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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

View attachment 324381

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So... this off seasons mod is going to be on the T-case. The 1354 has been stout, and working well, but I have gotten to a point where I just need MOAR gearing! Since I want to keep the roadside HWY manners with the 4:56 gears, the obvious answer is reduction cases.

I have reached out to both Advanced Adapter's and North West Fab for this.

AA will build an Atlas II 3.8:1 for the 4.0L 5 bolt trans, include the BroncoII/Explorer shifter kit. It will come with their mechanical VSS, and I have to order the pulse converter from Nevada Speedometer, for my electronic VSS setup. Here is a list of their build specs for anybody else curious or have been wanting to know the build specs for our rigs. The gear tooth size would need to be changed for your size gears/tires. Mine with 35's & 4:56 would use a 35 tooth. They provide a calculator on their site for this.

A1310CV 2.00 32 SPL.1310CV YOKE ASSY.

NWF is in the process of building a doubler box to be a direct bolt on to our 5 bolt trans. They have a list to sign up on just for us. I believe when they reach a certain number on the list, they will go into production. Now this box is way cheaper then the Atlas II, as it uses our stock T-case and a direct bolt onto the tail housing. They do offer an adapter that converts the tail housing to use any 6 bolt round T-case, such as NP205/231/300. The adapter is almost $500 itself tho.
If you use the adapter, you can choose one of three versions.... then run a case of your choice.
The Eco box cheapest option, where you build it using your own planetary gears.
The Black box.
The Titan Black box.
You can also run an atlas II with one of their boxes. I believe Diffwhackdaddy is running this combo.

I am giving NWF some time to see what happens with them. If they can get their doubler into production by say Febuary 2017, this maybe what I choose. Lot's to consider, lot's to save for, but lot's to look forward too. :)

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I'd like to post a link to a video for "I could have had a V8", but that would take you off course. I'll just say have a great time upgrading your current transfer case. You are over my head, I can't even finish the front BJ's on my sister's Jeep Wrangler.

I'd like to post a link to a video for "I could have had a V8", but that would take you off course. I'll just say have a great time upgrading your current transfer case. You are over my head, I can't even finish the front BJ's on my sister's Jeep Wrangler.

Ball Joints are a pain, not real hard to do, but hard enough that you just don't feel like messing with them in a hurry. :D

With the D35 and stock CV's, the V-8 would break things easier then a lower crawl ratio I think. I really don't need a lot of HP for crawling over stuff at low speeds. Last trip out, I was following a rig up a big rocky climb, and never heard his engine raise above idle, as he walked right up and over everything effortlessly in his path. He ran a doubler along with deep gears. No stress to any of his parts, or engine. My passenger said, yeah, that's what I want. I couldn't agree more. I knew this was the way to go first hand after bouncing over rocks in Moab from lack of gear reduction and hard on the throttle. Don't get me wrong, more HP would come in handy for other areas, and reasons. I know I have wished for it plenty of times in the past. Long steep grade HWY Mtn passes come to mind. lol

I can appreciate that low stress and easy on the gas driving. I do the street version of that in the snow, easing up next to mail boxes where nobody drives along the road edge. The road crown(and tire off pavement because the box is away from the road) makes a car want to slide sideways. You have to have good snow tires. I'll be happy about getting real four wheel drive, front LS diff, and the snow tires. Safer makes it faster.

betty looks so tiny in that pic, lol. glad you guys got jon out. he needs to get out more

It's not easy to get him out of the house. Only took a few years of constant badgering. He finally gave in. LOL!

It was great to spend time with this group. Solid good people, and a privilege to know.

BH got a bit ass heavy with the additional items in the back. When packed with camp gear/coolers/clothing, etc.. It really compresses, and the steering is loose down the road. This setup needs changed.

The existing leafs are about 3" overstock, with stock shackles. Going SOA would be way to much lift with the front setup, so the answer for me was a new set of 4" leaf packs.

I had a set made from a reputable spring shop fairly local. They made a 5 leaf pack, using longer leafs under the main, and one additional shorty over the overload. 55" eye to eye centers. New bushings and all. I am going to remove the retainer clip they installed, and add the bracket that lets them flex without splaying, and POR15 the skids/hardware, before I install them.

I also got a set of new Brian1 2.0 U-bolt skids & 9/16" hardware from Jenren. She didn't get to install them before she decided to sell her rig. This helped her out as much as it did me. Reason for wanting them, is the existing leafs and skids are going on the 94 Ex. All I need is a couple days of free time for installing these on both rigs.

New 4 lift springs.jpg

Been sick for about 3 weeks, and haven't had the energy or drive, to install the winch rope. Since I had the day off from work, I mustered up just enough, to tackle this little job. The HD skid and the winch itself had to be removed, in order to get the fairlead bolts in. On a tucked winch, that isn't much fun. Since the front tag was on a roller mount, I had to get a swing up type for it. Never easy anything on this rig, and per usual, to do 1 thing, you have to do many others. Rolling up the old steel cable gave my forearms a nice workout. I'm sure I will be huge, by tomorrow!

That was enough fun for me for one day. Back to the couch, with a cup of soup I go.

ARE SS rope installed.jpg

I am going to remove the retainer clip they installed, and add the bracket that lets them flex without splaying, and POR15 the skids/hardware, before I install them.View attachment 94196

If the retainer clips, or spring wraps are in the front of the leaf pack like OEM, you need to make sure there is clearance before you add a slide type bracket. I did that and it got broken off when it contacted the frame at full stuff.

If the retainer clips, or spring wraps are in the front of the leaf pack like OEM, you need to make sure there is clearance before you add a slide type bracket. I did that and it got broken off when it contacted the frame at full stuff.

Thanks! I didn't even think of that. The clips the shop put on there, are at the big eye ends. I installed the slide brackets on the set that is on there now in the rear, but that is when I had the packs apart. I have to look at these new packs and see if I can use one of the slider pad holes, or see if I have to drill a new hole, for rear mounting.

I have a few things to do still before I can get these new packs installed. Rear tube cross member, after some frame massaging. Then I need to find/make a stock length set of heavy duty shackles (no luck finding any yet) , to replace the stock thin shackles, that bend way to easy. The rear tube bumper will need the mounts re-done from working the frame over. I have new carbon plate and tube for other projects too. Ack!!
These Cold winter months & short days, slow my git-up-and-go down to a crawl. I have no idea when I will get to any of this. Ha!
Once all these little mods can get done, I can get to the 4.3 T-case, and replace the front auto locker with the Auburn Ected Max selectable locker.

It never ends. lol

I used one of the Teflon slider holes on the bottom leaf with an "elevator bolt". Looks like a flat-top carriage bolt. Worked great.

So this dumb extended shackle frame bend thing has haunted me for too long. I decided it was time to take care of it, before the new leaf packs went on. Took it to a frame shop, and they said around $700 to $1000, depending on how many places they have to work on. I asked how they did it, and they said on a special frame rack that pulls, and rams that push. One of the workers there, said that most of the time a simple ram push here and there takes care of simple one direction bends. Hmm..... Light bulb turned on, and I said I will think about it and laid rubber out of there.

I went and got my own, 10 ton Porta Power frame kit. :)

Since the lower end of the C frame was bent, causing the leaf bushing box to be 5 * off 90*, I removed the lower rivet, on the stock rear cross member. Left the uppers alone to hold that part of the frame in place. The lower end of the frame was now free to move with the porta power. Pushed on the lower half of the frame next to the bushing box, until it was a few degrees past 90* in the other direction. let off, to see how much spring back it would have. After a few pushes, I settled on 5* past 90*, and it sprang back to a couple* past 90*. The bushing box is at 90*, where it needs to be Snugged the ram back in place to hold it at 90*, and drilled a new hole, and used a grade 8 bolt to fasten the cross member back in place. Removed the ram, and BAM! Stayed at 90*! Woot!

So hopefully this fix holds. Now I can finally install the new leafs, and skids. Saved me a bunch of cash, and didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn last night, to be a frame fixer upper. LOL!

Frame back to 90.jpg
porta power ram.jpg

this might sound dumb, but smack a hammer around the part you port a powered. sometimes, they will spring back a bit from just driving down the road. hitting it with a hammer is called "naturalising" the metal. and when i say hammer, like a 3 lb or so sledge hammer

Rodger that! Thanks for the tip Sir. The cross member is holding it in place, but there is only one bolt doing that, so if the hammer trick helps relieve stress, that's great. :salute:

So I got one pack off (man are they dirty), and set it next to a new one. The main leaf, the shop made is 2" longer.

Leaf lengths.jpg

Look at all that SMORR Mud!

So, I finally got the leafs on, a little at a time after work this week. After all the time I waited to get them on, it was all for nought. :(

They absolutely won't work with stock shackles. They push back far enough to gently kiss the frame on it's own weight. If I add any weight, or compress it at all, they will smack it hard. I can't even let it out of the driveway as is.

I ordered a set of 3/8"x6" Boomerang shackles to try and see if that does the trick, before dealing with removing them.

Shackle hits frame closeup.jpg

It's taken a while to get the rear leaf job done, but I finally got it completed.

So the new Boomers arrived, and they are some serious beef. 3/8" Laser cut, 6" eye to eye. So they came with 1/2" bolt holes, and I needed to drill them out for 9/16" bolts. This is where the simple job, turns into the usual headache that always seems to happen with this rig. lol

Found out pretty quick that the laser made the material very hard around the cuts. I burned up my bit's instantly (cost #1), and after buying new ones that I could afford (cost #2), they burned up as well in the new drill press (cost #3), I bought just to get this done. I waved the white flag after a couple days of messing with them, and got humbled, and humiliated by something as easy as making a hole a smidge bigger. So I took them to a shop on a Friday morning, and the guy told me would have them done by the end of the day, but he was closing shop before I got off work. He said he would leave them outside in his BBQ grill for me to pick up. Cool, I can get them on over the weekend as we had awesome spring like weather. I had to pay the guy $35 to drill out 5 holes (cost #4), (I managed to do 3 of them before I ran out of $$ & patience). Stopped by after work to pick them up, and he forgot to put them out. Ugh! Ok, have to wait until Monday. I went and picked up longer 5" grade 8 hardware, (cost #5), and waited.

Fast forward to Monday... I had them in hand, and ended up having to clean the holes with a die grinder. SMH. Managed to get them prepped and painted up for install. I let them cure out for a couple days, before deciding to see if these would even work for the longer leaf issue.

Fast forward to Wednesday... Forecast said 72* this afternoon, before a cold front would arrive, changing out nice spring weather, back to winter, with rains, turning to accumulating snow for a few days. Ok... Time to play hookie this afternoon, and get em on. I decided NOT to add a center support on these. 3/8" is beef enough, and the bolts hold it square. So... Turns out, I had to trim a little off the rear stamped cross member that holds all the pollution control crap, as under full compression, the inside shackles would hit. Out comes the cutting wheel, face shield and gloves. Got them on in a jiff, and time to set it on it's own weight to see what happens.

DR side boomer shackle on.jpg

I think it's good to go!! I do not have to remove the leafs, and have em made shorter, and can utilize the axle moved back an Inch!

To be different, and because My user name says I paint stuff, I decided to shine them up with a flap disc, and use 2 kinds of clear coat on them. First coats is Rustoleum enamel clear, for a metal primer. Top coats are Plastidip glossifier with UV protection. This was put on thick with about 5 coats, and the reason I needed them to cure out for 2 days. Time will tell how it holds up. If not, it comes off, and they can be coated with POR15.

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Took the beast for a blacktop ride, and it's solid.

Feels and acts like it's a brand new vehicle. No noises/slop under acceleration, braking, or hard turns. Hard acceleration from a stop is amazing, with just a little rear squat, and front lift.

How it does on the trails is yet to be seen. These packs might not flex at all under full articulation, or they might be fine. Unfortunately, it will be some time before I find out. Next scheduled trip out, isn't until mid May. Still have a Major Mod to attempt, before then too.