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Aaron's Mountaineer: Massachusetts

Aaron "V8BoatBuilder"s Elite Explorer Registry Page


Rausch Creek Off Road Park, PA. 33" Tires, 4" Lift



West Dennis Beach, Cape Cod, MA. Truck as purchased, Christmas Eve 2002


Got lost on the way to the mall..... Offroading in New Hampshire. November 2003

I have set up this thread to detail my modifications, provide some step by step instructions for many of them, list my tips for general maintence procedures, and even throw a writeup or two of anytime I decide to subject my truck to the abuse of off-pavement driving.

I strongly encourage all members of Explorerfoum to read this thread, or skim over my dry writing and just look at the photos. Hopefully you can find a usefull tip or learn a little bit about your Mountaineer or Explorer. If you have a question, feel free to PM me, or even post it here. I've edited many posts to reflect conversations I've had over PMs. So yea, check the "older" posts, since I sometimes update them too..... (I have way too much time it seems....)

Now the Disclaimer:
If you follow any of my writeups or tips, I take no responsibilty for damage or injury you may encur. Always double check your work, and make sure everything makes sense. Never work under a truck that is only supported by a hydraulic jack - use jack stands! Remember, some systems, such as brakes, can affect others if you are not careful. Have fun, and get greasy. Make that truck your own.

Specifications As She Stands, 1/19/08:
Year, Make: 1997 Mercury Mountaineer
Color: Black, with gray trim and body cladding
Engine: 5.0 Liter 302cu in. V8. GT40p Heads.
Battery Duralast Gold Grp 65 Wet Cell, custom wiring
Transfer Case: Borg Warner 4406 Control-Trac w/Torque on Demand and low range.
Front Drivetrain: Dana 35 SLA, 4.56 gears, Open Differentail, Center Axle Disconnect
Rear Drivetrain:Ford 8.8" 31 Spline, 4.56 gears, Track-Lock Limited Slip
Tires: Interco TrXus MT 33x12.5R15 on Cragar 15x8 Chrome Plated Steel Wheels
Interior: Gray with Leather and Mountaineer stitching
Options and Creature Comforts Power Seats, Alarm system, remote keyless entry, power locks, power mirrors, overhead console with Autodim mirror, outside temp, compass. Rear Air. Message Center.


Page One (You are here)
- Ford OEM Class III trailer hitch installed 1/10/03
- Rancho 9000x 9way Adjustible shocks installed 2/14/03
- Aux reverse lights installed 2/15/03
- Oil Pressure Sender conversion in progress 3/14/03
- Front Tow hooks installed 3/31/03
- JC Whitney Full Brushguard installed 3/16/03
- Hella 500 Driving Lights installed 3/17/03
- Audio System including: Pioneer MP3 headunit, Pioneer 12 disc changer, Alpine v12 Mono Amp, Dual 10" Rockford Fosgate Subs (Now removed), Sound deading insulation installed 3/18/03

Page Two
- Explorer Express Swaybars installed 4/13/03
- MAC open element Air Intake installed 8/15/03
- Ventshade VentVisors installed 8/15/03
- Custom made Stealth Subwoofer Box with Kenwood eXcelon 10" DVC woofer installed 8/17/03
- Warrior Shackles installed 11/20/03
- Aux Transmission Filter Installed 12/20/03
- Autometer guages (oil pressure, oil temp, trans temp) Installed 12/21/03
- Torsion bar adjusters, January 2004

Page Three
- 2" Front Lift from TT, Add-a-leafs in rear Installed Janurary 2004
- Front control arm Camber Adjusters, Installed January 2004
- 31" BFG AT KO tires Installed January 2004
- Custom Front skidplate, February 2004
- New head Gaskets and a Valve job, June 2004
- Accell DIS coils, Taylor Ignition wires, June 2004

Page Four
- Baumann Engineering Shift kit and other 4R70W Mods, December 2004
- Message Center, January 2005
- Torque Monster Headers, March 2005
- Cruise Controll Deactivation Recall, June 2005
- Control Trac/4x4 trasnfer case swap, June 2005

Page Five
- More on the 1st BW4406 swap EVER!!

Page Six
- Waterpump, Timing Chain, Timing Cover, Cooling Hose Replacement
- Superlift K494 4" Front Lift, Central Axle Disconnect Swap
- Custom Stainless Steel Braided Brake Lines
- Rear SOA, 4.56 Gears

Planned Mods...
- Custom Rocksliders
- Custom Rear Bumper w/Tire Carrier
- Fatmat entire interior
- Sandblast, POR 15, and paint underbody, suspention and frame.
- Replace rear leaf spring bushings with Energy Suspention Poly
- Lockers
- A Pillar grab handles
- Flowmaster Exhaust with 50 series delta flow(s) with dual 2.5" piping or single 3", custom downpipes and high flow catalytic converters.
- Upgraded door speakers and amp
- SCT chip w/87 octane program(s)
- FMS E303 Cam and Roller Rockers
- Cut the roof off and put in a cage!!

Help.... this list is getting too short!

These photos were taken the night I purchased the truck: (Christmas Eve 2002)


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Been Way too long since I updated this thread... And I've been busy!

<This Post Reserved For Waterpump/Timing Chain/Timing Cover Photos/Writeup>

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Fitting 33" Tires to the IFS: My Way

NOTE: The original thread for the buildup is located here:http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=211266

Here are my plans for my 1997 Mountaineer V8, and the official buildup thread.

The Goal: Fitting Interco TrXus MT 33x12.5R15 with style and offroad prowess.

The Plan:
Front Suspention: Superlift 4"
Rear Suspention: SOA, stock springs, warrior shackles.
Rear Axle: Originally belonging to IZwack, it's a 1998 with 4.56 gears and SOA perches. Limited Slip.
Front Axle: 1995 Explorer, with Central Axle Disconnect. Being regeared to 4.56. Open, perhaps an Aussie Locker.

New tire mounted on rear axle:

New 33" TrXus MTs vs 31" BFG ATs:

Went up to visit Jay (SurrealNJ) to pick up IZwack's axle:

Came home to find this on my porch:

Opened them up (although fedex and heavy parts in only a cardboard uhaul box left the packaging kind of destroyed :rolleyes:)

Everything looks OK at first glance, some of the drop brackets were hit with the grinder:

And this one is bent...

Tomorrow I'll unpack and study everything further.

Rip that IFS out!!!

Best helper ever:

Lots of paint pen so I know how to put it back together:

Pass side stock knuckle, LCA, t bar:

Diffy Down:

All Out:

It looks good!!! So tempting to take a grinder to the rest of it and go buy myself a Rubicon D44 and just SAS the darn thing.

And many thanks to Evan for Fedexing me my new front driveshaft, a new incarnation in the 4406 shaft swap saga.

Even though the balljoints and tie rod ends are recent MOOGs, they all need new boots and might need replacing :(

New custom brakelines!

Rubber fluid contact surface/stainless braid/plastic covering. All new, OEM style fittings with rubber chafe protection. Fronts extended 5", Rear extended 8"

Tested to 3000psi and DOT stamped.




Reflaring the rear brake hardline, it broke when I disconnected the old rubber hose. This was a hard job at first because the rent-a-tool flare kit at Autozone sucks. I bought a good one at Sears, practiced, and make a leakproof joint.

The Craftsman double-flare kit was a night and day difference from the Autozone renter (I'm not surprised) and I found a fantastic tubing cutter at my local Ace Hardware (also made in the USA) that blazes through the steel line nice and clean. I also prepped the lines with 220grit sandpaper and some tiny modeler's files.


Almost completed flare, just needs a bit more sanding of the bumps:

Finished and not leaking during repeated brake pedal holds:

The joint/union accomplishes two things:
1) It allows for the retention of the stock bracket
2) It allowed me to put a "factory" flare against my new brake line, and let the female-female union take the "brunt" of my homemade flares. They're good, but the steel is softer in the union and allows for a margin of error.

Notice my pimp energy suspension bumpstop, I had to cut off the Ford one to get the bracket out.

Popped the cover off the regeared D35 Front Axle, pattern looked good. Thoughts:




Ran most of my wiring for the central axle disconnect:


I just need to add the switch and indicator light in the cab, as well as find the stupid 2-pin connector for the diff sensor.

Here's how it'll work:
Both solenoids are connected to a common hot that's on with the ignition, and then one wire from each is connected to the relay. The relay common is connected to ground. By default, the "disconnect" solenoid will be engaged. When a simple on-off SPST switch is pressed to on, the relay will shift the ground to the "connect" solenoid, and voila.

Installation progress:





Driver's side spindle completed:

Passenger's side spindle completed:

Front Lift Only!!



Photos are of front Superlift and rear Add-a-Lead and Shackles, SUA.

Rear SOA Progress:

Rear axle out:

IZwack left me with some pimp dady ebrakes!! This was a great discovery after about 15min of propane torch to get the rotor off.




Hybrid shaft from a 1st gen Explorer w/TTB and a new yoke for the double cardan to meet to the 4406.

Comparison with my "old" F150 shaft for the 4406 swap. This new shaft can be shorter or longer, so it would be a great system for future 4406 swappers looking for a double cardan.



Double Cardan mounted to 4406:

Clearance between x-member and shaft:

Driveshaft to diff pinion attachment:

wheres the pictures... i wanna see her!

Ask, and yee shall receive:

Something has changed.... hrmm....

One of these things is not like the other...

Not too bad!


Still have a bit of work to do, but she's road worthy and a whole lot of good looks.

This is what it's all about:

So after a weekend of this:


...a little bit this:



...a touch of that:

...and some time spent on here:



I ended up with one heck of a to-do list....and one impressive Mountaineer!

WOOOOT!! Aaron finally has a stout 'froader!! Now "give it some gas" means a little more. :D

looks a lot better aaron keep up good work

Looks great! Quick tip though...

Cut these off or when you flex out the rear (and you will since you're IFS), they will hit the shocks and dent them. You don't want those pretty shocks to look like mine. And yes, I still need to cut mine off. :)


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...Congrats on having a blast and the Mounty performing to your approval..:biggthump

...Just curious as to the cost of your brake lines??...Those look like what I have and they are not cheap...:eek:

...Congrats on having a blast and the Mounty performing to your approval..:biggthump

...Just curious as to the cost of your brake lines??...Those look like what I have and they are not cheap...:eek:

No... they were not cheap. The front lines were $40/each and the rear was $55. They were done by a local hydraulic shop that specialized in truck brakes.

...Mine are longer but were double that for the fronts...:(

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Love this truck.

...so when are you doing the SAS? lol

That is an impressive Mountaineer. :biggthump