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1995 Explorer XL personal thread

HarryN

Well-Known Member
Joined
October 2, 2021
Messages
102
Reaction score
194
City, State
Pleasanton, CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
1995 4Dr.
Hi - my mini van was demolished in a crash a few months ago.

If you are curious, there is a photo of the remains in my introduction thread.

My fantastic son in law has located an explorer from within the extended family and is doing some general fix up up for me. Have not seen the vehicle yet except for some photos as it is a few hours away.

It will be my first experience with actually owning a Ford, even though I have worked on their vans and driven plenty of Ford cars via business rentals.

This thread is mostly just to help me keep track of stuff related to the vehicle. No great insights - just me learning and minor tinkering.

_________________-

General specs that I know so far:
- 1995
- 4 door
- Explorer XL
- Control trac 4wd
- Seems to be in remarkably good condition (at least the interior)

General plans / assumptions:
- Probably will need some front end suspension work on the usual joint locations. (assumption)
- Brakes looked ok to him
- Tires looked ok to him
- Since my back is kind of sensitive to shock right now, I might look at ways to reduce the effect of "shock" going through the vehicle to my back as it goes over pot holes and bumps.
- No plans to off road or anything like that.
- Might drive to the mountains / road snow as my back gets better.

Edit - add changing the thermostat and checking coolant system to the list.


I build conversion van electrical systems, so will likely put some solar panels and a power system into this one like I had in my mini van.
- Roof looks narrower than the mini van, but hopefully can get the old panels mounted on the explorer. If not will pick up some shorter ones.

- Debating on building up an "over the wheel well" type power system or pulling out the rear passenger side seat and putting it there.

On the minivan - I put the system into the seat location.

_____________

In the photo that my SIL sent, there appears to be a steel bar just behind the rear wheel well that goes cross wise just above floor level and anchors to each side. Not quite sure if that is something from Ford or an after market thing that the original owner installed.

Something for me to think about.


_____________

That is about all that I know at this point other than what I am reading on this forum.

Thanks for all of the information that is posted here.
 



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explorer from the back.jpg
 












Looks clean of what can be seen....our 4.0 ohv engines are not power houses nor are they great on gas mileage but they'll last forever if you don't overheat them. I'd pop in a new thermostat as preventative maintainence for cooling system - cheap and easy, and make sure coolant is nice and green etc. and just drive until something breaks - no "red flags" / known weak spots on these (unless significantly overheated) other than usual maintenance How many miles are on it?
 






Thanks. All info is helpful.

I added the thermostat swap and coolant check to the list.

- No idea on the mileage yet.

Edit - my wife saw that Explorer today. ~ 150K miles.

She said it is in amazing condition, partly because the original owners had seat covers over the factory ones and was parked indoors.

My Son in law is having fun with it - good stress relief from work.
 






Looks nice! Not sure about the steel bar though, can't say I've seen that in any explorer before, something aftermarket, just not sure of the purpose. But yeah, just keep up with the general maintenance and you've got a sweet lil' truck there
 






Reminder to self - figure out if these engines have timing chains that need to be replaced like on BMW overhead cam engines.
 






It’s got a timing chain, but it’s a pushrod engine, not the problematic chains with tensioners that wear. The chain isn’t a maintenance item on these.

That bar is definitely not factory, and doesn’t appear to be bolted down.

Unfortunately, these ride pretty terrible. They are stiff, and with the t bar front suspension there really no way to make them ride nice. Outside of replacing the worn out shocks I wouldn’t spend money chasing a nice ride in one.

The biggest engineering failure on these is garbage transmissions. I’d add a larger transmission cooler as these are sensitive to overheating.
 






2x on the transmission being the weakest link. It is a nice clean looking explorer.
 






It’s got a timing chain, but it’s a pushrod engine, not the problematic chains with tensioners that wear. The chain isn’t a maintenance item on these.

That bar is definitely not factory, and doesn’t appear to be bolted down.

Unfortunately, these ride pretty terrible. They are stiff, and with the t bar front suspension there really no way to make them ride nice. Outside of replacing the worn out shocks I wouldn’t spend money chasing a nice ride in one.

The biggest engineering failure on these is garbage transmissions. I’d add a larger transmission cooler as these are sensitive to overheating.

Thank you.

Ultimately I would like to find a van again so perhaps the end result will be using this for a while and passing it on to someone else when that becomes viable. Given the vehicle situation, that could be a while.
 






"Edit - my wife saw that Explorer today. ~ 150K miles".....that's nothing for these engines.....they'll go to 400K and beyond. I had a Ranger with same engine and sold it at just shy of 250K ....ran like a top at sale and never needed to do any internal engine work....and I abused it.
With that engine, vehicle being as good shape it's in and having 4 wheel drive I would keep it. I would find a cheap trans shop in your area for when "that time comes" (you can find indepentant guys who'll rebuild trans for around $1,500)
Also you PROBABLY have a Limited Slip rear differential which is an added bonus.... check your drivers door sticker and look under the word AXLE ....if number combo below that is prefaced by a D or an L it is limited slip.
I'm guessing there's some nice areas east of you to do some hill roaming in this.... you might get bit by the off-roading bug....which is a good thing.
 






Reminder to self - figure out if these engines have timing chains that need to be replaced like on BMW overhead cam engines.

@HarryN

As long as the oil has been regularly changed, the timing chain is good to go for the life of the engine.

Because you have a first year model, there are some '95 specific parts that can be a pain in the rear to find if a problem crops up, the camshaft synchronizer w/ the window comes to mind (regulars know what I'm taking about), but other than that she looks like a clean machine!

TRANSMISSION SERVICE, REPAIR, COOLER ADDITION:

@EB4X said:
"I would find a cheap trans shop in your area for when "that time comes" (you can find independent guys who'll rebuild trans for around $1,500)"


It's a 40 minute drive from Pleasanton, but Jim at Walnut Creek Transmission can take care of any of your transmission needs (he has loaners).
For 37 years, he's been the owner (the guy with the grey hair in the website pics).
He "trained" under the previous owner named "Cleat" who had been there for over 25 years, and bought the business when Cleat retired.
Jim's not only got the hands on experience, but he also has a large warehouse stocked with all the parts for your 26 year old transmission.
Back in the early 80's as a summer job I worked for Jim as a shop go-fer; He's an honest guy who eats, drinks, sleeps transmissions - LOL!
These days, guys like him who specialize are hard to find - hence the tip and shout-out after reading @EB4X suggestion!

LINK to Walnut Creek Transmission (left click on the blue writing):
Auto Repair Walnut Creek, CA - Car Service | Main Street Automotive / Walnut Creek Transmission

When you have a moment, take a under the hood pic (the salt state guys will be envious, if they aren't already) ;)

Did you get any service records?
 






Quite remarkable... it seems it has been lovely cared ... At least form the outside views...

But... (there is always a "but"...!!!)

From the inside just consider It´s a +25 yold vehicule no matter it´s a body on frame tough truck...

If the maintenance records are not available I suggest to replace ALL fluids...
- Engine Oil,
- Organic Coollant
- Dot 3 for the brake fluid
- Mercon V for the tranny
- Old plain Mercon for the Transfer Case}
- Old plain Mercon for the Steering Pump
- Rear Diff (140W90 + slip diff additives in case)
- Front Diff (80W90)

Owner manual has all fluid specs plus capacities needed (I assume not metrics but in gallons since you´re in USA, my condolences for that... ;D)

You should sleep well after that...
 






Hi - the vehicle was owned by by son-in-law's mother. She no longer is able to drive so that is why it became available.

It is currently at my daughter + SIL's home and he is doing some clean up / minor fix up on it.

His job is fairly stressful and he enjoys doing small projects on cars and trucks as a stress relief / hobby so I am patient with the timing.

Yes - there is a lot I would like to know about it and will post as that happens.

__________

Thanks everyone for all of the tips. Much appreciated.

_____

The current plan is to use it as a daily driver and especially to supply power to my off grid business location.

I like the vehicle just fine but I really eventually need something that I can stand up in and is larger. (van)

I wish that I had something like this when I was younger and prior to the accident.

Now most mechanical related items will need to be hired out vs before.

____________

We have 3 adult children in the general area, so perhaps they will want a chance to use it for various weekend adventures.
 






Brought the Explorer home. On to making a task list.

It looks like putting 2 each, 150 watt solar panels on top will work - just going through the implementation details.

I looked at what it will take to pull out the passenger side rear seat (the 60% side) and leave the 40% in place. The side by door is easy enough, but I need to figure out how to remove the twisted pin that goes through the attachment point at the 60/40 intersection.

Might need to find someone to cut through that steel pin because it looks like it is heat treated. Will add a photo of it in a few days. Maybe a hack saw can do it.
 






/\ Not sure what you are referring to but it kind of sounds like the "hook" ....SEE 2:40 mark of following video (let me know if this is what you're referring to)
VIDEO HERE>>
 






/\ Not sure what you are referring to but it kind of sounds like the "hook" ....SEE 2:40 mark of following video (let me know if this is what you're referring to)
VIDEO HERE>>


Thank you! That is exactly what it is. The video really helped to understand how to remove the seat and how the hook concept works. The only difference is that I am removing the other seat but I am assuming that it is a similar approach. The mounting brackets and bolts look pretty straightforward, other than I am guessing that they are really torqued in there and 25 years old.
 






In case anyone needs a photo of the hook in the future, I attempted to take a few shots. It was surprisingly challenging to hold up the 2 seats, the sliding covers, and to get a camera pointing in the right direction, so these aren't so perfect.

My photo image is too large - will try to reduce the size so that it will post.
 









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The photo above is a test fit of a solar panel on the 1995 Ford Explorer.

I have not fastened it down yet, just need to find or make a bracket that goes underneath the cross bars.

The panel frame is ~ 1.5 inch wide on the side and bottom, so I just need to attach some bolts through.

The panel is a typical RV type panel ~ 26 x 59 inches long. I saw a 40 inch wide x 60 ish inches long panel that is 300 watts on line, but I have this one already scavenged off of the totaled van.

300 watts is pretty dramatically better than 150 watts for this type of use, so I might change at some point.
 






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