Introducing myself, and my Gambler choptop project | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Introducing myself, and my Gambler choptop project

cleetus

New Member
Joined
June 25, 2021
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
City, State
Austin, TX
Year, Model & Trim Level
2000 2wd Sport
Howdy all,

Long time lurker but finally compelled to create an account and I look forward to interacting, since yesterday, much to my wife's chagrin, I brought home a 2nd gen 2wd Sport. I won't lie, I kinda wanted a jeep, but I knew I wanted more of a beater and likely something I could use for the Gambler 500. Anyway, after seeing several cool choptops and realizing I could pick up an explorer for a fraction of the cost of a jeep, I figured what the hell. Anyway, this one runs and drives, and has cool A/C (important in Texas) but got clobbered in the back so the bumper is toast and the hatch won't close, and I was stoked to be able to get it for $1000. My vision is to gut the interior, remove the roof behind the triangle window, weld in the tailgate, lift it, probably pull the doors off, and basically have a nice "around town" kinda beater to haul my kayak, etc. Probably a rattlecan racing stripe, though I may give it a "Jeep Islander" spoof or an a-team strip and spoiler...all still tbd. Back seat will stay so my little dude's carseat can be attached. Lastly, almost for sport, I want to do this project on a shoestring.

I know there's been a lot of threads on a lot of these questions, but I'm hoping there are some that are out there explains things a little more clearly for a novice that I just haven't found yet. I'm 44 and have had dozens of cars and truck, but never 4x4's so a lot of the lingo around lifts and whatnot is still pretty new to me.

Here's the first few questions: regarding lift, where are the thresholds where it starts getting difficult and things need to be extended and whatnot? Sounds like TT in the front and extra leaf or shackle is super easy. How high can I get this way? How much body lift on top of that can I do before you start dealing with all of the headaches of a big lift? I'm looking to get 32's or 33's under it eventually.

Next question: I've found more than a few threads on jeep wheels, but does anyone know a spot that will show exactly what Jeep wheels will fit an 00 X 2wd Sport?
As a follow up, the Jeep backspacing seems to be a larger number--does that mean it will rub the inside fenders or that the tires will stick out of the fenders. If it's the former, is it easy to fix with spacers? If it's the latter I don't really care...

Also, anyone near austin need any rear windows, carpet, etc.? Would love to give it away to anyone that can use it.

Thanks, and more to come! Here's a pic of mine and the two best inspirations I've seen (can't remember where I found these pics, think the white one was on here).

(sorry, technical difficulties, pics coming soon!)
 



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Sounds like a cool project. My son actually went from a Wrangler to an Explorer and he says that it's so much nicer as a daily driver.
We did a TT in the front and shackles in the rear. Installed 31x10.50R15 tires on stock wheels. We could fit 33"s if we wanted too do some fender trimming. We are west of you over in Kerrville.

L2.jpg
 






Look forward to seeing your Explorer and her build. On Mine I have 285/75r16's. I have 3" keys up front and I did a Spring over axle in the rear. Here is what Mine looks like now.
Lifted 2.jpg
lifted 3.jpg
lifted.jpg
 






Sounds like a cool project. My son actually went from a Wrangler to an Explorer and he says that it's so much nicer as a daily driver.
We did a TT in the front and shackles in the rear. Installed 31x10.50R15 tires on stock wheels. We could easily sit 33"s if we wanted too. We are west of you over in Kerrville.

View attachment 339979
That's a nice looking truck! I have no doubt it's a more comfortable daily driver. Is it 2x4 or 4x4? What size shackle did you use?
 






Look forward to seeing your Explorer and her build. On Mine I have 285/75r16's. I have 3" keys up front and I did a Spring over axle in the rear. Here is what Mine looks like now.View attachment 339980View attachment 339981View attachment 339982
This looks awesome--it's about the same ride height I'm going for. Is yours also 2wd? monoleaf? How complicated was the SOA? Seems like most folk go the shackle route. Learning the site better--did you do a build page?

edited: I'm a dummy, here's what i was looking for!
thanks!!

I do have a question from that thread, though: for your SOA is that all original parts with just a new perch welded on?

BTW, what do you know about what jeep wheels and/or bumpers will ft on here--seems like a lot of sometimes conflicting opinions on here...
 






I wouldn’t bother with the heep wheels, they aren’t the same (lug centric vs hub centric). No jeep bumpers will just bolt up.

For 33s you’ll need a full TT and a body lift. A 2 inch body lift typically doesn’t need extended brake lines, or the steering shaft extension.
 






I wouldn’t bother with the heep wheels, they aren’t the same (lug centric vs hub centric). No jeep bumpers will just bolt up.

For 33s you’ll need a full TT and a body lift. A 2 inch body lift typically doesn’t need extended brake lines, or the steering shaft extension.
I read a while back about machining the centers of aluminum jeep wheels--ir even boring them out with a grinding wheel on a drill. I'm not bent on using them, but may have to give it a try since I somewhat regularly see them for $200 with ok tires still mounted. as for the bumpers, i Know it wasn't a straight bolt up, but aftermarket bumpers cost more than I want to spend for this beater project, and I think a stock wrangler one may look alright. About to get rolling on it soon, I'll try to take plenty of before/after pics
 






Almost any bumper will fit with new brackets.
 






That's a nice looking truck! I have no doubt it's a more comfortable daily driver. Is it 2x4 or 4x4? What size shackle did you use?
It's a 4x4... just added some 4x4 decals the other day. The rear shackles are 1.5" lift. We cranked the torsion bars all the way and then backed them off 2 full turns... also for about 1.5" of lift.

4x4 ds.jpg


4x4 a.jpg


4x4 ps.jpg
 






It's a 4x4... just added some 4x4 decals the other day. The rear shackles are 1.5" lift. We cranked the torsion bars all the way and then backed them off 2 full turns... also for about 1.5" of lift.

View attachment 339984

View attachment 339985

View attachment 339986
It looks great. I just realized these 255/70 R 18s I am about to replace on my wife’s expedition or just shy of 32. They are in decent shape but a little bit dry rotted, so I’m replacing them since we’re about to take a road trip and I’m a big fan of our high speed limits down here in Texas. Anyway, trying to find a pair of late model X 18” rims to stick them on. (Not really worried about getting a blowout on my beater that’s rarely going to get over 40 miles an hour or 20 miles from the house!)
 






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