Midnight's SAS: D44/9" | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free! This box and some ads will disappear once registered!

  • Holiday Special! - 2 for 1 Elite Explorer sale!

    Right now you can purchase an Elite Explorer membership for $20 and receive a two year membership! If you have an existing Elite membership contact me by PM and I will upgrade your account manually.

    Click Here to start your membership and get rid of the ads!

Midnight's SAS: D44/9"

Well, here it is, finally going SAS after 2 long years of wheeling with my Explorer. Got tired of constantly needing to baby the D35 and replace hubs and such, and vowed that I would SAS before having to replace anything else up front. Now that both ball joints are going bad, my hubs are blown, and my radius arms need new bushings on my D35, I've decided that it's time. Here is my truck as she sits now:

downsized_1204091206.jpg


Lets start with the logistical:

I managed to get myself in on a 1979 F150 XLT that was being parted out and scored both axles, the D44 front and 9" rear. $150 for both, including the rear leaf springs and front steering set up (of course, the guy torched the drag link and I need a new one. But oh well.) Both are complete from rotor to rotor and drum to drum, except the 9" needs a new pinion yoke (or flange, depends on what you like calling it.) This is a relatively low budget swap, I don't have thousands to pour into it, so I'm not going to be re-gearing these axles right away and I'm going to be using my existing tires on new 5x5.5 rims.

Axle Pic: (Sorry for low-light, was taken late last night. Will try to get better ones)

1207092142.jpg


Suspension of choice is going to be a leaf sprung front setup, which will suit my needs/budget a whole lot more than a coil setup. I'm leaving the axles full width as well. I'm going for ease/durability/reliability with this build, and while I've got access to an entire airforce base of fabrication equipment, I'm going to be trying to adapt as many parts to this project as possible. For the rear mounts for my front leafs I'm going to try and use two front mounts for rear leafs off of an Explorer. I'm not sure if anyone tried this, but my father and I were looking at my rear leaf setup and were like... "Wait, why dont we just cut the rivets, jack two of those, and put them up front??" and it made a lot of sense. For front springs we have a set of F250 front leafs that we're going to try, and if they are too stiff we're going to modify the pack with other leaves from a ranger/explorer rear pack.

Now, the steering.

I don't have the big $$ to spend on a high steer kit, so when the time comes we're going to mount the axle up to the springs and see how the steering looks pretty much stock. If all else fails, we'll fabricate a bent drag link or I'll put on a drop pitman arm to clear my springs. I plan on running dual steering stabilizers to try and compensate for bumpsteer. If it's too nasty, I'll have to just rob someone and go for a different steering setup.

Driveshafts. Depending on how much lift I end up with (my truck is SUA right now, will end up SOA at the end) I'm most probably going to need new driveshafts. Once everything is mounted and the axles and springs are set up, the driveshafts are going to be my last concern. That way I can take some good measurements and search around some. I'm hoping to possibly use the front driveshaft from another vehicle, like an F150/250, for the front end and possibly a long bed Ranger driveshaft for the rear. But if all else fails, like with the steering, I'll have to get custom shafts made.

Essentially, I'm trying to do it 'right' without spending more than I spent on my truck on it's suspension. The axles were recently rebuilt and are in extremely good shape, they even have new brakes and drums, so I'm hoping that I don't have to put a bunch of cash into just getting them ready for the Explorer. But a proper tear down and inspection will hold the truth.

Here we go :D
 


Holiday Special! Join the Elite Explorers $20 for 2 years! Gets rid of the ads!

Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links, can add their own profile photo, upload photo attachments in all forums, and Media Gallery, create and save more private conversations, and more. Join Today. Your support is greatly appreciated.




Burns

Elite Explorer
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
October 20, 2004
Messages
9,010
Reaction score
19
City, State
Pulaski, TN
Year, Model & Trim Level
1991 Explorer/2002 F-250
Are you going to keep the tires size after you need to upgrade or are you going to lift it and then replace tires later that will fir it properly?

What about gearing are you going to keep the stock gearing in the axles you have.


When I did my swap i only had to have work done on the rear drive shaft. I had it done at a drive line shop locally and the put a whole new shaft on and used my ends. Ended up costing me 180 bucks. It may have been cheaper but I know it was not more than that.

I used all the stock components for my steering also. However I did not have to get around a leaf pack.

Good Luck
 




SuddenDeath

Well-Known Member
Joined
June 22, 2008
Messages
229
Reaction score
0
City, State
Mays Landing, NJ
Year, Model & Trim Level
1990 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
Thanks. I've got 35's on it now, and they're pretty stuffed with my 3" BL/2" SL. I had to trim to get them in and not rub. With the extra 4-5" I'm expecting from the SAS/SOA rear I'm hoping to clear them better. Later on when new tires are needed I'll probably go up in size.

Also, I've only got 3.27 with my stock axles so no matter what these axles have a better ratio. So I'm going to be sticking with the D44/9"s stock gears for now. They're in great shape, no metal shavings in the diffs or any visible damage.

I've got my buddy, who's also my copilot, helping on this build and his girlfriend is probably going to be dedicated camerawoman so we don't miss any part of the build. I'd like to document it and do a proper write up at the end.
 




mudbug94

Well-Known Member
Joined
February 5, 2008
Messages
102
Reaction score
0
City, State
Bloomingdale New Jersey
Year, Model & Trim Level
94 XLT
id like to come see this in person at some point because im doin the same with the 98 5.0 in my driveway....
 




DB_1

Elite Ranger
Elite Explorer
Joined
October 23, 2001
Messages
3,796
Reaction score
42
City, State
La Quinta, Ca.
Year, Model & Trim Level
97 SC Ranger xlt
Also, I've only got 3.27 with my stock axles so no matter what these axles have a better ratio. So I'm going to be sticking with the D44/9"s stock gears for now.

I'm betting those axles you got would either have 3.27 or 4.10 ratio at best. You'd want 4.56's at least to turn those 35's and still be in the powerband of the motor and not burn up your tranny.
 




SuddenDeath

Well-Known Member
Joined
June 22, 2008
Messages
229
Reaction score
0
City, State
Mays Landing, NJ
Year, Model & Trim Level
1990 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
I've had my 35's on for a good couple of months now, haven't had a single transmission problem *knock on laptop*. Also, I plan on regearing around summertime, when more $$ is available. And Mudbug, you could come down anytime. Right now we're just cleaning everything up and doing the prep work, but It'd be awesome to have another off roading explorer guy around. :thumbsup:
 




meterman1976

Well-Known Member
Joined
June 9, 2008
Messages
173
Reaction score
0
City, State
spokane, washinton
Year, Model & Trim Level
94 XLT
Sounds like I good project. I'm still thinking of doing an soa on my 94.
 




DB_1

Elite Ranger
Elite Explorer
Joined
October 23, 2001
Messages
3,796
Reaction score
42
City, State
La Quinta, Ca.
Year, Model & Trim Level
97 SC Ranger xlt
I've had my 35's on for a good couple of months now, haven't had a single transmission problem *knock on laptop*. Also, I plan on regearing around summertime, when more $$ is available.

It's not something that's gonna happen overnight so you should be good. If you were gonna leave it with the high gears in there then that's a different story...good luck with the build:thumbsup:
 




RockRanger

Elite Ranger
Elite Explorer
Joined
January 14, 2001
Messages
6,246
Reaction score
210
City, State
Fresno CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
86 ranger no more
Callsign
KK6TDL
Suspension of choice is going to be a leaf sprung front setup, which will suit my needs/budget a whole lot more than a coil setup.


Having been there before this is a bad idea. Go Coil from the start and save the trouble. With leafs your steering will suck without hi steer. Coils will not cost much more then to do leafs anyway.
 




chad551

Explorer Addict
Joined
January 31, 2007
Messages
1,483
Reaction score
2
City, State
St.Louis, MO
Year, Model & Trim Level
2002 Explorer Sport Trac
Having been there before this is a bad idea. Go Coil from the start and save the trouble. With leafs your steering will suck without hi steer. Coils will not cost much more then to do leafs anyway.


I wish I would have listened to guys who said the same thing. My main reason for the leafs was I had most it bought before i did the build, and when the build started that is when I found the issues with leafs. BUT my leaf sprung SAS works great for me, however if I had gone with a coil or Radius arm setup, it would flex alot more. And the leafs are not cheap either, and you will want the high steer as well with a leaf setup. I tried to go without high steer, and it would not work.
 




SuddenDeath

Well-Known Member
Joined
June 22, 2008
Messages
229
Reaction score
0
City, State
Mays Landing, NJ
Year, Model & Trim Level
1990 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
Sorry for the long-time-no-update. Decided to go with the traditional radius arms and coils setup. Axles are sitting in my basement now, instead of out in the elements, and everything is basically disassembled. Cleaning it all up now. My only difficulty so far is the fact that I'm guessing the rear axle races are stuck on the axle shaft? Or the wheel bearing seals are stuck in the brake backing plate (where the drums attach). When I pulled the axle shafts I had to knock the little hook shaped studs out of the 9" and pull the whole brake assembly off with the shaft. Buddy and me are trying to figure out how the heck to get that apart now.

Ordered a buttload of stuff off of Broncograveyard.com. I have to say I'm totally satisfied with their customer service and their prices. After shopping around, even at local Autozones and whatnot, Broncograveyard had the best stuff. :thumbsup:

It's on to another major decision. Shocks. I can't break the bank on shocks, so I was looking at 12"-14" stroke Pro Comp MX2.0s. Anyone heard anything about them? Or same stroke Bilstein 5125's I think the number was?

Anyone have any good things to say about either brand? Any bad things?
 




Slowlyvverot

Well-Known Member
Joined
August 27, 2009
Messages
790
Reaction score
3
City, State
Greensboro, NC
Year, Model & Trim Level
93 ExElTee
I'm looking forward to seeing how this budget SAS tuns out. Good luck :thumbsup:

A question about your previous setup though: I've seen Sports on 35's with f150 coil seats/shackles and a 3" bl, and they can trim the rear fender as much as they have to. But how difficult was it to fit 35s on a 4 door? I'm thinking about skipping 33s and going straight to 35s with the same lift setup.
 




SuddenDeath

Well-Known Member
Joined
June 22, 2008
Messages
229
Reaction score
0
City, State
Mays Landing, NJ
Year, Model & Trim Level
1990 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
Well, I've got actual 2" coil spacers up front and then F150 leaf packs in the rear. I accomplished this by jacking the leaf springs off of an F150 with a towing package (5 leafs in the pack) and bolting those leafs up to my explorer main leaf. Then I added some slightly longer custom-built shackles because my stock ones were like tin foil. That gave me an even 2" of lift all the way around, with the back about 1/4th of an inch higher when unloaded. (At load, the back is perfectly even with front.)

I didn't have to cut the rear fenders at all, fit with plenty to go. The front I couldn't turn my wheels, but then again I have 4" of backspacing on my rims so they're out there. I didn't need to butcher my fenders too bad, but you can see in my pictures that I deff had to cut.
 




james t

Elite Explorer
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
January 27, 2002
Messages
10,667
Reaction score
9
City, State
Texarkana AR/TX
Year, Model & Trim Level
94 SAS sport
Ive had both and given a choice, i would run Bilstein over Pro Comp any day.
 




SuddenDeath

Well-Known Member
Joined
June 22, 2008
Messages
229
Reaction score
0
City, State
Mays Landing, NJ
Year, Model & Trim Level
1990 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
Update: Got the brake assemblies off of the rear axle shafts. The trick:

Take the two brake drums and put them on the floor, 'outside' facing up, just wide enough that the studs/end of the axle shaft fit between them but not the brake backing plate. Lift it up by the shaft and drop the friggen thing until it pops free. Worked like a charm :thumbsup:

My status: 9" is totally stripped down, nothing is in the axle. Light as a feather now that she's gutted ;) The D44 is stripped down to the spindles, but I'm having one HELL of a time getting those bastards off. I'm going to try the spindle nut/gear puller method. The BFH didn't do the job.
 




SuddenDeath

Well-Known Member
Joined
June 22, 2008
Messages
229
Reaction score
0
City, State
Mays Landing, NJ
Year, Model & Trim Level
1990 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
Well, here's an update over a month later:

Got one of the D44 spindles off...the other one is comming, but slowly. The 9" is ready for the new spring perches to be welded on and then paint.

So far, for the people who were interested in the 'budget' mindset of this project, I've spent....

1979 F150 Axles: $150
My 8.8 and Dana 35 Sold For: $300
Radius Arms: $40
Radius Arm Extensions (Courtesy of stonecrushersteering.com): $135
And then about $700 at broncograveyard.com spent on:
F250 shock towers
New brake calipers
New brake lines for both axles
New 7" extended brake hoses for both axles
5.5" Superflex Coil Springs
New leaf spring perches for the 9"
New brake rotors
6" Drop pitman arm
And assorted other stuff, hardware, and bolts that were missing/damaged on my axles


Now, for you other people who want to do a budget SAS, I was interested in making sure these axles were as safe as they could possibly be. They came off of a 1979 F150 that had been sitting around for about 20 years. They were cut off of the truck and the brake lines had been cut/damage/exposed to extreme heat of a plasma cutter. The rotors were damaged, and the calipers looked pretty nasty. I replaced all the brake lines and hardware just to be safe. I spent a good amount of $ on brake hardware that you may or may not choose/have to purchase. Depending on the condition of your axles, you might be able to get away using the brake stuff that came with them. I personally wouldn't, but thats up to you.

So, anyway, A rough estimate of the total dollar amount spent so far...

$725

I still need shocks and 5x5.5 wheels for my 35x12.50s

Now, people might say "Yo, dude, you forgot your radius arm mount/crossmember" in that price list. I decided to re-use the stock explorer cross member and simply move it back and angle it for the extended radius arms. This saves me a decent clip of $$ in the fabrication department, however I do intend on building a new crossmember later on down the road. Also, for my steering setup I've decided to mate the stock exploder drag link to the F150's tie rod. Once again, I also plan on buying a stonecrushersteering.com steering system during the summer.
 




james t

Elite Explorer
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
January 27, 2002
Messages
10,667
Reaction score
9
City, State
Texarkana AR/TX
Year, Model & Trim Level
94 SAS sport
If you're on a budget, you cant beat junkyard steel F150 wheels with weld-on beadlocks. You can usually build a set cheaper than buying new wheels.
 




mechanix

Got beer?!?!?!
Joined
February 20, 2005
Messages
799
Reaction score
0
City, State
Springport, Michigan
Year, Model & Trim Level
91 xlt & 93 xlt
Have you thought of the rear brakes? When I installed my 9" I installed disc brakes. I used 94-98 Dodge ram 4x4 front rotors and 78 Chevy 1 ton calipers. For the brackets they came from Speedwaymotors.com. I can post some pictures if you like for you can check out my very old un-finished build here. http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=176822

Eric
 




SuddenDeath

Well-Known Member
Joined
June 22, 2008
Messages
229
Reaction score
0
City, State
Mays Landing, NJ
Year, Model & Trim Level
1990 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
Right now I'm using the drum brakes, but I'll have to check out a possible disc conversion when it comes time to re-do rear brakes.

Another update:

Just bought the wheels, shocks, some U joints (didn't trust the original front wheel joints) and all the bearings, seals, and races that these axles could ever desire. My basement workspace is slowly filling up with truck parts stacked high in boxes.

Got the other D44 spindle off and now she's totally taken apart. The 9" had her spring perches welded on, but the measurements we used were wrong. (Measure it yourself, never let your buddy do it for you.) So we've got to cut the perches off and re-weld them closer in. But, with all our difficulties, we're crawling one day at a time towards completion. My truck's insurance is currently in 'storage' until the end of march, so that's the time frame for finishing this project.
 


Holiday Special! Join the Elite Explorers $20 for 2 years! Gets rid of the ads!

Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links, can add their own profile photo, upload photo attachments in all forums, and Media Gallery, create and save more private conversations, and more. Join Today. Your support is greatly appreciated.




mrbird09

Active Member
Joined
September 8, 2009
Messages
89
Reaction score
0
City, State
San Mateo Calli
Year, Model & Trim Level
1995 Eddie Bauer 4x4
pics pics pics of the axels please..im doing a sas also with a dana 44 or a 30 and im leaving the rear stock with soa or maybe just shackles n aal..im going to try 33s but the same lift height as most sas. im regearing to 4.56s or 4.10s since im goin 33s. with wheel spacers for the back and ill have it sitting real nice n mean..good luck on your build im interested in seing your progress so far
 




Top