DB_1's re re re...aww heck, i'm re-doing my set-up | Page 3 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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DB_1's re re re...aww heck, i'm re-doing my set-up

I've reworked my front suspension a few times since doing the SAS but this time i'm going change up my front set up once and for all because it's never quite been dialed in. Currently I'm running a control arm set up just like the Rubicon Express long arm system...It's really just a fancy radius arm.

So the problem is that on the frame end of the arms i'm running 7/8" x 3/4" rod ends which have only around 17* of misalignment. I quickly run out of misalignment on the rod end on downtravel which then loosens the jamb nuts. Not exactly the best situation when off roading with all that slop. That's the only reason I have good flex is from the jam nuts loosening up...it can be better.

Current specs on the links are:

1.5" x .250 wall DOM tubing
3/4" heims on the link end
3/4" rubber joints on the axle end

1.5" x .250 wall DOM sleeved with 1.75" x .120 wall DOM
3/4" rubber bushings on axle end
7/8" x 3/4" heims on the frame end

So the plan is to also move the axle forward an inch or so to keep the tires out of the firewall but it might interfere with the engine crossmember, that will be a challenge.
I also want to lower the front an inch as well as add an inch of travel. Somehow I have to find 2 inches of space in the engine bay for the upper shock mounts to do that.
The lower control arm mounts will be spread apart a few inches to help with the heim misalignment issue.

Now, on with the goods. I've been accumulating these parts for at least a year now so time to get them on the truck:D

New specs on the control arms will be as follows:

1.5" x .250 wall DOM
3/4" thread hex tube inserts from Spidertrax
3/4" shank with 5/8" bolt urethane boulder bushing from Poison Spider Customs on link end
Urethane bushings from Ballistic on axle end

2" x .250 wall DOM tubing
1.25" thread hex tube inserts from Currie
1.25" FK heims with hi-misalignment spacers (double the misalignment of my old heims)
2 1/8" dia. x .250 wall with 5/8 bolt urethane bushings from Summit Machine on axle end
K.O.R.E. 1/4" thick link brackets on frame end
Ballistic 1/4" thick link brackets on axle end
Ruff Stuff 1/4" brackets for X-member

Here's some pics...just for giggles, last pic compares a 1.25" heim to a 3/4" heim. Makes it look...cute:p:





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I know how that is. I'm on rev. 4 of my hoops and I wouldn't say they're permanent yet. :p:

Good luck!

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The new hoops i'm building are going do be a little different. They will be more like half a hoop then welding in a straight tube for the other side if that makes sense.
I'm doing it this way since i have about a 10' stick of 1.5" tubing left to work with and can't afford to mess up a full hoop.
Plus it doesn't hurt to be different:p:

Alright, got the hoops taken care of today, just need to tack in the upper shock mounts, box in some brackets then it's on to the weld fest:p:
The axle alone has 7 sets of brackets to be welded and most of them are boxed:eek:

So here's a few shots of today's progress, my old camera died so i'm using the camera function on my camcorder...not much better than a cell phone camera but oh well.

Shock hoop:

Ballistic end nub thingy I used to cap off the ends:

Mock up for the coilovers, it's gonna fit nice!

And for the hell of it, a pic of the trac-bar and bracket, fits nicely between the front of the engine x-member and the pitman arm:

Looking good, Dave. Missed you out there this weekend, but my Carne Asada fix, was taken care of. :)

They dont call you Dave The Automator Fantabulous Fabricator for nothing - top notch craftsmanship DB! :thumbsup::)

Now that you got those hoops figured out, you can come down and do mine!

Thanks guys...Colin, I wish I could of been there for all the fun but I'll be ready for the next one;)

IZ, i'm just trying to keep up with you:D

Bob, I still have the dimensions in my head:p:

Well, I won't be able to salvage my old engine cross brace for the shock hoops so I'm gonna go check out the steelyard tomorrow and see what they got.
That's pretty much all I have left to fab, everything is tacked in and ready for welding:thumbsup:

So I was going pretty good welding up the axle today when I ran out of gas so I headed over to the welding store I usually go to and they moved out of town:rolleyes:
The tank I have is expired so I take it to the other side of town to another shop and they say they'd have to re-certify it before they can fill it...$25 to certify:thumbdwn:
On top of that they say its not a very good tank because it's a lower pressure tank than what they use...A higher pressure tank can hold more gas. I ask how much a new tank is and he says $150...yikes! I can't afford that right now so I gave them my old tank which is useless to me and went home.
That left me with the flux core option which luckily I have a big spool of, not as pretty as MIG but it is what it is.
Axle is done just need to weld the lower links, shock hoops and panhard bracket at the frame end.

Bummer! That's why I bought the little 20 cu ft bottles from Tractor Supply. Since I have a backup, Murphy says I'll never run out on the weekend.


I used up about 3/4 of an 80 cu-ft bottle of argon just on the primary tubes of the driver's side header - wtf. If you want to make money quick, figure out how to extract argon out of the air and set up shop near some fabricators.

Finally got the hoops done today except I changed bushings on the engine crossbrace. The bushings I was using were 3" wide shackle bushings and the brackets I made for them were too close to the shock mounts making it near impossible to weld between the two.

So I used some narrower bushings I had and cut off the sleeves for the 3" bushings on the crossbrace and welded up the new ones.
Luckily I was able to re-use the crossbrace, I was worried it would be too short after cutting off the bushings.

I started painting the hoops and brace but it got dark quick with the time change so pics of that will have to wait.
Here's a few of everything mocked up in place:




You have a ton of clearance above your motor! :eek: Mine is going to be difficult to squeeze in.

Looking good though, as usual. :cool:

You have a ton of clearance above your motor! :eek: Mine is going to be difficult to squeeze in.

Looking good though, as usual. :cool:

Thanks...the cross bar is a tight fit where the brackets are for the bushings, the hood hinges are right above it. I closed the hood to check and I was lucky to fit a finger in between. Also, there's maybe an 1/8" where it goes over the IAC on the intake plenum. I'll have to keep my eye on that.

Hopefully, maybe, possibly:p:

Updates...I borrowed a better camera so now I have pics worthy to post:p:
Finished all the welding and got everything painted up so tomorrow the assembly begins:cool:

Got some random pics of the axle, links, panhard bracket and hybrid 35 d-shaft. If you've read Tbars4 thread on this you'll know it's about 1 1/2" inches longer than a normal D35 d-shaft. It's actually 1 3/8" longer in the tube between the dust boot to start of the CV, everything else is the same.
I just swapped over my CV (with circulating ball and U-joints) as well as the front U-joint to the hybrid shaft and voila...lengthened d-shaft. Fits like a charm since I pushed the axle forward 1".

Also had to make a bracket for the vacuum ball, originally it was mounted to the inner fenderwell I believe. Since i've hacked most of that out, the ball has been mounted less than ideally with just one screw holding it in place:rolleyes:

And the last pic, I had to show my forum pride with a sticker on the engine crossbar:D

So here's the pics of everything before it goes on the truck tomorrow:








Mannnnn why do i feel so :notworthy: ?

looking good tho really good :D

Got everything together finally and took it for a test drive this morning on the streets and the freeway and it drove great. Steering needs a little adjustment but I expected that.
Had a little scare on my way back in from the test drive, not once or twice but THREE times I either passed or had police behind me.
First time was on a dead end street and there must have been 6 or so motorcycle cops coming towards me but they payed no attention to me.
Seemed strange that so many were together on a desolate street.
At the end of that street was pretty much open desert with a bunch of dirt roads so I had to investigate naturally:D I didn't get crazy, spent a few minutes and headed out of there.
As i'm turning off that street, another cop turns on the street and i'm watching what he's doing...he flips a U turn:rolleyes: I just made my turn and the cop also makes the same turn in my direction and now he's in the other lane coming in my direction. I drive like an old man and just wait for him to light me up but no, he just looks at my truck and speeds on by...whew.
A few lights down, ANOTHER cop is behind me so I figure ok third times the charm but that cop eventually turns on another street.
The truck is now parked at home and won't be driven until I go wheelin' again:p:

I have a few odds and ends to take care of like adjust the steering, uninstall a u joint in the front d-shaft and see what's going on, fix wiring on the rocklights and make a bezel for the t-case boot.
Overall I'm real happy how it turned out, I accomplished everything I wanted to with this build...level stance, more uptravel, no joints binding up and beefed up components.

Pics to come

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Great news, Dave.

So is this the final revision to your setup then? :)