Completed Project - Brian1's Twin Trail Build (Lift, Gears, TTB Mods, Bumpers, Sliders, Cage & More!) | Page 10 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Completed Project Brian1's Twin Trail Build (Lift, Gears, TTB Mods, Bumpers, Sliders, Cage & More!)

Use this prefix for completed projects that are not "How to" articles or threads asking for help.
Brian1's Twin Trail Build

1991 Ford Explorer 4-Door XL 5-Speed Manual 4x4

Project Background and Goals:

I bought this Explorer at a Police auction in August of 2015. I really didn't know what I was going to do with it when I bought it but I couldn't pass up the great deal I got. I stored it away for a bit while deciding to part it out, build it up or just flip it. In the end I decided to build it into a cheap trail truck and use it to R&D some new ideas I had on how to build an Explorer and develop some new parts.

The goal of the build was to do it cheaply while keeping it low, lightweight, and simple. Another goal was to completely transform the Explorer into a trail machine and debut it at the 20th anniversary forum run in Moab (May 2016) while keeping the entire build a secret.

The build has already been completed and made its successful debut in Moab. I will be adding to this thread as time permits of what I did.

Table of Contents - Modifications

to be filled in as the thread progresses for quick access

1" Body Lift
Rear 8.8 Swap and Build
Rear F150 Hybrid Leaf Springs
Front Daystar 2" Coil Spacer & F250 Shock Tower Conversion
Corbeau Seats Pt1
Corbeau Seats Pt2
Rear Shock Bar Pin Eliminators
Dana 35 TTB Beam Boxing
Hybrid Dana 35 Beams with Dana 44 Outer Conversion
Extended Radius Arms
Dana 35 Diff Build with LockRight Locker
Power Steering Cooler
Cutting the Rocker Panels Off
Rear Bumper Build
Front Fender Cutting
Rock Sliders Pt1
Rock sliders Pt2
Front Winch Bumper Build
Extended Breathers and Fuel Pump Access Panel
Rear Fender Cutting
Cage Building
Fabricated Door Panels/Skins
Doubler Install


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Cant believe I went over a year in this thread without updates! So here is the 2022 update-

End of July I had an epic day of local wheeling following some friends around in their rock buggy as part of an organized event. It is a large area with scattered obstacles connected by dirt canyons and wide sand washes. It was monsoon season so we had to be mindful of flash flooding but it also made for some awesome photos!

View attachment 437596

View attachment 437597

After a day of wheeling I went back to the event headquarters for the offroad show where I took home a Best in Show trophy for the Ford category. Sweet!

View attachment 437598

And on the way home is when things took a turn for the worse. My Explorer was T-boned by a small car who blew through a yield sign at a high rate of speed and struck me perfectly square in the passenger rear tire sending me into a 180 degree spin on pavement and then the same car hit me again along the side and impacted the same passenger rear tire. The teenage girl driving fled the scene on foot but the actual car owner who was the passenger stayed with the car. I'm not going to go into more details on a public forum but long story short their insurance finally paid up in full after I fought them for 3 months even after they accepted full responsibility right after the crash. If you know me, you can ask me about it sometime.

I got really lucky and I'm glad for my bolstered seats and 4 point belts that kept me safe and for the Explorer being low and stable, being able to do a 180 spin on pavement without flipping even without a rear swaybar. Just very minor body damage I fixed with a hammer and my passenger rock slider saved the body from damage on that side. It now has a long red scrape along the length of the slider from the car. The major damage was all mechanical: cut tire sidewall, broken leaf spring center pin and a bent axle housing. I'll go into the repair in the next post.
ouch, glad to hear youre ok though, thats priority 1.
 



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Here it is looking sad in the tow yard the next day when I went to pick it up.

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The sliced tire

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The axle tube tried to pull out of the housing! Broke the plug weld loose (oil seepage) and cracked where I had put a few stitch welds. I took it to my diesel mechanics shop to put it on the rack to look for any other damage but we didn't find any. He wrote me up a quote for all the repairs that I submitted.

IMG_20220821_171936534 (Medium).jpg


I scoured the u-pull yard for a low mileage 2nd Gen 8.8 and found one with about 130k on it in a sea of Explorers with 300k! This time I fully welded the axle tubes to the housing like I should have on the other one. I recommend this to be done on all 8.8s. Ive done three of these welding jobs in just the past few months for myself and some other locals.

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Got it all cleaned up and swapped the gears and locker over. What a huge PITA it was to get the locker out with a bent axle! I came close to just cutting the entire side of the axle up to free it but I finally got the c-clip to pop out. Old axle vs the new one freshened up with new seals as well. Look at the bend in the axle tube right where the u-bolts were.

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I also got a new center pin and got the leaf spring rebuilt and the new axle slid in. I took my tire to a commercial tire shop to have it vulcanized and they did a great job patching the cut up. Those Pitbulls are unobtanium right now or else I would have just got a new one. I have another tire they did for me with a similar size cut and it is still holding up great to rock crawling abuse so I have trust in it. The tow truck company also bent my rear bumper recovery points by an excessive side-pull so I had to push them back out with a port-a-power, no big deal there other than making me mad I had to do that. Currently it is pretty much back to where it was and ready to drive and wheel again.
 






Glad it didn't total the Explorer. You really got of easy with that hit right on the tire.

Can you just weld the tubes without any type of pre-heating? Could I do it with the gear oil in the diff? I haven't done that yet, but am planning on it when I get a small truss. Probably from Barnes.
 






Can you just weld the tubes without any type of pre-heating? Could I do it with the gear oil in the diff? I haven't done that yet, but am planning on it when I get a small truss. Probably from Barnes.
You can but I wouldn't recommend it as the center chunk is a big heat sink and takes more heat than the tubes. It is cast steel unlike a lot of housings out there so you don't have to pre and post heat. I heat the housing ends with a torch and then weld skipping around to minimize heat distortion. I wrap foil around it to cool it slower. You don't want oil in it as it could potentially light off when the tube heats up inside. The stock breather might not be enough to let the pressure built up with the heat to escape, I have the cover loose or the axles out.
 






Awesome work there Brian. I'm glad you didn't get hurt, and it was fairly basic to repair the damage. I hope the car that hit it didn't get repaired.
 






Gave me some flashbacks of my ‘91 getting “pin-balled” back in 2017 . . . Glad your build and safety gear was superior to the impact, and glad you were able to make the repairs!

And lost in all that - - Congrats on the Best in Show trophy!

Paul

P.S. You'll need to regale all of us at Moab in May on the below. . .
I'm not going to go into more details on a public forum but long story short their insurance finally paid up in full after I fought them for 3 months even after they accepted full responsibility right after the crash. If you know me, you can ask me about it sometime.
 












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