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Suspension Tech General discussion of suspension for the Ford Ranger.

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  #1  
Old 02-16-2005
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SAS in a few months

well ive decided to do some BIG research on an SAS swap on a 2002 Ranger FX4. Ive looked everywhere and have seen a lot of things. I was just wanting an opinion. If I were to find one of these, which would be the best? The front clip of a solid axle ranger (i think gen I?), front clip of a leaf spring front jeep, or front clip of an older f-150 (wutever has solid axle up front). Any suggestions? comments? all opinions are welcome if they are constructive.
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  #2  
Old 02-16-2005
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reverse cut d44 our of an earlier bronco. Thats what i would get but, remember if you dont know wnything about it now the job will be too big for you, take it to a GOOD SHOP and go from there. Get on Pirate4x4.com and get in the forum based on your area and ask some guys whats a DAMN good fab shop.
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Old 02-16-2005
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yeah i dont think u want to do this, its alot of work. good luck it will be sweet if you can do it.

dont forget once you start you will most likly never be able to go back to stock.
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Old 02-16-2005
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there were no solid axle rangers. f-150 rangers but no rangers.

gildo is right, get a D44 from an 74?-77 bronco, radius arms, coils, etc...or u can go leaves which is what everyone here seems to perfer...
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Old 02-16-2005
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I've been thinking about doing this since I have to replace the wheel bearings and they're $250 each which I think is outrageous. I could get the front axle from a Cherokee pretty cheap which (if it's old enough) would have the leaf springs and perches and possibly even torch off the spring mounts from the frame. Welding that crap to my frame isn't a problem but I'm mildly concerned with how to hook up the steering. If anyone has an idea for the steering, let me know. If I can figure everything out ahead of time so the only downtime is during the swap, I may go SAS this weekend.
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  #6  
Old 02-16-2005
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1. why the hell would you want a front axle from a cherokee??

2.all cherokees ive ever seen use coils.

3. Youde probably have to use a steering box from a jeep. but thats all i could tell you.

4.SAS this WEEKEND?!?!?!!!!!! wow.i wish i could up and decide to do that. theres alot to do tom and all the parts you will need will surely take you way more than a week to research and gather them.
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Old 02-16-2005
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i have seen someone use a steering box from a scout II ithink but dont know much about it.

i found this a while back and posted it on GE, i dont know that much about it but here this might help


9 inches lift total
scout II stering box
dana 30 upgraded with new gears, u joints, brake pads, axel shafts
5.5 inch rubicon express tj coil
rubicon express long arms










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Old 02-16-2005
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zabeard, thats sort of what i was talking about in my post "SAS for tbars" a few posts down...

seeD30 axles arent that bad lol
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  #9  
Old 02-16-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by optikal illushun
seeD30 axles arent that bad lol


couldnt pay me to put one in.
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  #10  
Old 02-16-2005
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i wouldnt mind doing this swap either but i just dont see the need, the IFS that i have works fine for me and i have no problems. a guy at my work does this very thing to trucks all the time, he said he could do it in a weekend if he had the parts but i see no need. maybe 100,000 miles down the road i might change my mind.

here are some pics of his latest work.(i know its a chevy but its got ford axles.





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  #11  
Old 02-16-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SUPERGILDO
1. why the hell would you want a front axle from a cherokee??
The hell because it's the right width and has the right wheel bolt pattern the hell.
Quote:
2.all cherokees ive ever seen use coils.
Have you seen every Cherokee?? Me neither, but I'm fairly certain that there's an early Cherokee in a local boneyard with a leaf spring front end. I could be wrong because I wasn't looking for front axles last time I was at the yard, but I'm fairly certain I remember it correctly.

Quote:
4.SAS this WEEKEND?!?!?!!!!!! wow.i wish i could up and decide to do that. theres alot to do tom and all the parts you will need will surely take you way more than a week to research and gather them.
Axle, springs, spring mounts, steering linkages, steering box... All comes from the same vehicle and can be removed in a couple hours with the right tools. Brake hoses would be new. Before removing the leaf spring mounts, measure where they are located on the frame in relation to each other and the centerline of the axle. Mark centerline of Ranger axle on frame. Remove Ranger front suspension. At this point, you're at the end of day one.

Day two, transfer measurements you took from donor truck to Ranger frame. Locate axle under frame and weld front and rear spring mounts. Attach springs to mounts and to axle. Attach driveshaft to axle and attach brake hoses. Eat lunch.

After lunch, attach steering linkages and attempt to locate steering box. Fabricate necessary bracketry to mount steering box and idler arm.

Did I forget anything?? Sure, I did. I didn't address the shocks and I'm sure there are other things that need to be done, but the bulk of the work can be accomplished in a weekend. It's really not much more difficult than the RCD lift or even a torsion bar suspension lift except that it's a weld-on and not a bolt-on. For someone with the tools and ability to fabricate the necessary parts and weld them to the frame, it's not impossible.

Honestly, this is something I've been considering for quite some time and if I knew I could find the right width leafspring axle with 4.10 gears and the right wheel flange (for around the same cost as new front wheel bearings) I'd probably schedule to do it next weekend.
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Old 02-16-2005
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you have been thinking about this, i think it can be done in a weekend to just takes skill and tools, sounds like you have both of them.
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  #13  
Old 02-16-2005
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if i was to get the front clip (meaning everything that goes on the front of a truck besides engine components) would that have everything i needed to do the swap? ive got plenty of junkyards around here and access to a welder and someone that knows how to use it. i also have plenty of tools as im always fiddlin with somethin on my truck just for the sake of doing it and id say she runs better then the day i got her (course the radiator has been flushed and the RIGHT oil got put in when i had to do it myself).

yall think its easier to leaf the front or coil it?
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  #14  
Old 02-16-2005
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chris it takes more than a welder and a guy who knows how to use it to get an SAS done SAFELY and CORRECTLY. if you dont get it done right, youre going to RUIN a perfectly good 2002 FX4. make sure you know what youre doing, if youre unsure about ANYTHING, dont try it. this isnt a bolt on thing and the quality of the work is directly related to the safety of the vehicle
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  #15  
Old 02-16-2005
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^^^Bob i realize this and would hate to mess my truck up since im not exactly paying for it at the moment and its so new ive had people call me stupid when i tell them what i want to do with it (safe mods entirely). like i said, i have a few months to save up and think about it and it may not happen. i just want an alternative cuz its gonna take me a few months to save up for the RCD 5.5" lift. Im starting to think that yall are seeing my age and assuming instantly that because im young im nearly useless. well im not. i know an *** about cars, more then many adults. i know how things work and ive got a good hand, mind, and know how for fabrication. i believe i could do the swap in a week if i had all the parts. i was wondering if i got the entire front suspension out of one truck (maybe not the axle) and if it would have everything i needed to do the swap. if it doesnt then i may not go through with it unless i have a COMPLETE parts list cuz i dont want to be sittin there and have something missing.

dont base your opinions on someone because of their age, i may be able to keep up with the best of you in knowledge and fabrication.
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  #16  
Old 02-16-2005
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age has nothing to do with it. i was 17 when i rebuilt my torino from the ground up, engine, suspension, everything. its experience, and im not trying to talk down to you, im just making sure you dont get caught up in something you cant handle.

basically, do the research all over the web, you may not need all the parts from one vehicle, the hardest part will be the steering. ive never done a swap on a ranger so i couldnt tell you exactly what you would need
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  #17  
Old 02-16-2005
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rerard could say alot in this topic... he's done the swap on his truck...

in fact, we have about 5 members with solid axle swaps...
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  #18  
Old 02-16-2005
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yeah but none of them are very active are they?
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  #19  
Old 02-16-2005
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The more parts you get from one vehicle the better off you will be however, when I typed that I simplified things greatly. I didn't mention that you may have to move the spring perches on the axles for example which is a very important step.

Also, just because you can get all of the parts from one vehicle doesn't mean you can use them. You may find that the steering linkage from a different vehicle would work better for your swap with yet another vehicle's steering box. Unfortunately, it's a matter of trial and error until you get it right and you have to be prepared to be without your truck for whatever length of time it takes to get the job done safely. This is one of the main reasons I havn't done the swap yet. I'm unfamiliar with the proper steering setup and as such am reluctant to disassemble my vehicle until I have a better understanding of the whole thing. The more research you do beforehand, the better off you will be.
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  #20  
Old 02-16-2005
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yea...ive done a lot of research cuz everyone around here dreams of having a straight axle front end. i dont think ive done enough but, as ive said before, ive got till may or june and then im out for the summer so unless im working (prolly will be everyday) i can have the truck out of commission. but thats not a problem, i suppose.

i really dont want to mess anything up but i want the look of a straight axle and the prowess. ive been debating whether to get the RCD lift or straight axle and every time i come back to straight axle.

so...what do you think would be the best donor vehicle? or wut parts should i get from where? also, if my rear axle has 4.10s shouldnt my front diff have 4.10s in them also? much obliged.
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  #21  
Old 02-17-2005
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good luck with the axle swap, it CAN be done in a weekend... ive seen it happen and ive helped... i agree with someone who said it up in the post go with a eb 44 and have it narrowed... i think theres one on Therangerstation.com for sale in raleigh nc actually. lol but it takes allot of experience and time and patience... i dont have allot of any of those i know my way around but i just hope that if you attempt this that you think it through clearly and realize what your getting youself into....
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  #22  
Old 02-17-2005
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SAS IT! the only way to go. I did mine, works great. guy I know has a 03 edge and his is SAS. Dana 30 high pinion works.



Quote:
Originally Posted by loneFX4
well ive decided to do some BIG research on an SAS swap on a 2002 Ranger FX4. Ive looked everywhere and have seen a lot of things. I was just wanting an opinion. If I were to find one of these, which would be the best? The front clip of a solid axle ranger (i think gen I?), front clip of a leaf spring front jeep, or front clip of an older f-150 (wutever has solid axle up front). Any suggestions? comments? all opinions are welcome if they are constructive.
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  #23  
Old 02-18-2005
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Soild axle is the way to go if you really wheel your truck. But this is something that really should be thought out. Lots of money and time to get it right. And why do you need a SAS? To do it right you would want a d44 couple 100 bucks from a junk yard, new coil mounts or leaf springs, new gears 400-800 bucks depends if you can set them up, cuz you know not many d44 came with 4.10 gears and if your going SAS more than likely your going 35 or bigger tires, so re-gearing should be something you should think about. Sure someone that can weld can weld up the new front, but will it be done right, how many has he/she done b4??? I know I surely don't want to be driving down the road wondering if my front axle is going to fall off. And steering really should be thought out. There is no way you can use the stock steering rack, what kind of steering box do you need how you going to attach the box to the steering wheel shaft to the frame etc, etc. how much drop do you need in the pitman arm, bump steer, steering box clearance, lots of stuff needs to go into. and again I ask, for what? I don't see you wheeling your rig all over the place, needing lots of clearance and suspension travel. And please don't tell me its so you can get bigger tires on it and look "good"

Check out http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/ And look and see what it took for them to get SAS.

I'm not trying to be a jerk but just want to let you know it takes a lot. Not something you just go get at the junkyard and throw on your rig. If you really end up doing this, I wish you the best of luck. I hope in the next 3-5 years I can do a SAS. If I don't do a SAS on my 03 I'll build a 97 ranger, which has lots of aftermarket parts and okay suspension flex.
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  #24  
Old 02-18-2005
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The axle doesn't care whether you use leaf spring or coil spring. You just need the right perch welded on. I don't see where springs are an issue at ALL. Coils are more troublesome to set up RIGHT, leaf spring is easier by far. Depends on what you want.

In a light truck like a Ranger, it really depends on what you're doing whether you need that big Dana 44 or not.

Tom, I do think a weekend swap may be optimistic at best. There are many potential headaches changing over to a SAS in terms of making the steering work right.

One thing I would do though is look for, or build, a "high steer" front axle. The tie rod being low down in front of the differential is a real liability. I've seen lots of video of people bending their rods to the point where the truck was nearly or actually undriveable.
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  #25  
Old 02-18-2005
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a D30 is capable of handling 35s with moderate power and even 38s built right on a ranger with an OPEN front. if u lock it then ur SOL, count on replacing axle shafts, u-joints, hubs and posibly gears.

i do STRONLY believe coils arent as hard to set up as some lead on. leafs are easier, i will give u that but u need to do just as much work setting up leafs as a coil front. both will flex just as well, the leafs would need some kinda terra flex shackle where a coil front will walk all over a leaf without that shackle. but this is silly arguing what is best because doing it right is what is important.

and to the best of my knowledge all heep cherokees (XJ) from 82? on up were coil front. u could look for a D30 front a wrangle (YJ), they came with leafs up front. an older bronco front would be nice as well and its a D44 but the wheel bolt pattern is different. thats why i initally said D30...anyway, i dont see this being a weekend project for a t-bar truck either. on a TTB front end, an especially an F-150, then yes if can be done in a weekend since everything is already there. if u do tackle this u better take lots of pics and have an indepth how to :-D lol
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