How much can drivetrain take | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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How much can drivetrain take

blue_goose

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City, State
WY
Year, Model & Trim Level
'02 4x4 4.0 200K
Hey guys- Its been a while so I thought I would start a little discussion on drivetrain stregnth and how much abuse it can take NOT in terms of racing. Reason is I live in International Falls, MN and need a truck for what I do. I use it for about 90% highway as I travel across the counrty working for the National Park Service and going to school and home. the other 10% can be rather hard. I am very nice to it except when i need it to work. This often entails making it go through stuff few if any 3rd gens have gone, mainly in the winter. So the off road abuse is there about once a month or so, and I am not very easy on it when I have to use it. Also living in a place that does not have a town over 1000 people within 2 hours of it means I often help others out cause help could be a ways away.
The most recent and the one I am worried if I did anything too bad is when I was visiting my friend in Canada. During a -40 night about 10 minutes from my house I saw a dodge slipped off the road and stopped to help. Then i saw it was a 3/4 ton diesel with the left tires barley on the road, other 2 well in the ditch and high centered in hard packed snow. I took one look and said there's no way I'm getting you out. But just for fun and to try to help him i did anyway (I love doing stuff like this). I put my 4.0 3.55 rear end with General Grabber AT2 265/70s in low range with the front 2 tires of pavement and the back 2 on the snowy road. We used a chain cause I had to jerk him and a tow strap would probally break. the first time I didn't jerk him, and hit the gas til the wheels spun. the I gave him about 3" slack and jerked him and the wheels spun again and I stopped. Question is did I harm my drive train or frame (had the patethic class II hitch) very much and how much can these take? I realise that wasn't the smartest thing, but that why I'm posting here, cause I want to know how much I can push it. Thanks!
 



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I don't think you damaged anything, it's not like you were putting as much stress as if you were on completely dry pavement.

If you want to look for any damages, check out where the hitch mounts to the frame. I've seen countless times where the holes the hitch mounts to are pulled slightly toward the back or pulled down a little bit. Check the hitch itself also.

But as far as damaging the drive train, the odds are minimal at best.. unless you're leaving out anything. These trucks were made to withstand some abuse. I'm not too familiar with the 3rd gens, but my 2nd gen holds up Very well to towing and general off-roading in some pretty rough stuff.
 






Thats really about it, the front tires were on dry pavement but the backs wern't. I was more worried about unequal stress of that degree on the transfer case and whether the front end was made good enough compared to the back, and also the tranny cause I hear some things about them not being the greatest. I guess I'm also worried about the fact that I treat it like its a 1/2 ton sometimes when its only an Explorer. And as far as the general off roading goes, last time I was stuck my bro pulled me out in his 1/2 ton 06 ram and we bent the hitch (not the actual reciever its self though) doing it i was high centered so bad in the snow, altough I would never try something like that without snow or good mud.
 






that's not what chains are for. snatching a chain is like asking for injury, because chains have no give, they will break, not stretch.

you should really invest in a strap that is made for snatching if you use it in snow a lot.

http://www.masterpull.com/cpage.cfm?cpid=425

sorta expensive, but not as expensive as a back window or a hospital visit if that chain breaks and hits someone! :dunno:
 






I've probably put my truck through way more abuse, with the jumping it.. racing.. (on and off-road) and other crazy crap. My frame is in good condition.. mainly high stress items are going out.. like ball joints and bearings here n there.

If there's anything in the drive train that might have been over stressed, it would be your front drive shaft.

(I don't know anything about your transmission, or even how your front DS is even built) But mine has a cv joint on it.. and.. yea.. no good.. lol..


Now this is some abuse!
SANY00571.jpg


Jump_-_Copy.jpg


SANY0058.jpg



lol.. good times... I wouldn't worry too much about your truck unless something doesn't feel right, or it's making noises.



Edit: Also, I agree with the poster above.. I've sadly read stories of how people were seriously injured and/or died because of a chain accident... besides..... why risk your back window?.. (I've personally seen this one happen.. poor window... it never had a chance) I use a 6k lbs strap with loops on the end.
 






HAHAHA, I only wish I could do that!! I think the 2nd gens were much better built for off road abuse, my 02 is a grocery getter that I turned into off road vehicle that would not last long off-road racing if at all. I agree, yours is subject to worse, mainly because I told myself that I was going to be nice to this vehicle after beating the crap out of all my others (it is the only vehicle I've that hasn't left the ground.) Although I have taken it places that my brother wouldn't touch with his 1/2 ton. I was just comparing this to my 91 and that felt much better off road and was more capable and solid then my 02 in every way but cruising the highway, which is why I was worried. But from the looks of things I haven't been to bad to it yet and do feel better. And I thought chains were tougher than straps even though they don't flex, but after reading calmac06 post I think that is the last time I will use one.
 






Built Ford Tough... nuff said

You really didnt do anything THAT outrageous. Like others said, just check the frame where the hitch is attached and check the hitch itself.

Also, the chain idea was not the brightest thing to do. If you often help people, it will pay in the long run for you to invest in a really nice strap.
 






HAHAHA, I only wish I could do that!! I think the 2nd gens were much better built for off road abuse, my 02 is a grocery getter that I turned into off road vehicle that would not last long off-road racing if at all. I agree, yours is subject to worse, mainly because I told myself that I was going to be nice to this vehicle after beating the crap out of all my others (it is the only vehicle I've that hasn't left the ground.) Although I have taken it places that my brother wouldn't touch with his 1/2 ton. I was just comparing this to my 91 and that felt much better off road and was more capable and solid then my 02 in every way but cruising the highway, which is why I was worried. But from the looks of things I haven't been to bad to it yet and do feel better. And I thought chains were tougher than straps even though they don't flex, but after reading calmac06 post I think that is the last time I will use one.

2nd Gens dont have IRS.
 






I dont think its so much that 2nd Gens are built better for off-road, they are just a lot easier and cheaper to build for off-road abuse. There are several 3rd Gens that race in a "stock" class and do really well. Here is a picture of one
3rdgen.jpg
 






I've seen videos on youtube before of a 4 door 4.0L explorer pulling a stalled school bus for a few yards out of danger.

Our 5R55W transmission are rated to handle 550 lbs/ft of torque too, about double of what our engines are capable of putting out. So as long as your transmission is in good order mechanically and hydraulically, I think it would be near impossible to make it slip.
 






Apart from seconding the use of a snatch strap and NOT a chain, you should not use the hitch/tow ball to do any pulling. You can use the metal loops next to the hitch, as they are rated to pull the truck, but the tow hitch is only rated to 1600kgs, with 160kg total mass on the ball (HD version at 2300kg, IIRC), so this would be the weak point.

Also, towing/snatching etiquette is that the person stranded should supply the tow rope/snatch strap - this way, if it breaks, it's not the good samaritan that suffers. Of course, if the pullee doesn't have one, then I guess as the puller you would use yours.
 






I've probably put my truck through way more abuse, with the jumping it.. racing.. (on and off-road) and other crazy crap. My frame is in good condition.. mainly high stress items are going out.. like ball joints and bearings here n there.

If there's anything in the drive train that might have been over stressed, it would be your front drive shaft.

(I don't know anything about your transmission, or even how your front DS is even built) But mine has a cv joint on it.. and.. yea.. no good.. lol..


Now this is some abuse!



lol.. good times... I wouldn't worry too much about your truck unless something doesn't feel right, or it's making noises.



Edit: Also, I agree with the poster above.. I've sadly read stories of how people were seriously injured and/or died because of a chain accident... besides..... why risk your back window?.. (I've personally seen this one happen.. poor window... it never had a chance) I use a 6k lbs strap with loops on the end.


hahaha......... I'm sorry man but your crap is no where as bad as the crap I have put my 3gen through. I have had my 3 gen 4+ feet off of the ground..... on pavement too. Pavement is a lot more rough and dosent absorb the impact as dirt does.

I'm not trying to "top" you... just saying.

Keep in mind that when Ford designed the 3gen explorers, they made the frames 300% stronger/stiffer than the 2nd gen frames.

I am also on my 2nd grill guard too. I was off roading at high speed and came down a hill very fast and I didn't have enough of a approach angle to clear the base of the hill to say the least.... I totally bent the grill guard brackets inward... the guard and brackets were trashed, didn't cave in on my hood though. I have since then bought a new grill guard and it aligned on the frame perfectly. Didn't even bend my frame out of spec by the slightest 1/4inch!
 






Also here's my friend's '94 Explorer. We did this a couple weeks ago. I was filming. I did the jump a couple times in my 3gen too.

 






I dont think its so much that 2nd Gens are built better for off-road, they are just a lot easier and cheaper to build for off-road abuse. There are several 3rd Gens that race in a "stock" class and do really well. Here is a picture of one
3rdgen.jpg

I wish I could find some videos of this explorer doing its stuff.
 






We used a chain cause I had to jerk him and a tow strap would probally break. the first time I didn't jerk him, and hit the gas til the wheels spun. the I gave him about 3" slack and jerked him and the wheels spun again and I stopped.

I know that several people have mentioned it already, but don't use a chain for something like that. Chains are okay for static line pulls, but not to be used in snatch type recovery situations. Recovery straps (snatch straps) are made to absorb the impact of the slack being removed (as opposed to breaking) and use that recoil force on the vehicle being recovered to aid in recovery. Straps come in a variety of sizes...small for something no more then a quad to 60k+ lbs if you can find them. There are two weights usually listed on them, a working load (sustained pull) and a max (total force when snatching). Here is one I found that is a 13k/40k. Here is a 20k/40k and a 30k/60k.

Apart from seconding the use of a snatch strap and NOT a chain, you should not use the hitch/tow ball to do any pulling. You can use the metal loops next to the hitch, as they are rated to pull the truck, but the tow hitch is only rated to 1600kgs, with 160kg total mass on the ball (HD version at 2300kg, IIRC), so this would be the weak point.

JCUZ, have you ever used the clevis (shackle) hitches...It fits into the receiver just like a regular hitch, come straight out for a few inches and has a clevis (shackle) on the end. I've seen a lot of people using them here (where I'm from, not the forum) for recovery (I've actually heard the referred to as a recovery hitch).

Here is one.
Here is another.
 






ok, that is the first time I've ever used a chain (it was his, not mine) and the last time after reading what you guys were saying. I'll just use my rope or tow strap from now on. new thought- Lets say all 4 wheels were on pavement, which would happen first- spin all 3-4 tires (depending on if the diff is being retarted or not) or damaging something? Kinda like a truck pull- I would never do one because vehicles arn't made for that but do you think an explorer would be able to do that in low range?
 






Are explorers are tough little trucks. Unless you heard something break, snap or pop everything is good. I wouldn't do that on a regular basis but I don't think you hurt anything.
 






EDIT: sorry, computer wasnt working and ended up double posting
 






This thread is yet another thread that makes me want to upgrade to the class III...
 



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