small-list-digest Sunday, April 4 1999 Volume 03 : Number 076



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Ford Truck Enthusiasts - Ranger, Explorer, Bronco 2 and Aerostar
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In this issue:

FTE Small - Torsion bar suspension
Re: FTE Small - Torsion bar suspension
FTE Small - Check Engine Light: Aerostar version
FTE Small - It's Ford Recall Time Again
FTE Small - Hot Explorer Dashboards

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Date: Sat, 3 Apr 1999 09:12:15 -0800 (PST)
From: dixiedoo uky.campuscwix.net
Subject: FTE Small - Torsion bar suspension

I am a 1st time 98 4WD Ranger owner(had 2 F150 4WDs) and would like to know
more about the torsion bar front suspension Ford used on this model. Can
someone explain to me how a torsion bar dampens up-down movements? I noticed
that there is NO other type of spring cushioning the up-down movements in
this front end, just 2 torsion bars and 2 shocks. Would it be possible to
"soften" the ride by trying a different shock?
Thx in advance-
George


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Date: Sun, 04 Apr 1999 02:52:51 GMT
From: alannorthstar mindspring.com
Subject: Re: FTE Small - Torsion bar suspension

On Sat, 3 Apr 1999 09:12:15 -0800 (PST), you wrote:

:I am a 1st time 98 4WD Ranger owner(had 2 F150 4WDs) and would like to =
know
:more about the torsion bar front suspension Ford used on this model. Can
:someone explain to me how a torsion bar dampens up-down movements? I =
noticed
:that there is NO other type of spring cushioning the up-down movements =
in
:this front end, just 2 torsion bars and 2 shocks. Would it be possible =
to
:"soften" the ride by trying a different shock?=20
:Thx in advance-
:George
: =20
Well, two things...

Torsion bars work like regular springs, except they aren't coiled
up, but are a straight bar (but thicker, usually). =20

I wondered the same thing about softening the ride a little, and
talked to two Ford dealers about alternate shocks. (I have the
Off-road package, and the stiffness of the system was a little
shock to me!) One of the dealers was totally unhelpful, saying
there were about 12 shocks that Ford supplies for trucks, and I'd
have to pick, because they certainly wouldn't! Sheesh!

The other dealer said there was one I could try.

However, they salesman I bought the truck from, when I complained
about the uncooperativeness of their parts department, said I
could just run the tire pressure a little lower -- as long as I'm
not carrying a payload, the pressure can be dropped a bit. I
reduced them to 31 lbs, and have been running it that way.

Also checked into the Edelbrock shocks home page, but they only
make shocks up through '97 Rangers, and don't have any immediate
plan to make them for the '98s. From what I've read here and on
the net, they are probably the best shocks for making the ride a
little bit more comfortable, while still maintaining some control
to make the truck handle fairly well.

I'm used to the thing, now! Recently I drove a full-sized
=46-150, 4x4, off-road package truck, just like mine only bigger.
While the seating and cab room were better for me (I'm big)
the truck was just too heavy, and it didn't handle very well.
Tended to wallow around a bit.

That made me be glad to get back in the Ranger. Its quirks have
become part of what I expect, and I like it a lot.

Only wish I had gotten the 4.0 engine. . . .=20


Later,
Alan
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Date: Sat, 03 Apr 1999 16:13:16 -0800
From: rgstein pacbell.net
Subject: FTE Small - Check Engine Light: Aerostar version

Dennis Baken wrote --------------------------------------------
Just one question. Have you taken any extended higher speed trips in
that
3500 miles? I have talked to two friends with the Aerostar (same engine
and
drive train I think) that always get the engine light on trips when they
are
"pushing" it a little.

My reply ------------------------------------------------------

This brought back a memory. I have a 1992 Aerostar 3.0, bought used.
Soon after I bought it in the fall of '97, I took two long trips, both
involving some mountain driving. My engine light came on twice during
the second trip, within the same hour. In each case, I was pushing the
vehicle hard. I was heading south on Route 5 toward Los Angeles. In
the first instance in the Bakersfield area, the cruise control was
attempting to maintain 75 mph on the flat against a strong headwind; the
vehicle couldn't keep up and was losing speed. I tried to give it more
gas, and that's when I got the light. In the second instance, I was
trying to maintain road speed while climbing the "Grapevine". Like the
first instance, I was obviously pushing the vehicle for more power than
it's got. What both instances have in common is trying to get the
vehicle for speed against a great resistance.

I don't know what the error codes were. This was before I bought my
Equus code reader. I'd really like to know what those codes were.

Richard


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Date: Sat, 03 Apr 1999 16:36:15 -0800
From: rgstein pacbell.net
Subject: FTE Small - It's Ford Recall Time Again

I just got a recall notice from Ford about that famous underdesigned
(read stingy) ignition switch. Ford has allowed that they made these
vehicles with "...a higher than specified electrical load through an
accessory power circuit that connects to the ignition switch. Over
time, this overload condition could create a short circuit resulting in
overheating of electrical components in the steering column and
potentially a vehicle fire."

The offered repair is to install a relay. They also offered to
reimburse owners who had to replace their ignition switches prior to the
recall (civilized!).

I'm not aware of any unusual electrical loads in my stock Aerostar. My
interpretation is that the ignition switch is too puny to handle a
normal automotive load. "Higher than specified?" Yeah, all right:
higher than what they originally specified to the switch manufacturer,
which was barely adequate to do the job. So, insulation melts, and
voila: wires ground out and cause a fire. Maybe this is the foul odor
that I've been smelling lately.

If I remember correctly, there were a few serious Aerostar fires caused
by under-capacity ignition switches in earlier Aerostars. I believe
that Ford's improvement for these "frugal" switches in later years was
to print a caution in the owner's manual! It would appear that this
wasn't such wisdom after all. How much more would it have cost to use a
decent switch in the first place for this $24,000 product? Twenty-five
cents?

Richard

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Date: Sat, 03 Apr 1999 16:16:42 -0800
From: rgstein pacbell.net
Subject: FTE Small - Hot Explorer Dashboards

I've read a few posts here about Explorer dashboards getting hot enough
to almost melt tape cassettes in the radio. This seems mighty hot to
me. I'd assume that this is abnormal; I don't see how the radio's
components could withstand this type of temperature for very long.
Could Ford have designed their product this way?

So, my questions are: is this heat buildup abnormal? And, for sure,
what is the source of all this heat?

Richard


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End of small-list-digest V3 #76
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