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I've been lurking around here for a while now. I originally bought this 96 XLT, 4.0L, 5-speed man., 4x4 from a buddy. I was driving a 2001 Mitsubishi eclipse spyder GT, but it broke down. My buddy and his wife had just bought a newer Cherokee and the explorer was just sitting there. So he let me drive it for a while till I got the car fixed. Then I didn't want to let it go. So I gave him $1250 for it. This is pretty much it as I bought it:

started out with some lights under the dash:


Added some sound:

Then came my bday present:


But is looks WAY too small IMO, so off to Cabela's I go with gift cards.....oh btw, the body damage was from my buddy when he still owned it, backed into a gas pump pylon.....anyway, OFF TO CABELA'S:

Bought the extra 22 or so inch extension off the shelf, I think that looks much better, and is way more functional too. Then I added one of these: (yes it says ice, it was a cold day).

Next it was time for a AAL and TT:

Yes the back is still sagging, but I finally pulled the trigger on the leaf spring bushings today (will be here saturday) so I can install the cheap autozone shackles for now. I found a decent set on a 95 at one of my pick and pull yards, but bolts were seized of course and I almost lost a finger trying to get em off, so autozone cheapies it is for now until I get my hands on some 2"x3/8" and fab up my own shackles. Really not looking forward to wrestling those bushings, but I want this part of the lift done. I got a line on some Mickey Thompsons for cheap that I want to get on this thing soon. So I finally took her out on her maiden voyage run to Johnny's Park. I know, not smart, but I went alone. Back in the day I had a 79 Bronco, and then a 90 F-150 that I took up to that trail all the time. Got to one rocky section that I wasn't feeling confident about and it started raining, so I decided it best to get the hell outta dodge. Had a blast and she did well. Here's a few pics from that day:

Ya'll know how much pics never do the steepness any justice:





Found this little spur off the trail that looked fun:

And again, pics never do the steepness any justice, but was steep, and it was loose, just after where I took this, I lost traction and has to turn around. Not a fun task on a steep loose hill, thought we were gonna eat it at one point, but we finally got the nose pointed downhill.

And back home with her first bit of dirt from wheelin on her:

The very next weekend, took a gal out wheelin on a first date, LOL. Tried to hit Pierson park road in Estes, but it's still closed from floods. Headed down to Allenspark and took the ski road quite a ways back, really rocky bumpy trail, constantly getting thrown around, but I can't wait to go back up there and take the trail all the way back. Apparently there was a ski area back in there in the 40's. Was only open a few years and only had 4-5 runs and 2 tow ropes. I dont believe any evidence of it is left. So once we got out of there I attacked Johnny's park from the other end, this time crossing the sketchy rocky area that turned me back before with no problems. We found a spur off the other end of the trail and parked where we could see the lights out east and just hung out for a few hours. I did discover I'm going to need more lights however.........I turned into some pretty sharp turns without being able to see what I was turning into......a little creepy...But we made it out and then next day it was time to delete those running boards. Before:


And after:


Then I went ahead and finally installed a black herc'd grill I came across at the pick and pull:

And that's how she sits right now. I got tons of little things to fix/replace and lots more mods. I hope to have 3" BL and 33's under this time next year. For now, I just want some 31-ish tires on it, and get everything back up to par before waterfowl hunting season.

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Thanks [MENTION=87244]gmanpaint[/MENTION] trying to get in some runs before snow flys. Looking at trying to make it out to SMORR in June too!!

As promised, here's some pics from the most recent outings. I had planned to try and run Shelf Rd, The Bank, and Phantom Canyon in the same day, but ran out of light and only managed Shelf Rd and The Bank, although I did hit another out and back trail at The Bank as well as the big loop.

Shelf Rd runs from Cripple Creek to Canon City and dates back to 1892 and was the original stage and freight route from the Arkansas Valley to Cripple Creek mining area.
It's a narrow dirt road that I would have taken my car on, but a neat drive nonetheless.


Total BS:


Massive timber retaining wall:


Small ghost town with nothing left but some stone foundations from the mill:





Colorado held true to it's unpredictable weather and we got a little rain, snow and hail for about 20mins:


One of the mines in the area:


Found an arch in Colorado!!


Start of the shelf Rd. you can see it going around the corner up ahead:



You can see the road cut into the hill on the right side:


I thought this was cool with the single yellow tree just hanging out down there by itself:


As I said earlier, I would take my car on this road:


Came across an old ranch homestead or something along those lines:


Right at the end of Shelf Rd is the entrance to the bank. Just a forest access area with a decent little loop trail on it and lots of spurs. There's quite a bit of rock climbing in the area and we saw lots of people hiking back out with ropes and other gear. In my haste to try and squeeze in all 3 roads/trails, I took off on one of the spurs from the parking area on accident, and burned up quite a bit of time on a fairly boring out and back trail only known as FSR 5820 (Forest Service Road).




Realizing my mistake once we got to the end, turned around and made it back to the parking lot where I double checked the map, I went ahead and used the last couple hours of light to run The Bank loop. Much more fun trail and not too tough running counter clockwise, but I want to go back and run it clockwise as it looked like a lot more fun that way. I would definitely air down and disconnect the sway bar for that direction though.





Some decent views from the backside of the trail:



I've come to love these "reflection shots". Just wish I would've cleaned the window first.....


I also got out yesterday and ran Switzerland Trail above Boulder. Easy squeezy trail, but I did air down due to all the rocks. Needed a little extra cushion. I'll load up some of those pics once I get em up on Photobucket.

As you know Tom, I was planning to run that one too but ran out of time. Here's some pics from Switzerland Trail. Easy enough I saw a subaru on it, but not one I would take my car on. Hit another short trail at the end of Switzerland which according to Google Earth is still Switzerland, but it got a little tougher and tighter.




That's a rock wall supporting the trail




Ran into some rain earlier, but it had quit by the time we got to the more fun part:




Interesting day yesterday. Been kicking around the idea of switching to a 2nd gen sport. My 4dr's timing chain is making lots of racket, trans doesn't like to shift much anymore, and it's got 260K+ now. Prob wouldn't get rid of it, but would be out of commission for a while. Trying to decide if I would want an automatic or a manual. I like the simplicity and overall toughness of a manual, but hate trying to crawl rocks with it. So I decided to try out a hand throttle on this rig before I make a decision. More on that in a bit. When I was 17 I bought a 79 Bronco, and to this day it's the only vehicle I have ever owned that I regret getting rid of. The 78-79 Broncos are (in my opinion) the best looking trucks ever made, the only years the Bronco had a solid front axle, and they're just tough as nails. Well, a memeber of a local forum has one for sale. 4" suspension lift, 1 1/2" body lift, 35's - all new door and window seals..........the list goes on and on. May make a deal on it in the next couple days, got my fingers crossed.


Came home after checking out the Bronco and decided to finally change out the 2 100w lights on top for 2 more of the 55w so I have 5 identical lights up there now.


Still need to tweak em a bit so they line up, but at least they're changed out and working. So went to Pep Boys the other night and picked up a Universal manual choke cable to use as a hand throttle to try that out on the rocks. Got it installed tonight also and going to test it out today. Here's the kit I got for $11


I ran the cable through the same grommet as the hood release cable and over to the throttle cable where I cut it to length and zip tied it in place. I used another zip tie to make a loop around the throttle linkage and ran the choke cable wire around it. This way when I'm using my foot on the pedal, there's some play for the throttle to move. made the choke cable flow as easily as possible all the way to the shifter where I made a makeshift clamp to mount it to the shifter. Only bad thing about it is that I have to hold the cable or else the RPM go back to idle, no big deal though.




Heading up to some trails near Ft. Collins today, we'll see what happens but hopefully I like the hand throttle.

Hope everyone is doing well.........


Your going to love the hand throttle once you get used to it. :thumbsup:

I would replace those zipties with metal clamps and a ball chain on the throttle linkage. Plastic ties tend to degrade fast with heat, and can break easy after time. Not a big deal to replace when it happens, but everything seems to break when using it. Murphy's law in action. LOL

It was your thread I got the idea from Greg. I tried a little ball chain thing but its a cheap piece of junk and didnt hold. Zip ties were all I had at the time but I'll change it out. Heading up to test it today!!

In all my years of wheeling I never had an automatic until my Ex and I love it! My Ranger had lockers and a 5 speed and I never felt comfortable on anything difficult. I never got to the hand throttle in it but did add a push button start to help after a stall in the tuff stuff. I also saw a write up where someone used a bicycle brake lever so it was easier to modulate, thought that was cool. I always wanted just a little more RPM and thought a lockable cable would be nice. Good to see you working and your truck...

In all my years of wheeling I never had an automatic until my Ex and I love it! My Ranger had lockers and a 5 speed and I never felt comfortable on anything difficult. I never got to the hand throttle in it but did add a push button start to help after a stall in the tuff stuff. I also saw a write up where someone used a bicycle brake lever so it was easier to modulate, thought that was cool. I always wanted just a little more RPM and thought a lockable cable would be nice. Good to see you working and your truck...

The universal choke cable kit was like $11, I figured that was worth trying it out. Unfortunately, I'm still a big sissy when it comes to ice on the trail and that's about all we saw today, so didn't really get to try it out.............UNTIL..........Talk about timing!!! I installed this hand throttle last night, and today while coming back through Loveland the whole damn gas peddle broke right off the firewall. They got 3 little spot welds holding it on, and for whatever reason, it decided to let go today. I had a Skype date with my daughter that I was NOT going to miss, so I drove it all the way to Longmont with just the hand throttle!! Unfortunately I had one curve too many in it and it was a mother to get the choke cable pulled out far enough to give me some acceleration so by the time I got home my hand was killing me. Easy enough fix though. the bracket that was spot welded to the firewall that the gas peddle lever bolts to has 2 holes in already. I popped two holes into the firewall and bolted it on. I also straightened out the choke cable some more and it works much smoother now. Here's some pics of the repair. Didn't think to take any until after I was done of course..............Anyway, about using a bike brake lever........I actually have another idea I may try out if I get another 5-speed, otherwise it will probably have to wait till I'm in a place to give this truck the massaging it needs.


Already bolted back on, but that bracket on either side of the peddle lever came off. Only 3 little spot welds hold it on so you guys want to take a peek at yours if you think of it. There was 3 little holes in the firewall after it broke and I still need to loc-tite the nuts and seal up the holes, but it's on the road at least.


Here you see the 2 bolts coming through the firewall and if you zoom in on them you can see the 3 holes that were left behind when it broke. One is above the top bolt, one is in between the bolts, one is below the bottom bolt.

Didn't get a chance to try the hand throttle in a wheeling situation, so we're headed South tomorrow, probably around the Rainbow Falls Trails area in Rampart Range. May take some roads through the Haymen burn area as well. Went throught there a couple of times at night and man is it creepy!! Any Colorado folks that want to go, we're heading out whenever we're ready, if you'd like to meet up and screw around on some easy trails, PM me a # and I'll call you to make a plan. Or if you have my number and want to go, use it.
We'll probably stick around down there for some night wheeling too. Want to try out the new light set up and get them all dialed in where I want them aimed, plus have 2 new handheld spotlights I want to try out.

Supposed to get some crappy white stuff on Monday night so I'm not sitting around the house on the last nice day for while.

Well one of them cheap ass Wally World lights on the front bumper broke off on the trail. I had to zip tie it on to get through the rest of the rest of the trail and back home, but I decided to take the 2 100w light housings that I took off the roof, put 55w bulbs in them, and put them on the front bumper in place of the old P.O.S.'s. Hopefully this will be all for naught anyway as we looked at a 96 sport the other night. 5-spd, bone stock, 164k, only thing wrong is the DS CV is clunking, but already have new ones on standby at Pep Boys. Hoping to go look at a 2000 sport today with 170k in decent shape for $400 less than we agreed to on the 96 sport. Either way, I'll hopefully be swapping alot of parts and accessories over to a sport this weekend. Got AAL and 3" BL ready to order, will pick up a 4' piece of 2" x 3/8" to make some shackles, and get it on some 31's for now. Plan would be to regear to 4.56's (it's got open 3.55's right now) with minimum of an Aussie locker in the rear and get on some 33's by next spring. Also looked a 78 Bronco we really liked, trying to figure that one out too!! Anyway, here's a pic of the cheap HF 100w lights I moved down front for now.


Got a chance to get out and try out the 5 55w up top last weekend, pretty satisfied. Probably going to add one more up there when/if they get moved to the new sport. Been researching these LED bars lately, pricey as all get out, but holy cow what output!! I think I would have to ride with someone a bit at night that has one to get a better feel for how they do before pulling the trigger on one myself.

Gonna go do some web wheelin for parts, see what kinda deals I can find, hope everyone is dong well!!


I had a throttle cable break a long time ago. I ripped out some speaker wire from under the carpet, and tied it to the linkage. Ran it thru the hood vents, thru the window, and had an instant hand throttle. Got me home, but blech, wasn't much fun.

The 96 sport over the 2000 sport would be my choice. My luck, any SOHC I get, the timing chain guides will break on me as soon as I title it.

Talking about all them can lights...I have 6 100w can lights just sitting on a shelf. Guess I should place an ad for them. :scratch:

The 96 sport over the 2000 sport would be my choice.

I agree!! Although that SOHC puts out a little more oomph, I think I have a little more confidence in the OHV. Spent the last few hrs looking around at what's available in a V8 to swap into one of em. Having a 4 dr and a 2 dr of the same year could get really dangerous, too many possibilities!! I could dump the 164k motor and trans in the sport into my 4dr and then find a good donor to swap a 5.0 into the sport...........or, swap it into the 4dr and leave it by the wayside until I can SAS it. I'm gonna need some kind of sign here, I cant decide..........

Went to snag a rotor and some pads for my right rear today at a local pull and save junkyard. As usual I had to walk the whole yard and check out every explorer, ranger, F150 etc. about the 3rd or 4th truck I looked at when we first got there, I came across a black 92 ish 4dr. manual shift BW1354 was already gone...........damn. BUT, there was a nice trim piece left behind that accommodates both a manual trans shifter boot, AND a manual tcase shifter boot. But it was a little more busted up than I cared to try and mess with. A little later I came across a Mazda pick up. Glanced inside and couldn't believe it. A manual shift t-case shifter sticking up through the floor, as well as a manual trans shifter. I dove under the truck praying to find a t-case still there.............and it was. Crawled up under there and wiped off the tag..............BW1354..........YUSSSSSS. The t-case with shifter and all linkage, the trans hump plate with cutout for both shifters, boots for both shifters, and the trim for both. The trim has one crack but Nothing I can't fix up and camouflage. I didn't even look to see how many miles were on the damn thing, t-case looked good and dry aside from right under the drain plug they didn't tighten up after draining the fluid, but I plan to go through it anyway. I do have to go back tomorrow however.........spotted a couple more goodies that need to be mine!!! I'll leave it at that for now, along with some pics.





So as mentioned, there are a couple more goodies I want to go back for tomorrow, and I did find one other little gem that I'm going to pass up this time. I check the axle codes on the drivers' side door sticker to see what each truck is running for axles. Finally today I came across a D2. 4.10 gears w/ limited slip. I'd grab em if I had the time, but I'll be lucky to get both my goodies tomorrow as it is. Will update tomorrow!!!

Never made it back to the junk yard, transfer case is sitting in storage for now, and the new explorer decision has been made. Sticking with this one. The 96 sport I looked at for $1300 has been offered to me for $1000, but I just cant come up with it. Been considering selling my 3 bay Matco toolbox as I don't have a need for such a high quality box anymore as I'm done wrenching for a living. Hell, the last place I had it at, all they had me doing was welding anyway, now it's sitting in storage and only gets opened when I go out to grab a tool or two. Not sure what to do there, I love the box but it's made for someone that's going to be in and out of it all day everyday for years, and if I'm doing that at home............it's time for a newer vehicle!! So going to keep this 96 for now and keep thinking on selling the box which would pretty easily make a SAS financially feasible. :scratch: Not in any rush at the moment, maybe I'll just list it high and see what happens? That's all for now.

Well I finally have a little piece of news. Tonight we welcomed the 2nd member of our Explorer clan. Yup, another explorer, 1994 Sport 4X4, 4.0L OHV, 5-Speed, 139,000 miles. Truck was bought and kept locally and we are only his 3rd owner. The General two point oh is what we are calling him. I snapped a few quick pics tonight, I'll start a new registry all his own and make it a link in my signature. But for now, here he is:





Congrats! Not many of those around anymore...

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You're not kidding!!! Been looking across the entire Southwest for a couple months or so, this one just so happens to pop up in Aurora this week. 3 people were lined up ahead of us to look at it and NOBODY SHOWED??? :eek: In the time it took us to drive from Longmont to Aurora (through rush hour) he had 6 others lined up that wanted to see it. So all the lucky charms aligned last night apparently. Looking forward to getting to work on it though.

You doin any racing on the ice in Georgetown Rich?