Quick lift question | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Quick lift question

July 31, 2012
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City, State
Kennewick, Washington
Year, Model & Trim Level
1993 Exploder
I currently have the warrior 2' lift shackles in the rear and and 1.5'? f150 coil spacer in the front. If I get a 4' lift kit for the front and take out the coil spacer, all I would need is some 2' aal in the rear. Right?

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You might think so, but suspension lifts, and AALs in particular, don't give exactly the amount of lift they are marketed as giving.

A '4 inch lift' might give anywhere from 3-5 inches of lift depending on what it's installed on. A lighter weight vehicle will get more lift than a heavier one.

A 2 in. AAL might lift the rear of an unloaded 2 door Explorer about 2 inches with brand new factory springs. With worn out springs, on a 4 door, with cargo in the back, you might get only an inch of lift or less. Just like regular springs, Add-a-leafs wear out too, and so it will give even less leaf once it breaks in and as it wears down. Sometimes AALs just restore the factory ride height to the original spring.

AAL's are generally considered a budget option, and are really better for towing, restoring height and firmness to used springs. They aren't the best thing to use for a lift or off-road, since the firmness they add hinders flex rather than helps it, and for off-road, you want softer springs, not firmer ones.

If you want a 4" lift, you may have to get something like 2.5" Old Man Emu lift springs.

Something else you can do though, which is WAY cheaper, is a SOA (Spring over axle) in the rear. Relocate or add leaf spring mounts to the TOP of the rear axle, use the stock springs, and you get 5.5-6" of lift. This also lets you use the stock length rear shocks if you locate the bottom shock mount in the same location below the leaf springs, but above the axle.

Then use the 4" lift springs in front along with the F-150 spacers (and a set of either a 4 or 5.5" drop brackets) and you get a 5-6" lift. Then you can go straight to running 35's instead of just 33's.

Of course, you can just get the 5.5" lift for the front intead of using the 4" springs and spacers.

This usually works out since you have to re-gear anyway, but you can spend all the money you saved buying bigger tires instead of a whole new rear suspension.

I've always thought about doing SOA but I've heard it can give you pretty bad axle wrap?

And could I order the spring and drop brackets separately instead of buying them in a whole kit? Especiall when I dont need the rear equipment?

You can get axle wrap with a SOA, but usually that's with thinner leaf packs. I don't think axle wrap is an issue with stock leaf packs, especially if you keep the overload spring and spring clamps on there.

If you buy a 5.5" lift, it usually just includes the hardware for the front, although kits often include shocks as well. You're better off skipping lift kit shocks and buying something good instead.

You can buy parts seperately, but usually it's a lot less expensive to buy them used off members here who are selling off their old lifts in the For Sale forum. Lots of people go to a solid axle in front, and so they sell off their drop brackets, springs, etc.

Like so:


You also need the drop brackets for the front beams or you'll never get it aligned properly.

Good info in here.

Also Check out Wood1's helpful links. I believe it is a sticky here in the modified forum.

I know Superlift makes them and James Duff. As far as being able to order them separately that may require a phone call or email. Personally, I have loved the James Duff brakets, however, I saw a friend install super lift brackets and they have been solid as well.

Those would be it.

So I would still need springs and the RA drop brackets?

So I found a pair of 4-6 TTB drop brackets and 4-6inch front springs. All I need now is the RA drop brackets and possibly a drop pitman arm?

If you get 5.5-6" drop brackets for the TTB and radius arms, you can use 5.5-6" springs or 4" springs with the spacers.

I would NOT suggest using 5.5-6" springs or 4" springs & 1.5-2" spacers with 4" drop brackets, you will forever be trying to align it with the bushings.

You will need a drop pitman arm, preferably one of the 4 inch drop variety to go with a 6" lift.


You'll also need lift shocks for the front. You can use stock length shocks in the rear with a SOA if you keep the shock mount plates under the leaf springs.

OK so basically try to keep everything around the same length. Duh. Should've known that.
And so I'm assuming I need 5-6 inch longer shocks for the front?

You want the right drop brackets for the amount of lift you're after.

Everything made for the same lift height works the best, and is usually the easiest.

You can use various shorter spring lengths and spacers to adjust the height for what you want, but you can't use drop brackets for a shorter lift with other parts for a bigger lift and expect it to work out well. It's possible, but is really more fustration than it's worth.

Match all your parts (i.e. everything made for a 5.5" lift) for the least headache.

There are 5.5-6" lift shocks made for the Explorer, but you can also mod the front spring mount for double shock hoops, which lets you lose the sway bar. You can also mod the mount for F-250 shock mounts, which allow an even longer shock for more travel. Depends on the useage and what you're after. The least expensive and easiet option is to just use longer shocks, and drop brackets and longer endlinks (with quick disconnects is great for trail use) for the swaybar.

I read that the James Duff dousble shock set up isn't all that great because your tires are constantly rubbing against it. And the f-250 shocks sound great. But I think I'll just get it lifted and then in a little do some of those mod.