Completed Project - TTB Terror build | Page 6 | 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.
I got the axle back home and mounted it up

Something still looked off, I threw a tape measure on it and it was still off center I told myself it looked better but the tape measure didn't lie. After lots of careful thought I was going to buy the new GIANT Motorsports conversion kit that didn't exist when I started the swap. However I figured before I dropped the 750 for that kit I should do my best to rework this kit I bought. It wasn't nearly as difficult as I pictured.

I put a floor jack under the beams and slid them out by the tires to where the beams would center the tires.

I then marked a piece of 1/4" to match and drilled a hole to match where the beam sat.

I did the same for the passenger side pivot and then rewelded them.

Apparently I never snapped any pics of the passenger side but it was similar. I gusseted the welds just to be safe for the driver side beam pivot and managed to clear the steering without any measurements. Here's how it sits.]

It may be just a little off but I can oval out a hole and weld a washer in its place. I am **** about alignment and geometry I'm sure I could run it but just that little but will bug me. The camber on the passenger side is also about 1 degree different so I just need to raise the beam mount so it matches.

Just for fun since I haven't posted one here full bump!

New tires (ignore camber they are not bolted on)

The steering is something else I haven't mentioned since the tie rod flip. Doing that flip and the extreme drop pitman arm was well worth it. The steering sits perfectly level at ride height and there is MINIMAL bump steer through travel. I'm actually glad I saved the time and didn't go with swing set. I have some more tweaking to do with alignment but so far it looks very good and will only take slight adjustments to get perfect.

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I have been mounting the coilovers for the last 2 weeks and they are almost good to go. I'm going to wait to post full pics until the fab is done but the travel looks GREAT. A 12" shock was perfect, I will go into more detail with pics but at full bump the shock shaft is fully compressed and the radius arm is almost touching the frame. Full droop falls at the very bottom of sock travel and the axle's center U joint is just starting to bind. the final measurement for front wheel travel comes in at 18" I'm extremely pleased with that and it will probably be limited to 17" or so when I add the limiting straps. I have pretty much maxed everything out with the given parameters.

Great progress! Good pics too!! Keep the updates coming...

What happened here I just spent a cpl hrs reading this whole thing it was just starting to get real interesting. Any updates?

Golly it’s been almost 3 years since I’ve updated... I actually stopped posting here so I would have more time to work on it. With winter in full swing it may be time for updates.

It’s a good thing I have been documenting even though I haven’t been updating. So, when I left off I was mounting the front coilovers.
Here’s a pic with both tacked in. I don’t recall why but they look uneven here. Probably due to them not being attached in the rear or something.

I opted to mount the shock inside the hoop just Incase my plan for an engine cage didn’t work out. This also allows as much room as possible if I do want to v8 swap down the road. And yes, I can still change the master cyl with the hoop in place.


It was around this point that I started planning for my cage. I had a bender but the fiasco that was bending my 3 link cross member taught me that multiple bends are best left to a pro with a CNC. So I ordered my main hoop (x2) and some sliders from a local company that specializes in bending.

I had to guess at the exact “kick” I wanted because I didn’t have fiberglass to go off of at this point.

I couldn’t remember exactly why those above photos were important but after scrolling a bit further in my phone it hit me. Getting those sliders on was the official start for my cage. Without those I couldn’t get the main hoop welded to the floor!


At this point I apologize for any of the crappy welds, tacks, flubs, grinding marks etc because at this point I don’t care haha. These pictures are all so old that I have fixed whatever uglyness needed it. It was a huge reason for me not wanting to post some of the fab work but the “finished” product speaks for itself in my eyes.

Now comes the part where it looks like I threw a roll cage together in a few days. Compared to a lot of the other stuff though it is surprising how quickly the outline of a cage comes together when the main hoops are in place.

I took a picture of this notch because I didn’t like it, as time went on and got more comfortable with what type of gaps are acceptable I learned it’s fine and I have a real problem over thinking my cage.

This is my C pillar hoop getting installed. When I had the bending company bend the main hoop I had them do 2. Just in case I messed up, and if I didn’t then I also had a solid hoop over the back seats.

The idea here was to still keep it comfortable enough to camp in if I wanted or in case I get stranded. I thought I could keep the folding back seats and I did but after adding all the cross braces they only fold 3/4 of the way down. Still plenty comfortable to sleep on though... in a pinch.

Roof braces added

Last but not least I got these loaded up for final welding at a friends garage. At this point I still didn’t have a mig setup that I liked so the important stuff made it to his garage.


Now, living in the Midwest means everything rusts after a few days so that’s why I paint EVERYTHING as soon as I deem it done on this build. As time went on I learned primer is better and more workable but that’s one of the many things I have learned to do better with this build.

The sliders after full welding and paint.

I forget why but at this point I rolled it out from the garage and I forget why but it sure looked cool.

My new fully welded 3 link.

I included this picture because originally I wasn’t sure how to work around the dash with minimal bends. You can see here I went with one steep bend kicked out toward the mirrors and it bows back in to the foot well area. I would later add custom taco gussets to these.

I added lower cross braces to test seat clearances, you can see in subsequent photos the seats never quite fold all the way down after this. There is approximately 4” clearance between the braces and seats too. It’s tight but my 6’ 235lb frame fits back there pretty well considering.

In this phot I got the rear kicker bars in the cargo area installed. They were a PAIN to get right.

If memory serves I took a few days off work to get this rear section hammered out.

So with the cage coming along it came time to figure out the seat and harness mounting.

These were my custom taco gussets I made. Nothing on the market was big enough so I made these to cover the entire bend radius as well as be as deep as possible.

I figured my seat mounts would have to be custom so I went with these sliders from poly performance of my memory serves.

A little change of gears, I frequently go to tough truck events at the local fair which is what kinda pushed me in the direction of “go fast” off-roading. Now, I remember going to this particular fair and looking at literal sewer pipe cages, fence post roll bars, and a guy who mounted his harness with a bolt through the roof directly above his seat!
This was the best picture I could get of the harness, but that is not attached to the cage rather, the roof.

The worst though was an endo that someone suffered with no cage. The irony being that I witnessed this terrible crash while building the best cage I possibly could. There was no comment on the condition of the driver but I believe he was conscious and was taken away by ambulance not life flight.

At this point the outline of my cage was finished and I was moving on to the nitty gritty of shock and seat mounting. My original plan was to mount the shocks outboard of the frame for better stability and I could get away without running a sway bar.


This picture shows the beginning of the gusseting. I think it was at this point I realized the outboard coilovers weren’t going to work. The rear flex was extremely limited by the tires rubbing on what would be the springs.

I ended up moving them further in board and for flex sake changed the mounts to allow for FULL FLECKS!!!!

Last but not least, I added a dash bar to finish off the driver compartment.

I think it was at this point that I started loosing my detailed documentation for the cage build because it got a little hectic I think the next few photos take place over a weekend.

Firstly I forgot to show the difference between what I thought were huge 12” shock and the 20” travel rear shocks. Haha those things are monsters.

It appears as though I started stripping off the doors and windows.

Lastly the windshield had to go... for reasons.

Reason being that when a cage of this caliber gets built the “best” way to weld it is out of the truck. I didn’t cover my seat mounts for some reason but with the way I built them the tubes are almost on the floor and there is no way to cut holes and drop it through the floor to gain any usable clearance to weld the top tubes. So... OFF WITH HIS HEAD!!!

Since I didn’t plan this out and couldn’t roll the truck under a tree me and my dad had to muscle it out and slide it down a plywood ramp out of the truck. We were in a bit of a hurry because my buddy was coming to pick it up so we could get it welded in his garage.

A few minuets later.

And If memory serves he showed up around 2. We got the thing fully welded by about 8:00 that night. It took so long because every place where I had tacked with fluxcore caused some really funky weld characteristics. Not sure what it was but it pretty much weened me from fluxcore.

And this was my view coming home for months afterward.

This is what it looks like out of the truck and flipped around the yard. I was never quite happy with the paint on it. Eventually it got painted silver but this gives a better idea of all the nodes, guessts, etc. All the things that make cages cool

This next post is called I did little stuff that doesn’t show over the course of 2 months... I bought a really cool ranger with utility bed.

And my next explorer photo is mounting front bumpstops.

And some beautiful fluxcore weld to top it off... LOL JK

It was around this point that the weather started getting colder and the plan was to get the engine rebuilt over winter so I started preparing the garage for indoor work. I laid plywood over the old concrete and got the torpedo heater out.

This is the transmission I bought at the very beginning, the “Performance A4LD” from PATC. In all honesty I hadn’t really seen it until this point.

I think it was at this point that I officially dubbed it in hibernation.

Oops, THESE are the last pictures before hibernation. Personally they are my favorites because it has the big tires/suspension under it but the rest of the truck looks TERRIBLE.

After a few weeks the engine, trans, and tcase all got removed as one unit.



This big empty engine bay is just asking for a bigger engine.

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This is when the fun begins. New headers...

I just went though all my photos and I guess I didn’t take any during the disassembly process of the engine. Which explains why I lost half the bolts haha. At this point to cover what’s going with the engine, I found a local head shop that agreed to rebuild it. All I was really having done was a 422 cam install, the related valve train mods that go with it,
new heads, over bore, and all the other stuff that goes with a rebuild.

This left me with a very dirty very original engine bay that needed some love. Also custom pivot brackets were STILL WRONG. So much time had passed between my decision to D44 TTB swap it and this point that multiple companies offered the brackets to do the swap. So in addition to cleaning and painting the engine bay I was also installing those over the winter.

Random picture of random things I got on clearance at TSC. I couldn’t beat the price even though the winch is only 8k lbs.

Frame painted.

And the grant steering wheel I bought.