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bat's redheaded step child

A few months ago I took my 94 Explorer to Rausch Creek. While it held its own, it escaped with a few bumps and bruises. I caught the bumper on a stump and bent it. Knocked the running board trim clear off, minor stuff. I thought I got away relatively unscathed until we got back to the main area and I heard this god awful metal grinding noise coming from the front. I started freaking out because still had to drive the thing back home. Luckily Jay diagnosed it as a broken passenger side u-joint. Mixed emotions but I drove it home with no problems. Once I got it home I started looking for a donor car and stumbled upon a 1992 2 door explorer on craigslist for 500$. All I really wanted was the axle and a junk yard would cost me about as much for just the u-joint. So I bought it. It seemed to be fine, relatively clean minus the fact that the owner was a smoker. I had the intentions of gutting the axle and parting out what I didn't need. So I jump through the hoops for the DMV since it was my first time buying/registering a car in my name.
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That's supposed to be attached to something right?

So I go to pick up the car and drive away into the sunset thinking that I made out pretty well. The truck drives nice, minus the fact that the only gauge that works is the spedo and the brakes are mushy as hell. But the radio works.

Then the next day I went out with the good Explorer. I came out of the movies to find a nice big puddle of coolant. I figured cracked head due to the rate at which the fluid leaked out. She sat in my yard for weeks before finally getting her to a mechanic for a proper diagnosis. (Turned out to be the freeze out plugs.) At this point I made the decision to just make the red truck my daily driver until the other one got fixed so I started doing my OCD cleaning routine.
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Here they are, big sister and little sister!

The biggest thing that had to be taken care of was the brakes. They didn't catch until my foot was just about on the floor causing them to go full on at the last second causing me to look like a dumb ass who didn't know how to drive. For the first three weeks I pretty much just had slow controlled rolls. We bled the brakes several times but with no effect. (Turned out to be two vacuum leaks.) It brakes like a charm now, no walls required.

Then it was time to start going down the long laundry list of stuff that I wanted to do like fix the door handle:
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As I said, the previous owner was a smoker and the car wreaked. There were ashes all over as well as some cigarette burns and a layer of tar over everything. It was a shame to see a car in such nice shape tainted like that. After scrubbing everything down with several douses of alcohol I gave up on the console and just took it out. If you look in the upper right you will see the original color of the carpet. A buttload of rug shampoo almost returned it to it's former glory.
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Realizing I had no tow points, I took the front hitch of Eleanor and picked up a used rear hitch and all hardware for <100 off craigslist. I think I have a car up on ramps almost every other week. XD
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While putting the front hitch on I found out that the sway bar brackets were bent. Some one probably tried towing it by the sway bar. I left it off. More flex right? I didn't realize how much the 2doors roll without a sway bar. Exit ramps and curvy mountain roads are slightly more white knuckle than before.....
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As I said, the car had a film of tar over everything. I took out the center console and started giving it a viscious rub down but ultimately gave up because of how nasty it was. Nothing against smokers as I still enjoy the occasional bogey, just don't let it destroy your car. Smell I can deal with, ashes and stick everywhere. No. I needed a place to store my stuff (ipod, sunglasses, harmonica) probably the only three things in the car of any value. I bought an ammo box and mounted it to two rails which I then bolted to the existing console bolts. Kinda rednecky but it keeps my stuff secure. Sadly, I did,'t think about drink holders til later.
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The finishing touches:
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So now I was finally ready to hit the beach. I tested the autohubs so I didn't have a repeat performance of Eleanor's first time on the sand. (autohub failure) Everything was set. I ride out to Smith Point, air down, hit the 4WD button and lo and behold, I start rolling!! Everything appeared to be fine until this obnoxious clicky/grinding noise came from the front followed by both autohubs intermittently locking and unlocking. Wonderful. Of course it's in front of a decent size beach crowd. And of course I get stuck so I put it in reverse to try and rock it out. Whaddya know, reverse works perfectly. So we just drove in reverse the whole way there and back. Here she is on the beach, hood open because there's no airflow when you go backwards.
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Despite the looks of awe and mockery, we made it home alright. Silly me for putting any faith in autohubs. The next day I picked up a set of manuals from the Truck Shop. I set up shop and start taking the tires off, well I tried. Whoever had put the tires on last overtightened them to a point where I cracked a socket and stripped most of the lug nuts.
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Once I got the tires off, it was all down hill. At this point I also decided to replace the door hinge pins (Thanks derocha!) since you had to do a lift and drop when you wanted to close the door, hence why the inner handle was broken. It's pretty embarrassing getting in your car through the passenger door in front of all your coworkers. I hunted down the hinge pins and had a hell of a time grinding the old pins. My doors close with two fingers now. :)

Then I wash,wax,buff,buff,buffed it which made a huge difference.
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I took the CB radio and antenna mount from Eleanor and put it in the red one and got a 36" whip antenna from Radio Shack which works alright. Finally, I hit the beach once more with complete success. Here's a shot of the little camp me and my girl setup:
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Then last weekend I drove her on a 400 mile round trip to Monticello to meet my brother at camp for a canoe trip. Plenty of rocks but the camp guy yelled at me for playing around. I only got one or two pics before they told me to park like a normal person. They're just jealous their mini vans can't climb curbs, just scrape them.
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Whew, so that is my story this far. She's been my daily driver for a month now since Eleanor's bearings are going and I sound like a UFO coming down the street. The red one doesn't have a set name though she's been called many things (Christine because she tried to kill me, Karen, Sid(Like Sid and nancy), you stupid f$@**kng pice of sh@t) but I'm open to suggestions.
 


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Glen4X4

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looks like a good find. Looks like my old 92 all except for the interior. So are you plannin on making this an offroad truck once you fix the green one?
 




explorerguy89

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1994 sas sport
nice find dan
 




SuRrEaLNJ

hail to the king, baby!
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you have 2 first gens...

you are now officially screwed...theyre kinda like crack....
 








vroomzoomboom

Elite Canuck STOCK SUCKS!
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you have 2 first gens...

you are now officially screwed...theyre kinda like crack....

i would have said the same thing, but said it about 2 door sports.
 




bats

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They are addicting, I'm in the process of finding a third one for an axle for the green one. I found a couple on craigslist but they're too nice to rip apart. The green one is too nice for anything more than beach driving so the red one will be the offroader. I was possibly considering selling the green one once it's fixed and getting an xterra for my daily driver. That was until I found this near perfect '63 Buick Skylark near me.... Decisions decisions.
 




bats

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If you've been following thread about the Wharton run this past weekend then you know how the story ends. If not, sit back and enjoy the pics.

Shortly after swamping the girl at Smith Point over the summer, I decided it was time to go through with my plans to lift her.
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I spent the next month drying it out and replacing various sensors, running sea foam through it putting vacuum lines back on etc, eventually I got it running better when finally replaced the O2 sensor.
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A few days later there was still an inch of water left in it. Yes, it required a mo as well as punching a few drain holes in the floor.
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So October rolls around and I decide to treat myself for my birthday. I special ordered the coil spacers from Ford (over 200$!), shackles ($60) and new rancho RS5000 shocks all around. Really wasn't too bad of a job once we had all the tools. Spacers went in just fine. As expected the truck needed an alignment.The shackle bolts were siezed so I had the Truck Shop punch them out and put the shackles on for me. I picked up the truck the morning I left for the Halloween run in PA. Also in that week I picked up some 31's of Craigslist from a girl who was restoring an early 90's full size bronco. had them mounted on the stock rims with minimal rubbing. I literally picked up the truck the day I left for the Halloween run.

Here's some pics from the build:
Coil Spacers:
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Sexy new shocks:
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Ready to roll:
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The last pic I have of her whole:
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After the lift I did minimal stuff like building a little console that I mounted my CB in as well as switches for Aux lights. Up until now I just had the swith and wires draped over my streering column. Every time it hit the shift lever I'd blow a fuse and lose my brake lights/door chime. Electrical tape fixed that until I build the box.

Despite having picked up a third Explorer to be used for my dd, I still drove the red one almost every day. It was just a fun car to drive.

Fast forward to last weekend. There was a giant turnout with people from the Ranger Station, ExplorerForum and a bunch of Jeepers. You could feel something wasn't right. People were breaking down all day. The group got separated two or three times. Me and a member of the Ranger Station (Cliff I think) stayed back to fix his battery cable and the group took off without us and we wandered for half an hour before running into some people with a GPS. After that I decided to head home.
Up until now, the truck had always had a little bit of axle growl, nothing loud or serious sounding. I figured it was partially due to beach driving and all the sand/salt water it had been through. I noticed it was a little worse on the way home, about on par with the green truck which suffers the same problem.
About 5 minutes from home it turns into this horrible grinding rumble. The way the car was shaking I thought it was the drive shaft going. Literally less than a mile from home.

All of a sudden I felt the shudder and knew I was sliding and tried to steer it towards the median. The rest is a blur but I remember the car spinning back then rolling over twice. Miraculously it landed right side up and I was able to climb out the window. Other than some glass in my hands and a sore neck/shoulders I was pretty much unharmed. Here are the pics:

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Looks like the bearings just wore out and the hub walked off the axle. It took the brake caliper and brake line with it:
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The heat melted the hub:
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My CB antenna was the only thing not hurt:
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None of my stuff was tied down and I am luckier than anything that my tools didn't hit me in the head:
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From the beginning I had jokingly called the truck Christine, after the Stephen King movie. That night it almost lived up to it's name. Say what you will about Explorers but it definitely saved my life. The roof only caved a slight bit and the seat belt did it's job. In the 6 or so months I had it, I loved it to death. It just kept coming back for more. Though it may not have been able to climb every hill, it gave up a hell of a fight.

She's too banged up to fix unfortunately. The motor still runs good but everything needs to be popped out or replaced. I guess it's an opportunity to give new life to the green 94 four door that I just keep shuffling around in purgatory.

We sure had some good times old girl.
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SuRrEaLNJ

hail to the king, baby!
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liiks like the bearing just let go, both races are there from what i can see. i had a close one a while back but my nuts loosened up and the splined washer saved my ass

lookin at the pic i really have to say that its a testament to their structural integrity

on the bright side u now have spares for the green one...
 








ragajungle

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Dude Bats you really should consider being a graphic novelist.. I was reading through this thread thinking I would eventually see some nice 35's on it. It was flowing nice and then bam! That really sucks. I literally almost rolled my truck lest Wed because of same exact thing!
http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=298275

I have absolutely made up my mind to do a sas now... I am glad you are still here to share! shame because that sport was sharp.

I am super curious to find out what type bearings those are and how long they were on their.
-Mike
 




Sams01XplrSprt

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sorry to hear bout ur x
 




bats

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Mike, I looked through your thread. Sorry to hear about yours too. AFAIK they were the original bearings. The previous owner made no mention of replacing them and neither did I. I guess it was just their time to go. I'm definitely going to replace the bearings on the green one asap. Thanks for the link, now I know what ones to look out for!
 




rookieshooter

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You are one lucky guy.
I had a wheel fall off as I was going around a turn. It don't take long after you start hearing a growl from the front axle to happen. That growling noise starts off so faint that after awhile you don't even notice anymore.
But what I do now is periodically jack up the front and try to shake the tire East to West, then North to South. Since I've done the D44 swap there has not been a problem. But given enough time there will be if I don't do the check.
In fact going to do it in the next hour.

Not that you will try to see, but I bet those races got hot enough that there welded to the hub snout.
Hope you get another build going.
 




bats

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Just a few updates: I started pulling various parts off the red truck, lift stuff, shocks various dash stuff etc. For shits n giggles I tried starting her up last night. First crank she turned over and ran like nothing ever happened and strong as ever. Breaks my heart.
I stuck my head under the green one and found I have yet another coolant leak from somewhere up in the block, possibly another freezeout plug. I called my mechanic and some how mentioned the red tuck. He said he'd be willing to barter work for the engine and tranny from the red one. As much as I'd love to save the engine for a nice BII, I simply don't have the time. This morning he showed up with a flatbed and took her away. I'll have access to the truck to continue stripping every axle, knob and sensor I possibly can but I think it's safe to officially declare the truck dead.

On an interesting side note, I realized that the date of the accident was exactly 6 months after I bought the truck.
 




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