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It’s gonna be an off roader/hunting rig

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by Mitchs07explorer, December 12, 2018.

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    1. Mitchs07explorer

      Mitchs07explorer Elite Explorer

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      So my last few posting on here a few months back I was talking about head gasket problems. Initially after I got everything up and running after lots of time and energy I got to drive my 97 5.0 around for a couple of months before my coolant started to get really funky and then the constant bubbles in my expansion tank. I parked it, bought the gaskets and just needed to find the time to do it. Well the free time never came so I ventured into craigslist and found a mechanic with lots of experience who is branching out on his own.

      I talked to him about the repair and after some quick research he showed me several engines online that could be had for $500 or less with way less miles than mine had. Then we could just swap them out and add all the new components to the newer engine I initially installed on the original engine. He’s only gonna charge me $400-$500 to do it and will be way less than doing a head gasket job not to meantion if the heads are cracked, or block is cracked, it just made sense me.
      Before he installs the new engine he’s going to replace the main rear seal, oil pan seal, timing chain that I installed on the original engine, timing cover seal, water pump seal (obviously), intake seals. He’s also going to install my OBX headers for no extra charge. The engine I purchased was off of eBay from a yard in Pennsylvania out of a 98 EX with 120k on it. The yard gave the engine an “A” grading so I hope it’s as good as they claim, there’s a 60 day warranty on the engine so I’ll know in that time if there’s gonna be issues.

      So now instead of fixing it up and selling it I’m now going to be keeping it as my off-roader/hunting rig. I want to make it nice though, I’m going to redo the interior as soon as time allows probably early next year. Then it’ll be a 2 inch lift, 31x10.5 mud tires, bull bar, off road lights, and safari style roof rack. There are other things I will address first before the other upgrades but overall it’s going to be a good vehicle once the newish engine is installed.
      I’ll use this thread as I make progress on the Ex.

      So this is the Ex and I’ll show progress as I go 0A0BD759-7139-4368-BC63-D84ACD3F39E2.jpeg
       
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    3. poker4me007

      poker4me007 Elite Explorer

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      Look forward to seeing your future post's and progress.
      Good luck with the new engine.
       
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    4. 410Fortune

      410Fortune ELITE BRONCO2ERER Staff Member Moderator

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      Wicked good!!
      This is the way to keep old trucks up and running
      I am sure there is added cost for all the new seals/gaskets, well worth it
       
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    5. RandomNerd2000

      RandomNerd2000 Well-Known Member

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      You really do want to do all your seals, including valve covers. My 2000 has a NICE leak on the passenger side, really don't even wanna bother but it's a healthy motor with right at 280K on it. I swear I must love this truck sometimes because I keep passing cheap 2nd gens by.
       
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    6. Mitchs07explorer

      Mitchs07explorer Elite Explorer

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      It’ll be nice knowing I won’t have to worry about those seals for the long run, my mechanic isn’t going to charge me that much more to put them on. He said as long as the engine was out he didn’t mind doing those extra things. So we’ll see what the total cost adds up to when everything is said done. Hopefully everything goes smoothly, I’m a little worried about the OBX headers, I know the install on those can be hit or miss but with the engine out I’m hoping it’ll mostly be a no brainer for him. I got the thicker gaskets and the 1 inch ARP header bolts for it. I forgot to mention we’re going to change out both the motor mounts and trans mount, I know guys here have had issues with where their headers sit because if wirn motor mounts so it'll be nice to have all that addressed.
       
    7. Mitchs07explorer

      Mitchs07explorer Elite Explorer

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      I love hearing about you guys that have well over 200k on your Ex’s. Even though they’re not worth a lot of money in terms of resale, they’re a solid investment because when you get a good one you can take it up to 300k mi. You might as well keep it and do what I’m doing or throw a remann or used engine in it when the time comes. New vehicles just cost to much for what I want, especially when I know I can put it together myself or have assistance doing what I want for a reasonable price.

      About the only new SUV I’d want right now is the new 4Runner, it’s damn good looking but I can’t afford a new one at the moment and I refuse to buy used Toyota’s because people abuse the crap out of them and then still want to charge an arm and a leg for it when they’re done with it.
       
    8. RandomNerd2000

      RandomNerd2000 Well-Known Member

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      Well my Eddie Bauer I'm V8 swapping, the donor sits at 131K, I got a touch screen radio for it cheap so I don't even see much reason to get much of anything newer. My 2000 I gave $200 for, was fully convinced I had a worn out truck when the junkyard owner didn't believe it had 256K on it at that time. I just rolled 278K... best $200 I ever spent.

      I do agree on Toyota though, I've got a 94 Camry I'm going to be selling, car is built well, I wouldn't drive anything new that wasn't Toyota or Ford depending on what it is.
       
    9. rxinhed

      rxinhed New Member

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      Will be following your thread, also. My '97 Mountaineer has recently had service that I didn't have time for...that dreaded work always keeping me from fun.

      Curious what your lift will entail, especially since the 31s seem to fit on stock height.
       
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    10. Mitchs07explorer

      Mitchs07explorer Elite Explorer

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      It’s going in on Friday for the engine swap and a bunch of other stuff to be replaced. I’m looking forward to getting it all done to work on the more fun stuff.

      My 07 Explorer has 32’s on it and is stock height. Overall the 32’s look better than the stock size but I still wish the body sat a couple inches higher than it currently does. So I’ll put the larger tires on the gen 2 and see if I like the way it looks or if it needs to sit a little higher.
       
    11. Mitchs07explorer

      Mitchs07explorer Elite Explorer

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      Now that it’s after the holidays my mechanic has started work on swapping out the engine and a bunch of other parts. Once the motor arrived at the shop he tore it all the way down and suggested since I had the gaskets and bolts, for an extra half hour’s labor he would do the head gasket. He’ll be doing all the gaskets on the engine, installing a high volume oil pump in place of the old one, using my new camshaft syncronizer and sensor, double roller timing chain and the new water pump. Then he’ll be swapping out the motor mounts and trans mount, installing the new obx headers with remflex gaskets with 1 inch ARP header bolts. I also bought a new ac pump and power steering pump to replace the originals. He’s swapping over all the new plugs and wires I had installed on the original engine and going top it all off with a fluid and filter change on the tranny. He’s also going to inspect the suspension components and let me know if any of that needs replaced. My only concern with any of this are the obx headers. I hope they fit correctly and I don’t have any issues with my EGR.

      I’m thinking I’ll be getting it back somewhere between the 4th and the 11th of this month, change the fluid in the 3 diffs and it should be pretty darn mechanically sound. I’d like to start working on the interior at that point and I’ll probably park my gen 4 and drive this one while I’m working on it, hopefully I can solve a tranny issue on my gen 4 now that I’ll have another reliable vehicle and can park it for a while.
       
    12. Mitchs07explorer

      Mitchs07explorer Elite Explorer

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      Got the Ex back from my mechanic yesterday, there are things I’m happy about and things I’m not so happy about. Then engine itself runs and sounds phenomenal, it’s basically been overhauled at this point and should last quite some time hopefully. A couple things I’m not so thrilled about are that there was 1 bracket in the engine bay behind the engine that held the evap canister that he left off and he said he did so because it was making the throttle body or the EGR next to impossible to install. Not a big deal it can be ziptied off, I’m just **** about things like that also he snapped my dipstick so that’ll need replaced.

      The worst of it was when he admitted to me that 2 or possibly 3 of the header bolts stripped durring installation of the OBX headers on the drivers side. He felt that everything was tight but if it started leaking to bring it back so he can tap and rethread the bolt holes. The only problem is that he doesn’t have a tap and die set, I have to take some responsibility because I knew the headers would be awful to install. He told me he planned on tightening the headers down while the engine was still out of the vehicle but realized he tighten the bolts on the motor motor mounts couldn’t be tightened when the headers were bolted on.

      I think he was in a hurry to get things done because he under booked my job and probably spent a few more hours than he anticipated.

      So it drove home and sounded great, drove great I could feel the extra power from the slightly fresher engine and headers. I drove it about 20 miles to get home. I parked it and it say for a few hours and then I started it back up to go to the store. I didn’t get more than a mile down the road when the CEL popped on. The engine was still driving and idling fine, when I got home I scanned the codes and came up with a P0156, p0161 and P0401. The P0401 relating to the EGR I was kind of expecting with the headers. I figured I’d have to tinker with it myself and replace a couple of parts and hoses to get the EGR to read right from what I’ve read of others installing OBX or even Torque monster headers.

      The other codes are either related to an exhaust leak which is obviouly very likely or the wire to one of the 02 sensors got fried on the exhaust. I haven’t had a chance to look under the vehicle at the wiring yet or use my scan tool to test the sensor.

      Now I’m worried that even if we fix the other codes what if I can’t get the p0401 to go away, I’ll never pass emissions which ultimately renders the vehicle useless. So now I’m wondering if I should pull the OBX’s and reinstall my stock headers and get everything back to stock. I hate to put anymore money into it because these repairs were supposed make the vehicle work as it should. Well as the saying goes if you want something done right, do it yourself regardless of how long it takes.
       
    13. Mitchs07explorer

      Mitchs07explorer Elite Explorer

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      I just got under it and it looks like the rear 02 sensor was disconnected, I’m trying to figure out how to reconnect it but it’s a really tight squeeze.
       
    14. Turdle

      Turdle Has Pleasure Chamber Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      The only way to really get to them, unless you get lucky, is from the top, thru the transmission tunnel access panel. Picture in this thread





      2nd gen console removal


      [​IMG]
       
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    15. Mitchs07explorer

      Mitchs07explorer Elite Explorer

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      Thanks, I was suprisingly able to snap it back together.
       
    16. Mitchs07explorer

      Mitchs07explorer Elite Explorer

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      After reconnecting the relays on the 02 sensor at the very rear and clearing the DTC’s I started the ex. Sounded great, idled fine but in my mind there seemed to be a lot of water vapor coming from my exhaust. When I walked back to the front of the truck I noticed coolant dripping as well as ATF. The petcock was only barely hand tight so I tightened that down properly and it stopped. The ATF was actually coming from the power steering pump, the lines are a little hard and are not sealing properly when tightened so I ordered new ones.

      I topped off the radiator with a bit of water and let it run I watched the expansion tank as the engine came to temp. I saw a rush of bubbles but then they stopped after a short period of time. For whatever reason i was suspicious the radiator wasn’t holding pressure. I took a rag and slowly released the cap. Sure enough there was no pressure and the water was down just slightly from where I filled it. At that point I was concerned that maybe one of the head gaskets wasn’t sealed up right. Now that if had the ex up to temp I scanned the computer again and the other codes stayed off at least for the time being, however code p1157 showed up but it didn’t throw a CEL. It’s related to the sensor I plugged back in so maybe it just needs some time to cycle and realize everything is okay.

      I drove it back out to my guy mostly because of my concern of no pressure in the radiator plus thinking that some coolant was disappearing too given the white vapor coming from my exhaust. To be fair it was only 35 degrees out and the front of the car was in my garage where my inflatable hot tub is, so there was definitely more humidity and moisture in the air. The drive to my mechanic took me about 15 by taking the freeway, the CEL never came back on. When I got there he did a visual inspection, nothing was dripping from anything except the ATF from the PS pump accumulating on the hose but that was very minor at that point. We released the radiator cap and again no pressure but it didn’t look like the coolant went down from my drive out to his shop. The water pump is new motorcraft, the rad cap is new motorcraft as well as the thermostat, not to say one of those components couldn’t be bad but you’d think I’d be overheating if that were the case. So again I lean towards the heads not being sealed up properly but I’m hoping I’m wrong and it just that big motor plus being really cold showing that much vapor.

      So my mechanic is going to drive it for the weekend or the week and see if he can chase this stuff down and make sure everything is doing what it’s supppsed to do. I’m definitely disappointed at this point, I feel like things were sped along and half assed because the job became harder than he expected it was going to be. Then told me he underbilled on the job. Luckily I’m a nice guy and I try to give people the benefit of the doubt a chance to make things right. I gave him $50 extra when I picked the ex up because he’d spent quite a few more hours on it. But then I was like, why do I feel bad for this guy when he left me with a broken dipstick, missing bell housing service cap on my transmission, missing airbox snap, removed bracket for I think part of the evap system near the back of the engine, didn’t install one of the motor mounts I gave him because it was defective but didn’t let me know so I could get him another one, apparently the old mount was fine but I’m not sure if I trust that, there’s grease smudges on the inside of the drivers side door, oh yeah and he stripped 3 exhaust header holes on the drivers side.

      At this point thinking about this, all I want to know is if the engine is sealed up properly, I’ll figure out the rest and take care of it myself. He said if the headers didn’t stay tight he’d re-thread them but I’d have to buy him a tap and die set because he didn’t have one. After hearing that I thought to myself I’d be better served trying it myself or if I didn’t think I could do it I will bite the bullet and take it to a muffler shop. Maybe I’ll get lucky and the bolts will hold but I doubt it from what I’ve read about performance headers needing to be retightened a couple of times after install due to the expanding and contracting from the heat.

      I was hoping to be left with a reliable working project vehicle after all of this and I still hope that is the case. If his work on the engine holds up I can at least start working on the rig and do other things I want to do. As I’m planning on keeping this Explorer I imagine at some point I’ll drop a remann into it but do it myself and take my time.

      I’ll keep posting as progress ensues, I had to vent a little about this mechanic. I got what I paid for, I thought maybe I lucked out and was getting a deal and this guy was going to be good. Oh well, you live and learn... lesson learned...
       
    17. Mitchs07explorer

      Mitchs07explorer Elite Explorer

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      Picking the Ex up on my lunch break today, my mechanic says all appears good, cooling system is pressurizing abd he drove it back and forth to work for a couple of days with no CEL coming on. Keeping my fingers crossed that’s it’s all good. I’ll go over everything that I can inspect and make sure everything is where it should be.
      I definitely won’t be bringing anymore work to this guy. I’m happy as long as the vehicle is running like he says it is but overall his work is too sloppy and rushed. I have a friend who has a really good on the side mechanic but will only work in the spring and summer. I wish I would’ve waited but I was to impulsive to get this thing to a drivable condition. You live and you learn... I’ll be headed to a muffler shop in the next month to asses the damage on the bolt threads holding on my headers, I just dont trust that they’ll stay tight and I’d rather have proper threads. I might attempt it myself if I feel confident enough.
       
    18. Mitchs07explorer

      Mitchs07explorer Elite Explorer

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      Okay I’m feeling pretty good about his work other than the headers. After about 60 miles the cel popped on showing a p0401 insufficient EGR flow. I was pretty much expecting that one but it the only code that shows on my sct scan tuner. Ill also use forscan for a more in depth look just to make sure there’s not something weird going on in the back ground. I’ve used the preloaded 91 octane tune and switched my EGR to off for now. I think I or an exhaust shop might have to splice my old EGR tube with my OBX EGR tube so it operates properly.

      Only thing I’m slightly concerned about are the stripped header bolts on the drivers side but those can be dealt with when need be. I’ll drive it around for a couple of weeks and make sure it’s running right and then proceed to other fixes. I’ll get some pics of the headers up and post my progress. It feels good to be headed in a forward direction on this project again.
       
    19. Mitchs07explorer

      Mitchs07explorer Elite Explorer

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      Still driving good, I paired my SCT X4 tunner with the 91 octane canned tune. I felt like my shifts were a little to hard so I backed off the pressure by -10% on each shift. Feels pretty good now but I think I might need to go to -15% on 2-3. I can really feel the added power from the headers now, especially between 3000-4000 rpms it just rips after 3000.

      So feeling a little more confident in my mechs work, I went and had jiffy lube do a coolant flush on the system as well a diffs/4x4 lube service. It seems a little quieter now on the road but that might just be my imagination.

      I took it through the car wash and discovered the furthest rear left side window is leaking water through the seal. Both sides are dried out so I’ll have to look into replacing those seals.
       
    20. Mbrooks420

      Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer

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      I’m glad it’s appearing to sort itself out. The window seals are common. One on my Mounty leaks when it’s power washed.

      I certainly wouldn’t feel bad for him. He should have known what he was getting into, and he should have the ability to buy his own tool, especially to cover his own mistakes.

      I used to do a lot of mechanical work out of my garage, and occasionally got into a job that ended up being way bigger than I expected. Every time, I just ate it. It’s part of the business,
       
    21. Mitchs07explorer

      Mitchs07explorer Elite Explorer

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      I’m thinking the window seal would mostly keep normal rain water out, I’m sure if it was any heavier rain fall it’ll probably just start seeping in. I need to look into the cost of having those replaced.

      I agree that my mech should’ve know what he was getting into. I was suprised that he didn’t have a tap and die set to correct his mistake on installing my headers too. I would’ve figured that to be an essential tool for any semi professional mechanic. The only thing I’d be coming back to him for at this point is if I have any engine trouble from his work. He does warranty his work as far as not charging for the labor but I don’t think he can afford to replace any parts out of his own pocket. I actually do think he’s trusworthy but he’s not as good at turning wrenches as he thinks he is. His main work comes from a used (we approve all credit) car lot where he gets paid jack s***. I get the feeling he basically just “gets things running” for them. My friend has a mechanic he’s know for years that he really trusts and he charges the same labor rate as this guy does. Only thing is he will only do side work in the spring and summer. I should’ve just waited till summer or dig into it myself even though it would’ve been at a snails pace but at least the work would’ve been the quality I wanted.

      Anyway, so far so good at this point, I need to change the radiator out of my 07 Ex as it started leaking quite a lot so it’s nice to have a backup vehicle I can trust. Once the 07 is fixed I’ll have more of my time to focus on the 97 to get it where I want it. My damn 07 is started to feel like a project car too haha.
       
    22. Mitchs07explorer

      Mitchs07explorer Elite Explorer

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      First hiccup today, I came out from work and there was a small puddle underneath my rig, It was coolant. I looked under the hood and could see coolant pooled on top of the water pump. When I got home again I could see that it looked like it was leaking from one of the bolt holes on the top. I was thinking I’d run it back out to the mechanic to make it right but now I’ve changed my mind. I did the water pump myself on the original engine before I knew I had a bad head gasket. It was fairly straight forward and I’m top of that fordmakuloco posted a video on YouTube on replacing it that I followed the first time. I bet I could have it done fairly quickly. Only thing that bums me out is that I was planning of changing the radiator out of my 07 Ex this weekend. Not a big deal either but having a spare vehicle made it so I could take my time. I think I’ll have to do the radiator in the 07 first because I don’t need to RTV anything like I do the water pump. I’ve also done my radiator once before a couple of years ago and actually had it out fairly quick. My only hang up was the not so quick connects for the transmission cooler. Those stupid things had my vehicle out of commission for a couple of days until I finally just cut them off.

      I had my radiator flushed by jiffy lube yesterday and I couldn’t for the life of me think of what they could’ve done to make the pump leak. I would imagine their flushing machine doesn’t put a lot of pressure if any on the cooling system, at least not beyond manufacture recommendations. I then realized I replaced my upper radiator hose which was collapsing when my vehicle cooled down. The hose collapsed so much it wouldn’t allow any coolant to be sucked into the system from the expansion tank. I need to change the lower hose as well as it’s very soft, I have one and will replace it when I change the gasket for the water pump. I hope my guy didn’t screw up the timing chain cover gasket. I’m half tempted to pull it off when I take the pump off but I also don’t want to screw with it and possibly tear the new oil pan seal. Then I’d have to use the felpro kit with the cork pieces for the corners of the oil pan and I don’t trust it. I’m gonna go with the “if it ain’t broke (yet) don’t fix it”.
       

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