Rear Upper shock mount bracket rotted...Help! | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

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Rear Upper shock mount bracket rotted...Help!

B-Reel

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Recently bought a 1998 Explorer XLT. It was sitting in a neighbors yard and heading for the junk yard when I rescued it. It runs great, but looks like it sat submerged in water for a long, long time. The rear shocks are not connected at the top as the bracket that they mount to is swiss cheese. No chance of patching it as it is broken from the frame as well as paper thin where there is any metal. Is there a replacement bracket available; or some sort of hack that will allow me to mount the shocks again? Any advise would be a big help. Thanks.
 
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shucker1

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Can you get us pictures so we can provide suggestions?
 
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974X4BLACKSPORT

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If the rust is that bad, there could be damage not visible that could make it dangerous to drive on the street.
 
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German Engineer

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If the rust is that bad, there could be damage not visible that could make it dangerous to drive on the street.

Yes that and aside from that driving without working shocks is already dangerous in itself, even if it's "only" the rear shocks not working.

The car will stop much slower than with shocks and can literally just start hopping off the road anytime.
It's one of those things that don't seem and feel as dangerous as they are, until it's too late!

I don't know what happened to my previous answer I wrote here, but I agree with 974x4Blacksport, please DO NOT drive that car around much except to get it repaired. And if you absolutely must drive somewhere, then at least drive extremely slow and extremely carefully!
It's REALLY not fun at all to have a car start hopping around because the shocks are completely ineffective. And trust me, it certainly WILL start hopping if you're not keeping it slow enough! - And slow enough in this case is really "awfully slow"!
You can't break the laws of physics, no matter how much you may pray and believe!
 
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96eb96

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Yes that and aside from that driving without working shocks is already dangerous in itself, even if it's "only" the rear shocks not working.

The car will stop much slower than with shocks and can literally just start hopping off the road anytime.
It's one of those things that don't seem and feel as dangerous as they are, until it's too late!

I don't know what happened to my previous answer I wrote here, but I agree with 974x4Blacksport, please DO NOT drive that car around much except to get it repaired. And if you absolutely must drive somewhere, then at least drive extremely slow and extremely carefully!
It's REALLY not fun at all to have a car start hopping around because the shocks are completely ineffective. And trust me, it certainly WILL start hopping if you're not keeping it slow enough! - And slow enough in this case is really "awfully slow"!
You can't break the laws of physics, no matter how much you may pray and believe!

Yes, and the Explorer needs every handling advantage it can get. No rear shocks could mean hitting a bump on the highway and bouncing out of control!

If the OP does not know how to inspect for rust, bring it to a competent shop. Brake lines could be waiting to fail as well, very common to rot out.

If that crossmember is rotted out, I hate to say it but unless the truck is otherwise in mint condition it may be scrap :(. You are going to have to find a pick and pull and cut out that part, and have it welded back into yours. I painted mine and keep it covered with fluid film. Other forum members reported it rusted out as well. Don't cut any corners with something like this!
 
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gmanpaint

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If this Ex was submerged that deep for that long, I wouldn't spend another minute on it, and send it to the scrap yard. Pull what you think is worth saving, and move on. Not worth the time or $$ for something like this. Just my O2.
 
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J_C

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There have been people who replaced the upper mount bar if yours bolts on side-to-side onto the frame, and/or reinforced it and used U-bolts to put the shocks on. See this topic (there may be others too):
REAR Upper Shock Mount BROKEN

However you will want to look over all the rest of the suspension too, for example the leaf spring shackles may also be shot and are more dangerous to have fail than a shock mount. Rear brake line may be in sad shape too. Much of this may be fixable cheaply by DIY (or not, depends on the rest of the rust damage), but I would not consider this a good long term ownership vehicle.
 
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B-Reel

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20180720_180633_resized.jpg
20180720_180536_resized.jpg
 
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B-Reel

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Thanks for all the concern. Here are the pics. Front shock mounts are broken too; but I think those may be easier to repair. I've been driving it like this for the last 4 or 5 months. Was hoping for an easy repair, but it doesn't look that way. I'll probably end up driving like this until the whole truck breaks in half.
 
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J_C

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From the pics it does look like yours has the bar across the frame rails. I'd poke around a junkyard and see if any have that bar in good shape, then think about whether you need new (or junkyard if you must) shocks too. Shocks that don't make pressure aren't all that helpful. Don't forget to get the fasteners for the bar and shocks while you're at it, yours may be seized in and destroyed during removal.
 
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German Engineer

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Thanks for all the concern. Here are the pics. Front shock mounts are broken too; but I think those may be easier to repair. I've been driving it like this for the last 4 or 5 months. Was hoping for an easy repair, but it doesn't look that way. I'll probably end up driving like this until the whole truck breaks in half.

Please do yourself a favor and don't!
Get it to a junkyard as soon as you can!

If you keep driving it until an accident happens or it collapses it will most certainly end up costing you far more than getting rid of it and using the scrap value for buying whatever cheap vehicle you can afford.
You'll most likely end up damaging someone else's property - or far worse injuring someone.
You will then also most certainly have to have the remains of the car towed to a junkyard, which also easily exceeds the value of that piece of junk metal on wheels alone!
Additionally your insurance rates will go up if something happens and you will have to cover the deductible, which can also easily exceed the value of that rusted up car, however high the deductible is. Plus legal fees you may be looking at.... and so on and so on. All that will NOT come cheap!

If this is not the car Elvis lost his virginity in or Madonna gave birth to her first child in, it's really not worth doing anything with it other than getting out whatever parts you can get any money for and bringing the rest to the junkyard as soon as possible!
 
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RandomNerd2000

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OP, there's no real good way about this because your truck is rotted completely away judging by those pics, that's the worst frame rot I've ever seen on a 2nd gen. As someone who hauls junk occasionally though, if you have tools, and it's legal in your state to do so, aluminum wheels, catalytic converters, and good tires are good keep items, first two for junk (especially cats) and the third for sale. Pull what you can and junk it, I wouldn't cross my yard in it.

Another way is to list it on Craigslist if it's mechanically sound for $500 OBO and take the best thing above scrap price, since someone might would buy it for a drivetrain donor if it's really sound (I've done this twice)
 
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J_C

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Maybe the frame is rusted as bad, but it might be worth grabbing a hammer and pounding on the frame every few inches to see what's what. AFAIK the following pic is roughly if not exactly the same as that one is set up with the bolted on, cross-member rear shock mount, though possibly from a Ranger instead of Explorer.

Explorer Frame Rear chassis detail2.jpg
 
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allmyEXes

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B-Reel

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That picture is exactly what I have. I will try to find or fabricate a replacement. My truck is from Massachusetts, and this type of dust is not uncommon in older vehicles. Also, I am no stranger to (foolishly) driving vehicles of questionably safety. A few years ago I had a Dodge pickup with a "gas tank" that consisted of a five gallon plastic container that sat on the passenger seat with a gas line that ran out the window to the mechanical fuel pump. Stupid, I know. But it got me through for a few months, until I could clear the debris from the actual tank. Thanks again to everyone for all the help.
 
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Explorer_LOL

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It's toast.
Unless 'submerged in salt water' is a known and proven factor, I'd almost bet a $100 bill that if you ran the VIN, the real story is "a Northern car that drove on salty roads..." at some point in its life because that's the story that undercarriage is telling. Those can be total heartbreakers, too, as you often have cars that (shockingly) have good body panels, low mileage engines and transmissions, run fine but underneath, are death traps thanks to the salted roads that absolutely wreck underbodies precisely as seen in those pics... and when it goes bad, we're talking catastrophic failure. There's a reason why some states (like New York) that salt roads do frame inspections and won't issue a tag to a car like that.

I'm a fabricator by trade and can weld my way out of most anything; that's gone. Full stop. Cut your losses. Or, do a frame swap, but I'm guessing that if you were skill-capable of doing a frame swap, you'd already understand what you're looking at there.

So, that's the bad news. It's terminal.
The silver-lining is that if you're able to turn a wrench, you can usually at least break even by going to ebay, typing in the Make/Model/Year, looking at completed auctions, seeing what parts sell for what and pulling off the stuff that's worth the money.
 
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RandomNerd2000

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^That's the example my parts truck plays, it's a 124K mile V8 AWD Mountaineer, moonroof, premium sound system, leather, everything you could want, and underneath it's all gone, shackles are shot and the rust is rampant, entire truck is flexible.
 
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