Andrew's 1996 Explorer XLT | Page 3 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Andrew's 1996 Explorer XLT

Well I've been gathering information and giving information here for a while now and just found this thread! :rolleyes:

Anyways, I got my explorer when I was 16 as my first vehicle 6.5 years ago with 61k on it from my Grandpa who recently then couldn't drive anymore. Ever since I got it I have made a project out of it. First it started with just fixing some spot rust and waxing and the story just gets longer!!

Since then over the years I have done many mods including:

-Gibson cat-back exhaust
-K&N intake system
-Custom electric fan set up with a painless controller. (I used a dual fan set-up from a 97 ford contour for clearance reasons)
-dimond-cut head lights
-"lego" tail lights, lol (I didn't realize they looked that that until I got them, but I've grown to like them)
-6000K HID's
-Blue LED grill & interrior lights
-LED gauge cluster conversion
-Eagle Alloy 17" rims with 245/70R17 Nitto Terra Grappler tires
-Aftermarket stainless steel running boards to prevent moisture/ salt being trapped against the body
-Pioneer 3100dvd double din radio
-Pioneer 6X8 door speakers and a 10" Audio Bahn sub
-Dynamat in all the doors including the hatch
-Grover 1650 Airhorn with a VIAIR 350C compressor and 2 custom steel air tanks
-Torsion Twist front lift and air shocks in the rear - soon to be custom shackels
-Changed the gear ratio from 3.55 to 3.73LS

Besides all of the mods, I've also replaced the head gaskets at 76k just to have them blow again at 91k so I put a new to me rebuilt engine in. :censored: This past summer I had to pull it again to replace the timing chain and tensioner. While it was out I found a bad push rod and rocker.:shoot: Obviously I replaced those too. Note to self, never buy a reman engine from a huge corporation again (it was Proformance Powertrain if you were wondering). Next time I'll do it myself!:hammer: Now all that frustration aside, it is running great again! I have done all of the work myself, except the engine rebuild... never never again.

My grandpa passed away 2.5 years ago so since then I've been trying to keep it as nice as possible. I replaced the rocker panels and dog legs myself 2 summers ago but they weren't welded in correctly ( I used mostly epoxy to prevent rust so the paint cracked at some of the joints :( but I'll get it fixed up right some day!

To further prevent it from rusting out I bought a 99 2wd ranger to drive as my every day crappy weather vehicle. We have a lot of salt on the roads up here in Northwest Ohio. I miss the 4wd in the snow though!!

In the future I plan to finish/ redo the rust repairs and have all the imperfect areas repainted. I'm a bit of a perfectionist if you couldn't tell :D

Here are a few pictures of it now with 123k on it. I'll get more but I didn't realize I only had 2 on Photo Bucket..



These pictures are when I got the rims and tires just about a year ago with the rockers and dog legs already replaced.

Since then I drove it to San Antonio, TX and back but not much else so I only put about 5k on it last year and it is currently sitting in the same place in the barn as this picture was taken. lol

EDIT: Since I've created this thread I have now swaped in a supercharged 347 with a TOD4406 transfercase. That progress can be seen here: 5.0 Swap Thread

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What HID kit are you running?

The truck looks great. I'm gonna steal your headlights.

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I would say that all of them are the same, heck probably even the first gens are the same as the 2nds.. Caltracs should have the sizes on file anyhow, they did for me. 1 7/8 sounds right to me.

My question was ignored. ~

My question was ignored. ~

Sorry man didn't even see it since it was on a new page. I got my HIDs from

The housings I got off of eBay like 5 years ago and am not sure of the seller.

Thanks for the compliments.

Well Tim, I took the leap of faith and drilled nice big hole in the top plate of the EE supercharger kit so that I could move my intake air temp sensor.

Fingers crossed it works out!



At least if something goes wrong that part wouldn't be too hard to make,

That was my thought exactly. Nice flat piece of aluminum with some holes in it.


Looks like it was made to go there!

Dash LED conversion

A while back I changed all of the 194 bulbs in my dash to white LEDs. On a 96 with the film color of the dash, that mixed with the bright white LEDs made it take on a blue look, which is what I was going for. It took me 3 years before I finally decided to change the rest of the green switches to blue LED. I purchased LEDs from All of the ones I had to solder in place are 3mm blue LEDs (RL3-B2030 Blue 3mm LED) with the correct resistors (CF1/4C221J 220 OHM) to go with them.

The first 2 lights from the left are the stock lights from the rear defroster and fog light switches. 3rd from the left is a premade - plug and play blue LED (NEO3-B 3mm NEO3-x Blue) for use in the rear defroster and fog light switches. Far right is the stock 4x4 control light.

4x4 selector switch light

Rear wiper control light

Head light switch light





nice. they look like they match pretty close to. looking at the pics i can tell if i did them for you and got them from the place i normally get them from (locally, and i still can think of the name of it) they would have been to dark of a blue.
so was the 4x4 as much of a ***** as i was saying?

I'm going to do the door switch now, right after I finish up under the hood. I went after that small antifreeze leak (thermostat housing) and I am going to wrap that up within the next couple days. Then I'll do the door switches.

I see why you said the 4x4 switch was hard to do but (probably because you told me it was a SOB) it wasn't that bad. It actually went pretty smooth!

I can't believe it's been 3 years since I posted on this thread.. Man life gets busy. Furthermore, now I see that Photobucket won't host 3rd party sites without paying for it so all my images aren't viewable.. Rats.

Anyhow, the last mod I did was adding a Ford Racing oil pressure sensor and a coolant temperature sensor. The first picture shows were i put the oil pressure sensor. I moved the stock temperature sensor to the thermostat housing by drilling and tapping the stock recessed spot in the housing. That allowed me to put the new coolant temp. sensor in the factory location directly in the intake for the most accurate reading.

I ended up installing the gage pod on the A pillar that came with the supercharge kit I purchased 7 years ago. I couldn't be happier with it. Wish I had done this years ago.








And then the mishap.


Which lead to the next mod...

An all aluminum radiator. I had to add a piece of angle iron (aluminum) to the top and bottom of the radiator to mount the electric fans too. I got this off of ebay and is pretty nice fit. It has a couple extra rows in it for the coolant passages (56 vs. 52 in the stock radiator if I remember correctly).







that's good ****!

That looks like a really nice radiator and fan set up. What application is the radiator for, was it for an Explorer?
What fan controller are you using? I thought I saw a 3rd coolant sensor (for fan controller?)

One thing I have to mention,
I would move the stock coolant sensor back behind the thermostat where it was so it doesn't effect your tune.
The A/F and timing etc are based off the temps behind the thermostat.

3 years is too long, I think it is time you put a massive supercharger on your truck.

I think it is time you put a massive supercharger on your truck.

and i know whats on his wish list. if he gets it, we're all screwed!
btw andy, i "think" i saw some dirt on the motor. it drives me nuts on how clean this truck is, even years after seeing it lol.

lol. Thanks guys!

I have the Painless dual electric fan controller with the temperature control sensor being in the lower radiator hose. The fans are from a 97 Ford Contour.

The radiator is labeled as being designed for a 96-99 V8 Explorer. Here is a link to it:

I did some research on the coolant temp. sensors. There are 2 factory sensors in the intake. 1 is for the ECM for tuning purposes and the other is just for the gauge (1 sensor is a single wire while the other is a dual wire). I moved the one that just gives a signal to the factory dash gauge. You can actually see the aftermarket gauge increase in temperature before the thermostat opens allowing the factory gauge to start reading temperature. Does that make sense?

Some day there will be additional mods to the engine, not sure of timing or order yet.

I have been having a reoccurring issue though that one of you might be able to help me with. Every year I seem to loose about a pint of coolant and over the winter months I notice a small puddle of coolant on the floor. I have also been taking oil samples on the oil and have noticed low levels of coolant getting into the engine oil as well. Every year I check the lower intake bolts and am able to snug them up about a quarter turn, which then stops at least the external coolant leak. My thought is that the intake bolts must be loosening up overtime and allowing the coolant leak. Has anyone else experienced this and/ or have a solution?

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That does make sense about your sensors, I didn't realize there were 2 from the factory.
The one wire sensor was usually for the gauge, the two wire was usually for the PCM.

The only suggestion I have for the leaky intake gaskets is Ultra Copper RTV on both sides of the gasket where the coolant goes through.
The intake gaskets were common for leaking coolant on the 5.0

I will add this just for info, I had a friend that had a F150 (old one) and it had engine work done to it. In the process they milled the heads and block and the angles were off since they didn't mill the intake to match. It kept sucking intake gaskets into the crank case. This would cause a vacuum leak on the bottom of the intake manifold, not so easy to diagnose.