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Discussion Starter #1
Background: I'm in the late planning stages of adding a 6" lift to my 95 bronco. I am looking at buying Broncograveyard's 6" TTB drop brackets, and was thinking of building my own radius arms, or extending the stock ones. It seems like the ones I can buy pre-made don't seem very impressive and are pretty expensive. I also prefer to fabricate instead of buy whenever I can so I get a better fundamental understanding of the improvements I'm making. This is my first lift, but I have a fair amount of metal fabrication experience and am not afraid of a bit of welding. The bronco has a 5.8 with the automatic transmission and dana 44 in the front.

On to the questions: :)

Tire Caster: I am assuming that it is more important to keep the stock caster when lifted so my steering geometry stays the same. Is this correct? Or is it more important to angle the differential so the driveshaft angles to the transfer case?

Tire front/back position: With the swing from the radius arm, the tire will move slightly forward as the coil compresses, and move further back as it unwinds. Should I aim on positioning the lifted tire so that it sits directly below the stock position when in a default compression. This would mean that when the coil compresses, the tire would move in front of the stock position a bit, and maybe to the front of the bump stops. Alternatively, should it compress into the stock position/bump stops, and sit slightly further back when default. I'm not sure if I'm phrasing the question very well; let me know if that makes sense.

Radius arm attachment points: Most of the extended radius arms I've seen for sale online look to be around 45", so they mount in front of the transmission crossmember. I was thinking of extending mine to 54" so that it mounts to about the middle of the transfer case splash guard. This puts the radius arm hinge at about the same position as the driveshaft U-joint. Am I missing some reason the other ones are all shorter, or does this make sense?

Thanks!
 

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Background: I'm in the late planning stages of adding a 6" lift to my 95 bronco. I am looking at buying Broncograveyard's 6" TTB drop brackets, and was thinking of building my own radius arms, or extending the stock ones. It seems like the ones I can buy pre-made don't seem very impressive and are pretty expensive. I also prefer to fabricate instead of buy whenever I can so I get a better fundamental understanding of the improvements I'm making. This is my first lift, but I have a fair amount of metal fabrication experience and am not afraid of a bit of welding. The bronco has a 5.8 with the automatic transmission and dana 44 in the front.

On to the questions: :)

Tire Caster: I am assuming that it is more important to keep the stock caster when lifted so my steering geometry stays the same. Is this correct? Or is it more important to angle the differential so the driveshaft angles to the transfer case?

Tire front/back position: With the swing from the radius arm, the tire will move slightly forward as the coil compresses, and move further back as it unwinds. Should I aim on positioning the lifted tire so that it sits directly below the stock position when in a default compression. This would mean that when the coil compresses, the tire would move in front of the stock position a bit, and maybe to the front of the bump stops. Alternatively, should it compress into the stock position/bump stops, and sit slightly further back when default. I'm not sure if I'm phrasing the question very well; let me know if that makes sense.

Radius arm attachment points: Most of the extended radius arms I've seen for sale online look to be around 45", so they mount in front of the transmission crossmember. I was thinking of extending mine to 54" so that it mounts to about the middle of the transfer case splash guard. This puts the radius arm hinge at about the same position as the driveshaft U-joint. Am I missing some reason the other ones are all shorter, or does this make sense?

Thanks!
All good questions, I was thinking along the same lines for a while. Personally I decided to scour Craigslist to find used arms then beef them up. I feel like I am a decent fabricator so rather than use my time to build from scratch, I decided to improve on some existing arms by strengthening them and addressing weak points. This helped me from having to worry about getting the geometry right.

Anyway, I know not really answering your questions, just a different way to skin the same cat. I found a complete Rancho lift on Craigslist, snagged the arms and sold the rest for about what I paid for the complete kit. YMMV. If you build your own..... Post pics!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. Yeah, I'm leaning more towards extending my stock arms, like you did. Which weak points did you beef up? Do you have pictures of yours?
 

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Thanks. Yeah, I'm leaning more towards extending my stock arms, like you did. Which weak points did you beef up? Do you have pictures of yours?
Here are some pics but I didn't extend my stock arms, I plated and reenforced some extended Rancho arms. My strategy was to scour Craigslist until I found some arms as a canvas to work with. I bet I have $20 into this project at most.





 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok, after having to spend some time rebuilding the steering, I'm back to the lift. I have the drop brackets in, and coils ready, which brings be around to the radius arms again.

This is my rough plan. The idea is to use 1.5"x.25" tube steel for the frame. I was thinking of welding a 3/16" plate to the center triangle as a reinforcement plate. I am not very confident that I could get the castor right on the first try, hence leaving that part adjustable.

 

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Discussion Starter #6
Did I miss anything obvious?

Two things I wasn't quite sure about:
The existing radius arm has that little notch taken out of of the mounting brackets. I can't for the life of me figure out what that's for. Is it necessary?
There was a bracket on the other side of the radius arm for a shock mount point. Is that also serving a structural purpose? I was going to remove it and rebuild the shock mounts, too.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Also, those radius arm bolts are, without a doubt, the worst bolts I have ever had to take off. I bent a 3/4" ratchet with a 6' cheater bar loosening them.
 

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Did I miss anything obvious?

Two things I wasn't quite sure about:
The existing radius arm has that little notch taken out of of the mounting brackets. I can't for the life of me figure out what that's for. Is it necessary?
There was a bracket on the other side of the radius arm for a shock mount point. Is that also serving a structural purpose? I was going to remove it and rebuild the shock mounts, too.
The little half circles on the ends of the ears? I'm not sure what they are for either. The Rancho extended arms had them as well but at least on my truck they don't seem to serve a purpose. My truck is a single front shock XL model so I removed that bracket (forward shock lower mount). I guess technically all I lose is the height under the coil cup of the bracket thickness, maybe 3/16".

As for the bolts, I was able to break them loose by putting my foot on a trailer ball wrench, I love working on Arizona vehicles!! Make sure to really clean the threads good and reinstall with some never-seize.
 

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Thanks.
Yeah, I'll replace the bolts altogether, and run a tap through the nuts. The top bolts I had to cut, anyway, to get a wrench on them.

After I posted my struggles on FB, somebody shared this link and solution with me. I wish I had one of those going into this:

http://imgur.com/a/ulUQa

http://www.ebay.com/itm/7800NM-Torq...1081437919&pt=Motors_Automotive_Tools&vxp=mtr
Whoa! That torque multiplier is cool. I need to do some more research and look into buying me one!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
After realizing my tube bender wasn't powerful enough to bend that 1.5" tube, I got sidetracked building a new heavy duty tube bender. A couple days later, I'm back on the radius arm project.
 
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