Photo by: Gloria Zimmerman
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your Explorer Into an
the Ford Explorer works so well offroad
the 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 Terminator.
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.
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.
1995 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 Explorers
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.
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
been the #1 Ford
Explorer and Ranger enthusiast community since
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.
our network of sites you will find the Ford
Explorer Generation Guide
Explorer and Ranger Maintenance Tips
keep your Explorer and Ranger based trucks running great.
sure to check out our huge Photo
can show off their Explorers, Rangers!!
For those interested
street trucks check
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With over 275,000
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no matter if your ride is stock, offroad, race, or
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Run Photo Gallery
from several of our
group's offroad runs
of Explorer and Ranger Pictures!
& Ranger Photo Gallery
Over 40,000 photos!
of Tech Tips Can Be Found
by searching our:
Ranger Message Board
in our Archived Copy of
Explorer Owners Maintenance
first Ford Explorer...
Inside Story of the
Explorer SUV Program
Former Ford Body & Electrical
VIN Number Decoding
SEMA Show Photos
My photos from SEMA, the
ultimate parts and accessories exhibition presented each
year in Las Vegas by the Specialty Equipment and