Good evenin' on this Sunday fun day, i left you coming into another season ender and modification beginner.
So the next thing I wanted to tackle was setting up my rear suspension to handle like the front suspension. Wheel travel and ride quality are always on the top of the list, so again I went with a Deaver spring, The Deavers use multiple thinner leafs to give a softer ride and offer more flex. In comparison, the Superlift leaf packs I removed contained 3 thick leafs whereas the Deaver packs contain 10 thin leafs. During the change, I installed new rear shackles as well because the bushings in the old ones didn't survive the air time from the summer.
Next step was shocks, and to match the front I went with a King 2.5" resi shock. One thing I have learned when it comes to wheel travel and softening a landing, you want as much shock travel as you can get. To increase shock length and add travel I had to custom fab an upper mount and get rid of the factory frame mounts. Fortunately, just above and forward of the factory mounts there is a nice bump up in the floor pan that is the perfect location for a cross member. For this I used a section of 2' 1/4 wall DOM tubing and some shock tabs I ordered from RuffStuff Specialties.
You may have noticed a pattern in my build, everything I fabbed for suspension is bolt on and completely removable should I decide to change it up again down the road, so this new mount was designed to bolt to the top of the frame rails.
Since I planned ahead for more air time, I also upgraded the mounts on the housing to something much beefier from RuffStuff Specialties.
You may recall that I had slight issues climbing hills with the stock axles, so I shipped it off to a local drive line shop, checkbook in hand and had the front and rear axles fully upgraded. 4.56 gears, 35 spline Detroit Tru-trac diff in the rear with a Nodular third member, Ford trac-lok diff in the front, and chromoly shafts all around. Now it was set up to handle the power and put it to the ground.
With the axles finished, it was on to traction control. As you can imagine, 600+ hp and 38" Grapplers tends to make things move in strange ways, so I originally installed a set of L&L ladder bars.
The ladder bars worked great and kept the rear housing squared up, BUT, they were actually horrible. The biggest problem with the L&L bars on an off road rig, is wheel travel. The bars are designed to hold a fixed point on the axle housing and at the frame, and the suspension is designed so that the axle will move in an arc when it drops meaning that it moves down and forward. The ladder bars would tend to bind everything and limit wheel travel which was a problem with the new suspension. To fix this I went to James Duff who offers their Torque Tamer. The Torque Tamer is designed to have a single fixed point on the axle housing and use a shackle, or pivot, to mount on the chassis.
Now the Torque Tamer is kind of a 'one size fits all'(with modification) kind of part, lol. Long story short, the instructions were lacking and the it was a pain to get installed. The axle mounting plate that has to be welded on, also has to be trimmed to fit the housing. I ended up playing the guessing game and used a thin piece of sheet metal as a template to shape the mount and get it welded on.
So Spring time hit and we planned our first 'test' for Memorial weekend of this year. I was excited to put these new upgrades to the test, so we loaded up and headed for the sand. First impressions were everything, and I was pretty pleased with the results, the new lockers and gears helped climbed the hills with ease. The new suspension was riding soooo much better and the extra wheel travel was noticeable. The Bronco seemed to be coming together as I planned it, however, things are not always as they seem.
So, I first noticed there was a problem when leaving the sand dunes and hitting the pavement. The first sign was a vibration, which I had experienced this symptom in the past, it was caused by a damaged double cardon joint in the rear driveshaft, no biggie, just fix it when I get home... right? Well, after being home for a few days I headed to the garage to pull the driveshaft, and that's when I saw it, gear oil on the garage floor. Turns out the Torque Tamer worked so well at holding the axle housing in place, the housing actually twisted next to the mount welded on the housing tearing a hole into it and bending the entire housing.
So I've gotten to the 'interesting' part, it leads into more upgrades and expenses that Ill get to in my next post. Here's a bit of teaser pic to get you guessing on what happens next.