Solid axle ?'s | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Solid axle ?'s

I have decided to skip the lift kits and go with the solid axle swap. I am in the planning stages of the swap. I would like to lift it to about 4 or 5 inches. I Know a guy that builds and modifies 79 Broncos. He sold me a Dana 44 out of a 79 Bronco and told me he can get me every part of the 79 Bronco suspension for cheap. Is this a reverse rotation 44? I am wondering if anyone can help me, by making a list of parts or telling me what I would need. Should I go with leafs or Coils in the front? Do I need the radius arms, Coil brackets? How would I get it to be about 4 or 5 inches all the way around? How would i get the most flex? Any advice would be greatly helpful.

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I'm not gonna be much help up front, but in the rear, do a spring-over conversion. I you use the Superlift perches, be sure to weld them on. In addition, do the Zimmerman Mod ( - this will give you a bunch of flex in the back. I know a few people here have been very happy with this mod. You may need to get longer shocks for the rear with this mod. jack up one side of the rear axle until the other side comes off the ground. You then can get your short and long lengths for your shocks.


Thanks Jon for the advice. I have seen the pics of Cmartins X and the flex in the rear is verry nice. Can a Dana 44 flex like that in the front?

Best thing to do is check with Rick, Riff and Oknut - this guys have the swap done - all for different reasons and with different levels of flex.


The dana 44 really doesn't help the flex in the back that much. You'll get that flex from a SOA with a good set of springs. I've seen people with a Dana 35 do some great things in the rear flex wise. Where the 44 helps out is how "beefy" the parts are and hard to break as well as flex wise. It's like comparing the flex of a IFS that the newer ones have compared to the coils the older ones have. The 35 has a point in the middle that almost "eats" up the flex a bit. The 44 is strait across so when one side raises the other drops. The best way is to go with springs with some new radius arms in the front. You'll keep the ride of coils and get some great flex, although leafs won't hurt either.

Thanx leebo. I read up on some of past posts on this and I am pretty sure I will go with coils in the front and the spring over in the rear with the zimmerman mod. I'm still stuck on what I need for parts to do the front.

You just answered your own question. The SOA can ONLY be done with leafs. To lift with coils you'll simply get larger coils. You're best bet is to run leafs in the rear with the SOA and run coils up front. It's a pain to run coils in the rear no matter what lift you're running. I'm looking to do this for desert racing and I'm in the 5000 dollar range. Check out a few posts done by riff and such. He's got a ton of photo's that should help out. :)

I have been reading for about an hour and still can't find any answers to my questions. Please help me. Should I use all the parts from the 79 Bronco or should I use whatever parts I can from my X? I have come up with a list of what I think I may need.
Dana 44(how wide?)
Radius Arms
Radius Arm brackets
Traction Bar(sock or Adjustable?)
Coil Brackets(Explorer or Bronco?)
Explorer Or Bronco Coils(what size?)

What else? Any info would be great.

The full size 44 is more desireable because it's pinion is reverse cut which in turn puts the pinion to the top of the pig, helps your driveshaft angle.

The long tube of the fullsize 44 can be cut down to accept a 66-77 bronco d-44 long axle shaft. Someone here has done this.

You should be able to use both radius arms 66-77 bronc or the fullsize 78-79's.

Definatly get the 78-79 arm brackets, they are the best factory brackets to use, because they already have quite a bit of drop to them.

The track bar will have to be built once the suspension is holding the weight of the vehicle, the angle needs to be in relation to the drag link.

You can retain your stock coil buckets but you will need to come up with a clip to retain the coils.

Send me a e-mail and i'll overwelm you with some info.

i wouldn't expect hardly if any extra flex with just using the eb bronco front end becuase those things don't like to flex if u do it do some of the upgrades for the eb's like modified radius arms and such if i do it i am doing leafs much easier to do and much easier to make flex one more thing don't forget stearing

Front Coils

Just a thought...

Once you have done your rear spring thing (the Z-thing) and installed the D44 up front using stock Explorer coils, then determine the added height you need for the new front coils. Make sure when you order the new coils for the front that they are long enough for the lift wanted and are variable rate for more flex. The rear will be lifted approximaely 5+ inches just by put the axle under the spring, so you may have to adjust the front coils to work with the rear leafs. Check it out ahead of time.

There a number of places that will make you anything you want for a coil spring, I used Valley Spring Service.

Good Luck,
Keep it on all four,

Thanks CMartin and Sandy. CMartin Do you know if the 6 inch SkyJacker leafs will work for front leafs? If so with the Dana 44 can you do the Z-mod to the front? I was thinking about doing the front with leafs but from what I read It sounds like the Coils are better. I think it would be easier to do leafs and easier to get more flex with leafs. Leafs or Coils still can't decide. Thanks.

Coils vs Leafs

To be or not to be...

Coils will ride better and flex just as well as a leaf spring.

Look at the Early Broncos, no one is changing them to leaf springs. Wild Horses, Inc sets up EBs with flexible suspensions and they don't think about leafs.

My vote is for coils because of over all performance.

Thats what I'm thinkin. To many decisions, it would be so much easier if the X came from the factory with a Dana 44. Thanks for the info.

have u ever riden in a eb don't try to tell me that they will ride better than leafs my buddy lee has a 98 ranger with a d44 front axle with leafs by national and his flexes way better and rides better than that of a eb setup let me clarify u can get a eb to flex but it is much more involved than just doing a shackle reversal with custom springs witch cost 400-500 bucks and then get the axle and u have a very flexy rig better than any radius arm setup

i figured i would chime in with my 2 answer some of your earlier questions...i cut my axle down about 8" from the right side of the diffy only. we used drop radius arm brackets from an 79 bronco and reinforced it. the stock radius arms from a bronco are actually longer than the superlift extended radius arms....they are so long, in fact, that we had to incorporate the RA brackets into the tranny crossmember.

as for flex, the superlift, skyjacker, trailmaster coils are ALL way to stiff for any serious amount of front end flex. the only ways to get a good amount of flex with these coils is to set them up for droop like rick did. his is setup so the coils can actually come out of the coil buckets and droop farther. you can also wrist the radius arms to move up and down when you are on the trail.

for what coils you use, you can go either way.....dale tiessen went with the duff progressive coils, and modified his explorer coil buckets to accept the full size spring. kampy and i both had a psudo adapter machined for us that allowed us to bolt the explorer coils to the bronco radius arms. oknut is the only person who went with leaf springs, but he also used full width axles, so that also attributes to the amount of flex he is getting.

another somthing to keep in mind is the engine crossmember. i am currently using the superlift 5.5" coils and i clear it, even at full compression. if you use any less, you will have to modify the crossmember so the pumpkin doesn't hit it.

any more questions, fire away

to better illustrate, here are some pics....

here are 2 pics of the radius arm brackets....



here is a pic of the machined adapter for the coils.....


Thanks Riff for the info. I'm verry Jealous of your truck? What Coils would you recomend using? Should i use Bronco or Explorer Coil springs? Can you make a list of the parts that I would need from the 79 bronco? Thanks for your 2 cents it was helpful.

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well obviously you will need the axle..hehe..then get the radius arms, the radius arm brackets...and if you can...even try to get the springs...if you can get those to work, that will save you some dinero....get the track bar, and the track bar mount...and depending on how you want to do the steering, you could get that, too...but that would require some work...i got my steering setup at was like 370 shipped....but i think its well worth it.

by way of coils...i really won't recomend either....i would try to get some custom ones that are the same diameter of the explorer ones, but a lot less stiff.....