Author Topic: 1994 ford explore solid axle swap  (Read 2571 times)

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Offline corncobbcolin

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1994 ford explore solid axle swap
« on: September 25, 2011, 07:59:55 PM »
OK I know there's lot of threads about SAS on here but the most of the are lacking a lot of info. Don't get me wrong there is allot of helpful info but I'm going to go a little deeper for the people who would like exact measurements on coil bucket placement and other parts. I've scoured these pages looking for exactly were the coil bucket goes and and radius arm bracket spots. Now not all of us are going to use the same set up but I'm going with the most basic set up there is and anyone with basic amount of mechanical skills can do. So follow me along on my journey.:aerostar:

Here's a little back story. I was looking for a good trail vehicle that I could have fun with the whole family and from owning a BII before I've come across this site many times while looking how to modify my BII and saw the Explorer was a very capable rig. So I found one on Craigslist rather fast for $900. It had high miles but well taken care of. With in a week I had a Rough Country 4 inch lift on the truck and the Rear spider gears welded and fenders hack so I could make plenty of room for 33 inch Swamp Boggers and gave her the name Betty Ford. The Explorers first outing was a success the truck never got stuck and the new suspension flexed like crazy ( a little to good ). A month later and a few new upgrades later ( Stinger bumper from http://rlcweldfab.com $450 shipped and 35 inch Boggers Craigslist $250 ) I was ready to wheel again. I was noticing gear oil coming from my front axle when i was driving it around and figure my front axle might got water on my last trip and it and was puking stuff out of the over flow tube. So I changed the gear oil and bought a longer vent hose for the axle to keep it from maybe getting water back inside. Well on replacing the hose I felt something the wasn't right. So i crawled underneath and found this.

( The diff came in contact with a drop bracket )

Not good but I decided I drove a hour and a half I'm going wheeling anyway. The Explorer didn't have the get up and go like it did with the smaller tires but still preformed well till i threw a brake pad. I cut the brake line going to that side and pinched it off with vise grips so I could limp back to camp. ( last pic before the TTB came off.

 
 
Start of the SAS
 Now i decide to go with a solid axle swap and after doing some research on this site (http://blog.demon4x4.com this page helped allot)  I decided I wanted to go with an early bronco set up being EB  dana 44 axle is 58 inchs wide and the Explorer dana 35 axle 58.3 inchs wide which seems almost meant to be. After searching Craigslist some I came across a 1976 EB dana 44 with disc brakes and radius arms for $400.
 So upon removal of the old TTB I noticed something that my passenger coil came out of it bucket and could have made for a really bad day last time I was wheeling.



 So I threw the skinnies back on the truck put her in the garage and began to
strip off the front end.

 

After about three hours the front end was stripped off.



Passenger side coil bucket removed I found a little surprise.



Time to start the build after doing some more research I decided to go with Wildhorses4x4.com 5.5 inch rock crawler coils (part #1005 $160. a pair ) due to there flex and their variable rate they give you enough height to keep the axle out of the crossmember ( 8 inchs of lift with the dana 44 axle). Now for my coil buckets and coil mounts and retainers I went to http://broncograveyard.com
2 coil buckets (part# 13211 $129. pair)
2 coil spring retainer plate (part# 13212 $18.00 a piece)
2 coil spring bottom plate (part# 13214 $22.00 a piece)
2 coil spring upper retainer (part # 13216  $5.00 a piece)

When installing the coil bucket mount make sure to measure not once but two to three times before mounting anything. Now I made sure to take some measurements of exactly were the old coil bucket sat before it removed it. Now measuring 15 inchs from the very back edge of the little skid plate under the radiator and you will be at dead center to where your coil bucket needs to be. 



 Use C-clamps and clamp down the coil bucket (always check measurements twice at least).
After both sides are clamped down put the axle under the truck and line up the coil buckets to the coil plates on the axle to make sure the axle is sitting under the crossmember properly and not at cock in any angle. Once everything is lined up make your marks and begin to drill. Now if everything is line up right it is smooth sailing for drilling (always check for fuel lines and wires on back side of the frame) When drilling threw the frame there will be spot where the frame is doubled walled ( no worries just make sure you drill straight or you can end up in a nasty angle.) I drilled 1/2 inch holes and used 7/16 Grade 8 bolts.

Shock towers
 Once you have the coil buckets all mounted you can install your shock towers. So after some further research around the forum sites I saw allot of people are running shock towers off 80"s F-250. I want to http://www.partsmike.com and ordered me a pair (part# E5TZ-18183-A  $17.95 a piece)
Mounting the shock towers is easy just next to the coil bucket on the side towards the rear of the truck ( if you measured properly with the coil bucket the shock tower will line up with the shock mount on the radius arms) Again drill 1/2 inch holes and use 7/16 Grade 8 bolts.



Radius arm brackets
  So after more research I decided to go with 1978-79 full size bronco radius arm brackets. They provide a 4 inch drop so you don't have to worry about any additional drop brackets. Now heres is the problem depending on what part of the country your in it is really going to depend on the junk yard availability of finding older Broncos and being in the midwest most 78-79 Broncos rusted to death and turned to scrap. Now for some reason I couldn't find a company who made reproduction radius arm brackets for those two years. After a month of hunting my butt off I found a EB site for a company that only restores Broncos and old Ford trucks out of Phoenix AZ. and they happen to have there own bone yard for parts  http://www.drivenautoparts.com  Now these guys are awesome great friendly service and they had the radius arm brackets there and ready to ship ( $89. a piece). Since the my axle came with the radius arms I didn't have to search for them but if you need some http://www.drivenautoparts.com would have them. I did need to replace the c bushings and the radius arm bushings. So this time I went to http://www.lmctruck.com and ordered the polyurethane offset C-bushing set with the 4 degree offset (part #45-1571  $39.95) and the polyurethane radius arm bushing set ( part #45-5110  $19.95)

Hopefully Sunday I can get the radius arm brackets mounted and bring you guys more photos and and measurements.

Hurray for Sundays! I got to work on the Explorer today and got as far as I'm going to get till after Christmas shopping. So last time I left off I was just getting ready to mount the radius arm brackets. Now I've been using my cell phone to take photos as I go along, but today the awesomeness of the Android phone wasn't working for crap and my camera kept force closing, so for awhile I wasn't able to get pic's of the frame before I mounted the brackets. But luckily enough my camera started working again as I moved along.

Radius arm brackets
 Now thanks to doing my research and book marking pages I've come a cross that had tidbits of info I could use. There was a few pages saying I could use the bottom bolt hole from  the old transmission crossmember to line up the upper back bolt hole of the passanger side radius arm bracket for placement. Now before I went along with it I jack up the front axle and made sure the coil bucket and lower coil mounts were lined up with each other. After lining up the front axle I took the radius arms bracket and lined it up with the transmission crossmember bolt and it was a perfect fit and line up just right with the radius arm.


 
In the beginning I said I would take measurements of were  mounted parts go. The passenger radius arm bracket was pretty easy set up but the driver side wasn't the same. So after a bit of measuring and some mocking up I was set to drill. Taking the tape measure I measured 2 3/4 of an inch forward from the edge of the transfercase skidplate and that's where the back of the radius arm bracket goes.



Mounting the coils
 Putting in the coils was pretty easy with the lower coil retainer already bolted in all I did was twist in the coil till it line up with the upper coil bucket mount. Form there I used my high lift jack, I put it under the front frame horn and jacked the explorer up till the tires was a few inches off the ground. After the tires were off the ground I took a bottle jack and place it between the axle and the frame and jacked it up till the coil popped right in. (do this one side at a time) Now time to install the upper coil retainer. I noticed with the retainer bolted to the under side of the coil bucket the side hole on the clip didn't line up with the predrilled hole. so I measured a 1/2 inch down and using a 3/8 bit I drilled a new hole and problem salved ( needed done on both sides).

 

(My drill bit wandered over a little bit making the hole but didn't affect any thing.)

Back on all fours
 So with everything bolted up I put the tires back on the Explorer and lowered the truck back down.



Now if you did everything right this drive shaft will bolt right up to the new axle with out have the change the length of the drive shaft all.



More of the build will have to wait till after I buy everyone there Christmas gifts.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2011, 01:47:32 PM by corncobbcolin »
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Offline Gray Goose

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Re: 1994 ford explore solid axle swap
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2011, 09:45:41 PM »
I can't wait to see the progress. 8)

Now, don't take this the wrong way, but I would get some bigger jack stands and secure that a little better. I'm not trying to be a dick, I just had my Jeep fall on me in July and almost kill me. Not something I'd wish on anyone.
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Offline corncobbcolin

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Re: 1994 ford explore solid axle swap
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2011, 10:30:57 PM »
No worries its always good looking out. Its not in the pic but I have a two heavy weight bottle jacks under the transmission cross member. Also the wood is all screwed together so it wont slide apart.  Thanks for looking out though and hopefully I can get more progress and pics up soon
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Offline Gray Goose

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Re: 1994 ford explore solid axle swap
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2011, 12:57:07 PM »
Do you plan on welding that could bucket on at all? Are the bolt holes sleeved?
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Offline corncobbcolin

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Re: 1994 ford explore solid axle swap
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2012, 11:14:32 PM »
Removed the front sheet metal making a little more room for the tires.


Hoping when i get back from Vegas this coming week i can get my new Psc power steering pump and new axles installed
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Offline Jeepinsker

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Re: 1994 ford explore solid axle swap
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2012, 11:21:51 PM »
Nice work!  8)

Offline corncobbcolin

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Re: 1994 ford explore solid axle swap
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2012, 10:03:53 PM »
Well today I got my new PSC power steering pump installed along with my new Yukon axles and Super joints which I got through an amazing deal from Seven Springs Custom for $680 shipped! Check the out.

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