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Going up another inch


Elite Explorer
April 24, 2001
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'91 XLT
I finally borke down and ordered some coil spacers. At 12 bucks a piece they about broke me;) For those of you unaware, I am currently running a James Duff 2.5" with Michelin LTX AT 31's. I love the lift. The quality and stregnth are amazing, and it turned my Explorer into a well-performing off road vehicle. But I want to add a little height, and adventually get glass fenders and run 33's. But for now I decided to get the spacers.

For the rear, however, I am seeking everyones advice. I thought that to match my 3.5" lift in the front (total with the spacers on) I could do a spring over and modify it by removing the over load and third spring. Then go back to stock size shackles, if not shorter, and I'll be about even front and rear. To those of you who have done a spring over, does this sound feasable? Or should I just jet warrior shackles, which will gain me only half an inch? I plan on doing this within the next week, so any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks again, Kyle.


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I'd do the SOA. If you want a bit more height you can always addaleaf or shackles after the SOA.

alec... he is worried about too much hieght with the soa......

i would just do the soa and leave it... let the rear be a little bit higher... it will look better than it being too low....

Alec, Jim is correct about being too high.

I figured that if I have to, I can make a set of shackle's myself, that are about 4 inches eye to eye. That would drop it down 3/4 of an inch over stock. Jim, I don't really like the higher rear end look. To me it looks like a two wheel drive. I would like it as even as possible. But I guess if I have to have the rear a little higher I can live with it.

Well, I have the SOA Set up. The only thing is I have VR coils. I love my set up. The AAL sucked. Harsh ride and all. I was running some auto zone shackles too- they sucked up my departure angle. Well, the SOA is awesome. cushy ride, flex, nice departure angle. I took out the overload spring only. I would not advice you to cut down the shackles. Good Idea, but I have looked and there really isn't room for them to be smaller. Remember what ever you take off the shackles will only drop you half that- not really worth .5 inch eh? Any way take a look. I clear 33's no prob. my homepage link is at bottom, there is some wheeling pics and such

heres my front end:

and a pic in the garage
Rear Flex
Garage Link

Well you guys just gave me an extra amount of inspiration. I plan on doing it this weekend so I'll ket everyone know how it goes and post some pics. Thanks, Kyle.

Kirby - Thanks for the pics. Do you have any pics of it on flat ground to compare the front and rear heights? And what do you mean by VR coils?

Dont forget you will need some camber shims from Moog to get your alignment back on track, also if you dont already have it do yourself a favor and get a drop pitman arm to keep those steering angles in check.

I have the Duff 3" VR lift on my BII with Skyjacker radius arms and the F-150 spring seats. They will actually yield you 1-5/8" on both sides. YOu will want to remove the Duff coil spacer" that is probably in there now, also your Duff shocks are probably going to limit your travel now, I have found the 70/30's are only good for about 2-3" lift max.

I wouls also keep an eye on the front brakelines, 3-4" is getting them close to being maxed out......

In the rear do the SOA, if you plan to wheel your Ex.....
If not get some 4" lift springs, skip the ad a leafs, etc...

Also look into the "Zimmerman" leaf mod, I hear that works well on Explorer's

The camber shims in there now have a lot to go before they need replacing with higher degree ones. I should be good for camber. I was thinking that I do need a drop pitman arm. Not for driving on the road but for off road. For shocks I already have Bilsteins good for a 4" lift. I also have 4" lift stainless brake lines. I'm just concerned with the ride if I have to end up only leaving two springs in. I drive about 80 miles a day so I don't want a rear end that is super soft.

I wouldn't leave 2 in. You might have trouble with axle wrap. you'll find that without the overload they will probably be flat anyway. Like I said, softer has been way better for my ride. Your rear shocks will probably be too long. I need to get some for 0-2 inches lift. I am thinking about getting the M.O.R.E. shock mounts for my rear end. go to www.mountainoffroad.com and check the universal mounts that weld on and leave a peg. Kris G. has some on his explorer. As attament as 410 is attiment about getting the shims, mine has the same ones on it as it did with no lift and it works wonderful. aligned perfect. As for the pitman arm, I wanted one forever, but I think they are a waste of money now. Mine din'tneed one, I get no bump steer and my tie rod ends are still holding on.I f you must have one, might as well do it before the alignment though.
VR is variable rate. they have a soft spring rate initially and get stiffer as they compress. you can spot these springs because they are tightly wound at the top. They have a small space between the winds. And progressively get less tightly wound. I don't have any that are all that flat. there is one that looks like it is on flat ground, but the camera is turned and I am going up hill slightly. Hit my "homepage" button for all of my pics.

Yeah my coils are VR. I figured thats what you meant, I just hadn't heard anyone refer to them as VR though. As for my rear shocks, I plan on getting stock size Bilsteins. I have the Duff shocks on now, which are pretty ho-hum. I had definitley planned on getting some mounts like those but in a weld on style. Now as for the leaf springs, would you say put the top two springs in plus the overload, or the top three without the over load? I was concerned that axle wrap would be a problem. Thanks again, Kyle.

These are the mounts:Dead Link Removed
I might get these plates if they are decently priced. If not I'll cut up the stock ones and make them work nicely.Dead Link Removed

I'm going to agree with everyone else and say go with SOA without the overload and wtih stock length shackles. Thats exactly what I have matched to my 4" lift in front (which is what you will have). See my photo gallery for pics with 33x10.5s.

Byrd - Yours looks huge compared to mine. Very nice job with you setup. I have been looking at your pics for a while now. Are my 31's going to look like Geo Metro tires with that much lift? I would love to get 33's but my tires have about 95% of their life left.


I think the grass is always greener because yours looks pretty big to me the way it is now. Hehehe. And don't get me started on what 12.5s look like next to my 10.5s.

I started on my project today. But I didn't get very far. I welded up the shock mounts and I think they'll work well. But my shocks only have about 2 inches of travel left. I think I'm going to get stock size Bilsteins for the rear, and with the relocation of the mount it should match up perfectly. Here are some pics:


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Looks Good man. Ebert has the same set up as me. tires and everything. I ran 30s with 3 inches and it looked cool, so 31s with 4 should be alright. Those mounts look good, though I will probably still do the more ones. what did they cost? Where did you get them? I am running no overload and no AAL. So I don't know how many springs are in there:rolleyes: . Lets see an after!! Another thing, mine had the adjustable camber bushings in it, that is why I didn't need the moogs, you might look and see if yours are adjustable.

Those mounts cost 3.50 a piece with the hardware. They are reallt well made, and for that price I figured it was worth it to get them. I got them from a local shop, www.foothilloffroad.com If you are running no overload and no aal, you should only have in 3 leaves. That's what I plan on doing. And if that is still too high, I'll fab up some shackles that are 4" or so eye to eye. I can do it myself and in about 15 minutes. As far as the camber goes, I do have adjustable shims in currently, and they have a ways to go before they are maxed out. So I think that I should be fine for camber. Thanks for the input, Kyle.