2nd/3rd Gen EXPEDITION Front/Rear SAS BUILD - Pirate4x4.Com : 4x4 and Off-Road Forum
 
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Old 04-05-2019, 09:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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2nd/3rd Gen EXPEDITION Front/Rear SAS BUILD

My wife, six kids, and I do trips at least twice a year where we drive our two crawlers a thousand miles, crawl every trail we can find, then drive them home on the highway. We've been using a 2-seat truck and a 5-seat 4-runner, with the extra kid between the bucket seats in the mini-pickup. The kids have grown enough that they don't really fit in the mini pickup anymore, and we need something bigger. It would also be nice if all of us could fit in one massive crawler during the road trip portion and just flat tow the mini-pickup until we actually start the trails to save on gas. I don't want a mid-size this time like an Explorer or Durango. We had a Land Cruiser FZJ80 in the past and it got to be a little tight with 8 people in it. I don't want a Suburban or Expedition EL, too much vehicle hanging out behind the rear wheels and the wheelbase is even longer. So the plan is to build up an Expedition. I want to try and get something I like, with enough power, so I'm not modifying anything besides suspension, steering, and body mods to allow large tires without it being sky high.

This will be a long-term build and probably take me a year or two to finish. I picked up a Dana 60 out of a 2009 F-550 last week. It has the 10" ring gear, 3.75" .50 wall tubes, huge C's, knuckles, and U-Joints. I will swap on the F-350 unit bearings, F-450 rotors, and F-350 lockouts to make it 8x170mm bolt pattern. I'll throw pictures on here when I get home.

The rear axle will be a Sterling 10.5, possibly out of a van to match the width with the front axle. I'll use the stock electric diff lock that came out in 2011 to lock the rear axle.

I am in the Army so I move around. I'm currently stationed in Illinois, and all of the older Expeditions here are rust buckets. So I'm flying out to Phoenix on Wednesday night to buy an Expedition on Thursday and drive it back here to Illinois. We'll just drive it as-is for now and make sure it's running good while I collect parts and build up the axles.

I'll do a 3-link front with a panhard bar and either a triangulated 4-link or leaf springs in the rear.

Here are the questions I'm hoping to get feedback on.
* How big of a tire can I get away with and keep it on stock axleshafts/ujoints? I'm looking between 37-40" at the moment since the rig will likely weigh 6,000-6,500 pounds and have 300hp. I hate breaking shafts on the trail, this will not be a trailer queen.
* Stability control/ABS fix or deletion. How integrated is it into the overall engine controls? I plan to unplug all electrical sensors on the axles once I own the vehicle and see what havoc it causes, but I'd love to hear more if anybody has messed with this before. I'm assuming worst-case scenario I get the computer re-flashed for stand-along engine and transmission operation and convert the gas pedal to a cable, but if there's a reasonable way to get ABS and traction control working with solid axles, I'm up for that too.
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Old 04-06-2019, 06:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Should be able to simply unplug the and sensors but in my 99 Ranger the rear tone ring also gives speed signal. So if you want to retain a speedometer that may be an issue. Sounds like a cool project though!

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Old 04-06-2019, 10:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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As i recall, starting in 2011, the Sterling 10.5 doesnt have a sensor in the rear diff, it uses the ABS sensors at the wheels for the speedometer. So, in theory, if the tone rings have the same # of teeth, you should be able to simply plug it in, and itll work. The same could apply for the front, but again youd have to verify tone ring tooth count.

Im not sure if you can recalibrate the speedometer like you can the older trucks (i would assume so) but as long as you do the calculation based on the # of teeth on the one-ton tone rings, youll still be able to get it all right and functional.
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Old 04-06-2019, 10:56 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I imagine a tone ring can be added? Then drill the diff and add the speed sensor yourself. I have not laid eyes on a 2011 axle but I bet the casting is very similar. Or find another cheap earlier Sterling and move the E locker into it. Just thinking of options if you can't or don't want to mess with the ABS sensor for the job.

Hopefully someone with one can provide some pics. Sounds like a cool project and one that is relatively undocumented.

As for tire size, most believe the 38.5 to be the max "safe" size for the earlier non-super Dana 60s. The unit bearings on the late model axles are massive and meant for way heavier trucks and loading, and the bigger ring gear and U joints just mean more reliable on your "lightweight" family wagon.

I would not sweat running 40s on that set of axles. They are beef. I stuck to 37s on my '94 axles specifically for price and reliability. I think getting the rubber to fit the body and doors will be fun. But since its your money, I vote 40s.

What gearing are you thinking? Probably want all you can get despite this being a highway cruiser too, since it's gonna have your entire clan, gear, and pulling another truck. Also, what year truck are you targeting?
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Old 04-06-2019, 11:22 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Just use a pre 11 axle and an arb, you are going to pay a premium for a factory e locker and as far as I've read, people are having a hard time getting them to work correctly in non factory applications.

This will also give you the speed sensor, not sure if the expeditions used the same style, you might get lucky and it will switch right over. I believe the front abs sensors will work as well.
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Old 04-06-2019, 11:36 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Just use a pre 11 axle and an arb, you are going to pay a premium for a factory e locker and as far as I've read, people are having a hard time getting them to work correctly in non factory applications.

This will also give you the speed sensor, not sure if the expeditions used the same style, you might get lucky and it will switch right over. I believe the front abs sensors will work as well.
If I get my hands on one I plan on just giving it 12 volts on a switch and calling it a day.
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Old 04-06-2019, 11:59 AM   #7 (permalink)
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If I get my hands on one I plan on just giving it 12 volts on a switch and calling it a day.
Have you read up on them?

I feel like people were saying it doesn't require a constant 12v and could cause something to over heat.
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Old 04-06-2019, 12:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Have you read up on them?

I feel like people were saying it doesn't require a constant 12v and could cause something to over heat.
It goes from 12v and drops to 5v to hold. People think it might hurt, but nobody here mentioned a single failure they'd seen. Where are people giving more feedback on this, and reporting actual failures?

I see it as a big ? right now. And I can't see any delicate circuit in there that 12v would even fry.

If there's some proof of actual failures out there I will change my tune.
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Old 04-06-2019, 04:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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My last project was to fit 37s on a Comanche with about 4" of lift and around 4.5" of uptravel. I'm aware that body mods will need to be done, but I don't want it to sit any taller than is necessary. I'll probably push the rear axle back a little to avoid door mods.

The front axle I got came with 4.88s. Normally I would want 5.38s, but I'm tempted to do 4.88s to save the coin. I can gear the axles myself though, so it's really not that much more to regear. I think I just talked myself into the regear.

I'm open on what year to get. The interiors get nicer with each generation, the spark plug spit out issue was resolved mid 2003, and the 24 valve head on the 5.4 started in 2005, so I was hoping for 2005 or later, but I also want to keep the initial purchase price and miles down a bit, so we'll see. I'm looking at everything from 99-08 on my trip.

I think you're right about the speed sensors being used for the speedometer, and I do want to retain that. Since I'm still using Ford axles of a similar generation, I might be able to plug it all in. A Dakota Digital box would adjust anything that was still off at that point.

I'm running a Sterling 10.25 in my Comanche with a Ford Electric Diff Lock that I added in. I ran straight 12 volts to it with a switch, no problems so far. I installed it about a year ago and don't use it that often, only when needed on the trail. It cost me about $500.
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Old 04-06-2019, 04:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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It goes from 12v and drops to 5v to hold. People think it might hurt, but nobody here mentioned a single failure they'd seen. Where are people giving more feedback on this, and reporting actual failures?

I see it as a big ? right now. And I can't see any delicate circuit in there that 12v would even fry.

If there's some proof of actual failures out there I will change my tune.
Someone on this Ford section in the last couple years hooked one up to a battery on a charger for several days and checked periodically for heat or malfunction and I seem to remember the conclusion being that 12v constant was fine, at least in that test.
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Old 04-06-2019, 06:08 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Someone on this Ford section in the last couple years hooked one up to a battery on a charger for several days and checked periodically for heat or malfunction and I seem to remember the conclusion being that 12v constant was fine, at least in that test.
That comes to mind in the recent thread. It's probably only like 3 pages back.

I just can't see how an electromagnet is gonna burn up even with 30 volts.
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Old 04-07-2019, 02:45 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Vans never went metric bolt pattern and never had 10.5 rears.
either way cool project.
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Old 04-12-2019, 07:18 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I flew to Phoenix Thursday night, and picked this up yesterday evening. 2006 Expedition with around 142,000 miles and no rust. I'm driving it back to Illinois now.



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Old 04-12-2019, 07:47 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Looking forward to see this unfold.
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Old 04-12-2019, 09:36 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I've seen several dirt roads pass by so I had to take one and play for a second. I wanted to see how the articulation was in stock form, not much.

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Old 04-12-2019, 12:38 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Lol. Yeah, these things were never intended to be taken off road. If you don't mind, take some pics of the front suspension when you get a chance. I'm curious as to how close it is to the jellybean trucks, if not the same. Also interested in seeing how you tackle the SAS.
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Old 04-25-2019, 04:06 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Here's a shot of the existing IFS set up.



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Old 04-27-2019, 04:34 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I got the Dana 60 all stripped down today, and went to start the install of the new 5.38 gears. I had planned to reuse the open carrier for a while, but I overlooked the fact that my open carrier was paired with a 4.88 gear set, and my 5.38 gears are thick, so they won't work together. Does anybody have a 4.10 and down carrier that they want to trade for a 4.56 and up carrier?

I am considering just reusing the control arm mounts on the axle and building a 4-link with panhard to work with them. I don't like how low they hang, but it sure would be easier/cheaper. I still need to cut off the brackets I won't be using and clean up the axle tubes to make them ready for the new suspension.

I used a 36" pry bar to get the axle shafts out of the knuckle. I used a heavy duty set of 9" external straight snap ring pliers to release the unit bearing from the axle shaft.



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Old 04-27-2019, 08:22 PM   #19 (permalink)
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great concept
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Old 04-28-2019, 06:24 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I got the Dana 60 all stripped down today, and went to start the install of the new 5.38 gears. I had planned to reuse the open carrier for a while, but I overlooked the fact that my open carrier was paired with a 4.88 gear set, and my 5.38 gears are thick, so they won't work together. Does anybody have a 4.10 and down carrier that they want to trade for a 4.56 and up carrier?

I am considering just reusing the control arm mounts on the axle and building a 4-link with panhard to work with them. I don't like how low they hang, but it sure would be easier/cheaper. I still need to cut off the brackets I won't be using and clean up the axle tubes to make them ready for the new suspension.

I used a 36" pry bar to get the axle shafts out of the knuckle. I used a heavy duty set of 9" external straight snap ring pliers to release the unit bearing from the axle shaft.

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Not sure about shipping but I have a 3.73 carrier at the shop. If you're interested.

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Old 04-29-2019, 09:57 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I like how quickly this went from an idea to a truck and parts in the garage. In for updates!
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Old 04-29-2019, 07:19 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I'll follow, sounds cool!

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Old 04-29-2019, 07:47 PM   #23 (permalink)
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if thats the gkn locker 12 v is what its made for.


do you prefer the automatics? i like autos myself..

i would be tempted to build a 351 or 460 for that fawker..... the 5.4 is a good piece when they are alive. but when it dies....stroker windsor or mild big block is a worthy effort imo.
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Old 05-01-2019, 01:05 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I'm planning to leave the 5.4 alone, that's why I bought the 2006 with the 3 valve heads. They make good torque down low and decent power overall. Paired with 5.38 gears and 40" tires will result in 10% more RPM than I have now sitting stock on 32" tires, so it should be OK. If it dies I'll just rebuild it, with perhaps some performance upgrades. I got the rest of the parts in to finish out the front axle, except the carrier, which I should have soon. I can add in a locker down the road. I want to keep the all wheel drive capability since we drive in the snow all winter here, so I will need selectable lockers front and rear, but the budget is fairly tapped out at the moment.
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Old 05-01-2019, 01:50 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I've been sidetracked with this the last couple days, my son took the 4Runner out and got it stuck in a bog. I went to try and rescue him with my daily driver, it got stuck as well. I spent all night getting the daily driver out, now I just have to go back and get the 4Runner out.





Edit:
I got my Comanche running and pulled it out. https://youtu.be/ZYZ2IDvvaHU. Now I have more repairs to do, then I can get back to the Expedition.
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