The Black Hole | Page 92 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Post number 3327 has been selected as best answered.

Whats In A Name?

It was hot humid august night. The winds have all but vanished. I was doing my best to keep the sweat out of my eyes. The A/C was dying in my 94 Explorer, lovingly named "Pugly", and there was no relief in sight. I decided it was time to stop throwing good money into bad. I was gonna do the unthinkable,.......I was going to commit the most heinous crime of them all! I was going to trade Pugly in for a newer model! Oh the heart break! The insanity of it all! I couldn't believe the thoughts were even going through my head.

I managed to get the old girl back home, to her resting place. She seemed at ease in her familiar surroundings. I had to come up with an explanation to let her know of my evil plan. So i just gave her that old wink and grin that she likes to see from me as we made it back home from another day of adventure in the treacherous Midwestern terrain. I did my best in hiding my cynical thoughts, as I walked around to her rear flank and gave her that little pat on her bumper, as I always have when we part for the night.

The next morning I gave her a real good bath, cleaned behind her mirrors, and brushed her grill. She still looked pretty good for her age. Oh sure she had the tell tale signs, gravity has got its firm grip on her, and I am not the best cosmetics guy in the world. she didn't seem to mind too much, she still kept her nose up and drove with pride.

After looking at many vehicles I just could not find anything that had the same feel as my old girl. Then it happened! Was I seeing a mirage? Was I so desperate to find another rig that I was blinded by insanity? I found my replacement! I quickly made a sale with the owner, and brought it home.

When I pulled in the driveway, my heart sunk as I looked into the yard to see my 94 looking at me in disbelief. She was sunning herself in the grass looking all shiny and then, she just looked away from me. My heart was tearing in two. I parked the new rig, and walked up to her and gave her a soft spoken "Hello". No reply. I tried to tickle her mirrors, no response. The tension was so great, you could have cut it with a 32 count fine tooth hacksaw. I had to explain to her that she gave me great satisfaction for many years, and we made a terrific team together, but the time has come for her to just relax and enjoy her final days. She finally revved up, and understood, her days as my work horse has ended (so we thought).

I introduced her to her daily driver replacement. The shiny new(er) next generation of her kind. The 95 Explorer XLT. She warmed right up to it. Before you know it they were swapping stories. Now I had to ask her for help. I needed a name for the new ride,
so I went to find her, and what did I see? Those two were grill to grill in the driveway. rubbing chrome! I had to get the water hose out and break them up! Sheesh, she was acting like a girl at the prom dance! I let the name thing drop for awhile.

The new(er) Ex needed to get its shots, and a physical. When I got the word on it's health, I about had a coronary. "What do you mean Doc"! I yelled. "Your kidding right"? I asked. The Doc just shook his head and gathered his tools. As he walked away, He said it had a 50/50 chance of survival. My stomach knotted up, my teeth ground, my heart raced, and I could feel the energy build up as I let it all out, "Why! Why! Why did this have to happen"! I screamed.

The prognostic exam from the doc was as such. It had a blown steering rack, the shocks were gone, the brakes were non existent, front sway bar was cracked in half, the 3rd brake light was out, none of the windows or the moon roof would work, the door locks were broke, the rear end LS clutch pack was burned up, the tires were all in need of replacement, the spare was a Firestone recall and flat, the engine had a nasty tick to it, the TPS was shot, the MAF was corroded, the battery had a dead cell in it, the hood shocks were not working, the rear hatch lock was jammed up and you couldn't open it with out a key in the lock, The carpet was stained to no repair, the rear window wiper didn't want to work, and we could not tell what year its engine swap came from. it was a mess, to say the least.

I went in the house to get my gun. I was gonna just put it out of its misery right there and then. I suddenly realized I was out of ammo, from shooting at the jeep that was in my field. I went to the computer to find a place to buy some cheap ammo, and I stumbled across this website, that said it could heal any ford Explorer no matter what the problems were! I jumped for joy, I could not believe the things I was reading! I wore out the search button, asked a bunch of questions. I quickly broke out my pen and paper, feverishly writing down things as I was learning! I had found a cure for everything that was wrong with my new transport. It was a Godsend, an angel from the SUV heavens!

I sprung into action. I worked day and night, Pugly was right by my side the entire time, helping me in any way she could. I never seen this side of her, and was really amazed at how well she handled the pressure. She gently squeegeed the sweat out off my fore head with her soft wiper blades as I worked away. After an entire weekend of work, I collapsed. I needed some rest, and so did the 95. The sun crested over the hills, and awoke me to a new day. I shuffled my feet to the window facing the driveway, peeled the drapes gently back, and peered out at the 95. WOW!
It had a its color back, and was looking great! Now as the time went on, (and most of my paychecks), and the selling of almost everything I own, for funds to get the 95 to its former glory.

After some time to reflect on this name thing, I strolled up and whispered into Pugly's passenger side mirror, and she giggled with delight.

I climbed up onto the front bumper in my pajamas and robe half opened, with a cup of coffee in one hand and the daily newspaper in the other, I raised my arms with out stretched hands and proclaimed the new name of the 95.

BEHOLD...........THE BLACK HOLE!!!!!!!! (Then the neighbor yelled at me to close my robe)

The End................(or is it just the beginning?)

Actually, only some of this really happened. :D

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Other then threading one of those holes, I can't see how that would work. :dunno:

the leaf above is flush to the leaf below. Maybe i'm not understanding correctly. :scratch:

I used one of the shim holes and a elevator bolt. Kind of a flat topped carriage bolt, and it works great. Never replaced any of the shims or the metal shims between the leaf springs. The are only there to prevent noise.

Coated all the leaf springs with EZ Slide, a graphite based coating, prior to putting the packs back together.

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Try a flare nut wrench that will fit the cable and compress the metal clips. I think that's the tool I read of helping for those.

Thanks Don, I will try that tomorrow. I gave up as I was frustrated, and needed to stop before I did something I would regret. :nono: lol

I used one of the shim holes and a elevator bolt. Kind of a flat topped carriage bolt, and it works great. Never replaced any of the shims or the metal shims between the leaf springs. The are only there to prevent noise.

Coated all the leaf springs with EZ Slide, a graphite based coating, prior to putting the packs back together.

Thank you for that link. :thumbsup:

I imagine a flat bar bent into a square U with a center hole would work with one of those bolts. Question: Did you get a bolt that has a bit larger square, then the shim hole, and pound it in tight?

I also left my shims out once I found out they do more harm then good. I used lithium when I put them back together as that is all I had on hand. I'm sure it has worn off by now, but they do not make any noise yet.

I removed the brake line from the axle, so I didn't have to open the system. Hung the line & the calipers along with the ABS sensor on the body. Once I get the E-brake lines off, I can remove the U-bolts, and it is ready to come out.

I have this big box that says YUKON all over it. It wants a more permanent home inside the axle. It told me so. :shifty_ey

I imagine a flat bar bent into a square U with a center hole would work with one of those bolts. Question: Did you get a bolt that has a bit larger square, then the shim hole, and pound it in tight?

I used 1/8" by 1" wide flat bar for mine. Ran a bolt through the top to limit the springs and sleeved the bolt with a piece of stainless steel tubing to keep the "U" straight (tubing is slightly wider than the springs). I really don't remember there being an issue with the bolt not tightening. It was not a tight fit in the shim hole, but it tightened up just fine. All it has to do is keep the leaf guide in place. You can see some pictures in this thread here;

Went back at it... There is definitely some finesse used, to getting the ends of the brake lever. I can't even come up with how to explain it. A video showing how to, would be best, but without a third hand, I can't use my feet to operate a camera.... Yet!

Once they were off, the flare nut wrench trick worked like a charm to back the cables out of the brackets. That's a handy tip from Don folks! :thumbsup:

Dif is draining now. Once done, I will remove the U-bolts, slap some small rollers back on it, and drop the rear leaf hangers, and she be out. :D

Now I have found another issue doing this. :(

The rear leaf hanger sleeves in the bushings are both pushed out to the right by 3/4" !!

So..... Any advise on replacing the bushings/sleeves? All I can think of is an air hammer/chisel to get them out. But even if I can do that, then what? Stock or aftermarket replacements? Are the stock one pc or two? Better to use a one or a two pc replacement? I have never done these yet. Ugh...:scratch:

So as usual, one thing leads to ten things. LOL!

All the leaf spring bushings need replaced as they are toast as well. I am going to bring them to a spring shop and have them press them in. I learned my lesson a long time ago with these things. Before I take them in next week, I will do that keeper mod over the weekend. I found the elevator bolts at Lowe's, in the specialty drawers. :thumbsup:

I will most likely take the rig back to the 4x4 shop or the spring shop for the frame bushings, after it is all back together. I just have too many things going on at once, and only a few weeks to be done. It is what it is. That's the way it goes.

Gears & locker look fine at least. Fluids looked brand new still. (Phew!!)

Black Hole is earning it's name this month. I need to epoxy my wallet together. :D


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I'm glad to hear that you made good progress, forward is the right direction.

Thanks too for an idea. ...

I haven't wanted to think of any names for my stuff, but this "new" black Explorer I got could use a name. I'm thinking of coal(black), and diamonds that you get from coal, and the truck will look like my red Mounty eventually. So maybe the Red Diamond could work ...?

I'm partial to obvious names, but a little imagination and a mix of personality of the truck will show itself soon enough. If you read the first post in this thread, you will see how the name if this rig came to be. (plenty of imagination there)

Dono, you know exactly what i'm talking about unfortunately! lol

I know exactly what you mean, and you know I do. lol.
I do think your being smart by just taking your truck in to trusted shops to get the work done when you become over whelmed. It sounds like you have found the trusted shops, and that's the hard part.

I have always done what I can myself. When it comes to exact specs, machined, gears, or heavy duty pressed parts, I let the pros handle it.

While the axle is being worked on, I can work on other items at home. Like getting the new front & rear cameras, dual monitor switch & the cargo tie down tracks installed.

Today is cleaning day for all rear parts removed.

Axle is at the shop getting gutted, tubes welded, and rebuilt with new solid pinion spacer, new flange, new chromoly axles, and the c-clip eliminator kit. Should be done for pickup this Friday.

All the misc parts have been cleaned and painted, and ready for install.

The upper shackle frame bushing sleeves are out. Will go after the rubber bushings as soon as the new bushing kit arrives sometime this week. I need to make sure they will work before I destroy the stockers.

Leaf packs are going in tomorrow to have the old bushings pressed out, and new outer sleeves installed. I will install the Poly bushings at home. I built those leaf keepers, and installed them, along with new grade 8 center pins.
If all goes well, I can install everything back together this coming weekend. :D

Yeah, lets make plans. Yeah right. lol
1) Couldn't get away from work to take the springs in today (Tue). I'm booked up tomorrow, so maybe Thursday.
2) Axle shop called this morning. Gear pattern is all FUBAR, and they need replaced. Between the Yukon gears & master kit, the price of the axle work just doubled. :(
3) It started raining, and isn't supposed to stop for a few days. Rig is outside on jackstands. Work has halted until Mother Nature calms down a bit.

So with the rains still ongoing today, I decided to take the leaf packs apart in the garage, grind them clean, and paint them up again. Then, I decided to add a BDS leaf to gain a little lift, as they have sagged about 1/2" or so, with the Dr side more so. I will swap the higher set to the Dr side for the gangster lean.

I still haven't made it to the spring shop to have the bushings and sleeves pressed out. Hoping to do that before I pick up the axle. It's finished, BUT.. Once again, they called and said the new flange I gave them doesn't fit. I got the Dorman listed for it from Orielly's. So I have spent this evening trying to figure out the correct flange to buy. I had no idea there is so many different flanges made for the 8.8. It's completely confusing.

I measured the drive shaft yolk. Bolt to bolt hole is 4.25" and the inner circle is 2". Only one I found that will work is the Yukon, but they want 3 times as much as anybody else, including Ford Racing. SMH. I will keep on researching for a more affordable flange, but so far, no luck.

I got one upper shackle to frame bushing out between rain storms. Used a step bit that goes to 1-3/8". That left a 1/16" thin rubber outer lining. It was simple to pull that out with a flat screwdriver and needle nose pliers. Cleaned what was left on the sleeve with a half round file. Took all of 20 mins to do. The Energy Suspension poly bushing fit like a glove using the supplied bushing grease. That stuff feels more like glue then grease, but it works.

Hopefully the weather plays nice this weekend. I have to get that entire rear end back together so I can get started on the front end work. I have to stop looking at the calender, the deadline keeps getting closer & stressing me out. lol

Decided to remove the leaf eye bushings myself today and install the Energy Suspension poly bushings I have from the kit. Small eyes fit perfect. Large eyes, not so much. They are 1/2" small in OD then needed. So... I found out that they are supposed to work for 91-94 only. I guess the 2nd gens have a much larger front eye. Guess I am going to the Spring shop here after all. Well, of course it's a Friday night, and I have to wait until next week.

Axle is home, and I have a coat of POR15 on it already. Looks like the leaf spring debacle is holding up the install. :banghead:

One thing I didn't think of when doing the C-clip eliminator, is I lost the hub centric rings, as there is none on the Yukon Chrome Moly axles. I have to rely on lugs alone. Well, the new wheels are going to take an acorn lug with a shank. I found out they are called "Acorn ET". ET stands for extra thread. So this means the nice new black set of Gorilla locking lugs I bought, are not going to work. This will be the third item I am returning to Amazon in 2 weeks. Before this, I never have. lol

Wish we had a flip off emoji here, because I would use it with this picture!!

The reason for all the rear axle work.... A cracked Crush sleeve on top of the now useless C-clips.


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8.8 just waiting to be installed. I think I heard it cussing the leaf springs when I was busy removing the other frame bushing for the shackle. Maybe it was just all the burning rubber smoke I inhaled? :dunno:

New Yukon 4:56 R&P with Yukon Master kit.
New Yukon C-clip eliminator kit with Chromoly axles.
New Crush sleeve eliminator kit.
Tubes welded to center section.
Stripped clean and POR15 Treatment.


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Springs are all painted up again, just waiting to be put back together.

Here is a backside picture of the Yukon C-clip eliminator. It gets bolted on after the tube ends are cut off. Adds one inch to each side. Hope the tires don't hit the fenders when stuffing them now. :scratch:


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Finally made it to the spring shop and got the new bushings installed. Got the packs back together (again) this evening. Can now work on the axle install. :)

Had a little life left in me, and worked on the cargo E track set up for a bit. All that's left is to cut the carpet. I most definitely took on more then I should have with this project. It is a 2 person job, no way around it. Luckily, a good friend (Benji) stopped over and lent his help to get all 50ish bolts tightened up. Pics of that project when it's done. .


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Rains stopped just in time for my one day a week off. Managed to get the rear all back together today. I might have broke myself in a couple places doing it, but by golly, I did er done!

Only thing I have to do is make a longer pass side E=brake cable bracket. the old one was way to short, and was cutting into the cable when flexing on the trails. I will get to that later in the week.

The rebuilt leaf packs give it a bit more lift, and it sits level now, (no more gangsta lean). The rear drivers frame rail reared it's ugly head on me again during the install. I had to fight to get the shackle bolt back in the eyelet. I have to find a place to fix that. That bend is causing the shackle to lean to the pass side, and forces the axle to the pass side a half inch past center. :( I almost went and bought a hydro ram to do it myself, but I figured it would just bend back as I'm pretty sure there is more to it, then spreading it apart, and expecting it to hold in place. So I didn't go through with it. lol

Every chance I get after work this week, I will be working on the front end. New coils, and UCA's have to go in. Since I took the time to clean the rear as I worked on it, I have no choice but to do it to the front as well. Function & looks for these mods. I can't stand rusty parts, looks like crap to me, and I take pride looking at my hard work.


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you do great work my friend.

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