Completed Project - TTB Terror build | Page 5 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Completed Project TTB Terror build

Use this prefix for completed projects that are not "How to" articles or threads asking for help.
Finally with some clear days I was able to finish replacing body mounts. I used this write up and it helped a lot however I put my own spin on it since NONE of the original hardware was reusable. Since I didnt reuse factory hardware or do the 3/4" bodylift I bought the bolts listed in the above how to when I shouldve bought them all about a 1/2" shorter.

I had never messed with body mounts so I had no idea how important the metal spacers and washers etc. were. The spacers fit through the rubber mounts to give rigidity and allow proper torque specs. I was going to simply run a bolt through the poly mounts with a "Dock Washer" on top and a fender washer on bottom. However, on some of the hollow mounts that needed to have something inside (from the factory that on mine rotted away) I wasnt comfortable running them without some sort of rigid spacer to keep them from crushing too far.

I bought some 1" O.D. 1/2" bolt hole by 3" long chrome spacers from I cut them to the proper lenghts for each mount. If you cut them too long then the bolt will not torque down far enough. On this build that could be disasterous because airtime is a strong possiblity. On the more "solid" mounts I cut the spacers AT LEAST a 1/16" short and on the hollow ones I cut them about an 1/8" short.

The "above frame" mounts I ran in all the normal configurations however the "below frame" mounts I flipped on about half of the mounts. This was because they're hollow and required some sort of hardware that had long rusted away. The rear mount and the ones that are under the front seats were the only ones that I did not flip the lower mounts.

This was the order that I put everything together for the rear and under seat mounts. I ended up adding a fender washer between the mount and the lowest washer.

I ran the same order for the other mounts except the flipped lower mounts just got MUCH shorter bolts. A thick fender washer fit perfectly inside the groove.

the spacer still needed trimmed but after that it just needed a fender washer, a normal washer and nut.

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When I was cleaning the rear channel out I saw that there used to be some sort of brace the original bolt ran through to keep it from crushing with torque applied. This had to be replaced so I cut another spacer to fit down in there after cleaning as much of the remains of the brace out as I could.

The cleared (painted) channel...

This is what it looks like (spacer painted) installed.

One last trick, the body mount instructions say to lift the body only as high as needed to replace 1 mount at a time. This was impossible for me to get them/cut them off. I actually needed to raise it higher anyway to get to all the nooks and crannies of the body. I did so with 2 floor jacks and blocks of wood. I raised the back with an engine hoist but between the 3 jacks all raising at diffrent rates the body got skewed until it was about 3" off to one side and 3" too far back.:eek::roll:

To combat this I used 1/2" rods and shoved them through the body, mounts, and frame. I lowered the 2 floor jacks and kept the rear slightly jacked. This worked ok but I think i had to jack it back up and move the frame a little too. All in all when I got it close without spacers I added them by taping them in place and got it perfect.

After I got the body back on the frame I pulled it out and flipped it back around so I could get to the front suspension for the REAL work! :hammer:

The "mock up"

Friday night...

Saturday morning...

Sunday night...

This was just a rough mock up and I eventually had to replace hardware and get the brackets soldily mounted. That took about another day of trips to the hardware store. After that I started work on tying my radius arms into the custom brackets/trans mounts.

I bought this as a sort of kit from Cody at Open Dezert if you want more info feel more than free to PM me or contact Open Dezert on their Facebook page.
I got the conversion pivot brackets, radius arm brackets, radius arms, and heims and unis from them. I bought the kit knowing I was going to modify the parts but it gave me a much better starting point than I could've had on my own.

These were the brackets supplied, desined to be weld on but I opted to make them bolt on and tie them into the transmission crossmember.

I drilled the hole and later realized it needed to be off center to get the bracket to work later on. It took a lot of welding and I actually re-welded it shut then re-drilled.

It's still tight but I wanted the bolt as far forward as possible to minimize stresses.

There is one bolt running through the bottom of the frame and there will be 3 on the side. Im not sure how I will work around the frame being double walled in this area but one option is to build a similar plate to back the 3 bolts to spread the force evenly. Maybe thats overkill??? just bolts and USS washers ok?!

those are 3/4" bolts and for those of you who dont know the washers on the vertical plate are SAE the one on the bracket that is wider is called a USS washer. The USS washer is what I would run if I dont make a backing plate for the frame.

Last but not least this was my mock up trans crossmember. I had to re-work it when I found out I drilled the holes improperly but the finished product looks the same. I will add bracing on the passenger side where it is welded to the crossmember.

These are the radius arms supplied from Open Dezert. They were the same length as the stock full size Bronco radius arms. They mount just behind the body mount and just in front of the transmission crossmember at this length. I wanted to extend the arms back to prevent castor change. Since I was going to have my a-pillar of the rollcage and sliders terminate right between those mounts it made a bolt on radius arm bracket impossible. so I had to extend the radius arms.

factory vs maxiumum extended.

These are 2x2 .250 wall so I sleeved with some 1.5x1.5 11ga (1/8" wall) and will cut some proper legth tube when I get the length finalized.

Closer to the final length...

I left the radius arms to telescope for now and I will get final measurements once the steering and drive shaft get hooked up. So it became time to start mounting steering.
This is where the suspension will get frustrating. I am using the stock F-150/Bronco steering so I know there might be some bump steer but my goal os to do what I can to minimize it.

Since the Explorer frame is narrower and the steering box is futher inboard I am going to have to shorten the passenger side tie rod and lengthen the driver's side. This will work to my advantage because it moves the center pivot of the "inverted y" closer to the center of the frame. Similar to the stonecrusher style steering.

Another important mod is to do a tie rod flip. The D35 tie rods mount to top of the knuckles but the D44 mounts the tie rod ends under the knuckle... Gotta fix that to keep from buying a super long dropped pitman arm.

Factory mount...

How it should be mounted, note the tapered hole. This is why a special reamer and sleeves are needed.

These sleeves are designed to take up the slack when tapering knuckles. Without them you will get an hour glass shapped hole. The spacer allows you to over drill just a bit to remove all the old taper and still have a the tie rod end properly fit in the knuckle. The reamer is a 7degree unit from and the knuckle sleeves are from

Drilling too far with the reamer is common so I added tape to at least tell me when to start checking using the sleeve.

After a bit...

A little bit more... First check with the sleeve.

After that I checked every few roations of the reamer. It fell about 1/64"-1/32" at each check. Until this result.

And tie rod installed...

My only concern with this mod is that the sleeve is slightly shorter than the thickness of the knuckle maybe 3/16"-1/4" short but as of right now this is my only option. If they eventually wallow out I could have custom press in inserts made. However on full size Bronco pages it seems everyone swears by this mod. Time will tell.

as of right now thats how she sits.

I like the radius arms. Simple and relatively easy to make any length you need. Is the back side where it widens out open so you can weld in the end of the sleeve? Also, consider a couple of plug welds.

On the RA brackets, the standard is 1/2" bolts, which would give you a little more clearance for the rod end, or you could get a round head bolt for that one hole. The double walled frame was the reason I ended up welding my mounting brackets in place. I know Kirby bolted his through and just cranked down on the bolts until it crushed the double wall flat at the bolts. He has done that before and it worked for him. The only other option would be to sleeve the frame.

Consider fabbing up an entire new transmission cross member. Its not that difficult since you are already in there, and will be much stronger than a stamped plate welded to the side of a bracket. You could make one out of rectangular tubing with miter cuts welded up for the angles. If you are planning on beating on the rig pretty good, it will be time well spent.

Also consider fabbing up a simple backing plate to the bracket that mounts to the engine cross member to spread the load. Its a single piece of stamped steel with no side support. When I dropped the old suspension on mine to do the SAS, there was a crack joining two of the bolt holes.

Edit; We were posting at the same time or I would have added this. I have had the sleeves similar to that from BC Broncos at the tie rod ends, and the pitman arm for a few years now and they are showing no signs of wear.

Nice progress:chug:

Very cool that Bob Chandler dropped by. I was lucky enough to see Bigfoot when it was still a steel bodied truck back in the late '70s :D

They aren't open but I did consider plug welds. I will certainly be beveling the ends of the 2x2x.250 wall and will run a few hot passes on it. I have access to professional grade welders I wouldn't want to risk it with a smaller unit.

As for the bolts and double wall frame fiasco, I may just run em all the way in that sounds like a good idea. Theres a reason why I haven't drilled the holes for the RA brackets yet. Im not sure if I actually want to keep them 3/4" or not. I know its overkill but I also do already have them drilled it would be a pain to fill them back in.

Since you mention fabbing up a new crossmember I might just have to. I was going to add plating to brace it on the welded side. However a new cross member probably would be stronger. I was thinking of tying that passenger pivot into the passenger RA bolt, if it'll all fit.

Since you already have the hardware and drilled the holes out to 3/4", I would call it good and move on. Are you sure the bolt that is under the bracket will clear the double walled frame? I had that issue with my trans cross member and ended up notching a washer to give the nut a level surface to rest upon.

I know its too late now, but if you had made your cut in the radius arms more in the center of the square tubing portion, it would have made it easier to get the sleeve straight and you could have plug welded both ends of the sleeve material.

I like this build. I toyed with the idea of a TTB D44 before I went with the SAS.

Well BKennedy there are some things I leave off here just to keep my posts clean since I just did a huge upload. That was one thing I left out haha. I did the same thing, I notched a washer and tacked it to the frame on the passenger side so the bolt will rest evenly.

Oh, and thanks for the info on the knuckles. I tend to worry about things like that since I'm in totally uncharted territory for myself. The last thing I'd want is to have the headache of drilling these out and finding a shop to make custom sleeves. Not to mention safety when going down the road :eek:

Today I want to get the pass knuckle on and reamed then start figuring how I want to do a custom transmission crossmember.

I got the passenger knuckle reamed and I've just been studying travel this weekend. It's all about finding where it binds, where it actually needs to stop, and what's limiting it in bump/droop. The steering isn't even installed yet. I'm waiting on the drop pitman arm and I'm sure that will open up a lot of new problems but that's what makes this fun... Right?!

Haha. Wheels are something I haven't given much thought to and still have yet to buy. I bought the American Racing AR23s a few years ago when I was set on keeping the original axles and I ran them on my Tacoma for a little over a year. They were alright but I'm open to other options, the only must have is the rims have to be offered in silver or chrome. I'm not a fan of of the matte rims that have become so popular in the last few years.

That thing is gonna look freakin mean. Looking real good.

Yes, very cool project!!!!

Any new updates so far???

Uh oh

It's been a while for an update I have been working on it consistently despite the updates but I hit a road block that kept me from posting. I got the entire front axle assembled and installed only to see that the passenger side axle stuck out MUCH farther than the driver side. IF the brackets are correct then the only thing I changed was the uniball pivots. This has been a huge headache,frustration,setback and had me ready to give up...

BUT I didn't... Instead I moved on to the rear suspension because if I could get that installed then worse comes to worse I can rebuild my front brackets based on the rear track width.

This is where the build took yet another swift change in direction. I assessed the cost of leaf springs and the hardware I needed and the travel numbers. 18" was the most I could get out of the leafs without a MAJOR design change. For the same cost in materials I could build a wishbone 3 link that surpassed the front suspension travel for the same price as leafs. The biggest hurdle would be gas tank relocation...

So I bought a poly gas tank for a broncoii and got to work fabbing...

PICTURES TO FOLLOW at a later date...

I got it almost buttoned up as of this post but my old phone got destroyed and I lost most of the detailed pics:mad:

While the rear end was under construction I decided I should bite the bullet and buy a new factory housing. That would ensure the pivot points were in the factory location even if it meant going back to bushing pivots. I found a decent deal on ebay for the exact same year axle I have (85 FSB). Well this last weekend there was a nice break in the weather and I got everything taken apart and cleaned up. As soon as the weather gets back over 65 I'll paint them and get them put back together and under the truck. At this point I can only hope it was my fault and not the pivot brackets... If it is the bracket my only option may be modifying these to make it work... time will tell as soon as winter is over I want to get this sorted out.

On top of all that axle stuff I'm behind schedule. I want to be done by next spring and the current weather is not quite the best to work in so I went to a local shop that specializes in tube bending. I got my B-pillar hoop,C-pillar hoop halo hoop, and sliders bent and I'll be picking those up in a few days. Hopefully the cage and suspension excitement can be over by July so I can get into the motor and finer details after Time will tell...:salute:

First step for a rear 3 link was to create the cross member for the rear wishbone to pivot on. It took 4 tries to get perfectly square and level but it was worth it, and my first time using my personal bender.

It's not as easy as you may think to make 3 bends in the exact same plane and perfectly level but I finally did it. (note the below picture was try number 3 so I re did that, it was slightly higher on the passenger side and was slightly crooked.)

Next step was to make the wishbone. I was unsure about 3link vs 4 link but the 3 link fit the bill perfectly and in my mind it was simpler to visualize. I have dabbled in suspension design so I knew what HAD to work and what I COULD work around. I was quite amazed how simple the design aspect was though. The fabrication part was much more difficult than I had expected though, not only was it hard to get everything square and even but it was even worse to control the warp. I have been holding a 1/16th" tolerance and I had to actually reposition a few things simply because they moved more than I anticipated in the jig.

I don't have many pictures during the fab process since it was a little frustrating but here is the final upper link assembly

ANNNNNND installed...

It was at this point I said "Wow it looks like I know what I'm doing." The planning and extra effort furing the fab process make for a much nicer look than I expect.

I lost the photos from this period but I got the lower links installed easily. The trick was that I made the upper wishbone as long as possible and mounted it as high up (close to the body as possible) Then I made the links only slightly longer than the wishbone. Most people say to make the upper link short but I wanted pinion angle to stay constant. So bought some pre fabbed mounts that mounted the links lower off the frame which keeps my link separation (distance between top pivot and lower mounts) very close to the distance on the axle. This is how you keep pinion angle the same through out travel. The first try when it was all together netted me +/- 10 degrees through travel. I lengthened the lower links and ended up with less than 5 degrees change throughout travel. That is a a full 27" of axle movement.

I will probably have to strap it closer to 22" but its capable of more. I think my driveshaft will be the only limiting factor after shock travel. I have a good bit of space between the output on the transfer case so I as long as I can get enough of a slip joint I'll be good to go.

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So I got all that played with and finally had to bite the bullet and buy a new front axle, 350 dollars on ebay and a few days later I had an axle off the EXACT same year bronco.

Now this is where things got interesting, I got a tape measure out and the pivots seemed close but It was worth trying to eliminate all doubt. It just so happens I had the weekend free to visit my girlfriend (long distance she lives about 3 hours away) but I didn't want to loose time working on the explorer.

I had just got addicted to the web series "Roadkill" and had the bright idea to swap my axles at her house. So I loaded up all my tools and my axle parts and headed 3 hours away to build an axle in the back of my truck.

I found a perfect way to transport the 3 TTB shafts ;)

Got it together in decent time, I have gotten pretty good at assembly/disassembly of this axle.