I started to adjust it to get it closer to 1/4" toe in and the threads were all messed up on one of the rod end's tapered bolts. I think the castle nut tip got bent and gouged the threads all to heck. Ordered a new set, along with four new castle nuts for spares, from BC Broncos which came in today (great company). I also got some Royal Purple PS fluid and am going to drain and replace the fluid with the good stuff.

I also ordered and received today a Garmin Inreach Mini 2 GPS "help me" device. I am not getting any younger, still enjoy being out in the lonely places by myself, and thought it would be a good idea to have one more way to call for help. It requires a subscription, but its only about $12 a month, which will sound cheap if I need it, and sounds cheap if I don't. I can take it with me hiking or wheelin' because it is very small, and pairs with a phone for messaging.

I got the toe adjusted so it's 1/4" in on the first try. Replaced the trashed tapered bolt. Replaced the other side for good measure. Added the old one to my spares storage in the left-rear quarter panel. New castle nuts all the way around.

I replaced the power steering fluid with Royal Purple. I disconnected the return line at the filter and let it drain. It slowly drained the reservoir. When it stopped draining I added a 12 oz bottle of Royal Purple and it seemed to push most of the old fluid out of the lines and cooler. When it started running purple, I reconnected the line and bled the system. Used 4 12 oz bottles so I think I got most of the fluid changed. Got enough so it won't matter in any case.

Still need to test drive it, but I think it's going to have to wait until Thursday. Have appointments at the house today, getting the RV smogged tomorrow. Think I'll road trip the Explorer up to my buddies shop in Ramona. He's been asking me to stop by as he's building a 4 link rear axle F-150.

I'm at my Arizona property. Been here about a week. Not much driving, lots of hiking and hanging out enjoying the quiet.

Last thing I did before heading over here was get the Explorer tires balanced. The wobble hasn't returned. Might have been a combination of a bunch of stuff, or its just waiting to rear its ugly head. Heading out shortly for the foothills of the Music Mountains.

Everything seemed good. I was driving down a wide graded dirt road doing 55-60, when the rear started feeling a little squirrely. Stopped to take a break and see if I could see anything, and found this.

I had previously taken a side trail that quickly degraded into working my way around and through the mesquite. One of them had their revenge. I stuffed three plugs into the hole, and it's holding air, but I think that tire is history.

So far, the only two leaks I have ever had on this rig are the same tire. Last year I had a screw in it while towing, then this. Maxxis sidewalls are not all that sturdy. If it makes it back to the RV, I'll change it tomorrow morning to make it the designated spare.

Gotta love small towns. I called my "neighbor" who lives six miles away. He told me to take it to a specific person at a specific shop in town. I stopped by there and he said he could fix it, but not today since they were closing. Said he could repair a sidewall leak, but couldn't loan me the use of a floor jack for five minutes because of his insurance.

I'll swap out the spare back at the RV where I have a floor jack, drop it off tomorrow and hope for the best. No way anyone would touch a sidewall repair in San Diego.

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I have a brand new Dick Cepek 35x17 mud terrain, I am talking 3 trips on it, before the wife decided to go around a rough spot in our road and hiding in the grass was this huge rock with a nice sharp edge....... big tear in sidewall. I got lucky, I found ONE DC MT left on ebay, I think the last one in the country.....85% tread
Dick Cepek is no more
I cannot bring myself to throw that tire out!! My stepson works at tire place and will patch it, but why? she already has a good full size spare.
Not fun
tires so expensive right now
Just my luck we run Dick Cepeks on 3 of our rigs and then they stop production.............

Why not use hilift? you should carry a off road floor jack! LOL