Bkennedy's SAS and Rebuild Thread | Page 32 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

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.
 
Last edited:



Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!
.





You should start a thread in the modified section about coil over shocks and how they function. Put all this information in it and make it a stickey.
Pirate4x4 has a thread about coil overs, but it is very technical and has way too much information for the novice.
http://www.pirate4x4.com/tech/billavista/coilovers/Part_1/
All it did for me was made me think this was over my head and I should pay someone to do it. You made it easy to understand so a shock retard like me could get it.
 



Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!
.





You made it easy to understand so a shock retard like me could get it.

LOL, that fits me quite well in all honesty as well! It's why somewhere way up above early on I mentioned I'm not a pro so take my info with a grain of salt. Funny that after I gave the dictionary of info I friggen stumble on that sight looking for images that pretty much already had it all laid out very easy like!
 






Now that I have your attention:
I ordered a set of Fox coil over spring guides. I am thinking they would help keep the coil springs off the shock body. They are rubbing on the bottom of the shock body, and its noisy. Eventually, it might also cause other problems. Apparently, that is not uncommon in long shocks. I know the spring guides are normally installed with the long end up, but if I put them down, they will help keep the springs off the bottom of the shocks, where they are rubbing. There is enough clearance with the 16" main spring where the lower spring seat will never contact the guide prior to full compression. What say you??
 






You're talking about these right?

http://store.resuspension.com/images/P/RE-DS100A-x..-01.jpg

Springs rubbing on the body is pretty common. I know mine do on the coilovers on my expo and I'm 99% sure they do on the race truck also.

You can definitely run them either way. I've seen both, just make sure when it's fully extended that there's enough of the slider still on the body of the shock to keep it all aligned and everything. Your lower coil I'm sure is long enough to not have an issue but just something to double check. It would likely be obvious if it wasn't.

Do you have a threaded collar that goes on that you can adjust and set to where that slider will stop when being compressed? Basically it allows you to set it where you go from a dual rate to a single basically.



Not the best picture but you can see mine definitely rub the shock body also...

100_1609_zps4c744702.jpg


Pulled apart from when I was cycling the suspension but you can see the shock body is all scraped up.

100_1585_zps322a963d.jpg



Actually, if you look at our race truck, it's long side down cause the top coil is literally just a tender spring to keep the main spring from coming loose at full droop. Long side up would be basically contacting at ride height.

Picture017.jpg
 






Its just the Fox version of a spring divider, which has a long and a short side. Sort of what you have pictured, just no insert.
I asked the FOA tech guy via email and he basically said to do whatever I want as long as it works for me. He said the rubbing with the long shocks is normal.
Your shocks seem to rub at least as much as mine. I just don't like where they are rubbing, which is right at the end of the shock and up about 4". Any metal on metal contact can't be good for the long run.
I have a spring stop (threaded collar) that is above the spring divider/slider. I have been playing around with that thing for a while now, adjusting it up and down to see if it helps. I need to move it down about 3/4" so the upper spring only has about an inch of up before it stops. Should help with body roll to let the heavier spring work more with the up travel and the upper spring for down.
I should get around to the revalve job next week. Only problem around here is finding a whoop-de-do road to test it out on. Maybe I can find one with lots of dips.
Took it out today and drove it around town running errands. Its a nice driver on the street, which is a bonus. Took it to the Ford dealer and parked it out front while I went to check on some parts for the Ranger. Came out to a few service guys looking under the front bumper. I did not purchase what I was looking for as there is no way I am going to pay $94 for a little plastic bushing to keep the center console from rattling.
 






Ford dealer parts sometimes hurt for sure! The mark up is insane! I work for an employer that has a ford relation and we get parts from the dealer at pretty much cost and it blows my mind when I see retail on the parts occasionally that they charge!

The rubbing on the shock while in reality obviously isn't great... It's insanely common. I bet more shocks do it then those that don't. I don't have any cool tricks to prevent it but yeah, if yours is doing it at the end of the shock, if I'm picturing it right, I'd be afraid of the coil kinda hooking the lip/end of the shock body over time and doing bad things.

I'm not sure where to set that adjustable nut stopper thing. I've heard people refer to it as the crossover nut but I don't know if that's the legit term. Crossover being basically the point that you go from your soft dual rate rate to your stiff rate. In the go fast world, it's typically pretty common to have that nut set pretty low so that it comes into play basically as early as possible. Not super sure how that translates to the crawler scene though. If you notice mine above, I've got them way up high in those pictures. I "think" I've moved mine down though since then. Total speculation but I'd think you'd want it up higher to keep the soft spring rate for crawling but I could be wrong. It's just me thinking out loud a bit...

You mention body roll, I've never seen a FOA piston but there should be small bleed holes. I'd leave at least one open but if they're all open, plug up all but one. You'll probably be pretty happy with how it does on the street doing that and you won't barely notice anything in the dirt.

Like many things though... If you go crazy and change all your valving at once it's going to be hard to feel seat of the pants what change did what. My gut feeling though, I'd simply slap in your medium stacks, plug all but one bleed hole and go drive it and see how you like it. From that point stick to one change at a time so you know what's doing what.

Again, it's all dependent on how much effort you want to put into it. You may toss in the mediums and be stoked with it but the thing is, you may not know how much better it could still be. That's a personal type deal though as to how important it is to you and how much effort you want to put into it. If I feel it's close, I usually just run it and then next time I have the shocks off the truck for whatever reason what so ever I do a quick revalve cause I'm there... That's just me though. If they're way off, well then suck it up and do some work. LOL
 






F-O-A Fail!!

Went to pull the shocks apart to re-valve. Removed the end cap, then let the gas out. Shock still acted like it was charged. Called FOA. First, dude on the phone was a little short with me, which I did not like. He acted like he had something better to do than to help a customer. He says the gas must have gotten past the IFP. Told me how to release the pressure, then said I need to purchase a new seal kit. I says, "I need to purchase a new kit, I just bought these shocks ten months ago, they have less than 1,000 miles on them??" He told me there were a lot of "variables" and I would have to purchase a seal kit. I though they had a one year warranty, but it must not apply to seals. I send an email to the shop I purchased them through to see what he can do for me.

Then, I pull the second shock apart; same thing!! How is that my fault??

Wait, there's more;
I continue taking them apart, thinking I can at least check what valve shims were in and change them, and look for obvious damage. Following the instructions, I clamp the shaft head in my vise and try to remove the nut on the other end. Its torqued on so tight that the head unscrews instead of the frigin nut. Try the other shock; same thing!! Now, I have to run to the hardware store and try to find a clamp that will not scratch the shaft while I unscrew the nut.

Disappointed to say the least. Turned a two hour job into a multi-day event.
 






Thanks to FR-425, I decided to upgrade the steering shaft to one like his. http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=401307&page=2

The Mojave Road trip let me know I have a little too much steering play for my liking. Its not the box, its the shaft. I should get that on before I put the left side shock back in because it will be much easier. Also noticed a little mark on the tie rod from contacting the track bar drop bracket. It must have happened on the Odessa Canyon trail. Its right on the edge of the tubing, so I think if I install those 4* radius arm bushings, it will not only help with tight turns and drive shaft angle, but will also turn the tie rod down slightly and away from the bracket.

I got an email from FOA stating that the warranty is for six months, not a year. I replied that I understand their warranty, but want them to know that all I have really done with those shocks prior to this last run is a weekend at Truckhaven and installing them. I also mentioned that I am not a fan of repairing shocks after every run, so I hope this is not a sign of things to come. I am trying to get them to understand that customer service is king in the aftermarket world. Especially with a company with mixed reviews. They are having difficulty with the concept. I know the seal kits are only $12.50, plus $6 shipping, but its not really the point. If I was the guy behind the desk over there at FOA, I would have already priority shipped out a set of seal kits, just for good customer relations. Just so, someone who is not satisfied does not post his problems with their products on the internet, like this...
 






Thanks to FR-425, I decided to upgrade the steering shaft to one like his. http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=401307&page=2 I am trying to get them to understand that customer service is king in the aftermarket world. Especially with a company with mixed reviews. They are having difficulty with the concept. I know the seal kits are only $12.50, plus $6 shipping, but its not really the point. If I was the guy behind the desk over there at FOA, I would have already priority shipped out a set of seal kits, just for good customer relations. Just so, someone who is not satisfied does not post his problems with their products on the internet, like this...

Exactly.. I was all set to order a set of 12" FOA shocks for our X.. Now I'm looking at other brands as FOA is no longer on the short list..

~Mark
 






..I'm sorry to hear about your new shocks..:(

I know a company that stands behind their product if its custom or not and they have done a couple explorers here as well as some of the biggest race names..

They are highly aware its the little guys who keep them in business and making them happy is their priority..;)

Let me know if you have some free time in june and you can see them in person..
 






Have I mentioned lately how much I appreciate you fella's??

Maniak; My buddy Mike just put a set of Fox 2.0 racing shocks on his J^&p and loves them. They are on sale at Off Road Warehouse right now.
 






Have I mentioned lately how much I appreciate you fella's??

Maniak; My buddy Mike just put a set of Fox 2.0 racing shocks on his J^&p and loves them. They are on sale at Off Road Warehouse right now.

Hrm.. and Yolanda is out of town for the weekend.. I wonder if I can get the shocks here before she gets back? :)

~Mark
 






Wanted to chime in with my experience. I have Fox 2.0's on mine and I have really liked them. I have no complaints other than the finish didn't stay pretty as long as I would have liked but that with winter driving in Northern Utah on salty roads. Fox did say that's quicker than they normally see and told me how to correct it next time they are off. They have always answered my calls well, I have only called them twice but both times was good.

I have re-valved my Fox shocks and was easy. When a fair bit stiffer on the compression. As sirhk100 said and for me the hardest part by far is getting them on and off the truck. Very hard to unload the suspension with what I have in my garage. But the re-valve was cake. I bought my nitrogen tank and gauges etc since I wanted to do it myself and so it would be easy to do again. I have also rebuilt several 4wheeler shocks with the tank and fox oil as well to freshen up.

And my slider does rub on the shock body as well. (That was one of my questions to Fox they said its normal but to clock the springs to minimize the pressure the slider has against the shock body) When the temp is right they sound creaky as they slide on the shock body but its not loud. Tell myself its the sound of performance :biggthump

And to comment on an earlier post from sirhk100 I run my dual rate stop all the way down so it goes to a single rate within 1 1/2" I believe. This gives me a soft rate at standard height when blasting down dirt roads. But I really needed the stiffer rate when flexing. Especially when I am coming down trails and its really flexed out. I cut my tires good the first run out because it would just blast through the softer rate with my weight even when going very slow couldn't keep the weight up. Lowered that collar and it really helped it feel more balanced. Before the rig would follow the rear axle with its body roll and with that stiffer rate it lets front and rear both work and the rig stays much more even which also makes it more predictable as well.

As for the go fast stuff I hear you. Mine is very similar to what you are describing. If I am in the sand the whoops are very hard to take it goes through the front end really easily. I had planned to run bumps here when I can but sirhk100 has me wanting to play with valving more. Still want to run bumps though ;) However I have come up on a few whoops really hard on accident and it did hit hard but the faster I go the better it does seam take them but you have to go a fair bit quicker than I usually like to. Also I have crappy monotube off the self bilsteins in the rear.

Anyways that's a few small things I have found in my little 2 year experience with my rig over 6,000miles. And for reference mine are 14" 2.0's with roughly 8" of droop and 6" of compression and a 200lb upper and a 300lb lower with collar about 1 1/2" from the slider and I'm a V8 2nd gen.
 






Interesting on the FOA customer service. I've read on other forums that they're typically really easy to deal with. Out of curiosity do you know who you talked with? JD or Kyle by chance? Let me know and depending who you dealt with I may shoot you a PM.

Turbo,

I'm not saying bumpstops aren't necessarily pointless... I'd definitely be a hypocrite if I did seeing as how I have them on mine. I'm more just saying don't expect them to be a cure all on a hard hit! You can really get a lot out of valving on a shock and get some amazing results without them. I should also clarify, you need a bumpstop of some sort. Don't let the shock be what stops your up travel! I'm talking specifically about hydro bumps just to clarify. Also... Not all whoops are created equal. If you get into like shin-knee deep motorcycle whoops that are short and tight together and kind of sharp paced. You're gonna get your butt kicked likely no matter what. You could actually valve really soft and smooth those out but then that time you screw up and hit hard you're going to regret it. Even in our race truck where we can run 70+mph thru knee-thigh deep big truck whoops... We get into dirt bike whoops and it just beats the crap out of us. I've even talked to some very legit shock experts and they've all told me without getting really exotic and spending some big money on shocks, tuning, custom stuff, etc it's just what it's going to be. While the valving can make a massive difference don't mistake me for trying to sell you on saying that the valving of a single coilover on our average built explorers are going to let you run them like it's a KOH rig or a trophy truck. They will likely blow your mind but it's not going to ever be that until you really really really commit. LOL

When I first chimed in here, the talk of bumpstops seemed almost like it was a bandaid to help fix something that could be just tuned better in the shocks. Tune your shocks good and you'll be happy, the bumpstops will compliment them. Typically unless you get super lucky though, you'll notice a WAY bigger improvement spending time on the valving of an off the shelf shock then you will just adding a set of hydro bumps.
 






Sorry to hear about the shocking situation. ;)

Did they at least have confidence that your shocks wouldn't require regular seal replacement and that this was just a fluke? I know you're talking about an internal leak, but I have only checked the nitrogen pressure twice in the 10+ years I've had the Bilsteins, and they're still holding fine. I was amazed. I suppose they could also have internal leaks and I wouldn't even know :dunno:
 






Turbo; I have been following your build from day one. I have the same issues on down hills, and adjusted the spring stop so the shocks go single rate after about one inch of compression. Keeps the low speed turns on the street from getting interesting, and helps on steep downgrades. I have 5.5" up and the rest down with my 14" shocks. Seems to work well as far as flexing. I did not know you could clock springs. I will do that on the reinstall.

sirhk, I don't know who I spoke with over at FOA. I understand they are busy, but they need to work on their people skills. Made me want to throw the shocks in the trash and go get a set of Kings. They need someone over there like the guy at Warn who just asks for an address to send replacement parts.
I also don't like the one sentence response that only answers a fraction of the questions I put forth in emails. I am not asking a lot at once, just two or three questions. For example: I sent an email to Chris asking how I should proceed in getting the shaft nut off when their instructions say to clamp the shaft head in a vise and turn the nut off. When I did that, the head just turned off instead of the nut. He responded that the nut isn't a problem if the shaft is "properly clamped". What the heck does that mean? I know I am going to have to get a few shaft clamps before I proceed with the shock rebuild.

Do either of you guys think I could of overheated the front shocks, causing gas to bypass the IFP seals by driving 10 miles of whop-de-do roads without stopping? If so, these shocks are not going to work out.
 






Sorry to hear about the shocking situation. ;)

Did they at least have confidence that your shocks wouldn't require regular seal replacement and that this was just a fluke? I know you're talking about an internal leak, but I have only checked the nitrogen pressure twice in the 10+ years I've had the Bilsteins, and they're still holding fine. I was amazed. I suppose they could also have internal leaks and I wouldn't even know :dunno:

They did not respond to my query about regular seal replacement.

You can tell there is an internal leak because part of the reason I decided to re-valve them was they got softer as time went on. I could raise and lower the front suspension several inches by grabbing onto the front bumper. I thought it was just the shocks getting worked in, which I now know to be false. I think that is caused by the gas and oil mixing and flowing freely past the valve shims. When I poured out the oil, it was full of nitrogen bubbles and frothy. The oil in the reservoir looked fine.
 






Still no response from F-O-A. I ordered the seal kits because it was either that or spend a few thousand on different shocks. One more chance for the shocks to work as stated. Grrrrrrrrrr...

Ted, I am retired, I got lots of time. Not as much as I thought I would have, but still more than most people. Let me know what you have in mind in a PM.
 






..:shifty_ey ..Quick PM inbound..:D
 



Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!
.





Do either of you guys think I could of overheated the front shocks, causing gas to bypass the IFP seals by driving 10 miles of whop-de-do roads without stopping? If so, these shocks are not going to work out.

I doubt it. When I first started driving mine I monitored shock temps and never saw a temp I was even remotely concerned about so I quit checking. Again I don't do long hard high speed stuff but drive for hours wheeling and dirt roads with no temp issues ever.
 






Back
Top