5spdman's slow and cheap XLT build | Page 18 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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5spdman's slow and cheap XLT build

Got rained out last Wednesday from work, so I ended up doing some work on the rig.


With freezing rain and snow, I opted to work at the fire station rather than my driveway... ;)


I started (after giving it a quick hot shower to get rid of the snow and ice) by replacing the trans support...10 minutes tops to get the old one out and the new one in. Is it a bad sign that it's that easy? :P


New siren speaker (on right) came in a few days sooner than expected and was able to get that switched out pretty quick as well. On top of that, I got all the tires rotated (finally) and worked on a crackling speaker and got the stereo switched out to one that doesn't freak-out every now and then...


Not part of the Explorer, but thought I'd share...boss gave us $150 Lowe's cards for Christmas and I ended up getting a small flux/MIG welder with it. Haven't had a chance to play with it yet, but I'll post when I do...says it's good for up to 1/4" steel, came with a cheap mask and wire brush, but only cost $159 so we'll see what it does!

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I have the same welder.

Works well. Better after getting a 8 gauge power cord. Went 8 gauge so I could put 30 ft. on it.

The stock power cord is a bit whimpy and you loose top amperage as a result.

I've done 1/2" with it: bevel prepped and 6 passes does the trick.

1/4" also needs proper bevel prep. Butt joints NOT gonna hold.

In a pinch you can burn a butt joint if you preheat the joint blue hot.

I have a little lincoln 110v that also claims to do up to 1/4". I have used it years ago to replace a tooth on a skid steer bucket. Multiple passes is the key as FR-425 said. What you lack in penetration you have to make up for with surface area. I'm sure you already know to clean the hell out of each weld before going over it again, grinder with a wire brush makes short work of it though. Congrats on the new toy!! It should come in handy for someone with your fabrication skills.

I'll have to find some scrap to play around with, but first things first; I need to clean my garage! I grabbed a better wire brush when I bought it and I have a few wire brush drill attachments along with a plethora of 4.5" cutting disks and grinding wheels! ;)

Don't think I'll need any plugs Mr. Cribb...trans I have now has them and it'll be a long time before I get around to the "spare"...

Got a call the other day from a guy we did a roof for last summer...selling his truck and called me first to see if I was interested. Need to go over our financial status with the wife to see if we can do it, and then see about getting a loan...decently clean (for our area) '06 GMC 2500HD...4wd, crew cab, regular bed; truck I've been dreaming of getting for years (other than the Explorer of course)....if we were to get it, some stuff on the Ex would probably have to be put on the back burner, but we'll probably find out sometime next week. :D

I'm no welder, so take it with a grain of salt. I think 110 volt MIG welders are useless. They do thin stuff ok, but for 1/4" they lack power. 220 volt MIG is probably the most useful welder there is. If you want cheap, a 220 volt AC only stick welder does just fine on the thick stuff. Mine is a little finicky, and don't expect pretty welds, but it will be strong if you do it right. Those tiny MIG's might do body work, but I would rather use a TIG.

Just be aware you can lay down some perfect looking beads with that little MIG, and it wont be strong enough to hold up a blade of grass.

Well I have yet to do anything really heavy, other than my tow points and hitch receiver, but for that I used a 220v arc welder...

I agree that an arc welder is better for thick materials, but nowhere at our home do we have 220v running in the garage, it's a rental house so I can't add it, and with the gift card this was $10 out of pocket for me; for usually only doing stuff up to 3/16", I couldn't pass it up.

I have friends with larger welders I can use, but I hated having to go to their places when it works for them, make sure I have everything done that evening so's not to be in their way the next day...the ability now to start a project on a Friday evening at my own home so I can work at a pace that doesn't make me rush and screw things up at this point is invaluable...

I'd love to try my hand at TIG welding....someday... :)

I think 110 volt MIG welders are useless. They do thin stuff ok, but for 1/4" they lack power.

I made a living at burning metal for quite a few years, and I bought my 110v way before that. I taught myself to weld with only a couple pointers from Dad who is a lifelong welder not long after I got it. I just used mine last week to weld some S-10 blazer tow hooks onto the frame of my 94. Since it's designed to crumple in an impact and shaped weirdly, I laid down a 1.5" x 1/4" plate, and then the hook on top of that. 3 passed everything. I had to get winched out of some snow on a steep hill last weekend and we had no choice but to put a pretty good side load on the passenger side hook. It bent the hook in just slightly and the welds didn't even stretch. It's way more time consuming with having to constantly clean welds so you can make another pass, but I got way more time than money right now. As I said before, what you lack in penetration you just have to make up for in surface area with multiple passes as long as you got the welder dialed in it can be just as strong as anything else. I won't however, disagree that some 7018 rod is where it's at for anything structural, or that will be taking abuse.

Anyone have a problem with the rear quarter windows leaking? Mine are leaking every time it rains and I'm getting puddles of water in the back....with the rain coming now, I'll probably have tomorrow off and would like to address the situation since I have the trim pulled entirely out of the back at the moment...

Lots of people has leaky quarter glass.

Unbolt - reseal :)

Anyone have a problem with the rear quarter windows leaking? Mine are leaking every time it rains and I'm getting puddles of water in the back....with the rain coming now, I'll probably have tomorrow off and would like to address the situation since I have the trim pulled entirely out of the back at the moment...

Yup. Remove the trim, unbolt and lay a new bead of windshield silicone.

Buy the bigger tube, because the small tiny one in the package does half the window. (Just saying from personal experience).

Resealed the rear glass for a cost of about $6...I'll have pictures in a write-up coming soon and attach the link here.

Well I went ahead and got all the parts I need for the extended RA's, or at least ordered...6" springs are on back order. Until then, I figured it was a good idea to get done what I can for the moment.

Material for the brackets was donated from the frame of a 97 Ranger...


First step (other than drawing and making patterns) was to get the material cleaned up...angle grinder made fast work of getting rid of rust and paint.


Pieces were then marked and cut out with cutting wheels.....a lot of cheap cutting wheels.....


The sections of material I was using wouldn't leave me enough to make the brackets with 3 pieces, so I had to extend the piece that will rest under the frame...


Both edges were beveled, and then it was time to get to work... :)




A little angle grinder action and die grinder/brush and it almost looks like it started as one piece!

When I have time, the other side will be added to as well. Will borrow dads bench grinder and get all the parts shaped up to size and to match and then get all holes drilled. After that, it's getting the other pieces welded on and everything cleaned up. I'll wait to get the tube onto the stock RA's, but will probably go ahead and get the heim bungs welded into the tubing so it's all ready to go when the springs arrive.

More updates to follow, so stay tuned!

Hey man im picking my truck up another 2.5 inches at the end of the month and want to extend my RA s keep the pics coming so i can steal your ideas. Lol

Haha, they'll be comin!

Got a lot done yesterday......


Got all the bracket pieces made and shaped the same/similar...next step is to drill them so that the holes all line up when welded together.

And speaking of welding...



Heims are in and ready to go...hoping to get the holes drilled and brackets finished this week sometime...still waiting on those springs....until then, I'm just using my time...

Well, as the rain slowly comes down (not like it is in TX), I didn't have work today....so I worked for myself...


Brackets were drilled last night (to at least get the hiems in) and I went ahead and got them welded up...


I couldn't help myself, so I went ahead and put everything together...so ready to have this done lol!


I have one more plate to weld on that will provide some protection and also stiffen up the bracket. None of the mounting holes are drilled yet...

When "mocking" up the side plates for mounting, I realized I had a flaw in my plan...I was going to run into the trans crossmember...I believe I've figured out a way to modify the crossmember and still leave it strong, but I MIGHT leave that for the weekend...or I may not...will need hardware for remounting the coil buckets once the shock towers are integrated, so a trip to the hardware store may land me at the fire department (where I can work out of the rain) and modifying the crossmember.

I do have an EMT quiz to study for though...I'll just get that out of the way right now so I can get back to work on the truck... :D

Speaking of mounting them, I'm going back and forth on bolting the mounts to the frame or just welding them...any opinions?

If it was me, I'd weld it and be done. drill you some holes on the mounting sides though and get some good plug welds. Only drawback I see if you ever had to replace em for any reason. Bolts would be better then. Probably just me but I get paranoid about hardware loosening itself.

Looks like your new welder is treating you pretty good huh? Not much you can't do with one of them. I've had my little Lincoln for about 13-14 years now. There's definitely times I wish I had a 220v machine to run hardwire and gas, but for the portability, you just cant beat a little 110v with flux core. Could weld 2 soup cans end to end in the middle of a hurricane.

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I think I've decided on bolting them, just in case, for some odd reason I'd want to remove them...

And yeah, the welder is working awesome!! The other reason I had went with this one was that it does offer the option of hard wire and gas. Yeah, a 220V unit would be superb, but this will work just fine! :)

Speaking of just fine, I'm super impressed with Bronco Graveyard...


Opened the garage to let the dog in just a little while ago and found these inside the door!! Had contacted them earlier this week, as they were on back order, hoping to find out when they'd get here. Jeff contacted me and said they may get them by Friday. Well, last night I got an e-mail saying a shipping label was made, and here they sit today!!

If we weren't going to the in-laws this weekend, I'd be working tonight and tomorrow to get this sucker done...will drill holes and finalize welding tonight and tomorrow along with modifying the trans-member all before we leave, and hope that next weekend will hold some glorious weather!

Also, for the time being, as I seem to have material available and want to limit the amount I spent at the moment, I'm going to fab some rear shackles to even out the lift for now...may work on those tomorrow as well...