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2007 Explorer Sport Trac - One For The Show

CGS Coppertone Sema Project Part III

Bob Ryder
Mar 1, 2008
Photographers: Bob Ryder
Photo 2/36   |   2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac suspension Installed
In the past, we have always given our readers a look at the best SEMA feature trucks present at the show. For a change, we thought we would give you a sneak peek of what it takes to build a feature-worthy truck for SEMA.
In the previous build-up tech articles, "One for the Show," Parts 1 and 2, we teamed up with Casey and Ron Scranton of CGS Motorsports in Pomona, California, as they brought the Sean Smith rendering of Coppertone to a reality. The '07 Ford Sport Trac would receive a custom-built aero body kit by Elahn Industries, Top Shop in Corona, California. Casey and Ron shaved the door handles and antenna.
Photo 3/36   |   The Ford Sport Trac Coppertone will show off the suspension's vertical athleticism after being fitted with an Air Lift pneumatic 'bag system.
The Sport Trac's entire exterior surface was given a primer coat before Jeff Meech, from Crazy Customs in Escondido, California, applied multiple coats of BASF Coppertone color. It was then given four coats of clear. After the newly painted skin was given a day to cure, it was cut, buffed, and polished by Jake King, a 3M tech specialist and Jerry Berns. A dry, color-sand technique was used, instead of the traditional wet-sand technique. 3M Perfect 3,000 rubbing, buffing, and polishing compounds were then used to bring out the depth and incredible glistening finish.
This segment of "One for the Show" Part 3, will showcase the suspension, wheels, and tires. Casey and Ron wanted to lay out (airbag) the Sport Trac's unique front and rear independent suspension. An Air Lift pneumatic 'bag system with computerized, self-leveling capability was installed at CGS. Then, the Sport Trac Coppertone was trailered over to Devious Customs in Riverside, California, where Jeff Davy and his crew installed the compressor, airline manifold, 1/2-inch-diameter airlines, computer, storage tank, digital controller, and electrical systems. A custom diamond-plate platform and mounting frame were fabricated to house the Air Lift compressor, airline manifold, solenoid valves, relay, computer, and valves that were located in the spare tire space, which is under the bed and behind the rearend. The Air Lift 5-gallon air tank and mounting brackets were welded to the rear crossmember behind the rear end. The 1/2-inch-diameter front and rear airlines were then fitted into the compression choke fittings. The CAT 5 cable was connected to the hand-held electronic control unit (ECU) that was stored inside the center console for easy access. The quick-fill system would recycle itself for instant intake and exhaust of the Air Lift system.
Photo 4/36   |   After removing the front wheels and tires, Casey gained access to the front OEM strut suspension.
The Pirelli Scorpion Zero 265/35ZR22 front and 305/35ZR22 rear were then mounted onto a set of one-off Devious Edge 5 22x8-inch and 22x9-1/2-inch aluminum wheels. Brian Doyen at Hot Motorsports in Santa Ana used a Corghi tire-mounting machine, which delivered both agility and strength for mounting tires with low-profile sidewalls on large diameter wheels, to mount the new tires onto the wheels.
After the wheels and tires were mounted on all four corners. The Air Lift system was then activated, which sparked the compressor, and filled the 5-gallon storage tank to its capacity in a few minutes. After the compressor shut off, Casey purged the system, which instantly descended the Sport Trac to earth, tucking the 22s up inside the wheelwells. The control panel was then activated and instantly popped the Sport Trac up on all fours to its pre-programmed ride height.
From The Driver SeatWe idled around in the parking lot to make sure there were no surprises. As we pulled out of the driveway and accelerated down the road, the Sport Trac's ride was like floating on air-no pun intended. As Casey applied the bakes and rolled into a corner, the front and rear independent suspension and the Pirelli Scorpions dug in and gripped the asphalt with limited body roll. Coppertone felt like it was on rails. The overall ride was very good. After we cruised into the parking lot, Casey put it in park, purged the 'bags to the pre-programmed layout specs, dropped Coppertone's framerails within a 1/4-inch from the asphalt, tuckin' those 20s and 22s. It was too cool.
Time Spent Working: Approximately 9 hours
Degree of Difficulty: Advanced
Tools Needed: Floor jack, jackstands, basic handtools, wrenches, drill press, Allen wrenches, pickle fork, Schrader valve, a hand-held plasma cutter or cutting torch, disc grinder, mig-welder, tig-welder, portable hand drill, assorted drill bits, small and medium Phillips screwdrivers, an airline cutter, and an industrial pneumatic tire changer.
(2) Air Lift front strut airbags PN82605 $699.00 pair
(2) Air Lift rear strut airbags PN82107 $625.00 pair
(1) Air Lift control system kit PN27630 $1,525.00 each
(4 sets) Urethane strut stem bushings and fasteners PNRS981
(1) Air Lift compressor PN16380
(1) 5-gallon air tank PN10991
(1) 40-footx1/2-inch-diameter airline PN20996
(1) Digital Controller 175 psi PN27025
(1) Digital Controller 175 psi ECU harness PN25033
(2) Manifolds PN25035
(1) Pressure transducer/sensor PN24001
(1) Display to ECU line PN26440
(2) 1/2-inch MNPTX1/4-inch FNPT bushings PN21247
(1) Drain cock valve PN21754
(1) Inflation valve PN21366
(2) 1/2-inch Hex head pipe plugs PN21193
(2) 1/2-inch MNPTX1/2-inch tube {{{90}}}-degree elbow PN21370
(1) Air Line cutter PN10530
(6) 3/8-inch MNPTX1/2-inch tube 90-degree elbow PN21637
(2) Self-tapping screws PN17132
(1) Thread sealant PN23586
(10) Self-tapping screws PN17263
(4) 3/8-inch -16 Nyloc nuts PN18435
(8) 3/8-inch flat washers PN18444
(1) Display mounting bracket PN10415
(1) Velcro PN10519
(4) Manifold mounting brackets PN10422
(8) 3/8-inch, 20x3/8-inch screws PN17320
Sub Total: $2,849.00
(2) Devious {{{Edge}}} 5 wheels 22x8-inch $1,400.00 pair
(2) Devious Edge 5 wheels 22x9-1/2-inch $2,000.00 pair
(2) Pirelli Scorpion Zero 265/35R22 (front) $476.00 pair
(2) Pirelli Scorpion Zero 305/35ZR22 (rear) $772.00 pair
(prices from
Total: $7,497.00


CGS Motorsports
Chino, CA 91710
Bonspeed/Devious US Wheel Corp
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
Devious Customs (air suspension installation)
Riverside, CA 92504
Hot Motorsports (wheels/tires mounting)
Santa Ana, CA 92705


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