Mounty71's 4x4 Long Travel Build | Page 11 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Mounty71's 4x4 Long Travel Build

My pride and joy, the Mounty:





It's a 2000 Mercury Mountaineer. I acquired this fine vehicle in 2003 with just 32,410 miles on the ticker, and it was in pristine condition, having been driven by an elderly couple, and always serviced regularly at the same dealership it was delivered to from the factory.

This thing has gone through a series of different suspension setups, but currently it has:
Solo Motorsports 4" extended D35 TTB with D44 outers, and custom radius arms
2.5x12" King coilovers with 2.5x12" secondary King reservoir shocks
4WD conversion with BW4406 manual transfer case
2.5x18" rear King shocks outboard of the frame
custom ordered Deaver leaf springs with 12" 2AM Fab shackles
Full-width 8.8 rear with stock disc brakes, Blue Torch Fab diff cover/truss
4.56 gears front and rear, lunchbox front locker, limited slip rear
roll cage through dash and firewall to engine cage

(previous front suspension setup)
Long Travel front end 5" wider per side with 2.5x8" Sway Away coilovers, Dixon Bros. shock hoops
2.0x2" King bumpstops
Full heim steering
3" Procomp lift spindles
homemade lower rear A-arm crossbrace, lower A-arm mount weld-washers, upper A-arm gussets
8" limit straps
removed swaybar

MAC performance muffler with turn down tip
MAC performance intake

front bumper with removable light bar, with 4 Hella 4000 55w HID conversions
custom rear receiver and swing out spare tire carrier w/ gas can
clear corners
McNeil fiberglass fenders
removed running boards
5.0 emblems
color-matched grill surround with mesh grill
clear LED light in rear bumper

ABS defeat switch
Icom race radio
recovered center console in black
fog lamp-hi beam mod
added tie-downs in cargo area
rear hatch interior handle
4x4 Ranger front towhooks
driveshaft "loop"

3-link rear suspenion
add 2.5 or 3.0x18" King bypass shocks to the rear
switch front smooth body shocks for 2.5 or 3.0x12" King bypasses
rear fiberglass







Newly lifted on 31 BFG M/Ts:


After its first offroading:


Almost stock:



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BrianDye, sorry it took me a while to get pictures for you, but here they are. You can see just how freaking bright these lights are. Too much for a street application in my opinion.





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No prob man, but WOW! Those are awesome! But I fully agree, way to much light for what im looking for.

I just got my Retro HID kit in the mail today, so hopefully these puppies are gonna help ALOT.

Matt those are just the 7" Kragen lights right?

Aside from the aluminum skidplate, the bumper is done! I redid the light bar, made my own longer tabs for the lights so that they are behind the main tube, and moved them towards the center so I can get the bolts out without moving the lights. Also added a crossmember in front of the radiator because there's no crossmember at all in front of the engine, and a little mount for a flag when I go to Pismo or Glamis.

The color is a little bluer than I thought it would be, but I still think it looks pretty good.





Went to Johnson Valley for King of the Hammers and had a great time, and I actually stayed true to my word and didn't beat on the truck too hard. But still I found some things that need to be addressed. My front shocks are toast so replacing those is a priority, and I need to find what's making a knocking sound in the front end everytime I go into a dip or step on the brakes. Today I finally decided it was time to give it a wash since i've gone probably 8 months without one and have 6 or 7 offroad trips worth of mud and dust and scratches inside and out. I realized that I probably shouldn't wait that long in between car washes anymore if I want to keep it looking pretty. The paint feels like sandpaper and there are water spots everywhere. I waxed the hood and most of the passenger side and it didn't really improve all that much. I'm thinking that sometime in the future I'll have it professionally detailed and try to have the paint restored.

Looking pretty after the wash


Custom pinstriping


Finally got my skidplate done, it's 1/8" aluminum. The cutouts were done with a drill and jigsaw, and then I polished the whole thing. I still want to add the same mesh I have for my grill behind the cutouts. And eventually I want to sand it all down to get rid of the texture and scratches, and polish it to a mirror finish. And I also want to repaint the bumper either gloss black or the darker green on the lower portion of the rest of my truck. The paint on there now scratches way too easily.


Very, very nice mate, look's sweet as!!!

that is Hawt! d

Not to be a wet blanket here but how visible is the front plate from say 50ft away ?

Only asking this cause when i had my front plate mounted on the Skid Plate of "Big Red"
i was getting harrassed by the Cops claiming they could not see it. Hence why i hung it on the Main Tube.

I did take that into consideration and i'm hoping it won't be a problem. It's actually more visible from further away.

Prepare yourselves for some rambling...

I just updated the "one day" mod list in my first post. I added long travel to the top of the list. I've gone out to the desert several times this season and went to Barstow this weekend, and the whole time I've been convincing myself that I don't need anything more than a properly tuned shock in the front to be happy. Well that may be true, but I also realized that to be REALLY happy I want to get rid of the torsion bars for some coilovers. Riding in my friend's nearly stock coil-sprung ranger, which is much smoother than my torsion bar-sprung truck, is what pushed me over the edge. I just don't see my torsion bars ever being comparable to a similarly built, coil-sprung truck. I have also maxed out my torsion bars and I still want a bit more lift in front. So if I want to convert to coilovers, I may as well take advantage of their benefits and get some extended A-arms at the same time. And long travel is just so much cooler than mid travel.

So I don't really have much of a plan yet...need to graduate and get a new job before starting anything. I really enjoyed building my front bumper, and I love watching other people build up their trucks in their own ways. I have plenty of resources for tools, materials, and knowledge and advice, so I feel confident enough that I'm thinking about building a kit myself. I obviously have tons of research to still do, so whether I extend and reinforce the stock lower arm or build a completely new one is still to be determined. Upper arm would have to be completely new, so I'd have to decide between balljoint or uniball for the spindle, and bushings or heims at the frame. Maybe move the wheels forward 1"? I'd be keeping my procomp lift spindles, so it'll be like Carlover's first LT kit that BTF built but a little narrower. Probably around 3-4" over per side. I don't beat on my truck too hard, so I think with my cautious driving the stock snouts will be okay. I haven't won the lottery yet, so I'll get some used 2.5 coilovers, length still TBD. I'll also want to build an engine cage to support them. And finally, fiberglass fenders will be needed.

The rear will most likely stay how it is because I don't think I want to put some big shocks through the floor, and I don't want a wider axle because that will mean fiberglass fenders in the back. Maybe minor fender trimming, but that's it.

So that's my story. Thanks for reading. I'm excited!

...Ok, so then just a couple more mods and that's it?..:scratch:

..That's the same schedule I'm keeping...:biggthump

Ya, should be done in a couple days haha. No, I've got a long road ahead of me, but I promise that I will not turn this into a yard ornament project that sits for 2 years. Besides not having another vehicle, I have friends with projects like that and that's the last thing I want. I'll make a jig to build the arms and build as much as I can off of the truck, then take a couple days at a time to check everything for fitment, cycling, etc, and put it back to stock again while I continue progress off of the truck.

Well in my excitement on deciding to go long travel with my front end, I may have spoken too soon. Long travel is still definitely on my list of future mods, but it won't be for a little while. Probably not until I have a steady full-time job and maybe a second car (not a 2nd offroad toy, that was a big mistake haha). But I need new front shocks NOW, I'm tired of bouncing off of my bumpstops offroad and driving on the freeway can be sketchy at times.

So I bought these off my roommate for $70. We both totally forgot he even had them packed away in the garage, but they're brand new never used 2.0x8" Procomps. Don't know much about them so valving them in the future might be a little more difficult, but they will be much better than what I have now. So as soon as I get a chance I'll be cutting off my stock shock mount and building new ones.


Almost done with school, just one more week! So i'll be doing some work on the truck soon. So I want some opinions. I've been thinking about doing another NEW front bumper on my truck and selling the one I built since I can just unbolt it and put it on another truck.

What do you guys think of something like this? Reusing the original bumper but tucking it up real close to the body and just doing a real simple skidplate hidden behind/below the stock bumper? And have a bolt on lightbar still. The goal is to have a pretty stock looking front end, but still unique and very clean looking. Not that I need more projects to do...


..I really like your current bumper..

..Keep it and you can still dabble on making other custom bumpers..Make a couple more like yours and sell them so you have money to fabricate other new ideas..:biggthump

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Just a few parts I'm collecting...

Got some 1-rated torsion bars for free from a buddy with a Sport Trac that I'll be swapping in to hopefully get a little more ride height in front. Also will be picking up 2 32" BFGs and outlaw wheels this weekend from Carlover. And a little while back I got a Dana 30 hub from Ron (cobra396sschevelle, or something like that) which I will use if I build a spare tire carrier on the back bumper.

But unfortunately my radiator decided it didn't like being full of coolant, so now it's all over the street. So I'm picking up a new one tomorrow morning, and also might start building new shock mounts for my new front shocks tomorrow. Gotta get ready for Pismo in 1 1/2 weeks!