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James Duff
Dual Shock Installation
Text & Photos
by: Matt Bobbitt




James Duff Dual Shock Kit—
PN #5260 for BII, 89-94 Ranger, 91-94 Explorer

Tools:
¾” socket and wrench
14mm socket and wrench
15mm wrench
18mm socket
3/8” and ½” drill bit
Drill
Sawzall
9/16” wrench
Torque wrench
Jackstands
4” C-clamp
Black spray paint
Punch

Time = 2 hours per-side

Tips = The sawzall is much easier than bending metal.  Also test fit all pieces before doing any cutting or drilling, then do it again to be sure.  After any cut or hole drilled, be sure to paint the exposed metal to keep rust away.

Benefits = Dual shocks will absorb more energy than a single shock.  This means a more controlled ride and smoother ride for occupants.  With 2 shocks, heat and fade will be less of an issue over with hard use by spreading the work load between the dual shocks.  Reduction of body roll and elimination of common tire cupping and scissoring found on independent front suspensions.  Lastly you can choose to remove the sway bar since the dual shocks will help eliminate that and get added articulation with greater independent front action from the TTB.

Instructions—(from the Duff instructions plus personal input)

1. Jack up the vehicle, place jackstands under the radius arm brackets and remove wheels with ¾” socket.  I put the stands on the frame behind the radius arm brackets and I left the jack under the radius arm for extra support.

2. Remove the original shocks on both sides.  The top is a 15mm nut, and the bottom is a 18mm nut.  Once the shock is removed, cut the upper rubber bushings from the factory shock tower.

3.  The directions tell you to bend the shock tower at this point.  I used a sawzall and trimmed the towers along the lines that the directions stated.  Also the factory plastic wheel liner needs to be trimmed on the drivers side.  Test fit the hoops, measure and check before doing any cutting.

4.  On the drivers side:  remove the lowest bolt in the steering box and attach the forward bracket of the left side hoop loosely in place using the original bolt.

*on vehicles equipped with an engine stabilizer, it is necessary to remove the bottom bolt from the lower bracket.

5. Align and clamp the small tab in the center of the hoop to the coil tower.  Insure that the hole in the tab is centered vertically for a strong connection.  Punch the metal to give the drill a place to start.  Remove the hoop and drill the hole with the 3/8” bit.  Then put the hoop back and bolt loosely in place behind the shock tower ( I had to mount it in front for clearance with the engine stabilizer bracket) with the 3/8” x 1” bolt and nylon lock nut.

6. At the rear, check the location of the proportioning valve on the backside of the frame.  Then drill the ½” hole using the hole in the hoop as a guide.  Bolt the rear of the bracket loosely with a ½” x 1 ½” bolt and nylon lock nut.

7. Remove the factory lower shock mount with the sawzall and drill out to ½”.  Replace it with the extended length bracket and bolt provided. Zip tie the brake line to the front coil spring to keep from rubbing on the shock.

8. Install both shocks to the top of the hoop in the forward most and rear most holes.  Be sure that you install the metal bushing in the bottom eye of the shock before installing them and the shock boots.  Don’t use the inner 2 holes on the hoops to mount the shocks, but rather the outer most holes.

9. Install the lower end of the shock in the lower mount with the 100x12mm bolt.  From outside in:

- Bolt
- Lower shock bracket
- Shock
- Washer
- 12mm spacer
Now put that assembly through the new hole in the radius arm bracket.  On the back side secure with a lock washer and nut then tighten.

10. Drill 2 more ½” holes in the radius arm using the lower shock mount for a guide.  When done, you will need the black colored backing plate on for the back side of the radius arm.  Feed the ½” x 1 ½” bolt through the backing plate, radius arms, and out the lower shock bracket.  Secure with nylon lock nut. Do this for both sides.

11. Passenger side:  same as #7.  Start there first after removing the factory shock.  Do not mount the shock until the hoop is installed:

There was no front hole in the frame for the front of the bracket to use, so you have to drill a ½” hole for it.  Start by measuring for center and punch a hole in the shock tower then drilling to 3/8”.  Once that hole is made secure the hoop to the outside of the shock tower with the 3/8” bolt and nylon lock nut.  Now drill the front ½” hole using the hoop as a template.  Finish by doing the same with the rear of the hoop.  Once both front and rear holes are drilled in the frame, tighten with the ½” bolt and nylon lock washers.   Install the shocks and drill the holes required in the radius arm for the lower shock bracket (same as #7)

12. Make sure all bolts are tight now.  The last step is to mount the front shocks.  You should decide if you are going to keep the front sway bar or remove it.  The dual front shocks will not require the use of the sway bar unless you do not want any sway in corners.  With out it, the vehicle will handle as before and have improved articulation and independent action.

13. Remove the 18mm bolt in the lower end of the swaybar link.  Make sure the sway bar link is centered in the mounting holes.

14. If you have the Dana 35 HD axle, you will need to cut the U-shaped brackets for the sway bar.  There is a notch on the inside for a guide.  Use the sawzall here also for the job.

15. For the tie-rod adjustment sleeve, make sure the 15mm nuts are facing toward the front otherwise they will damage the front shock upon turning.

16. On vehicles with the straight sway bar link (BII, 89-90 & 93-94 Rangers, 93-94 Explorer) bracket #1 goes on the drivers side with the number facing the tire.  Bracket #2 goes on the passenger side with the number facing the tire.  The top of the sway bar link should be bolted to the sway bar with the nut inboard of the sway bar (18mm bolt there).  Disconnect the bottom bolt of your sway bar link (18mm) and install the U-shaped bracket around the bottom end of the sway bar link bracket.  Then move turn the wheel all the way to the left side to do the drivers side.  Slide the 150 x 12mm bolt in the bracket followed by a washer, the shock, washer, through the U-bracket center, swaybar and out the other side.  (*you will find new words to describe this step!  Be sure before installing the U-bracket, be sure that the sway bar is centered in the factory mount.)  then use the nut to tighten.  For the passenger side, turn the wheel to the right side and follow the same steps above.

17. On vehicles with and angled sway bar links (91-92 Explorer and Ranger) bracket #2 goes on the driver’s side with the number facing inward.  Bracket #1 goes on the passenger side with the number facing inward.  Disconnect your sway bar link and move it to the inboard side of the sway bar and the lower mounting bracket.  Install the U-shaped mounting bracket with the spacer sleeve and 2 - 7/16” washers inside the sway bar link mounting bracket.  Mount the shock outboard of the sway bar link mounting bracket and bolt all in place with the 150 x 12mm bolt.

18. Clamp the bracket in place and unbolt the shock. Weld the lower mount to the axle, allow it to cool and paint around the weld to inhibit rust.  Remove the shock this time using the ½” lockwasher.

19. Tight all bolts, install wheels, torque wheel lug nuts to 100lbs and remove the jack stands.  Re-torque all bolts after 50 miles.

Some notes on the kit.  The instruction provided have some good drawings to help assist you in your installation.  I have not included these diagram notes here.  You can see that this is not as easy as the advertising would lead you to believe.  Step #18 is something that could be optional, but if you have access to a welder it should be done.   Most all Rangers/Explorers will rub on the front shock at full turn with 10” or wider tires on the factory rims.   Lastly, be sure to check the list for all parts before starting installation as Duff left out the 7 - ½” nylon lockwashers on my order.

Problems after completion:  The front tires at full turns or just about there will rub on the front shocks.  This seems to happen with 31x10.50x15 tires on stock rims or wider.  I don’t know if an aftermarket wheel would do that same.  This is my work around:

1. Remove the U-bracket.
2. Remove the factory sway bar
3. Use the 150 x 12mm bolt and put a washer on the end, feed through the shock bottom, washer, into the factory swaybar mount, then use a metal shock bushing that is the same width as the sway bar mounts, then feed through.  Bolt that with a lock washer and nut.

The tires still rub a little bit, but not nearly like they do installed the way the kit says to.  Don’t bother buying shock boots for the front shocks, they will rub off.





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