Mounty71's 4x4 Long Travel Build | Page 14 | 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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Finally replaced the Procomps with the Fox shocks. Replaced all seals in them, revalved them, and had the hose fittings changed to 90s, and I learned a lot about shocks in the process. I need to get them charged with nitrogen still.


Shocks have 1/8" of unused shaft at full droop.

And the Procomps are for sale, PM me if interested!

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It's been a little while since I've posted in here...

First of all, I replaced my front bearings and seals about a month ago and I remembered to take pictures this time. Looks like my spindle snouts aren't in the best of shape.






What do you guys think about them? Is that pretty normal looking wear or can you tell if the spindle nuts are too lose or too tight?

Second, I've gathered a few parts that still need to make their way onto my truck. I went against my vow to avoid 4 Wheel Parts at all costs, and bought some shock boots for the rear shocks. I couldn't get myself to spend $30 on these elsewhere. Yes they're clear, and I'm sure they'll turn yellowish brown at some point, but I dgaf.


Picked up some progressive rubber bumpstops for free that I'll put on the rear.


Also picked up a pair of laser cut plates for free with the 5x4.5 bolt pattern that I will use when I build a spare tire carrier. I'm only going to use one, and my roommate wanted the other one.


Not sure if I posted a picture of the Dana 30 hub I'm going to try to use for the tire carrier pivot. Got it for free as well from Ron (can't remember his screenname on here).


And last but certainly not least, I picked up a pair of 2.5x10 Swayaway threaded body shocks for super cheap. My roommate and I have come to the conclusion that I have a problem with buying used shocks haha. Not sure if I'll try to use them on the back for now, save them for the front in the future to use as coilovers, trade them for a different size shock to use in the future (2.5x8" or 16" for the front or back, respectively), or sell them for some extra cash. But for the price and the great condition they're in, I didn't feel like passing them up.


I've been thinking a lot about what my future plans are and I can't wait to get started building this thing, but I have a lot of saving to do! I have some big plans for this truck that I'm keeping quiet for now.

Getting some Torque Monster Headers from ssp.interceptor on here, I hope they get here soon! Been wanting some for the past 7 years so I can't wait to get them on! The long travel kit will just have to wait a little longer.

I'll just post because I'm bored, even though no one seems to read this anymore anyway.

I sold those 2.5x10 shocks to someone who needed them to finish up a truck build, which freed up a little money. So I bought some Torque Monster headers FINALLY! Also bought the Remflex header gaskets, ARP hardware, and am waiting on the spark plug wire heat socks to arrive. Then I just need some time to get them installed.

Also got these Camburg machined clevises and FK heims (all new) from a friend for a great price, which will eventually replace my inner tie rods when I convert to heim steering. Need to still get the outer heims and misalignment spacers, bungs, and some tubing.



And my next fab project, which I will be working on with a friend, will be an 8.8 skidplate similar to what's pictured below. Last time in Barstow I was dragging in some deep two-tracks, and I don't want to kill my pinion seal again or keep ripping the bottom of the diff cover away from the center section. We might end up making a few and selling them.


I went out to King of the Hammers a few weeks ago with a few friends and had a great time! My truck did pretty well as I did my best to keep up with my friends in their more-built trucks. We ended up doing about 130 miles the day of the race, and we made our way from Means Lake to Barstow. It was the best desert trip I've had yet! Only damage was the reflective shield piece in my driver's headlight, but the light still seems to shine the same.





Oh, I have been watching. :D

Allow me to point this out.
You might need some "machine washers" of varying thickness to make the inner heim align when it is torqued down. This doesn't matter on the stock ones with a ball on the end, however, when fully torqued tight the new hiem must be vertical --does this make sense?

I'm interested in the beefed up steering joints. Those look like they will break the rack before they fail.

Yup I know what you're saying Jon...I think. That's actually a bolt that goes through the clevis into the rack, so those washers shouldn't be necessary.


And a strong setup is the goal. I've bent tie rods before and I can feel deflection in my stock steering compared to my roommates truck which already has this setup.

Looks like you've been making tons of progress man! That rear diff skid play is pretty badass, hope you keep a log about that build, I may want one.

First time towing.


Trailer's got some sweet Cali lean bro.

Second time towing. Went to Barstow this past weekend and had a great time in my friend's new Rhino and my first time riding desert on a dirtbike.



And at the California 200 memorial at Slash X

Rig is looking good, Matt.

Nice, ohh how i miss the days of having something simple to cruise around in.
Haha! I used to say the same thing. It's funny that a lot of guys think that way after building up a bad ass truck. It becomes a chore to get it out and use it.

Rig is looking good, Matt.

Haha! I used to say the same thing. It's funny that a lot of guys think that way after building up a bad ass truck. It becomes a chore to get it out and use it.

Its such a PITA anymore. Always have to tow it out, doubles the fuel cost. Prep and maint cost a ton. Plus working out the bugs, and fighting the itch to go faster and wanting more and more haha.

Thanks guys. I'm pretty happy with how my truck is right now, and it is perfect for a daily driver/weekend warrior. I'm just trying to get it to work better with what I've got and make it strong and reliable.

Found out today that I'll be doing a trip from Lucerne to Afton Canyon with some people in less than a month, which I'm not completely sure but I think it's around 100 miles offroad. Need to do some shock tuning, new balljoints, new battery, hopefully install my headers, and maybe even do the heim steering and a new steering rack before then.

Revalved my front shocks today with the help of my friend at Dialed Shock Prep. If anyone needs help with shock tuning, get in touch with him! I can definitely feel a difference just driving around, cannot wait to feel it out on the trip in a couple of weeks. For compression I'm now running a full 0.015 stack except for a 0.02 fulcrum shim, and the largest 2 shims are doubled. On rebound I'm now at a full 0.015 stack. The rear shocks I recharged to 150psi and that alone made a big difference, so I'm wondering how low the pressure was before.

Also found this little problem a few days ago.

Guess I got a little too crazy in Barstow. I ordered another limit strap from Dez at the Murrieta ORW and he was a great help. I ordered it yesterday afternoon and it arrived today! I put a few washers between the tab and the arm to space it out so it won't rub anymore.

I have some Moog upper balljoints and Napa blue-boot lower balljoints ready to be installed too. There are 2 different Moog lowers available for these trucks and I couldn't figure out which one to use, and I've heard nothing but good things about the Napa blue-boots so I figured I'd try those instead.

Replaced my 9 year old battery this week too. The old one still worked fine and never ever gave me a problem, but I didn't want to take any chances or kill my starter in 110* heat in the middle of the desert. Hopefully this new one will be just as problem-free.

And my truck passed smog last week so I'm ready to install the headers now. I'm still trying to work up the courage to take on that job haha.

Lots of blood, burns, cursing, sweat, more blood, tears, anger, and finally a big my Torque Monster headers on this weekend! Took all weekend from Friday night to 8PM Monday night, and what a pain in the ass it was!

The spark plug wire routing has changed a little bit on the driver's side since this picture, btw.





Also, last weekend I did a 2.5 day 150ish mile offroad trip, and it was amazing! We had 10 trucks in the group, from lifted DD to full-built offroad toys, and it was an incredible weekend. Did some exploring of mines and hidden landmarks all over the desert between Lucerne and Afton Canyon. The truck ran flawlessly with only a hole in a tire and a turn signal light bulb fell out, but the bulb still works!

Some pics from that trip:










Looks kinda funny, but hopefully the lights will work better in the heavy dust now. Last trip I was driving blind in the dust at night with my lights on, it was so bad that I had to turn them off and drive with just the headlights. I just painted the plastic lens covers which are removable, and I can also remove the whole light bar when I don't want anything.

..That trip looks like it was a blast..:biggthump

There was some serious exploration for sure! My friend is already starting to plan another one...a 3-4 day 800-1000 mile trip. Can't wait!

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I love stock-piling parts!

Got the heims I'll be using for the outer joint of the tierods on my new steering setup. These are 7/8" heims, and the inners are 3/4". Still undecided on a couple of things. 1) if I want to go with a machined tapered pin to fit the steering arm on the spindles like a stock tierod end does, or drill the taper out and use a bolt. 2) if I want to use weld-in bungs to thread the heims into the tierod tubing, or to get the tubing tapped for the heims.


I also got another matching wheel so I will have 2 spare tires once I get the tire carrier built. Getting into doing these long and remote desert trips has convinced me to run 2 spares.

I've also had my headers on for a little over a month now and have been dealing with resulting issues, but I think I finally have them taken care of after replacing the spark plugs last weekend. I still might have an exhaust leak and I still need to keep tightening some of the hardware, but at least now the truck drives well. I've been averaging nearly 2 MPGs better than with the stock exhaust manifolds. It'll only take me about 65 fill ups before they start saving me money!

I got a used phenolic spacer from someone too but I'm not sure I want to use it. What's the benefit of it? And I need to replace the EGR tube with a longer one, correct? I haven't been able to get in touch with Bob at Torque Monster, who I originally emailed about getting a replacement gasket for the #5 cylinder header tube.