My 93' Explorer Restoration Project | Page 4 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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My 93' Explorer Restoration Project

Well the day has dawned! I finally get to dive into Saturday with no plans or events getting in the way! I get an entire day alone with the mistress :) The first thing on the agenda though was to get the James Duff kit all hung and ready for paint.


After getting them all hung I gave them one last wipe down with a micro fiber towel to remove any stuff that got stuck to them after sitting in the garage for a week. I then whipped out a can of Rust-Oleum Rubberized Undercoating and got started. I found the 3M stuff is indeed good stuff, however, it is susceptible to scratching. The Rust-Oleum stuff withstands scratching quite a bit better so I decided to go along with it. The first coat took 2 cans. I plan on doing another coat after. When all is said and done I will peel off the James Duff logo stickers on the radius arms revealing the logo with blue letters against a black background. I also plan on painting the coils Red (Blue just doesn't fit my Explorer that well).

So, with this out of the way I could finally turn my attention back to my pride and joy. On the jack stands she goes!


First I decide to take the sway bar off. What a PITA!!! You'd think it would be the simplest part? As it turned out, the bolt on the passenger side was so rusted in that I had to pry and ratchet in order to remove it.


After I got the bolts out I noticed the 'threading' that had been cut into the sleeve because of all the rust.


After that I realized that the tires would have to come off. Probably should have loosened those lug nuts while it was on the ground huh? Oh well, I made do with a block to keep the tires from moving. As luck would have it though my super power would kick into play. Now I've sheared a few bolts in my time *cough* *hitch* *cough* but this was one I didn't see coming.


Yeah, I ended up hammering on a socket that was a size smaller, then sledging it on until it was mashed in, then, with a little elbow grease and a lot of luck, I broke it loose. WHEW!

Next was some easy stuff. I disconnected the brake sensor.


Then I disconnected the brake lines. To plug them up I banked my money on some folded duct tape, two quarters, and a spring clamp.


BAM! No leaks.

Then of course I addressed the steering linkage. The driver side nut didn't have a cotter pin. The passenger side cotter pin was in so tight I had to run wire though it and around a wrench so I would have something to pull on. Yes, it ended in one hell of a bruise when the cotter pin broke loose and the whole operation sent me flying backwards.


After fighting and fighting the pitman arm/steering link connection I decided to just go to Auto Zone and get a pitman arm puller. One bike ride and a min or two of prying later; the pitman arm came off no problem!


Still haven't figured out a way to get it off the steering linkage though... any suggestions?

Next I took off the coil and shocks on the driver side.


At this point I recalled some advice I was given by Adamsbro while working on 'The Hulk'. After the horrific battle of standing, blocking, and making any attempt to anchor the axle it was determined that going for the stud would be better while the axle is still on the vehicle. Thanks Again Adamsbro!

Now I decided to do something sneaky. I bought a Craftsman ratcheting wrench (I know! I couldn't believe they had one that was 1 1/8"!!!) from Sears just for this stud. I then re-applied the coil washer and nut to act as a guide for the wrench so that it couldn't twist or contort and fly off the stud or strip it.


Then I went ahead and used another trick I learned from Adamsbro while Duking it with his stud. I double wrenched the Craftsman ratchet wrench, put my foot on the end, grabbed the frame, and PUSHED!


Just as the wrenches were about to touch the frame from bending and giving I heard a small crack and felt the slightest nudge as the wrenches touched the frame. I quickly re-aligned the wrenches and Eurika! The next push gave way to a 1/8 amount of turn!

Well, between running errands for an extra jack, pipe wrench, clamps, more paint, pitman puller, and Taco Bell I called it a day. Here is what she looks like right now.


Looking forward to another day at the grind tomorrow! I'll be getting my a$$ out of bed at 0800 hours to get something done. Hopefully there will be enough to make a worth while post. I think I need to thank Adamsbro (Bryan) for letting me see his truck first hand. It has been a HUGE help to review his thread and call upon what he ran into before to get past all the sillyness that showed up whether I was ready or not. Thanks again for reading, any advise or comments are always welcome!

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Looking good so far! :thumbsup:

Great work!! The only suggestion i have for the pitman arm is maybew a 3 jaw puller. I removed the linkage from the pitman before taking it off the gearbox just like any TRE joint, a little prying pressure with some taps of a hammer and it came right off.. That is one BAD @$$ ratchet wrench you got there, and an awesome idea of putting the spring retainer back on to hold the wrench. It was awesome to have you over helping out and much needed. You are doing some fine work and I will return the favor of helping out if i can, you have my number. keep it up i cant wait to see it done. Oh ya and one more thing, did you get wheels and tires yet or what are your plans there?

Hey Adamsbro2, as far as the tires go I plan on keeping the same rims and just buying new bigger tires. Seeing as I'm not going to be able to stuff 35's under it I think the stock rim will be enough. As for the crossmember mine did come with one, although I'm still a little foggy on how it installs. It appears as though it simply fits between both frame beams and just bolts in. Drilling new holes may be required.


isn't that the one that replaced the trans crossmember though? hence the mounting plate in the middle? mine came with one that bolts up where the old radius arm crossmember was and sticks forward and down a bit with brackets for installation of a swaybar BEHIND the axle? i dont like the looks of it, i seriously think a little flex and my driveshaft will be hitting it.

Oh! Dee-da-dee! Yes, you are correct. This piece doesn't replace the radius arm crossmember, it is the transmission one.

Skyjacker might be different but my kit integrated the radius arm cross-member support into the tranny cross member. The two turned into only one beam, and connected the two radius arm brackets to each other.

Very intriguing Naasau, I wonder if my James Duff kit Piggy Back's Sky Jacker's design. I'll have to see.

On the flip side, more progress has been made as far as getting everything squared away and ready to go. I left off with still having to remove the passenger side shock and coil. The coil was absolutely rusted and stuck in place. Hammer and punch, Pipe Wrench, even a combination of the two and the coil decided it wasn't going anywhere!



As you can see, the nut holding the coil is a pretty sad sight anyways. After a quick attempt I began to strip the nut. I decided to back off and think. Well, I have new coils, maybe I could just cut the old one out? So... I did!


Here was the cut I made into the coil. I had gotten it all pretty and even with the coil length when there was no tension on it. I then decided, F that, I don't want an angle cutter to go flying out of my hands when it busts though. So, under the jack went and after a short compression of the coil, POP! And out she came!


Since I had already cut the coil once, and I really wanted to get a clear shot at the nut with a socket and breaker bar, I made up my mind and went to town cutting the coil again.


Broke free, removed it, and then just about crapped my pants! I was greeted with a horrifically rusted stud!!!


I really didn't know what was going to happen? This thing was literally crumbing as I put the wrench on! Well I got all suited up and put my little cheater rig on it as best I could and then PUSHED!!!


EURIKA! It broke free! Despite this it still required the cheater to unthread the bolt all the way :(

Next up was dropping the axle out. It kept wanting to separate and the weight wasn't even, so I said to hell with it and just lashed the whole thing together with wire.


As luck would have it something decided to hang me up as I removed the axle. The driver side radius arm was practically rust welded in to the bracket! I introduced him to mister sledge hammer! Again, I have new ones so... yeah, an untimely demise was the future for any chance of re-threading a bolt back on.


Got the axle removed safely and wheeled it into the garage for a little upcoming restoration!


Finally, a good stopping point for this evening! Here is my Explorer as she sits:


On a side note, I just got done applying the second coat of Rust-Oleum Undercoating!


Everything is looking great thus far! I am still going back and forth on the coil color though. They are a neat candy blue, but I was planning on doing them red. Should I keep them blue or go with red? Red matches better, in my opinion, but blue would look a little patriotic. Or red coil buckets and black coils? What do you guys think?

Thanks Again for reading! (and all the previous advice! ~adamsbro ~Naasau)

Well... I went with red buckets and black coils, that way the brackets and springs had the same pattern front and back. I'm a huge fan of symmetry. ;-)

Well, Tuesday I didn't make much progress, mostly cruising around town and getting parts/tools/toiletries/sedaline torch. Wednesday on the way to work (4:30am) I got jumped by a F---ing tweaker. Long story, ended up not doing any work that evening. Finally! Thursday evening! I worked my ass off! I'll get the updated post on here once I get all the pictures uploaded.

Alrighty, here is what's going down. I am at the point of just getting everything off that I need to so I can focus in on installing the new hardware. I started today by grinding off the rivets so that I could remove the coil buckets.


After getting both of them free I continued grinding and hammering until I had popped off the rest of the rivets (with the exception of one...). Air tools would have been nice, but that wasn't in the budget, so I got them out the old fashion way, hammer and punch.

After removing the coil buckets, as expected, I was greeted with my old friend Mr. Rust Bucket. Here is a view looking up at the frame showing one rivet on the bottom:


So, one nice sweep with the grinder and BOOM! A small section of the frame was treated for cancer.


After I got all that I could get to on the frame I sectioned it off, taped, and gave it a good coat of Primer!


Yeah, I know. I overkilled it a little on the right hand side. It's just primer though. Think of it as a good helping of anti rust! Tomorrow I plan on getting a nice coat of Rubberized Undercoating on there to make it mud proof!

Lastly, here is a shot of all the rivets I got off by hand today!


10 all told, but there are still 5 elsewhere on the vehicle. Thanks for tuning in, I hope I can bust my rump tomorrow and get some more done!

great work!
looks like you've gone from noob to mechanic pretty quickly.

Hey Guys, got a lot done over the weekend, however, the keyboard broke on my home computer. Got the coil buckets mounted, the dual shocks look awesome! I'll get pictures soon, (using work's computer right now).

Great job so far! I'm really liking this thread. Those rivets are all good fun!

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EURIKA! The keyboard works once again! Well, I've got a bunch of stuff to post. So, without further ado, let the story begin!

Started early Saturday, but went to a garage sale down the street. Ended up getting this radio for $3 and used it all weekend long! Love the throw backs!


Now that I was jamming with my new old Crown Radio I got down to business. Here are some pictures of the passenger side frame behind the coil bucket as it transformed. Needless to say it was disgusting! Rust, Dirt, Oil, Grease, and who knows what else! Went along, knotted wire brushed as much as I could get to, did a little touch up with the hand brush, and then BAM!!! just add paint! Rust Restorer to be exact.




Ah! Now that's more like it! Now, next up was to grind off the rivets holding the other beam bracket. A little work and rust inhalation later I popped that bad boy off!


Call it OCD, or maybe just an insistent need to slow myself down, but I decided to clean the entire engine cradle as well.



Finally! I got it to the point where it was ready for a coat of RustOleum Rust Restorer (an extra precaution and good primer anyways). After this picture I got it hosed down with 2 coats of rubberized undercoating.


Finally got back to business on the Radius Arm Brackets. Mine were unlike adamsbro's (Bryan's) "Hulk" Explorer. While his were riveted in mine were actually bolted on. Didn't really help though, as the bolt stripped and spun. Basically, it was riveted with bolts :(


As you can see the grinder was the answer to the problem, as with anything else that ever gets in the way ;)

Again, with anything that seems to be attached to my frame, there is a notable amount of rust and PB Blaster Lol. Again, I gave it the cure:



It seems I forgot to take a picture of it painted, but I'm sure one will get posted as I get more stuff done. Next was the matter of actually putting in the coil buckets. Yeah, totally STOKED! However, as always, I decided to paint something. (A preeminent sign of A.D.D. I'm sure)


After the shiny objects started drying I got back to the coil bucket. Thank goodness I bought a bunch of clamps, I found over kill is a sure fire way to keep things in place! Here you can see I got the holes drilled out and for my sake there is also a picture of the washers and bolts.



Again, clamping the crap out of stuff was my ticket. This particular part though was really nerve racking. The fender needs to get trimmed out a little so that you have enough clearance for the new shock mount brackets. Don't go too far though because there is a wire harness lurking right on the other side.


Of course, while I'm in the middle of coordinating this needle threading I bust a drill bit :(


And here is a picture of the damage it left behind for the next drill bit to clean up.


Alright, so after a slap in the face by the drill I got another bit and back to business! Again, positioning this second bracket is fairly nerve racking because of all the stuff you need to dodge WHILE getting it aligned in the same plane as the coil bucket half of the mount. Not too high, not too low, not tilted, exactly 5" apart, parallel, the bolt has to glide smoothly between both holes, and don't drill into the brake line!


And don't get the fuel lines either!


So, in conclusion, if you can do that then you're golden. Just miss the fuel lines (I'm sure you know if you hit them :) ) and drill into the brake line without actually hitting it.

I noticed at this particular spot on the frame mine is double walled? I don't know if this is the same on others to make room for push clip mounts or what, but I didn't read or hear of any mention about it having a thicker beam wall with a small void in between? The kit didn't plan on it either so I was going to be way too short on the screws to make the nut seat! Fortunately as the saying goes, is it better to be smart or lucky? I just happened to have 6 grade 8! bolts that I was going to use for my hitch that were a half inch longer than the James Duff ones with the exact same thread pitch and diameter! :D


Eventually it will get color matched and touch up paint, but for now, HELL YEAH!!! Rock solid! Of course, I was Amped so I went ahead and threw the shocks and coils on to see what it would look like.


I got the passenger side coil bucket on today no problem. The passenger side frame has acres of room! No wires, lines or odd brackets in the way. The driver side as you saw is a bit of a nail biter. I got Wednesday off work so I can hammer out some more stuff and keep this project going!

Thanks Again for tuning in! Any input is always appreciated!