Dutch 1991 Explorer | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Dutch 1991 Explorer

Hi guys!

I've been on this forum for a while and thought it was about time I made a registry for my X!

The 1991 XLT has been mine for almost 1.5 years now and using this forum as an incredibly useful resource I've been able to do quite some stuff myself, even though I had no previous experience working on cars at all.

The current state of the explorer (step bars have been removed, though):

It's basically stock, but was in a bad shape when I bought it. Since I've had it, i have replaced:

Since November 2011
- Headlight switch
- the waterpump
- oil pressure switch
- front shocks
- front wheel bearings
- removed the AC (wasnt working, doesnt get hot enough here often enough to really need it)
- thermostat
- replaced the alternator
- fixed electrical windows
- cleaned MAF, IAC and tons of other stuff
- tightened lower intake manifold bolts
- replaced a transmission mount
- New spark plugs (Also the rear passenger one ;) )
- Replaced a u-joint in the rear driveshaft
- Replaced auto hubs with manuals
- Replaced fuel filter

Update April 9, 2013
- Replaced rear shocks
- New 95TM heads, replacing the 91TMs
- New rocker arms
- New Pushrods
- New Lifters
- New spark plug wires
- Replaced switches for central locking/windows
- Replaced rear door panels
- Greased rear power window tracks
- Replaced TCC solenoid and about 8 qts of ATF
- Replaced power mirror switch

Update April 17, 2013
- Fixed power door lock switch at drivers side. (Note: drivers and passenger side switches are NOT interchangeable)
- Fixed rear driver passenger inner door handle
- Finished installing front tow hooks

Update May 12, 2013
- Adjusted overdrive band
- Replaced and regreased front outer bearings
- Lubricated driveshaft spline and some linkages here and there

Update May 14, 2013
- Rear differential oil refresh

- [Done] Install trans temp gauge
- Connect trailer wiring
- Replace O2 sensor (no codes, but I have a new one, and the current one is stock, I believe)
- Replace motor mounts
- Fix A4LD no TCC. Had the solenoid replaced, but still no lockup
- Remove after market alarm system

As the thing is guzzling coolant like it's nobody's business, and I have as of yet been unable to find any visible leaks, I'm inclined to believe it's the head gasket/heads. Hence I've ordered some parts from rock auto

New rear shocks (monroe sensa tracks), new motor mounts, couple of oil filters (3.5$ on rockauto versus 15$ here in the Netherlands, gotta earn the shipping charges somewhere :D) ditto for some air filters. some bearings, an upper engine gasket set, head bolts, filter for the transmission (A4LD), O2 sensor, new spark plug wires, and factory-new 95TM heads (got them from someone local. Not sure if I needed them but as they were cheap (150$ each) I figured why the heck not, instead of risking finding a crack when the current ones are off) If I've read correctly, the 95TM heads will bolt on my 90TM block just fine. fingers crossed :D

Rocker arms and pushrods were already ordered previously, and will also make an appearance on the new heads...

I bought a T-55 socket, only need some other minor parts such as exhaust manifold bolts, I expect having to cut them off.

Do I need engine assembly lube (which is hard to find around here for some reason), or can I also apply some oil just before putting the valve covers back on?

Now all I need is a few days off to do this job at the slowest pace possible :D

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Clean Explorer!

Just beware that if you run the 95tm heads you will(should) run a higher octane gasoline. Those heads raise the compression ratio from stock.

It looks like you're fairly mechanically minded so head gaskets shouldn't be too much of a chore for you, especially with this site as a resource!

I would advise using assembly lube or paste when you put it back together.. if the engine isn't going to be sitting for very long before being run you can probably get away with using regular motor oil..

My 2 cents..

Benjam :D

nice x

The higher octane gasoline will be no problem, as here in the Netherlands the lowest you can get is 95.

Installed new rear shocks today, the driver side one came off fairly easy, the passenger side put up a fight as the lower bolt would not get out. It could spin (using some force) but would not get out of the mount. I banged on it with a hammer whilst using WD40/penetration oil for a good hour before deciding to just cut the old one up and use a new bolt.

Other than that little hiccup, I'd say changing rear shocks is easier than changing your oil...


Well! It's finally time to do some work on the X.

I checked the fuel pressure, which is at 29 PSI, according to haynes it should be between 30 and 45 PSI, so it's a little on the low side, but I'm going to let it slide for now.

More concerning was one of the error codes being thrown during the KOEO test, I got a code 89, which was not in haynes, but according to TRS ( http://www.therangerstation.com/tech_library/2digitcodes.html ) it refers to my converter clutch override solenoid. Now, I have been experiencing high RPMs at highway speeds. Could this be related to that? I supposed it's not something a band adjustment will fix, right? Any suggestions?

Up next is the compression test :)

Ok, so as part of my 90TM-95TM head swap I managed to clear everything down to the LIM in about 4 hours. Carefully labelled and documented everything. The LIM came off in seconds, no problem. Next stop was... Exhaust manifolds...

WTF. With the help of one of my brothers and my father I was able to get them free of the heads, so they can be removed tomorrow. But really. WTF. On the drivers side, only 1 of 6 bolts came off using oil and torch. On the passenger side 4 of 6 came out without problems. The rest we had to grind/cut off...

The LIM and valve covers were totally full of sludge, so ill have some fun cleaning that tomorrow.

Cleaned the UIM and TB, using brake cleaner, as I figure there was no more 'protective coating' on the TB after 20+ years..

Some of the lifter cups had come loose of their lifter, roaming free around the pushrods. Not sure what I am to do with it yet. The cups don't seem too necessary, but they are probably there for a reason... Tomorrow will tell what the lifters themselves look like and how my cylinders fare... Pics will come later, I don't have my laptop with me at the moment..

Nice update, it seems like most everything is coming along fairly nicely...

So, the heads finally came off, reserved me little to be surprised about.

Is that some crosshatching I see? can't be...

Still need to think of a way to remove all this crap from the pistons...

Not on this image, but the driver's side head had a small crack between the pistons nearest to the driver. What would the result of such a crack be? Just loss of compression, right?

I've had to put the project on hold for now. I was hoping it wouldn't be necessary, but the lifters were too bad to be reused. About half of them had their plastic caps snapped off, being unable to put them back on firmly. Two were what I think people call collapsed. I have ordered some from ebay. They are probably not the best ( Link to eBay ) but this project is expensive enough as it is...

I had purchased a rather expensive but very good quality T55 socket for the head bolts, but this one is apparently a bit too big (I'd guess about 1.25-1.5 inch) to be used with the torque wrench on the bolt at the passenger side, 'under' the heater box. I'll have to buy a smaller socket for that, I guess.

Well, the X works again! But not after the exhaust manifolds had to put up another fight.

Apparently coming off and getting on are both something the manifold does not feel like doing. In getting them back on, it was a b*tch getting the manifold, gasket and head lined up correctly so one of the bolts wouldn't pass through. lessons were learned. (Don't use the U-shaped holes in the gasket to let it rest on the bolts you put in, just put the bolts through the O-shaped holes)

Then we had the issue of the explorer not wanting to start up after everything was back together. The fuel pump would not prime. Did a lot of measuring, to find out that the rudimentary anti-theft switch installed between the driver's seat and the armrest console by the PO decided to break at just this moment. ( Read more here: http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=381952 ) eliminated the switch and the explorer fired right up!

How did the engine sound before starting this project? (cold)

It did much better immediately after the first startup

And after a minute or 5-10 it ran like new

Seems that all the work was well worth it! Also drives a lot better now. I am still a bit 'on edge' as to any strange sounds I might hear and smells I might smell, but I'm going to give that a few trips to pass, see how it develops. :D

Hey good job!

Benjam :D

Thanks! Unfortunately, I have some weird sounds coming off the engine at about 2.5-3k RPMs.

Does any one have any idea where they come from? As posted in the video description, I previously thought it were the valves, but now that there are new heads on there, that seems unlikely.

It starts at about 33seconds lasting until 40 seconds into the clip. It's a soft grinding like noise. It's also audible at other moments in the clip, but less obvious. You might mistake it for wind, but it's not.

Any thoughts? It'd be a real downer if I had to do an overhaul on the block itself..

You may want to post your problem in a different thread. People dont really scan the registry's for car problems.

Hope that helps!

Nice explorer though. I always loved my 1st gen explorer. I miss that thing

Updated the intro post :D

Finally got around to fixing the left rear inner door handle. The plastic itself was just fine, but the metal rod leading to the mechanism was bend(ing). As I rarely have passengers, but being able to open the doors is mandatory by vehicle safety regulation and is inspected annually, I decided to "hack" it.

I just bent the original rod into as straight a shape as possible, removed the anti-theft protector sleeve, and zip-tied a more sturdy rod to the original rod. It's not the best solution, but it seems to work. :D

Also finished installing the front tow hooks. (2x 10k lbs) and fixed all electrical switches. The previous owner was a reaalll tinkerer, that's for sure. I can't lift a panel to find another wire spliced and duct-taped..

Well, got a bit of offroading done. Below is a clip from the start of the day, but after a while things went much smoother, had tons of fun! I was impressed with what a stock-height explorer can do!


Had a chance to refresh the oil in the rear differential yesterday, replaced it with some Kroon GL-5 80W90 mineral oil. I wanted to put in some synthetic, but couldn't find any that was reasonably priced around here.

Positioned a bucket underneath the diff, first I made sure the fillplug could come out, then used a wire brush to clean up some of the dirt around the diff cover. Next I made sure all bolts would come loose, before removing all but the top two bolts

Then carefull pry the cover off, and the oil will come out :D

The previous owner had been pretty generous with the RTV when installing the cover

After about an hour of cleaning it looked like this, after another 15-20 minutes, it was ready to be put back on. I have been about as generous with the RTV as PO has been, as there were some small cracks here and there along the outer edge of where the bolts go.

Refilling the diff was actually the most interesting part of this exercise, first I used a 5ft piece of clear hose and a funnel to get it in there, but next time, i'll just put a small length of hose on the oil bottle (there was a snug fit wit the tube on the bottle) and put it in from underneath.

And we were good to go for another X-thousand miles :D

Also, I've been planning to put in a transmission temperature gauge. I have ordered one online and designed a wiring diagram. I plan on creating an ignition-switched 12v circuit onto which more stuff can be hooked in the future :D

Well, I installed my trans-temp sensor today :D

In order to create a separate hot in run circuit, I used interior fuse panel fuse #9 (blower motor), and routed a cable connecting to #9 s Brown/Orange wire to the relay's 86-terminal in the engine bay, and new 'hot in run' wires from terminal 87 back into the cab. One for the meter, one for something I might use in the future.

There is a 10A fuse in each of the new 'hot in run' wires, and an additional 30A fuse between the battery and the relay's terminal 30.

The signal wire running to the trans, follows the 3-4 shift and TC lockup cable harness from the driver wheel well, down to the frame, across to the tranny. Of course some extra slack was added nearest to the sensor, and I covered ca. 3 foot of the wire in shrink tubing.

It worked great from the start, I guess time will tell how the system will hold up. I'm -for some weird reason- most excited about having a new 'hot in run' circuit... :)

So, today the explorer had to go for its annual road safety inspection. All seemed to be well except a headlamp bulb that was broken aaannddd the rear brakes were not breaking equally enough.

Seeing what I've already had to do to this vehicle, what needs to be done to this vehicle in the future to keep it running, and the absurd amount of money it costs in the Netherlands to have ( $130/month ) operate ( $8.44 USD / gallon ) and maintain ( a sh*tload of money, given all parts need to be shipped from the US of A ) I've decided to scrap it. I'll probably rough-house it for another two months -until the license expires- and then it's done.

I'm kind of sad about this, as this was my first car, and my technician-training-wheels but I'm sure there will be an explorer just around to corner... Too bad those 3rd gens dont have the same rugged look :D

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That stinks, but make sense.. As much as I love the explorer I don't think I could justify it for a DD vehicle with the prices you have to pay for parts.

Even as a wheeling vehicle I'd be hard pressed to keep it as you can't just pick up parts at your local parts store..

Maybe you can find someone else with one out there that has one and sell it to them so they can have lots of spare parts.. Its better than outright scrapping it.