My 97 Exploder Pre-runneresk Project... | Page 4 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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My 97 Exploder Pre-runneresk Project...

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There is no reason for the lateral axle dampening. They don't move that much side to side especially with a more progressive shock out back replacing the factory ones. Ford used that third shock on some Explorers as a anti roll dampener. Ever though about going with a Deaver Spring Co leaf pack in replacement of SOA. Spring under has much more potential for better travel.

The axle truss is a good idea if you were beating the hell out of the truck, but from the sounds of the wheeling you plan on doing its a waste of time and money. What you can do is weld the area where the axle tubes press into the center housing and build a tube that spans of the top of the pumpkin to add a little more rigidity.

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So I started the SOA Kit last night and realized there was no need for getting elaborate on the rear end.

Finished flipping the axle and got my plan for making the shock mounts and they are going to be a bolt on for the stock location. Just reused the original lower shock plate and u-bolts to mount it. Going to make a custom bracket that bolts the top of the shock in the original holes and done. Only other thing that I have not accounted for is the driveshaft. I need to get it extended so I am going to figure out the length and drop it off at the shaft shop and over the weekend I am going to tandem making the exterior panels for the xploder and get started on the project that I have planed for after the its done.

Here's a couple pic of the truck at its final ride height. I'll have better ones when I get it outside after I finished bleeding the brakes. Fronts about 1.5-2" higher up then the rear buts its pretty much a perfect fit. The front wheels don't look as ungodly wide with the rear wheels spaced out and the truck at the correct height. I think it looks really really good. I am very happy with the final stance I think its going to work great for me for years to come.




I will have pics of the fab on the exterior parts over the next week and then it will go into my buddies both for a quick coat of paint.

Johann @ Girodisc

looks great man...are you going to keep the sway bar? and where did you mount the sway bar end links or did you get ones that were lengthened. i think it sits awesome btw

I lengthened them. Yes I left it in because I want it to be stable for street use. Especially now that it lifted so much. Little progress tonight. Looked into the driveshaft lengthening and the shop local to me can't do aluminum shafts so I am going to make a spacer fir now till I can find another shop to make me one from scratch.

Okay so now that the suspension is done its finally time to get to the exterior transformation of my exploder.

Started the Front Fenders on Friday. Started with cardboard. A couple hours later I settled on this:





Then I took some 18ga sheet metal and began to tack the parts together. Once each piece was ready to be tacked on I traced it on to a second sheet of metal for the other side. Made a couple slight changes to it once it was in metal. Note the vent at the back to help remove trapped air.







Sheet of metal ready to be cut to make RH Fender:


So I got the piece all cut out for the other fender but the tip of my welder decided it wanted to break so instead I spent Sunday getting all the little things to get it running finished up.

Installed the ABS Sensors
Bled the Brakes
Swapped the Rear Brake Pads
Aligned the front wheels good enough to get to an alinement shop
Finished all the wiring for my fog lights (originally it wasn't wired how I wanted)

Then at the end of the day I used the cardboard pieces I made for the front fender and modified them to work on the rear. That way I saved a bit of time and I know they will match. I think the rear flare helps tone down the front. The wheels don't look like they stick out as far as they did before.





Tonight I should have the parts to fix my welder so I can get all the fenders cut and tacked on the truck. Maybe if I am felling frisky I will finish welding them so I can grind them tomorrow. I still need to work on the bumpers and eventually the doors and window pieces so I might just make a good push to finish everything this week while I am waiting for my driveshaft.

Johann @ Girodisc

Oh and PS I measured the wheelbase last night while I was alining the from wheels and its only 85" lol Rear is 74" so its not to far off..

Johann @ Girodisc

Track width not wheelbase

The front fenders look pretty unique. Seems you got them to line up and fit pretty well. Do you plan on gutting some of the stock fender out so you don't see it or hit it with the tire?

Yeah once the welds are grinded down the original fender will be cut out.

Johann @ Girodisc

Finished up the fenders. Painted the Grill and installed the new headlights. Got the shaft spacer installed and took it out for a more involved road test. I need to bleed the brakes a little more but all in all it runs and drives great. Took it down a couple logging roads slow and no pops or clunks or rattles. Drove back down at a much higher speed and everything performed great. Ride nice on the street, a little more sway then before with the rear lifted but its better then it was with the stock suspension with the front sway removed so I would say that its a complete success.

Got it outside for some pics and then I put it in the garage to paint the front fenders. I'll be working on the rears and front bumper tonight and I am hoping by Monday of next week I can put the closing stamp on this and get ready to hit the trails.





Johann @ Girodisc

Man this thread is poppin.. Well I got the rear Fenders Cut and finish welded to the back. Got one of the side steps done and the spacer will be finished tonight after a small revision. Going to fab the door panels and bumpers tonight. Should be good to drive on the daily once the welds are grinded and its POR15ed. I hope to be finished Thursday or Friday night. I'll have pics of it outside with the rear fenders done when I get home tonight.

Johann @ Girodisc

That thing looks aggressive. Is it just the picture or are the tires toes out? Those fenders looks like they took a lot of work. Good job.

geez I never seen this post before. I was going to say it looked aggressive from the first few pics until I saw the last page and now it looks like a monster.

You have some serious fab skills man! That thing is mean. Can't wait to see the finished project. That thing is mean!!

Here are the pics from last night. Rear fenders welded up and ready to be grinded. One side step ready to be grinded. Front bumper on an coated in POR 15. I'll be putting a nice semi gloss black bumper coated over the POR 15 because the bumper can't be shinny like the fenders.

Fenders (Fully working rear doors). Still need to think on the gas door but I have an idea I'd like to work on in a couple weeks after I get a couple other projects under way.





Here is the side step. Made from 1-1/4" square tubing and has cool looking floating steps.



Once they are painted the steps and the parts on rear bumper you can stand on are getting some traction tape. Instead of just black I got this cool skateboard grip tape that I think goes we'll with my Zombie Crusher theme.


And finally pics of the truck stepping back. I think the Rear fenders compliment the front and now the wheels on the front don't look as spaced out. Also make the truck look a lot smaller I think. I am happy wit the way they came out I can't wait to get them in black tonight. I hope to be driving it tomorrow morning.




I will get the rear bumper extensions fabed up tonight and the bumper's Backside POR15s and some Bumper coating on it. Fenders all grinded and painted. I know I have another before I can drive it for good so I am going to try and get the Door plates on if I can so I can just POR15 the while side of the truck.

Last for the day I got the revisions done to the driveshaft spacer.



More pics tomorrow. Hopefully Friday pics of it out in the world driving around.

Johann @ Girodisc

gotta say it dude.. ####ing badass explorer! that's clean

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Okay drove it to work today. Shes done except I need to weld on the other side step but its done. Looks flipping great.






Next stop alignment and then dirt...

Johann @ Girodisc

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