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Project Vulture

DintDobbs

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1999 Explorer Sport 4x4
The deed has been did. Courtesy of Jacksonville 4x4, NC. Great place, great team, honest and experienced, and they can work around weird schedules with long hours. Truly excellent service.

Installed Superlift 4" lift kit, Rough Country double u-joint front drive shaft, less-worn Code B torsion bars, Moog tie rod ends, upper and lower ball joints, and Timken bearings & hubs. This baby has got to be trail ready in three weeks. Still waiting for the rear springs...

20210506_173742_HDR.jpg
 



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DintDobbs

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1999 Explorer Sport 4x4
Somebody call a SQUAT team!

The poor rear end felt terrrrrible on the street, but the front end was tight! Feels better than when I bought it, and I can finally say bye-bye to the scrubbing. Might hear just a tiny bit of scuff on full lock, but I couldn't tell if it was on the body or on the ground... Time will tell.

20210506_173709.jpg
 






donalds

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1999 ford explorer sohc
I to have a 99
How are you going to lift the back to level it out
 






DintDobbs

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1999 Explorer Sport 4x4
I to have a 99
How are you going to lift the back to level it out
The Old Man Emu 1.5" lifted rear lift springs are ordered, but sadly, COVID-19-related delays mean they haven't shipped even after 2 weeks. The OME springs are stiffer and designed for 4-doors, plus negating the already-flattened monoleafs, I expect to get closer to 2.5 than 1.5 out of them. Worst case scenario, I can always have longer shackles fabricated.

Also, once the front springs settle down, it won't look so high, and I'll probably be getting a front hitch receiver soon. That radiator is screaming for a rock to crush it.
 






dirt virgin

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1998 sport
What’s the part # you used for the front lift and the rear springs you ordered? I have a 98 sport and after 5 years of ownership I’m ready to lift mine. Thanks man, I’m excited to see your progress
 






DintDobbs

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1999 Explorer Sport 4x4
What’s the part # you used for the front lift and the rear springs you ordered? I have a 98 sport and after 5 years of ownership I’m ready to lift mine. Thanks man, I’m excited to see your progress
@dirt virgin Right, I forgot to post that bit. The lift kit you want is the Superlift K357 (specified for Ford Ranger 1998-1999 and 2000-2010. It includes everything you'll need for the front end on the Explorer, and two 3" lift blocks which you will want to weld to a stick and make an epic hammer with. Or something. You won't be able to use them on an Explorer... unless you want to squat...

Superlift K357: Superlift Suspension Lift Kit

Rear lift springs: ARB® - 1.5" OME™ Rear Lifted Leaf Spring

Do consider that you WILL want to allocate a front drive shaft with a double U-joint (the Ranger one from Rough Country was my favorite pick) to install with the lift, as well as extended shackles to bring the rear end up to level (I'm running 2" lifted shackles now, and the tires bash the fender wells over railroad tracks). The shackles are easy and cheap enough to get, Amazon.com has many options in varying lengths.

Consider well that this is NOT a cheap hobby, and if you don't need the lift, don't waste the time and money on it. Lifts ARE NOT for looks. If you insist on lifting, understand the physics at work behind the vehicle's operation, and the way the suspension components work together with the steering components. The vehicle's street manners are already clumsy and going taller will multiply the effect.

Read all the warnings on all the boxes. Stance as tall as necessary and as wide as possible.

Rebuilding the front end and installing new t-bars at the same time as installing the front half of the lift will save you the value of the truck in labor.

If you don't have a good grasp on all of that, live up to your name and stay a dirt virgin. It could save you a hospital bill.
 






dirt virgin

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Hah I hear you there. I just though the name was funny, I have taken it off road quite a bit. I’m ready to run some tougher trails and I simply can’t do them stock. I’ve consider sas as well but idk it might be easier to buy a jeep instead. I originally bought the Explorer because it was a manual and at 98x miles and $1800 it was a great deal.
 






DintDobbs

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1999 Explorer Sport 4x4
After a completely undue amount of time spent going back and forth between companies, and sourcing leaf spring bushings (no parts counter jockeys will know what these even are) independently (thanks for the warning, ARB... nice to know the springs didn't come with bushings), I finally have all the parts I need to lift the rear end. With any luck, I'll be able to get this done next week, maybe this week depending on work.

My vacation is already over, I missed my trip to the offroad park thanks to UPS cancelling my order the first time... Whatever, maybe next year.
 






DintDobbs

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1999 Explorer Sport 4x4
Update time!

The project is ever nearing completion. Set up for the fab job on the Curt front hitch receiver, that's a work in progress.

Meanwhile, the promised photos of the lifted rear end! The job was completed weeks ago, but my brilliant mind decided to try to work on my computer one night and accidentally fried the motherboard... Guess I know now to stick with cars and not mess with electronics.

20210630_194057_HDR.jpg


The rear end is still a touch lower than the front, loaded with gear and the spare tire, but I'm fine with that. Keeps the COG nice and low, and thanks to the stiffer springs (still pushing off installing the new rear shocks) I have yet to experience any scrubbing. Under hard flex, it will probably still scrub, but this is for dirt, mud, gravel, and sand, not for rock crawling.

20210728_202326_HDR.jpg


This better shows how the front and back sit in relation to each other. About an inch higher in the front, being that I have the 4" Superlift + 1" torsion key re-index and the 4-door 1.5" lifted springs + 2" lifted shackles in the rear. I can't speak for any others' applications, but the rear drive shaft on my Explorer has not given me any concern for overextension, even at full sag.

The Vulture isn't without flaw, though... Sadly, I lost the beautiful factory right front fender flare cruising down a highway at night, during the fuel shortage, and couldn't spare the gas to go out and find it. R.I.P, it will be missed, and the Vulture will be ugly until I can find a replacement. Stupid plastic fasteners, I should have switched to metal nuts and bolts and washers. Live and learn, live and learn...
 






Rick

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That looks really good:chug:
 






Blown

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Looks good!

I run Monroe air shocks. You could easily tighten-up and lift the rear when loaded with a set of them.
 






DintDobbs

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Well, it's update o'clock. Got some wacky issues that came up "unexpectedly" (is any thing really unexpected, on trucks this old?), putting the project on hold.

I took the old Vulture to get a free oil change at the dealer I got it from, and noticed some reddish fluid dripping from the transmission cooler line at the front. Naturally, I hadn't noticed it before, and mentioned it. Transmission fluid leaks from transmission cooler lines, right? Right. Tech thought otherwise, and said it was "probably spilled" when they topped off my other fluids.

Well, fast forward a week or two, and I turned out to be right. (Am I not usually right?) That wasn't the only leak, any more - by this time, it was spitting precious Mercon V from all the connectors and a few other places on the cooler lines. Guess the toxic swamp air ate through all of them at the same time...

I immediately sourced all new transmission cooler lines and had them replaced (NOT by the dealer) and the leaky leak went bye-bye. As the story goes, though, you buy a new problem when you sell an old one, and I could have saved some headaches if I had a way to get the Vulture off the ground in my back yard.

Test driving after the installation, I noticed the 'Door Ajar' light kept lighting, so I pulled over to re-latch the tail gate (the latch has been a bit finicky since before I got it). Took it straight back to the garage when the tail gate handle pulled freely, with no effect. The tech failed to tell me that he had slammed the daylights out of the gate, breaking the latch release.

Next day off, I tore into the tail gate from the inside to get it unlatched (and seriously considered fabricating an internal emergency release handle in the process). Replaced a plastic clip, job done. Worked well enough. Few days later, closed the tail gate, and... the glass came loose. (I hope the guy at the garage didn't damage any thing else without telling me, but how's a guy to know?)

Jury-rigged the glass back on, and it stays in place as well as it needs to until I can replace the hinge.

Now, I can get back to the problem that has been nagging since before any of that: my OBD-II data link connector doesn't work. It has power, so I tested all the pins for contact and continuity, everything checks out except that there is no continuity between the pins leading to and from the PCM. Haven't made the time to tear into the wiring, but at least I've isolated the disconnection. The tears are over, now the blood and sweat resumes!
 






DintDobbs

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1999 Explorer Sport 4x4
Meanwhile, in the Batcave...

20220125_173707_HDR.jpg



Yeah, I know this is Explorer Forum, but during my absence I've finished my other project. Like, to day. Just need some fluids and she's golden. See what boredom does to you, kids?
 






DintDobbs

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Well, my dudes, the time has come for the project to enter its next phase. The rear main seal has been leaking slowly for some time, the bearings are on the way out, and with this little guy we found at the garage to day, it's time to...
20220405_103126_HDR.jpg


...rebuild the whole rear end. This is going to be a process, but she just has to last a one-way 45-mile trip, so no worries from me! If it breaks, oh well, 'cause all the internals are being replaced any way.

I'll be getting both rear axle shafts, both rear bearings, and since we'll be in there... let's go ahead and throw in that 5.13 rings & pinions I've had sitting around the house for 2 years. Full overhaul. After this, the Vulture will be toy-zoned for good. She was my favorite daily ever, but she is moving on to bigger and better things.
 






DemonMudder

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Well, my dudes, the time has come for the project to enter its next phase. The rear main seal has been leaking slowly for some time, the bearings are on the way out, and with this little guy we found at the garage to day, it's time to...View attachment 428297

...rebuild the whole rear end. This is going to be a process, but she just has to last a one-way 45-mile trip, so no worries from me! If it breaks, oh well, 'cause all the internals are being replaced any way.

I'll be getting both rear axle shafts, both rear bearings, and since we'll be in there... let's go ahead and throw in that 5.13 rings & pinions I've had sitting around the house for 2 years. Full overhaul. After this, the Vulture will be toy-zoned for good. She was my favorite daily ever, but she is moving on to bigger and better things.
Can't wait to see how it turns out, definitely should be a beast once its done!
 






DintDobbs

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1999 Explorer Sport 4x4
@DemonMudder I've been waiting for something to break so I have an excuse to do this! I'm looking forward to it too, not that the 4.10s can't handle the tires like a champ, just that I loved the tractor-like torque it delivered on small wheels. This junk is about to get real!

Got to read up before I order the parts, make sure there's nothing I'm overlooking with the axle shafts & bearings...
 






DemonMudder

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@DemonMudder I've been waiting for something to break so I have an excuse to do this! I'm looking forward to it too, not that the 4.10s can't handle the tires like a champ, just that I loved the tractor-like torque it delivered on small wheels. This junk is about to get real!

Got to read up before I order the parts, make sure there's nothing I'm overlooking with the axle shafts & bearings...
Understand wanting that torque, definitely a good idea to read up on everything first!
 






DintDobbs

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1999 Explorer Sport 4x4
It has been done. 9 days and $1500 later, I've got the Vulture back at the house. It's truly beautiful work, nothing amiss, small vibration in the driveline but will likely fade away after breaking in the new gears. The speedometer seems a touch inaccurate, but no worse than it was before.

Who's good at math? Follow this:

(New tire circumference / New gear ratio) / (Old tire circumference / Old gear ratio)

This little equation will show any proportional differences to speedometer reading based on changes to tire size and gearing. I made it up myself, but ideally, you want the result to be as close to 1/1 as possible, in order to keep the driving dynamics similar - of course, you will have to consider that the bigger the wheel diameter, the bigger the weight in proportion to diameter, and also consider that extra width adds even more weight proportional to diameter. So this proportion is best used for small differences on DD applications. Obviously you'll want crawler gears if you're going to 37's or 40's or something ridiculous like that. Weight and rotating mass is not considered in this equation.

With that being said, remember that tire circumference is equal to distance traveled per single wheel-revolution, and gear ratio 4.10:1 means 4.10 drive shaft revolutions per 1 wheel revolution.

(new distance traveled / new drive shaft revolutions) / (old distance traveled / old drive shaft revolutions)

Using my Ex as an example, where Pi = 3.14 for easies,

(103.620 / 5.125) / (94.200 / 4.100) = (20.219 / 22.976) = 0.88/1

SO, this means that with my new tires and gears, for each rotation of the drive shaft, I am traveling 88% of the distance that I was traveling with my old tires and old gears.

This checks out, because at the given speed of 50 MPH, my new RPM's are around 2250, and my old RPM's were right around 2000. That means my engine has to rotate faster to cover the same distance in the same amount of time, because the distance traveled per single drive shaft rotation is smaller.

Stay in school, kids!
 






410Fortune

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You can use a Dakota digital speedometer interface to dial in your odometer and speedometer

Did you ever find out why the serial bus + and - wires have no continuity to the pcm?

Love the build keep it up! Two doors rule!!
 



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DintDobbs

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somewhere in the swamps
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1999 Explorer Sport 4x4
@410Fortune I was just going to reprogram the PCM; I don't know if anybody else had this issue with regearing, but my 4-Hi and 4-Lo light on the cluster flashes ever since the change. It all still works exactly as it should; engages, disengages, low engages and disengages fine. The manual says to service the system if the light flashes, but I already know there's nothing wrong with the 4WD, just the drive shaft speed and the axle shaft speed don't match the 4.10:1 that the computer expects to see. I don't recall hearing of this detail in anybody else's build threads, so I figured I'd put it in here for anybody who runs into it.

In answer to your question, yes, I found the guilty wire, quick splice and she's golden. Just pushed it off because I could finagle it and still read the codes, and forgot to update.

I totally agree, 2-doors for life! Nothing like being able to pull a U-turn in an 18' circle, the shorties can get places in the woods that others wouldn't dream of.

They still rust, though... so this is next.
20220318_144432.jpg
 






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