Bronchole's 1997 5.0 Mountaineer/4406/SAS/SOA | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Bronchole's 1997 5.0 Mountaineer/4406/SAS/SOA

Bronchole's 1997 5.0 Mountaineer/4406/SAS/SOA


I lucked in to an awesome deal on this Mountaineer in June of 2012. I picked it up from Jim (nssJ2) for a screaming deal of $4500. Only catch was I had to go to Colorado to get it. That ended up being a great vacation for my family. We spent a few days visiting with friends and broke the drive home up with a couple stops on the way back (Moab, Brice canyon, Zion and Las Vegas). The rig was everything I expected it to be and some. It has a few quirks, but all-in-all Jim did a fine job with all the projects he did to it. By far the cleanest set of PO installations I have ever dealt with.

Interesting factoid here. My friend Pete has been instrumental in the purchase of my last 2 off road toys. My previous toy (1967 Bronco) was partially financed by him for 2 weeks. He was my remote eyes and ears for purchasing, pickup and short term storage of this rig until I could come pick it up for myself. Thank you Pete (and Carrie) for all of your help keeping my addictions going!

The Specs:
- 1997 Mercury Mountaineer
- Mfg date 06/97
- Millage = 155K at time of purchase in June 2012
- Mostly stock 5.0 with 155K miles on it. Jim had pretty much replaced everything except the long block
- MAC intake
- 4R70W transmission (rebuilt at something like 120K)
- 4406 transfer case replaced at 165K
- New (or professionally rebuilt) rear driveshaft with CV/slip yoke
- New (or professionally rebuilt) front driveshaft with CV/flange
- Ford 8.8 full width axle from a 1994 F150
***Detroit locker
***4.56:1 gears
***5 on 5.5" Superior chromolly 31 spline axles, OD of flange turned down to fit in Currie rotors
***original Explorer brake calipers and brackets
***Currie Enterprises custom rotors (These may be Jeep CJ rotors re-drilled)
***Rear end cover with "pre-loading" bolts for bearing caps
- Dana 44 high pinion full width axle from 1979 Bronco
***Open diff
***Superior Chromoly axles
***Dana 760X u-joints
***Warn premium locking hubs
***some sort of HD diff cover
- Wild Horses extended radius arms
- Early Bronco 5.5" lift coils
- Rear Superlift Explorer 4.0" lift leaf spring (over axle)
- Some sort of lifting shackel
- 5 on 5.5, 15x10 Rock 8 beadlocks
- 35" x 12.5" x 15" BFG MT's
- 92-95 Toyota 4-runner steering box A1 Cardone p/n: 27-8475
- Sony MEX-BT3700U head unit
- Infinity 6812cf 2 way front speakers
- Infinity 6812cf 2 way rear speakers
- Rockford Fosgate R1 Bassworx 12" sub (5" mounting depth, recomended box volume of 1.02 cu ft) in a 1.02 cubic foot enclosure
- Boss Audio CXX502 amplifier driving the sub
- Clifford RSX3.5 alarm system
- Flaming gauge faces
- UltraGauge OBDII gauge message center

Links to builds that Jim (nssj2) did to it prior to my ownership:
- 4406 upgrade, March 2008
- Learning to shift the 4406, March 2008
- Front Driveshaft custom construction, March 2008
- Gathering parts for the SAS, April 2010
- The SAS, April 2010 - September 2010

Things I have done since I got it:
- August 2012: CB antenna mount was shorting due to the lock washer being in the wrong location - Fixed
- August 2012: Cleaned up disconnected wires to the Sub-Woofer. May have come disconnected when all of the "extras" that Jim gave me with this were packed in the back.
- September 2012: Rear driveshaft CV was rubbing on gas tank after I got it home. BFH = fixed
- September 2012: Removed remaining plastic tank protector to keep it from hitting VSS wires
- September 2012: Attempted to calibrate speedometer. It has a 20 tooth gear installed, it needs a 22 tooth gear, I installed a 21 tooth gear and am living with it.
- September 2012: Added wiring so that the CEL on the right side instrument cluster (pre 1997 gauge faces) lit up with the stock location light
- September 2012: Mounted Cobra 29 in center console area. Will eventually be replaced with my HR2510 and my Alinco Dual band ham radio.
- October 2012: Installed Ultra Gauge
- October 2012: Replaced drivers side headlight bulb with a used one (temporarilly) from my F350
- October 2012: Installed projector headlight
- November 2012: Made/installed new CB antenna mounts
- November 2012: Installed rear differential cover
- December 2012: Reworked the track bar frame side bracket
- January 2013: Replaced the original 4406 transfer case (The other one died from the front driveshaft coming loose, wedgeing in to the housing of the case and splitting it in half)
- January 2013: Reworked front gas tank mount to improve clearance to the 4406 transfer case.
- February 2013: Replaced the stero head unit for one that works better with Ipods
- March 2013: replaced the transfer case again. It had some sort of internal failure that locked it in to 4 low.
- June 2013: replaced broke rear axle with new pair of hardened axles.
- July 2013: Installed mostly hidden 9500 pound winch
- August 2013: Added gusseting to rear axle housing to stiffen housing and add provisions for traction bar.
- August 2013: made a temporary hitch mounted tire carrier to get the tire off the roof.
- August 2013: Reworked transmission cross member to accept 1985 Mustang transmission mount.
- October 2013: Built 12" sub woofer cabinet
- October 2013: mounted my ham radio and antenna
- November 2013: Alignment to see if I could reduce the Death wobble tendancies
- June 2014: Replaced trac bar bushing in an attempt to get rid of some death wobble (didn't work)
- June 2014: Replaced steering box. It sprang a leak in the middle of John Bull trail in Big Bear.
- July 2014: Finished installing the rear traction bar.
- July 2014: Install new set of rear springs.
- July 2014: Installed the TMH Torque Monster Headers on it.
- July 2014: Reworked the lower steering column to have a mid support and the correct end on it for the Toyota PS box.
- July 2014: New pair of tires for the front. (Death wobble gone)
- November 2014: LED light bar on front
- April 2015: replaced the sub woofer with a new one

Links to pictures and albums from when Jim (nssj2) owned this rig:
- From one of Jim's trail runs
- From one of Jim's trail runs
- From one of Jim's trail runs
- From one of Jim's trail runs
- From one of Jim's trail runs
- From one of Jim's trail runs
- From one of Jim's trail runs
- From one of Jim's trail runs
- From one of Jim's trail runs
- From one of Jim's trail runs
- From one of Jim's trail runs
- From one of Jim's trail runs
- Photobucket album from one of Jim's trail runs
- Another album from Jim

Links to my other photos and albums for this rig:
- Bronchole photobucket account
- 2
- 3
- 4

My "To Do" list (in no particular order):
- Rear swing out tire carrier
- PA speaker
- Full halo roof rack to protect roof, allow for heavier hauling on roof and mounting for ham/CB antenna.
- Internal roll cage
- Push the front axle forward 1"-1.5" so the tires clear the nerf bars
- Good pair of off-road lights on the bumper
- Front seat covers
- Front traction aid (probably ARB)
- RCV front axles
- Perhaps ram assist, need to get some more time serious off-roading before I make a final decision on this.
- On-board 1000W continuous or better power inverter. For running all but the most powerful power tools.
- On board air. For ARB, air horn, air tools, airing up tires…
- Air horn. I got it, just need to get it in there.
- Secured set of on-board misc. basic tools. Thinking an ammo box where the spare tire used to be.
- Aluminum deep transmission oil pan
- Second/dual battery for using my ready-welder as well as additional reserve power

Trails Conquered:
- August 2012:
***Colorado trails:
***Moab Utah:
- September 2012:
***Hungry Valley ORV area / Gorman & 4WPW customer appreciation day
- October 2012:
***Mojave Road 10/19-10/21
- January 2013
***Bear Camp Snow run that blew up my transfer case :(
- February 2013
***Rohwer Flats
- March 2013:
***Barstow to Vegas
- June 2013:
***Hungry Valley
- July 2013:
***Lockwood/Miller Jeep trail
-August-September 2013:
**Colorado trip
***Halfmoon South (CO)
***Mosquito Pass (CO)
***Taylor Pass (CO)
October 2013:
***Cherry creek area trails
March 2014
***Hungry Valley for CORVA Family Fun Days
June 2014
***Big Bear
August 2014
***Bald Mountain
-------Coyote Lake trail
-------Swamp Lake trail
-------Mirror Lake trail
-------Strawberry Lake trail
May 2015
***Mojave Road

Upcoming trips/trails I plan to conquer:
- August 2015 Rubicon
- August 2015 Some stuff in Washington
- August 2015 Oregon Dunes

I have noticed that allot of people on this site like to make their threads several miles long by doing everything in one thread..... not me. It makes for a PITA for people researching things. Believe me I know from attempting to research on this site. I will be starting other threads for each of my individual builds and link to them from the first post in this thread. If it is significant or I think it’s been a while since this thread has been pulled back to the top I'll post in here to bring it back up.

Notice: I have reserved several posts for anything else I wanted to include later on.

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Looks good! Subscribing. I have wheeled with Jim and this rig before in CO in April of 2011. Interested to see where the build goes.


Nice Mountaineer, and it looks like you've got some good trips planned in the next several months! Glad it'll be put to good use. I know some guys doing Barstow to Primm in March on the way to the Mint 400, as part of a much longer trip they are doing. Maybe you'll run into them on the trail.

I have been invited to do this run by a group of people from the full size Bronco forums. They don't seem to be getting much intrest in it over there though so it will likely be the guy who invited me and a couple other "Axle Snappers".

I noticed that my regestry was a little out of date so I just updated it a bit.