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  #16  
Old 01-13-2006, 11:25 PM
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Bugzuki Bugzuki is offline
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Lifted Aerostar

I would like to lift my van a little so that I would to be able to go up in the woods with my family. The Aerostar has a pretty good drive train that would be a lot better if it had 31" tires. The handling of the aerostar could not be any worse than any SUV, they all have poor handling. If I had the time I would work on a kit to life my van. I do not see why more people wouldn't want to lift their Aerostars with more then just a jack. My question is when someone asks how would you lift the aerostar, why were most of the questions, why would you want to lift the van?
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  #17  
Old 01-13-2006, 11:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bugzuki
My question is when someone asks how would you lift the aerostar, why were most of the questions, why would you want to lift the van?
The Aerostar is a mini-van, not a pickup or SUV, and has a farely high center of gravity to begin with. The AWD system is not designed for off road use, so the practicality is not really there. Also there is no aftermarket resources to lift it that I am aware of, along with the bear of a time we have putting 15 and 16" rims without rubbing.

If you really want to do something with the Aero, the most cost practical thing would be to replace the tires with tank treads. They have done it with the Astro: http://www.mattracks.com/html/105_series_.htm

We are not trying to discourage lifting, but we are being honest about the problems and likelyhood of lifting.
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  #18  
Old 01-14-2006, 10:54 AM
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Oh, lighten up. The AWD system, while maybe doesn't have a low-range, it is still quite suitable for forest roads and back trails. Just don't expect to be able to go rock climbing. But for accessing a remote cabin, it's fine. Regarding CG height, I was always under the impression that for a small van (I avoid the term mini), the CG was actually fairly low. And like he pointed out, it's likely no worse then a typical SUV.

Now, it is quite true that options for lifting it are very limited. You can't do a body lift because the body structure is welded to the frame, rather then bolted on like a truck. Also, since the suspension is coil-sprung all around, with a 3-link rear and a SLA front, a suspension lift isn't easy either. The most straight-forward thing would be taller springs, but you'll gain an inch or two that way, and you will mess up the front camber settings. The stock tires are 26-26.6" diameter. I think you might be able to go upwards of 28" with a tight squeeze and a small spring lift. 31" are pretty much out of the question.

If the rear were a typical leaf sprung arrangement, then it would be simple to insert spacer blocks and use longer U-bolts. However, this isn't the case. I would think that you would have to fabricate spacer brackets to space the control arms down from the chassis, similar to what guys lifting SLA front end trucks do. In fact, you'd probably have to do that in the front as well, but there an additional issue would be the more severe angle on the CV shafts, which are short to begin with. You might have to space the axle down too, which won't be easy.

At the end of the day, all of this stuff is doable, but requires a bit of skill in design and fabrication. Still, I think it actually is more practical then the suggestion of going to tracks...
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  #19  
Old 01-14-2006, 06:53 PM
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be warned
that huge flat belly pan on the body of the Aero does NOT drag thru deep wet snow well...once all four drop thru the snow crust, it's not pretty
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  #20  
Old 08-11-2013, 10:40 AM
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Why lift an Aerostar?

Answer: Because you want to and can.

Anything can be lifted, it's just that some vans are harder to lift than others. I've had a 4x4 lifted Astro van. A front subframe had to be built to add the early Bronco front axle to. Astro is like the Aerostar van, a unibody. It can be done, but very expensive or time consuming if you do it yourself. But some of us like driving rides that don't come off the assembly line. To those pioneers, I salute you! Also, you can do a body on frame swap to a Explorer frame I have heard. Again, very time consuming and expensive to do it properly. I drive an Aerostar daily and would like to lift it to fit 31's also, but there is nothing on the market that will do this that I know of. I hate to say this, but there is a company that makes lifts for the Astro AWD van. Being a FORD man, this really is hard to digest/say.

Click the image to open in full size.

More 4x4 van photos here: THUNDERS PHOTO GALLERYs

KEEP ON VANNIN' my friends.
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  #21  
Old 08-11-2013, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bugzuki View Post
I would like to lift my van a little so that I would to be able to go up in the woods with my family. The Aerostar has a pretty good drive train that would be a lot better if it had 31" tires. The handling of the aerostar could not be any worse than any SUV, they all have poor handling. If I had the time I would work on a kit to life my van. I do not see why more people wouldn't want to lift their Aerostars with more then just a jack. My question is when someone asks how would you lift the aerostar, why were most of the questions, why would you want to lift the van?

Firstly, larger tires are harder to turn. You claim the Aerostar has a pretty good drivetrain. Where are you getting your information? It is a light duty drivetrain built to be used as is. To run 31" tire, you need different gears, as the engine and trans were never designed to turn 31" tires, and you have to custom fabricate the spacers to lift both the front and rear suspension without changing the geometry.

The Aerostar rides best at near stock ride height, for what you want to do, you need and SUV with a truck chassis, so that you can lift the body. The handling has nothing to do with it, its the chassis that decides where a vehicle makes a good platform for lifting. Unibody vehicles are difficult to lift, period. Thats why you don't see a lot of lifted cars.
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  #22  
Old 09-23-2013, 11:09 PM
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What a bunch of gloomy gus's in this thread.

The short version of the answer is sure it can be done, but no one has a bolt on kit, so you're going to be doing a LOT of fab work.

Folks who say a coil sprung rig, or one not built on a truck chassis, can't be lifted and can't wheel have obviously never been in a Grand Cherokee before.

Like has been said, the rear end is the easy part to lift. Springs, adjustable control arms and a new driveshaft and you're as high off the ground as your budget (and driveshaft to pinion/t-case angle) allow.

The front is an interesting challenge. Going back to the Grand Cherokee example, my personal opinion for the front would be finding yourself a solid axle out of something like a ZJ/XJ or older truck (I'm not sure on front end measurements/track width on the Aerostar) and fab up brackets to mount control arms and track bar, new steering linkage, etc.

When all is said and done, with some creative fender trimming you'll be able to fit whatever tire you can afford.

Speaking of afford, if you can't do this kind of fab work yourself and you have to farm it out, you're talking thousands of dollars, and you'd be better off selling your minivan and buying something else.

BUT! If you have the skills, the tools and the time, this can be done, and on a modest budget. And when it's done, it will be something truly unique, cool, and capable.

Just my two cents.
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  #23  
Old 09-24-2013, 11:39 PM
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I was bored today so I started surfing Craigslist, and sure enough there is a '95 Aerostar XLT AWD listed for $1200. So of course I started doing some research on 'em while I was waiting for tests to run at work, and I've come to the conclusion that most of the homework has already been done by the Ranger/Explorer folks as far as swapping in a manual-shift BW1354 transfer case, solid front axle, etc.

I don't think you could ever turn one into a crawler, but with some 30's, solid axles with lockers, and a transfer case w/ low range you could have a great overland/jeep trail/camping rig.

Now to talk the wife into letting me have another project car, lmao. If only I didn't have a '87 V10 Suburban in the driveway waiting on me to finish rebuilding the 700R4...
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  #24  
Old 06-12-2014, 10:27 PM
86CREW4ME 86CREW4ME is offline
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I have to agree with Stangman. I know this is an older post, but do all the negative people want a little cheese to go with your "Whine"? lol

My 75 year old mother...bless her heart, has a 1993 Ford Aerostar 4WD. It doesn't say "AWD" like my wife's CX9, it says "4WD". Maybe it isn't an off road animal like some people own, but nonetheless..it does pretty good climbing hills better than a 2WD. Other than changing the MAF sensor 2x and having the A/C fixed...it has 76000 miles on it and runs like a champ.

I decided to lift her Aerostar.

So.....I added 1" aluminum spacers (Specialty Products #1706) under the coils. It gives me almost 2" of additional ride height due to geometry. I might change them out later for handmade spacers on top of the coil instead, because I think they would seat the spring a little better.

I am hand fabricating rear blocks to go on top of the rear coils. Using 5-1/2" x 1/4" tubing. I could only find galvanized tubing in that size at the steel remnant pile, so...I am going with it. I will slice a piece of 5" x 2" x 3/16" rectangular tubing. Slicing it in half and filling in the ends to make a box. This will be welded to the bottom of the tubing for the spring to seat against it and assist the spring from sliding around. Using a longer bolt...I will secure the lift block and spring to the vehicle.

I will post b4 and after pics when I am done.

I had to buy a 6" length of brake line and female adapter from the auto parts store. Rather than search for a longer rear soft brake line, I am installing an additional bracket to the chassis and lengthen the hard line to facilitate the additional height.

I have to research the rear shocks, due to the extended length. I feel the stock shocks will be over extended in the resting position.

I have to research the front shocks too...

I wont change the rear control arms or mounts. It is taking 3-1/2" blocks in the rear to "level" the van.

It is currently running 205 x 75 x r15 on Baja wheels by American Racing.

It had sufficient clearance before, but I gave consideration to running a taller tire.

Everything I am doing is reversible should I change my mind and lower it back down.
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  #25  
Old 06-13-2014, 12:46 AM
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I can't wait to see how it looks!
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  #26  
Old 06-14-2014, 03:23 PM
FrozenDrinkMan FrozenDrinkMan is offline
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Friggin A

For a very light duty trail rig, this will be awesome. Looking forward to see your pics!!
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  #27  
Old 07-25-2014, 01:21 PM
86CREW4ME 86CREW4ME is offline
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Okay...I got the van raised. I will try to post the pics tomorrow. Stupid me...I thought i took stock height pics when i was researching this whole endeavor....but...Doh! I didn't.

Nonetheless...I fabricated the rear lift blocks as i described in the preivous post.....with a minor alteration.

I had to weld a capped piece of tubing 1-3/4" diameter x 1/2" in height to the flat channel where the spring was to seat. The coil springs in the rear have a rubber bushing through the top hoop of the spring that seats over the top of this little piece of tubing. The spring washer and bolt pass through it. You will understand better when i post pics...

I did NOT change my rear shock length. Bear in mind i am not heightening the vehicle beyond what is is stock......so to speak. Essentially..the shocks limit the drop of the suspension. I am not surpassing that. Considering i am not jumping this thing...the stock length is sufficient. I didn't have to lower the brake lines either. Same theory applies for the front geometry too..

I added KYB Gas Adjust shocks to all four corners in combination with the General Grabber tires aired to the max...44psi.

Ironically, the van actually runs MUCH MORE STABLE THAN BEFORE! She handles great and looks great too! You can feel the road more...not like the spongy car ride it had before. I love the way it looks and feels.

If i could change one modification it would be to the rear blocks. The rear trailing arms angle to the back, so adding the 3-1/2 inches puts a more noticeable arc to the rear springs. It doesn't seem to be a problem mechanically, but if i did it again...i would have angled the cut of the pipe approximately 1/4" to reduce the arc some.

To all the remarks about center weight issues...EVERY vehicle you lift your altering the center weight of gravity. Considering earlier stock height Ford Explorers were flipping with blowouts.....i assume anything is possible with my vehicle.

Again...I did not do this to make it a rock crawler or off-road animal. You wont catch me going extreme off-road either. I did it specifically to stiffen the suspension a little, and install better/taller tire.

Thanks.

POSTING PICS TOMORROW...YEAH!
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  #28  
Old 07-25-2014, 01:34 PM
FrozenDrinkMan FrozenDrinkMan is offline
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Sounds pretty cool!

Ya know, if you were to fab some lifts, I bet you could make some change on ebay or something. Thinking I would be one of your first buyers!

I only have a 3.0 2WD right now, but I really want a rig like you are building....
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  #29  
Old 07-25-2014, 02:54 PM
86CREW4ME 86CREW4ME is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrozenDrinkMan View Post
Ya know, if you were to fab some lifts, I bet you could make some change on ebay or something. Thinking I would be one of your first buyers!

I only have a 3.0 2WD right now, but I really want a rig like you are building....

I'll contemplate the fabrication thing...thanks for the positive response.

I have researched the 4x4 Aerostar and per Wikipedia..

"This system differed from other four-wheel-drive Ford vehicles of the time in that it engaged when it detected rear wheel spin, powering the front wheels automatically with no driver input required. Another difference is that the Aerostar's unique Dana TC28 transfer case employed a true center differential, though this center differential was regulated by an electronically controlled electro-magnetic clutch; this means that all four wheels are essentially powered at all times. As the system was not designed for off-road driving, there is no low-range gearing."


The extent of my off-roading is a muddy and rutted driveway, a few slopes on our property, or a highway with unexpected snow. If you wanted a true hard core Aerostar 4X4 for aggressive off-road driving...a swapped solid front axle, trans and t-case would be required. But, then you're opening up a huge "can of worms" and your checkbook...lol
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  #30  
Old 07-25-2014, 03:00 PM
FrozenDrinkMan FrozenDrinkMan is offline
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Rgr that

Yeah, just looking for a light duty trail rig for camping, fishing, and hunting. And for those nasty road conditions.

That, and I bet it will look cool!
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Old 07-25-2014, 03:00 PM
 
 
 
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