Brian1's Twin Trail Build (Lift, Gears, TTB Mods, Bumpers, Sliders, Cage & More!) | Page 7 | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations
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Brian1's Twin Trail Build (Lift, Gears, TTB Mods, Bumpers, Sliders, Cage & More!)

Brian1's Twin Trail Build

1991 Ford Explorer 4-Door XL 5-Speed Manual 4x4

Project Background and Goals:

I bought this Explorer at a Police auction in August of 2015. I really didn't know what I was going to do with it when I bought it but I couldn't pass up the great deal I got. I stored it away for a bit while deciding to part it out, build it up or just flip it. In the end I decided to build it into a cheap trail truck and use it to R&D some new ideas I had on how to build an Explorer and develop some new parts.

The goal of the build was to do it cheaply while keeping it low, lightweight, and simple. Another goal was to completely transform the Explorer into a trail machine and debut it at the 20th anniversary forum run in Moab (May 2016) while keeping the entire build a secret.

The build has already been completed and made its successful debut in Moab. I will be adding to this thread as time permits of what I did.

Table of Contents - Modifications

to be filled in as the thread progresses for quick access

1" Body Lift
Rear 8.8 Swap and Build
Rear F150 Hybrid Leaf Springs
Front Daystar 2" Coil Spacer & F250 Shock Tower Conversion
Corbeau Seats Pt1
Corbeau Seats Pt2
Rear Shock Bar Pin Eliminators
Dana 35 TTB Beam Boxing
Hybrid Dana 35 Beams with Dana 44 Outer Conversion
Extended Radius Arms
Dana 35 Diff Build with LockRight Locker
Power Steering Cooler
Cutting the Rocker Panels Off
Rear Bumper Build
Front Fender Cutting
Rock Sliders Pt1
Rock sliders Pt2
Front Winch Bumper Build
Extended Breathers and Fuel Pump Access Panel
Rear Fender Cutting
Cage Building
Fabricated Door Panels/Skins
Doubler Install


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Brian1

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City, State
Albuquerque, NM
Year, Model & Trim Level
1991 XLT
Callsign
KG5BAQ
Drove it this morning to get emissions done. Passed no problem. While it was out I spent the afternoon doing a few mods.

I picked up a manual shift BW1354 from a Ranger earlier this month. I got it all cleaned up and the yokes painted along with the shifter linkage. The new shift bushing showed up from Ford so I could get it installed. The new bushing is soft rubber and the old was a hard plastic that had broken.

Once I removed the electric case I straightened the frame where the tcase skid had bent it. A big crescent wrench did the trick easily. I also flattened the bent parts of the skidplate in the press then gave it a coat of paint.

Got the new case and shifter in. I did not get the 5spd shifter bezel (some idiot in the junkyard destroyed it getting the 5 speed shifter out) so I need to find one of those or figure out how to make the boots work with each other. Donor case had a black 20 tooth speedo gear so I used it to replace my pink 19t stock gear for slightly better speedo accuracy. I had to add some wire loom as a chafe guard on the vent tube because it runs close to the moving shifter.

Still a few things to button up like wiring the 4wd dash lights and the shift boot situation but I'm happy to get a manual shift case in it!

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Stic-o

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Glad to hear you found a manual tcase for yourself :thumbsup:
 






Brian1

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Took some time today to remove the electric shift harness and computer and then stripped it down and modified it to get my dash 4x4 lights to work properly. The Ranger harness is different so I had to make my own instead of just getting the donor Explorer harness. The lights are turned on by a ground signal and are run through the shift computer which means the harness has to be chopped and modified. I have never seen a write-up on adapting the e-shift harness to the manual for working dash lights but here is basically what I did.

Remove driver seat to get to the plug through the floor. Disconnect gray connector under center of dash and remove entire harness. Cut the shift motor plug off and remove all the electrical tape.

Remove red piece in grey connector with needle nose pliers to access the pins. Use a small pick to pry back the lock tabs and remove all but the 2 wires you can see in a photo below. Reinsert the red divider.

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Cut and splice them to the wires going through the rubber plug. An off-white one and a brown with white stripe. Cut all the extra wires off too, you don't need them. I left 3 wire pigtails for future use since it is a nice pass through grommet.

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My ranger case had 2 blue wires to the shift indicator. I spliced the solid color wires to each other and the wires with stripes to each other which got me the correct lights working. Test first!

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I wrapped the in cab harness with electrical tape including the tabs for the mounting screws and the underside with loom and then tape.

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The leftover trash pile not including the shift computer and most of the big harness to it which I pulled out later.

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Stic-o

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I never bothered with wiring up the Manual T-Case...in fact that's kinda the point. You know if your in 4Lo, 4Hi or N, a light is kinda irrelevant. Only Issue I ever had was my O/D light (OBD2) will start flashing after going to fast in 4Lo. It can't find the T-case and starts freaking out, but doesn't effect the drive-ability. Just have to shut off the motor and restart, and it's cleared.

Not sure what's going to happen with the Navajo, because I'm using a 2wd motor,computer and cluster with a 4wd trans, and a Manual T-case, that again I don't plan to connect...which there are no 4wd lights anyway.
 






CDW6212R

Hauls the mail.
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I never bothered with wiring up the Manual T-Case...in fact that's kinda the point. You know if your in 4Lo, 4Hi or N, a light is kinda irrelevant. Only Issue I ever had was my O/D light (OBD2) will start flashing after going to fast in 4Lo. It can't find the T-case and starts freaking out, but doesn't effect the drive-ability. Just have to shut off the motor and restart, and it's cleared.

Not sure what's going to happen with the Navajo, because I'm using a 2wd motor,computer and cluster with a 4wd trans, and a Manual T-case, that again I don't plan to connect...which there are no 4wd lights anyway.

The truck won't know it has 4WD, without the 4WD and TOD module, or 4WD GEM version. It won't throw any lights etc, and the dash 4WD light you'd have to connect for it to do anything.
 






Kirby N.

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I did that on my explorer years ago. I liked the light. I don’t think I did as good of writeup(if at all) but it doesn’t matter anymore because photobucket imploded anyway.
 






Brian1

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Updates! Took it out today for some Easter trail riding with friends. My front locker still doesn't seem happy, I may need to pull the front diff and look at it soon. It went everywhere I pointed it up the rocks and ledges in the play areas. I did find out my VHF radio hits the shift knob for the manual case I swapped in, I need to move it over a few inches now. Still need to find a bezel and shift boot for the 5-spd and t-case combo as well.

I replaced the Red Top Optima that I had been using which was completely dead with a new Group 65 Bosch AGM battery a few days ago. I have been impressed with the Bosh AGM and with a 4-year replacement warranty and $150 I don't think they can be beat.

A few months ago I put in some flush mounted LED pods in my rear hatch for reverse lights, an idea I got from Josh's SGT Ex build. They worked out nicely!

Hoping to take it out to Moab in a few weeks for the first few days of the Explorer run. Still have some cargo management plans and ideas to figure out the best way to make use of the space. I want to stand my spare up if possible and maybe put down some E-trak in back for securing stuff. I also want to stand up my CO2 bottle so I don't have to remove it every time I want to air up.

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Stic-o

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I was able to stand a 37" up in the back against the back seat, but instead changed it to sit suspended over pull out tool boxes with additional cage braces. Couldn't see out the back and brought the weight back closer to the ground.

Did you not have the bezel and boot for it, or you had a automatic one (just the tcase)?
 






Brian1

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Did you not have the bezel and boot for it, or you had a automatic one (just the tcase)?

The donor I pulled it from was missing the manual trans bezel but the tcase boot was still there. I think someone destroyed it when they took the 5spd shifter out before I got there :(
 






KurtECV

Surrender The Booty
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Rear Shock Bar Pin Eliminators

In order to fit custom or better shocks that don't come with a upper bar pin (which is most of them!!) I made a new version of my upper bar pin eliminators. The other Explorer has a machined pair I made several years ago that were very time-intensive to make.

They bolt in the factory location and only decrease the mounting length by about 1". I installed the same set of 10" Daystar Scorpion shocks as I did in the front.

Note the broken stud on the factory shocks - weak!

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@Brian1 What are you shipping the bar pin eliminators for?
 






410Fortune

Truck Season!!
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I am going to try and use a large crescent wrench to straighten part of the frame on my BII....somehow at some time I apparently smashed the frame rail just a bit back by the muffler and the muffler is now hitting the frame. I read @Brian1 comment about using a large wrench to bend his frame rail straight so I'm gonna try that. Thanks!

I hate those upper shock mount studs on the explorer = SUCKS!
 






KurtECV

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I have a set of JD shocks that a buddy gave me from his EB and they mounted just fine, Gman insists with new shocks there is no way to install the pins in them.
 






Brian1

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@Brian1 What are you shipping the bar pin eliminators for?

$40 shipped without hardware - instructions and hardware list included though. I have a ton of them ready to go, message me!

I am going to try and use a large crescent wrench to straighten part of the frame on my BII....somehow at some time I apparently smashed the frame rail just a bit back by the muffler and the muffler is now hitting the frame.

It worked great, hope it does the same for you. I use that big crescent wrench more for straightening metal than I do on nuts and bolts!
 






KurtECV

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sweet, might happen tomorrow
 






gmanpaint

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@KurtECV LMAO! I never said "No way". I said they are about impossible for me to do, and these are the cure.

Why bother fighting those pins, on new shocks for hours at a time, when these take care of it for cheap? Unless you just like playing with lube.....lol
 






KurtECV

Surrender The Booty
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Well i am a mechanic... i lube, screw, nut and bolt lmao
 






Brian1

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KG5BAQ
Swapped out my A/C air box today for a non-A/C air box from an 80's Ranger. This Explorer hasn't had A/C since I got it and this was the last piece to completely get rid of the last traces of it under the hood. The A/C box is huge and going to the non-AC box really makes a big difference in being able to access more things on the passenger side of the engine. Pretty simple swap, 3 nuts on the outside and 1 under the dash down low near the foot well area.

It is also unbelievable how much debris accumulates in the box! I vacuumed out so many leaves, pine needles and shredded paper which I have no idea where that even came from! If you haven't cleaned out the area around the heater resistor control in a while do it!
 

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Scott B.

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The shredded paper probably came from a previous resident! ;)
 






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