"Indigo Bandit" (1997 XLT AWD) | Page 2 | 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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Haha thanks Russell! :)
Thanks for the pictures really enjoyed them except for the frame dragging one...lol. But you gotta do what you gotta do! :)

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Someone stole your marker light? Thats nuts. How did they get it out without opening the hood?

Well some bad news to report on Indy today...:(

Got a random "clicking" noise coming off of the front-end. Does not affect the steering or brakes though...trying to figure it out.

I'll let others chime in, but it sounds to me like a CV joint is going bad. Check the CV joint boot to see if it is torn or leaking.

Pretty sure it is...just gotta find out now.

Indy Indy Indy....
Found out the joint going from the driveshaft to the transfer case is BAD!
Indy has been in 3 different shops in the last 24 hours, 3 different wreckers, and 12 people have drove it trying to figure out what it is. Hopefully tomorrow all will be good and fixed! Prayers and luck is what I need!

***side note***I would do all this work if I had tools!!!! :mad:

UGH! The shop gots Indy for yet another day!!! I sent it to this shop through a friend that referred it...now its like they dont know how to work on a truck or do anything with it...so Im like :censored: YOU! Give me my truck back!!! Gosh I have no patience with dumb people :mad:

Thats the update for now...

Okay got Indy out of the shop and still have the same problem....
But enough about that!!! INDY GOT NEW LIGHTS!!!!!

Here is my very good friend Russell doing all the work of course lol. He did an awesome job!! Thanks again sir!


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Got also got a brush guard for Indy too...should be on this weekend.

Here is my very good friend Russell doing all the work of course lol. He did an awesome job!! Thanks again sir!

Not a problem bud, Indy looks good with them. Now just to get them wired up!

My good ol pay Russell (NICE59FORDF100) gots to be the smartest person I know! It is for sure the transfer case!! Now on the mission to get it fixed! :D

Got some good news today...got me a transfer case for Indy (About time) :):):)

And I got my decals today also!!!! Thanks Ben! :)

The transfer case going into Indy


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Got quite a bit done thos weekend on Indy, ill let Mike update here in a bit, but Mike, you can finally stop bugging me about installing those silly offroad lights, lol :p: seriously, im just giving yea a hard time buddy :)

okay so I haven't been on here in awhile due to my computer being down...but now I am and have great news about Indy!

I finally got the brushguard on and painted...even though the high temp spray paint I used is already chipping...it is on Indy!

Also my good friend and go to guy Russell (NICE59FORDF100) has came through in so many ways to help me get Indy the way it is now!

He installed and wired the lights onto the roof rack. After we got the brushguard on he then installed the two on the front and wired those! yes I stood around and did nothing....I have no clue about wires but I do know a guy that is excellent at it!

Also he also aced me a front drive shaft that is going in hopefully this week and then Indy will be complete. I am so thrilled with this ride it is unbelievable....Russell really has made my dreams come true! Thanks again bud!

And the pictures....








You're very welcome mike, glad i could help...still need to finish the light switch, it doesnt look that good, and im sorry i did such a hack job on it, but it works ;-)

oh...Indy...still have the driveshaft problem...still 2wd. Waiting on Russ to ship a front driveshaft to see if that will fix it. *fingers crossed* Indy is still running good just not liking the 2wd. Got an oil change today and installed new wipers. About to do a major tune up on the 302. anyways thats about it for now. Will install pictures later...