John_Rock's 2001 Sport Trac 4x4 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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John_Rock's 2001 Sport Trac 4x4

Well, I've been an Elite member for probably like two years. I guess it's time to put something in the Elite Registry. So here goes...

Engine: Stock 4.0L (245) SOHC SEFI V-6
Transmission: Stock Ford 5R55E 5 -Speed Automatic Overdrive
Transfer Case: Borg Warner 1354 electric shift - Gear Ratio ? Low ? 2.48:1
Steering: Stock Power, Ford - Rack and Pinion (Includes Steering Cooler) - Ratio 19.1:1 Static
Front Suspension: Superlift 4" lift
Rear Suspension: Spring over axle
Front Axle: Dana35 with a LockRight locker
Rear Axle: Ford 8.8 with a LockRight locker
Communications: Cobra 75 WX ST 40 Channel CB, Wilson 1000 antenna
Recovery Equipment: 60" Hi-Lift jack, 20' looped end tow strap.
Tires/Wheels: Super Swamper TSL/SX on 15x10 American Racing AR-767 wheels
Exterior: Performance Accessories 3" body lift. Gloria Zimmerman Rocksliders.
Interior: Leather seats, power moonroof, power rear window.
Audio: Stock CD/AM/FM radio.
Future Mods: Try to get rid of the rust before it falls apart.

Before Pic

After Pic

Purchased 6/30/2000. It was 4th of July weekend, and I took her out for some camping and
minor offroading in Big Bend National Park in 110 degree heat. I put my first scratches on her that weekend.
I was just letting her know how hard she would have to work for me.

I bought her fully loaded. I think the only option I didn't have was the audiophile stereo system and of course the hard tonneau cover wasn't available yet.

Big Bend National Park

I pretty much left her stock in appearance for over a year. Thanks to this website I learned about the KKM performance filter and installed it.

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In August of 2001 I made my first appearance modification. I did the Torsion Twist and installed the longer Warrior shackles. I bought the Warrior shackles from Desert Rat Offroad store in Tucson for about $45.00.

After torsion twist and longer rear shackles made by Warrior.

In January of 2002 I made my first trip to an Meet, Truckhaven Run of 2002.
It was at this offroading event that I really began to realize the limitations of having the longest Explorer on the block.
As Rick and other pointed out to me, my step bars would take a beating out there. On the last day of offroading I nailed one of the step bars so hard that I hit it when I opened my drivers door.

Truckhaven 2002 - Tailgate Party on the Sport Trac!

On the way home from Truckhaven, we stopped in an offroad shop in El Paso, TX. That's where I ordered the Performance Accessories 3" body lift kit for my truck.
In the middle of February 2002, my wife and I installed the body lift kit. Luckily I had a friend that had heard about another Sport Trac that had installed this kit and he warned me about how close the A/C line will be to the harmonic balancer after the lift is installed. I used some universal muffler bracket material to make sure the A/C line was held down away from the harmonic balancer.

The day after adding a 3" body lift.

At the end of February 2002 is when I got my 35" x 12.50" Goodyear Wrangler MT/R tires mounted on 15x10 American Racing black steel wheels.

At the middle of March 2002 it was time for the 1st Annual Arizona Meet. We had a great time hanging out with everyone and seeing the Arizona desert. I even had fun rescuing some stranded moto-cross guys.

Arizona Meet - Coke Oven Run

After that trip I worked on getting a full-size spare tire and a way to mount it on the truck. After purchasing another MT/R and steel wheel for a spare, I ordered a Yakima rack and hardware to mount on the roof and put the spare tire on it.
I also bought a front skidplate for a Ranger. It bolted right up. But, it's mainly for looks. It's too thin to really protect the truck.
Getting ready for the Moab 2002 Meet, I removed some of the grey cladding and did some painting to get rid of the rest of the grey.

Moab 2002 was an awesome experience. Ever since that trip I've been wishing I lived closer to that area. I feel like I beat the crap out of the truck on that trip.

Moab 2002 - Wipeout Hill on 7 Mile Rim Trail - Photo by Rick Horwitz

After Moab, we headed for Nevada to pay a visit with Gloria Zimmerman so that she can spec my frame and make me a set of her rocksliders.

In the middle of June we drove to Louisville, KY for the 1st Annual National Sport Trac Meet hosted by the website.
We got to tour the Ford Louisville Assembly Plant where all the Explorers and Mountaineers get assembled. It was pretty cool.

My Sport Trac back at it's birthplace - Ford LAP

I had a lift and 35" tires, but I still couldn't play with the Big Dawgs on the tough trails.
So it was time to start concentrating on getting lockers to become a big dawg.
For some crazy reason I ordered a locker for the front D35 differential first. I ordered the Powertrax LockRight from Rocky Road Outfitters, for about $230.00.
It was about at this time that I received my rocksliders from Gloria Zimmerman. So one Sunday, me and my friend Bill proceeded to install the rocksliders and locker in the front differential.
After getting the front differential axle assembly removed from the truck and get the carrier and ring gear removed from the differential, we discovered that one of the side gears for the locker was wrong. I ended up returning the locker to Rocky Road Outfitters. They in turn tried to contact Powertrax to verify that the side gear was wrong. Bad timing, Powertrax had just been bought by Richmond Gear and were in the processing of moving everything, so they couldn't respond to Rocky Road Outfitters. I knew it was wrong, but they had to follow their procedures. Finally, they were able to verify with Powertrax that is was wrong. But it would be sometime before they could get me another D35 LockRight model. So I asked them to refund my money and I called Randy's Ring and Pinion who had one in stock for about $5-$10 more than Rocky Road Outfitter's price. I ordered it from Randy's Ring and Pinion and got it installed the first weekend of October 2002.

Powertrax LockRight installed in my D35/IFS differential

The next weekend I had organized an Offroad Run in Las Cruces, NM. I had contacted the Las cruces Four Wheel Drive Club to show us one of their trails. Homer, from LCFWDC got some of their members together and Becker69 and Marty196 from showed up. I had also gotten a local Las Cruces member from to show up. We did the Broad Canyon Trail. It was a pretty tough trail. Marty196 and Becker69 and the other Sport Trac owner wisely chose not to try and drag the trucks through this trail. This is were I learned to listen to he power steering pump. When it's been whining for a few minutes, it's time to back off and try something different. But, I didn't and I bent a tierod. Luckily we were able to bend it back into place without it breaking.

My bent tierod

Broad Canyon Trail, Las Cruces, NM

My Gallery of Pictures from the Broad Canyon Trial, Las Cruces, NM

After getting a new tierod installed and getting a new CV half-axle, it was time to get a rear locker installed. I called Rocky Road Outfitters again and ordered the Powertrax LockRight for the rear 8.8 differential.
It cost about $240. With my friend Bill's help again we got this installed on 12/22/2002. Plenty of time to be ready to run as a big dawg at Truckhaven 2003.

Powertrax LockRight Installed in my rear 8.8

So, January 2003 rolls around and it's time for Truckhaven 2003. I had a great time running with the Big Dawgs.
Truckhaven may not be the most scenic place to be, but it's one of the funnest meets to go to.
On the first night there, I flexed the rear wheels so much that I caught the fuel filler assembly with one and ripped it up. The next day, Matt(Rockranger) and Tom Davis helped me fix my fuel filler to make it usable again.
On the last day of offroading here, the stress of all the tight turns finally took it's toll on one of my CV axles. The passenger side one broke on the waterfall obstacle.

Truckhaven 2003 - Photos by Rick Horwitz


Broke CV axle at Truckhaven 2003

On my way to Truckhaven 2003, I made a quick stop to pick up the Hannemann Fiberglass Flared Fenders that I bought used off a guy in Southern California. In February 2003, I installed the fenders.

After installing the Hannemann Fiberglass Fenders

Ok, so now I'm lifted, have 35" tires, and I am locked front and rear; but I'm still having clearance issues when offroading due to my long wheelbase.
Time to start looking at a spring over axle mod. I started searching all the posts about it on Then I started calling around my local offroad shops for spring perches. I found some generic ones at Texas Off Road Performance for $12.
So in the middle of March of 2003, my friend Bill and I worked on this conversion. We grounded the generic perches to fit the axle tubes, plus created a bracket to elevate the brake line straight up off the pumpkin. Bill had a couple of welding machines available to him, but they didn't do the job good enough. I ended up driving it carefully over to a muffler shop and having them weld the perches to the axle tubes for $45.

After Spring Over Axle Conversion


Money has been tighter in 2003, so I did most of my offroading in Texas. It was good to see more of the Texas wilderness.

We went once to Coletto Creek near Victoria, TX.
Three times to the Slabs near Kingsland, TX.
Twice to Devil's Den in San Antonio, TX.
Twice to Shiloh Ridge near Alto, TX.
And twice to Barnwell Mountain, near Gilmer, TX.

The Slabs near Kingsland, TX


Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area near Gilmer, TX

Devil's Den in San Antonio, TX


Shiloh Ridge near Alto, TX


In August of 2003 I added another Explorer to my stable. A 2000 Explorer Limited AWD v8 model.

A couple of years down the road it may get lifted and get a real 4wd transfercase so that I can offroad it too. For now it will be used for towing the Sport Trac around.



After some interesting carnage from my last trip to Gilmer, it spurred me to get this 2nd vehicle.

That's it for now. I'll update this thread as things change.


Awesome truck!

wow.. the truck looks AWESOME!

hey i was checking out website.. how did you get your locker for so cheap?

Originally posted by itbejared
wow.. the truck looks AWESOME!

hey i was checking out website.. how did you get your locker for so cheap?
You must have been looking at the NoSlip. I bought the LockRights:
D35 - $230 and 8.8 - $240.

oppps.... my bad... lol... thanks ;)


How did you get away from doing an SOA in the rear and nothing to the front. Or am I wrong?:rolleyes: Or is it just still real high in the rear?

Re: Question?

Originally posted by Stic-o
How did you get away from doing an SOA in the rear and nothing to the front. Or am I wrong?:rolleyes: Or is it just still real high in the rear?
Why do I need a lift in the front? :D

I can get away with the SOA in the rear and nothin in the front better than the rest of you because my Explorer is the longest wheelbase Explorer. 125 inches.

One thing that probably keeps it from looking goofy is my aftermarket fiberglass fenders. With the SOA, the front and rear fenders nearly have the same amount of gap between them and the tires.

Here's a picture before the SOA where you can see the gap on the rear tires is less than the gap at the front.


Here's a picture after the SOA and you can see the gaps for the front and rear are nearly the same.


When I see the pictures above, I hate seeing the gap between the frame and the bed of the truck. But, the reason you can see that is because I took the fender well lining plastic out when I ripped up my fuel filler at Truckhaven 2003. The trail fix for the fuel filler was to shorten the pipes and keep the fuel filler underneath the bed of the truck. But the pro to this situation is I can look through my fender well and see any problems with the brake lines, axle, or driveshaft without laying on the ground. :D

And now let get on with more reasons to not lift the front.

1. A suspension lift in the front does not give me anymore clearance from the front crossmember and A-arms to the ground. Just like the SOA doesn't give me anymore clearance between the 8.8 pumpkin and the ground. Only bigger tires will increase that.

2. Suspension lifts for the front are expensive. The only bonafide suspension lift for the front is the Superlift one and it doesn't really increase your clearance in the front because it uses drop brackets on the torsion bars to keep them in their original positions. Now the RCD suspension lift for the late model Rangers would work, but this is still an expensive option. And is it really worth it??? Not to me since I eventually will do a SAS.
Here's a nice comparison of my truck versus a Superlift'd truck:

As you can see from the pic, I'm doing better than the Superlift. :D

3. As mentioned above I eventually will probably do a SAS. So why waste a lot of money on a suspension lift in the front that won't increase clearance at the A-arms?

I spent about $60 to do my SOA and it increased my frame to ground clearance significantly.

I know I wouldn't have been making it through obstacles like below before my SOA. It's tougher being the longest wheelbase Explorer. :rolleyes:





As mentioned above I eventually will probably do a SAS. So why waste a lot of money on a suspension lift in the front that won't increase clearance at the A-arms?

I agree with you 100%;) I don't see a point in doing anything with the front but a SAS. But I'm not happy with the rear. It flexs good but I hate the dam shackles hanging down. I would love to do a a SOA without rasing the truck now, just keep it level. But sense we havn't figured that one out yet:rolleyes: I too am thinking now of a doing a SAS down the road now. (thanks to Jefe:rolleyes: )

There's no info on your elevated air intake. Got some?

Originally posted by zensius
There's no info on your elevated air intake. Got some?
I really like the ones that DasFrem and cdsl227 did on their trucks. I recommend taking a look at theirs in this thread:

Mine is just 3" PVC piping from Home Depot and lots of silicon. And mine probably wouldn't work with stock fenders. Maybe one of these days I'll take it out and get some pictures of it.

Will keep my streeter, but ya got be lookin for a tracster 4x4 beater, great work


Not too much has changed with my truck. But, last weekend I did buy some used tires from Kris G. They are the 36" Super Swamper TSL/SX tires. My MTR's did a great job for lasting over 40K miles, but I definitely wanted to go with a more aggressive offroad tire. I bought the used tires from Kris because they were in better shape than my MTR's and they were the right price. I've been broke as hell and trying to keep Ford from taking back my trucks. I was out of work for over 2 months and my new job pays about half as much as my last one.

I tested out the new/used tires at Spring Creek this last weekend. They did great. But, I did do one too many mud holes, because the truck started overheating on me. :(

I pulled the radiator on Monday night and could see it definitely needed a good cleaning.

Now ever since I put on my 3" body lift, I never did like how it dropped the radiator a few inches. So last night I was scratchin my head to see if I could get it back to it's stock position. The problem is with the fan shroud. With the 3" body lift, the radiator/fan shroud have to be dropped a few inches to accomodate the fan. I was thinking about cutting out some of the bottom part of the fan shroud to make it work with the radiator back in the stock position, but then the fans pulling power would probably be diminished. I'm sure I don't want to do that.

So while I had the shroud out to look at cutting it, I noticed how the round opening in the shroud for the fan was not horizontally symmetrical. So, that got me to thinking about rotating the shroud 180 degrees so that I could get the radiator back up to it's original location. But, once you rotate the shroud 180 degrees you can't mount it to the radiator using it's original mounting points. But, I found it easy to mount it to the radiator using tiewraps at the top and bottom of the radiator and fan shroud. I also cut off two of the shroud's mounting tabs to give clearance for the radiators coolant intake and outlet points.

Here's some pictures of my ST with the new 36" Super Swamper TSL/SX tires.



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Now this picture is from a few weeks ago. It's a picture of my truck sporting the 37" Goodyear Wrangler MT/R's off of Trckmagik's Purple Monster Explorer.
I was helping him in putting the Purple Monster back down to stock.
The tires are being sold to Kris G., but I got a chance to try them out on my ST for about an hour.