sn0border88's SAS Thread | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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sn0border88's SAS Thread

WARNING: This swap will be longer than bmxking's :eek:

Thanks to tig for a real steal that I couldnt pass up ($50), it all started with a d44 from a 73' Bronco. This means its drum braked, coil sprung with LP housing complete hub to hub with r/a's.

But, its matching width. :D

Its in great shape as far as EB axles are concerned. It has 3.50's which upon inspection are in PERFECT condition. Not one chip on any of the ring gear teeth. Also the rust isnt too bad, its simply surface rust, nothing damaging. Also most of the bolts so far are coming off very well, only breaking a few. Not bad for 31 years of rust.

So far in the plans are yukon 4.88's with full spool or lincon locker. Disk brake conversion VIA junkyard or broncograveyard, rear XJ 8" lift leafs and heimjointed crossover. To complete the swap ill be getting new cromo shafts front and rear with a new 5on5.5 bolt pattern for the 8.8 and 4.88's with a detriot. Also rounding it out are some new rubbers, either 35" boggers or MT/R's on 5on5.5 steelies/beadlocked pending on the DD status upon completion of the project. And, if it is no longer a DD when I finish, the top is coming off. :eek: :thumbsup:

EDIT with final prices

Upon completion it now had a Fullwidth d44/9" with 36" TSL-SX, 5.13 gears spooled rear and many other goodies.

Gears D44/9" 5.13: $150 from PBB
D44 Master Install: $109.99 from PORC on pirate
9" Master Install: $89.99 from PORC on pirate
D44 Carrier: $60 Ebay
9" Spool: $129.99 from PORC on pirate
1976 f-150 Highpinion Drum Brake D44 : $85 from Junkyard
D44 Disk Brake Outers: $50 from Junkyard
1978 F-150 9": $50 from Junkyard
5 on 5.5 Rims: $20 from Junkyard
4 36x12.5x15 TSL-SX: $ 250 from Pragon Board
1 36x12.5x15 TSL Radial: $18 from Junkyard
Shocks: $100 from Jeff Daniels Jeeps
D44 Spring Perch: $20 Jeff Daniels Jeeps
U-Bolts (Custom) : $30 from local u-bolt shop
Brake Pads/Caliper: $31.77 National Auto
Leaf Spring Hardware: $48 Jeff Daniels Jeeps
Replacement A4LD: $65 Junkyard
Conversion U-Joint: $25 National Auto
Extend Brakelines: $73 from local brakeline shop
Steel: $56

Without what I paid those who helped, plus the gear installs I have about 1,500 into this.

Scrapping the TTB: PRICELESS


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Ive started tearing it apart, im going to strip it to the bone, and get everything minus the brakes sandblasted. Ive began the process today, removing the coil buckets and R/A's. The bolts on the buckets just snapped off, but when time came for the ra bolts they needed some more convincing.

BTW, anyone know how to remove the wedges that the R/A's were mounted on? Are they simply pressed onto the tube or welded. Its to rusted to tell, can they be taked off with an air hammer or angle grinder?


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Sounds like a good start man...that axle is in better condition than my 79 was haha. I would think twice about the spool for the front though...but that's just my impression. The chromo shafts will deffinitly help though :D

odd's are I will end up doing an ARB if I can get my AC compressor converted but id rather just weld the damn thing b/c of cost, and im doing this on a high school seniors budget.

Ah i dig the budget thing. My advice since you are on a budget is to take your time. So far only have 700 bucks or so in my swap (d44/9") and all i have left to buy is tires, and axle rebuild parts. Look for deals through local clubs, your in PA so rrorc would be a good fit for that. Patience has it's rewards :)

sn0border88 said:
sn0border88 said:
WARNING: This swap will be longer than bmxking's :eek:

Speed is not a priority here. :D I plan on doing just that, as it will take me quite a while to amass the funds for new tires, rims, gears, cromo shafts, ect. However, I do work at a 4x4 shop so I can get everything at warehouse price. :thumbsup: And im learning to do my own gears.

I'm having a buddy in my club teach me how to do my gears too...basically i'm going to do them, he's gonna yell at me and call me names LOL

Sounds fawkin fun to me!

CodePoet said:
I'm having a buddy in my club teach me how to do my gears too...basically i'm going to do them, he's gonna yell at me and call me names LOL

Sounds fawkin fun to me!

Can I help? I have a rather big mouth and know something about setting up gears... :D

Actually, after doing my own for the first time, what I discovered is that all the hype behind setting up gears is just that -- hype. I think that some of the shops that make big money on the setups want everyone else to think that it is impossible so that they stay in the money. What I found was that it is 40% patience, 50% having the right tools, and 10% know-how. Of all those parts, patience is the most critical to success, IMO. Most bad setups are a result of saying, "I've had this thing apart 10 times and it is close enough!" It is either in specs or not -- there is no such thing as "close enough." Hence the patience part. Taking the time to do it right is the key, and sooner or later, even a novice can get the shims and backlash set correctly so it all lines up.

If I had to rate the difficulty of the task, I'd put it above a brake job, and under a motor or transmission rebuild in difficulty. Not too many parts, not too much room to screw up, and only a couple things need to be "just right." It is certainly easier than pulling an engine, and many guys do that but are afraid of an axle...

i totally agree with ya gl...gears are not rocket science but the do require patience and a little bit of an eye for the details. I can see how some people are scared of them though, but knowing what actually involoved it's do-able for people who have the time and williness to learn.

Oh man, I can't wait til mine is done so I can start picking on you!! :p

Good luck man, sounds like it'll be a pretty nice setup. I'd also think twice about that welded front end. If you're redoing everything else, I don't see why you'd want to be cheap here. I would personally set up the axle, and if you know it'll take longer to buy a decent locker, install the axle and then pull it when you're ready to install the locker. That's what I'm doing with my front end! The C-wedges (assuming they're like a 77 F150 front) are just welded on there and can be ground off with an angle grinder. Good luck on your swap and take your time to do it right. I obviously know how you feel...I'm on a high school seniors budget too. ;)

GL - I still need to regear my front, so I may see if one of the auto teachers at school knows how to do it and will help me out. I don't wanna have someone else set them up and would REALLY love to learn.

yes, im also after quite a bit of reading considering the welded option and thinking more and more of a detriot or arb. Ill hopefully ahve onboard air by this point so it would be easy to hookup, but id have to go through the carrier change and gear install all over again if I went that way. MY dream (read: dream) is to have this done by crozet so id want to be locked f/r by then. If i didnt weld it id go lunchboxer style with a powertrax or something. However ive heard horror stories about their reliability. Thats why im thinking that i just weld it for crozet if its going to be done in time and when its time to put in arb or detriot (with the required new carrier) i can replace it all in one step. Odds are ill only get in a few wheeling trips while its welded.

H/O....the ARB and Detroit replace the carrier. That's the new carrier, so if you put one of those in, you wouldn't have to spend ~50 bucks for a new 44 carrier for the lower gearing. Maybe I read your question wrong, but it sounded like you were kind of confused about that.

I know they replace the carrier, thats why I could weld things and simply replace them later when I go to lock it
Question BMX: DId you do a disk brake swap or just rebuild the brakes on your d44? ANd if so, what did the new rotors, capliers, pads, ect run you?

The wedges are just welded on, you can cut them off with a grinder.

[pimp] I have a brand new disc brake swap kit, same as you get from broncograveyard or jamesduff. Ill sell it to you if you want, every single part of it is brand new and has never seen the street. :) [/pimp]

edit- you're not gonna be able to use the drums on the front of your explorer.

1- After wheeling an EB with front drums (which is lighter than an explorer) its almost certain death as the heat fade. They will work okay at the beginning of the trail and at the end of the trail you will have no front brakes.

2- Your master cylinder isnt set up for front drums. There has to be more residual pressure on a drum brake than a disc to keep the shoes close to the drum.

You're gonna have to go discs to drive it.

I have a 77 F150 front axle = weld on wedges, high pinion & disc brakes (so IMO one of the best stock 44's around :thumbsup: )

If you don't buy James T.'s disc conversion, you should check out and ebay. They're both full of disc conversion that can save you some money. Bryan

I knew I couldnt go w/o disks, I was wondering what the cost of rebuilding your disk brakes was. James, you'll be getting a PM shortly about that kit. Ive been working on it on and off this morning, trying to get the hubs off is a *****, they are rusted fast. Going to have to track down a large gear jaw puller tonight.

I turned the rotors at school = free (~$60 for both new). The calipers were from Advance Auto Parts, totalling only about 30 for both of them since I had cores. The extended SS braided lines were 91 bucks. Pads were ~25 bucks shipped via ebay (Raybestos). Think that's it. Bryan

Completed dissassembly of the axle today, now just need to torch off the wedges and bumpstops and its off for sandblasting. Thought id throw in a few pics of the carnage.


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Good start man! I got all the way to removing the carrier and pinion but didn't get much farther...but i was working on a balcolny and didn't want to wake the neighborhood with my beating haha

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If you are doing leafs in the front I would suggest getting some flat top knuckles from a Jeep or Chevy D44 and doing x-over steering or hi-steer and at the same time convert over to disc brakes.