James Duff 2.5" installation review | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

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James Duff 2.5" installation review

pgrey

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City, State
San Francisco, CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
'92 XLT
Hi all,

I wanted to give you a review of the installation of the James Duff 2.5” lift kit.. I should say that I’ve been working on street cars, race cars and motorcycles for 30 years. I’ve also designed and fabricated a fair number of parts for my street and (winning) road race cars. My daily driver is a Volvo wagon with a 347 Ford V8 and Tremec that I installed (not using a kit). I have a lot of experience working on cars.

A couple of weeks ago I ordered the 2.5” lift for my ’92 Explorer and earlier this week I started the process of removing the old suspension components and replacing them with the kit. In all my time working on things automotive, I can’t remember an installation that has been more frustrating.

The bolts supplied with the kit, while of good quality, were too short to use with washers. Since they didn’t include any washers I suppose this made sense… There were no washers to be found in any of the bags of fastening hardware. Since the bolts supplied were often undersized for the factory holes, not using washers made even less sense than it normally would.

The bracket that bolts to the passenger side frame rail and serves as the mount for the left side of the IFS needed to be trimmed so it would clear some spot welded protrusions, and needed a spacer made so that it could sit flat on the frame rail.

The procedures outlined in the instructions made little sense. They were just horrible – some of the worst I’ve ever seen.

The radius arm bushings didn’t fit properly. I don’t know what vehicle they were supposed to fit, but it clearly wasn’t a ’92 Explorer. I used the poly bushings that I bought recently and was going to return.

The supplied u-bolts for the back axle and springs had to be squeezed with a C clamp to get them through the holes in the lower shock mount. They weren’t even close to fitting. I used the stock u-bolts. The upper rear shock mount “T-bone” was missing on one shock. Since the shocks that are coming off the truck are aftermarket, the “T-bone” isn’t transferable and won’t work with the shocks they provided. I’ll have to fabricate or buy a mount.

The parts supplied are strong, but little attention seems to have been paid to how well they fit, or to the pieces required to install them properly.

The folks at James Duff didn’t seem particularly interested in dealing with my problems. Good customer service and a good attitude can smooth over a lot of problems. Even if a company has screwed up, copping to it and doing what they can to fix it goes a long way towards making the customer feel better. That certainly didn’t happen here.

If I weren’t so time constrained, I’d rip the kit off my truck and send it back. The James Duff stickers have already been removed from the new pieces.

I sure hope this kit works better than it installs.

Regards,

Peter
 



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SVO

Moderator Emeritus/Doctor
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
May 3, 2003
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City, State
Bastrop/Austin, Tx
Year, Model & Trim Level
Turbocharged Navajo LX
Most of the people I have talked with told me to go with a Super lift for my Navajo.

I have taken into consideration the James Duff, but now I don't know.

Thank you for your informative write up,I will take your words into consideration for my timely desicion.

Hopefully your other mods will go smoother.
 






PUR PONY

Explorer Addict
Joined
November 30, 2000
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City, State
CT
Year, Model & Trim Level
96 LTD, 96 XLT, & 98 XLT
this sucks to hear. I have been going to order the JD lift for my 92 ranger for the last year and just have not. I was going to order in next week.... now I dont know. I always heard that there products were great!
 






TheRookie

Traveling SAS guru
Joined
October 19, 2002
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City, State
West Chester PA
Year, Model & Trim Level
91 explorer xlt
Can you put up some pics of the problem areas? I was about to order the rod ended radius arms but will wait for more info. PICS PICS PICS
 






410Fortune

Truck Season!!
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City, State
NORTH IDAHO, 7B
Year, Model & Trim Level
B2 "Slightly" Modified
Callsign
FOURTEN
pics of the Duff lifts here:

www.jamesduff.com

Skyjacker is a good alternative.
There are also lots of custom setups you can do for the TTB, it all depends on what you want to gain, all the way from tire clearance to cut and turned beams.

Most bolt on kit sI have dealt with for the ttb has some "fittment" issues to say the least..
 






TheRookie

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91 explorer xlt
Thanks 410 but I am looking for pics of the fitment problems. I know duffs website.
 






Brett

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City, State
Littleton, CO
Year, Model & Trim Level
94 Explorer Sport
Yep, pretty much my experience with James Duff!

Honestly, one of the worst customer support.

I purchased my JD lift used for my explorer. Really, not too many issues going on. Purchased one brand new for my BII. No issues going on. (I'd done quite a few TTB lifts before so I know what I was getting into I guess)

I purchased some extended radius arms. Apparently these were the first set to be sold to an Explorer. Obviously, they never test fitted them to know that a Ranger frame and Bronco II frame and Explorer frame all have differences. Wrong hardware. PITA install for the x member. Required the use of the JD shock hoop. I also had to cut about 1/4" of steel from the arm to clear the TTB. I called JD with all the issues I ran into. They didn't care.

I had also ordered some extended brake lines with the radius arms. Put those in, and the line would come into contact with the shock at full turn. I effectlivly, lost my brakes before I got out of the driveway because the line was so pinched. Called JD, and asked if they had ever installed a set of extended lines with their radius arms. Guess what the answer was. No. They did give me my money back for the lines.

Also purchased a bunch of 5.0L conversion parts. Once again. Most of them did not fit and they were returned. The 5.0 swap radiator was the only item that actually lived up to it's claim. However, I could have probably went down to the local radiator supplier here in town and figured out what would work for about 1/2 the price.
 






pgrey

Active Member
Joined
September 18, 2002
Messages
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City, State
San Francisco, CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
'92 XLT
Sorry "TheRookie", but I don't have a digital camera and I don't feel like taking photos, having them developed and then scanning them. Suffice it to say that fit problems, while not terminal, added to the overall negative impression of JD's design implementation.

Regards,

Peter
 






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