Ghosttrain2's 1994 Explorer Rebuild - First Gen SOHC + | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Ghosttrain2's 1994 Explorer Rebuild - First Gen SOHC +

My Ex started out as a nicely equipped 1994 Explorer XLT, with the 4.0 OHV, A4LD auto,electric shift transfercase,tow package,JBL sound,limited slip rear end with 3.73 gears, and leather seats.I bought this used in 1998, with 91,000 miles, sold it in 2004, and got it back in 2006 with a rod knock. It's a twin to my son's Ex in the pictures here.



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I started out by removing the interior,doors,front clip, and liftgate. I then removed the body from the frame, and placed it on blocks. The drivetrain/frame was pushed inside, where the engine, transmission and transfercase ere removed. The exhaust system fuel tank and lines, brake lines, front axle, and front suspension were also removed.


This left me with a frame and rear axle ( to still roll it in and out like a wheelbarrow).

When I got my Ex back, I also got a 1997 Eddie Bauer Ex with it that was an insurance total. It got the same teardown treatment, with the 4.0 SOHC and 5R55E safely stored indoors.I also had access to a 1993 4x2 Ex that my son bought as a parts truck (no engine)



The '94 frame was then sanded and painted. The front suspension was done at this time, replacing both radius arm frame brackets, the passenger side radius arm, the radius arm bushings,and shocks. Also had to replace one of the axle pivot bolts because of rust. The front axle did not need anything done to it at this time, and was reassembled after being cleaned.I also replaced the rusted rear spring shackles with heavier ones, and also gave me additional lift of 1".

I'm going to stop here a minute to try to explain what my goals were/are for this.
1. I wanted a reliable trail rig with extended range capabilities.
2. I wanted to maintain good highway driving capabiliies.
3. Update what ever I could by using what was not damaged on the '97 Eddie Bauer Ex.

With this in mind, I decided that I was going to retain the following parts:
Frame, body shell, axles, and transfercase.

I wanted to use the entire 1997 interior, dash, and wiring harness. I also wanted to use the 4.0 SOHC and 5R55E as they ran fine,weren't noisey, and the trans fluid was not burnt.
Other parts from the '97 were used as the project progressed,and will follow along ,later.

The engine is not quite bolt in,had to notch the cross member so it would clear the oil pan.


I used the engine mounts from the '94 OHV engine, either trans mount will work with the original crossmember.I then bolted up the transfercase from the '94,and the drivelines from the '94 as well.The exhaust system was fabricated from what I had from the 2 vehicles.




I used the fuel tank and brackets from the '97 to make the fuel system as close to oem as possible.


On the evaporitive emissions, I used the '97 carbon cannister and lines for the front fuel tank.

I removed the spare tire carrier bracket from the frame to install a rear tank.

The rear tank I chose is from a 87 Bronco 2. I used the filler neck,and modified the sender to accept the pump from the '94.


I used the evaporitive emissions from the '94 on the rear tank,because it cannot be pressured like the 1995 and up tanks can.The cannister for the front tank is the one in the photos, mounted in the rear. The one for the rear tank is under the hood-the stock location for any 1994.


In making up the fuel lines, I purchased a Dorman fuel line kit, to build the fuel lines.It comes with nylon fuel line, and fittings to build or repair your fuel lines. The evap. emission lines were factory, and clear vinyl.

Not too busy Jon,just finally have time to write this up.

On to body modifications.One of the other problems with the installation on a SOHC into a gen 1,was the A/C box in the engine compartment. There are many other solutions posted on this forum, I decided to do it this way. Starting with the firewall, I drilled out the spot welds on the firewalls on both the '97, and the '94 bodies, and removed the firewall in 1 piece. In order to use the 1997 dash, I also removed the left and right kick panels, as well as the upper cowling(were the wipers mount)




After removal, I straightened out the flanges, and MIG welded the '97 firewall and kickpanels in place.




I left this attached to the firewall,it made alignment and welding easier.
Everyone needs a helper, I had 2-one gray, and one black:

Using this firewall also moves the pcm into the engine compartment,and out of the right kick panel.I am also able to use the 1995 and up hood hinges with the shocks, and no more prop rod.
I rewelded the 1994 cowl top back in place.

This allowed me to bolt in the stock 1997 heater case assembly and use it instead of the 1994 one. No clearance issues with the engine now!

While I was this far into it, I replaced the core support because of rust, and welded another on from my other parts truck.


The firewall was then seam sealed, primed and painted. I painted the engine compartment,door jambs,fender supports, and interior sheet metal black.


Here I will make a note that I also removed the roof rack, and welded the holes up. It was a dealer installed roofrack, and was missing parts anyway.

At this point, I had 3 other friends help install the body back on the frame. I installed a 3" body lift, and urethane body mounts at this time as well. After pushing it into the garage, the '97 wire harness was routed to it's proper location,and secured to the frame and body.
It was here that I decided to use the adjustable shoulder restraints, so I removed the interior portion of the "B" pillar, and welded in the same from the "97 shell.



I used 3 of the 4 doors from the '97 Ex, the '94 passenger front being the exception.Using a hole saw, I drilled a hole in the drivers door pillar for the larger door harness. I was able to measure the location on the '97 shell. I plugged the original hole with the circle cut from the hole saw, with a bolt, nut,and washer, and sealed with rtv.The liftgate from the '97 was installed,with the wiring and washer line holes modified to work.


It was now time to install the dash from the '97 into the body.It bolted right into place!


I installed the steering column from the '97, mating it to the stock '94 steering gear with an adapter. I had an adapter made by a machinist out of tool steel, using the adapter I got with the body lift kit, only clocking it 90 degrees off. This lined the steering wheel up where it belongs.

You have put a lot of hard work into this rig Sir.

Very big job building from frame up, let alone changing it into a hybrid 1st/2nd gen. :thumbsup:

Very nice work.

Next in was a used headliner from my local salvage yard.

It was from a 1998 Explorer. the "97 I was using the parts from had the overhead console and power sunroof. I did not use the sunroof as it was damaged-and I did not want to cut a hole in the roof. So, I ran the wires up for the upper console, and installed it.


The compass and outside temp. work just fine.

I chose to use the keyless entry from the '97,and it also still works ,since the airbags were deployed when the '97 was wrecked, I removed the bulb from the cluster, and did not remount the crash sensors or the control ( which is 1 time use only). I also removed the ABS bulb, sensors, and did not install the ABS control either.(Not to start any arguements on this-it's my truck, and I don't like the way it works on a 4x4) So-that being said,I have a conventional braking system.
The 1997 had "Control Track" on it, so I used the transfercase from the '94, and it's electric shift system. I wired it to be independant from any GEM module functions.The dual tank controls are mounted to the left of the radio. I used a tank switch from a F series pickup.

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The carpet was cleaned and installed, as were the front Eddie Bauer seats.


I went with a pioneer head unit for the radio, and wired it to the factory sub. using instructions from this forum.