RJ's B2 Build | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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RJ's B2 Build

I started building my second RBV, a Bronco ii.

This thread is to post about and document the work done to the car, so it can help others that are building a b2 or ranger based vehicle. This is actually my second build thread about this rig, the first one was accidentally deleted.

I picked up this 1990 bronco ii in august of 2016. It's an automatic, 4x4, Eddie Bauer edition, that was already spray painted green when I bought it. But it had what I wanted, cruise control, factory a/c, electric Windows and locks, (although none that stuff worked, it was there for the fixin') and it was a fair price for a b2 with decent interior..... Almost none of the other ones on Craigslist had a good interior, or they wanted way too much money.


So why build another 4x4 when i already have a built up explorer/Navajo?
Well this one just has a different vision for it. I don't plan for this one to be big and crazy and an all out dedicated trail rig. At least not for a few years. I want this car to be capable off road, but retain as much road manners as possible. Almost more like an overlanding vehicle. I want to be able to drive it long distances, use it for camping and mountain biking, and for four wheeling, but not something that needs a trailer.

So I want to keep the lift to a minimum, keep things relatively simple. Put some 33's, trim the fenders, some lockers, and just keep fine tuning everything as I go along.

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After I bought the car, I started fixing everything that was neglected on this cheapy 27 year old car. Pulled the heads to replace the lifters that were noisy, did all the tune stuff, converted the a/c to r134a, replaced the fuel pump cause the sending unit wasn't working, installed a tranny temp gauge, added a shackle and spacer lift. But I don't have any pictures of that.

next thing I did was build some rock sliders from 2x2 square tubing.




Trying to keep as much ground clearance as possible.

Testing with the hi-lift jack



and enjoying out in the dirt




Put some 33x12.5r15 tires on. Mickey Thompson Baja atz p3. Hybrid all terrain/mud terrain tires. Had to do some trimming on the front fender so it can turn.




trimmed the rear of the fender and the front plastic.

And then I did some strange stuff with the rear suspension. It was a bit of an experiment, but it worked. I had, in my garage, a pair of 4" superlift leaf springs from my explorer. Since those springs are free for me, I wanted to use them. But I only want 2-3" of lift and those springs on a b2 would probably be 5.5" of lift. So what I did is what I've seen rangers do with long leaf packs and flip the shackle and hanger over. Which should also give it a good amount of travel. So I tried it, and ended up using some kartek drop hangers that I had already bought.

used 4" Superlift springs for a Ford Explorer


stock shackle


flipped shackle with kartek drop mount. Being mocked up


final ride height (note that the superlift center pin is offset an inch further back than stock springs. So my wheelbase grew by 1")


full droop


so it worked out pretty perfect. Although i had to move the hangers back so far that I couldn't bolt my bumper back on.


Collected all the parts to do my rear axle swap. Got an 8.8 rear end from a member on this forum, and got the ruff stuff specialties 8.8 swap kit with springs perches and shock mounts and all that. And pieced together a drive shaft.



Welded the tubes to the center section so they don't twist or leak. Set the pinion angle and welded the spring perches on


The drive shaft. The drive shaft is a funny thing when your looking up a b2 8.8 swap. It's confusing what you need and what you have and etc. But I followed the best information I could find, which was from 4x4junkie of course, and put this together.
I used a double cardan front drive shaft from a first gen Ford explorer, pulled the mounting flange from the front of the t-case, and the mounting flange from the rear axle of the explorer as well. Put it all together with new 1310 u joints and had to have the whole thing shortened about 1.5". Which i didn't think I was going to have to do since my rear axle is already moved 2" back.




I moved the axle back another inch with the optional holes on the spring perches. That with the aftermarket leaf springs, puts my axle 2" further back from stock.Trimmed the rear fenders a little. I would like to move the axle back more, but I think my gas tank will be in the way.



Then it was time for the front axle... And some other parts along with it.

the d35 I got from another member on here (thank you explorer forum family)
and I also bought some extended radius arms, extended braided brake lines, new rotors, bearings, adjustable caster/camber cams, drop pitman arm, and some skyjacker 2" lift springs. I was hoping the lift springs would bring the front up a little higher than the f150 spacers. And they did a little.




Mmmm... D35 goodness


Decided to flex it out a little.




When I installed the axle and radius arms, I pushed the front axle forward 1". That was about all I could move it forward without having problems with the steering. So my wheelbase is now at 97". Still pretty short wheelbase but better than stock.

And this was nerve racking. My first time installing gears. But I did my homework and took my time and it turned out good.

Went with 4.88 gears. Richmond in the rear and Yukon in the front with motive gear install kits.






More fun on the trails.





So when I put the rear axle in, I didn't weld up the shock mounts exactly where I want them. I only partially welded them so it would be easier to change later. But I never did. So last time I went out this happened.


So I went to pick ur part and grabbed the right side shock mount, so i can flip it to the left side and have matching forward facing shock mounts (I didn't have enough space on the rear of the axle with the gas tank there)


and the next day I realized the shock is leaking :(


Don't have the budget for a set of nice shocks right now. But what I need to do is get some nice shocks, pull the leaf springs apart and cycle the suspension, so I know exactly where to mount the shock tabs and bump stops, and cut the fenders. That's a whole other project I don't have the energy for. Going through chemo therapy right now, so progress will be slow for a few months until I get healthy again.

Nice! I used a front output and driveshaft on the rear of my transfer case as well.

This will be a little harder to install than I thought




Modified my front bumper. The whole thing was too big. It stuck out in front of the car too much and the skid plate was so long it would hit my steering linkage. You can see in some of my older pics that I actually had the bumper angled up to clear the steering.

So I trimmed it down to just the main frame. From the time I bought the bumper, it was my plan to cut the extra parts off. So I finally did.
I plan to shorten the skid plate and put it back on, but it's not high on my to due list. So it might be a while.



And in unfortunate news, I accidentally killed my other 4x4 rig. So I'll be trying to do a lot of work to this car before the MLK truckhaven run.

And in unfortunate news, I accidentally killed my other 4x4 rig. So I'll be trying to do a lot of work to this car before the MLK truckhaven run.

:eek: - What's the scoop? Roll-over? Blown Engine?

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Finally got something done that I've wanted to do for a long time. Cut out the fenders and installed some wild horses early bronco fender flares. They aren't made to fit aB2, but I made them fit. Now I finally have proper fender clearance and I love the way it looks.






Looking pretty good for 2.5" of lift.