Paul's Tuneup - Cage, Radius Arms, Etc. | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Paul's Tuneup - Cage, Radius Arms, Etc.

Well Paul and I have been talking about doing a cab cage for his explorer every now and then since meeting him at an explorer get together at his place a while back. The plan got put into motion and he brought her over to 360 Metal Fab for some lovin :D

The main structure of the cage was built out of 1.75"x.120 wall DOM tubing, with some 1.5"x.120 thrown in the mix for miscellaneous bracing and reinforcing. Paul provided some insight on particulars of the cage(which always helps) and we decided the best route for his needs would be to build a simple 4-pt cage focusing on the driver and passenger areas, and opting not to extend the cage all the way to the rear. I left 6-inch or so "tails" extending past the B-pillar on the overhead tubes so Paul could sleeve any "future expansion" onto the existing cage down the road if he wanted to. We decided tying the cage into the floorpan and not going to the frame in just a 4-pt would be a better solution than going to the frame, as there will still be a good deal of frame flex not going to all the way to the rear of the cabin. We also decided to stay out in front of the dash to minimize the impact of cutting through a dash and vents, headlight switches, fuse boxes etc.

I started by tacking some 3/16"x6"x6" baseplates to the floorboard. Then bent up and fitted the A and B pillars with some cross tubes. Then the two overhead tubes Front to Rear.




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Next I dropped the cage down through hole-sawed holes in the floorboard and welded all the tops of the tubes 360*. Then painted what wouldn't be accessible later with some nice POR15 gloss black paint. Paul wanted some integral handles on the A-pillars so I threw some 1-1/4" fancy handles on:D After gusseting the crucial tubing junctions, it was time for the dash bar and behind the seat stuff. The plate up on the ceiling is for a special extra :)






Next up was the dash bar. Paul preferred it be close to the windshield so some gusseting was added to keep things strong.:aerostar:

And before any one brings it up I'll just put it out there...YES my Christmas lights are still up LOL...i've become that guy I guess!:eek::hammer:




Really nice work Josh.:thumbsup: I'm glad to see that Paul decided to add a cage.:chug:

Paul decided to order some snazzy new Corbeau seats so we waited on finishing up the behind-the-seat tubing. The driver's radius arm was still "trail-repaired" back together from a previous wheeling trip (I'm sure someone can chime in on this) so some nice beefy new radius arms were in order.

These were made from 1.75"x.120 DOM tubing as well, with 1/4" plate for the "ears" that fit over the beams, and some 1/8" overlay plating. I used 1-1/4" FK JMX series heim joints with some stepped race bungs from Kartek. (same stuff on high-end desert race trucks). :D

The old radius arm brackets were badly bent from trail abuse and were ready the scrap pile. The wheelbase was 101.5" on the passenger side and 103" on the driver's side! :eek: I made up some new pivot boxes out of 1/4" plate. This should be sufficient to resist bending without an integrated crossmember.





While the front end was all torn apart I discovered the Balljoints and TRE's were completely trashed so new MOOG BJ's and NAPA TRE's were installed and greased up. Wheel bearings were repacked and wheel bearing adjusters nuts re-torqued to factory specs. (about to fall off previously) ;) Got everything put back together and it was time to jump back in the cab now that the seats had arrived.





Now it was time to get the cage done and seats in. We tried to find some bolt in sliders or brackets for the seats, but availability through Corbeau was a bit shaky, so adapters were made to interface the Corbeau and the stock sliders. Paul got reclining seats, so combined with the stock slider, the seat can slide tilt forward and slide way forward to access the back seat area.

We opted for one diagonal instead of the full "X" behind the seats for accessibility. I placed the low end on the driver's side to eek a bit more reclinability out of the seat, and placed a gusset at the top of the B-pillar on the driver's side to resist bending in place of the other leg of the "X".

Once Paul gets his seat heaters wired up he will be a happy camper even with the open trail doors :)






Thanks Josh - - was going to post a few pictures, but better for you to since you've done all the work and could answer any questions that pop up, especially since you have still have the rig at your place.

Awesome work, well worth it.

'91 Sport

Looks pimp! I dig the cage mounted safe. :D

Looks pimp! I dig the cage mounted safe. :D

The fact that a number of small-framed hand guns will fit that safe is pure coincidence. . . On a serious note, it is good to have someplace to lock up a few valuables in the cab since I've lost the ability to secure them within the rig with the 3/4 doors.

Seats also have lumbar (in one or two of the photos you can see the small "ball" pump, for inflation).

'91 Sport

Thanks for the comments guys!

Phil did you keep your MOOG's greased up? These were touted as the "premium" level balljoints from NAPA and others. Same ones i've used before with good results but don't have any mileage figures. At any rate it is a big step up from the loose floppy ones that were in grease fittings on the old ones so they might have even been the factory ones. :eek:

Randall not too much to report on the gun safe, just your typical nightstand-type pistol locker with the finger code buttons. Secured to a 3/16" plate between the cage tubes.

The clutch on the explorer went out on the test drive around the neighborhood (slave cylinder) so that will definitely need to be repaired before the shakedown run.:roll::confused:

Nice looking work. Any more details on the 'gun' safe? That looks like a pretty good place for extra storage.

Nothing special - - a Gun Vault "Micro" Vault, like this one:

I'll have to modify it a bit as the door will open and items within will free-fall, but I've got a few ideas in mind for that. . .

'91 Sport

A busy weekend but the clutch is overhauled and the Explorer is ready for action.:) A Centerforce Dual Friction clutch was installed, with a Centerforce throwout bearing, new flywheel, rear main seal, tranny mount, pilot bearing, slave and master cylinders.:thumbsup:






Did you get the Atlas bolted up tight? I'm sure you did but I have to ask.

And, yes I kept the ball joints lubed up frequently

Good stuff Josh...I was up in your neck of the woods last July, well Seattle but close enough. Pretty cool up there, my first visit to the area.

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Did you get the Atlas bolted up tight? I'm sure you did but I have to ask.

Smart-Ass. That transfer case worked loose, but was solid once I re-installed it back in 2010.

Just keep that round-house kick to the goatee in mind for this weekend. . .

'91 Sport