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Modifying Ford Explorer Leaf Springs for Lift using F-150 Leaf Springs

The reason I asked for the F150 is that we can get the springs for free from some late 70's early 80's F150s....


Si
 



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Boy do I feel dumb, I completely missed the free part!
It looks like he took from an 86, so I would look at ones with the same body style and a 5-pack of leafs.
 






Groovy!!

I think we're going next weekend, so I'll grab em then!

Si
 






Good afternoon all. Very interesting reading in this post. Great job with the instructions. My question is this. My main interest is keeping the rear from sagging as I use my explorer to pull the boat (4000 gross wt, 400 tongue wt). This really pulls it down and I want to keep it more level. Is this the way to fix this or is there a better way? It is all stock as far as I can tell. I don't use it for 4 wheeling. I appreciate any assistance.
 






Good afternoon all. Very interesting reading in this post. Great job with the instructions. My question is this. My main interest is keeping the rear from sagging as I use my explorer to pull the boat (4000 gross wt, 400 tongue wt). This really pulls it down and I want to keep it more level. Is this the way to fix this or is there a better way? It is all stock as far as I can tell. I don't use it for 4 wheeling. I appreciate any assistance.

I'm not sure that you need to do the entire leaf spring swap for just towing purposes. I'd add a cheap overload spring to the pack and see how it works.

I use these -- even on off-road suspensions -- and they work okay and the cost is very reasonable. You will have to pull apart your spring packs, but you have to do that for F150 springs as well, so no issues there. Run them between the bottom true leaf and the fat overload leaf right in the stack. You'll need new center bolts for the spring pack to accomplish that, but they are available at any auto parts store for a couple of bucks.

http://www.amazon.com/Superior-11-1..._2?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1276781863&sr=1-2
 






Thanks to Bronco638 and everyone else who contributed to this thread. I just did an F150 leaf spring swap on my 98 Ltd. today. It took me about 8 hours total including driving 30 minutes each way to the Pull-n-pay salvage yard, pulling the springs from an F150, and installing them on my Explorer.

The only hangup I had was the rear mounting bolt was seized in the bushing on both sides (where the leaf mounts to the shackle). I removed the whole shackle along with the spring assy. and gave up on trying to remove that bolt. Hopefully not a biggie.

Here's a few things I learned along the way:

My stock springs were different than most - mine had 4 real leafs rather than 3 plus an overload. I believe mine were even softer than most - perhaps being a Ltd., they optioned it for a softer riding suspension. Not sure.

F150's appeared to have several spring configurations, so it's important to know what you're looking for. I managed to find an '86 2WD Crew Cab with a 4/1 leaf pack measuring 1.75" thick. This was one of the lighter spring packs used on F150's. I think you have to be careful to avoid getting carried away and installing a leaf pack that is way overkill for an Ex.

This website: http://www.generalspringkc.com/index.php?p=catalog&parent=77&pg=1 was most helpful in understanding both the stock Ex spring configurations and the stock F150 spring configurations. As you can see, what you're looking for is an '80 - '96 F150 2WD with a 2.5" wide spring pack. There were several configurations, and the 4/1 1.75" thick version I snagged appears to be rated at 1655 lbs, which is almost double my stock 4-leaf set (the more common 3/1 set is rated at 1100 lbs. on Gen II's)

Some have mentioned "fanning" problems. Ford installed a steel clamp around the front of the leafs to eliminate this. I imagine most people are destroying that clamp when removing. I destroyed my first one, but on the second one, I was careful to bend the locking tab just the minimum amount necesarry to be able to remove the clamp. I was then able to successfully reuse the clamp.

I had never been to one of these Pull-n-pay salvage yards, but I must say, they've got the system figured out. All the vehicles are suspended, so you don't need any sort of jacks. I was apprehensive about driving 30 minutes away concerned I would not be successful. I was probably out of there with my springs in an hour. I took a heavy toolbox full of everything I imagined I might want. In the end, I used a 1/2 breaker bar and ratchet, 13/16 deep socket, 13/16 wrench (I think it's actually metric, but the 13/16 works - just a bit snug on the fasteners), and a screwdriver to help remove the tight-fitting sockets from the fasteners. Oh, and $46 to get out the door with my "new" springs.

So far, I've only driven it around the neighborhood, but it feels and looks like it should. Prior to the swap, the back end was all but riding on the bottoming cushions. Now it sits up proud, but it seems to still be responsive to bumps in the road.

I'm a happy camper!

AM.
 






I see that you're in CO as well, which salvage yard was it that you went to?
 












I have a question for others who have put stiffer springs on the back.... have you felt the need for stronger torsion bars in the front to balance the suspension?

I think my Ltd came with very soft springs - the softer 4-leaf rear springs and code "G" torsion bars (apparently coded B-L, with B being the stiffest). It looks as if it's not too difficult to R&R torsion bars, so I'm thinking I might make another trip to the salvage yard to see if I can find some stiffer bars on an old Ex. or Ranger - still need to investigate cross references to ensure fit.

Thoughts?

AM.
 






I have discovered that the reason for the softer leaf springs on my '98 Ltd. is because it is equipped with the Air Ride Control (ARC) system. As far as I can tell, the compressor still runs, but I don't think it's really doing anything to the suspension. The front shocks appear very old - possibly original, though the rear shocks were replaced not too long ago, and they DO have the air lines connected. Either way, the linkages for the mechanical sensors (not sure what they're called) are all shot, so I really don't think the ARC system is doing anything.

I've now had the F150 springs on the Ex for a week, and we towed our camper up into the mountains for the weekend. I am absolutely THRILLED with the results of the stronger leafs. The back end barely notices the weight of the camper and gear, yet the ride seems just fine loaded or not.

I'm still unsure of the stiffness of the torsion bars on this vehicle, but I tightened-up the stock bars and was pleasantly surprised by the amount of lift I was able to get. I'm no longer thinking I need to hunt down stiffer torsion bars.

Anyway, just wanted to give an update for those considering the leaf swap.

AM.
 






hmmmm quite interesting... (new to the board by the way :D )

would this work on a 95 ranger?

i'm a scrap hauler/recycler/truck abuser (you name it, i've hauled it or will haul it if the money's there lol) and i do a LOT of heavy hauling. i've heard that i can use the leafs from a 4dr explorer and joined this site to look further into it, but if i can do this kind of a mod on my ranger, i think i would be better off. there's always f150's in the local junk yards and i would probably benefit more from springs from a f150 4x4 and i can get the whole pack with shackles for $25 each (being $50 total for both sides) from either an explorer or f150.
 






yah i want to kno what the easyist way of getting 2 inches or more of lift front and rear?
 






yah i want to kno what the easyist way of getting 2 inches or more of lift front and rear?

Easiest way on an Explorer is to add 2" blocks to the front springs and install an add-a-leaf and shackle to the rear. Better is to use longer front springs. No easier or less expensive way to do the rear, as it is sprung under the axle.

Rangers, same up front. In the rear, a block can be added between the springs and axle as the Rangers are sprung over the axle.

You will have to do an alignment after raising the front, which will probably include upper ball joint adjustment sleeves with a bigger offset (available from NAPA, MOOG, etc.).

Leaf springs are not rocket science. You can mix and match sets and see what you get. Pick up a set with the right measurements at the salvage yard, take apart your pack, insert leaves, and see how it works.

Better still, fabricate new mounts and hang a pair of 63" Chevy truck springs under there. More flex and you can get some lift because the front mount is further forward on the frame, taking advantage of the way the frame kicks down under the center of the vehicle.
 






Not sure if anyone is still looking at doing this mod anymore, but I wanted to add my experience to the thread. My wife's vehicle is a 2000 Ex with the V8 and AWD. The rear end didn't seem to be sagging all that much, but the ride was terrible. We never tow anything, but we use a receiver hitch mounted cargo carrier about once a year. The rear would really sag with that installed and loaded. My goal then was to raise the rear slightly, improve the ride, and decrease sagging while loaded.

I took a little different approach than is outlined earlier in the thread. I used to have a 1996 F150 with G code rear springs that rode really well. The G code has 4 total leaves (counting the thicker bottom overload leaf) just like the Explorer, so that is what I started with. I tried several different combinations of the F150 and Ex springs before finally finding one that worked for me. I'll outline all the different combinations that I tried below.

First picture below is the starting ride height of the Ex.
Before%25201.JPG


I began by swapping the bottom 3 leaves from the F150 in place of the bottom 3 leaves from the Ex - leaving the top Ex spring alone. As you can see below, way too much lift for my purpose, but it did ride much better.
3%2520form%2520F150%25201.JPG


Next, I swapping the bottom 2 leaves from the F150 in place of the bottom 2 leaves from the Ex - leaving the top 2 Ex springs alone. Getting better (below), but still a little too high for me. This would probably be perfect for towing though.
2%2520from%2520F150%25201.JPG


Finally, I swaped the third leaf from the top, from the F150, in place of the third leaf from the top from the Ex - leaving the top 2 Ex springs and the bottom overload Ex. spring alone. This raised the rear perfectly and greatly improved the ride. It definitely decreased the sag while loaded as well. This final picture below is after being installed for 3 months.
1%2520from%2520F150.JPG


Starting height one more time - to get it on the same page as the final pic.
Before%25201.JPG


I installed new plastic spring tip inserts, rebound clips, center bolts, and U-bolts with the springs. I got all those parts here: http://www.autoandtrucksprings.com/. Also installed Monroe Sensa Tracs front and rear.

Shawn
 






so...... with all these posts in this thread what is the final conclusion? using f-150 coil springs in the front and parts of a f-150 leaf springs in the rear? what kind of lift will this give? 2"? or 3"?
 






Great! I have not even read this all, but I can already tell this will answer my questions to my sagging issue on my 97 EB AWD. I plan on pulling a 3,800 lb. TT, but need to fix this sagging issue first for obvious safety reasons. EATON Spring Detroit is also only about a 20 mile drive from my house.
 






so...... with all these posts in this thread what is the final conclusion? using f-150 coil springs in the front and parts of a f-150 leaf springs in the rear? what kind of lift will this give? 2"? or 3"?

The rear Explorer springs get leaves swapped with F150 leaves and will give up to 3" of lift, depending on how bad yours sagged to begin with.

The front can't use F150 coil springs, since Explorers have torsion bars instead of coils. All you have to do is tighten the adjustment bolts for the torsion bars to lift the front up to 2" safely. Its called a "Torsion Twist" or "TT" lift. You'll find a bunch of info about it here if you need details.
 






The rear Explorer springs get leaves swapped with F150 leaves and will give up to 3" of lift, depending on how bad yours sagged to begin with.

The front can't use F150 coil springs, since Explorers have torsion bars instead of coils. All you have to do is tighten the adjustment bolts for the torsion bars to lift the front up to 2" safely. Its called a "Torsion Twist" or "TT" lift. You'll find a bunch of info about it here if you need details.

i have a 1st gen x that has the coils. what would be better, using coil seats out of a f150 or the coil springs out of a f150?
 



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Oh sorry, forgot the first gens were different. I have no idea what would work for the front of those.
 






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