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Sandbox2.000 Suspension Build

97Sandbox

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City, State
Milwaukee, WI
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2000 Explorer Sport
Reinstalled flares on one side (need to run back to the JY for more T clips before can install the other. I like the no flare look, but the smaller Sport flares have grown on me.
1668806638000.png

1668806936120.png


Also added mud flaps on the one side using the same screws for the trim so I didn't have to make any new holes I might regret later. Jury's out if the flaps will stay...
1668811688423.png
1668811700082.png


Here you can see with the flares the front tire sidewalls are just about flush with the flare at the top of the wheelwell
1668811864902.png


Now I need to find some black bumper trim from a '95-97 Sport!
 



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BurgerKingFootLettuce

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1999 Ford Explorer
I love the mudflaps, I found a nice set of Mountaineer ones at the junkyard buuuuut it was missing one so I left them. I love how this is all coming together
 






97Sandbox

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I love the mudflaps, I found a nice set of Mountaineer ones at the junkyard buuuuut it was missing one so I left them. I love how this is all coming together
Thanks! I've seen the Explorer ones here and there, but never Mounty ones that I can remember -- I'll have to keep an eye out for some. I've been making a habit to pick up oddball OEM stuff whenever I see it these days because 2nd gens are starting to get rare in the salvage yards here in the rust belt.
 






BurgerKingFootLettuce

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1999 Ford Explorer
Thanks! I've seen the Explorer ones here and there, but never Mounty ones that I can remember -- I'll have to keep an eye out for some. I've been making a habit to pick up oddball OEM stuff whenever I see it these days because 2nd gens are starting to get rare in the salvage yards here in the rust belt.
There’s plenty of them out here in Phoenix! I lived in PA for 20 years so I’m spoiled by how beautiful cars are out here. Usually the only way the OHV ones die out here is from a collision. There’s plenty of SOHC ones here in good body condition though.
 






97Sandbox

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When I took the Sport to my local salvage yard last weekend, I noticed some unusual vibration above 60 mph. I could really reel it through the steering, but it didn't seem to affect how smooth the steering was.

After thinking through possible causes, I'm pretty sure the source is pinion angle mismatch. The lowering blocks came with a 2 deg taper, and I just rolled with it because I've heard others say there's a general "one degree of shim per inch of lowering" rule-of-thumb. That doesn't really make sense to me though because if your blocks mount to a level part of the leaf pack, the angle shouldn't change just lifting the axle with a flat block. Sure enough, I checked the angles and while my trans still angles 4 deg down towards the dif just as it did before lowering, my pinion only tilts up 2 deg towards the trans when it used to be 4 deg before the block install,.

Since I don't have a way to mill the blocks flat and because the front is currently lowered a little more than the rear, I'm going to add 2 deg pinion shims. This should get the angle back to normal and give another 1/8"-1/4" of drop, a win-win in my book.
 






97Sandbox

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Finally got my limit strap brackets welded yesterday and one side assembled tonight!
PXL_20221213_024553890.jpg

PXL_20221213_024609338.jpg
 






97Sandbox

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Here's my rear limit strap setup. Piggybacked off the traction bar bolt on one end, bolted to the frame on the other:
PXL_20221215_014641096.jpg
 






97Sandbox

Elite Explorer
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Finally pulled a tie rod boot off tonight. Just pulled the outer spring clip off with pliers and popped the inner tie off with a flat blade. It looks to me like both retainers will be reusable.

PXL_20221216_023731779.jpg

The shaft inside the rack is way bigger than a Mustang though, so I think I'm going to have to make my own scaled up version of the Mustang limiters. I made a template to fit around the shaft and it looks like I want the ID to be 1 1/8" - 1 1/4" and the OD to be smaller than 2 3/8". I'll probably just go to the hardware store this weekend and look for some plastic pipe that fits the bill.
 






97Sandbox

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After some more thinking, I decided to make my rack limiters out of extra polyurethane bushings I already had. Cut them to width (my trial and error led me to just over 1/2" thick) and then drilled out the center to 1 1/8" to fit snug on the shaft. Lastly added a slit so I can slip them onto the rack.
PXL_20221217_043756637.jpg

PXL_20221217_044059777.jpg


Seems like it'll be a good solution to ensure I don't rub the inner sidewall on the swaybar or my limit straps, although I am disappointed to be losing some steering angle -- that's something I really appreciate about these Explorers. A worthy sacrifice in the name of better stability I guess, it was never going to be a drift truck anyhow.
 






97Sandbox

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Time to regroup. While the poly bushing limiters seemed like a good idea, they're too soft and can be overpowered by the rack. By this I mean pushed right over the end of the rack without actually limiting travel.

I think I'm going to go the route of removing the factory steering knuckle stops from the lower control arms and replacing them with bolts which I can adjust right where I need them. I'd rather keep the load in the rack (by using rack limiters) than into the tie rods and knuckles, but this way will be a lot easier to adjust -- I'm getting sick of pulling the boots off and on.
 






CDW6212R

Hauls the mail.
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98 Limited AWD
Time to regroup. While the poly bushing limiters seemed like a good idea, they're too soft and can be overpowered by the rack. By this I mean pushed right over the end of the rack without actually limiting travel.

I think I'm going to go the route of removing the factory steering knuckle stops from the lower control arms and replacing them with bolts which I can adjust right where I need them. I'd rather keep the load in the rack (by using rack limiters) than into the tie rods and knuckles, but this way will be a lot easier to adjust -- I'm getting sick of pulling the boots off and on.

Thanks for that hard work. I was thinking of the limiters and also having a rack rebuilt if possible like a 03/04 Cobra rack. There is no non stock rack or examples of any changes ever done, so that's a virgin conversation. In Mustangs it's old news to upgrade the racks from countless sources.

The tire size and wheel offset affects the end of travel issues the most, so we are on a rare path. Keep at it, people will learn even though most will never appreciate it.
 






97Sandbox

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I was thinking of the limiters and also having a rack rebuilt if possible like a 03/04 Cobra rack. There is no non stock rack or examples of any changes ever done, so that's a virgin conversation. In Mustangs it's old news to upgrade the racks from countless sources.
Yeah I honestly think the stock steering rack is quickly becoming the limiting factor to making this vehicle handle well. It's just not very responsive.

Big picture, I want to get away from the stock setup due to the lack of aftermarket options. Converting to SN95 geometry sounds great in theory but I don't think will be simple at all. It'd be great from the perspective of being able to buy off-the-shelf tubular LCAs and quick ratio steering racks but the subframe of the Explorer is nowhere near the SN95.
61699373.jpg

Note how the Mustang rack bolts to the front of the subframe while ours sits on top. Sure it wouldn't be hard to fab brackets to mount a rack to the front of our subframe, but then tie rod angles would be all wrong. I've seen a drift truck '99 Ranger running SN95 spindles though, maybe they'd remedy the tie rod situation. It looks to me like the angles or the leading and trailing sides of the Mustang LCAs are quite a bit different from ours too though.

Sometime in the future I need to block a day to rip apart an Explorer and a Mustang in the salvage yard and play around see what looks like it can swap and what might need to be fabricated.
 






jr230

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cape coral
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2004 explorer xlt..
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n3nai
Hey y'all! I know there have been a few good coilover swap threads, but I'm going ahead and starting one to document my journey.

From what I've seen, many folks go for coils as a way to achieve the same lift as a torsion twist but improve ride quality instead of reduce it. While I am after improved ride quality, I'm also looking to lower the center of gravity of my Sport, which is where adjustable coilovers come in. This thread will encompass all I have planned and likely more! This includes:
- Front end coilover conversion (starting out with 600 lb springs)
- Swapping mono-leaf springs for 1250 lb leaf packs
- Polyurethane bushings throughout (UCAs, LCAs, leaf springs, shackles, sway bars, etc.)
- Sway bar upgrades
- Lowering 2-3 inches

This may take me a while, but I wanted to kick things off because I came home to some exciting packages this evening and just had to share!

View attachment 341053
cranking tortion does make harder ride. coils sound reasonable but if your raising front why are you using blocks very dangerous
on rear. are you making a off road or show truck . hog pog with different co products can be disaster. take note you need
Hey y'all! I know there have been a few good coilover swap threads, but I'm going ahead and starting one to document my journey.

From what I've seen, many folks go for coils as a way to achieve the same lift as a torsion twist but improve ride quality instead of reduce it. While I am after improved ride quality, I'm also looking to lower the center of gravity of my Sport, which is where adjustable coilovers come in. This thread will encompass all I have planned and likely more! This includes:
- Front end coilover conversion (starting out with 600 lb springs)
- Swapping mono-leaf springs for 1250 lb leaf packs
- Polyurethane bushings throughout (UCAs, LCAs, leaf springs, shackles, sway bars, etc.)
- Sway bar upgrades
- Lowering 2-3 inches

This may take me a while, but I wanted to kick things off because I came home to some exciting packages this evening and just had to share!

View attachment 341053
so are you raising or lowering? 2wd or 4 wd. are you hog pog with parts from several co/ blocks are dangerous . best to go to shop spring or 4x4 . if raising you need to watch driveshaft angles ever notice how many jacked up 4x4 have no front driveshaft
plus rebuild complete front suspension and wend done wheel alinement as well as headlights and if lowering or raising can make them hard to drive especially in wet or ice but since not sure where you planning bets advice i got unfortunately my 99 sport is hopefully finding someone to fix my health precludes clutch and heave fixing
 






CDW6212R

Hauls the mail.
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Yeah I honestly think the stock steering rack is quickly becoming the limiting factor to making this vehicle handle well. It's just not very responsive.

Big picture, I want to get away from the stock setup due to the lack of aftermarket options. Converting to SN95 geometry sounds great in theory but I don't think will be simple at all. It'd be great from the perspective of being able to buy off-the-shelf tubular LCAs and quick ratio steering racks but the subframe of the Explorer is nowhere near the SN95.
View attachment 437296
Note how the Mustang rack bolts to the front of the subframe while ours sits on top. Sure it wouldn't be hard to fab brackets to mount a rack to the front of our subframe, but then tie rod angles would be all wrong. I've seen a drift truck '99 Ranger running SN95 spindles though, maybe they'd remedy the tie rod situation. It looks to me like the angles or the leading and trailing sides of the Mustang LCAs are quite a bit different from ours too though.

Sometime in the future I need to block a day to rip apart an Explorer and a Mustang in the salvage yard and play around see what looks like it can swap and what might need to be fabricated.

I think the limiting factor for the front suspension is the UCA length, it's too short for a truck and handling. Besides forcing a long one in there, doing the best you can with existing geometry is feasible, the coil over shocks might be the top upgrade.

I was thinking that maybe a rack rebuilder that does lots of SN95 racks, might be able to alter the internals of a stock Explorer rack. If the parts are possible, maybe a better ratio, and feel, could happen.
 






97Sandbox

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I read before that you have to replace the tie rod boot ties with zip ties -- you don't. I was able to carefully pop mine off with a long screwdriver and then reinstall them.

The going back on is definitely the hard part. In OEM form the ties are crimped to fit tight. I carefully splayed the crimp out by forcing a flat blade screwdriver through:
PXL_20221218_172242428.jpg


The tough part is holding everything in place to snap the little tabs in.
PXL_20221218_171621681.jpg

Access is not good. I used a combination of my fingers, a screwdriver, and a couple skinned knuckles to get the tie clipped.

Then "re-crimp" with some small locking pliers:
PXL_20221218_173838531.jpg

I'm sure there's a proper tool for it, but this worked fine.

Passenger side is much easier than driver's, but both are possible if you stay calm and keep trying till you get it.
 






CDW6212R

Hauls the mail.
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Thanks, that is great to see that the OEM clamps can be reused. I thought they were like aftermarket replacement clamps, which I have had with new boots and installed with the proper tool. I didn't know the stock clamp is made so the one end can reengage the other end. The aftermarket clamps I had didn't have that end shape, the tool crushes the open section like the stock clamp has, locking the two together(permanently). The next time I had the boots off is when I used a big zip tie to put them back on. The zip ties work quick and easily, but the OEM clamp would be nice to look original, for a nice project truck etc.
 






97Sandbox

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Got the factory spindle stops removed -- they were harder than I expected. Partially because accessibility isn't the greatest but they also seemed to be riveted on better than the few frame rivets I've removed in the past.
PXL_20221218_174902226.jpg


Basically you just cut off the back of the rivet and try not to nick the ball joint (like I did on the driver's side)
PXL_20221218_175437077.jpg


I tried pounding the stop from the inside of the LCA and it didn't budge. Ultimately I broke it loose with locking pliers
PXL_20221218_180747030.jpg


And finished it off with the hammer and punch
PXL_20221218_180949260.jpg


The hole in the LCA seems just right for a 7/16" bolt, so that's what I'll be using for an adjustable stop on each side (once the paint over my grinder marks dries).
 






J5hort

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Great documentation and pics. I have 2dr 95 Sport and my front suspension is junk. Was planning to do a coilover swap so this thread gives a look into what is involved. I am torsion twist lifted with 32" tires. Not sure if there is more geometry concerns, but I appreciate your sharing and documenting. Looks great BTW. Nice stance and rake.
 






97Sandbox

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Great documentation and pics. I have 2dr 95 Sport and my front suspension is junk. Was planning to do a coilover swap so this thread gives a look into what is involved. I am torsion twist lifted with 32" tires. Not sure if there is more geometry concerns, but I appreciate your sharing and documenting. Looks great BTW. Nice stance and rake.
Thanks!

The big additional geometry concern I can think of is if your truck is 4x4, you'll want coilovers with extended eyelets on bottom to make sure the bottom of the coil is up and out of the way of the CV shaft.

As you may have read about my "accidental lift" snafu, 12" springs are good for a modest lift, 10" springs are necessary for lowering.

BTF makes extended UCAs with a uniball if you really want to throw money at getting the geometry just right, but the Mevotech TTX UCAs and camber bolts were enough to get an in-spec alignment on my Sport (the upper BJ is not really at an optimal angle though).

Lowering led to my tie rods going flatter whereas lifting will make them angle steeper. Camburg makes a heim steering kit to help keep things moving smoothly, but they're pricy as well.

If you go for the coilover swap (which I highly recommend), start a thread and the folks on here will help you through! I'd love to se a similarly well documented thread for a lifted Explorer as that's something I'd like to build in the future as well.
 



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97Sandbox

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After nearly a week away from the Sport, I got back home and finished the steering stops:
PXL_20221227_220905733.jpg

PXL_20221227_220952675.jpg


At the new steering limits, I have plenty of clearance to the swaybar and sufficient clearance to the limit straps. Time will tell how badly the turning radius has increased (I do not want to take the truck out into the salty slush for a test drive).
 






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