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5spdman's slow and cheap XLT build

Discussion in 'Modified 1991-1994 Explorers' started by 5spdman, March 11, 2014.

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    1. Rhett

      Rhett Let Them Eat Cake Elite Explorer

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      Are there any clear glass lenses available for our headlights? I have clear plastic lenses on my truck right now, and of course I have a set of the OEM fluted lenses on the shelf...but I'd be all over clear glass...
       
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    3. gmanpaint

      gmanpaint Torsion Bar Free Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      I haven't seen any. I am wanting them if they are available, is what I meant. If anybody finds them, please give us all a heads up! lol
       
    4. FR-425

      FR-425 Used to be a road here. Elite Explorer

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    5. gmanpaint

      gmanpaint Torsion Bar Free Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Mine are plastic. The 2 sets of stock spares I have are also plastic. I have been buffing the yellow/green off yearly, to try to keep them clear. I will check into the glass replacements, those would be awesome.
       
    6. Rhett

      Rhett Let Them Eat Cake Elite Explorer

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      I'm looking for some glass ones, that are clear. Not fluted like those.
       
    7. 5spdman

      5spdman Elite Explorer

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      I have seen clear lens housings on eBay, and there are a few there now, but I can't tell if they're just fluted or not...had to add "euro" or "diamond cut" to the search criteria, and sometimes search under Ranger rather than Explorer...and as far as being glass and not plastic, I can't say what they are...

      And all the stock headlight housings I've seen are plastic....I did see a guy from somewhere in Europe on a Facebook page that had sealed headlights, like you'd find in old square-body Chevys and the like....

      Thought about making something that would house those, and then get the 4x6 LED housings, which are expensive, but it'd for sure be something different...I always like that my rig is a bit set apart from others and I've had some wild ideas (like the D60 TTB swap rather than the already seen SAS and D44 TTB swaps) :D
       
      Last edited: February 8, 2017
    8. 5spdman

      5spdman Elite Explorer

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      Well I've got updates and questions, but we'll start with the updates...and pictures!

      As I had mentioned previously, both of my headlights went out within a week of each other, and I had been debating on making the switch to LED headlights. Well, with $50 in Amazon gift cards from the holidays and my birthday, I did some research, some shopping, and made a purchase! There was a little work involved, and here's the process...

      [​IMG]

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      Lights were reasonable; $46. Each bulb has 3 LEDs; 2 that aim up and slightly outward for lows and another that shines down in the housing to make the light brighter and aim more light up and out onto the road. There were others that had 4 LEDs per bulb (2 up and 2 down), and I really liked that design, but they didn't list different outputs for high/low and I didn't want to take the chance of getting something that wasn't what I needed, and didn't want to pay anything over what I had in gift cards (yes, I'm cheap......)

      There was one problem with them...

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      The bulb retainer is too big to allow the light to install...so I had to do some modification...

      Started by measuring the distance I had between the base and the fan, which was a little more than 1/4".

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      7/8"....yeah, not gonna work. To find where I needed to make my cut for sure, I measured from the "front" of the ring to the retaining tabs, added my 1/4" and placed a mark on the outside...

      [​IMG]

      (For a more accurate measurement, I used 1" as 0...)

      I made a few marks around the ring to help ensure I made a straight cut, grabbed a hacksaw, and went at it...

      [​IMG]

      It fits! Time for install...

      Install is really simple; other than modifying the retainer, it's a plug-and-play operation....

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      Install the base....

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      Install the retainer...

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      Install the bulb, plug into the connector and operate the lights as normal...
       
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    9. 5spdman

      5spdman Elite Explorer

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      And now the questions....

      Ive noticed recently that when moving from a stop, I really have to feather the clutch, unless I want the truck to shake and jerk like crazy to the point I'm afraid I'm gonna stall. Once that is past, I have to go easy on the gas until the engine hits about 2,000 rpm or higher, or else it wants to stumble and essentially slow down. I've pulled my plugs and cleaned them, but they looked clean, were still gapped right and were replaced not even a year ago....(now that I'm thinking about it, wires haven't been replaced since I purchased the truck, but 3 years is too soon for wires to go bad, right?)

      I had heard from several sources to check the TPS...after some searching on how to do this and what to look for/expect, I got out the multimeter and did some testing...everything looks good though from what I can tell, right?

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      I kept racking my brain on other things to check for, like possibly the engine was starving for air
      when getting on the gas...air filter was a little dirty, but I found some other things...

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      Dirty...just dirty......

      The last two pics are from the breathing tube from the valve cover to the intake...not only am I getting oil up though the tube, but I'm also getting water in there as well...dumped out a good table spoon of water from the tube....any ideas where this is coming from and the answers to my riddles?

      We'll end this on a good note...I also recently used other gift cards to go out and purchase a Hi-Lift for use on the trails and mounted it up on the rack...

      I held the jack to the side of the rack and marked the holes that lined up the best with the flat stock I had welded on the basket...by pure dumb luck the holes matched up with the middle of each bar, so I went ahead and drilled 1/2" holes for bolts (1/2" leaves only a little wiggle room in the holes on the jack). Took two 3" bolts, 4 large washers and 2 nylocks and torqued them down to the rack. Two jam nuts and a small washer hold the jack away from the rack slightly, and the jack is then held on with washers and wing nuts. For security when not on the trails, nylocks replace the wingnuts...

      Weather is supposed to be kinda crazy tomorrow, but I'll try and get some pics of the lights and the updated rack...
       
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    10. gmanpaint

      gmanpaint Torsion Bar Free Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Let us know how the LED conversion works after some time, and abuse. Hopefully the plastic lens doesn't interfere too much with them.

      Check/replace your PCV. Make sure the seals on the intake tube are good. Did you remove the intake end in the fender? Might be sucking in rain or road spray. Do you have a valve cover leak that drips and burns oil into the engine bay?

      I did the same Hi-lift jack mount, as you described, on both my rigs. Hi-lift makes a locking 1/2" spinner knob, but they are kinda pricey. To keep them quiet on the racks, I used upper post mount shock bushings behind the hi-lift bar.
       
    11. WormsExplorer

      WormsExplorer Elite Explorer

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      Can't wait to see how the lights and the high lift looks.
       
    12. 5spdman

      5spdman Elite Explorer

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      I have not checked those things yet Greg, but I'm sure it's not the valve covers....well at least I hope its not; I just replaced those two years ago...

      Well, I should have probably stopped to get pics, but here's what I see...

      [​IMG]

      Low beams...

      [​IMG]

      High beams...

      There doesn't seem to be much of a difference between the two, but there is...I believe the lights that came with 4 chips rather than the 3 in the bulbs I purchased would probably have more of a difference, but these will do for now...I usually run my fogs as well, and they seem to be almost more than enough. I also don't usually use my brights unless there's absolutely no one around, and in that case, my 20" bar comes on as well...

      They are plenty bright, that's for sure, but I haven't noticed anyone getting annoyed and brighting me...(I take that back....there was one mom in a soccer van that brighted me until she passed me, but she already looked annoyed, and I only had my fogs and parking lights on, so I'm not sure what her problem was...)

      So far, I'm pleased with them, and will probably purchase more as we have two more vehicles still running halogens...

      And now to end this post with some eye candy... :D

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]
       
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    13. WormsExplorer

      WormsExplorer Elite Explorer

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      Looks really good.
       
    14. 5spdman

      5spdman Elite Explorer

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      Thanks!

      Update on the engine gremlin that robbed me of power when getting on the gas...picked my Uncles brain about a month ago (he's the family mechanic basically, and I generally go to him with engine questions). After explaining the problem and thinking for a while, he suggested cleaning the throttle body and taking the MAF sensor out and cleaning that as well. (If you're wondering, Q-tip and rubbing alcohol.)

      Problem is gone! No problems getting up to speed and mashing on the gas now!

      I have done some work to Edgar recently and am in the process of something special...pics and details to come!
       
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    15. gmanpaint

      gmanpaint Torsion Bar Free Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Here is what I use when I clean about every 6 months, and after any dusty trail rides. Simple 2 second burst is all it takes. Can will last for a decade. lol

      maf cleaner.jpg
       
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    16. mr cribb

      mr cribb US Army Retired Elite Explorer

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      Any updates?
       
    17. 5spdman

      5spdman Elite Explorer

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      Several updates...due to pictures this also may be multiple posts and a long story...

      It all began with a trip to KY....

      I decided that I wanted a bit of protection as it was suggested I beef up a bit before the Black Mountain trip. Rock sliders and beefing up the skid plate were priority, so I got some steel and got to work. I first came up with an idea on the sliders and made a cardboard mock-up...

      [​IMG]

      I really liked it, but those missing rocker sections were bothering me, so I got a hood from a ranger (free from a friend), separated the skin and got busy cutting, hammering, bending, wire wheeling, hammering, trimming and welding...

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      Turns out rock lights serve many uses...

      [​IMG]

      Shaping the dog leg sections proved to be a bit of a challenge, but it got done!

      It was then time for some Bondo, sanding, more Bondo and sanding, and then some rubberized undercoating and paint!

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      I had started already on the fabrication of the sliders before this all went down, but that will be covered in the next post...

      As seen in the pictures, yes I'm using the stock jack to hold the truck, no I didn't use jack stands, and yes I know that was extremely stupid...I have since purchased a set of stands and a 3 ton jack as I didn't own any and saw the need when I knew I was gonna tear apart the front (also to be covered)...

      You'll also notice wheel spacers...I've heard good and bad things about spacers, but when I saw a set of 1.5" spacers off a TJ locally on Facebook Marketplace for $30, I jumped on it.
       
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    18. 5spdman

      5spdman Elite Explorer

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      Now, on to the sliders!

      I had it planned to use 3/16" steel for it all, a 6' 4"x6" rectangular tube, two pieces of 10' 3/16" flat stock at 5-1/2"ish wide and 1-1/2" tubing would suffice...I wanna say the bill was only $170 (before all the welding wire and flap disks)...

      To give the sliders that slight angle underneath, I went with the 4"x6" tubing and cut down both 4" side at 1-1/2"...I had planned on doing this with a cut-off wheel (got one of those steel ones for about $8, works quite well), but the kid at the welding shop offered to cut it for me (knowing what my plans were) with a plasma cutter...went quicker, cost me some $ for labor, and also bent the crap out of the two pieces. Bending it back was gonna be a chore, as the only rectangular stock they had was 1/4"...tried parking the Explorer on them, but that didn't do much, so I went with the next best thing at my disposal...

      [​IMG]

      Turned them into ramps and drove our Heavy Rescue truck over them a few times...straightened right out! Next was to give some support inside the sliders to beef up the 3/16" bottom plate and then weld on the plate and cut the corners...(if you look close at the oil barrel, you may see a familiar sight...coincidence!)

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      Profile of the front/back that shows the angle I mentioned...

      [​IMG]

      This is the point at which I started the rocker replacement project...after this I don't have any pictures until they were on the truck, but to walk you through the steps, I cut all the pieces to cap the ends (tried to use one piece per end and sort of wrap it, but that turned into a burned hand and making two pieces per end), welded the caps on and the whole length of the sliders. I then placed the sliders under the truck where I wanted them to sit using 2x4s as cribbing and shims, and then cut my tubing to attach the sliders to the frame...once they were welded to the sliders, it was time for bedliner and welding them to the frame.

      Now, I originally wanted to bolt the sliders to the frame, but as I finished this project literally an hour past the time I originally wanted to set off for the KY trip, it was good that I didn't go that route. Do I wish I had bolted them? Yeah, but they worked great!

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

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      I'm really happy with them, just disappointed in myself for waiting so long and then rushing...I used rattle can bedliner and it seems to be flaking in some places...luckily I have plenty of time to address those little issues...see next post....
       
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    19. 5spdman

      5spdman Elite Explorer

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      [​IMG]

      This is how Edgar sits right now as we speak...holding his radius arms out begging to hold axle beams again...

      But I'll start at the beginning...

      Took the trip to KY and had a really good time! Such a good time, that I really didn't get many pictures...rock sliders worked, had to get winched twice, but overall, the truck ran great!

      Until the mud hole that gman can attest to...what I thought was a long puddle turned out to be a deep mud hole that we later witnessed swallow a UTV on the very last day. I sucked in some dirty water, soaked my air filter, dirtied the MAF I had just cleaned and we hoped it hadn't gone any further than that. So after pulling the plugs and praying the cylinders didn't pump out water when we cranked Edgar's heart over (in this time is when we witnessed the UTV plow into the same mud hole seconds after they yelled "hold my beer!"), we found no signs of water, and limped off the mountain...went into town and got MAF cleaner and a new filter and did the work the next morning before we left to travel back to OH. (Remember this story.)

      As we rolled into Harlan, I noticed that the bottom bolt holding the driver side beam and RA together was way loose, like about to fall out loose...luckily I had brought my 1-1/8" wrench and went to tighten said bolt....worked a bit and then no-go...the pressed nut in the beam broke loose and all it did was spin. (If any of you recall much earlier posts, I had this issue when I first replaced RA bushings, and I believe once again when it was first lifted, and each time I just stuck a MIG welder in there best I could and tried to lay as much bead as I could to keep said nut from turning.) Well, now what?!? It was almost in the entire way, so I decided to just take it easy driving home, and that I'd stop and check it every 100mi. Well almost 100mi came and I decided to check it before hopping on I-75...it had started to back out again...

      What to do? I figured that as long as the bolt didn't come out, I could just take it easy and we'd get home and I could deal with it there, but how do I hold the bolt up into the beam? Well, after cutting down a piece of 2x4 with a hatchet and lashing it to the beam under the bolt with some ratchet straps, I slowly made my way to the closest home improvement store to find something a little better and less janky than a 2x4 and straps, and boy did I ever!

      [​IMG]

      Directly under the bolt are 3 blank steel switch covers, ziptied to two plates from the biggest u-bolts Lowe's had (was hoping to use the u-bolts rather that ties, but they didn't fit over the beam) all ziptied to the beam...I used the heftiest ties they had just so I had a little peace of mind. It actually worked quite well! We were doing a good 60-65mph up I-75 with no problems whatsoever! We were a little over an hour from home (10pm, 10hrs into a 7hr trip) and I needed gas...$1.99?!?! Heck yeah! Got gas, got coffee, and got in the truck...it was when we pulled to the stop light that I knew we had a problem...the truck would not move......forced it into the Dollar General on the corner across from the gas station, and hoped it was just a seized caliper that I could do something with. After pulling the tire and caliper, I noticed the rotor still wouldn't turn, removed the spindle nuts and learned the horrible truth.....

      [​IMG]

      That picture is of what all was left of my passenger side inner wheel bearing (minus a few bearings...guessing the mud hole deprived the bearing of grease and instead of checking it and repacking bearings quick before we headed back up, I was left with this).....10pm on a Sunday, no luck in a parts store being open at all, so I called my brother-in-law (only 1.5hrs from home) and inquired if he could come get us with his truck and trailer. As they were getting on their way, I stuck the best bearings onto the inner race with some grease, put the wheel back on and hoped it'd get me on the trailer and back off. The people at DG and at the [nicer] gas station were cool, didn't care that the truck was parked there (DG) and let us hang out and even gave us a pizza (gas station). 2hrs later, we had Edgar loaded and ready to go home...

      [​IMG]

      And now we come to where it is today...front beams are out and instead of doing the minimum, I'm doing it right. All bearings are being replaced, seals, pivot bushings, joints...

      I have the beams now completely apart (as of last night)...

      [​IMG]

      This is the "nut" that was the issue...it will be welded in a lot better than before...

      [​IMG]

      Beams and knuckles are ready to be sandblasted...I did find when taking them apart that one of the sway bar mounts is cracked...planning on just repairing it when they come back...

      [​IMG]

      I looked at the spindle from the passenger side and the inner race is stuck...might try heating it or attempting to cut it off, but I believe I'll probably have to replace the spindle...unless anyone has more ideas?

      [​IMG]

      Anywho, that's where we sit at this moment...waiting for sand blasting before we can move any further...


      Oh, and I almost forgot!! Biggest update? This little family of two and a dog will be a little family of three come November! :D
       
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    20. gmanpaint

      gmanpaint Torsion Bar Free Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      A man.... A truck...... A mud puddle.

      All three in precise alignment, yeah... Everything was getting dirty. Not your fault I say. :D

      Did make a nice big giant wave of mud go flying. Too bad I couldn't get the camera out fast enough. I really didn't expect you to do that, when it happened. lol

      I almost want to say to replace that beam altogether for a used one. for some reason, I thought the nut had a center bore into the beam besides being tacked on? I could be wrong, and thinking of something else tho. Dunno.

      I wouldn't even think of re-using that spindle. When that happened to me last year, I ended up buying an entire parts rig just to get the spindles and knuckles. I have pics on Pugly's thread showing what the rotor did to the knuckle when that inner bearing seized. Not pretty at all. That spindle is a precise machined part, and the entire weight of the rig rests on those bearings. Any deviation from true, and the new bearings won't last long. Even using too much emery cloth will mess them up. I just rebuilt a used good one, and called it a day.

      Love the rocker repairs! That is pretty awesome stuff right there.
       
    21. 5spdman

      5spdman Elite Explorer

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      The nut does have an angle to it, like it was somehow pressed into the beam or something, so I figure I can put it back where it should be and place a few GOOD tacks around it to hold it in place...

      I'm leaning more to replacing the spindle, just have to wait for the weekend...
       
    22. mr cribb

      mr cribb US Army Retired Elite Explorer

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      Wow. I'm amazed by your work. I sold my explorer last year, but I still hang around reading up on things. Congrats on the kiddo on the way.
       
    23. Rhett

      Rhett Let Them Eat Cake Elite Explorer

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      I did the exact same thing on my rockers...cut out the rust. And I need to do what you did, weld in some new metal, it's just one of those things I "haven't gotten around to yet".
       
    24. 96EXXLTinCO

      96EXXLTinCO Elite Explorer

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      I have 2 to do the same thing on, except I'm thinking about cutting the rockers out completely and tucking sliders up a little higher than I would be able to if I patched the cut-outs.
       
    25. 5spdman

      5spdman Elite Explorer

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      Well, it's been quite a while since I wrote anything up on here...and I'll start with the good...

      FINALLY got the truck back together! Well, it's been a few months, but it's moving! It came down to the wire (like always), as I took my time to get things right and looking good, and then decided I'd try and get it put together for the car show at our town's summer festival...

      Started by getting everything sandblasted...luckily, my brother-in-laws family business not only sells and rents man-lifts that they buy and refurbish themselves, but they started in sandblasting and still do some to this day...

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      During this time of refinishing parts and reassembling stuff, I also had a side project...about 20 years ago, dad bought some school lockers at an auction and used a set of two to store his guns and a set of four for us kids to use at home...since we've all moved out and he's thought of getting more guns and also stores fishing gear in them, he got rid of the double locker, and I decided to refinish it...

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      I hand painted all the gold accents, replaced missing parts making the doors more secure, and used my wood working skills to fashion a board that comfortably and safely holds my shotgun (and future .22, muzzleloader and one other) in one set, and shelves for ammo and other hunting/shooting things and my bow in the other...

      With that done, there were some things to address on the beams, but some grinding and welding took care of that...repaired some cracks and reattached the nut in the beam that was giving me problems...

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      I took the time to upgrade and replace all that I could. All bearings, ball joints, u-joints and bushings were replaced, and parts that could be were upgraded to including a grease fitting...I also opened the window on the passenger side beam, something I really should have done when I added the F250 towers and extended arms...

      If you are wondering, yes, I replaced the spindle that was all buggered up...local yard had one 1st gen left and had all of it's front end parts...

      As I was working late into the night for about a week without many breaks, I did not take any photos while putting it all back together, but I did get a pic next to our county's Hummer, owned and sometimes used by the Sheriff's office...

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      Other than that, not much new with Edgar, other than the now slipping clutch that will need replaced very soon....hoping it'll last through hunting season...



      Now if you're wondering, I said I'd start with the good news....yes that means there's some bad news, and no, the slipping clutch is not the bad news.......

      I threw into a previous post that my wife and I were expecting a little bundle of joy....a little over 6 weeks ago, at 34 weeks along, my wife said she thought something might be wrong, and a visit to the hospital and an ultrasound determined that our baby no longer had a heartbeat.

      Our daughter was delivered 4 days later and was absolutely beautiful...with the help of a bereavement group, family and friends, we've got pictures, hand and footprints, and a few hours of memories...we're getting through, but it's still tough, especially the last week as the 5th was her due date...thoughts/prayers/anything helps and are felt every day...

      This will probably be the last update for another month or so, but I figured that it's been long enough now that it's time to update everyone...
       
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    26. mr cribb

      mr cribb US Army Retired Elite Explorer

      Joined:
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      94 Z71,
      Oh man, I’m terribly sorry that you and your wife had that happen.

      I know that pain well, as my ex wife and I had that experience in the summer 2010, and mine was a boy.

      May God bless y’all all the way around.
       
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