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Great Pumpkin Solid Axle Swap 1993 Ford Explorer XL Rick Horwitz

Rick

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My solid axle swap went through two phases of construction. The first utilized Trailmaster 4" coil springs and Rancho 9000 shocks. The setup was a 5 link, that is 4 links plus a panhard bar. The coil spring was allowed to fall way from it's upper mount and was kept in line by a piece of tubular steel which also served as a bump stop.

The axle is a Dana 44 High Pinion design from a '79 Bronco. The axle was shortened for this application. I do not have the measurements. All of the fabrication work was done by FST in Phoenix

Here are photos from Phase 1:














Main drawback to this design was the noise and sloppiness that occured when the coil spring fell away from the top mount. Everyone I wheeled with had to get used to the BANG when the coil popped back in place.
 
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Rick

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Great Pumpkin Solid Axle Swap Phase II

For the second phase of the SAS FST installed Bilstein 2" coilover shocks in essentially the same location as the Rancho 9000s were originally located. The Bilstein shocks have 11" of travel. The lower spring is 650lbs and the upper is 450lbs. The numbers may seem high, but that's what's needed when you mount the shocks back on the arm as was done here. The high rates DO NOT make for a stiff suspension. Due to the mechanical advantage involved the rates work out the same as lower rates mounted directly to the axle.

In this phase the lower arms were beefied up substantially by doubling the chrome moly tubing. This allows the arm to take the full load of the front suspension and also makes the arms about bullet proof when rockcrawling a 6000lb truck. The upper arms are made of high strength aluminum and use oversize heim joints for additional strength. The coil buckets and lower coil mounts were retained so that in the unlikely even of coil over failure the standard coil spring could be reinstalled to get the truck off the trail.

The coil springs no longer unload as they did with the previous setup. There is always tension in the spring setup. A few more inches of travel was obtained by making this switch as well. A center limiting strap was used to keep the front end from lifting away from the axle during steep hill climbs. The center strap helped greatly with stability.

Hydraulic assist steering was also added. The hydraulic assist ram makes steering with a fully locke front end as easy as steering a rig with an open front differential. If you have ever tried to steer a locked front end in tight situations you know what a benefit this is.

In all have been extremely pleased with this setup.










 
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zensius

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Rick, that all looks very nice. I know you've got a great fab shop in your area. But what I was wondering how much of that work is custom made? ( the first setup) What did this all cost you, minus the cost of the front axle?
 

Rick

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All of the links in the suspension and steering system were custom made from either chrome moly tubing or the high strength aluminum.

I trade work with FST so I really couldn't tell you what the labor would cost. I also recieved their in house pricing for the coil overs, heims etc... so any prices I may quote would not reflect actual street costs.

If you would like to talk to the guy who masterminded this his name is Torrey and his number is 602-484-7616.
 

rvitek

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Rick - I wouldn't be able to do exactly what you did to your truck, but if I had the money to lift (instead I lowered), I would definately model my truck after your. I show your stuff to a countless number of people at work and every result is the same... 'pick up your bottom jaw boy!!'

Great lookin' rig!

Ry.
 

Xplodor

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I'm the same way, I show your rig off to everyone.

Rick, have any failure/problems with the coilovers? Can your rig handle higher speeds on dirt well as rock crawling, as far as romping?
 

Rick

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No problems Ron it has worked our great so far. It still blasts through the washes as fast as ever. It's just a lot smoother now :D
 

JoshC

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Rick, i've always wondered what your setup was on your truck, now i know!

If you had to do it over again, what would you do different? Also, is your truck used for off road only, does it ever see the street? Just curious to see how it rides on pavement. Thanks.

Happy trails!!
 

Rick

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I still dirive it on the road occasionally. Except for the Swamper tires which are very rough it rides great. When I had the MTRs on there it road like any daily driver.
 

Dannyboy

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I actually called FST yesterday Rick. I told them I am moving from WI and all my buddies with Fab Technology will be left behind. I was planning on bringing a cut axle set up with gears with me.
FST said they'd be my fab buddies for a mere $3-6K

Too bad for me I'm not wealthy enough to turn it over, but I think this new catagory will help me learn what I need to do! This is just what the hard core guys on the site needed!
 

Rick

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Yeah, they aren't cheap... That doesn't keep the business away though. They are always swamped.
 

SpartanLim96

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Re: Great Pumpkin Solid Axle Swap Phase II

Originally posted by Rick







WHOAH!!!! speaking of high angle driveline. . .do your U-joints last more than an hour?

how much is your front axle turned?

awesome job on the swap. . . i'm lazy, i buy truck that already have SFA, i could never do a swap. great job!
 

Rick

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Re: Re: Great Pumpkin Solid Axle Swap Phase II

Originally posted by SpartanLim96
WHOAH!!!! speaking of high angle driveline. . .do your U-joints last more than an hour?

how much is your front axle turned?

awesome job on the swap. . . i'm lazy, i buy truck that already have SFA, i could never do a swap. great job!
No problem with front U-joints at all. The angle isn't too extreme. I can't tell you off hand how many degrees the axle is turned I would have to measure.
 

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I would assume that pick of the front driveshaft is at full-droop which would usually only occur in the real world with both front tires off the ground. And for full-droop, the angle isn't bad at all.

Robb
 

Xplodor

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I'm sure they aren't cheap, but it looks like they are REALLY good. Look at Ricks Rig. I'm sure they stand by their work. I'd save the $$$ to have them do it if I lived out in AZ. A SAS and an Atlas II would be soooo nice...
 

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Originally posted by morrisey0
I would assume that pick of the front driveshaft is at full-droop which would usually only occur in the real world with both front tires off the ground. And for full-droop, the angle isn't bad at all.

Robb
that was my initial reaction too, until i noticed the jack stand sitting closed, completely, not supporting anything.
 

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<edit> I read your Bio. :D
 

FAKRWEE

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Rick how do you like the steering ram now that you have more trail time with it? Are all the chips on it from the trail?
 
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Rick

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I LOVE the ram :D Steering lock to lock with the ARB engaged is as easy as it would be without the locker engaged.

The chips came with the ram! It was used. Those are just paint scratches not dents or dings.
 

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