Getting to work on the '97 5.0 XLT AWD | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Getting to work on the '97 5.0 XLT AWD

Hey fellas, my name is Alex and I've lived in Santa Cruz, CA for nearly 10 years now. I've had my Explorer for close to a year now and haven't done anything to it before because I thought I would be getting something smaller. Well, the urge to offroad and drive a badass truck have won over the practicality of a car, and my buddy and I started working on the Explorer today. Here's a pic of the car from a month or so ago:


Today we took off the runningboards, removed the pinstripe, and took off all the gray plastic and painted it black. We also tested to see if I would need bolts for the torsion twist and it seems that I'll be able to get 2" no problem. All of the painted parts are still off of the truck, but I do have some pics of during the process.


Took off half of the bumper so we could remove the plastic piece




Taking off the pinstripe. Turns out that the hairdryer is somewhat unnecessary :p:

Got it all back together and painted the grill as well. The black plastic and removal of the stripes and boards make it look so much better. I'm really looking forward to doing the lift next week :thumbsup:



I'd like to thanks Paraphoe for all of the information he has given me. He's made it all a hell of a lot easier ;)

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Keep up the great work. I've contemplated painting my trim pieces black several times, but I've never got the nerve to do it. I'm anxious to see how yours turned out.

I just ordered Warrior 153 Shackles, PA 3" Body lift, and Cragar Black Soft 8s. Need to order speedo gear tomorrow and find someone to make me some bumper brackets.

This project is fun :D

what size tires are you going to run? and are you planning on re gearing?

what size tires are you going to run? and are you planning on re gearing?

I'd like to put 33"s on it but I could live with 32"s.

From what I hear the 3.73s should work alright with 33"s, so I don't plan on re-gearing.

With the 3"BL, the shackles, and the TT, I would go with 33s for sure. Its funny because you're doing EXACTLY what I had on my "to do" list. I was even going to get the Cragars. One suggestion is to remove your side moldings. It really cleans up the look, imo. Even though mine has a charcoal rocker stripe, it looks 10x better without the moldings.

Here is a pic of mine de-molded, haha. Those are only 31s. With 33s, you'll look like a monster.


Updated. Today was pretty good, put on a few more coats of paint and put all the plastic back on. I decided to paint the grille black too, and I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out. Can't wait to do the lift and get the new tires on!

Looking great, keep it up. :thumbsup:

The black trim makes all the difference in the world, I love mine. I don't know what Ford was thinking with the grey. It ends up looking like it has a hint of purple after a few years. The black really cleans it up and makes the truck look awesome, and it's really not hard to do and holds up very well.

I also like the black grill. I'm considering doing that to mine. I've made a couple of photoshop before and afters to see what it would look like, haha.

awesome truck it looks bad ass