My Stock EB Expy to Overlanding 4X4 Build

OverlandExpy

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Hey everyone, been lurking these forums for awhile, but now that I finally was able to purchase a family members 04 Eddie bauer I figured I'd make an account.

It has 155k miles on it, was primarily used for towing, and in excellent condition. Except for the air suspension which has a leak, but is going to be replaced anyway. Which brings me to the purpose of my post; I am looking to turn this into a 100% purpose built over lander. I have a 9000lb car lift, a well stocked shop, tube benders, and welding equipment. What I don't have is tons of experience/knowledge about fords, other than the routine maintenance I have performed on the truck for my family over the years.

From what I've read here it seems that there really aren't any purpose built suspension lift kits for us. Ideally a 4" front, 3" lift is what I'm looking for. No matter what I do, the air suspension is going to be the first thing to go. 35" tires with no rubbing is the goal, and I do not want to do a body lift or spacers. Maybe a 1inch spacer in the front if needed to level it out. Swapping control arms or any other parts needed for a true 3-4 inch lift wouldn't be a problem, has anyone here done anything similar to this?

Once suspension is figured out I plan to weld up some bumpers and skid plates, and I definitely need to make some armor for the gas tank. Had it up on the lift the other day and noticed how exposed it was.

I'll make more posts and add some pictures once I get started on working on it, but any advice or recommendations, or links to posts that you think would be helpful would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers
 

Jb14

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Years ago Rize use to make a dedicated suspension kit for our model years expy (6 or 8 inch lift dont remember) maybe that can give you a design starting point
 
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OverlandExpy

OverlandExpy

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Thanks David that's just what I was looking for! Also thanks Jb14, I knew I saw people talking about that big lift kit on this forum somewhere. I will definitely look into it!
 

Vancouver Bob

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Here's a link to an album someone here created showing their install of a Rize lift...

https://www.expeditionforum.com/media/albums/installation-of-rize-suspension-lift.192/

The key to a "true" lift and maintaining existing suspension geometry is to lower the lower control arm along with the differential while keeping the upper control arm in place which requires a taller spindle or a way to lower the spindle while maintaining structural integrity.

Most of us with lifts/levels are running spacers which, as you probably know, essentially just pushes the spring and strut down to push the vehicle up. This does change the suspension geometry of course. I've been running with mine for over two years and am very pleased with how little, if any, impact it's had on ride quality. It does eat into the down travel a bit. I'm running 35's which did require some trimming. I changed gearing from 3.73 to 4.56 and added front and rear ARB lockers at the same time. Here's what mine ended up looking like along with a link to the build if you're interested to see how it went together.

IMG_8653.JPG

https://www.expeditionforum.com/threads/2003-expedition-face-lift-begins.31657/

Others here run coil overs which either lift the bottom of the spring or include integrated spacers from Rancho or Icon Vehicle Dynamics. The Icon's are much more specialized but aren't offered for our older gen Expeditions (you may be able to get others to fit though). All of which change suspension geometry a bit.

Hope that helps.
 
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OverlandExpy

OverlandExpy

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Here's a link to an album someone here created showing their install of a Rize lift...

https://www.expeditionforum.com/media/albums/installation-of-rize-suspension-lift.192/

The key to a "true" lift and maintaining existing suspension geometry is to lower the lower control arm along with the differential while keeping the upper control arm in place which requires a taller spindle or a way to lower the spindle while maintaining structural integrity.

Most of us with lifts/levels are running spacers which, as you probably know, essentially just pushes the spring and strut down to push the vehicle up. This does change the suspension geometry of course. I've been running with mine for over two years and am very pleased with how little, if any, impact it's had on ride quality. It does eat into the down travel a bit. I'm running 35's which did require some trimming. I changed gearing from 3.73 to 4.56 and added front and rear ARB lockers at the same time. Here's what mine ended up looking like along with a link to the build if you're interested to see how it went together.

View attachment 39557

https://www.expeditionforum.com/threads/2003-expedition-face-lift-begins.31657/

Others here run coil overs which either lift the bottom of the spring or include integrated spacers from Rancho or Icon Vehicle Dynamics. The Icon's are much more specialized but aren't offered for our older gen Expeditions (you may be able to get others to fit though). All of which change suspension geometry a bit.

Hope that helps.


Thank you so much for your post! I am starting to lose my mind trying to find a good lift for my expy. I've been calling and emailing all of the major lift companies, and everyone has discontinued their 2nd gen expy products. Rize appears to have vanished off the face of the earth, every single link on these forums on where to purchase the kit (and there are a lot of them for the rize kit, seems to be a popular topic) is dead.

So far I have spoken to a rep at Rancho who said they only have a 1" lift for the front and nothing for the back, even though I have seen sites that say they will fit on my model/year. Monroe and strutmasters just replace the air suspension and keep it at stock height, so I'd have to add spacers, which due to some of the reasons you mentioned above I am not too interested in. I may add some spacers to level it out after (if) I find and install new coilovers.

I've also emailed Fox and Icon, and struck out there as well. At this point I don't even care about price, I just want coilovers that will give me 2-4inches above stock. Anything to fit 37" tires.

Sidenote: looks like mindgame who has the rize kit installed in the post you linked above has not been active for a few years. I sent him a PM but haven't heard anything back yet. Looks like he got rid of the independent rear suspension and added a live axle? Would be nice to keep the independent suspension so I dont have to worry about scraping my diff everywhere. Still planning out exactly what I'm going to do, and haven't taken my rig on so much as a dirt road yet. I wonder if the controltrac would function well enough as a locker or if I should just replace the whole driveline more or less to add lockers and a solid axle.

Sorry for rambling here, just been browsing the forums and random websites for a few days trying to find answers but all I keep coming up with are more questions ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

joethefordguy

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I'm in the same boat you're in. I've been able to fit 33.8" tires on the stock suspension, which alone provided 1.1" of lift over factory ground clearance.
I'm holding off on suspension work until it's time to buy new tires again. I've got a tuner, which was less than a value add, and I'm planning duals with shorty headers, armor underneath the chassis, and bumpers.
FWIW, as a police package, it already has "duals" from the manifolds all the way back to the muffler; so two cats on each side already. I have not bought custom tunes; that's waiting for all the upgrades so I don't have to keep getting new tunes. I'm hoping a custom tune will make the high cost of the tuner worth it. we'll see.
I've considered and rejected electric fans, under pulleys, catch cans, and CAI. I did install a high flow air filter, and eventually I'll install a better intake.
 
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OverlandExpy

OverlandExpy

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Sounds cool joe, keep us posted on your progress! For now my plan is to hold off and start saving up for some long travel fox or icon bypass shocks, and then just start cutting and welding to put em on my rig. I've got all the tools I'll need to do it just lacking a bit in the expertise department. While I'm saving up I'm planning on practicing welding a little bit everyday before I start taking the torch to my rig lol
 

BrandonZ55

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I have a set of coilovers I would get rid of. They gave me about an inch or so over my 2 inch lift spacers. I'm looking to go back to more stock. Gonna find something a little newer soon. If interested let me know.
 
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