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Freshmeat's Eddie Bauer

Freshmeat's Eddie Bauer (Now SAS Build)

Long story short, my girlfriend gave me my 1992 EB. The automatic transmission was giving her so much trouble she gave up and bought a new Altima. The Ex was her first car, though, so she was reluctant to just outright sell it... so when I started looking for a new 4x4 project, it fit. She would get to see it live a whole new life and I'd get a 4x4... free!

Now that I've had it a few months, there were LOTS of things wrong...
Transfer case motor was "lost" (I replaced the bushing)
All window motors were bad (I rebuilt all four)
TPS was shot (I replaced it)
Power steering was whining (I somehow shut it up)
Intake tube was compromised (I replaced it)
All fluids and filters were NAAAASTY (still need to do the axles)
Fuel level gauge doesn't work (haven't gotten to that yet)

I managed to get the A4LD working decently enough to think I was good to go. Boy, was I wrong!

Here it is stock:

photo4.jpg


I installed a set of 132X Skyjacker coils, Procomp shocks (up front), and added a Chevy leaf to the rear. I also removed both swaybars completely and threw on my 34x10.50s to see if they'd fit...
They did... but I couldn't turn anywhere...

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I cut the crap out of the front fenders. Spent six hours on the passenger's side, twenty minutes on the driver's side once I figured out how much to take out...

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I thought things were good, so I took it on its first trail ride... and had a blast!!

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Unfortunately, so did my transmission...

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I let it cool off, filled it back up, and drove it 45 miles back home. I went the next morning and pulled a M5OD and all related hardware from a 1991 Mazda Navajo, then spent the next month and a half doing the transmission swap in my (rare) spare time. In the process of swapping the transmission the exhaust system fell apart, so I installed the Dynomax catback, which sounds great! I've been driving it for almost a month with the five speed and it's a whole new truck. I'm loving how well it rides, now. I scored some manual hubs from a member here, as well as a single hub at the junk yard and installed them recently. I'm sure glad to have a spare, as violent as I get on my throttle. :D Next will be to extend all my breathers- transfer case and both axles- to under the hood, probably by the master cylinders. I have a set of JKS bar pin eliminators that I'm hoping will fit the rear so I can run shocks with eyelets on both ends. I already have F250 shock towers for the front; just waiting until I get the time to tear into the front suspension and get all that work done. I figure it'll take a full day to get both sides installed and I don't have a full day any time soon, so I'll have to be patient on that.

That's the current status so far. I have its first trail ride (with manual transmission and manual hubs) coming up this Saturday... planning to have a great time. I'd get pictures, but it's a night run, so there's no guarantees!

Here's a final shot of a co-worker and me goofing off with the forklift after work one day...

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What do you guys think so far? It's come a LOOONG way, but still has a LOOONG way to go...
 


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Freshmeat

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City, State
Denham Springs, LA
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1994 Ranger STX SC
We talked about a winch bumper, but when it came down to it, the bumper alone was a bit of an impulse decision and a winch design would have significantly increased the value, as he'd have had to cut it out of plate. I really only needed the solid recovery points and wanted the stinger, so we kept it incredibly simple and saved me some cash.
 




Freshmeat

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Denham Springs, LA
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1994 Ranger STX SC
Okay- I took it out last Saturday and had a blast again. The bumper held up to hitting a (few) tree(s), digging through some trench crossings, and getting tugged when I didn't make it up the trench embankments. It was a great time, but I feel like I need more lift to get through a lot of the trails down here. The 2" makes for a great mild-looking build, but I don't have enough belly clearance for a lot of the breakovers.

On the way home my brakes started getting extremely spongy, to the point I was having to downshift extra early and start braking well before I normally would, then add in a little bit of holding my breath to make sure I'd stop in time. I researched things a bit here and found that the most common cause of this is rear brakes being out of adjustment. Sure enough, I pulled the drum and they were way out of whack. They were also well-coated in roasted bearing grease. I cleaned everything up (I have a 3-gal parts washer I slide under the brake hardware and use a flow-through brush to clean everything and it drips back down into the parts washer) and adjusted the brakes, then I took the time to hammer down the rear fender lips, as the passenger side took some damage that was causing the lip to slightly cut into the sidewall of my tire. I hadn't realized how soft my parking brake was, but the adjustment made a huge difference across the board.

My next project is on board air. Last weekend I picked up a 3-gal tank with two compressors mounted to it. I'm going through the bracketry and wiring, trying to get it all set up just the way I want it. This is a big push, because I was just given an ARB for the D35 and want to get that set up ASAP. I really need to get the front locked and having a selectable option would really kick ass.
 




Freshmeat

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1994 Ranger STX SC
photo16.jpg


On Friday I finally found a locksmith who could pick the locks on the roof rack so I pulled it off completely and gave it to my brother-in-law. I have a truck- I don't need to stack shit on top of my Ex. Today I took some time to wash it and even blinged out the tires with some Mequiar's tire shine. It was garbage so I was trying to use it up to justify buying something else.

I've been thinking looong and haaard about getting some more lift. My plan was to keep the 2" until I do the SAS, but I'd like to get some more clearance now so I can take the time and really do the axles the way I want them and not be in a hurry to throw it together.

So... I'm going to start sourcing some used parts. Here's the parts list:

4' of 2", .25" wall DOM tube
4" drop axle pivot brackets
5.5" coil springs
REALLY LONG brake lines

I have some F250 shock brackets to install, just need to cut/resupport the stock coil bucket so it can be stand-alone. I'll do a 5.5" front lift using the drop brackets and extend my radius arms 12-15", and throw in the F250 shock brackets in the process. That's why I didn't list shocks- I'll need to get it all assembled, then figure out my travel distance and order the shocks that will best fit.
For the rear I'm planning to go with a second generation axle for the disc brakes and run a spring over. I'll have the local fab shop build a new upper shock crossmember so I can eliminate the bar pins up top and the plan is to also use the shock crossmember as a mounting point for the air tank, to keep it out of the cargo space yet up away from danger. For the lower shock mounts I intend to have some studs welded toward the bottom of the axle housing instead of having them relocated to the top of the spring packs, which would then be on top of the axle. I'd rather gain that shock travel to allow as much flex as I can manage with this set-up.
I honestly have no idea where I can go for the brake lines I'll need. I don't know how long they'll need to be or anything- I'd guess about 6" over stock for the lift, but then I'll also have more flex with the F250 shock brackets, so I don't know what I'd need to do there. I'll have to keep researching.

I'm also planning to swap the grill and headlight surrounds for the black pieces off a sport. I hate chrome and it looks terrible behind my new black bumper. But in the grand scheme of what I'm about to tackle with this thing, swapping a grill and headlight surrounds is a ridiculously minor detail.
 




Freshmeat

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1994 Ranger STX SC
I changed my mind again- has that ever happened to you? Saturday morning I'm going to pick up a HP-D44 front and a D60 full floater rear. He's also letting me take the radius arms and any brackets I want... for a grand total of $250. That'd probably change your mind, too!
 




Freshmeat

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I just ordered a new seal kit for the power steering box. Mine is leaking so I need to rebuild it... and while I have it apart I'm going to tap it for the hydro assist I'll be adding with the new axles.
 




Freshmeat

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Umm... how did I go from wanting a little more TTB lift to picking up a pair of 60s Saturday? Can anyone help me understand that?
 




Freshmeat

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No going back now...

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Freshmeat

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The 60 is in the garage ready for tear-down. Going to wait until I have some parts gathered before I begin, though. I'll do one side at a time. The U-joints look really tight- I may leave them alone, but we'll see how I feel when I pull the shafts to do the brakes and kingpins.

I'm thinking I'll call on Ballistic Fabrication for all my brackets. I really like their stuff and it saves me the hassle of screwing things up trying to do it all myself. These alone will save me so much time it's not even funny:
http://www.ballisticfabrication.com/Flat-bottom-radius-arm-coil-mounts_p_1184.html

I'm anxious to get started, but I spent all my blow-away money for the rest of the year by opting for a 60. I am confident, however, it's not a decision I'll regret. It's just time now to buckle down and get Christmas out of the way then I can start building on this thing.
 




Sams01XplrSprt

Southern Cali Explorer
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nice x and what yr altima i got an altima as well but mine is an 07 2.5 S its precision grey with tinted windows
 




94fourdoor

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When I did my 5.5 lift on my 94, I also bought Procomp's stainless, braided brake lines. They were about 3" too short for mild off roading and about 7" too short for any kind of real fun. In my town we have a shop called Ace Hydraulic and they specialize in custom hydraulic lines. If you don't have a similar hydraulic line shop in your town, you might be able to try a fork lift repair/sales shop. If they don't have something there they might be able to point you in the right direction. Great work and good luck!
 




Freshmeat

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Thanks for the complements, guys!

Sams- hers is '07 as well, with the 2.5 and more options than I knew existed on cars.

94- thanks for that tip. However, a buddy has been showing me his set-up; he put adapter fittings on his calipers, proportioning valve, etc to run -3AN line throughout and he said he loves it because he can make the lines as long as he wants and run them wherever he wants- and if he accidentally slips and snaps a line he can carry one hose that would replace any line on his truck. I'm strongly considering this route myself.
 




94fourdoor

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Awsome! I am not shure what 3AN line is though... can you get any pics or a link that could elaborate on his setup? I might consider that route next because even though I am very satisfied w/ Ace Hydraulic, it is a pretty pricey solution!
 




Freshmeat

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Not sure when I'll be able to do the digging- busy all week, but if you tool around on Summit Racing's website a bit I'm sure you can find it. It's primarily used for fuel line, but works great for brakes as well.
 




Freshmeat

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My buddy who is running the -3 brake lines went to 42s. I'll be picking up his slightly used 38.50s in the next week or two. :D
 




94fourdoor

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Nice! I need more friends like that!
 




Freshmeat

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...and for the brake and hydraulic lines... I'm on the verge of investing in the equipment to start building hydraulic lines for people on the side. If I do that, though, the one ton swap will be even slower.
 




Freshmeat

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It took me a couple days, but I managed to get the axle situated in the garage... just in time to get buried under lots of crap that I need to throw out, complements of a small flood while we were setting up Christmas stuff. All that junk usually sits on top of the plastic boxes that contain all the Christmas junk, but it was on the floor due to setting up the tree... and, of course, that's when we took 2" of water in the garage.

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I also picked up the tires. (2) 38.50 boggers for the rear; (2) 38.50 SXs for the front, and (1) 38.50 LTB for a spare. These things aren't as heavy as I'd expected. I also set one next to the Explorer... and they still don't look as big as I'd hoped, being that the Ex has such a huge body on it...

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Also, in the rebuild of my D35, I tore off a chunk of my finger attempting to do the old hammer/socket U-joint replacement... so I begged and pleaded for an early Christmas from the family... and won!

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This bad boy will make U-joint and bearing swaps super easy. I'm anxious to find time to finish swapping the joints on the front shafts just so I can use it some more!
 




Freshmeat

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Okay- changed my mind again. Not really changed my mind, but wised up before I went too far. I sold the D60 and the guy who sold me the 38s is buying them back for his new project. I decided I REALLY like where my Explorer is. On 34s it handles as well as most of the Rubicons out there (rich people can't drive for crap) so it's a lot more fun than giving them the excuse of, "Oh, well you have one tons and 38s!"

Besides... I'm building a street/strip cruiser, now. The Explorer will get more upgrades (electric fan, off-road lights, rear bumper) after I buy a house (hopefully) next month, but for now, I'm focusing on the wagon to get it up to par so I can start taking it to the drag strip once in a while.

What do you think? :D

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Freshmeat

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I love my Explorer. Bottom line.
This was supposed to be my rig until I found the Jeep I want... but I can't get over how well it performs. This is my end-all rig; if/when this one gets too ragged out to keep going with it, I'll get another.
Very few modifications- 2" lift, 34x10.50s, and welded spider gears in the D35 are the only functional upgrades (also M5OD and manual hubs, but they're stock equipment) and I was actually idling through everything on the terribly sloppy trail today... and even had a couple opportunities to strap out Rubicons.
 




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