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So I bought this 4x4 SUV...ld50

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So I bought this 4x4 SUV...Ld50 mods

So I bought this SUV...

I`ve never had a 4 wheel drive vehicle before now. Oh, I used to go out with friends years ago, got stuck, seen things break, the usual. Always had a car though, and that was fine.
Well I got this job working on pipelines, and gained more experiences with off road on the right-of-ways. All the work trucks were 4x4s with winches, and we worked them hard over the 4 & 1/2 yrs I was doing it. I`ve been itching to get into it myself for some time after hearing about my couzin`s
exploits in his Jeep, but thought I`d wait till my son was a little older and we outgrew my mustang.

Well the time came last February, in the form of a 1993 4-door Explorer XL 4.0 with manual hubs and a manual 5 spd trans.

I have some cash to put out, and have made some mods already, which I have tried to capture with my digital camera as I go.
I do have limits. I want to keep it low enough to fit in my underground parking lot, and I want it to be street legal.
At the same time, I want to go out with my cuz` and his friends, and show those lightly modified Jeepers up!

I`m starting this thread so I could maybe help some guys who are new to this, and want to build something up, without going all out like some of the members (and organizers) of this site.
The next few posts are going to tell the story up till now, including problems I`ve had, and prices I`ve paid. You may not agree with the order of the mods, but I`m learning!
I welcome all comments, Ideas, help, etc.

Serious Explorations has been my Bible for the past few months and I hope to help as much as you all have helped me!

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More on those Warrior shackles.
Tecnically only three outings through rocky terrain with them on and pic says it all:

No good for shocks!

Stopped to air down before the trail got rough, and got a surprise. Luckily I reattached it to what was left of the threads. See, they tell you in the flyer that if the part that the shock mounts to gets bent, you can unscrew them and buy new ones. They don`t realize that the part it screws into is too thin.


I will have to rectify this problem soon. I`ve seen lots of different ways to mount the shocks, but I`ll wait till I see the new skidplates Warrior is sending me.

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I don't know if will work for your truck but with mine, I mounted the shock to the lower sway bar mount hole. I used the lower shock mount off an '90's Mustang 5.0L. I also have the axle under my leafs now which may make this mount style easier. I'll see if I have any pictures tomorrow.

I mounted the shock to the lower sway bar mount hole.

that is something I pondered and may do, go ahead and post a link to a pic if you have it. Interesting about the mustang mount working with it. It`s got to angle a bit right?
-still want to see my new plates tho`.

I read today about the "accelerator cable mod" I did it and there was so much play there that I fit three zap straps on it to tighten it up. I can`t wait to see if I can open up that throttle plate more now!

In case YOU haven`t seen it. (can`t believe I never stumbled accross it myself)

Your pedal has a bit of play that may increase over time, making the pedal hit the floor before you get the throttle fully open. You just put straps on the end of the cable at the top of the pedal lever. Also increases throttle response they tell me.

-Came back here to comment on it. It does bring the pedal up higher, but as far as more to the floor oomph, I don`t see it. I also realize that I don`t usually floor it anyway. I do like it a little higher tho`-

Ya gotta love this site man!


Great pics, and great story, I really enjoy reading post from other members, ex look good, how much lift do you have?

Whoa man, just found out half my pics weren`t linking. I gotta get elite soon. Almost every pic on yahoo was not there.


ex look good, how much lift do you have?

At first I thought maybe ya didn`t read my thread or you wouldn`t ask! :D

But I haven`t really mentioned how much lift I have gained so far so it`s actually a good question!
I took some pics of the ex with a big ruler resting on the bumpers to have a visual record of how it sat when stock. I could only find one at the front bumper though. But here:

Stock front height to bottom of bumper:

18 & 3/8 inches

Height now:

22 & 3/4 inches

Total front lift:

4 & 3/8 inches

Rear height now, to bumper:

22 & 1/2 inches

So this is with 2" spacer and add-a-leaf & going to a 31 inch tire.
Also the rear got probably an extra inch at least from the Warrior shackle I installed.

New mod coming for early in September!

I`m kind of excited:D
I was thinking about how to get the tires out further from the truck for two reasons:

- At full stuff my rear tires rub the inner wheel wells, which not only sucks, but prohibits me from going to a taller, or wider tire.

- I think the truck will be much more stable if it has a wider stance, which will allow me to be a little more confident when off-camber.

So I had two choices here, other than seriously modifying my axles. I could get off-set rims, or wheel spacers.
Now alot of people are dead against spacers, and argue that they put a strain on your drivetrain, make you sterile, give you Cancer, etc, blah, blah.
I did however see some of the hardcore wheelers explain that you will still have the extra strain whether you use spacers or offset rims. The secret to good spacers is to get a really well-made set that bolt on to your studs, with studs to fasten your wheels to.

I have ordered my spacers through
I wouldn`t say they are a cheap alternative, but I like the look of my rims and don`t need the hassle of selling them or trying to store them.
One of the "cons" of the spacers is all the nuts to remove to look at the rear brakes or front hubs, but I can live with that.

I had to decide how much spacing I wanted and went for 1 & 1/2 inches. This, I figure, would easily keep the rear tires out enough, with room to go to at least maybe 32 x 11.5 tires if I want.

Points I learned about this brand of spacer are:

-You PROBABLY need at least 1 & 1/4 to clear the original studs without trimming some thread off, but don`t quote me.

- They are made from 6061 billet aluminum, which is nearly twice the strength of the 6063 aluminum other manufacturers use. (in layman`s terms they are strong man, strong like bull!)

I am going to research fender flares now to find out what I should get, since I have decided on adding some, so watch for these mods in early September!

If you`re wondering about my skidplate shock mount dillemma, I am still WAITING for my replacement set, and I am getting tired of the anticapation of checking my mailbox for nothing, let me tell ya!

I think I have the modification all figured out for them now..

On another note, I saw a cool looking lifted, red Ex today. I think it had 35 inch tires and it looked sweet, but it was a ways ahead of me so I couldn`t get a good look. Then I got caught by a light, so I lost it!
I have yet to have a good look at another modified Ex in person, if you can believe it! All I`ve seen is pictures for crying out loud. Must be a laugh for alot of you Explorer enthusiasts who go on runs together.:D

I haven't found my pictures yet of my shock brakets, but as soon as I do I will post them.

Did that Red Explorer have a home built set of bumpers on it? If it did them it's running a 5.5" superlift, 35x12.50, and cut fender wells (rear section of front fender)

Maybe we should plan a local Explorer run.

Maybe we should plan a local Explorer run

That would be cool. Don`t think I can follow THAT Ex through too much.

That Ex I saw was too far away to get a good look at the bumpers, but the tires seem about right. They stuck out pretty far.

Hey, if you`re near me, (geographically) and following my thread, Check the thread below out and post something there if you`re interested.

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Now, I`m off to fix my shock mount problem once and for all!

I think I have finished mucking with my rear shock mounts

Okay, true to their word Warrior made me up a new set of plates. I told them not to bother with the powdercoating because they just did not seem to care about raising the mount point for me even when I practically begged them to. So I figured I would be doing some alterations to them anyway, so I would paint them myself. I am happy they came through. That is good costomer service, and I value that. They were only out to correct the problem with my sway bar after all. (;) he he, well we know nothing is gunna hit it now anyway)

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You know I spent alot of time figuring what I would do here, and I hope I don`t let anyone down when I tell you that I didn`t mount the shocks to the plates after all. As a matter of fact my new plates are still sitting in the box they came in.

First I got some hardware together, I got a couple 5/8" bolts about three inches long, with only about two inches of thread on the end. Then after undoing my shocks, I used a couple washers and a nut to get this on the bottom end of the shock:

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Then I used the brackets that had secured my sway bar to my axle as a mount point by drilling holes in them till it looked something like this:

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Alright, THEN I had to get the top of the shock higher right? Or it would bottom out for sure. If you recall, I previously had modded the upper mounts to bring them lower, like this:

Previous mount

So I just used the same idea and same hardware to mount it above the crossmember like so:

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This mount method is probably only possible since I have the body lift in, and still is very close to bottoming the shocks. The piping is about 2 inches long and it`s no use going longer because the shock can`t fit through the hole anyway

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I grabbed a forklift since I was at work and lifted one front side tire nice and high and used the floor jack to try to get a rear tire to stuff up the the point where they rub. I didn`t quite get there, and by my calculations was SOO close to bottoming.

I took a hammer to those brackets redneck style until I got them bent downwards till the mounts were lowered a little over 1/2 and inch while still being able to undo the mounts. I bolted a bolt through the holes with some strong, thick washers to maintan a flat mounting surface while I did the hammering, then played with it till the angle was right.

-I took a pic of one afterwards but it didn`t turn out, so I`ll have to take one again and post it later for you-

After that, it looks as if I have enough room to still stuff the tires as much as they can without worry. This is VERY cool, because now I have much more room to play with my droop later on (mua ha ha!)

It is also noteworthy to add that the amount that the shocks have to travel in relation to the stuffing and drooping of the tires is now reduced, since they are mounted closer to the diff. On the other hand, you would figure that this would cause more sway, but I have not yet noticed a difference in the feel of it.

Next episode:

My customized bra!

My bra! (front end cover)

picked up a Ford bra for cheap and noticed it was made for a truck with the airdam on. Also it was made to cover the bumper which I don`t like, so I trimmed it to leave the bumper showing. What do ya think?


Nice rack, LOL, (.)(.)

Nice rack, LOL, (.)(.)

Thanks, I hated how as time went by everything started to sag, dontcha know. She is fairly athletic, and the extra support should keep those headlights pointing where they should. :D

Next direction on my mods!!!

Well, kinda funny that I played around with my shocks the other day because IT`S ALL CHANGING!

-Should add that there may be too much sway back there with the shocks moved in, don`t think I like that setup after all, and those spacers won`t help. oh well.

I`ve decided to do the world famous "Zimmerman mod" to my rear suspension. I got a killer deal on some Ranger main leafs, $30 CDN for both (that`s a couple bucks US!).
I got in touch with a guy off and went there and watched him take a mount and shackle off of one of them, and suggested I give him an extra ten bucks since he only wanted twenty to begin with. He said he was just happy to help a fellow Ford enthusiast, but I felt like I was ripping him off! I must be nuts.
Anyway, that`s the direction I`m going now.

Tomorrow I am preparing for it by modifying my emergency brake cable to work with the mod, and lengthening my brake line to the rears while I`m at it. Got everything figured out in my mind at least. Got to have my emergency brake working for this to be a good mod.

I`ll probably make a bracket for the lower shock mounts to sit toward the wheels more, might even need longer ones, but we`ll see how it plays out.

~ Zimmerman rear spring mod ~

Well I did the Zimmerman the other day. In what seems to be an LD50 tradition, I did it alone, and got lots of pics for y`all. I did it a little differently too, so check it out.

First of all, I snapped a pic of my droop before starting:

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So I did one side at a time, basically following proceedures I used for my add-a-leaf installation. This time I was able to save the bolts that secure the leaves together though.
I pried apart the binder that holds the leafs together towards the front, and determined where I would cut. To get a good cut line for all four cuts I used a ruler I had handy, and rested it against the loop and marked my cut.

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I cut it with a cutting wheel on a hand grinder, and cleaned it up with a grinding wheel. I needed to make sure I would have a smooth edge for the leaf to slide on.

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When I reassembled, I left out the overload leaf. There was 3 spacers between my leaves, two thick and one thin. I assembled like this, from top down:

-Ranger main-
-thick spacer-
-cut Ex main-
-thick spacer-
-Ex leaf-
-thin spacer-
-Ex leaf-

(No spacer between add-a-leaf and lowest ex spring)

I left out the overload to possibly increase stuffing flex AND I knew I would need a longer bolt to hold the leaves together if I didn`t, so that made it even easier to decide.

I put grease on all the spring ends that would contact each other and when it was all together, I cleaned it up a bit and sprayed some rust paint primer on them while I tackled the next problem.

That problem is keeping the springs from "splaying apart" while wheeling, and getting all out of align.

I dug some 1/4 inch steel plate from the scrap bin that was 3" wide, and cut it so it was approx. 4 inches wider than the space between my u-bolts. I cut some 6" long pipe nipples that the u-bolts would fit through, in half, and then used the u-bolts as a guide on where to weld the nipples to the plate.

Eventually I had this:

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I used the grinder to shape a circular curve for the axle shaft until it would fit in place while allowing everything else to be bolted up tight.

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When I had `er figured out, I bolted it up. The plate is very snug against the springs, and they won`t be moving sideways now.

I gave it all a blast of black rust paint to nicen it up, and it looks pretty:

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Of course, I got some serious droop now:

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I already lengthened my brake line with a three inch piece of hard line installed between the old hard line and the hose, nothing fancy.
I didn`t redo my emergency brake cable yet, but it will get ripped out for sure if I don`t.

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I`ll get that brake cable set up in a few days, and will tackle the lower shock mounts again after I take her for a good romp. Trying to get out next weekend to test it out.

I did get a little lift out of this, I don`t know if it`s too much yet, but I figured if I want to bring it down then I will shorten my shackles.

It is a softer ride now, and a little bouncier back there. That`s all I can say at this point. I have to admit, there is going to be a lot of stress on that little ranger spring. I wonder how it will hold up when some good side to side stress is applied. I may be redoing this job every so often if they tend to bend.
-scratch that, if they get all screwed up I`ll go with OME springs or make my own pack.

Just an update!

Well I`m snowballing here and haven`t had time to post the three new mods I have on my truck!

I just wanted to say since the "Zimm", I have extended my brake cable and farted around out back of my work. (my very own test pit) I think I will leave the rear shocks just where they for now because man I tell ya, I`m almost getting full shock travel out of them just where they are mounted now. I don`t want to mess with them just yet, and It`s actually a pretty good setup after all.

I am wishing I cut my main leafs a little longer though. They`re not bending the Ranger leaf or anything yet, but it`s a worry I have that they might.

I should be back soon with pics of the brake cable setup, my new wheel spacer install, AND I now have a custom exhaust that I had put in. I had it planned, just not so soon.
ALSO I just might have my own front swaybar disconnect system made soon, I`m just trying to get my butt in gear.
I want to do some tough wheeling this weekend to see how everything holds up, so I`m getting my cuzin to come with me to Stave lake on Sunday and check a rocky trail out-or two.

New stuff

Swaybar disconnect

I decided to try just doing up one side that I could take apart while leaving one side hooked up.

I took the nuts off the "bone" that secures the bar to the TTB and sprayed some red marking paint on the threads that were showing. I used that to tell me where to drill some holes in the bolts.

Aftere the holes were drilled I used a couple of those keeper pins I had kicking around to hold it there. Any way:

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Emergency brake cable extension

First, what I needed to extend was the bracket just before the rear wheel, and then extend the cable itself.
* note. the brake cable system is self adjusting, there is no easy way of getting more slack out of the cable *

I grabbed some assorted pipe fittings and eventually had these pieces:

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I took apart the cable at the bracket, drilled the hole larger, and assembled my pieces like so:

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This made the holder for the rear pass. side line 2 & 3/4 " farther back. Now I needed the cable before that to be that much longer.
I chucked the piece that holds the front part of the cable and the rear part of the cable together, and made my own connector that was 2 & 3/4" longer.
Then it was just a matter of putting it all back together, and I have this:

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At first the pedal went quite a ways down, but the self adjuster tightened it up after a few push and releases. Now it is just as it was.


I can`t recommend this to anyone until I try it out for a while. A lot of people, as I said, don`t think it is a good idea. But some people disagree. All I can say is it sure is alot of bolts to mess with, esp[ecially since my hubs seem to like to loosen off on me.
Well I got them, put them on, and here is some pics for you:

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I had a slight rub on road at the tupperware on the passenger side so I cut a wee bit off of it, just the corner. I have been up to 130 kms/hr with them and feel no vibration or anything. It does feel a lot more stable now. I have passed on the flares I mentioned because they don`t really stick out too far, and it kinda looks cool.

Custom exhaust

I`ll come back and tell you what kind, cuz I can`t find the bill right now. basically it`s cat- back with 2 & 1/4 inch tubing and a tiny muffler called a "spinner" which is VERY free flowing, and sounds really trick.
I got a crappy pic of it:

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I notice more oomph at higher rpms and a little more snap with this installed.

I`m going wheeling tomorrow to check everything out, and finally run with the swaybar detached. I`ll post results later, and I guess I have to update my price list too.


He he,


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Well it was bound to happen. I never liked mud anyway, and damned if that one spot didn`t look alot shallower :D

It was the Stave lake mud flats, a very well known area that people flock to after mid September, which is when they lower the level of the lake via a dam. I could have stayed there all day watching the crazy wheelers with there HUGE trucks. They seemed to have one goal, get stuck! Saw some crazy trucks there, one was I think a Monza on a huge frame with enormous tires, yeehaa.

So after my slight embarrassment and a pull out from a buddy of mine, I needled my rig through the hordes of trucks on the flats, none of which being a fellow Explorer, I might add, and headed to a more suitable playground.

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I tackled some trail sections that even I thought would stop me, but my chariot crawled on, rarely succumbing to the gravity that fought to stop her and throw me back to begin anew. Even when I tore the front piece of my tupperware off one side, I ventured on, undaunted, until....
There began a squeek, subtle at first, and then more insistent and demanding of my attention. As soon as I crested the hill I was climbing, I exited my steed to have a look at her vitals. And there noticed that my springs on the drivers side were still holding up fine, but the passenger side didn`t look too good.

It seems to me that the forces I was putting on my rear suspension had actually started to bend the frame around the shackle on the passenger side, angling it towards center. This made the springs splay a little, but ultimately they were caught by my "splay guard" I had built. Nonetheless, there is definitely an angle to that shackle now, which to put it bluntly, F`n sucks.

Anyway, I will probably have to straighten it out and reinforce it some how, and I may have to get some help from someone with a good welder and know how to match.

Other than that she performed great! A funny point was when we were deep into this trail and this big Toyota is coming down with advertisements all over it and they are filming it like it is the ULTIMATE trail machine,and up comes little old me....
Can you say double take?

Well I gotta rip off the rest of the tupperware now I guess and figure this problem out.
One more pic tho`. this tripped me out because I never had my lights on, but I guess I bumped the high beams on at just the right moment.

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You could upgrade them to polyurethane bushings. They last a lot longer and I've heard great things about them. You might want to consider upgrading your swaybar bushings to polyurethane also. People have said only good things about these too. I've heard that the front sway bar bushings especially give you much better handling on the road. With your swaybar quick-disconnects you'd have great handling on and off road. For all the information about them just go to this site.

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