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Driveshaft/rear axle/rear suspension issues…


sgtsandman

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My 2011 sits about 1.5” higher than it did with the factory keys. The hex in the key is indexed differently than the pre-2008 keys. Otherwise, there isn’t any difference I could see when I had the OEM next to and sitting on top of each other.

They might get you closer to where you need to be but I don’t think they will get you the whole way there.

And you are still limited in how much drop you can do in the front and still have suspension travel. Unless you can find some drop knuckles (assuming they even exist), I think the solution, whatever that may be, is going to be in the rear setup.
 


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My 2011 sits about 1.5” higher than it did with the factory keys. The hex in the key is indexed differently than the pre-2008 keys. Otherwise, there isn’t any difference I could see when I had the OEM next to and sitting on top of each other.

They might get you closer to where you need to be but I don’t think they will get you the whole way there.

And you are still limited in how much drop you can do in the front and still have suspension travel. Unless you can find some drop knuckles (assuming they even exist), I think the solution, whatever that may be, is going to be in the rear setup.
Don’t suppose you still have the old keys off the 11 and wouldn’t mind get rid of them? Lol

I either need to do all of the adjustment to the rear suspension or I need to do a mix of front and rear. Maybe the 08-11 keys and the other leaf I have for the rear packs will get me where I want? Maybe I’ll still have to adjust the rear…
 

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Don’t suppose you still have the old keys off the 11 and wouldn’t mind get rid of them? Lol

I either need to do all of the adjustment to the rear suspension or I need to do a mix of front and rear. Maybe the 08-11 keys and the other leaf I have for the rear packs will get me where I want? Maybe I’ll still have to adjust the rear…
I tried to give them away after I did the suspension upgrade and no one wanted them. I don’t have the space to store a lot of stuff. So, all the old suspension parts got scrapped or trashed.
 

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You can diy re-arc the springs. Quite awhile ago I looked into it but decided I didn't need to. Basically draw an arc on the ground and use a press to do little bends every inch or so until you get what you want. Apparently it doesn't last as long as new springs but it's free. Or take your springs to an old time spring shop and get them to do it
 

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Yeah, I’m not exactly sure why I have these driveshaft issues. About the only thing I can think of is perhaps the AWD case is different on the 98 and older Explorers than the 99-01. That’s the only thing that makes sense to me with both driveshafts being too long from the Ranger. I don’t know if messing with the slip joint is the answer or not.
A length difference has never come up in any discussion I've ever seen about the AWD T-cases, so I find that hard to believe. I don't have a better answer though.

I believe the rear bump stops are the same and the “horn” on the lift block is what the difference is since that sort of mimics the 2wd height. I haven’t measured, but the bump stops on the rear of my 2wd 2000 Ranger appear identical to the 4x4 ones. I think what I had been thinking was that the Explorer leafs would make up for the lift blocks so my total drop would be only like 2”, but that’s not at all how it worked out. I don’t know if the leaf springs I’m using are just that worn, but I hadn’t accounted for the thickness of the leaf pack playing a part, I was just thinking the center of the axle tube to the top of the leaf spring perch.
Weak, sagging springs is possible. The thickness of the spring pack can also have an effect. Also, Explorer spring have a lower spring rate than the Ranger springs, meaning they are softer. I've currently got them on the back of mine in place of the stock springs and lift blocks. I hate it. Too soft. That's part of the driving force to go ahead and lower mine, to get rid of the Explorer springs and go back to stock Ranger springs.

That all said, I’m not happy with how the packs turned out. Right now, with weight on the rear axle, the main leaf bows up away from the rest of the pack. I’ll have to get a picture. I don’t have the pack clamps on, but this bowing kinda concerns me. I don’t know if the pack clamps will safely resolve that or not and that may or may not be part of my height issue. Didn’t want to have to buy new springs since I’m on a tight budget, but this all makes me wonder if I’d be better off with new springs.
What combination of leafs did you use to build your spring pack? I had considered mixing and matching packs as well. If the main leaf bows up away from the rest of the pack Idon;t think it is the issue, it isn;t being compressed enough to meet the rest. I don't know, this is all getting confusing.

Custom, or rearched springs may be your answer. I don't know anything about rearching spring, I just know that I've heard of people doing it for lift.


That’s interesting on the keys. Perhaps a set of 08-11 keys would get the front a little lower and get me closer to where I need to be. You mention grinding them, what exactly is different about them?
Where did I say grind? :icon_confused:

Ah, the "g" was a typo. That was supposed to say"find some 2008+ torsion keys". No nothing to grind, they are just clocked different resulting in decreased height.


I’m not really trying to slam the truck to the ground, since I still want to be able to use the truck as a truck and the roads and potholes around here aren’t exactly kind to super lowered vehicles, but a little lower than stock seems ideal.

What exactly is the limiting factor on the upper control arms? Alignment? As mine currently sits, I don’t have the alignment cams maxed out (I bought a replacement set since I wasn’t sure if my factory ones would come out without cutting something) and I did a sort of rough eyeball adjustment to them and if anything the top of the tires are leaning out too far at the moment. I’m a little past the middle of the adjustment range. I don’t see the upper arms hitting anything. I do think the bump stops and shocks were the first limiting factors I came up against as I could push on the front of the truck and got zero flex after my initial unwinding the adjustment screws for the torsion bars by 10 turns. Now that I’ve pulled the bump stops and shocks I can bounce the front again.

I seriously thought about coil-overs. It’s probably still in the cards at some point, but it’s not really in the budget. I had looked at it and I had found some specifics on the modifications for it, but I was having trouble finding the correct coil-over and coil. I also discovered how expensive they are. Currently I’m essentially on a fixed budget. At some point that will change (hopefully), but I don’t know when yet. So with the other expenses I’m currently faced with, coil-overs aren’t in the budget. Unless someone wants to gift me a set, it’s more of an eventual thing.
I'm not trying to slam either. I'd say sitting low on 27-30" tires is about where I want to be. Not tucked, just filling the wheel wells. I just don't know how much I need to lower it to get a stance I'll like and am trying to plan ahead.

Yes alignment, namely camber. Alignment cams can only correct so far, once maxed out you would need longer arms to drop more. The angle of the ball joint would also need to be considered with longer arms. You would probably need to go LOW to need them, but no one can seem to give me a number on how low that is. All the explorer guys just say that it varies. I don't expect to need them, but would prefer to have a plan in place if I do. Bumpstops definitely need to be addressed before arms, but I assumed that was a given at this point.

Yes coil overs are an expensive item. I'm not on a fixed budget, but always have other stuff fighting for it. About $600 worth of HVAC repairs on the house today. Auto insurances in a couple of weeks. That is why they are towards the bottom of my list of mods. I'll get the stance I want while still on t-bars, then decide if I'm happy or need coils.
 

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I tried to give them away after I did the suspension upgrade and no one wanted them. I don’t have the space to store a lot of stuff. So, all the old suspension parts got scrapped or trashed.
I think that happened to most of them. I've had a wanted ad posted on a few forums for weeks now with no bites.

@lil_Blue_Ford there are lowering keys on eBay if you want to give them a try. That's probably the route I'll end up taking. I can;t point you to a particular set becaus eI haven;t tried them yet myself. Just search for Edge lowering keys. You could also try Illusive Design & Fabrication. The website is down, but can be found on Facebook. They used to make/sell the lowering keys and other Edge lowering components back in the old RPS days.
 

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I tried to give them away after I did the suspension upgrade and no one wanted them. I don’t have the space to store a lot of stuff. So, all the old suspension parts got scrapped or trashed.
Day late and a dollar short, as per usual for me…
 

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A length difference has never come up in any discussion I've ever seen about the AWD T-cases, so I find that hard to believe. I don't have a better answer though.
Yeah, I dunno what else to think. When we did dad’s 2000 Ranger, we used the engine/trans/AWD case out of a 99 Mountaineer. Actually used the Ranger mounts in the truck and I re-drilled the one hole on the drivers side engine mount so it fit. Don’t remember any issues fitting the driveshafts. I was really shocked on mine when I went to fit the front shaft and it was pretty much an inch too long. I tried it a couple times on different days. Finally fished out the Explorer front shaft and it was about an inch shorter.

I used the engine/trans/AWD case out of a 98 Explorer. Also changed the front diff with the Explorer one because my Ranger had 4.10 open gears and the Explorer had 3.73 gears and a rear LS. I used the Explorer motor mounts. Aside from the driveshafts, everything looks like it fits where it should. The rear shaft comes closer to fitting at ride height, but it’s really still a little long.

Like you, I’ve never seen references to any of this being a problem as part of the 98-00 Ranger 5.0 swaps. The only thing I can think of is that the 98 Explorer is a less-than-ideal donor because the fuel system doesn’t match the Ranger so if there’s an AWD case size difference, it may not be noted because it’s not a common donor for my vintage Ranger. And you’re not going to want to run an AWD case on a 97 and older with the TTB, so the only logical conclusion I can come to is that perhaps the case changed.

Weak, sagging springs is possible. The thickness of the spring pack can also have an effect. Also, Explorer spring have a lower spring rate than the Ranger springs, meaning they are softer. I've currently got them on the back of mine in place of the stock springs and lift blocks. I hate it. Too soft. That's part of the driving force to go ahead and lower mine, to get rid of the Explorer springs and go back to stock Ranger springs.



What combination of leafs did you use to build your spring pack? I had considered mixing and matching packs as well. If the main leaf bows up away from the rest of the pack Idon;t think it is the issue, it isn;t being compressed enough to meet the rest. I don't know, this is all getting confusing.

Custom, or rearched springs may be your answer. I don't know anything about rearching spring, I just know that I've heard of people doing it for lift.
Interesting. I assumed they were a stiffer spring rate since they have the same arch as the Ranger springs, or very close to it.

So to make these packs, I took the 98 4-door Explorer leafs and broke the packs apart. I also had a couple sets of first gen 4-door Explorer leafs, so I picked a set and broke those apart. They were a thicker leaf with less arch. Both the 98 springs and the older ones were 3-leaf packs, a main and two leafs, then the overload. I cut the eyes off the older mains and found that the shorter leafs of both packs were different lengths, the shortest of the old pack was a mid sized leaf compared to the 98 pack. So I went…

98 main
older main minus eyes
98 long leaf
older “short“ leaf (really a medium length)
overload

I can add in the 98 short leaf to these packs. The older packs just didn’t have the same arch and as near as I can tell from the tech archives, that’s normal for the “heavy duty” pack option back then. But I think it’s making my packs look odd with weight on them. I’ll have to get a pic.

Supposedly the spring shops around can re-arch and build packs. I was just trying to keep costs down where I could. My Ranger leafs were sitting dead flat and my little trailer with my lawn tractor on it would pretty much set me on the bump stops, which is why I was trying to put together some decent packs.

Where did I say grind? :icon_confused:

Ah, the "g" was a typo. That was supposed to say"find some 2008+ torsion keys". No nothing to grind, they are just clocked different resulting in decreased height.
Typo makes sense, lol.


I'm not trying to slam either. I'd say sitting low on 27-30" tires is about where I want to be. Not tucked, just filling the wheel wells. I just don't know how much I need to lower it to get a stance I'll like and am trying to plan ahead.

Yes alignment, namely camber. Alignment cams can only correct so far, once maxed out you would need longer arms to drop more. The angle of the ball joint would also need to be considered with longer arms. You would probably need to go LOW to need them, but no one can seem to give me a number on how low that is. All the explorer guys just say that it varies. I don't expect to need them, but would prefer to have a plan in place if I do. Bumpstops definitely need to be addressed before arms, but I assumed that was a given at this point.

Yes coil overs are an expensive item. I'm not on a fixed budget, but always have other stuff fighting for it. About $600 worth of HVAC repairs on the house today. Auto insurances in a couple of weeks. That is why they are towards the bottom of my list of mods. I'll get the stance I want while still on t-bars, then decide if I'm happy or need coils.
Lol, my 31’s are really looking a little big right now. They still fit and don’t look like they will rub, but I think I might have to find a more appropriate tire size. Use the 31s on something else or as winter tires or whatever. I’ll probably run them until I get something else though unless rubbing becomes an issue. It really looks odd being able to look over the roof of the Ranger with these knobby tires filling the wheel arches.

I don’t know if the aftermarket cam set I got allows for more movement than stock or what, but eyeball-wise says I still have plenty of adjustment. Which should mean I can still go lower, or rather as low as I intend to. I just put new upper control arms on recently so I’d rather not replace them. I really think it will be ok even if I lower it a little more. My current tires and the fender liner will likely get into an argument if I go much lower or I’ll have to have virtually zero up travel to the front suspension which wouldn’t be good.

I’m usually not on a fixed budget, but there have been extenuating circumstances and I’m not really trying to discuss it all on an open forum. I do understand everything competing for what money there is though, since that’s how it usually goes for me. Someday I’d still like to do coil-overs unless the T-bars work out better than I’m expecting. It’s just going to be a couple years before they become an option unless I stumble across a deal too good to pass up.
 
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lil_Blue_Ford

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I think that happened to most of them. I've had a wanted ad posted on a few forums for weeks now with no bites.

@lil_Blue_Ford there are lowering keys on eBay if you want to give them a try. That's probably the route I'll end up taking. I can;t point you to a particular set becaus eI haven;t tried them yet myself. Just search for Edge lowering keys. You could also try Illusive Design & Fabrication. The website is down, but can be found on Facebook. They used to make/sell the lowering keys and other Edge lowering components back in the old RPS days.
I did a little poking around, but the one thing I noticed pretty quickly was that most of the torsion key listings say they fit 98-11, which although true, doesn’t account for the different clocking of the 08-11 keys. I might try seeing if I can get some from a junkyard.
 

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I did a little poking around, but the one thing I noticed pretty quickly was that most of the torsion key listings say they fit 98-11, which although true, doesn’t account for the different clocking of the 08-11 keys. I might try seeing if I can get some from a junkyard.
True, but they aren't a stock part for a stock application, so they don't need to account for the difference. They are correct in saying that it fits 98-11, because it physically fits the whole range. I'm not surprised that they don;t differentiate the ammount of drop given between the split, if they are even aware of the difference in stock configurations. All 98-11 with these keys will sit at approximate X height with X number of turns on the adjuster, but the amount of drop achieved will be different depending on if 98-07 or 08-11.

I'm not falting you for going after the stock 08+ keys and I'll likely do the same if I can find some, just saying.
 

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True, but they aren't a stock part for a stock application, so they don't need to account for the difference. They are correct in saying that it fits 98-11, because it physically fits the whole range. I'm not surprised that they don;t differentiate the ammount of drop given between the split, if they are even aware of the difference in stock configurations. All 98-11 with these keys will sit at approximate X height with X number of turns on the adjuster, but the amount of drop achieved will be different depending on if 98-07 or 08-11.

I'm not falting you for going after the stock 08+ keys and I'll likely do the same if I can find some, just saying.
Well, I searched not for lowering keys, but just a general search for like 2011 Ranger torsion bar keys and got that. Looking at the listings I saw slightly different key shapes, but have to investigate further
 

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5353E089-53DA-4C10-AC1C-9D378B822C82.jpeg


Not the best pic, but this is what I’m talking about when I say the main leaf is bowing away from the rest of the pack, it’s doing this on both sides of the centering pin and on both leaf packs. Never had this happen before and I’m not sure if a couple pack clamps would be an acceptable solution or if I need to do something different with the packs. The main leaf takes quite a wrong way bend. When I take the weight off the springs, it returns to a normal arch.
 

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Told ya.. shoulda just went 4 link.
 

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Those main springs have been very overloaded for an extended period. They are not supposed to be shaped like that. It's no wonder that it is riding lower than it should. Get a different set of spring packs, or at least a good main spring, and it will probably fix your height issue.

Thinking about it, I doubt you could be sitting much higher than if you were on stock ranger springs. That main leaf is bent way out of shape. If that spring was much flatter I'd think the arch was inverted.
 
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Well, I searched not for lowering keys, but just a general search for like 2011 Ranger torsion bar keys and got that. Looking at the listings I saw slightly different key shapes, but have to investigate further
I doubt you'd notice much difference in the shape. The difference in going to be in the clocking of the hexagonal hole, and may not be accurately depicted in images.
 

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