frankcal's 03 Sport Elite Registry | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

frankcal's 03 Sport Elite Registry

Hi everybody my names frank and from Orange County California but currently live in Riverside County. I have a 2003 Explorer Sport XLT 2WD. I bought it in 2010 after graduating hs for around 8k from the dealer, it was a one owner with only 44,000 thousand miles at the time. For the first year of owning it, it was completely stock with only bfg all-terrains in stock size changed on it. But then..... I found this forum after searching for some issue I was having at the time, don't really remember what it was. After that I slowly started changing things on my ex and making it more too my liking. My ex is 2wd and most of the stuff I've done to it now is more for personal preference but I plan on making it desert worthy in the next couple years, for now I just have fun with it and push it to were I can.

I've been a member of the forum for a couple years now, and have gotten a lot of help from many of you, which I really appreciate. It has saved me a lot of money, but also lead to spending more money on mods;). I have finally decided to make an elite registry after finally getting it to a point where I'm happy with the combo of mods on it. Just put new wheels and a new to me lightbar with hella's on it after having a different setup for a couple years.

Things changed/upgraded.
Fully Rebuilt IFS with moog parts
Ranch RS5000 on all four corners
Painted Cladding, running boards and bumpers black
Tinted front windows
AAL and extra leaf and 1.5 inch lift shackles in the rear
About 2inch TT in the front
BFG All-Terrains 265/75/16 on black 10-hole wheels
Light bar and front Hitch Mount with 4 HELLA lights
Billit grill painted black
All interior lights converted to LED's
Kenwood headunit with all 4 kenwood speakers

General Maintanence done with how-to's on this forum
Changed Differential Fluid
Dropped Trans Pan and changed filter
Changed Fuel Filter
Lower thermostat housing and thermostat
Flushed and drained coolant
New front wheel bearings and brakes
New master cylinder
Changed U-Joints

Fixes/Mods in the future
Replace all body mounts
Lift spindles
F-150 leaf pack swap
Powertrax locker/ maybe regear
Convert Hella's to hid
Add led back up light to bumper
I'm sure more will come later

Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!







Always liked your Sport, now it looks even better.

Thanks midnightrebel, I've been a fan of your build too looks tough. Mine's looking sweet now thanks to contributions from fellow members that I was able to get some parts from.

I see you bought the light bar and front hitch off a fellow ST owner. My rig will be having surgery when ever I get another job. I have move of the main parts for my SAS and I have a complete '89 F-250 for the 351w/ C6/ 1356 manual transfercase swap, just need more funds to start the whole project.

That I did sir,took advantage of a great deal. I think it gives the front a cleaner more custom look, and a benefit of it not rattling when I close the door like the brush guard did. Sorry about the job situation, I'm in the same kinda deal with really low work hours and full time studies parent of two but all will be well sooner or later. Can't wait to see your final product on the sas. I honestly don't know much about the building of it, seems way too complicated to me but builds are always fun to read in down time.

Got some updates on the x to post up, some new additions and maintenance.
First off I got a warn 30ft recovery strap off ebay for 20 bucks. Decided to get it after driving around this last rain season and not being able to help, either way its a good thing to have around and fits nicely in the jack compartment.

Picked up a hood bug deflector locally from a fellow trac member. Bought some wipe new to shine it up a bit and worked pretty good. Thanks again Demo1986

Swapped out my interior led lights from the dash and dome lights. I thought I got a good deal on ebay on the leds but they were crap. They dimmed out really bad on the dash and would constantly be flickering. So I just swapped them out for the regular bulbs, made a big difference and was good to have a solid gauge.

Replaced my front sway bar end links to new updated moog ones with the white bushings. I noticed my older blue ones were completely shot out and busted, while looking for something loose because I've been getting this weird clunking sound when I brake or go from a dead stop. I got an alignment about two months ago and the problem was fixed for about a month but came back. Still not sure what it is, everything is tight and the new sway links didn't help the noise. To me the noise sounds like the drive shaft, but just replaced the u joints and it didn't help the clunk either, very mysterious.

Got some ubolt skid plates from another fellow member(Brian1). I really don't do any real offroading. But I had been eyeing them for a while and got tired of looking under my ex and seeing that the shock mounts were sticking down so low regardless of the lift. Painted them some dry moly lube to avoid any squeaking and gray rustoleum and mounted them up quick. The visual difference was shocking, it looks so clean and straight now. Also did help with the ride a little, never really noticed but my shocks were almost fully extended all the time with the lift. I'm going to replace them with the rs9000 within the next month or two.

Also picked up a cool little craftsman tool box from the local salvation army for 4 bucks. Its a older one, a coffin style I guess from looking it up. Painted it up and switched my tools from my tool bag to it and left it in the cargo area, makes getting tools out of it a lot easier to manage and haul around.

Finally replaced my rear window hatch lift shocks. These were long over due, I open that window about 3 or 4 times a day so they were well worn. But the last straw was when I was digging in the back for a ratchet, in said old tool bag, and the hoop part of the window hit my back dead in the center. Needless to say I was mad and went right on rockauto that night and got them 3 days later. Installed them and made a difference, the window will actually go up by itself on the last half of the lift. Lost a clip for it but am gonna go to the jy in the next couple days to replace it.

Lastly finally got to wash the ex after a month and waxed it. Its so nice and shiny now, just hope it doesn't rain soon. Also finally got around to polishing up the center caps I got from the jy after installing the new wheels. Brought them back to life with some elbow grease and makes me happier looking even if its not noticeable to a lot of people.

Thats the end of my long updated boring post, thank you for reading :) Pictures to come tomorrow, too tired to upload.

Here are the pics, they are a lot on this post, just wanting to show off some as usual.

Took my son out to test out his new dune racer out at the river bed and took the chance to snap some quick pics. Just mounted up some led lights to his power wheels and he is having a lot of fun lighting up the night with two little bulbs.



These are just pics after cleaning it up and finishing up some maintanence on it.
Finally was able to finish up wiring the lights, and found some "caps" for the ends of the light bar that fit.


Close up of the ubolt skid plates from Brian1




Finally shiny and clean wheel caps. You can kinda tell in the pic that my springs are started to sag some. I have a main leaf and am gonna get some f-150 leafs soon enough to fix the sag and get rid of the lift shackles.

I'm going to be going to Pick Your Part in Anaheim on their May 24th weekend, 50% off. If you want some help getting the F150 leaf springs. I was there 2 months ago and I think they had a few, I got one set.

Yeah that'd be great to get some help on them. I tried to take some off about a month ago when they had a sale but was just too much work for me and gave up on it. Figured I couldn't do it without cutting the bolts anywa. I might be picking up a set tho thats already pulled from a parted out f150.
Did you do your swap already?

No, I just bought a 98 Mounty v8 AWD. It needs lots of front end love but the leaves are going to go onto it. I will be starting a build post soon When I took the F150 leaves I had my bro with me, I wouldn't say its a two man job but it sure helped, I had a can of PB blaster and a map gas torch to get some of the stubborn bolts.

That's pretty cool to have a v8. Do you still have the ex that you were gonna do the lift spindles on? Yeah it wasn't an impossible job just time consuming and I got snagged on the shackle bolts. Just was too tired that day to put more effort in them since I had already gotten what I wanted.

I do still have the green explorer. I will be driving it till I get the Mounty drivable. Then I have to decide if we want to keep the v6 as a second car or my wifes Saturn Vue.

I do still have the Spindles, they are on Craigslist right now. I didn't see this till the other day but they are not the Fabtech Ranger edge style, they are actually Doetsch regular ranger style so they wouldn't work anyway...I think. Part number 583810 cast into the spindle.

I say you should keep it if anything for backup parts or anything.

That sucks that you got screwed on the deal but goodluck on your sell.

Have some changes to report on the sport. First off I got rear ended on the freeway about 2 months ago by a 96 civic. Nothing really happened to me or the truck just some light bumper scratches and bending on the bottom but nothing bad whatsoever. The honda on the other hand suffered some damage, it went clean under mine and had the engine pushed back, hood peeled back and front end dropped. Had a check in the mail for the "damage" by the end of that week and used a small portion of it "repairing" the damage. Really just repainted the bumper, unscrewed it and pulled it down a little and added a backup light to the bumper.

Other than the bumper I also got some new fronts seats, due to my self reclining driver seat. Did some front end maintanence which included new lower ball joints, tie rods and sway bar bushings.

The biggest change I did was to rear, Finally rebuilt my saggy leaf springs and eliminated the lift shackles. I used a combo of explorer leafs, f-150 leafs and the old aal. Also got some new u=bolts and front bushings from Josh C. (thanks again) and ordered some new rear bushing online. The swap was fairly easy, seeing as how it was about my 5th time doing it. End result was great, got more lift in the rear than with the shackles. Just happy I don't have to mess with them for some time, thats why I went all out and put new bushings all around just to do it right for the last time in a while.

Haven't been really around that much lately, been busy with work, but have still been modding the ex slowly.
Recently tinted the all the windows around with a medium tint. Great difference from the sun, but night driving is a bit different with the rear window tinted, not to mention parallel parking is more difficult. I might pull the tint of the rear window, but undecided still.

Also got some "new" wheels. I took off the steelies and went with some stock alloys of a ranger. I've seen them before on some tracs and always liked them so I jumped on these when they went up for sale at 90 bucks.

Also finally added a hitch that should work with the spare. Need to do a little modifying but its pretty flush with the inside part of the bumper so it shouldn't take much to make the spare fit in there.

Not the best pics, but will do



Nice man I really like oem wheels on our modded trucks, I do miss how mine looked when they were on it. It takes time to get use to the dark window tint. Maybe just remove and use like 35-50% tint on it. I have 2.5% on the back window (because my three yr old sits back there and the back seat is against the window) and 20% on the side windows. It's dark and not legal but I don't care the trucks going to be mostly offroad use.

Yeah I like how they look too, haven't been able to respond on here since my elite ended and I just got around to renewing it..... ahhhh it feels complete again.
As for the tint, I got used to it already, the first few weeks sucked because of the darkness. It sucks that my defroster doesn't work though, I'll eventually get around to trying to fix it but it doesn't seem like it'll be needing any use any time soon.

For now though I bought some fabtech lift spindles, new rotors and pads and bearings. Shout out to a fellow member Josh C. who had given me some inner bearings a while back when I picked up some u bolts and bushings from him. They finally came in handy and saved me a few bucks on the ever growing parts list for the spindle lift. I also had to buy a new set of torque wrenches both inch and foot lbs, and grease misc grinding and cutting discs in preparation for the install. I finally got everything and was going to install today but decided to hold off on it because I wasn't comfortable bending the brake lins. I just ordered the extended ss brake lines from deerfield and hopefully theyll come in by next monday so I can start the install.

That's the upcoming upgrades, but since my last post I've done a few other things also. I picked up a dixon bros bumper off an edge used for 150 but had to drive about 5 hrs round trip to pick it up. I mounted it up for now but plan on repainting it later on, or maybe not since its powdercoated. The guy I got it from had a plate made for the top of the bumper by his brother, which made mounting the light bar really easy. The install relatively easy just had to drill some new holes since there was some slight differences in mounting locations. i kind of botched the bumper trimming though and it looks pretty chewed up right now, but it'll have to do for a couple more weeks until I can pull it off and straighten everything out.


Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

That looks awesome. Now you just need the Dixon Brothers long travel kit:D