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My 2013 Explorer progress (pic heavy!!)

Discussion in 'Modified 2011- 2019 Explorer Sport Tuning' started by R1chard, April 5, 2013.

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    1. R1chard

      R1chard Active Member

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      City, State:
      Upstate NY
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      2013 Ford Explorer LTD
      In mid February I got into my 2013 Explorer since then I have changed a few things.
      I have a few more tweaks here and there to add which I will update this thread as they get accomplished.



      Specs:

      Vehicle: 2013 Ford Explorer Limited 4WD
      Color: White platinum metallic tri-coat on medium light stone

      Factory options:
      Color White platinum metallic tri-coat ​
      Package: 302A ​
      Panoramic Sunroof​
      20" Polished aluminum wheels​




      Day One



      The day I picked 'her' up (old ride on the left).
      She was neat, clean and polished however in Upstate NY Winter weather that didn't last long.


      [​IMG]



      The next day:



      [​IMG]



      [​IMG]


      Interior Accessories


      Since things get dirty and salt is abundant in this area I started off by adding protective items.



      Floor Mats


      First step was the Ford Explorer specific Husky Liners. At first I was torn between the Weathertech vs Husky brand of these heavy style mats and after all said and done I'm glad I picked the Husky version. They seem to protect the trouble areas (carpeting near the door sill, etc) better. I (highly recommend these for anyone that lives in harsh weather. These are how mine look after ~2.5 months of heavy winter usage. All I've done is periodically hosed them down with water. They fit snug and appear to just belong there.

      Driver's side:
      [​IMG]

      Passenger:
      [​IMG]

      Rear:
      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      My next step was more interior protection and security. I followed the mats by the factory sun shade cover, cargo net and inner trunk liner. All of these three items were OEM Ford brand.


      OEM Sun Shade Cover


      First the sun shade cover and I hate to say this but I find this item VERY poorly designed. The way the sides connect to the glass portion is VERY cheap and a lot of times they just come loose with the slightest resistance on the curtain. The plus of this type of cover is though you can remove and fold it easily to use the 3rd row of seating.

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]


      OEM Cargo Net


      I followed the trunk cover with the OEM net. I find this accessory very handy specially with such a large trunk as it allows small items (groceries, etc) to stay in place. The OEM version of this cover works great and the fit and finish is as expected.

      [​IMG]

      Disregard my Upstate NY Winter weather survival attire / items.

      [​IMG]


      OEM Cargo Liner


      The next item I added was the OEM trunk rubberized liner.

      This is very handy and again highly recommended because of the high edges throughout all four corners that prevent liquid spills from getting to the carpet. Also find this type of liner allows further protection again scuffs.

      Side note, I chose the OEM liner versus the Husky branded one mainly because of aesthetics and I thought the "Explorer" branding looked quite pleasant to the eye.

      [​IMG]

      As you can notice by the scuffs it is certainly doing it's intended job.
      [​IMG]


      Exterior Accessories



      Rear Bumper Protector


      I decided on this item next because how easily it can be to scuff the paint to this area of the bumper. I was VERY surprised Ford decided to make this item an option on a vehicle of this price point.

      When I was researching for this item there were only two options. Either the the OEM Ford unit and the unit by a company called BMC Extreme Customs out of NJ. Reviewing both units and cost I went with the aftermarket choice as it made more sense.

      How so you may ask?

      The OEM unit only covers the TOP portion of the bumper not the ledge which in opinion is the section most likely to get damaged during loading/unloading of cargo.

      Other pluses from the aftermarket unit is that it is both wider and longer than the OEM, which means more protection. Installation was a fairly easy process.

      Some tips regarding the installation. Please make sure the area is well clean of any dirt / chemicals / contaminants (ex: salt, wax, etc), also this item is much easier to install with two people. Four hands offer the most even pressure to appropriately shape the unit as it contours the bumper.

      After all said and done I'm glad I picked the aftermarket choice as it look OEM and very fitting for the car.

      The BMC Extreme Customs unit I chose:
      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      The Ford OEM unit for comparison
      [​IMG]



      OEM Mud Flaps


      For the next step I went with the OEM Ford mud flaps (mud guards whatever you way want to call it) since with a white car EVERY speckle of dirt, dust, etc show like a HUGE stain. The added benefit I noticed from adding these is a HUGE decrease in the "orange spots" in the trunk area as noted by a few other members. Again this is another part that I find hard to believe Ford does not include on a vehicle of this price point.

      Ford offers two choices for these guards, ones that contoured and ones that are flat.

      I picked the contoured units as they seemed to be a better performance value. The rear units have a Ford logo on them.

      Front
      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      Rear
      The rear units have a Ford logo on them.
      [​IMG]


      Shark Finn Antenna


      I had to get this antenna in order to make my car clear the garage entrance otherwise the OEM antenna would get destroyed and potentially damage the mounting bracket. I picked the item from Visual Garage G Shark Fin Antenna with the matching white platinum metallic tri-coat color. The turn around time for this unit was 3 weeks which it was as advertised and that is counting shipping. For reference the item came internationally (Canada) from the other side of the country.

      The fit and finish is great and the color was matched perfectly to the OEM color. Installation was a breeze.

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]




      LED License Plate Bulbs


      The next step I added the LED license plate bulbs. I had to go through two different pairs of bulbs to get the look I was aiming for. On the left was a bulb I got from Super Bright LEDs. The website claimed these to be their brightest and strongest units, I was VERY disappointed with the end result. I picked 5000K color yet I ended up with something more green. I thought maybe the unit I got was defective but I got these as pairs the other unit was exactly the same. On the right is the OEM unit for comparison.

      [​IMG]

      Instead I researched quite a bit and I ended up getting these units from eBay:
      "RSI Extreme LED bulbs 5000K Intense White" and they are exactly that, intense. I will let the photos do the talking.

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      The results are quite pleasing. The vehicle looks so much more sleek and fine with the crisp white LEDs.



      What's Next?


      The next items on my list are:

      • Tinting both front windows 35%. DONE see below
      • LED side puddle lamp upgrade DONE see below


      See update post at the bottom.
      Richard
       
      Last edited: May 3, 2013
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    3. WOLFexplorer

      WOLFexplorer Active Member

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      Keep it up, looking real nice
       
    4. txaggie

      txaggie Elite Explorer

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      Looks good!
       
    5. Finning215

      Finning215 New Member

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      Looks great!!!
       
    6. machine4321

      machine4321 Active Member

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      Looking forward to the projector upgrade. I too am not impressed with the quality of the beam(halogens) but assume the hid are not much better. They really lacking a cutoff of anysort.
       
    7. onebadf150

      onebadf150 New Member

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      Looks awesome you gave me some great ideas
       
    8. broken strut

      broken strut Active Member

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      My Ltd has that exact cut off? Same pattern!
       
    9. R1chard

      R1chard Active Member

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      I'm pretty sure both the halogens and bi-xenon versions share the same projectors. I drove an XLT and it was just as bad as the factory xenons on my Limited.

      Thanks everyone for the feedback.

      Richard
       
    10. bjeremi

      bjeremi New Member

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      Very nice work so far.
       
    11. LukerDooker

      LukerDooker Active Member

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      Did you install the molded mud guards yourself?
      If so, how did you get them on the rear?
      The fronts are easy enough but I cannot take the wheels off sooo...
      about that part where I drill and add a screw? some on here have said its not necessary, that the screw you drill yourself isnt really doing much.
      What do you think?
      Thanks.
       
    12. R1chard

      R1chard Active Member

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      I had mine installed at the dealer as the rear wheels had to be removed to access the area. The additional plus is also that the dealer charged me a VERY reasonable (~$38) amount for doing all four corners.

      From what I gathered the screws adds quite a bit of strength of power to the units so I would recommend installing them.
       
    13. R1chard

      R1chard Active Member

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      05/03/2013 UPDATE

      Tinting both front windows 35%

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]


      Bonus photo
      [​IMG]


      LED side puddle lamp upgrade

      I decided to do this small tweak myself and it turned out to be easier than I thought. I picked these Philips festoon 4000K colored LEDs right out of Amazon. For reference the size needed is 30mm however I'm pretty sure 31mm would work just fine in the assembly.

      [​IMG]

      I intentionally picked the 4000K color (a soft white) versus 6000K (available) because I wasn't looking for anything blueish for the puddle lamps.

      They seemed very high quality in comparison to most LEDs you get online. One of the neat things I noticed is that the actual LED is encapsulated in a protective little box clear cover instead of being exposed.

      [​IMG]

      The outcome is very bright in comparison to the halogen bulbs they replaced.
      Another plus is the soft dimming feature remains intact which I really wanted to keep.

      I will try to get more photos as these are difficult to capture for a photo.

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]



      Bonus photo I took this morning of a gorgeous Upstate NY sunrise.

      [​IMG]


      Next step from here on is to install LaminX fog light covers. I gathered the fog lights in the Explorer are made of glass therefor are prone to easily cracking with highway driving (rocks/chips etc).


      Stay tuned for more updates.
      Richard

      Enjoy!
      Richard
       
    14. roamingphantom

      roamingphantom Active Member

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      Richard,
      I have the exact same EX and I gotta say I have some ideas now - 35% tint coming today. I already did the mudguards and have the rear bumper guard and weathertech trunk mat coming in a few days. Wish I had seen the aftermarket bumper cover you got prior to me ordering.

      I was thinking of just changing the HID bulbs to something a bit whiter. What do you think?

      YOURS LOOOK FANTASTIC!!!
       
    15. langla4

      langla4 Member

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      nicely documented changes. Great photos.
       
    16. ttownlarry

      ttownlarry New Member

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      Wow

      Excellent presentation! I love this forum!! I checked and found the Phillips 30mm led's ,but it says it is not compatible. Could you please share the part #? Thanks,

      Larry
       
    17. R1chard

      R1chard Active Member

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      @roamingphantom: Thanks for the feedback.

      In order to get the bulbs to something a bit whiter you will be out of luck.

      Currently there is not an option for whiter color unless you want to risk getting inferior quality bulbs.

      Ford uses D3S bulbs for their stock HID setups and really the only alternative is to replace the stock D3S projectors and bulbs with D2S style since they are more mainstream.
      Not only you will benefit for better bulbs but also better output however it will be a very involved process to achieve it.

      I noticed one of the members here has already gone that route. (see his thread here -> Link )

      Best,
      Richard

      @langla4: thanks!

      @ttownlarry: Larry, The part number of the LEDs I used is

      • Philips 129404000KX1 XtremeVision 30mm 12V Festoon LED Interior/Exterior Retrofit Bulb Amazon Direct Link

      By the way after I ordered mine (supposedly I got the last 2 of a batch, then it went out of stock) they cost about $9/each but I see now that the price has gone up to $14.75/each.

      Regarding fitting, I believe Amazon lists these as incompatible to our vehicle because these puddle side lamps are not meant to be user replaceable (as noted by the process to get to them).

      However as you can tell from my install they worked just fine. I also believe a 31mm (vs the 30mm Phillips) festoon bulb will also work just fine there.

      Thanks!
      Richard
       
      Last edited: May 6, 2013
    18. Explore4882

      Explore4882 New Member

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      Great Work

      thank you for sharing your great ideas.

      Question: Philips 129404000KX1 XtremeVision 30/31mm 12V Festoon LEDs are fit for both Side and Tail Lamps?

      Thx
       
    19. R1chard

      R1chard Active Member

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      Those "festoon" style bulbs are only for the side mirror puddle lamps, for the side and tail lamps you need a completely different style bulb.
       
    20. SilverStallion

      SilverStallion Active Member

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      Looks awesome. Quick question - how many LED were in your lic. plate bulbs? 5 or 9? I was looking on Ebay for the units that you mentioned.

      Thanks.

      Darren
       
    21. R1chard

      R1chard Active Member

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      The units I used for the license plate have since failed with one being completely out and the other with a random flicker. When that happened after much research I decided to get PUTCO branded LEDs and not only they are brighter (yes even brighter) but they are a more crisp white color. They are also a much better finished (fit and finish) product than the original one they replaced.

      The ones I have are PUTCO model #280002W (W stands for white)
      [​IMG].

      Totally worth it, and they have been flawless ever since installation.
       
    22. Explore4882

      Explore4882 New Member

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      Thank you Richard.

      Just one Question, can i replace the Puddle light bulb to LED myself? because i have seen websites selling the puddle lights with core! the whole assembly (Plug and Play).
       
    23. R1chard

      R1chard Active Member

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      If you want my honest opinion, do it yourself and you will come out cheaper yet yield the same / better results.

      You will need a Dremel tool, some epoxy (or your favorite type of water tight glue), one flat blade screw driver and the LEDs if you chose to do it yourself. The overall modification takes almost no time.

      This is the post that I used when "Daytime Bright Lites" (the guy here who sells the lights all done).

       
    24. J_Westy

      J_Westy New Member

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      Thanks for the thread R1chard!

      This forum and your thread in particular helped me decide to not go for the OEM mats and bumper protector as part of the deal on our 2014.

      We picked up our 2014 Deep Impact Blue XLT on Monday. BMC bumper protector came from Amazon yesterday and istalled. Husky mats from Amazon arrive today. Only other mods on my short list are Hella XY (yellow) fog lamp bumps for reduced glare (at least to my eyes) and to debadge the hatch.

      Is there any particluar reason you wanted have the LED lamps on the license plate?

      J_Westy
       
    25. R1chard

      R1chard Active Member

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      There were two schools of thought for replacing the license place LEDs lamps.

      First, they aid the camera while backing up because they shine quite bright and secondly they make the car look more slick (crisp color). I figured since they are such an easy replacement part why not. :)
       
    26. Sgt1411

      Sgt1411 Elite Explorer

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      You take really nice photos, your Ex mods look great.
       

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