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2000 AWD Xploder from Turbo back to NA

After getting an estimate on how much it would run me to fix up my Xploder with all new exhaust, cold side piping, and a bunch of other stuff done up the "right" way... I've decided to convert my Xploder back to NA form so that I can actually ENJOY the truck before I die of old age.

Anyways... To start it off I ordered up a MAC cold air intake (I do not have the stock intake) and sold my FMS headers on ebay.

I plan on buying a set of torque monster headers in the next week or so but am still up in the air on how I should run my exhaust from a performance "speed" perspective. I do not plan on doing much, if any, off road driving, so am looking for a setup that improves take off and speed for spirited pavement driving that sounds good.

I already have the spare tire removed (and will be keeping it off, I have free towing anyways lol)... What would an optimal setup be with the above in mind and no worry of a spare tire being in the way? True duals (straight pipe off of each header, thru separate mufflers, and out the sides), or a dual exhaust both going into a 2 in 2 out "H" pipe style muffler and then out the sides? Or something else? In all cases I won't be running any cats.

I also plan to re-tune my car since currently it is tuned for the turbo setup which obviously will no longer apply once I rip everything out.

Thank you for any input! :)
 
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CDW6212R

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That's all good, I have replaced three of my MC caps, due to leaking of that seal.

The amp is a good get, free is always great. I bought several old used Nakamichi amps years ago, when I discovered the newer amps have high distortion. Most of mine list DHT as .003-.005% for 4ohms. I used to have one small one(PA200) under the seat of my first car in 1980. It only had 30w/ch, but it got loud enough nothing could be heard standing outside the car. That I still have, it was $210 new back then, and the used ones have been around $100-$150 each. I love great clean music, most OEM radios are poor at high volume, still today.
 
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willzilla

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That's all good, I have replaced three of my MC caps, due to leaking of that seal.

The amp is a good get, free is always great. I bought several old used Nakamichi amps years ago, when I discovered the newer amps have high distortion. Most of mine list DHT as .003-.005% for 4ohms. I used to have one small one(PA200) under the seat of my first car in 1980. It only had 30w/ch, but it got loud enough nothing could be heard standing outside the car. That I still have, it was $210 new back then, and the used ones have been around $100-$150 each. I love great clean music, most OEM radios are poor at high volume, still today.
Wow.. that's a clean sounding amp! I have no info on this amp but free is free, haha.. figured eventually I'll have it push some new door speakers or something. I didn't notice any leaking around my MC cap but figured I was ordering some bleeder valves and a new cap is only a few dollars may as well throw that in the cart while I was at it as it wouldn't hurt :D I'm taking a 4 day weekend this weekend so if the weather is nice I'll hopefully get the front wheels back on and the car down on the ground so I can lift up the rear and pull the back tire off and get the stripped valve off and swap in a new one and begin the whole bleed process.
 
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willzilla

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Also have a few projects piling up for the ZL1... catch can install and also a ram air deflector looking thing to install behind the grill. The catch can will be a PITA as I need to lift the super charger and also swap in all new super charger bolts as they are torque to yield bolts.
 
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CDW6212R

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Good luck with that and the weather. That's a good problem to have, working on the fun car.
 
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XploderPhil

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Here's what I found on the bleeder screws:
Front Bleeder Screw; Size/Thread: 3/8-24 Inch; Length: 1.49 Inch
Rear Bleeder Screw; Size/Thread: 3/8 Inch; Length: 1.18 Inch

Looks like you'll never dry out, lots of rain this year. My brother is north of Houston, seems like it's been one crazy weather year for them. I hope it gets somewhat back to normal later this summer as I'll be moving back home after 25+ years.

I was surprised with the difference an amp and subwoofer made in my explorer, much better sound at lower and mid range sound level.
 
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willzilla

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Here's what I found on the bleeder screws:
Front Bleeder Screw; Size/Thread: 3/8-24 Inch; Length: 1.49 Inch
Rear Bleeder Screw; Size/Thread: 3/8 Inch; Length: 1.18 Inch

Looks like you'll never dry out, lots of rain this year. My brother is north of Houston, seems like it's been one crazy weather year for them. I hope it gets somewhat back to normal later this summer as I'll be moving back home after 25+ years.

I was surprised with the difference an amp and subwoofer made in my explorer, much better sound at lower and mid range sound level.

haha yep! And thank you for the info! Thankfully I'm in New Braunfels TX... still getting a lot of rain and some mini flash floods (my house is on a large hill so flood issues mostly just down town by the river and such). Houston seems to always flood badly though.
 
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willzilla

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More storms.. more rain, sheesh! Lol. I did get the front wheel liners back on and the front wheels back on, lifted the rear, and pulled the rear passenger wheel off and was able to hammer a socket onto the bleed valve and loosened it up :D Didn't have my replacements in yet so loosened it and then tightened it very slightly (enough to not leak) until I get them in. I emailed PowerStop a few days ago and they emailed me back yesterday and told me, "The size for the bleeder screws is 3/8 x 24..". No info on length though, lol. I got in 2 sets of bleeder screws from Amazon late yesterday, Russell 639590 and also Dorman Help! 13901.. Slightly different lengths. I'll pull the rear off and then line them up and swap in the closest one as quick as I can, haha.
 
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willzilla

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Swapped both rear bleeder valves and got all the old brake fluid out of the brake system and replaced with all new fresh dot 4 fluid, bled the brakes, and everything seems to be working... buttttttt... I hear an air sound when pushing on the brake pedal. Pedal is nice and light (when car is running) but when I push down hard it makes a squish like air sound, lol.. but, brakes seem super responsive and car brakes very well. Took a look under the dash and see what looks like all of the foam type material for the silencer on the brake booster accordion style end is all disintegrated away... perhaps lack of the silencer material is giving me the sound and not because the booster is bad?

IMG-20210531-133035.jpg


Hopefully it's just this and not an actual issue, haha. Next up is probably... drop the transmission pan, drain the fluid, replace filter, put pan back on, and fill with fresh fluid. If/when that is completed, back at attempting to get my AC up and running once more lol.
 
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willzilla

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Haven't had a chance to work on the Explorer for a few weeks.. Side projects like redoing flower bed, build a small garden for the wife, change her SMART car oil/filter, and work stuff. Hopefully will get the transmission fluid changed out soon and need to get new plates and updated registration.
 
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willzilla

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Been driving the Explorer around for the past week on and off... I keep my ZL1 in the garage when the weather is bad or there is water on the road. So far it's been driving pretty good! I finally got inspection done (just safety, not emissions thankfully, haha) and plates on the car... old plates from TN had expired back in 2019, lol. Brakes seem to work perfectly but the damn ABS light is still on.. blah! Have some belt squeak on startup and a little bit of annoying noise for the first few minutes as it warms up.

Also.. seems to idle a little low when I'm at a stop, like... 500ish rpm... feels like its a little above where it would want to try and stall. May need to adjust throttle plate screw perhaps.

Still need to get around to doing the transmission drain and filter replacement and fresh fluid fill.. it's on my to do list... still, haha!

Meanwhile... wife and a few of my kids are back in TN for the past week and the wife is trailering down her grandpas old 84 El Camino SS that we got after he passed (she can't get rid of anything from her grandparents). Seems in decent shape but still needs a ton of work so add that to my list of potential project cars, LOL.

elcamino1.jpg

elcamino9.jpg

elcamino4.jpg
 
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CDW6212R

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You should try to talk her out of keeping that El Camino, those had the worst rear end wreck records. Those brake lights are mounted way too low, all of those GM trucks with them had bad accident statistics, people don't see them well at all.

Don't adjust the TB screw, that is a permanent adjustment, never to be moved. The idle control is entirely in the PCM and IAC solenoid. Clean the IAC as needed, and if the idle is still off, then someone messed with the screw; and it takes a certain procedure to return it to the original position.
 
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willzilla

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You should try to talk her out of keeping that El Camino, those had the worst rear end wreck records. Those brake lights are mounted way too low, all of those GM trucks with them had bad accident statistics, people don't see them well at all.

Don't adjust the TB screw, that is a permanent adjustment, never to be moved. The idle control is entirely in the PCM and IAC solenoid. Clean the IAC as needed, and if the idle is still off, then someone messed with the screw; and it takes a certain procedure to return it to the original position.
Yeah, can't talk her out of anything when it comes to her grandparents since they passed away. The El Camino won't be driven, and if/when I fix it up, it may be driven a few times a year or so, at most.

Ok, won't adjust the screw. I will clean up the IAC. I def need an updated tune as well which isn't helping things. jah81592 hit me up last year saying he would help me out with the tune but I hadn't heard from him since when asking him about it :-/ May need to find a new tuner and start a new tune from scratch or something.
 
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CDW6212R

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Try James again if you can. He was always great to deal with, but also very busy with lots of things.
 
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willzilla

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Try James again if you can. He was always great to deal with, but also very busy with lots of things.
Yeah, just saw him link to a video of his in a post from last year, so replied to his youtube video :D lol, in the event he doesn't actually log on here anymore to see messages or anything.
 
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willzilla

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Quick video of the Xploder idling before I went to the gym today:


Photo:

xploder-3.jpg


Also made a couple videos of some Xploder noise after I got back from the gym a little while ago... almost like tapping or clanking from around/out of the exhaust pipes, and then some other jingle bells kind of noise from the engine bay area (not loud), lol:

*** Have to kind of turn up the volume for this.

Of course these are both while it's idling quite low, like 500ish rpm, and shuddering a tad. Also heard a couple pops out the back while driving real slow in neighborhood.

Photo of the radio with backup camera on :)...

xploder-4.jpg
 
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willzilla

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I think I may of found the issue with the low rpm idle and some of the noise, lol... Heard more popping today dropping daughter off at her job a few miles away... low idle at the lights again.. finally check engine light came on. I got home and hooked up my old SCT hand tuner device and... screen backlight comes on and NOTHING displays on screen, so, guess the tuner is shot :-/ lol. Thankfully I had a BlueDriver I bought on a lightning deal on Amazon and popped it on and pulled the codes... P0303 Cylinder 3 Misfire Detected. Seems maybe my spark plug wire came loose from the plug is my guess, which is funny as I had issues with plug wires coming loose YYYEEEAAARRRSSS ago as well, so, will try to delve into that after work and once the headers and everything cool down :) Hopefully it's just something as simple as that, haha.
 
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willzilla

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Ok.. Found the problem... cylinder 3 spark plug wire looked to have cooked inside the heat sock.. I had it wedged between header tubes as the wire was to short to route any other way and it came back and bit me, lol:

IMG-20210708-185257.jpg

IMG-20210708-185418.jpg


Heat sock has no marks on it so it pretty much just turned into an oven and cooked the silicone wiring inside.. oops.

I ordered a Taylor wire repair kit and tool... gives me like a 32" 8.2mm Thundervolt wire and then I can cut to the length I want and crimp on the appropriate fittings so this way I can run with a longer wire and route it much safer :)

Also.. wife got back in late last night with the El Camino in tow... Seems to be in pretty decent shape overall for a car that sat for years. Of course with any cars that sit outside for a long time I found a ton of mice nests and some old dead wasp nests in the engine bay, the battery was fried, some wires chewed up, etc, but the body seems solid, no rust more than some surface rust.. no dents or anything that looks bad. Will need all new weather striping, maybe new door window motors, etc, etc, etc.

IMG-20210708-130343.jpg

IMG-20210708-155228.jpg

IMG-20210708-132038.jpg
 
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willzilla

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Does anyone have a recommendation for a nice looking way to mount a front license plate on the 2000 XLT front bumper? I have 2 holes in the front bumper but they look like the kind you use when using rivets to mount some kind of front plate bracket.
 
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willzilla

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Well.. Attempted to build a single spark plug wire.. Simple process BUT.. seems the ford distributor uses a funky super long fitting inside the 90 degree boot which didn't come with the spark plug single wire build kit, sadly, it came with 2 short little regular 90 degree boot fittings and 2 straight boot style fittings and I cannot seem to find the correct fitting anywhere sold as just the single metal fitting for the distributor :-/ I removed the fitting from my burn wire BUT bending it a bit to remove from boot and bending again into new boot and of course it broke at the bend point, blah. Ended up having to order an entire new set of wires :mad: Guess I will have spare wires now.

Also have been spending time on the El Camino. Lots of hoses and wires were eaten as well as wire connectors. Yanked out the carb as well which was pretty rough, probably will get a nicely rebuilt one for a few hundred bucks. Watched some YouTube videos and rebuilding the carb looks simple enough and I know I could do it without any trouble but don't have a good way to really deep clean it first. Probably will give the car a similar treatment as the Xploder and freshen up the full suspension. I will also probably convert the rear drum brakes to disc and upgrade the front disc brakes to something a bit better (kits seem fairly cheap). Also plan to swap the front and rear bumpers and dump the beat up chrome pieces.
 
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XploderPhil

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Here's a link for the licence plate bracket, you will also need 2 plastic rivets and the special rivet gun. Just find a body shop near you, they will have the rivets and tool to install them, shouldn't take more than a few mins.

Amazon product
 
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