Lift and Articulation dilema | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Lift and Articulation dilema


Well-Known Member
May 31, 2000
Reaction score
City, State
Tempe, Arizona
Year, Model & Trim Level
1993 XLT 4x4
OK, I have toying with the following scenarios. My problem/wish is that I would like a little more lift and a good deal more of articulation. I currently have the following, 2.5" James Duff Suspension lift, 2" PA Bodylift. I have come up with the following options, but not sure which to go with.

Add 1" coil spacers for the front
New 4" National leaf springs for the rear (get rid of existing add-a-leafs and extended shackles)
James Duff Extended Radius Arms
Maybe upgrade to a James Duff Stage II lift
Disconnect sway bars


Remove James Duff Lift and replace with Stage II Skyjacker 6" lift
Disconnect Sway bars

I would like some comments on this since I am really in the balance with both ideas. Like I said, I really would like more articulation. (Lots of rocks out here in AZ). I think option may be cheaper but..... Thanks.

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You aren't going to get much compression travel from a TTB any way you go so it doesn't really matter. One will result in more lift than the other.

You can, on the other hand, get a lot of droop travel.

This is accomplished by running cut and turned beams, extended arms, a better steering design, and longer shocks and longer and softer coils.

Compression travel isn't really designed into the suspension unless you use very soft and long coils.

Zimmerman's Explorer is a good example of lots of droop travel. Go that route if you want an all around decent off-road/on-road vehicle.

As for the rear, National springs are always a good idea. They flex very well.

Or just swap in a solid axle if you are looking for a lot of flex and off-road performance.

Extended radius arms will get you more articulation from the front, Skyjacker arms are strong but made to be used with 4+ of lift.

The Duff arms are good and adjustable but they require the use of their double shock hoop which has gotten mixed reviews.

Basically what you do now is up to you, the best place to start is to research this site, do a search for "Extended radius arms" then go check out

There is a ton of good information out there about different setups, what works and what doesnt.

I can tell you from seeing some radical Explorer's in Moab this year that the hot setup is basically a 4-6" lift, extended arms of some sort, no sway bars (of course) no body lift, shackles or an add-a-leaf in the back, 35"tires (lots of trimmed sheet metal) and lockers.

Here's what I have on my BII:

Duff 3" VR coils
F-250 spring seat (additional 1-5/8"lift)
Duff 3" drop brackets for axle pivots
Superlift 4" pitman arm
Superlift 4" rubber brake lines
Duff 70/30 autoadjust shocks
Skyjacker extended radius arms and tranny X member

Explorer leafs fitted with Superlift short ad a leaf and a 3" tappered block.

My plans for the future include (for more articulation):
quick disconnnects (sick of unbolting)
2-3" bent beams
6-8" coils (relocated factory coil bucket)
F-250 style shock mounts up front
limiting straps & bump stops
Rancho 9000 shocks (duff shocks currently limit my travel)

Skyjacker 4" rear leaf springs.

That should yeild some impressive articulation from my BII.

Try searching for the "Zimmerman Mod" if you really want to take the twin torshion beam fron end to it's limits this is the only way to get there.....

Good luck!!

Chris, both of your choices list disconnecting the swaybar. Does this mean that you don't currently disconnect them when offroading?

No, I don't. Dumb huh. That is changing ASAP. I am planning on just fabricating some of my own disconnects next week.

There are some good pictures of disconnects on these forums, search for "disconnects", easy to make and effective

Yeah, they don't seem to hard to make at all. I was also going to fab some bumper relocation brackets for my 2" body lift since the PA ones don't work.

OK, I have been searching through the threads and I can't seem to find anything about how well the Skyjacker's extended radius work. To anyone who has the lift, how are they? Are they equal, not as good, or better than the Duff extended radius arms? Also, is anyone running the extended radius arms without the dual shock setup?

Before you spend lots of money trying to get more articulation, just disconnect your sway bars. With them disconnected you should get up to 3" more travel easily.

On our 1992 we have the Duff 2.5" kit (drop brackets/coils) with f-150 spacers under it to give us 4" of lift up front.. and in the rear we have a set of OME springs with the War-153 shackles.

Adding the coils spacers didn't help in articulation in the front. I could get the tires to stuff into the wheel well (hit the top) with just the lift (stock arms).

the OME springs in the rear do flex better than the stock springs with add-a-leaf..

By just using The Duff kit and Add-a-leaf rear (with War-153 shackles) you can get this type of travel...

If you want more lift you need to watch the kind of springs you get up front.. Too stiff and it won't compress.


The Skyjacker arms work well, they fit easier then the Superlift and the Duff, (at least according to my friends who helped me install my Skyjacker arms, one has Superlift, one has Duff) and you dont have to use the dual hoop. They are also bent in the front to help clear wide tires. The tranny crossmember is pretty trick as well. the whole setup is very tough.

That is why I chose to sue the Skyjacker arms with my Duff lift, onlyproblem is the Skyjacker arms must be used with at least 4" of lift (I've got almost 5" and it could use a little more). With the Duff 3" drop brackets this makes it hard to align, but not impossible.

Bent beams will help solve that problem....

This is what you call a Hybrid suspension setup!

Go check the information on lift kits and setups out here:

You can also make your own arms, or buy some homemade arms.....hell you can do anything you want, it;s just a matter of time and $$$!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm very happy with my current setup, however it could use some "fine tuning" like longer shocks and some rear leafs so I can ditch the block....

I have the Duff arms and have not been completely satisfied with them. They were a pain to install with a full shop and lift, especially the tranny cross member (required notching holes because it was too narrow). Also 31" tires on my stock wheels rubbed them and you have to be very creative to mount the shocks without buying the $125 shock hoops(which I've also heard bad things about). Oh yeah, and one of mine broke 2 months after I installed them. The way they are designed isn't very good if you ask me. They just rounded the head of a 7/8" bolt and welded that in the end of the tube. The weld broke and the arm just dropped to the ground, luckily I wasn't moving very hast when it happened. They convered it under warrenty but it cost me $50 is towing and $100 in labor to get fixed. If I was doing it again I wouldn't have gone with duff.

Cool, I will try the disconnects and some new springs in the back and see where that gets me first. Much cheaper. Thanks all.