Freshmeat's Eddie Bauer | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Freshmeat's Eddie Bauer

Freshmeat's Eddie Bauer (Now SAS Build)

Long story short, my girlfriend gave me my 1992 EB. The automatic transmission was giving her so much trouble she gave up and bought a new Altima. The Ex was her first car, though, so she was reluctant to just outright sell it... so when I started looking for a new 4x4 project, it fit. She would get to see it live a whole new life and I'd get a 4x4... free!

Now that I've had it a few months, there were LOTS of things wrong...
Transfer case motor was "lost" (I replaced the bushing)
All window motors were bad (I rebuilt all four)
TPS was shot (I replaced it)
Power steering was whining (I somehow shut it up)
Intake tube was compromised (I replaced it)
All fluids and filters were NAAAASTY (still need to do the axles)
Fuel level gauge doesn't work (haven't gotten to that yet)

I managed to get the A4LD working decently enough to think I was good to go. Boy, was I wrong!

Here it is stock:


I installed a set of 132X Skyjacker coils, Procomp shocks (up front), and added a Chevy leaf to the rear. I also removed both swaybars completely and threw on my 34x10.50s to see if they'd fit...
They did... but I couldn't turn anywhere...


I cut the crap out of the front fenders. Spent six hours on the passenger's side, twenty minutes on the driver's side once I figured out how much to take out...


I thought things were good, so I took it on its first trail ride... and had a blast!!




Unfortunately, so did my transmission...


I let it cool off, filled it back up, and drove it 45 miles back home. I went the next morning and pulled a M5OD and all related hardware from a 1991 Mazda Navajo, then spent the next month and a half doing the transmission swap in my (rare) spare time. In the process of swapping the transmission the exhaust system fell apart, so I installed the Dynomax catback, which sounds great! I've been driving it for almost a month with the five speed and it's a whole new truck. I'm loving how well it rides, now. I scored some manual hubs from a member here, as well as a single hub at the junk yard and installed them recently. I'm sure glad to have a spare, as violent as I get on my throttle. :D Next will be to extend all my breathers- transfer case and both axles- to under the hood, probably by the master cylinders. I have a set of JKS bar pin eliminators that I'm hoping will fit the rear so I can run shocks with eyelets on both ends. I already have F250 shock towers for the front; just waiting until I get the time to tear into the front suspension and get all that work done. I figure it'll take a full day to get both sides installed and I don't have a full day any time soon, so I'll have to be patient on that.

That's the current status so far. I have its first trail ride (with manual transmission and manual hubs) coming up this Saturday... planning to have a great time. I'd get pictures, but it's a night run, so there's no guarantees!

Here's a final shot of a co-worker and me goofing off with the forklift after work one day...


What do you guys think so far? It's come a LOOONG way, but still has a LOOONG way to go...

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Looks good so far. Keep up the good work.:thumbsup:

looks good, i like the tough look of wheels/tires

Thanks guys! Don't hate me for this part, but...
It was only supposed to be a beater until I found a good Wrangler to build. 2" lift and some 31s I had. Got the lift on and a buddy offered me these 34x10.50x15 Super Swamper LTBs for $350, already mounted and balanced. It's been downhill from there!

Since I've started I've researched A LOT. I have a very specific build in mind. What I love about it, though, is that I won't be buying lots of parts just to replace them down the line. From here I have:

1.) Install early Bronco coil mounts and F250 shock towers (needed for SAS anyway)
a.) Build front winch bumper (background project)
2.) Build a 1350-1354 doubler (already gathering parts on this; just need to start)
3.) SAS with early Bronco D44/9" combo and likely 4.88s (not starting until next year after I buy a house)
4.) Build up a 302/ZF/1356 (with doubler) drivetrain to swap in

I LOVE what I have in the Explorer- full frame, four doors, V8 option, and excellent wheelbase. When I go to the D44/9" I'll likely go to 37s. It won't be until after I get a house, though, because I don't want to cut corners- chromo shafts, selectable lockers, etc. It's been a lot of fun so far. My son loves the trail rides and my girlfriend loves the air conditioning. This thing has made us all happy- it's definitely switched from temporary beater to long-term off-road toy.

Yeah... priorities shifted around as of last night. I took it on a ride and had to get strapped four times. Three is my limit.
I need to get the front locked big time. The gearing is rough, but can be dealt with for the time being. All the gearing in the world isn't going to do me any good without all my tires spinning.
Also, the front bumper has been moved up a notch. Having a choker strap wrapped around my frame has grossly disfigured the front bumper. I have some 2x4, 5/16" wall square tube I'm going to cut into a very simple bumper and add some Ballistic Fab shackle mounts. Nothing fancy, just something solid enough to be able to yank on it without worrying about it getting messed up.

Finally... I blew out a headlight. I didn't hit a tree- well... I did, but it didn't touch the headlight- it just went out while I was climbing a hill. I was doing some research and found the 9007 conversion, as I'd like to get some better lighting since stock bulbs kinda suck. So I'm in the middle of that- I need to remove the passenger headlight assembly, as the old bulb actually exploded inside the housing, so I need to get it all out.

So that's where I am right now. A whole new set of priorities, now that I know where the weaknesses really lie.

lookin good.

I spent some time at the local 4x4 fab shop and we agreed that with my low lift, a low profile bumper would be the way to go. He's going to start next week so it should be ready in early November. It will have tow points but that will basically be it. I MAY get a stinger added on but I'm not sure yet.

Keep us updated with pics as it comes along. I remember you(I think it was you) talking about trying to do a doubler. Is that still on the list?

I want to give the doubler a try myself.

Yes, sir. I have the main shaft from an A4LD sitting in my garage. I went to look at a 1350 manual shift today that the guy said he was going to give me, then decided he wanted $200 for it. Screw that- I'll go pull one at the junk yard before I pay that for it.

I'll most likely end up going to the yard and pulling a manual 1350, then taking the planetary out of a 1354 and swapping it in before I even buy it to avoid having to pay for two cases. While the doubler is a big push of mine, I REALLY need to focus on the front bumper, because until I learn this rig more and gain some more offroading skill, I'll need to get recovered a good bit and I'd rather have something that's designed to take the abuse of getting tugged. Also, I'm strongly investigating options to lock the front end so I don't have to get pulled out so often. All the gearing in the world won't do me any good at all without a locker!

As for the stinger, I told Searchers 4wd to move forward with a stinger on the bumper. He said it may actually be ready next week, which would absolutely rock. I plan to find some rattle can paint that'll somewhat resemble the lower section of the body so the bumper will blend to some degree. I'll be sure to post up pictures as soon as I get it installed!

I can't remember the specifics, but it's a significantly improved design.

I've learned random bits and pieces from way too extensive research. Just Google "1350 1354 doubler" and work your way down the list. There's plenty to learn!

I've been doing some research and have decided to use the new front bumper as an on board air tank. I'll try to post up the specifics as it unfolds. Should work out well!

My bumper should be ready this week, complete with D-rings and stinger.

I decided against using it as a tank, as someone local offered a trade on some parts and in that deal I'll be getting a 3-gal tank with twin compressors mounted on it. Needless to say, that'll be much easier to work out.

Also, I found a Taurus fan in my garage that I forgot I even had. That will very likely be installed soon after I get the bumper on and the OBA set up.

In addition, I may have a lead on a super cheap ARB. I don't know how the air line would work on the TTB axle, but I'm going to try to figure it out.

Lots happening right now- just ready for this session of upgrades to be complete!

Yes. Long term I plan for a Windsor V8 so I don't want to spend the money fabricating a bracket to put an engine-driven compressor on this. Plus, the electric compressors are much cleaner and easier to install.

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Well, my local 4x4 fabrication shop turned out a bumper for me in two days (he was delayed from starting because he was out of the needed steel) so I could have it ready for a local ride this weekend.

I'll talk to him about regular pricing for a bumper like this if anyone would be interested in one. You guys should check out some of his other work- he fabricates some incredible stuff.

Here it is just after he finished welding the brackets to the back:


As soon as I got home my son jumped at the opportunity to start climbing all over it:



After he went to sleep I hit up Lowe's for some acetone and paint. It was too dark for a good picture, but I'll get some new ones in the daylight this weekend: