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Almost complete restoration 2001 xls

coppe

Well-Known Member
Joined
December 10, 2008
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Year, Model & Trim Level
01 xls v6 SOHC
Hello everybody, haven´t posted in a long time. life has changed a lot for me, got married a few years ago, finished my medical specialty studies (residence in orthopedic surgery), bought a few used cars to keep up with daily driving, wife, etc (crv, rav 4, hrv), but never got rid of the explorer, as it has been a great car for me, has helped me moved houses, travel, work, move dogs, camping, etc, and it has been in the family since new (bought it from an uncle with about 3 or 4 years of use). Since i was little its never been easy moneywise, so i learned to mantain, appreciate, take care and even fix my cars (old 81 renault 18, vw 94 beetle, vw pointer 2001), and I´m pretty handy, and with the help of places like this forum, I´ve even learned more and more.

My truck has been well taken care of, last couple of years i let it decay a bit, since i kept forgetting and procrastinating little fixes here and there. A few months ago the transmission started acting out (it had been rebuilt two years before, but apparently the transmission shop sucked at their job), so I researched for a better shop, and they rebuilt the trans, it took them about a month, since there was a small fracture between chambers and they had to take it apart like 5 times until they foud the problem and found a used shell in better conditions and it has run flawlessly for like 10 thousand km.

About 4 or 5 months ago, I saw some rust dosts in the outer roof, nothing deep, just some little spot superficial rust where the paint gave out, so i asked an employee in one of the offices where i work if he could paint it, as he does it on the side for an extra income, and so he did. I had the whole truck painted, the rust and scratches fixed (there were no sheet metal damage or dents), he painted all of the plastic tupperware around the truck the same color of the body, as well as the bumpers (just left the back bumper step cover in gray, as i didn´t wanted it to chip everytime y stepped on it to wash the car or secure things in the roof rack), he also dismounted the roof rack and rubber stripes, so that he could seal them and do a bettter job painting, he painted the brake calipers (they don´t really show with the oem wheels, but i liked it), he water sanded the truck and polished it, and ended up looking great, a couple of paint hangs around the truck, but nothing I can´t live with; and also, the color of the truck is plain white, and i had him use the oem color, but with added pearl, and it looks good. Also just the side steps remained silver to give it bit of contrast.

I had the ceiling reupholstered as it was pretty stained as my unce was a smoker and the little water leaks here and there left it that way, the color of the fabric is a little off (darker), but it was near impossible to get the original color as it is not being manufactured now a days. it´s not that noticeable, unless you compare the visors. Had the upholstery washed, as well as the carpets, and it made a worl of difference in the looks of the interior, there was a little part in the driver seat in the back that was a bit work, so the whole seat was taken apart and restored (some cushion foam fixed, some replaed, fabris retouched at the seams, the metal frame was broken in a couple of spots, it was rewelded and straightened, and came out great and regained a lot of comfort I had forgotten it could provide.

The truck was woking great with about 290,000 km, I had it serviced (there were no obd codes, abs, or trans, i like taking care of every code as fast as possible), and I got new KYB shocks, new michelin ltx force tires and the truck was driving like a damn cloud, great improvement since my last shocks were shut for a while and the tires were getting stiffer evey day and worn (michelin ltx ms2, they had harder sidewalls and were about 8 years old).

Suddenly the air bag light came on, the codes were hard to read for all my shops, but it came back as problem with bag number 1, which I believe is the drivers side. I think it is a clockspring problem since the light goes off an on every now and then when i turn the wheel side to side while parked and it is not blinking any codes, the horn is working fine, so it might be one of those weird cases in which just one line in the clockspring is damaged (it has no audio or cruise controls, and this is the second clockspring, and i actually got this one at the dealer like 10 or 12 years ago), since I couldn´t find a clockspring not new, not generic, not at the dealer, and not used ones that worked, a shop tried to install a resistor to avoid the light eing on, but they say their scanner couldn´t communicate with the abs module (maybe i need to clean the grounding point and tighten it), they couldn´t do it, so the light kept being on (i live in Guadalajara in Mexico, so it has been near impossible to find a clockspring or a really knowledgeable shop to fix the air bag light). So i´m still in the search for a generic brand new clockspring.

I also had the hood struts replaced, i used to have a wooden stick in the engine bay to prop it open for like 14 years, and now it is great to have a working hood for the first time since like forever. A couple of weeks ago, i was really happy, as my truck was getting there, and I was really enjoying driving it, the recovered comfort, the classic rugged good looks and all that; so i took my wife, mother, dog, sister and brother in law to a road trip to Guanajuato to somme wine and cheese producing region, it was a damn blast, really great time, and when i was in the way home, while overtaking a semi truck, y floored it to get a lower gear to gain speed, and suddenly clack, clack, clack, clack...... Damn timing chain guide broke, it felt fine except for the noise, and i knew hell was about to brake loose, so y babied it a couple of miles to get to a secure point in the side of the road, and almost as I was slowing down, the engine turned off and that was that.

I called a tow truck, got the truck home, a couple of days after i got it to my shop of preference, and for sure the broken guide got in the way of one of the sprockets and snapped the chain, half the valves bent, so it needed a lot of work.

I asked my mechanic to do all the timing components and to rehaul the heads and valves. While the engine was already out, he is going to replace some mounts, clean al the cooling circuit in the engine and heads (there were some rust and a couple of points were almost rusted through, so he got them re welded to fill up those spaces in the heads and brushed), we saw the pistons had a bit of play and there were notches in the cylinders caused by the piston rings, because of the high km engine, so the rectification place resurfaced the cylinders as it was just a very little they had to work the cylinder, and apparently there are custom pistons you can install to compensate for the change in the bore diameter after rectification, and the difference is very smal, so it is no suposed to affect the cubic volume of the engine or mess up the proportions during injection and such; they are also changing the metals in the piston arms and cranks and all, obviously all the ring, the bent valves and rectification of the valves seatings. This is suposed to give the engine block a really long life, even if in the futture you need to change the cylinders and such.

Also I used the amazon prime day pricing to buy new back window struts, led foglights (as the ones i had that were the third set and are already a bit clouded in the reflecting surface because of the water that gets in every now and then with the cheap replacement parts) because the life cycle on the ones i have is almos over.

The truck has been in the shop for about 10 days, and it´s gonna need a few more days, but with all of this it´s going to be an almost completely restored truck, only needing an air bag fix, which i hope i can do soon. Also a couple of small details, the hinges i the back glass are drilled with new bolts as the original bolt just broke, and i want new hinges, cause the little nut showing looks bad even with black paint, and alsa i need a new back wiper motor, this one has been broken for like 10 years and i just change the wiper when it dries out to make the car look complete, but the last time that thing wiped was a long time ago.

I know it seems like a lot of work for an old truck with the 4.0 sohc and the 5 auto trans, but I always liked this car, it helped me through really bad times, i could never keep one of my dad´s cars before he passed as the money situation was tight, and i would love for this to be the first car for one of my sons when they come, and to use the truck to camp, travel, enjoy weekends, little towns, etc.

Life has been hard the last couple of years, and doing all of this to the explorer has brought me joy somehow, joy I´ve not felt in quite a while.

I know this thread needs pics, and i will be posting them as soon as i get the car back from the shop. Sorry for the long post, greetings to all of you.
 



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Hello everybody, haven´t posted in a long time. life has changed a lot for me, got married a few years ago, finished my medical specialty studies (residence in orthopedic surgery), bought a few used cars to keep up with daily driving, wife, etc (crv, rav 4, hrv), but never got rid of the explorer, as it has been a great car for me, has helped me moved houses, travel, work, move dogs, camping, etc, and it has been in the family since new (bought it from an uncle with about 3 or 4 years of use). Since i was little its never been easy moneywise, so i learned to mantain, appreciate, take care and even fix my cars (old 81 renault 18, vw 94 beetle, vw pointer 2001), and I´m pretty handy, and with the help of places like this forum, I´ve even learned more and more.

My truck has been well taken care of, last couple of years i let it decay a bit, since i kept forgetting and procrastinating little fixes here and there. A few months ago the transmission started acting out (it had been rebuilt two years before, but apparently the transmission shop sucked at their job), so I researched for a better shop, and they rebuilt the trans, it took them about a month, since there was a small fracture between chambers and they had to take it apart like 5 times until they foud the problem and found a used shell in better conditions and it has run flawlessly for like 10 thousand km.

About 4 or 5 months ago, I saw some rust dosts in the outer roof, nothing deep, just some little spot superficial rust where the paint gave out, so i asked an employee in one of the offices where i work if he could paint it, as he does it on the side for an extra income, and so he did. I had the whole truck painted, the rust and scratches fixed (there were no sheet metal damage or dents), he painted all of the plastic tupperware around the truck the same color of the body, as well as the bumpers (just left the back bumper step cover in gray, as i didn´t wanted it to chip everytime y stepped on it to wash the car or secure things in the roof rack), he also dismounted the roof rack and rubber stripes, so that he could seal them and do a bettter job painting, he painted the brake calipers (they don´t really show with the oem wheels, but i liked it), he water sanded the truck and polished it, and ended up looking great, a couple of paint hangs around the truck, but nothing I can´t live with; and also, the color of the truck is plain white, and i had him use the oem color, but with added pearl, and it looks good. Also just the side steps remained silver to give it bit of contrast.

I had the ceiling reupholstered as it was pretty stained as my unce was a smoker and the little water leaks here and there left it that way, the color of the fabric is a little off (darker), but it was near impossible to get the original color as it is not being manufactured now a days. it´s not that noticeable, unless you compare the visors. Had the upholstery washed, as well as the carpets, and it made a worl of difference in the looks of the interior, there was a little part in the driver seat in the back that was a bit work, so the whole seat was taken apart and restored (some cushion foam fixed, some replaed, fabris retouched at the seams, the metal frame was broken in a couple of spots, it was rewelded and straightened, and came out great and regained a lot of comfort I had forgotten it could provide.

The truck was woking great with about 290,000 km, I had it serviced (there were no obd codes, abs, or trans, i like taking care of every code as fast as possible), and I got new KYB shocks, new michelin ltx force tires and the truck was driving like a damn cloud, great improvement since my last shocks were shut for a while and the tires were getting stiffer evey day and worn (michelin ltx ms2, they had harder sidewalls and were about 8 years old).

Suddenly the air bag light came on, the codes were hard to read for all my shops, but it came back as problem with bag number 1, which I believe is the drivers side. I think it is a clockspring problem since the light goes off an on every now and then when i turn the wheel side to side while parked and it is not blinking any codes, the horn is working fine, so it might be one of those weird cases in which just one line in the clockspring is damaged (it has no audio or cruise controls, and this is the second clockspring, and i actually got this one at the dealer like 10 or 12 years ago), since I couldn´t find a clockspring not new, not generic, not at the dealer, and not used ones that worked, a shop tried to install a resistor to avoid the light eing on, but they say their scanner couldn´t communicate with the abs module (maybe i need to clean the grounding point and tighten it), they couldn´t do it, so the light kept being on (i live in Guadalajara in Mexico, so it has been near impossible to find a clockspring or a really knowledgeable shop to fix the air bag light). So i´m still in the search for a generic brand new clockspring.

I also had the hood struts replaced, i used to have a wooden stick in the engine bay to prop it open for like 14 years, and now it is great to have a working hood for the first time since like forever. A couple of weeks ago, i was really happy, as my truck was getting there, and I was really enjoying driving it, the recovered comfort, the classic rugged good looks and all that; so i took my wife, mother, dog, sister and brother in law to a road trip to Guanajuato to somme wine and cheese producing region, it was a damn blast, really great time, and when i was in the way home, while overtaking a semi truck, y floored it to get a lower gear to gain speed, and suddenly clack, clack, clack, clack...... Damn timing chain guide broke, it felt fine except for the noise, and i knew hell was about to brake loose, so y babied it a couple of miles to get to a secure point in the side of the road, and almost as I was slowing down, the engine turned off and that was that.

I called a tow truck, got the truck home, a couple of days after i got it to my shop of preference, and for sure the broken guide got in the way of one of the sprockets and snapped the chain, half the valves bent, so it needed a lot of work.

I asked my mechanic to do all the timing components and to rehaul the heads and valves. While the engine was already out, he is going to replace some mounts, clean al the cooling circuit in the engine and heads (there were some rust and a couple of points were almost rusted through, so he got them re welded to fill up those spaces in the heads and brushed), we saw the pistons had a bit of play and there were notches in the cylinders caused by the piston rings, because of the high km engine, so the rectification place resurfaced the cylinders as it was just a very little they had to work the cylinder, and apparently there are custom pistons you can install to compensate for the change in the bore diameter after rectification, and the difference is very smal, so it is no suposed to affect the cubic volume of the engine or mess up the proportions during injection and such; they are also changing the metals in the piston arms and cranks and all, obviously all the ring, the bent valves and rectification of the valves seatings. This is suposed to give the engine block a really long life, even if in the futture you need to change the cylinders and such.

Also I used the amazon prime day pricing to buy new back window struts, led foglights (as the ones i had that were the third set and are already a bit clouded in the reflecting surface because of the water that gets in every now and then with the cheap replacement parts) because the life cycle on the ones i have is almos over.

The truck has been in the shop for about 10 days, and it´s gonna need a few more days, but with all of this it´s going to be an almost completely restored truck, only needing an air bag fix, which i hope i can do soon. Also a couple of small details, the hinges i the back glass are drilled with new bolts as the original bolt just broke, and i want new hinges, cause the little nut showing looks bad even with black paint, and alsa i need a new back wiper motor, this one has been broken for like 10 years and i just change the wiper when it dries out to make the car look complete, but the last time that thing wiped was a long time ago.

I know it seems like a lot of work for an old truck with the 4.0 sohc and the 5 auto trans, but I always liked this car, it helped me through really bad times, i could never keep one of my dad´s cars before he passed as the money situation was tight, and i would love for this to be the first car for one of my sons when they come, and to use the truck to camp, travel, enjoy weekends, little towns, etc.

Life has been hard the last couple of years, and doing all of this to the explorer has brought me joy somehow, joy I´ve not felt in quite a while.

I know this thread needs pics, and i will be posting them as soon as i get the car back from the shop. Sorry for the long post, greetings to all of you.
welcome back!!!! been doing alot to mine too, but never done engine/trans yet, but probably right around the corner 😅 keep up the good work!
 






I noticed several spelling mistakes with a letter missing or mistaken here and there, sorry for that, I´m posting from a new tablet and haven´t practiced enough in this mini keyboard.
 






welcome back!!!! been doing alot to mine too, but never done engine/trans yet, but probably right around the corner 😅 keep up the good work!
thanks, mine will never be a 4x4 capable monster as it never had that from the dealer, but I think this is still a pretty capable truck , and for light camping, and a few unpaved and dirt roads every now and then it works great. 85% of its life it has been city driving
 






thanks, mine will never be a 4x4 capable monster as it never had that from the dealer, but I think this is still a pretty capable truck , and for light camping, and a few unpaved and dirt roads every now and then it works great. 85% of its life it has been city driving
oh yeah, these things are great backroad explorers! throw a set if shackles and do a TT, some 31s, good LS or lunchbox locker, and you will get further than youd believe!!! and theres options like the superlift or rouch country etc that will get you even further! theres tons of options from mild to wild! even SAS!
 






heres a few examples of where you can get! could get even further than this, but i dont gave any photos of those.

68238152-6259-491A-97A1-2CBF6B8A8576.jpeg 76EFAB5B-08EC-4546-8A09-8A3BFDA44120.jpeg 0ADE6137-CA04-4E78-B0E2-C5E8D5822160.jpeg
 






Looks great and really fun. I doubt I'll ever go that route with the truck, since those kind of parts and good 4x4 shops are a rare find where I live and I have no way of doing this at home. Maybe one day if all the mechanics in the engine and trans are far beyond recovery, I'll get another engine with manual trans and transfer case and such.
 






Looks great and really fun. I doubt I'll ever go that route with the truck, since those kind of parts and good 4x4 shops are a rare find where I live and I have no way of doing this at home. Maybe one day if all the mechanics in the engine and trans are far beyond recovery, I'll get another engine with manual trans and transfer case and such.
oh, i see. without mods some have found that 31s will fit at stock height which give you a bit more clearence. but all depends on what you do! and stock these are plenty capable with some decent all terrain tires!
 






oh, i see. without mods some have found that 31s will fit at stock height which give you a bit more clearence. but all depends on what you do! and stock these are plenty capable with some decent all terrain tires!
The michelín xlt force are supposed to be the equivalent of bf Goodrich a/t tires (thay are basically the same company and Michelin is supposedly better), I saw some comparative tests even in mining companies which are supposed to be some of the harshest terrains and conditions and they came out the best tire with flying colors. Great in wet conditions, great breaking distance, great mileage, low noise, comfy ride. Granted they don't look as cool as some a/t tko or muds, but for my use, roads, and work, the perform really well. But if I ever go the 4x4 route, I'm going all in, engine, trans, torsion twist, shackles, tires, etc.
 






The michelín xlt force are supposed to be the equivalent of bf Goodrich a/t tires (thay are basically the same company and Michelin is supposedly better), I saw some comparative tests even in mining companies which are supposed to be some of the harshest terrains and conditions and they came out the best tire with flying colors. Great in wet conditions, great breaking distance, great mileage, low noise, comfy ride. Granted they don't look as cool as some a/t tko or muds, but for my use, roads, and work, the perform really well. But if I ever go the 4x4 route, I'm going all in, engine, trans, torsion twist, shackles, tires, etc.
ahhh yeah even stock these are pretty capable! if you eevr go all in: may i reccomend a superlift? 😂 run some 33s!!!
 






Really cool that you're putting the work in. I'm in the middle of doing some much-needed stuff to my '99 and to be honest, it's because it's taken me all over the country for years and never stranded me, and the new and used car markets are an absolute mess, so why not spend a grand or two instead of taking on a car loan?

I really like that you "fix the codes as soon as they come up". If you do that, and follow advice on this forum about preventative maintenance, it'll last forever.
 






ahhh yeah even stock these are pretty capable! if you eevr go all in: may i reccomend a superlift? 😂 run some 33s!!!
Of course, something just like that will be the objective when the time comes, although since the first engine, timing, trans and paint lasted for 22 years or so, who knows when that will be ha ha!
 






Of course, something just like that will be the objective when the time comes, although since the first engine, timing, trans and paint lasted for 22 years or so, who knows when that will be ha ha!
ha! still on my 1st sohc and 5r55e and paint! timing compinents are oroginal except the hydraulic tensioners and the primary guide and tensioner. all the rest is all original. cant help hut wonder when my time will come round.
 






Really cool that you're putting the work in. I'm in the middle of doing some much-needed stuff to my '99 and to be honest, it's because it's taken me all over the country for years and never stranded me, and the new and used car markets are an absolute mess, so why not spend a grand or two instead of taking on a car loan?

I really like that you "fix the codes as soon as they come up". If you do that, and follow advice on this forum about preventative maintenance, it'll last forever.
Thanks. I've learnt that preventive care is better, safer and cheaper, so I try and look out for initial simptoms when a problem is starting or try and take the truck to the shop when any code comes up. My mechanic is really understanding and some times he would even diagnose or do small fixes for free (then again I did operate on his mother because of a hip fracture for free a few years ago).

Yeah, I've never had the need to get a loan for a new used car, I've been lucky to have some savings and buying used cars in good conditions from family and friends with interest free loans and great prices. But..... I have been eyeballing something new o newer for daily driving, since I'm gonna have to do some accounting adjustments with my earnings, because of some changes in the irs system in my country, and one way to avoid paying some taxes is to deduct a leased car. I would love a new explorer, but right now it's to much money for me, maybe a new rav4 limited or something of that sort.
 






Thanks. I've learnt that preventive care is better, safer and cheaper, so I try and look out for initial simptoms when a problem is starting or try and take the truck to the shop when any code comes up. My mechanic is really understanding and some times he would even diagnose or do small fixes for free (then again I did operate on his mother because of a hip fracture for free a few years ago).

Yeah, I've never had the need to get a loan for a new used car, I've been lucky to have some savings and buying used cars in good conditions from family and friends with interest free loans and great prices. But..... I have been eyeballing something new o newer for daily driving, since I'm gonna have to do some accounting adjustments with my earnings, because of some changes in the irs system in my country, and one way to avoid paying some taxes is to deduct a leased car. I would love a new explorer, but right now it's to much money for me, maybe a new rav4 limited or something of that sort.
the newer vehicles have nice stuff in em, and also those new auto brake things, although controversial, imo can be helpful as long as you dont rely on them, and theyre only there as a backup.
 






ha! still on my 1st sohc and 5r55e and paint! timing compinents are oroginal except the hydraulic tensioners and the primary guide and tensioner. all the rest is all original. cant help hut wonder when my time will come round.
Hope it lasts a lot more. I'm sure mine went out because of some neglect from my uncle the first years he had the truck.
 






Hope it lasts a lot more. I'm sure mine went out because of some neglect from my uncle the first years he had the truck.
imo frequent synthetic oil changes (3k) mean the world to these sohcs, and also changing the trans fluid constantly, keeps these things healthy and pushin! these are great powertrains but with some neglect is when they fall apart. aside from that its luck and how you drive it! the X has had tow duty DD duty and a froader, and still pushin!
 






the newer vehicles have nice stuff in em, and also those new auto brake things, although controversial, imo can be helpful as long as you dont rely on them, and theyre only there as a backup.
Yeah, I can live without any modern tech in the car, since my first car had mechanical steering, manual everything, and no passenger side mirror and two wiper speeds (slow and slower), a carburatornwith a choker and am radio. But I won't say I don't enjoy the few things in my newest car (hrv), and I know it would be nice to get a new loaded medium truck.
 






Yeah, I can live without any modern tech in the car, since my first car had mechanical steering, manual everything, and no passenger side mirror and two wiper speeds (slow and slower), a carburatornwith a choker and am radio. But I won't say I don't enjoy the few things in my newest car (hrv), and I know it would be nice to get a new loaded medium truck.
yeah, theres something to be said about them old ones! sinple point and shoot, ya get the idea! but these new ones are nicer than ever 😂 and plus dont need to worry about issues (usually) when theyre newer, in the case of the 2g were past the point where theyre still newer and issue free!
 



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imo frequent synthetic oil changes (3k) mean the world to these sohcs, and also changing the trans fluid constantly, keeps these things healthy and pushin! these are great powertrains but with some neglect is when they fall apart. aside from that its luck and how you drive it! the X has had tow duty DD duty and a froader, and still pushin!
I do things just like that, maybe every now and then semi synthetic oil, but I don't run it for more than 3k km. I push it a bit some times, but mostly with one or two passengers, I never tow, never push it to much, never real hardcore off roading. This time I'm gonna go with shorter intervals with the oil and use only Mobil 1 synthetic since most of the moving parts of the engine will be new or rehauled.
 






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