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Modding Pop's '94 Exploder


New Member
February 3, 2004
Reaction score
City, State
Mesa AZ
Year, Model & Trim Level
'81 Shlong bed
Hello all, I'm pretty new here but not to 4wheeling. I'm here because I need a family 4x4, I had a K5 that fit the bill, but I had to sell it when I found out my wife was pregnant. The plan was to buy another towrig/camping mobile to replace it but $ has been too tight. Anyway we really need to get out of town so pops says I can use his Explorer. The specs are:

'94 Limited
11x,xxx miles on a 4.0 that's getting tired
4" superlift with superlift shocks, and extended radius arms, front & rear sway bars.
31" BFG ATs on stock wheels
tcase that doesn't shift
3.73s with a tight trac-loc
otherwise a stock very well maintained vehicle

By searching I found answers to my non shifting tcase problem and the erratic idle. But I have a few basic questions and a request for advice from those that have BTDT. I won't be doing any hardcore wheeling in this truck, I have a full tilt Toyota rockcrawler for that. I just want to equip it so I can take the family out of town, camping and putzing about offroad and have confidence in our ability to get home safely. My dad is **** about his vehicles so a lot of mods are off limits, especially tube work :( . However some tire and suspension mods are required.

I was thinking some 32s would work well without throwing the gearing to far off but would 33s be better? I know sometimes going up a size can throw the truck back into it's power band in a lower gear. Will 33s fit well and be tolerable powerwise of should I stick to 32s? Right now the truck looks silly on the stock wheels and 31s. It's so narrow it looks like it could blow over in a stiff breeze. Will standard offset 15x8" steel wheels widen it up or do I need a lower backspace wheel? What would ya'll suggest for a wheel and tire combo that'll increase the trac width and fit without interference?

As for the suspension it could stand some improvement, mainly in ride quality and sidehill ability. I think both of these will be improved with a new set of wheels and tires but I'll probably still tinker with it. The truck feels like its going to fall over on sidehills, I think widening the track will help a lot but I'd still like to add disconnects for the sway bars to at least get the suspension moving in a predictable fashion. Also the truck rides like crap, well sorta. I think the shock valving is way too stiff on extension. On compression it feels perfect but when the truck rebounds it'll just toss you out of your seat. I'm thinking the addition of a heavier wheel and tire combo will help. Does anyone have any expirence with the superlift shocks? Any suggestions of a shock that works well on a simularly setup exploder?

I'd appreciate any answers to the above questions and any advice in general on general Explorer knowledge that'll help me fix any weak links and make sure we get home safely from our explorations. Thanks in advance.



Well-Known Member
July 10, 2003
Reaction score
City, State
Greenwood Indiana
Year, Model & Trim Level
96 xlt
33x12.5 r15 on a 15x8 rim with 3.75" of backspacing is what most people run and it seems to work out really nice...you may have to do a slight bit of trimming, but it houldent be that bad....power should be ok, your not going to take it to the track or anything, but it will be liveable....ranchero rs9000 shocks also seem to be the fav as you can control the stiffness yourself and set it up for how you like it....goodluck :D

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