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The Goat's 1st Turtle Shell lift


New Member
September 7, 2010
Reaction score
City, State
Lakewood, CO
Year, Model & Trim Level
'97 Explorer XLT
I bought my stock 97 Explorer XLT in November of last year after being without for almost a year and a half. I sold my 98 Mazda B4000 in a move to Colorado from the mountains of North Carolina in 2008 after my wife convinced me we didn't need a second car since I was working from home at the time.


Mazda B4000 by Goat in a Turtle Shell, on Flickr

Being a mountain biker who sometimes needs to drive mild 4x4 roads my wife's Nissan Altima wasn't cutting it so I found a cheap 4x4(the XLT) and bought it, starting a love affair with Explorers.

The only thing I did to the truck in the 1st 8 months or so was add a couple of bike racks, change the oil and charge the A/C


PB270036 by Goat in a Turtle Shell, on Flickr


Just below Independence Pass by Goat in a Turtle Shell, on Flickr


DSC02770 by big ring racing, on Flickr

Then, this past weekend during a trip to Crested Butte I found myself bottoming out on tank traps and walking streams to find the shallowest crossings that my buddies stock Tacoma was making with ease.


DSC02952 by big ring racing, on Flickr

Enter the beginning of the mods, far from done, this is just the beginning but I've gotten the bug and am running with it as my time and budget allows.

1st things off the silly tuperware(ground effects)
2nd...Torsion twist for 1.75 inches of front end lift
3rd...Custom shackles for the rear end...same length as the Warriors, just a 3rd of the cost.

a buddy at work had a set of 31x10.5 meats lying around he let have for cheap.

The neighbor needed his dryer fixed. I needed a set of 15x8.5 Rockcrawler rims he had, I made the repair, he gave me the rims.

I present the Turtle Shell...a work in progress

Rage Black Widow roof Basket with the extension for a 60 inch long rack is coming soon.


P9130348 by Goat in a Turtle Shell, on Flickr


P9130347 by Goat in a Turtle Shell, on Flickr


P9130346 by Goat in a Turtle Shell, on Flickr

and this brings me to a question for those of you with a TT and Shackle lift or even stock as I noticed this before the lift as well. Is the rear end of my truck sagging?
Stock the truck sat at 11.25 inches from rim to front fender and 10.25 inches from rim to the rear fender. With the lift those measurements, I gained 1.75 inches to 13 inches on the front fender and 12 inches on the rear fender. The truck does sit perfectly level at 15.5 inches measured just behind the front wheel and just in front of the rear wheel on the rocker panel.
Should the Explorer sit slightly nose down so when its loaded it doesn't sit nose up?

Goat in a Turtle Shell

Amazing what some 31s can do! Like the ex.

And yeah looks kinda saggy, I'd say grab some add a leafs and it'll look real good

Nice ex! and let me be the first to say glad to have another Colorado member!