Photo by: Gloria Zimmerman
Explorer & Ranger Classifieds
Buy and Sell
New & Used
Explorer and Ranger Parts & Accessories
Explorer & Ranger
Solid Axle Swaps
Solid Axle Swap Directory
Explorer Into an
Unstoppable Rock Crawler
Excellent Hi-Resolution Photos
Winter Driving Tips
Why the Ford Explorer works so well offroad
Ford Explorer being the #1 SUV in America for over a decade there is certainly no one
in the US who is un-familiar with
this vehicle. The trouble is that most people equate a Ford Explorer with soccer
moms and shopping malls rather than off road trails such as the Rubicon and
The Ford Explorer may be the best kept
secret in the off-road world. When these rigs are stock they are capable
off-road performers. After a few modifications they become nearly unstoppable.
From 1991-1994 the Ford Explorer platform
came with a full ladder type frame based on the tough Ford Ranger platform, an
extremely tough 8.8” 31 spline rear axle, Dana 35 Twin
Traction Beam (TTB) front suspension (axle diameters and U-joints are the same
as a Dana 44), choice of a manual or electronic shift BW1354 transfer case with low
range, manual or automatic locking hubs, and a torquey, super reliable 4.0L V-6.
Ford changed the front suspension on
the Explorer to an IFS system (Independent Front Suspension). Although the IFS
systems offer less wheel travel than the TTB systems, they have proven
themselves to be extremely reliable off-road. 2002 brought more changes to the
Explorer 4 door. The most noticeable change is the addition of an Independent
Rear Suspension system in place of the live axle suspension all previous
So, what does it take to make the Explorer
“really” off-road worthy? The same type of modifications as any other rig. Large
tires for flotation and ground clearance. A lift to accommodate the big tires.
Re-gearing to compensate for the larger diameter of the tires and a locker
or two for putting the power to the ground. Approach and departure angles can be
maximized by installing aftermarket bumpers, and the break over angle is
excellent since the transfer case is tucked well up within the frame rails.
The big change:
2011 brought the biggest changes to the
Explorer since it's inception in 1991. Beginning in 2011 the Ford Explorer was
built on a unibody chassis. There is no longer a separate frame. In 2011 Ford
also ditched the Explorer's transfer case, so low range is no longer available. Sadly, due to the changes which have made the Explorer more "car
like" the Fifth Generation Explorer is the least capable in off highway
conditions of all the generations. I am looking forward to eventually seeing 5th gen
Explorers with solid axle conversions front and rear, along with a proper transfer
has been the #1
Ford Explorer and Ranger enthusiast community
Our Message Board.
is the top resource for all Ford Explorer, Ford Ranger, Explorer Sport Trac, Mercury Mountaineer, and Mazda
Navajo related topics providing guidance to the do it yourselfer, preventive maintenance tips, service, modifications, and on and off-road event planning.
The message board is your gateway to our extremely active and friendly community
of Ford Explorer / Ranger based truck owners. You will find lots of great people
there ready to help you solve your most obscure problems.
In our network of sites you will find
Ford Explorer Generation Guide and
Ford Explorer and
Ranger Maintenance Tips
to keep your Explorer and Ranger based trucks running great.
Be sure to check
out our huge
Photo Gallery where
members can show off their Explorers, Rangers!!
For those interested in
street trucks check out www.explorersportruck.com
Let the "Serious Explorations" begin!
Join Our Message Board
With over 275,000 registered Explorer, Ranger,
Mountaineer, Bronco II and Navajo owners and 3
get your questions answered quickly no matter if your ride is stock, offroad, race, or street.
Tech Tips, Repairs, Performance Modifications,
Maintenance Recommendations, Cures for Common Problems, Swaps, 4x4 Runs, Sport Truck Rides and more! Join us today!
Explorer Ranger Run Photo Gallery
several of our
Explorer group's offroad runs
Loads of Explorer
and Ranger Pictures!
Explorer & Ranger Photo Gallery
Over 40,000 photos!
Thousands of Tech Tips Can Be Found
by searching our:
Ranger Message Board
And in our Archived Copy of
Explorer Owners Maintenance
In the beginning...
The first Ford Explorer...
The Inside Story of
by Derek Elliott
Former Ford Body & Electrical Engineer
Ford Explorer Specifications
1991 - 2011
VIN Number Decoding
Rick's "Great Pumpkin"
SEMA Show Photos
My photos from SEMA, the ultimate parts and accessories
exhibition presented each year in Las Vegas by the Specialty Equipment and