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High Mileage Sport Trac 250K and counting

Discussion in '2001-2005 Explorer Sport Trac' started by firefly1246, February 17, 2019.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^
  1. firefly1246

    firefly1246 Active Member

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    '04 EB
    Hey all,

    Thought I would start a thread to show what maintenance has been needed on my 2003 Explorer Sport Trac XLT 2WD, now that i have owned it over 3 years. This truck is now my primary daily driver now that my 2004 Explorer EB has been totaled by someone pulling out in front of me and my Corvette has been sold to make way for a minivan for the wife and our newborn twin boys.

    Truck is a 2003 Red XLT 2WD, 4.10 limited slip, center console, overhead console, factory hard bed cover

    The truck was purchased brand new by my Father in Law in 2003. Garage kept its entire life, oil religiously changed every 5K, and typically maintained at the Ford Dealership. Zero rust as it never left the state of NC. To make keeping up with oil changes easy to remember he would change it whenever the odometer hit 5K. So even if it was a hair early or a hair late it would get changed when the odometer rolled.

    I purchased it from him Nov 2015 after the transmission wore out at 227,064 miles. So initialing i was going to just fix it up to flip it, but ended up really liking it. The body and paint was in really good shape, just a couple rock chips, the front seat was worn out, the steering wheel worn out, and the body mounts were worn out. He had just put a bunch of money into replacing the brake pads, and the front upper and lower A arms and balljoints. Note the tranny fluid had never been changed, failure was the bands were finally worn out.

    227,064 - Nov 2015
    -Replaced transmission with a used 176K tranny from a wrecked 03 Explorer Sport, replaced front and rear gaskets and seals. It was the lowest mileage one I could find locally that was already pulled. Flushed a bunch of Mercon V through the torque converter and transmission. Put a new Motorcraft Filter, have 2 magnetic strips (took the one from the old tranny), and had a drain plug welded into the pan. Adjusted the bands
    -Cleaned up engine bay, 12 years of gunk
    -Replaced Anti-roll bar bushings - Prothane
    -Replaced Shocks - Rancho
    -Replaced diff lube oil, friction modifier, and painted diff cover
    -Replaced Front Driver Seat, found a used one out of a wrecked 45K Sport Trac
    -Installed Aftermarket Seat Heaters, wired with a relay to the OEM seat heater fuse box.
    -Replaced Steering Wheel with used one from a wrecked Sport Trac

    229,811 - Dec 2015
    Drove it around town and up to Richmond, VA and back ran great
    -Dropped Tranny pan and replaced Mercon V and cleaned up magnetic strips
    -Changed Oil Castrol High Mileage 5W-30, Motorcraft Filter
    -Swapped out the transmission output housing seal with a Motorcraft one, the first one I used was a National brand but would fall off and leaked about a half quart of tranny fluid. I guess it is just a hair smaller than the oem Motorcraft one.
    -Replaced Body Mounts with Prothane ones - 2 days

    -Scott

    Photos when i got my Sport Trac:
    [​IMG]

    Worn Seat:
    [​IMG]

    Worn Steering Wheel:
    [​IMG]

    Worn Body Mount:
    [​IMG]

    Old Tranny and Fluid:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: February 20, 2019
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  3. firefly1246

    firefly1246 Active Member

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    '04 EB
    230,900 - March 2016
    -Front 2" TT and warrior Rear Shackles
    -2" Hubcentric Wheel Spacers, 17" Wheels from my 3rd Gen Explorer, with 265/70-17 Cooper Discover ATP Tires. 3rd gen have a different wheel offset that require wheel spacers to mount on a 1st gen sport trac/2nd gen explorer
    -Front Alignment at the Ford Dealer
    -Clay bared the paint, polished the paint, tons of touchup paint for the front and doors, and waxed it. Paint is really looking good.

    Took a couple photos of the truck with the original 16" wheels and Michelin LTX tires.

    2" TT with 16" wheels and 2" hubcentric wheel spacers.
    [​IMG]

    Side View: 2" TT with 16" wheels and 2" hubcentric wheel spacers.
    [​IMG]

    17" 3rd gen wheels and 265/70-17 tires and 2" TT: Front tires are just even with the fenders
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: February 17, 2019
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  4. firefly1246

    firefly1246 Active Member

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    234,997 - Nov 2016
    -Flush Coolant, Prestone, New Upper and Lower Radiator Hoses
    -Oil and Filter Castrol Magnatec 5W-30 Purloator Filter
    -Painted Bumpers and Side Skirts, Gloss Black Krylon Fusion <- this makes the truck look 10x better, totally worth it

    Painted Bumpers:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Finish Product:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. firefly1246

    firefly1246 Active Member

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    240,528 - June 2017
    -Oil Change: 5W-30 Mobil 1 + Motorcraft Filter
    -helped my neighbor out with his CTS-V and he had 18 leftover Motorcraft FL-820S Filters from his F-150 he sold that fit my Sport trac, I am now set for the next 90K miles. :)

    244,920 - Nov 2017
    -Replaced Spark Plugs and wires - Autolite APP103 Double Platinum, Carquest Wires (these are junk wires, the metal clip that snaps onto the plug is cheap and breaks/bends. I do not recommend)

    Old plugs were only single Platinum Plugs and wore out really bad, Father in law stated they weren't that old so maybe 30-45K on them at most.

    Old Plug vs New Plug:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: February 17, 2019
  6. firefly1246

    firefly1246 Active Member

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    244,964 Dec 2017
    Started having a ticking/bearing noise. so replaced the Upper Belt Idler Pully -> didn't fix it, Then replaced the Tensioner/Idler Pulley -> Didn't Fix it. However I left the new ones as the originals had a lot of mileage and they are cheap. So did some research and found the Timing Chain Tensioner could be worn out. Purchase 2 brand new Motorcraft Timing Chain Tensioners and replaced them. The rear one was a piece of cake through the pass side front wheel well. The front one is tougher, had to remove the plastic thermostat housing to get to it, and then the hoses are glued to it, so replaced the 2 hoses around the thermostat housing. The original Tensioners had plenty of spring life left.

    Well This opened a huge can of worms. Made my problems worse. Now when under acceleration around 2,000rpm a new noise started. After a couple hundred miles at startup was a really loud rattle. Even though I primed the Tensioners, I believe this was the straw that broke my Front and Rear Timing Chain Guides. :(

    -Replaced Upper Belt Idler Pulley
    -Replaced Tensioner/Idler Pulley
    -Replaced 2 Coolant hoses around thermostat, topped up with fluid
    -Replaced Front and Rear Timing Chain Tensioners
     
  7. firefly1246

    firefly1246 Active Member

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    245,303 -July 2018

    After hearing the timing chain slap at startup, did research and found my Timing Chain Guides had failed and requires removing the engine. So I let it sit on my driveway until I had time to get it done. Had some house projects that became a higher priority and had my Explorer and Corvette that I could drive so i wasn't in a hurry. But someone hit me in my 3rd gen Explorer and totalled it and needed to sell the Corvette as babies were coming. So this became my top priority to get on the road.

    While I had the engine out I also replaced every gasket, every single coolant hose, etc. The area around the rear main seal had also started to leak (should have replaced when swapped tranny, ended up being the Upper Oil Pan Gasket), the oil filter Housing O-ring was leaking, and Upper Oil Pan Gasket was also leaking around the sides.

    -Replaced Timing Chain and Guides - Cloyes
    -Replaced Upper and Lower Oil Pan Gaskets-Motorcraft (had purchased a while before but didn't install)
    -Replaced Front and Rear Main Seals-Felpro
    -Replaced Timing Cover Gasket-Felpro
    -Replaced Valve Cover Gasket-Felpro
    -Replaced Intake Manifold Gasket-Felpro
    -New Intake Manifold Bolts - These were really hard to get out and the Torx head stripped out, had to use a couple combos of EZ outs to get 3 of them out. Pain in the Butt due to the rubber around the bolts being hard as a rock. Replacement Dorman bolts use Hex Heads.
    -Replaced every single Coolant Hose
    -New Prestone Coolant
    -Flushed Out Radiator- had some rust looking residue in it
    -New Fan - Found I had a crack in my fan
    -Oil Change and Filter 5W-30 Castrol Conventional and Motorocraft Filter
    -New Motorcraft Fuel Filter
    -New Air Filter
    -New Heater Valve - the plastic cracked pipe was brittle and cracked when trying to remove old coolant hose
    -New Exhaust Sensor- dunno what this is officially called, but it is right next to the EGR on the driver side, it was brittle and snapped off when removing it to get the intake manifold out of the way
    -New Oil Filter Housing O-ring
    -New Passenger Side Exhaust Manifold Gasket - had to remove to replace O ring on Oil Filter Housing

    This took me 2 weekends and I worked on it every day after work. Had 2 big roadblocks that slowed me down. The Intake Manifold Bolts required me buying some EZ outs and took me multiple evenings to remove. The second thing was trying to remove the front timing driver side timing chain guide. Apparently for some time period the slot between the head and the block that the guide goes through doesn't have enough room to remove and reinstall the guide. I assume the head was riding one side of the tolerance band and the block was riding the other side of the tolerance band. 3 ways people fix this: 1) remove head, 2) buy a specific brand of guide that is 2 pieces and removable, 3) cut the original up to remove and grind away the aluminum head to allow room to put in a new guide. I choose the later because my head gasket was fine (not many others on forum have complained about it being an issue) and i had already purchased my guides and chains.

    Found my rear timing chain guide had broke, and my front center guide was broke after opening it up. I followed the YouTube Video on Cloyes Channel and purchased the OTC timing toolset.




    Photos:
    Engine Removed:
    [​IMG]

    Broken Front Timing Chain: I got really lucky, the Guide (circled in blue) fell and wedged inself between the lower portion of the guide (circled in green) and the chain and still provided tension. However, the chain at startup slapped against the metal u shape where the guide was supposed to be (circled in Red).
    [​IMG]

    Wear on the Broken Front Guide: This was the piece in the photo above circled in Blue that was wedged in the chain. I only ran maybe 30 miles on the truck after the startup metal slapping noise started.
    [​IMG]

    My broken Rear Timing Chain Guide: The two pieces of plastic where my fingers are pointing should be joined together. I think this was the noise I initially had, prior to replacing the Hydraulic Tensioners.
    [​IMG]

    Nice Clean Motor- Oil changed every 5K with Conventional
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Front Driver Side Guide that I couldn't get out. I ended up covering up the inside of the engine with plastic tarp and taping it up. Then used a cutoff wheel to cut the guide so i could get it out. I then used a carbide burr to hog away the aluminum on the head.
    [​IMG]

    Extra material: The shiny bit is the head, i removed about .075" in the spot where the rivet on the guide needed to pass through. This took a while so I didn't get shavings everywhere and it is at an odd angle.
    [​IMG][/url]

    Brand new Guide:
    [​IMG]

    Original Rear Main Seal: looks like my leak was actually the Upper Oil Pan Gasket and not the Rear main seal.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: February 17, 2019
  8. firefly1246

    firefly1246 Active Member

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    '04 EB
    New Front Timing Chains:
    [​IMG]

    Pictures of the tools used in the OTC tool kit for doing the timing chains:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Back in the truck:
    [​IMG]
     
  9. firefly1246

    firefly1246 Active Member

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    245,393 - July 2018
    Did an oil change just in case there were some metal shavings
    -Oil Change 5W-30 Castrol Magnatec, Motorcraft Filter FL-820S
    -Recharged A/C system used UV dye. -AC had gotten weak and obviously there must be a leak somewhere. Will find later when the UV dye leaks out. After charge the A/C is ice cold. Father in Law stated it hadn't ever been recharged.
    -WD-40 in the bed cover keyhole and the driver and pass door. The key wouldn't turn to lock/unlock them. WD-40 made it a quick fix.

    248, 303 - Sept 2018
    Wheel Bearings Finally bit the bullet, had some play in them
    -Replaced Front Wheel Bearings - National A-2 and A-5 used Valvoline Synthetic Wheel Bearing Grease

    sorry no photos
     
    Last edited: February 17, 2019
  10. firefly1246

    firefly1246 Active Member

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    249,005 Nov 2018
    Started having some ticking and bearing noise from the upper portion of the front passenger side. Changed oil to see if anything in the oil that would help, didn't find anything.
    -Oil Change 5W-30 Havoline + Motorcraft Filter

    249,241 Dec 2018
    Ticking/bearing crunching noise is sounding worse, now occurs all the time, Sounds like coming from Alternator. Removed serpentine belt and noise went away, found I had some play in the bearing and did make some noise when I spun it by hand.
    -Replaced Alternator, Bosch
     
  11. firefly1246

    firefly1246 Active Member

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    Current Issues I need to fix:

    -Have a bearing noise on startup on really cold mornings- maybe the Cam Followers?
    -High Pressure AC Hose leaking at the crimp near the Condensor, UV dye and black light made this easy to find.
    -Rear Diff Seal is leaking where the driveshaft goes into the diff.
    -Front Driver Side Door Unlock switch doesn't unlock, but the passenger side works and the key fob works.

    Truck Today:

    Used Engine to swap in buddies Mazda
    [​IMG]

    Truck as it looks today: Black Fusion Paint is holding up really well
    [​IMG]
     
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  12. hondaslave1342

    hondaslave1342 Member

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    Nice write-up..thanks
     
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  13. mic98xlt

    mic98xlt Elite Explorer

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    Times 2!!
     
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  14. ptf18

    ptf18 Elite Explorer

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    Firefly... I'm IMPRESSED....... and I'm a guy that's usually hard to impress. Great write up and thanks for the pictures. Your S/T is a keeper. Other than the powertrain work how did you like doing the body bushings? I did mine a couple years ago. Pretty straight forward....if your hardware is not rusted away. Mine was in good shape (Texs vehicle). I change my oil (actually do all my maintenance) based on the 5k mileage cycle. Easy to remember. Good to see how clean the interior of the engine is.
     
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  15. firefly1246

    firefly1246 Active Member

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    First off thank you for the compliment. I usually like reading these kind of posts from others and thought I would contribute.

    I like the Body Bushings as the body doesn’t wobble around anymore. However I can’t comment to how they compare to good condition OEM body mounts due to them already being shot when I got the truck.

    In regard to installation, when I did the Body Bushings I had to buy new front bolts as the threads were rusted which delayed me. Bad design as they hold water. I coated my new ones in anti-seeze, but hope I never have to remove them. It ended up taking me 2 days to swap out the bushings. Each side took a day due to waiting on the bolts. Buying a large rounded channel loc and using the torch to heat up the locktite on the bolts made it much easier to remove.

    -Scott
     
  16. david4451

    david4451 Active Member

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    Great write up, thankyou.

    Did you resolve bearing noise at cold startup?
     
  17. firefly1246

    firefly1246 Active Member

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    I haven’t resolved it yet. I think it is the cam followers. I have removed and replaced the 6 cam followers as well as the hydraulic lifter on the passenger side. All 6 cam followers had some play in them, the 3rd from the front was the worst. The hydraulic lifters were all perfect, but i replaced them since i already purchased them. I ran out of time this past weekend, plan to finish it up shortly and this fixes it. Having twin newborns has greatly sucked up my project time.

    They didn’t seem as bad as I have seen failures on the 4.6 and 5.4 online, but obviously are need replacement. The 3 valve motors were apparently really bad. I purchased a kit from Ford Performance for a v8 2 valve which was cheaper then buying them separate. They upgraded the cam follower for the 4.0 in 2006 using the upgraded one designed for the Ford GT Supercar and the Shelby GT500. The upgraded cam follower has an extra oil squirter from the portion over the lifter to squirt on the cam/cam follower bearing.

    Cam Followers
    Original(individual) YL2Z-6564-AA
    GT-500 (individual) 4G7Z-6564-AA
    GT-500 (v8 kit) M-6529-MSVT

    Hydraulic Lifters F77Z-6500-AB

    OTC Tool 7928, must modify by removing pin and replace with a bolt, so it is a 2 piece tool. Won't be able to install or remove it as an assembly.

    To remove the passenger side valve cover, I had to drain the coolant and remove all the coolant lines on that side. I also had to remove the heat shield over the evaporator or you can't slide the cover over the cams. I removed the alternator to get extra room to the first cam follower. The first cam follower I couldn't use the tool as it wouldn't fit over the valve and had to use the "screwdriver method" that people use on the 4.6/5.4. I was not a fan of this as i was afraid of nicking the cam. I assume the back cam follower on the driver side is going to be the same and be a bigger pain cause the firewall and brake booster are in the way.

    Hopfully this fixes my issue.

    Cam Follower Tool That won't fit on the Passenger Side Front. Note this is only half the tool:
    [​IMG]

    Cam Follower and Hydraulic Lifter Removed:
    [​IMG]

    Original Cam Follower on the left, and the upgraded GT-500 Cam Follower on the Right. Black Arrow pointing to the added Oil Squirter:
    [​IMG]

    How to use the Valve Compressor Tool from the Service Manual:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: February 20, 2019
  18. david4451

    david4451 Active Member

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    Thanks for reply.

    I have same cam follower removal tool, I got it to work on all cam followers by rotating the cam shaft to get it in. Then rotating it back ( I think) anyway got all followers out & in OK.
     
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