'93 Explorer Prelanding Camper


Mar 26, 2023
Prologue: Figured I'd finally post some pictures / updates of this explorer my lady and I bought awhile back. (Actually, its hers.) For a few years now she's been really wanting a bronco. When we met 10 years ago, she hadn't ever been camping in the desert or offroad really of any kind. I'm pleased to have had somewhat of an influence on this build after having her out with me a few times in the last decade. So anyways, we've been keeping our eye out for a solid bronco to build on the weekends and after work, but as we all know they are just ridiculously expensive these days and it just didn't make sense for our budget. We ended up compromising slightly on another 1st gen Explorer and for many reasons, I'm glad that we did. The explorer was less than half of what a decent bronco cost, gets substantially better MPG, and they seem to be growing in popularity as of late. We missed my old 1st gen from a few years back and figured they are just a perfect candidate for what we intend to do with it. Including but not limited to, road tripping to cool camp sites in CA, AZ, UT and CO. Still meeting up / car camping in the local deserts for events and races, visiting our family cabin up in Idyllwild in the snow and the list goes on. We just want to get out there more often, more comfortably, and more simply. Load the car up after work during the week and just high tail it out of the big shitty for a night to catch a break from the rat race. Found this clean stocker on FB marketplace and within an hour we were proud owners of another 30-year-old Ford pile of junk!

To the Point:
  • 1993 Ford Explorer, Auto trans, 4x4 w/ auto transfer case
  • Solo Motorsports Stage 1 Cut N' Turn D35 TTB kit (came with the car uninstalled)
  • Deaver F31's prepped and leafs added by Deaver (gifted by my buddy Mr. Cookcraft, thanks again Ryan!)
  • Offer-Up special Gen 1 Raptor rear shocks (to receive the Dialed Shock Prep treatment)
  • American Racing Outlaw II's
  • 33x10.5x15 BFG A/T KO2's
  • Mile Marker Manuel locking hubs
  • Rebuild engine (less than 1,000 miles on it at the time I bought it)

more pics and updates to follow....
Last edited:
Before getting started on this front end install I did quite a bit of research on the D35 TTB since I've never taken one apart or anything before. I was sure I'd run into some unforeseen issues, so I wanted to try and be prepared. One of the neat little mods I found while going down this rabbit hole was the C-clip eliminator for the front axle assembly. (Passenger side axle assembly). There are a ton of write-ups out there on this already, and a couple different ways to accomplish this, but basically, I chose to do an external spring with a weld-bead. I felt for what we do, this is the most reliable version of this mod. I thought it was a pretty clever solution to making this front end a little more user-friendly when it comes to having to replace u-joints, or even a broken axle itself.

All you do it remove the diff from the driver beam, remove the c-clip that retains the passenger side stub axle in the diff and throw it away.


Then, take this Echo Chainsaw spring (Echo / Shindaiwa 69621655730 Spring) and slide it over the male splines of the pass side axle. (This was kind of a bitch, but it does fit with some persuasion. A solidly mounted vice helps a lot.

Link to spring:


Weld a bead or use a hose-clamp or shaft collar etc. to keep the spring seated.


Ta da, you’re done! Grease up the splines of the slip really good, slide the grease boot back over the slip and set the axle aside. See, how easy was that? I’ll post photos of the final assembly soon it’ll make more sense if anyone is still wondering what the point of this mod was.
Last edited:
Couple shots of the front end install. Big lesson learned on this front end was you NEED to have a 1/4" drive, 12-point, 6mm deep socket. I didn't have one when I started on the tear down and it held me up for a day while I waited for one ordered online. The bolt that holds the ABS bracket to the knuckle covers the edge of the spindle, and without being able to remove that bracket, you can't pull the spindle to pull the front axles. I ordered two of these sockets, one for home and one for the tool roll that'll go with us whenever we head out into the unknown.

Anyways, more pics!



Front end all buttoned up!
Last edited:
Next, I got the leafs and shackles on the rear, ditched the factory rear sway-bar, and installed a Ruff-Stuff diff cover for extra beef and swag points. +10 horse power for the 12pt hardware. 😤




Sitting pretty perfect with a full-size spare in the cargo area. Got it aligned yesterday and she's cruisin'! Rides pretty damn good! Just need to get the Gen 1 Raptor rear shocks on the back of this thing next, and probably need an extended rear brake line / some limit straps front and rear.

Here are the alignment numbers for anyone wondering.