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James Duff Lifts


Elite Explorer<br><img src="/forums/images/stars4.
July 31, 2002
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City, State
Knoxville, TN
Year, Model & Trim Level
1994 XLT 4x4
Hello, all! I'm back with more questions. Looking to install a James Duff lift (with some modifications) to run 32" tires on 15x8 rims. I read in another thread that 32s aren't likely to clear without modifying the kit some. They suggested using 1" coil spacers and WAR-153 shackles. Would Daystar's 1" spacers for an F150 2wd work? Most of the Explorer spacers I've seen are 2", and that could be a bit much.

Thanks again for your advice and wisdom!

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How much advertised lift does the Duff lift itself give?

If you had the f-150 spacers (1 5/8" lift) up front you might be OK with 32's if you are get the stage one lift.
The stage one lift kit is 2.5" with radius arm drop down brackets.
If you get the extended radius arms you may get rub.
The WAR-153 shackles are good for 1/2" more lift than the shackles that come with the James Duff lift, if your leaf springs are in good shape you would end up little high in front.

I have the Duff lift and Rancho extended radius arms and a 2" body lift.
I had rub on my radius arm(driver side) when I had 31x10.5's on 15X7 rims with 3.5 BS at full left turn lock, so because I had that little bit of rub it gave me a reason to go buy new rims, my new rims are 15x8 with 3.5 BS and now the rub is gone.
I hope this is helpfull for you I have some pics in my gallery . If you have any more questions let me know.

a 2" lift with drop brackets is enough for a 4" lift, seen it done with a rancho lift no problem's just toss in 1 or 2" coil spacer's, for the rear grab a mono leaf setup from a newer X toss the block they use or ditch some of yer stock leaf's and go spring over axle.... the WAR153's are only good for around 1.5" of lift wich is perfect for getting rid of the butt sag in most explorer's.

This is just my .02 :D


Thanks, guys! I appreciate your input. I guess I'll look into getting Daystar's 1" coil spacers and match that up with either an extra add-a-leaf or WAR-153s. Back may drag a little with the shackles, but that'll be OK. 1/2" or so wouldn't be that bad.

I really don't want to have to trim the fenders any when running 32s. If trimming is necessary, I'd just skip the lift and throw 31s on there to economize.

I jus t ook this picture showing the clearance i have with the 2.5" suspension lift and 2" body lift and 31's, i only have about 1/2".
you can always trial fit the 32's and if they rub go 31's.


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Here is a pics of our '92 with the Duff 2.5" kit with f-150 spacers (and ome-36 springs + shackles for the rear).

You can see by the "stuff" that I have room for 32x11.50 BFG's on 8" rims ... I have done Zero trimming BUT I dont' run inner fenderwells. If I ran inner fenderwells I would have to trim the plastic (no metal).


I can't find a picture of it, BUT I am using TWO of the Radius Arm bushing washer at the front of the RA bushing. The 2 washers instead of 1 pushes the axle forward a hair (about 1/8" or a little more) which gives me more clearance between the tire and the back of the fenerwell (near the door).


OKay I have some experience with this.

I had a Duff stage 1 3" lift on my BII (dana 35 same as Explorer)

I also had the F-150 coil spacers. You will not be able to align this setup.

The problem is even though Duff advertises the lift as a 3" setup the axle pivot drop brackets are actually 2" tall (over stock) so with a 3" coil and a 1-5/8" spacer your camber will not work. You will be left with + camber and it will eat up tires like crazy.

I tried everything to get this setup to work. The larges camber shims available for a 4 wd are 2.75 degree's. Even with the shims maxed out you will have + camber.

With the correct wheels (15x8 with 3.5" offset) you should be able to clear the 32's. If not youcan make your own coil spacer (see therangerstation.com) and keep it to 1" max)
Also keep in mind all tire brands are different. SOme companies 31" tires are larger in diameter than other companies 32" tires.

Personally I think if they rub a little its not a big deal, also you can always use a sawzall or hammer to make clearance......

I was not happy with the Duff lift for a few reasons. The duff VR coils are TOOO stiff, and and the 70/30 shocks are WAY too stiff. Their drop brackets are top notch quality and strenght however.

Now keep in mind you will install this Duff lift, fit the 32's and be happy with it for about 5 minutes before you want to go bigger. :)

I currently have a 6" lift on my truck, using Skyjacker coils, Skyjacker radius arms, Rancho 9012 shocks, and Duff axle pivot drop brackets. This set up is IMPRESSIVE to say the least. You may ask yourself how do you run a 6" coil with Duff 2" axle pivot drop brackets? the answer is we built custom 3" cut and turned beams........
I tried tweaking my Duff lift in several different ways to get the clearance I wanted, but eventually foudnt he Duff coils were too stiff for my liking and the Duff shocks, well you mine as well run solid links in there, they are way too stiff...........

Good luck! :)

I've had the opposite experience with the Duff Kit..

Our '92 aligns no problem. I don't even have the 3.25degrees camber shims (I have the kind you can rotate which I belive are a max of 2.25 degrees).

The VR coils for us are nice and progressive. They are soft to begin with, but get stiffer as they go down.. e.g. they are great (soft) on the freeway, but when I jump the truck (not big jumps, just enough to get the tires airborn) they are stiff enough..

For shocks, I do agree, I don't like the duff 70/30 shocks... They were actually Too soft for me (lots of preload, no rebound).. We don't run sway bars....

We run rs9000's on the truck and I have the fronts set to 3 and the rears set to 4.

Also, we dont' run the Duff add-a-leafs anymore.. We use the OME-36 springs (2" lift)...

For a Small Lift, I like the Duff kits... and for us it was perfect.. 4" is pushing it as Yolanda is only 5ft 1".. She wasn't going to let me put in a 5.5+ lift..


I agree with Maniak, and I believe the dicrepancy comes from the fact that 410 had the lighter BII. Most people running the JD kit do put the f-150 spring seats in and have little alignment problems, especially after the springs settle, which they will in an Explorer. The ride and flex I also found to be better than an other TTB coils. My 4" superlift springs, which I have in with JD brackets align fine with the 2.75* or 3* bushings that I have, flex and ride much worse than the JD progressive coils. I should put the JD coils back in and get spacers again....Anyone want some broken in 4" coils.


Thanks, everyone, for your informative responses! I've decided to get the JD lift. I'll post the results once it's installed and combined with my new gears, carriers, and tires.

I have a duff 3" w/ the f150 spacers and contrary to what 410fortune says, mine did align perfectly. I am also running a SOA in the rear and 33x10.50s. I have done no trimming and they do not rub. I am going to do some trimming and step up to 34s or 35s. I would recomend the lift it is strong. I also recently replaced my RA drops with Duff extended arms and they work great. I think you would have no problems fitting 31s.

My Variable rate coils flex awesome with the extended arms. I don't even want to go solid. I think 410s experience is a remote instance b/c his truck is unique.

The kit's arrived!

Received the lift kit in the UPS today. Going to get it installed ASAP. Will post results shortly!

Thanks for all the helpful info!

So far, so good. . .

First impression of the kit, post-installation, is pretty good. Rides a little rougher than stock (firmer?), which I actually like. Doesn't feel quite as "floaty". I'm used to older Japanese cars that let you feel every rock on the road, so maybe that's why. Only problem I see right now is alignment--pulls hard left. Hope the shop can cure that.

Don't know about 32s yet. Will see about that tomorrow evening. Haven't tried anything out on the trail yet, as I'm still babying my new gears. :D

Only complaints about the kit:
Wish they'd included grade 8 hardware instead of 5 .
Instructions seemed to confuse my mech--claimed they were the worst he'd seen for a lift.

More to come. ;)

Pull to the left can be corrected, if you alignment shop says they can't, tell them to set the caster more on the left side. More caster pushes the car. More on the left will push it away from the left...or right. Oh, and grade 5 is better than 8 in most suspension situations because it will bend before breaking. You'll see that almost everywhere, especially in moving parts.

That makes sense. . .

. . . I guess. ;)

Even though the yield strength of the grade 5 hardware is significantly less than that of grade 8 (i.e., the grade 8 hardware is probably still in linear elastic deformation when the grade 5 has moved on to the plastic, permanent deformation or failure), the failure mode is most likely less brittle, due to differences in hardness.

This would be an advantage in situations where the bolts are subjected to sudden impacts, deforming instead of shearing. Of course, I haven't actually compared the numbers, so this is all just a (somewhat educated) guess.

Byrd91, thanks for the alignment tip. I think this shop is a good one, so I hope I won't have to tell them how to do their job (that always burns me up, anyhow!).


Lets see some pics!!!! I imagine you had somebody set up the gears b/c you had somebody install the lift. If you don't mind me asking, what did that cost? Parts, labor and junk? I am running 3.73s w/ my 33s and it is getting old...

Dido on the grade 5. Also offset rims would probably help. Mine are 4" backspacing 15x8s. I ran my 33s for a long time w/ the stock wheels and the rubbed a little on my extended radius arms when I got them and they barely rubbed on the inside of the rear fenders at full stuff. w/ my new rims, no rubbage (like I said). Also, another thing that makes my tires fit is that they are 10.50s. I would have looked into 32x11.50s, but I thought 10.50s would fit better and I had a hard time finding 32x10.50s (I don't think theres such a thing). Also, BFG and Interco were the only 33x10.50s I found.

Okay glad it worked out for you.

I am aware of the problems I had with my truck being for many reasons. 1 I was running a Duff kit with Skyjacker radius arms.

2. The Duff coils and F-150 spacers were too tall for the correct camber. I could have easily corrected this buy using less of a spacer, but then my 32's woudlnt have cleared! hahaha

I too liked the VR coils from Duff but the 70/30 shocks are very stiff, in my opinion. The only problem with the VR coils is they do not flex very well, they ride great on the street and on the dirt, they also droop a little bit but they dont compress.

Now also keep in mind, neither do the Superlift coils, or many other bolt on kit coils for the TTB.
Skyjacker and Eibach are about the only two TTB coils that I know of that have a softer ride and allow good compression.

The Duff kit is strong, it works well, it just depende pon what you use the truck for I guess.
Also their transmission X member is rather trick, and they now offer a set of heim ended radius arms with a much improved design over their old TTB arms.....

I took the long road to get to where I am at. I too started with the 3" Duff kit and it would have been more than adequate for daily use and mild off road. However it leaves alot to be desired when you are looking to push the travel limits of the TTB.

Lets see some pictures!!!
What gears did you go with? Which extended arms did you get? and have you ahd it aligned yet??

That makes sense. Especially b/c the Duff arms have an adjustment in them. I only had the duff shocks w/ the dual hoop kit and it was harsh. I went to a single rancho up front and I liked it alot better. As far as the trick crossmember, it is cool, but I bashed mine on a monster rock and broke it in half!!! Duff replaced it, but by the time it got here I already fixed mine and beefed it up, so I sold the member to somebody doing a SAS.

I would like to see what the Skyjackers do b/c My duffs will droop and compress almost as much as my SOA! I might go to Skyjackers soon b/c I could use a little more height.

I want the Heim joint arms so bad! I got mine a few Months before they did the Heim ones!

The add- leaf? It was harsh! I hated it! It was like driving a pogo stick. I took that off, took out my overload (for less height) did a spring over and it flexes like a beast and drives alot nicer.

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Satisfied Customer (so far!)

It's all done now; got new wheels and tires installed, and had it aligned. I was shocked at the alignment cost: $32. And it's aligned better than it has been since it came off the showroom floor! Steers straight and rides pretty good.

Ended up going with 31x10.50 BFG ATs from Sears. We test fit some 32x11.50s, and they would've fit with some seemingly minor trimming on the front "Tupperware", and perhaps a bit on the inner fenderwell. I decided not to trim for potential safety reasons and cosmetic ones as well. I was primarily concerned about discovering I hadn't trimmed enough suddenly on the Interstate at about 70 mph. :eek: Anyway, I have tons of room for the 31x10.50s--further proof of the odd variance between different X's of different years.

Kirby N. And 410Fortune, I went with OEM 4.10 gears (Dana and FMS) with a Trac-Lok up front and a Zexel-Torsen T-2 (that I got from hvacman) for the rear. The gears, L/S's, installation kits, and gear oil cost right at $1000. Man, that 75W-140 synthetic is high! I bought most of the parts from 4WheelParts. Labor was $550, including the lift kit installation, which required some modification to fit the steering stabilizer brackets. Only problem I had with labor was time--it took them a week to get finished!

I chose not to get the extended radius arms mainly because of cost, and because I had read some posts describing rubbing problems; I hope I won't regret not getting them.

So far I'm very pleased with the whole setup. I haven't tested the gears, L/S's or lift off road yet. Nor have I noticed a huge difference in acceleration or diminished top-end speed, since it all still needs more miles of break-in.

Hope to get some pics up soon! Thanks for the info and the interest.