Hacra's 5.0 (Rustbucket) | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Hacra's 5.0 (Rustbucket)

This explorer started its life in Arizona, from where someone brought it to Switzerland, from there someone bought it to Finland (yeah, quite the trip), company which sells parts to American cars owned the car in Finland from where I bought it, as I needed something V8 since i used to live in America (had P71) and had grown to like the V8 sound and needed 4wd for growing family, that year was 2013, so I have had it for a while and family has grown so much the car is getting small.

I have driven the car some 50-60k miles and those miles have MOSTLY been worry free.

Since then I have done numerous fixes\changes to the car, replaced alternators, shocks, replaced all bushings with polyurethane, you name it, oils countless times and the fixing continues…

Picture below is from summer of 2019


This post will serve as service/project diary to whatever undertaking with this car, at the same time it will remind me when to change the oils, etc.

Future plans for the car is to do mild lift, maybe replace torsion bars with coil overs and add 32-33” tires, also I have plans for turboing the car.

Some threads related to this car:

- 1996-2001 ford explorer / mountaineer workshop manual (5567 pages!)
- Driver door will not lock or unlock
- Rear stabilizer bar bushings (19mm -> 23mm)
- My hole has charcoal canister bracket

Also, i should have started this thread long ago...

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One of my latest project was to fix rear bumper which the road salt here had eaten away rather successfully, below some pictures of the madness.


(Above initial situation)


(After some removing of rusty parts).

(After some cleaning and prepping for welding)

(After some welding)

(Sanding and getting ready to rust convert the other side)

(Rust converter applied)

After this i painted the other side with primer and base coat, then i applied bitumen type rust preventative substance to create thick layer to shield against roads salt and further corrosion, i also removed the tow hook removed old paint and repainted it as i was not happy with the way it was done before.


(The rust preventative goo, smells like asphalt)


(Some primer)


(Layer of black)


(This was supposed to be chrome color, oh well, will have to do for now)

(All that work ended up being this)

Looks awesome!!!

Oil and filter change at 166k miles, next one at 169-170k.

Also noticed some oil? leakage from somewhere around the top of bell housing, couldn't see up there too well. After driving for a while all reservoirs seem full and nothing is leaking so, meh.. ?

valve cover gaskets?
follow the wetness up to the highest point with flashlight. 5.0 and oil high on Bell housing is usually valve cover gaskets

valve cover gaskets are usually easy fix, but can you remove the valve covers without removing the upper intake manifold (is it on the way?)

intake has to come off to do VCG on 302 yes

So, while i ago i aquired new dana 35 to replace my old one that had been leaking oil for a while, I figured if I can get the differential cheap I’ll replace the damn thing. And eventually managed to source one from @410Fortune (thanks for that).

I had never replaced this type of front differential and I doubt I ever will again (if the engine is still there). For some parts of the car, I think Satan him self had designed few things.

If this differential ends up not working I am taking it to the shop for repairs (heh…).

The swap took me probably good 14 hours (yeah, I ran into few problems).


Started from passenger side as I thought it might make things easier (turns out it didn’t).


Decided to remove the hub as I happened to have new one laying around, might as well change it to new one now.


By detaching the upper ball joint, removal of cv axle was easy.


It came out with the intermediate shaft, doesn’t matter new one is already in the new differential.


Drive shaft bolts needed T30 torx bit.


After painful multiple hours, new and old one right next to each others. The upper bushing bolt could not be removed easily without removing the bracket for the longnitudal bracket first (took me a while to figure out). A very long extension piece and swivel join was needed to remove the bolt.

If you have air tools, use them. It will make this part so much faster.


New hub finally in. One of the nuts for differential bushings had threads torn so I had to replace it with normal nut and big washer, good thing I had bought earlier assortment of imperial nuts and bolts (they are kinda hard to aquire around here, have to go to special bolt/nut shop).


Had quite a bit of trouble getting driver side cv axle in, realized the c clip that you can see around 21mm socket is slightly bent, I tried bending it to form multiple times without success until I finally gave up and grabbed my old cv axle. I also tried putting the cv axle in without the c clip and it seated in just fine, so the c clip was the problem.

The old cv axle was ford OEM that had flat top type c clip (sadly didn’t take picture of it), which was VERY much easier to install, I guess I’ll have to buy new c clip for the newer axle as the c clip flew to outer space as I was trying to fix it, no idea where it went.


I also installed longer breather hose for the axle, I guess this is a good thing to prevent axle flooding in certain situations? If not, I’ll shorten it.

When I went for test drive I felt strange vibration when turning wheels, this lasted for mile or two after it disappeared, perhaps some air had gotten to the steering system somehow? Or something settled in place, whatever it was, it's gone now.

Anyway, I still haven’t driven many miles with it, but it SEEMS to work now.

Never in my life have i been this exhausted, i guess i am getting old and fat.


14 hours holy smokes!
That diff came from a truck with very low miles and was very well cared for until the son got sideways on a gravel road and slammed the drivers door into a tree. 2000 Explorer limited with only 99K miles when I rebuilt much of it................104K miles when he totaled it (His dad was PISSED!!)
Those cir clips can be a pain in the ass, a small pry bar can help get them out of the diff, a small smack from a mallet can get them back in, or you can actually use the CV axle itself to make a hammer motion. If the circlip is bent then it would fight you big time.

You are in good shape now! Plus you gained experience points.
Also the bolts on these trucks are mostly metric? Except for the 302 engine still has some imperial fasteners

Atleast In my car i've found quite few imperial bolts and nuts, there are some metric as well, it's quite confusing at times when you really can't tell which one is it. My car has been quite the unicorn of explorers, i keep finding weird things in it, like the saleen xp8 rear sway bar.

Though every bolt can be opened with metric tools.

Edit: gotta start planning that vcg replacement