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Completed Project Turboexplorer's Full Width SAS Build Thread

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Hello everybody! It's time to start the SAS on my Explorer. It will be an awesome project and the first project of this type and size that I have ever undertaken. Up to this point the sliders where the hardest thing that I have made myself. I am open to any suggestions and or insights from anyone as the project gets underway. I have bought every last part for the build minus the hard brake lines (axles, and from master to the frame) and the flexible lines that go down to the axles. Those are all easy to make so I am not worried about it for now until I get the axles put together and can see what i want to do with those.

Now for a list of things I will be doing with the project:
1995 F-150 8.8 - I bought this used rear axle that I will strip, lock with a Detroit, convert to Explorer Disc brakes, and mount to the truck. Factory rear sway bar will be used. I will be doing a spring over conversion and will also be remaking the rear V8 anti axle wrap bars to help the leaf springs out with the leverage and TQ the V8 37's and 5.13's will put on them.
1976 F-150 HP Dana 44 - I bought this used axle and will be stripping it of the Ford factory wedges, trussing, and building custom glorified radius arms. Like DB_1 runs and like Rubicon Expresses makes. Front will also have a Detroit Truetrac LSD in it as well. This Dana 44 has 1/2" thick axle tubes.
Fox 14" Remote reservoir coil-overs - I will be building shock hoops for these coil-overs, bracing them, and tying them together across the top of the engine with removable double lock tube clamps.
1995 F-150 Steering box - This will be mounted inside the frame rail and used with the factory PS pump and will build a custom steering link from the box to the column. I picked this 1 to keep it ALL Ford and 2 because they are fairly cheap and easy and can be tapped for hydro assist at some point if I want or need it. In order to fit this steering gear I also have to remote mount my oil filter so that it has room. I will be getting rid of the factory oil cooler and have a Trans Dapt remote filter relocation kit.

Project Parts Section:
-37X13.50 R17 Interco M-16's
-Fox 14" Remote reservoir coil-overs with Eibach Springs.
-Detroit Locker for the 8.8
-Detroit Truetrac for the Dana 44
-Yukon 5.13 gears for both front and rear.
-Both axles will receive ALL new bearings races and seals u-joints etc.
-All wheel studs front and rear and spindle studs have been replaced for safety reasons. To cheap not to.
-Already had EBC brakes on it so those pads on rear will be reused and new EBC 7000 series pads for the front have been purchased.
-New front rotors wheel bearings and new Spicer ball joints, going to reuse the warn locking hubs as they work great and are in good order and easily changed later if i wanted.
-1978 Ford T-Bird calipers have been bought in place of the factory F-150 ones. They are 17% bigger in piston size so will give me a little more brake up front to help stop those 37's.
-Trans Dapt Oil filter relocation Kit and addition mount to hook to the block at a 90*.
-Currie Johnny Joints and Rubicon Express Clevite bushings for the all the link ends.
-GM 1 ton tre's for the steering with a high angle tre at the pitman arm.
-Front axle truss. (wasn't impressed with it at all so will be making some changes)
-Extending current Expedition rear drive shaft and will have a custom double cardon one made for the front.
-Metal used: 2"X.250 wall DOM for lower links, 1 1/2"X.250 wall DOM used for upper links, 1 1/2"X.375 wall DOM used for trac bar, and ALL tabs and brackets will be made out of 1/4" Flat plate by me.
-Double lock tube clamps for the shock hoop cross brace that uses 2 3/8" bolts on each. These are so It can be removed.
-All Grade 8 hardware will be used.
-All flexible brake lines will be braided stainless steel Teflon lined hoses.

I like to follow others projects and often find myself wanting more pictures so bare with me there will be A LOT of pictures of the build. I hope you enjoy lots of pictures as much as I do.

First some pictures of what the truck was! Then onto some parts pictures. Build will start shortly.
1998 XLT Explorer. 5.0L with the 4R70W trans. I have the 4406 T-Case. 3.73 gears with rear LSD. Goodyear 31's. Rock sliders and front skid plate. Links to those builds are in my signature.





And here is some video links! :) There are a few videos of me wheeling in CO with nssj2!


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I used some 3/16" plate to box in the back of the radius arm brackets. They aren't finished so there is a little more to do on them. DA them and paint so it really all looks like one piece. I will also be welding the 3/16" plate to the frame so it ties the brackets in to the bottom of the frame as well.





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I welded it up and did some rough metal finishing. I think they look good. I added a few holes and a notch type thing to add a little character to the brackets. Not to mention the additional strength it adds.


I rolled the back down towards the frame to try and match the contour of the main bracket plates.

Pictures make that notch look not even lengths but they are I assure you.


Lower link axle brackets. These are made of 1/4" steel plate as well. I decided to run them the full height from the axle up the truss. They should look good when done but a little bit of work to make.

Using a vertical band saw to cut out the pieces.


Marked out where the bushing will be. Same radius of course so it looks really good. When the bushing is in it. Then the hole drilled in center for bolt.

Both outer axle brackets tacked together and drilled while together.

Here is the inside of the outer bracket welded up. Now I can bolt the link to the brackets and make the inner bracket. This allows me to see exactly what length and things the inside lower link bracket needs to be. Since the link comes to the axle at an angle they are different lengths.




Remember the transmission cross member frame mounts shown in earlier posts? Well time to use them. They will go up against the frame with 1/2" bolts through the center to hold them to the frame and also make it removable.

First section of the cross member bend and tube notched to the mount. The mounts are 2"X.250 DOM and the cross member tube is 1 1/2"X.120 wall. Used a big vise grip to hole the mount to the frame, and got the cross member tube tacked to it.



And a few picks of how the cross member is coming. It is bent to clear the exhaust and then is notched to the U bend that I made so the drive shaft will clear since now it will be moving up and down with the front diff. There will be a gusset from the u bend to the center section of the tube. From the tube there will be a mount made to attach and hold the transmission and T-Case. I am happy with how it is turning out. I think it looks great!




Ok... Damn! Jealous I am, yes, mmmhh. So I'm a newbie let's get that out of the way, hip with some of the lingo but curious as to what is meant by "SAS"

SAS = Solid Axle Swap

...and this is a mighty fine one at that.

I often hear people say that coilover shock hoops should have 3+ points hitting the frame. Have you thought about adding a 3rd support tube? I know you're obviously not done, but I haven't seen you mention that yet. It looks like you have room to hit the top of the frame. I mostly see this in desert trucks, which see much higher impacts and larger forces than crawlers, but I don't think it could hurt.

And you've mentioned trying to get the prettiest welds you can use the tig w/o filler rod to go over welds and make them prettier if you aren't satisfied, can't you?

And the F150 axle install turned out great! Unfortunately I don't think I have the patience to do all of that work myself haha.

Anxiously awaiting more progress...:)

Yes i plan to have 2 points at least to the frame. I will also have a cross bar that will tie both hoops together as well so they help support each other. That will be removable.

Yes I could run the TIG over things to clean them up some. But it really doesn't look as good as doing it right the first time. Also to get the TIG to melt a pool big enough to clean up what most of this 1/4" has been MIG'ed would put WAY to much heat into the areas. It would also have to be hotter than what most of the 220 TIG's can do anyways. And the truck doesn't fit into the engine room where that HUGE 440V TIG machine is. Needless to say there isn't an extension cord for that one! :)

I should have more pics up tonight. Hard to work on it all morning, come home, watch the baby and get the house packed up each day, lol. I'm tired every day!

And with the U part trimmed and all the joints welded up. Made some round caps for the U bend after these pictures and welded them on to close it up.

Turned out great. The holes in the mount are drilled and tomorrow I will drill holes in the frame so we can mount this to the frame. Then building the part that goes from the trans mount to this cross member. Hope I get to it, doing rear shock mounts and brake line mounts tomorrow as well.



I got the upper link mounts done today. All mounts are 1/4" plate and the upper tubes are 1.5"X.250 wall. These where a pain since the uppers attach to the axle at an angle each mount for the upper link has to be done separate.

Here they are tacked in place. I did the axle side first with an outer mount on each side so that I could use that to hold the link and also move it to where I wanted it to attach to the lower links. I could then cut the link to length and slide in the lower Johnny Joint and then use the lower link mounts to hold that side of the link. I then could tack in place the axle side bracket. Then I could make the inner axle mounts for the uppers.



Glad I had enough room with the axle holders still in place.


Here are some pictures of the passenger side outer. I used the outers first and centered the mounting holes on the truss the inners would be towards the back of the truss. This keeps the upper link mounts at the axle towards the back a little of flush with the front. This will help with room for the trac bar when that goes in. Also the passenger side upper axle bolt is the same height as the one on the drivers side up on top of the diff.





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Here is the inner upper axle mount fit in place. Its not finished and corners rounded etc in these pictures this is just to fit for size. By the way I use a lot of like cereal or cheese it boxes to make patterns first then I transfer it to steel.