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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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Ya, I thought I'd take a break when moving to San Francisco...that didn't last long haha. Work is going well, keeping my very busy. Living in SF is so much different than what I'm used to, I'm still adjusting but I love it here so far. I made it down to Johnson Valley for New Year's, put 1,100 miles on the truck in 3.5 days, 150 of which were offroad. The next trip will be in either March (to Cal City) or in April (to JV again).

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I don't know the exact total yet, but it's $750 to start, then add the anti-spring wrap leaf and tax, it'll be over $900 I'm sure. :(

First some good news. Got my Deavers finally. Went to the Leduc offroad swapmeet last weekend, where I was planning to meet with the guys from Deaver to pick up the springs because I wanted to avoid paying shipping. Of course he forgets to bring them, but we talked and he offered to ship them to me on his dime. I was really looking forward to getting them, but can't really complain about free shipping for such a large shipment. And Keeper, they ended up costing $810, which was a pleasant surprise considering I figured tax alone would put the cost over $900.


Also picked up 2 U-bolt relocation spring plates at the swap meet, and a few heims, bungs, jam nuts, and misalignment spacers for future use.


Also finally got my horn fixed after probably 1.5 years of it not working. Tried replacing the clock spring which is a common culprit, but that didn't fix it. Not knowing what else to do and thinking it was something in the airbag, I took it to Ford to have it fixed for a whopping $601! That was painful. Turns out both horns were shorted out. And as far as my cruise control not working, apparently the servo is bad, and dealers can no longer get new ones in. Kind of coincidental that both the horn and cruise control weren't working, yet the problems weren't related like they normally are.

And the possibly bad news. Tonight I got home from work, got out of the truck and smelled something unusual, so I walked around it, looked under it, sniffed around, and then saw the tiniest bit of smoke coming from the front passenger wheel well. There is a coolant leak somewhere, and there is coolant all over the motor mount and some of the A/C or heater lines in that area. I didn't notice any difference in how it was driving on my way home, but I did have music on so I didn't hear anything that may have sounded different. Fearing the worst, my first thought was head gasket, and then heater core since I know it's in that area. Gonna do some research, but any insight would be great. I took some pictures of what I could, but looking at them now they don't seem to show anything.

...Sorry to hear about all of this..:(

My mechanic friend/coworker came by to check it out, and he thinks I have a cracked head. He said for that much coolant to leak and without ever overheating, its less likely to be just a blown gasket. Hopefully we can start working on it next weekend. This could be a blessing in a very expensive disguise, because I'm pretty sure the header gasket on that side has a leak, and one of the tapped holes for the header hardware needed a helicoil anyway.

Going in for surgery.


Thanks, I think I did, but we'll see. This place has great reviews and its been a pleasure talking to the guy on the phone so far, and the warranty they offer is the longest I've found too. I feel like this is what a parent feels when their child is having an operation haha. I miss driving my truck and just hope she comes out healthy. :). Then I can get back to focusing on modifications.

So my good fortune continues. Went to pick the truck up Tuesday and was really looking forward to getting it back. I get the keys, settle the bill, and go to start the truck, and the check engine light is on. Turns out the IAC was lose. Ok, but now i hear and feel a misfire, but no codes show up. We spend a long time looking for the issue but can't find anything, so I go for a test drive. Feels ok but im confident there is a slight misfire. Not a big deal, just should not be happening. Then I notice some green fluid accumulating on a trans line and dripping onto the exhaust. The mechanic finds the leak coming from an AC line near the header, and the fluid is refrigerant. It wasn't leaking before. For how much I had just spent, I decided to leave the truck until I'm happy with it. Got the truck back this morning, but im not done with this shop yet. The shop is not taking responsibility for it now because it looks like it had been rubbing on something before even though it's nowhere close to anything to rub on. The leak is on top of the line, and the header is beneath it. And to add to that, the evaporator needs to be replaced because that line is a part of it, and these evaporators are obsolete, so I need to track down a used one. So now i have no AC. F***! It never ends.

Finally got the new Deavers installed. Springs need to settle a bit, hopefully a couple of inches as it sits too tall right now and the shackle angle is pretty steep. I'm considering a few different options to fix that.


Also bought these from a friend today for an INCREDIBLE deal, such a good deal that I forced him to take more money than he asked for. I'm hoping to get them installed in the next 2 weeks, because I have an offroad trip coming up in 2 weekends.


And I have a replacement A/C evaporator on the way thanks to Kbabiak. :thumbsup:

They're for the front. I'm getting coil springs and the coilover hardware from my friend too, but they're still at his house since I won't be using them as coilovers just yet. One day though.

Well I have a plan for re-setting up the rear end, and I've begun accumulating parts, and I've also drawn up some parts in Solidworks that I'm having cut out. Was supposed to get to work this weekend but looks like it may be next weekend now.

Beefy TIG welded shackles from my friends at 2:AM Fabrication

Bushings from Ruff Stuff

And I also have a plan in the works for mounting those shocks up front :) That should show up in a few weeks.

Got a package at work today. :) Dixon Bros. shock towers, from a wrecked Ranger. The guy I got them from is keeping his DBR kit for a new Explorer project, but is building a whole engine cage, so I got his old shock towers. I decided to do this because I *should* be able to put these on fairly easily with the 8" shocks I just got, and when I do long travel in the future, I will be ready to go, just swap in the coil springs and hardware and new control arms. I do need to sleeve the crossbar back together, but that's not a big deal and I'm guessing the width it was wouldn't have been exact anyway. These also have bump stop cans already welded on for future use.\\





This happened today. The Mountaineer has finally been retired from DD status!

And in other news, I think I have a blown head gasket again. Good timing I guess with me picking up a new car. Good thing it's under warranty. I'm going to insist they fix the A/C too while they're in there again, and replace the 2 spark plug wires I found damaged from their shotty routing.

On the modifications front, I'm not sure if the DBR shock towers will actually allow enough room for the 2.5" shocks with stock control arms now, I need to do some measuring but my front end might have to stay the same for a while.

And I got these laser cut logos from my friends at 2:AM Fabrication which I added onto the shackles. Who knows when I'll get a chance to actually get the back end all figured out.

And a coworker gave me a couple of gas cans he had no use for. One of them is pretty rusty inside, and one has just a small chip of paint/coating missing inside, so I'll see if I can find some way to still use it if there's a type of paint or something I can cover that with. If so, I'll save it for my future tire gate.

..Congrats on the new car and hopefully this will allow you more time to work on your ride with out having to hurry to put it back together in the middle of a project cause you need it as a DD..

..I'm liking your 2 a.m. bling..:biggthump

Welcome to the econobox club;)


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In case you didn't know what a Mazda3 looks like:


And the parts I designed for making my rear shackle setup should be cut out tomorrow, along with a bunch of random tabs and gussets, and these which I designed for my friend's F150 project. This weekend we might try to work on setting up the rear of both our trucks with the newly cut parts. We both need to finish up our trucks before a Pismo trip in August. First are his front leaf spring mounts, second are shackle hangers. Next I'm going to make some rear upper shock mounts for him.



A few months ago I also began playing around with designs for control arms for a long travel kit, which I'll get back to working on soon hopefully. I used completely random dimension for the frame and arm mounts, but when I get back on it I'll adjust to real frame measurements. Not even sure I'll actually make it, it's just fun to see what goes into suspension design.





If anyone has something they need designed, let me know. I do this stuff at work all day long, but it's fun to work on truck related projects.