Straight axle conversion/lift kit info for 2nd gen | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Straight axle conversion/lift kit info for 2nd gen


New Member
April 11, 2017
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City, State
Sugarcreek Ohio
Year, Model & Trim Level
1996 Ford Explorer XLT
I just purchased a new project 1996 XLT 4.0 4x4. I'm looking to build a daily driver/weekend wheeler. I'm a Ford guy at heart but it was really hard not to grab a cherokee since they already have a straight axle. Nevertheless I've got a IFS and I'm not liking the superlift 4 inch lift price. Is there a cost effective way to lift this to fit at least 33x12.50's and be able to conquer some trails without reaming the fender wells out in the process. Is there a straight axle coil over lift kit conversion out there some where?

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Do a torsion twist and shakes or add a leaf then a 2-3" body lift (I did 2"). I had plenty of travel room but the 33,12.50/15 rubs when you turn. An easy fix is to go to a 285,75/16 it's like 32.8"- 33" (depending on brand) tall and won't hit finders at all. I'm running wheels from a crown Victoria police cruiser. See my profile pic.

Don't forget to gear it or it will be a dog exp with the 33s

Thanks for the tips!! I've got a set of Alcoa 17x9 rims and some 245/75 wrangler duratracs for a really great price. So I'm gonna do probably a tt and shackles until I can afford a sas!!


This is day one picking it up out of a field. The body is in great shape but unfortunately the undercarriage got really rusty sitting out there for over a year. Wish they would've kept it in the barn!!

Looks like a great looking EX. Look forward to seeing what you do with yours. I also have a 96. Mine have the running boards on it though that are gonna come off. When I get a chance I will be doing the TT and the AAL or Shackles this will do till I get all the parts I need for my Solid Axle swap.

Looks good, and good luck on everything

I'm running 33x10 1/2 Coopers on 18" Mustang wheels.

I swapped the torsion keys and put a new set of the heaviest Ranger leaves in the back with the add a leaf plus the Warriors.

I have about 4" in the back and right at 2" in the front.

With the lift torsion keys I actually had to crank it down instead of up resulting in a really nice non-harsh ride.

You really need to swap the shocks.

Rancho makes them specifically for the 1-2 1/2" lift. Ads - Shocks

Otherwise your shocks will be working against your lift and trying to pull your front back down, resulting in a really unnecessary harsh ride.