New wanna be overlander - Question on Body lifts? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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New wanna be overlander - Question on Body lifts?

Explorer_801

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November 30, 2020
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City, State
Salt Lake City, UT
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 Ford Explorer XL
Hey everyone!

I am a new member to the forum, however I've been a long time reader of the many useful threads here for years. I grew up around every generation of explorer. My dad has had every generation and we love them. I've been a Ford guy for years, and have been buying, restoring, and selling 60s Mustangs since I was in high school. Well, life changes and I'm growing out of the go fast life and growing into the overlanding life. I recently got a 1998 Ford Explorer XL with 140k miles that landed on my lap for $200. It does need a transmission as the reverse band is fried, but I've already bought a rebuilt one thats going in tomorrow. I decided this would be the perfect time to get into overlanding, as it is a ford and it was cheap. I've been doing my research, and I've decided that i'm going to work on suspension first.

For the rear, I'm going to replace the leaf springs with a whole new assembly (mostly to be able to rust proof the bottom while everything is off, but also to refresh the rear and get some spring back). While the leafs are off, i'll add a leaf and get some new shackles to raise the rear, while going with the monroe load adjusting shocks.

For the front, i'm just going to replace the front suspension assembly with new OE parts and bushings. I found a Spring Code 1 Torsion bar at my local junk yard and i've ordered some forged Torsion keys to hopefully give me a solid 2.5 inches in the front (advertised at 3, but I dont want to crank my torsion bar that hard). I'm still determining the shocks I will use up front.

Wheels I'll be running some 15 or 16s wrapped in 32s max.

All said and done, prices were very cheap, even for the new parts. It just makes me love the platform even more. My question to everyone out here, is who is running body lifts ontop of suspension lifts, and how does it effect driveability, offroad features, and more? What has been your experience with it? I'm not looking to do anything crazy, just some back service roads and maybe some rocky terrain. If it hasn't been pleasant I'll probably just stick to the lifts I described above.
 



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Alot of guys here are running body lifts. The setup ur describing isn't really a overland setup body lift yeah ok but just cranking the torsion bars is going to be "okay" but with the car_like suspension u are really going to want a lift maybe get some new bushings up underneath and everything. On the rear a shackle is "okay" but depending on ur budget possibilities are endless and yea start by taking the body off the frame the trans would be so easy to replace.
 






Skip the add-a-leaf. Get higher arch springs. Add-a-leaf’s ride is terrible unless your springs are way too soft, and even then it’s not a great solution.

If you’re a SOHC and the chains haven’t been replaced I’d set aside money to do it. Would suck to dump 2500 into this just to lunch the motor and be back at square 1.
 






Yea the rear is where ur going to feel it.
 






I’m sure the SOHC has put a hurting on many rears.
 












Skip the add-a-leaf. Get higher arch springs. Add-a-leaf’s ride is terrible unless your springs are way too soft, and even then it’s not a great solution.

If you’re a SOHC and the chains haven’t been replaced I’d set aside money to do it. Would suck to dump 2500 into this just to lunch the motor and be back at square 1.
Thats good info to know! What springs would you suggest? I've been looking for quite some time and I can't seem to find taller springs. It looks like skyjacker and a few companies used to offer taller springs, but have since been discontinued. Would year same Ranger springs work? I'll keep looking in the forums for suggestions too (sorry if this question has been answered many times).

Luckily I already pulled the motor and did a simple rebuild. Did the timing chains, front and rear main seals, refreshed bearings, and did a complete OEM gasket kit on the engine. I had a pretty major exhaust leak on the header, so I got that done as well. While the motor was out I had time to take the 302 sitting in my garage and test fit it... looked great but I need it for a mustang :(
 






The ranger rear axle setup is entirely different. (Spring over axle)
 






deaver spring has alot of good spring options for you as far as progressive spring packs and lifts. if those are out of budget an add a leaf paired with a shackle wouldnt be a bad idea as overlanders like to strap just about everything including the kitchen sink to their trucks.
a body lift wont really gain you anything. youll probably fit a slightly bigger tire, but will have that weird body lift gap between your body and frame. not worth it in my opinion
 






deaver spring has alot of good spring options for you as far as progressive spring packs and lifts. if those are out of budget an add a leaf paired with a shackle wouldnt be a bad idea as overlanders like to strap just about everything including the kitchen sink to their trucks.
a body lift wont really gain you anything. youll probably fit a slightly bigger tire, but will have that weird body lift gap between your body and frame. not worth it in my opinion
taking a look at Deaver Springs right now, and theyre stuff looks great. Going to get in contact with them about some things. As far as body lift goes, I think I will avoid it. I got to see a lot of 2nd Gens with 33s on them and they look perfect, and I don't think ill need anything bigger than that. Thanks for the tip!
 






taking a look at Deaver Springs right now, and theyre stuff looks great. Going to get in contact with them about some things. As far as body lift goes, I think I will avoid it. I got to see a lot of 2nd Gens with 33s on them and they look perfect, and I don't think ill need anything bigger than that. Thanks for the tip!
33s are gonna be tough without a body lift, or a sawzall and hammer. What’s your gear ratio?
 






33s are gonna be tough without a body lift, or a sawzall and hammer. What’s your gear ratio?
I've seen two 2nd Gens in person (one being my brother's), both with just a torsion bar crank, an add a leaf, and shackles running 33s just fine. Lucky for us we have custom offset's gallery and they have a variety of 2nd gens on similar suspension lifts running 33s just fine. That being said, a few of them had rubbing issues but that was because of their wheel's offset.

My code gives me 3.55 gears. May swap them out for 4.10s but I think it'll be fine considering where I'm planning on taking it, nothing crazy.
 






3.55s and 33s will be miserable, even on the street.
The anemic v6 transmission is gonna hate it.
 






As mbrooks says, 3.55 will be horrible with 33s. And will cause a quick death to an auto trans if that’s what you have.
Trust us. Go for the 410s, that will be perfect.
 






3.55s and 33s will be miserable, even on the street.
The anemic v6 transmission is gonna hate it.
Alright, I will follow suit and do it. Makes sens to do it while I have the rear end apart. Thank you for your comments and suggestions, its been helpful to hear from people who have more experience than me. Also thank you RangerX and Dezertranger.
 






6'' ranger lift springs will give an EX 4.5'' of lift with the axle over like stock.
 






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