Bkennedy's SAS and Rebuild Thread | Page 155 | 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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I have a bottle jack, and the death defying Hi-Lift. The plugs were holding air, so why change it out on the trail.

When I dropped the tire off, Two young guys said they couldn't touch a sidewall leak. The gray haired guy I talked to yesterday came out and told me to leave it so he could fix it, or at least give it a shot.

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Look into Glue Tread for sidewall patches.

Even the gray haired tire monkey couldn't fix it. He showed me from the inside, it's got about a 1/2" ragged hole. I left the plugs in for now. He suggested getting it tubed. It will get me off the trail for now.

Ive had big sidewall cuts vulcanized at industrial tire shops that deal with big rigs and heavy equipment. Look for a commercial tire shop around Kingman and see if they do vulcanizing.
I'll stop by a heavy equipment shop on Monday. If they don't do it, I'm sure they will know who does.

I'll stop by a heavy equipment shop on Monday. If they don't do it, I'm sure they will know who does.

Any luck getting the tire fixed?

Any luck getting the tire fixed?
Nope. Tire stores won't touch a sidewall repair. No one claims to know anyone in town who does vulcanizing repairs. I haven't stopped by any tractor places yet. Next on the list.

I once patched a 1” sidewall cut with about five safety seal plugs. Looked frankenstein ugly and was super sketchy, but it held for a month or so until I got new tires. This was on a 78 Monza 5.0, so it had small car tires.
I also once had a 1” gash in the tread of a near new 37” MTR, had a shop put an inside patch on it and searched for a big enough inner tube to run in it. That became my spare for years.

The only shop here that would touch it said they would patch it with a large patch, then tube it. I think if it was patched inside it would be fine as a spare, just need to find someone to do it.

I'm going to stop by some independent shops and tractor tire suppliers today.

When I was at a commercial tire shop a few days ago, I remarked I wasn't thrilled with Maxxis sidewalls if a stick would puncture them. Manager said he's seen every major brand off road tire with a mesquite stick in the sidewalls. When those branches die they are like a caltrop sticking up out of the ground.

Found an independent shop that would patch a sidewall. After he pulled the plugs, the slice is only about 1/2" long and trying to close by itself. When he pulled his lighter out to use a little fire to heat things up, I knew i found a old school tire monkey. 1.5" round patch, then a bunch of that black gunky stuff over that. Seems to be holding air. All for $20, and a $10 tip. Don't see why it won't work as a dedicated spare.

excellent! I think I will try this with the one dick cepek I have with like 50 miles on it, will make a good spare

Sunday, I drove up to the Colorado River where it exits the Grand Canyon. Found this little trail that goes along the bluffs over the river. Just before the picture, the trail was only a few feet from the edge. After clearing that, I got out to look. It's all compacted, undercut crumbling sand, then about a 30' drop into the river rapids. Nope!! Found a different way out to the main road that's about 50' from the bluff edge.

Found a cool old road on the way out. These type of roads are all over the area.

The wobble seems to be gone. I'm still getting used to the power steering. I think it made the steering a little more sensitive, and allows more felt road vibration through the wheel.

excellent! I think I will try this with the one dick cepek I have with like 50 miles on it, will make a good spare


This is going back a few days... One of Jack Lobdell's brand new BFGs. He bought them just before our Moab trip. I remember him calling the tire dealer from the trail and asking if they were covered by warranty. 🤣

Tire is still holding air.

I took a drive yesterday to one of my favorite mountain trails here. It's above Chloride and starts at the muriels. Guide book calls it difficult, but I consider it easy to moderate. The challenging part is to stop every time you want to take in the scenery, which is unbelievable. Trail is a old narrow mining road and most of it is on the side of a mountain. If you drove off the side that would be that, game over. At one point, the trail drives across mine tailings, and the trail connects with multiple abandoned mines. A side trail ends up at a very cool mine, with lots of multicolored mineral rock in the tailings. Has a old building and some of the structure remaining, but also a deep exposed shaft. I think its the Lucky Boy mine. Trail ends up at the top of Cherum Peak, running into a smooth graded road. This is directly west, 7-8 miles from my property. No way to get across the mountains anymore. There used to be 2-3 ways across, but they have either been eroded over time, blocked off by the forest service, or gated on private property, or all of the above. There is a old mine trail heading to the east at the summit. I walked part of it, it appears passable, and it had fresh tire tracks on it. It was late in the day, so I'll save that one for another day. Might have a view of the back side of the mountains behind the property.

The graded road is to me much more dangerous because it's all curves and cliffs, with spectacular views to draw your attention from the road. Still smoother than Hwy 93. To get to the trail and back is over 100 miles of pavement.

I noticed a occasional shudder that seems to start at the rear suspension and work it's way forward, and only on stutter type bumps over 50 MPH. It's less frequent when the rear shocks are set on a lighter setting. This might have been the main issue all along. If I didn't need new tires for the RV I would be ordering a set of adjustable dampening Radflo reservoir shocks for the rear. Can't believe how expensive tires are now.

I'll update with some pictures if the phone signal improves.

I was planning on heading over to check out Swansea Ghost Town today. Got a late start and was heading up Plumosa Rd when I was distracted by all the side trails, some of them looked like fun. I headed off into the Plumosa Mountains, figuring the ghost town isn't going anywhere and I can camp off Plumosa Rd next time I am out there and be about 30 miles closer. Only took one picture.

The mountains there have been heavily mined in the past. There are test holes all over the place. You can see where there were graded roads into that area, but they are long gone. I actually locked the hubs and had the Explorer in 4 low. All the trails in this area seem to have been taken over by side-by-sides, but the Explorer still fits. Looking to get back to the highway, I took this little trail that went up a very steep angled climb. When I crested the summit, I was just a steep downhill from the highway. Got bored after about five minutes and took another dirt road. Road twisted through the desert, then turned into a very rough graded road heading southwest. I cruised down that for almost ten miles and ended up popping out into civilization at the Quartzsite town government complex. 25 highway miles later I was back at KOFA and the RV. The Explorer cruises down the highway at 60-65MPH. It's so smooth with the rebuilt front shocks and new coilsprings.

I'll probably go down Hwy 95 tomorrow and take a off road cruise through KOFA. I've done it before, and it's very scenic. Trail ends up on the same road I am camped off in the RV.

I forgot to mention this yesterday. While getting the new tires installed on the RV, the Explorer was hooked up behind it for towing. At least five people walked over, looked it over and asked me questions. One of them is a local named Loren. He has a modified 1992 Explorer. Says he has met Rick and he's a member of the forum and the Haulapai Four Wheelers, a local Kingman off road group. So now I got the number of a local dude who wheels, and wants to show me around.

Took a long drive through KOFA today. Left around 1030, got back to the RV at 5. Started out on the south or main entrance and took the trail through McPherson Pass. Its a lot more overgrown than when I was through there a few years ago. Just a beautiful drive. Any 4x4 wouldn't have any trouble with the trail, as long as you don't mind a few Arizona pinstripes. It was a little windy and the tethered radar blimp was down.

Picture of the pass trail. Most of it looks like this. Very scenic.

Took a side trail to the Little White and Figueroa tanks. They were full of water. Beautiful scenery.



Figueroa tanks isn't nearly as scenic as it has a large corrugated steel shade cover.

Then I bombed down King Rd, which is a loose graded road. Average speed about 50 MPH. Took another side trailbup to Horse Tanks. Once again, the scenery is stunning. You have to hang out a little bit and just take it all in. There are several more tanks up the canyons nearby. The canyon is easy to get to, need to hike to the tanks. I went to the first three, mostly because the sun was going down.




It's hard to believe all this greenery and water are out in the desert. From what I understand about the mountains here, there are numerous tanks.

I got back to the Explorer and was unlocking the hubs and noticed my bumper light bar was no longer attached to the bumper. The mounts had torn off. I guess you can have too much fun.

I'm glad I put a plug in the wiring as it was just a few seconds to get it removed. I have another light bar at home with the same mounts. Might make a set out of steel plate as they are thin aluminum.

I pushed the Explorer pretty hard today suspension wise. It really sucks up the bumps, even the three or four inch tall ridges the rain made across the trails. It's just smooth. Now, I think I need to work on the rear as it's a little bouncy at speed.

Heading back to San Diego in the morning. TTFN....

I started on making new mounts for my bumper light bar, thinking it would take about an hour. Wrong..

It took about four hours total, still not done. I thought I was done, then I pulled on the mounts and one of the welds broke. No penetration on 1/8" flat bar. Then I went searching for the reason the welder wasn't welding and found a bad ground strap in the clamp. Ordered an entire new clamp. Rigged the old one so it will work. Hopefully it will get done today. I saw that I could purchase the original light bar brackets for $7.00 shipped, but they are the same paper thin aluminum and will eventually fail. I wanted the mounts a little taller and with no adjustment, and being made from 1/8" flat bar they will last forever.

The light bar got pretty dinged up so it needs to get repainted. Need to touch up a bunch of the bumper where it was bouncing on it as well.

I'm also going to change the Atlas's fluid. It doesn't need it, but with all this flat towing and it being relatively new, I figured one more change after a few thousand miles was a good idea. It's a easy job and only holds two quarts so what the heck.

Got them done. I didn't like that they were so straight in profile. I ground a curve in the side that you can see if you look, and smoothed out all the other corners. Set them side by side and finished them so they are about as close to being the exact same as I could get. Not noticeable that they are any different than any other cheap light bar mount, but I'll know. Everything's painted. Even touched up the bunpers and sliders. I will mount it tomorrow.

For all the time I spent, I could have bought a new light bar. My time is free, I'm cheap that way, and I like that bar. It's all flood so it's great for crawling on night runs without blinding anyone in front of me. Just about all the bars are combo flood and spot LED's. If I want to see long distance, I use the roof rack mounted 43" curved OSRAM LED bar.

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Paint was dry enough so I installed the bar. It's at better height off the push bar now. Very solid. Should be good for awhile.