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1997 for off road use.

Discussion in 'Modified 1995-2001 Explorers' started by Maxtor, May 2, 2013.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. Maxtor

    Maxtor New Member

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    City, State:
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    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    1997 Explorer xlt 4x4
    I have a stock 1997 Explorer 4x4 with a rear factory posi. I know it is not a Rubicon, but will my car work well on dirt roads, or should I start modifying it? It has the 4.0 sohc engine and auto trans. I don't want to "rock crawl" or anything close to that, but I would like to explore ghost towns out in the desert, on non maintained dirt roads.
     
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  3. tenny

    tenny B

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    should be PERFECTLY fine......

    the only upgrade i would do (in your case).....would be TIRES!!!...

    a decent (more aggressive) A/T tire would do just fine for you
    and your "ghost town" exploring...

    have fun

    :salute:
     
  4. DaExplorer

    DaExplorer Elite Explorer

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    City, State:
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    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    97 XLT SOHC 4x4
    Your 97 should work great for those outings. I have a 97 and my son has a 95. We have done a few of the trips to Truck Haven with the big boys and went ALMOST everywhere they went. I have been impressed with the Explorers. The first time I went Mine was basically stock. My son got me to add the Warrior shackles to the rear for a little more lift (I also have rear air shocks for heavy loads which also lifted the back) then did a torsion twist to bring the front up to level. Gave it a nice look to be up a little more than stock. I did the first trip with street tires but they slipped too much on steep hills. Now I have the same as my son with a little more meat to the tread. Better for both dirt and snow trips.
    We travel the fire access and dirt forest service trails in Big Bear with very little trouble.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Maxtor

    Maxtor New Member

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    Thanks for the information. Those are the types of trips we want to go on. Back in the day, we lived in Grand Terrace, and have been to Big Bear and Crestline many times. My wife graduated from high school at Colton, and I from Riverside Poly.
    I will check into tires. We now live in Northern Calif. and there are many trails going into the mountains.
    Just wonder how good the stock posi is, and how well it will do compared to a locker type differential. Also we purchased a Warn wench that sits in a cradle so it can go into the 2" receiver in the back. I figure if we made it to the place where we get stuck, if we pull out backwards, we will be able to drive back to where we came from.
    So far we have made one adventurous trip with no problems. This weekend we will try another more aggressive trip.
    Thanks again.:thumbsup:
    P.S. I plan on keeping all four wheels firmly on the ground :D
     
  6. RangerX

    RangerX Elite Ranger Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Well, it's not a locker, it's closer to an open diff than to a locker.
    Having said that, it helps to have one. But they do wear out, and chances are real good that your is worn out. Got more than 50,000 on it?
    They can be rebuilt for not much money if you do it yourself, and it will be like new, or even a little stronger if you add an extra shim or two...
     
  7. explorer-aus

    explorer-aus Active Member

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    ....................
     
    Last edited: November 26, 2014
  8. Maxtor

    Maxtor New Member

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    I have the 235/75r15 tires. It looks like I have a little more than three inches clearance front to back on the tires and lots of clearance above the tires. I wonder what 15 inch tire would be a good choice for our Explorer.
    I got under it and found that the lowest place is the differential and it was
    7 inches above the ground. That seems to be good clearance for stock.
    I checked and our tires are 28.8 inches tall. I would think that I could go with at least a 31 inch tire without a problem. I need to check on who makes a off road 31 inch tire in a 15 inch wheel.

    I will have to check and make sure the posi is working. If not, I will have it rebuilt. I checked the front differential and it is working fine.
    Thanks again for all your help.

    P.S. Our car is green.
     
  9. Elessar65

    Elessar65 Elite Explorer

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    I have a 98 Sport, and with only a TT lift and leaf springs in the rear, along with a locker and 32" MT tires I can do almost any trail, within reason obviously, its a daily driver not a KOH rig. I have had no problems following SAS trucks with 37" tires through lots of stuff. Being good behind the wheel (experience is the best teacher, but its a hard road with a steep learning curve) makes up for thousands of dollars in offroad goodies. 1 thing that I would invest in is a winch and winch bumper though. All the mods that you do will only get you stuck worse most of the time, but a winch is the one thing that will always help you get unstuck.
     
  10. RangerX

    RangerX Elite Ranger Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Can't go wrong with BFG All-Terrains, the best all purpose tire, IMO. They come in 31.
     
  11. Maxtor

    Maxtor New Member

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    Thanks for all the information. You guys are giving me hope. I will check into those tires. I do have a wench that is in a cradle that goes into my two inch receiver in the back. I hope that I do not get myself into a situation that I will need it, but it is better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it.
     
  12. explorer-aus

    explorer-aus Active Member

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    Heaps of people use 31" Maxxis Bighorns down here, which are made for 15" rims, exactly what i was using. They are very good tyres for all round stuff and not bad on the road.
     
  13. 2TimingTom

    2TimingTom Well-Known Member

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    Check out the link to my registry in my signature. And then from about post 100 and on, I start 4wheeling it pretty good. Fairly stock at first to decently modified now.

    It does great offroad- and I have an open diff.
     
  14. obie

    obie Active Member

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    Stock Explorers are still beasts off road, and for doing mostly dirt trails without crazy rocks and jumping, you'll be perfectly fine. But if you want a bit more clearance, a 31x10.5 is perfect, and will most likely fit without rubbing (every vehicle is different though).

    As for tires, I highly recommend the Goodyear Duratrac Wranglers. Very aggressive AT with superb traction in any weather and environment, good tread life, and minimal highway noise. It's the best all around tire I've ever used.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Maxtor

    Maxtor New Member

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    Thanks to all.... Great looking tire.
    We just got back from another adventure. No problems. Handled the ruts and dirt very well. We go slow and try to dodge the ruts. It is nice to put the transmission into low, and go down steep grades without using up the brakes.
    I am becoming a believer of Explorer off road worthiness.
     
  16. explorer-aus

    explorer-aus Active Member

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    [​IMG]

    Bighorns on 97
     
  17. Maxtor

    Maxtor New Member

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    Very nice. It looks like your Explorer will go anywhere. My next tires will be the Goodyear Wrangler.

    I did some research, and many jeep owners are switching to our Explorer differential to get the 31 spline 8.8 setup. They say that it is stronger than the dana 44.
     
  18. explorer-aus

    explorer-aus Active Member

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    Although i'm sure batches are fairly different, I had some wranglers before and they were an extremely hard and brittle composite, very shit off road. Meant they lasted well on road though.
     
  19. Maxtor

    Maxtor New Member

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    Oh,,, I see that the Bighorns and Wranglers are two different tires. :eek:
    They both look good.
     
  20. MercuryMullet

    MercuryMullet Active Member

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    [​IMG]
    my merc bone stock. IMO take off the running boards and pretty much any off road tire will do what you want.
     
  21. obie

    obie Active Member

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    If It makes a difference, the Wranglers are made in the US, while the Maxxis tires are made in china, taiwan, or thailand.
     

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