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Greg Kosmo's 1997 Explorer EB

Discussion in 'Explorer Registry' started by Greg Kosmo, June 14, 2016.

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    1. Greg Kosmo

      Greg Kosmo New Member

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      City, State:
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      Year, Model & Trim Level:
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      Well since I've been here for half a year and haven't said much, I figured I might as well introduce my Explorer. It and I are the same model year, so I think it makes us closer.

      We picked it up in March of 2012 for $4000, with 40,000 miles on the motor and 114,000 on everything else. I didn't really drive it regularly until August of 2013, which is when I got my first job. Back then, I didn't really know much about vehicles other than how to change the oil, so that was usually all I ever did to it.

      The first real work I did to it was replacing the stereo (and putting in a sub) in March of 2014 after my stock unit started crackling. I was on a high school budget, so the parts and work were... shoddy to say the least. I ended up replacing everything (door speakers, amp, and head unit) in September of 2015 when I started college and got a much better paying job. It sounds great now, by the way.

      The next thing I replaced were the upper control arms, lower ball joints, and all 4 shocks, which I did in February. Square Tire quoted me 870 bucks just for ball joints and control arms, I ended up doing it all for 200. I wish I had taken some pictures during the process, but I guess I just got too in to it. That and I was too exhausted to even bother after it was over.

      Over the weekend, I replaced both headlights, which as usual became a harder job than it should have been because the plastic clips on them broke. Nothing a little hot glue couldn't fix, though.

      Now, just today, I replaced the sway bar bushings to FINALLY get rid of that annoying clunking in the front end. I'll probably post some pics tomorrow.

      Okay, now that my wall of text is finally over, I'll throw in some pictures. As it sits, it has around 60k on the motor and 134k on the rest. The only real "defect" on the body is the beautiful peeling clear coat on the hood.

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      This one was after repainting the grille.
      [​IMG]

      I took this one once I got the new headlights in.
      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      I don't really have huge plans for it right now other than routine maintenance, as college is sucking up most of my spare cash. I figure, however, that I can use this thread as a place to post any of the maintenance I do just because it might help someone in the future. Anyway, thanks for checking it out!
       
      Last edited: June 18, 2016
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    3. Greg Kosmo

      Greg Kosmo New Member

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      Alright, here's the post about the sway bar bushing replacement I promised. I'll start with a before and after video.



      It's a pretty straightforward job, but I still managed to screw it up.

      I got the brackets off with a little help from my friend PB Blast, got the old bushings off fine and even managed to get the new bushings on without any issues (although I did have to loosen the end links a bit to allow the sway bar to pull away from the frame further). I screwed up when I was bolting the brackets back on.

      I could not for the life of me get the top of the bracket on the driver's side close enough to the frame to let the bolt get a good bite on the threads. So, as logic would dictate, I kept trying to force it closer to the frame while ratcheting the bolt. What ended up happening was I stripped the hell out of the first 4 or 5 threads.

      [​IMG]

      I grabbed a non-stripped bolt, threw it in the top, and it went in fine. I tried putting the stripped bolt in the bottom of the bracket, but it would only go in about 3/4 of the way. So, like the moron I am, I grabbed the breaker bar and tried forcing it the rest of the way in, but it wouldn't budge.

      [​IMG]

      I went to Menards like I should have done in the first place, grabbed a couple bolts that looked about the same size, and prayed one of them would work. And believe it or not, one did.

      [​IMG]

      As you can see, I grabbed the golden bolt for extra horsepower. All joking aside, I was lucky to not have destroyed the threads on the inside of the frame. The bolt is a M12x1.75.

      Edit: I didn't know the correct size of the bolt at the time, so this is actually a 7/16 x 1.5 in the picture. Don't make the same mistake I did! The correct size is M12 x 1.75
       
      Last edited: June 22, 2016
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    4. Sitcoms

      Sitcoms Active Member

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      Oh how I feel you on the headlight clips breaking. When I replaced my old foggy/dirty ones with new clear ones, they were a pain to remove cause of those damn clips. Looks good though. I'm also a college student with a second gen.
       
    5. Greg Kosmo

      Greg Kosmo New Member

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      Hey Sitcoms! I've actually read through most of your thread, good luck with the timing chain rattle. I'm crossing my fingers mine doesn't develop one anytime soon. Of course now that I said something it will, but maybe Murphy will spare me this time.
       
    6. Sitcoms

      Sitcoms Active Member

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      Eh it's been probably 5-6k since it developed (about to push 158k miles), and it's gotten really loud now. Thankfully, with my father being a mechanic, either we're going to do it or he knows someone that has done the timing chains before.
       
    7. Greg Kosmo

      Greg Kosmo New Member

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      Damn, SOHC probs, man. We really are in the same boat, though; my dad's a mechanic, too. I probably couldn't have done the ball joints or control arms without him :D
       
    8. Sitcoms

      Sitcoms Active Member

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      Yeah, we did all the sway bars and such when we first got it. Helped me do the power steering pump as well. Yours doesn't look like the rust bug has gotten a hold of it yet though, haha.
       
    9. Greg Kosmo

      Greg Kosmo New Member

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      Yeah, it's pretty good other than one spot on the running board/fender flare by the driver's side rear door.

      [​IMG]

      Of course, the underside's got the usual Nebraska rust on it. The rear bumper had some on the sides, but it cleaned up nicely with some aluminum foil and coke. I was pretty surprised with how well it worked.
       
    10. swshawaii

      swshawaii Explorer Addict

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      Please correct me if I'm wrong. The MAJORITY of fasteners used in U.S. vehicles since the early to mid eighties are METRIC thread. Only exceptions I can think of on Explorers are 1/2"-20 lug nuts and 3/8"- 24 brake bleeders.

      How to: Replace your sway bar / stabilizer bar bushings and end links | Ford
       
      Last edited: June 18, 2016
    11. RandomNerd2000

      RandomNerd2000 Active Member

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      Explorers are practically all METRIC, my 99 is that way, everything is metric.
       
    12. Greg Kosmo

      Greg Kosmo New Member

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      Yeah, I suppose they could be 11mm... For what it's worth the difference between 7/16 and 11mm is .004 inches, but I suppose it's also possible I DID damage the threads on the inside of the frame which allows a slightly bigger bolt to fit.:dunno:

      It's not a big enough deal to make me drive out to Menards again in search of an 11mm bolt, and it's not like my sway bar is going to fly out while I'm going down the highway if for some reason it shakes loose. I'll probably just leave it and let you guys know if something goes wrong.

      I will also update my post above. Thanks for letting me know.
       
    13. Varsity

      Varsity Don't need no stinkin 4WD...yet Elite Explorer

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      Really nice truck!! As a college student, I relate to a lot. My current situation is, things don't break for awhile, but when they do, they ALL break. Luckily its all just basic maintenance though. Hope the truck treats you well! Can't wait to see what else is in store.
       
    14. swshawaii

      swshawaii Explorer Addict

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      Last edited: June 18, 2016
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    15. Greg Kosmo

      Greg Kosmo New Member

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      Oh man, they're 12mm? For a dollar, I'm probably just going to order that bolt or get one from a dealer and do it correctly. Man, all it takes is me posting in a forum to get me to spend more money. :laugh:

      Seriously though, I think the peace of mind that I have the right part is worth a buck. Thanks for the info.
       
    16. Greg Kosmo

      Greg Kosmo New Member

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      Thanks, Varsity! Just got done reading through your registry. I'd love to do the 3" body lift and get some bigger tires for mine, but that's WAY out of the budget at this point in time. It kinda sucks too since my Wrangler RT/S's are starting to dry rot and have really weird wear from when my ball joints were bad. Your sport looks great, though!
       
    17. Sitcoms

      Sitcoms Active Member

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      haha that's NOTHING!
      I've got hole through the dog legs behind the doors on my sport, through they're together enough to keep the trim on.
       
    18. Machine090767

      Machine090767 Elite Explorer

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      Great looking Explorer, Greg! I hope you and her have a great relationship!
       
    19. Greg Kosmo

      Greg Kosmo New Member

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      That's all that matters isn't it? I know, I've been pretty lucky when it comes to rust. I should probably take care of that small area before it DOES become a problem, haha.
       
    20. Greg Kosmo

      Greg Kosmo New Member

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      Thanks, Machine!
       
    21. Greg Kosmo

      Greg Kosmo New Member

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      Well, we got 4 and a half inches of rain over the weekend, so I took the Explorer out for some fun on the "offroad" trail. Really it's just an abandoned sand/clay road that people used to get to town back in the day, but it's the best I've got, so I make do.

      Anyway, I threw together a short compilation of some of the puddles I took her through :D
      As you can probably tell, I had a lot of fun.



      Thanks for checking it out!
       
      Last edited: August 21, 2016
    22. Greg Kosmo

      Greg Kosmo New Member

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      Alright, I've got good and bad news to report today.

      The good news is I went to the local salvage yard and was able to pick up a center console lid, compartment for the rear right of the trunk, and driver's side rear interior door handle. Already got the console lid and handle in, and they both work great.

      Now for the bad news:

      [​IMG]

      Turns out I DID destroy the threads in the frame for the sway bar bracket. :banghead::censored::angryfire:

      I'm going to try putting a nut on the end of the 7/16ths bolt I have in there now, but if that doesn't work I'm going to have to re-tap it. Either way, I'm pretty pissed I did this to myself, and a little worried I won't be able to fix it on my own. I guess if anyone has any other suggestions I'm all ears, but for now I'm just going to wallow in my own anger.
       
    23. Greg Kosmo

      Greg Kosmo New Member

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      Alright, nothing but good news today!

      After thinking about things for a bit, I decided to re-tap the threads in the frame instead of putting a nut on the 7/16ths bolt. The reason I decided to do this is because having is a smaller bolt in the hole really does nothing, the upper bolt is still holding all the weight. I might as well have hot glued a toothpick in there and it would have been just as effective.

      I went to Menards, yet again, and got a M12 x 1.75 tap and a tap wrench. I brought it and a can of PB Blast outside and went to town. And after an hour of work, here are the results!

      [​IMG]

      Edit: I should have mentioned, but maybe it was obvious. I'm now done screwing with the sway bar. I hope. After I got this done, I wrestled with the brackets for a bit, but got them on. I've been checking it periodically and it's holding up great.
       
      Last edited: June 28, 2016
    24. Greg Kosmo

      Greg Kosmo New Member

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      Figured I'd do a small update today, I fixed a few basic things over the weekend which were mostly just pet peeves of mine.
      • I took the 6 CD changer out of the center console, which pretty much doubled my space in there. That thing was HUGE.
      • I finally got the damn thing to stop dinging when the door was open even without the key in, and if I'd have known it was as easy as it was, I'd have done it years ago.
      • I got the storage compartment installed in the right side of the trunk, which involved taking out all the JBL stereo stuff.
      • I also finally replaced the map lights, which is something else that was so easy I wish I'd have done it when we got the thing.
      I waxed it for the first time in a while too; I had forgotten how good those rims look all polished up.
      [​IMG]

      Cheap improvements are the best improvements. :D
       
    25. Greg Kosmo

      Greg Kosmo New Member

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      I just had to say the word "cheap" in my last update... :mad:

      Here's a list of the issues that have sprung up in the past month:
      • My neutral safety switch either needs to be re calibrated or replaced, but I'm intermittently unable to start in park and I've had to start using the park brake so it doesn't roll away.
      • My brakes are nearing the end of their life. I've known this for a couple months, but they're getting to the point where it's dangerous not to replace them.
      • Thanks to Firestone, I have a broken wheel stud. It was supposed to be replaced 4 days ago, but I haven't gotten a single call about it.
      • My 4wd now has a mind of its own. It kicks in whenever it wants to, and the 4wd hi and lo lights blink on the dash.
      The only thing I've tried to fix the 4wd is disconnecting the battery for a couple minutes, but I'm still searching for possible fixes. It started last Wednesday (after I took it to Firestone...), was fine over the weekend, and started acting up again today. I hope this isn't the nail in the coffin for me and my Explorer, but we'll see what it's going to take to fix it, either monetarily or laboriously. Admittedly, I have started to look at other vehicles. :(
       
    26. Greg Kosmo

      Greg Kosmo New Member

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      Good news, the relationship is going to continue! :D Here's what I've done to her over the past month or so:
      • I got my 4wd situation temporarily fixed with a simple fuse pull, so now I'm in 2wd and not damaging my transfer case. I'm just glad I didn't figure this out in high school or there might not be much tread left on those tires...
      • I replaced all 4 rotors and pads last weekend with a little assistance from my good friend PB Blast and a rubber mallet. Also got the new stud in, although a slight modification had to be done to it.
      Here are some pictures:
      [​IMG]
      [​IMG]

      All this just in time for college to start, too. Crossing my fingers nothing else pops up along the way. Maybe I should just keep my mouth shut...
       

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