"Indigo Bandit" (1997 XLT AWD) | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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"Indigo Bandit" (1997 XLT AWD)

Ah...the story of Indigo Bandit is a magical and wonderful tale of...of..uh...boredom really. See, up to this point, (july 2010) I already owned 3 Explorers, Blue, Shade, and Conner (Conner was a short lived 97 XLT 2WD I bought off of my buddy's sister, then sold to my neighbor) So you may be asking yourself where Indy came into play? Well, simple enough answer...I have always wanted a V8 explorer. So One day I was surfing local craiglist ads for explorers, like I always do every day, and saw this 97 XLT V8 AWD for sale...for a 1000 dollars. I thought, 'well, whats wrong with it?' What else made me leary is I had seen it on craigslist for about 3 weeks prior as different listings, so he kept reposting it. But, it was in town, about a 5 minute drive from my house, so I called him.

Michael (the previous owner) told me that he had been driving it for about three years (over 264,000 miles on the truck) until the water pump went bad. He took it to his mechanic, and they started to put a new pump in, then stripped one of the water pump bolts inside the timing chain cover. So his shop called him back and said to fix it, they would have to pull the motor, and it would be an additional $1,400.00 to finish the repair work. Michael didn't believe this was worth the job, so he took it back, partially dissasembled. This is where I show up...

I pulled up in Blue, and from first notice, the truck looked in pretty good shape. Body panels were straight, no visable external rust, but the tupperware was a bit fadded and grille needed repainting, but very workable. The engine was missing a fan shroud, a fan, both radiator hoses, and a few bits and peices, but they were in the back of the truck. The new water pump was in place, but no where near installed. Michael even took out his aftermarket head unit and speakers...but did include the stock ones and left the overhead roof mounted DVD player :thumbsup:

I looked the truck over good, and offered him 750 bucks. For some reason he took it, SCORE! He even had his AAA membership on the truck, so they hauled it back to my place for me! Talk about room service:D

So after a few days of admiring my new V8, I figured it was time to get it running. So i simply retapped the stripped out hole, and installed everything back in and voila! In a couple hours, I had a complete running V8 AWD for under a thousand bucks! All I had to buy was an upper radiator hose!

So afterwards, it was christened Indigo Bandit, and my first trip (after getting it insured) was to 7-11 for a much deserved Cherry Dr. Pepper :thumbsup:

Since then, Indy has turned in my Daily Driver at the moment, but doesn't mean he will stay that way. Since July, I have driven him to Cincinnati and back, and to the Texas meet and greet in Nov 2010. So far, Indy has been a great little Bandit, and thankfully has not learned any nasty habbits from Blue yet, LOL.

Since getting Indy, I have started the process of 'Bandit-izing' him. I switched out the keyless entry keypad to that of a 98-01, and picked up a wood grain dash cover from a mounty and threw it in:

On my way back from CinCinnati in Oct, 2010, I had to stop at Indy's birthplace in Louisville, Kentucky...Have I really Visted this plant four times now?



And of course, i had to take the 'Gangsta' rolling picture, LOL

And here he is hanging out with the other bandits:

So thats it for now, I do have some future Ideas for Indy I would like to try out, such as a 4406 swap, but using an expedition GEM instead of the explorer Gem, little things like that. Have also thought about making him a Panel Truck, but my welding skills need to improve first :D

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Sweet deal! I like the posse you have sitting in the driveway. Enough spare parts there to keep one running until it becomes an antique.

LOL, spare parts...If only i were so lucky. Seems that the Bandits know what spare parts I have, and thus, when they break, its always something i CANT find a replacement for LOL. They seem to be on this kick right now of electrical gremlins...:rolleyes:

Subscribing!!! :biggthump

Waiting to see more...;)

HAHA Dan, you know what all I wanna do with Indy :D

I need to take an Ex to Louisville. :(

Spare parts can be a curse- trust me... :D

Nice outlaw stable you've got there Russ!

nice collection of explorers u got there

Nothing really new to report on Indy, but I did get fixed one of the original things I mentioned were wrong with the truck, which was the grille..

So I had Kris paint it for me while I stood around looking like an idiot :D and this was the outcome:

Thank you Kris for your help bud! Oh, and also i am fighting a no-power-window scenerio with the truck, ugh.

First post after taking ownership of Indy...hmmmm...well what can I say besides ITS MY DREAM TRUCK!!! lol Going to figure out the oil leak prolly tomorrow. Will keep everyone on the update! :)

Well well well...Got the idea to do a an oil change on Indy :) So took it to my best shop for something quick and simple...LOL YEAH RIGHT!

After about an hour of waiting for a 20 min oil change...the boss man of the shop comes out and says "bad news man"....

Not only was the oil so caked up underneath the truck...everything else was BONE DRY!

Serpertine belt was about to crack off...
Fuel filter looked like a rusted antique from the 1800's
Transfer case was very low and dirty..
Differential was DRY
The AWD system was very thirsty..if you know what I mean.
All this might explain what happened ealier in the day.....

So I took Indy to Frank at Exhaust Specialist ( one of the best local exhaust shops around) and he did a sweet system as follows
...40 series Flowmaster...
...single in and dual out...
...dumped right before the rear axle...
SOUNDS EXCELLENT!!!!!!! :):):):):):):):)

As he finished the superb job..he told me that the underneath carraige didnt look good...yeah I thought.

After about 2 miles down the road I got a very mean kick from the rear...I thought a car might of tapped me but no one behind me. Thats when I took it to the shop and found out the bad news along with spent 400 hundred dollars to get it fixed since it was on the spot shock :mad:

Still to go is shocks, coolant leak (minor), and the dreadful oil leak!
Since Im going to do that I also am going to do a full major tune up on the 5.0L...wish me luck!


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Ouch lol. Well it seems indy is in better hands lol. Seriously, you're doing good work man:p:

Ouch lol. Well it seems indy is in better hands lol. Seriously, you're doing good work man:p:

Nay just have a little bit more time. And plus it is my favorite Explorer so it will get spoiled! :)

Ok so I took care of something today on Indy...the faded trim that was just way past due...I used Restore Black and you get it at any parts stuff..it works wonders! Before and after pics of course!


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lol I might go hit up the 3rd brake light and try to get that fixed.

So Russell helped me get the windows fixed yesterday..found out that it was a cut wire but my good buddy (Russell) fixed it and now we are good to go! :)


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Well thank god I don't look too bald in that photo! LOL, it was really easy fixing the windows...the main 12V ignition wire (LB/BK) that runs from the Acc Delay Relay to the master window switch had rubbed in half and created an open in the circuit, thus causing all the windows not to work. While I was in there, I also fixed the lock command circuit for the driver door, as that had the same problem. Everything was soldered back together, and windows and locks worked again! YAY

Haha Russell you made my response sound like a little kids compared to yours! Good job bud! Thank you so much once again! :)

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No Problem mike! And ill even throw up a couple more pics of Indy for yea!!

This is when Indy was used to haul the '59 from back to my house

And this is Indy in front of where the Ford St. Louis Assembly plant USED to be...

And while this was not one of my prouder moments, this is Indy hauling the Mounty frame to my storage unit...(Sorry Mike that you have to see this)

And then when someone decided they needed the side marker more than me and helped themselves to it :mad:

That's all for now :p: