Just wanted to share | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

Just wanted to share

JC3006

Member
Joined
May 14, 2020
Messages
30
Reaction score
38
City, State
Kentucky
Year, Model & Trim Level
1991 Explorer Sport
Hi guys,

I lurk around here a lot more than I post, but I just wanted to share some of my latest projects. When I tore down, it was for quickly patching some rocker panel rust and rear brake job. I never intended to delve this deep, but sometimes the OCD bug takes over. This Explorer has went from daily driver, to yard ornament with a blown engine, to running back-up vehicle, to quasi-restoration project. I’ve had an absolute blast rebuilding this thing, it’s been very gratifying. Just wanted to share, hope y’all enjoy.

74FF33D0-BF81-4CBF-A592-2027C172D89C.jpeg

3 years ago, shortly after bringing it back from the grave. Rebuilt engine, serviced trans, F150 coil spacers, new tires. Runs good, repaired the A/C, got all the door locks/windows working for the first time in like 15 years. Ride is mushy/sloppy, A4LD is questionable.

5AB2B7F8-C230-4CEA-BFB1-B8D6F0E298B8.jpeg


Tows really well. A4LD actually improved a lot after this trip… maybe it got hot and loosened up some of the old varnish and gunk. Brakes were freshly rebuilt but need some serious help, the peddle is mushy and pulses, wheel bearings are noisy.

19433708-556E-48AA-9A23-9E1958FA08DE.jpeg


Hit a deer with my daily driver last winter, so the X pulled snow duty while the Nissan gets repaired. Handled the weather great, but the electric BW1354 had some trouble when the temps got close to 0. Also, something growls a lot in the front, either Ujoints or Spindle bearings? Also developing a clunk under hard braking. Rocker panels were starting to dissolve. Told myself that once I got my Nissan back from the body shop, the explorer was gonna get some love.

F30EF07E-3D27-4C11-8401-F1D295A8DDE9.jpeg
EEE84EE5-213C-40D4-B652-7B3E9644EA44.jpeg
A2030F6E-0352-4FF6-B8F8-B0B7095D22F1.jpeg
614D12E7-0F7A-4A2C-8AAB-2A1CBB68896C.jpeg


Rockers were worse than I thought. Had to fab inners out of flat plate and source the middle rockers from a junkyard. Outer skins came from EBay, company called “motorcity sheet metal”, and they fit really well. Everything was weld-thru primered, seam-sealed and undercoated. This repair should last longer than I do.

3E8B0D32-7AF2-4EA1-9805-B77BC9212770.jpeg

3F63D6AF-02AA-48AD-9CC5-CACB0658A3D5.jpeg

0FFC9C98-691D-4E37-BDE5-D12C46475A29.jpeg


I didn’t get many pics of the process, but since the rear axle was out for rust repair, thought it’d be a good time to address the rear brakes. Rear ended came from a low mile ‘95 explorer. Cleaned, resealed, POR15’d. Undercarriage and frame was cleaned and POR15’d as well. New Flowmaster Super 44 and hi-flow cat (exhaust smells SO much cleaner now). Rebuilt the driveshaft. Finished up the bodywork and used DupliColor bed liner up past the side molding. I still need to finish up the Ebrake cables,

I wanted to stop here… but remember how I mentioned the OCD thing?



D6A21843-2A37-4B0A-BE18-1B66FAC33AA6.jpeg

DA4D8C9E-8CE0-4D38-A0D6-43C59765B52C.jpeg


Front end got completely stripped down and given the same treatment. Frame was cleaned and POR15’d, TTB bushings replaced, new Radius arm bushings, diff removed and resealed, axle shafts rebuilt.

5A4BCCFF-625D-4032-B70F-8BEAB9F2A0F6.jpeg

EAB55C47-CDC7-43FF-9A71-1D27AD3C10A3.jpeg

CB1A6F95-6FDA-4C81-BF27-79355B95B2A9.jpeg


Heads up for anyone working with POR15: the base coat sprays beautifully, but the top-coat runs very easily (it was cold here when I sprayed, so maybe that’s why?). KYB shocks, Skyjacker 2 inch coils.

F0B2BC41-B592-4726-9E2D-4CCF919B5DF3.jpeg

185D1F42-0963-406A-956A-2610B73D7988.jpeg


New rotors, pads, SKF wheel bearings and seals, Spicer Ujoints. Done and done.

B643BE7D-9A4E-46F9-8074-E06A5CB57AF5.jpeg
C2327CBC-32A7-404C-A79F-5D5359CFE73E.jpeg


Needs a wash and a wax, it has sat while I spent all summer/fall underneath. I’m very happy with how it has turned out. Still need to repaint and install the flares, and I suspect it will need an alignment. Next up is window tint and a sound system. Notice the M5OD in the background?

Also, finally scored a complete BW1354 manual setup (including a double shift boot/bezel), So that will probably take place soon.

So that’s where we’re at for now. Hope to have some more pictures and updates soon.
 



Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!
.





Nice
 


















Been a long time since an update. I've been wanting to upload these pics for a while, and finally have a few minutes to do so, for anyone still interested. Pictures incoming.

Here's what we've been up to in the last year or so:
 






Wash Wax.jpg


30 year old paint cleaned up pretty good. The body is FAR from perfect, but I like the character. Every dent and bruise tells a story.
 






Underhood lights.jpg


Detailed the engine bay and installed underhood LED lights, to replace the truly horrible OEM gravity light. This cost almost nothing and is VERY handy. New insulation (mostly for looks, I think?)

No pictures but I also installed a BBK/Edelbrock 66mm throttle body, a AEM bruteforce open face air filter by way of a KKM style MAF adapter flange, a new OEM coilpack, new NGK wires and NGK Iridium plugs. Out back the Flowmaster Cat and Super 44 are serving well. I've grown to love the sound. It's subtle but I think it sounds great for a V6. This setup has been 100% reliable, smooth, I have driven it in -5 degree and 105 degree temps, snow, rain, it tows fantastic (I've towed 6K lbs with it, pictures coming) and it is netting a solid, repeatable 18.5-19 mpg on my daily drives.

I was suffering from an impossible-to-find throttle surge under light throttle. Light steady throttle would lead to unsteady excelaration and bucking/snorting. I tried everything I could think of. The culprit was the OEM throttle body. You could completely cover the opening with the palm of your hand and the engine would idle fine. The throttle body was so worn that it was sucking air (I assume through the butterfly shaft?). New TB and gaskets and it runs GREAT, completely solved the problem.
 






Tow mule.jpg
Working out the bugs. The rear disc swap was SO worth the effort. And I figured out the parking brake as well, they work!
 






6K.jpg


This was taken about a year ago. A bit more tinkering and with a towing trip through central TN (about 250 miles) under our belt, now feeling perfectly confident pulling just about anything (within reason).

This was a parts truck I picked up for $150. Low miles, 1994, 4x4 with M5od Manual. It was also full of IHC tractor, Ford mustang and spare Explorer parts. This is the very limit of what I would be willing to tow in hilly central KY. The engine had torque to spare and the brakes are adequate, but it felt like I was on the verge of the tail wagging the dog. I wonder if the longer 4 door would be even better?

I envisioned towing an ultralight camper with this rig, and I think it's going to fill that role beautifully.

Lights.jpg


OEM headlights were pretty scuzzy looking, so I picked up a pair of TYC replacements. Converted the headlights to LED (cheapy bulbs on Amazon, they've actually held up well) and added a light bar.
 






Gutted.jpg


Dash.jpg



Trim paint 2.jpg


Summer 2023 project. The rear glass was leaking a bit (the rope seal had completely dried out), and I sure didn't want my new rocker panels to rust from the inside, so out came all the glass. While the interior was out, everything got washed, shampooed, and all cleaned up. Floors are SOLID, not even any surface rust. New dash pad cover from CoverLay, it fit beautifully. If any of you guys have a rough dash pad, this is the answer. I also installed some Wet Okole neoprene front seat covers (I don't have a picture). They fit and look nice, but they really make your back sweat in the summer. Nice for winter, though.

Sanding/Buffing last fall discolored all the factory window trim, so all of that got masked off and bedliner-ed. I use Rustoleum and blotted it on with an old sponge. This was time consuming, but worth the effort. It made the whole truck look fresh and finished. I added a 300W Blaupunkt powered subwoofer and speaker baffles. That was a nice improvement.
 






Going back together.jpg


Interior going back together. I put some interior lights and a USB outlet in the back of the console. The door panels required an entire JB Weld industrial size. They came off in pieces. Much better, and less squeaky. I gave the console armrest the same treatment. Fabbed up a Hi-Lift jack mount in the cargo area, it uses 2 of the factory cargo tie-down mounts.

Tint.jpg


Back together. Took it to a pro and had the windows tinted 20%. I will NEVER. ATTEMPT. MY. OWN. WINDOW. TINT. AGAIN.
 






At this point, I am getting more and more confident (and adventurous) with the X. I decided it was time to really put it to the test.

Much to my surprise, the wife agreed to take it on a road trip. A big one. 3 nights, 1100 miles. We planned to leave central KY, stay 1 night in the Cumberland Gap area, leave the next morning and take the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway to Mount Mitchell in NC (the very tip-top of the appalachian mountains). Stay there a night, carve the Tail of the Dragon mountain pass and skirt the Smokies back up to Cumberland Gap, stay the night and then head on in.

"Hold on to your butts."

Blue Ridge Mtn Pkway.jpg


My 9 year old, having a great time.

Blue Ridge Mtn Pkway 3.jpg


Blue Ridge Mtn Pkway 4.jpg


The Blue Ridge parkway is absolutely beautiful. If you ever get a chance, please drive it. Please.
 






Goal!.jpg


And here we are. Mt Mitchell, 6700 ft elevation, conquered. This was a pretty spectacular moment for me personally. The 4.0 is such a good engine, it made the climb with NO complaints. No overheating, no misfires, nothing.

Mt Mitchell.jpg


Grandfather Mtn.jpg


Roof of the east.jpg


After some pretty amazing memories, we started the descent.

THIS is where I discovered that the X DOES still have room for improvement. New(ish) calipers, rotors, the best Reybestos pads, and a rear disc swap all helped, but there were times that the brake-fade was pretty terrifying. I actually pulled over once to let things cool off.

Does anyone have recommendations on further brake upgrades? Drilled/slotted rotors? Double piston caliper swap?
 






That is one hell of a hill

You should have stopped by mount airy and got you a Pork chop sandwich from snappy lunch oh boy

 






Home for the night.jpg


home.jpg


Home for the night in the Pisgah national forest. The weather was perfect.

If you camp in national parks along the way and prepare most of your own food, you can see a LOT of the country for not very much money. This has turned into our new default travel system. Staying in a hotel seems, odd, now. This makes a pretty good travel setup. I won't be considering a camper until further brake upgrades.
 






1695326923738.png


I had always wanted to drive the Dragon, and finally got a chance. Who would have ever guessed it was a 30 year old, home built, rehabilitated yard ornament?

It was misty and cold, which kept the Porsche and Ferrari guys at bay. I was able to drive it slow and just enjoy it. The professional photographers have MUCH better camera skills than yours truly. I loved this shot and had to buy it. The gift shops/service stations at the beginning of the pass had "wall of fame" and "wall of shame" pictures in their showrooms. . . I didn't see ANY first gen explorers lol.

Smokey Mtns.jpg


On the way back home. It was a heck of drive. I figure if the X handled this trip, it is good to go.

Are old car projects ever really "finished"? I've got plans for the Saginaw PS pump conversion (can't stand the whine much longer), along with a Comp 410 cam, and maybe the long-postponed M5OD/BW1354M swap (this A4LD just wont die).

It was about 1100 miles round trip, we averaged 19.45 mpg loaded down. I'm starting to fantasize about driving the X to the top of Pike's Peak. I hope ya'll are enjoying the read through and the pictures, as I'm certainly enjoying making the memories.
 












Great write-up and pics! ! ! I'm partial to the 1st Gen 2 doors - - always glad to see another survivor. Super upgrades, and very well executed. Good call on a smaller trailer, I won't haul more than my home-fabbed camp trailer, which is less than 1,000 pounds.

Thanks for sharing,
Paul

Rig & Trailer Profile (MAY 23).jpg
 






You need to change your master cylinder to a 95+ unit which has the correct proportioning for those rear discs. The 91-94 master does not work well with them! You are not getting the performance from your rear brakes you could have

After that a larger booster from a gen ii (95-01) if your sport has the smaller booster or it is worn out. Next would be the front knuckles/ with dual piston calipers from a 95-97 ttb ranger. No more
Slide pins and much better calipers after that you will have some great stopping power. My 88 bii on 35” tires has been this way for years, plenty of brakes

Your sport is beautiful! Keep up the great work
 



Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!
.





You need to change your master cylinder to a 95+ unit which has the correct proportioning for those rear discs. The 91-94 master does not work well with them! You are not getting the performance from your rear brakes you could have

After that a larger booster from a gen ii (95-01) if your sport has the smaller booster or it is worn out. Next would be the front knuckles/ with dual piston calipers from a 95-97 ttb ranger. No more
Slide pins and much better calipers after that you will have some great stopping power. My 88 bii on 35” tires has been this way for years, plenty of brakes

Your sport is beautiful! Keep up the great work

Son of a gun, you know I actually bought a new 95+ master cylinder last year, packed it up when I moved workshops, and forgot about it?! It's currently in my parts Ex in the barn. Thanks for the reminder, I'll be installing that soon.

Is the larger booster a plug and play? Mine is original (230K+ miles) so it's probably overdue a replacement anyway. Also, on topic, what to do about the RABS? I'm pretty sure they are dead. Better to gut and remove, or try and bring it back to life?

I think the knuckles are going to be a winter project. I still get a slight clunk noise from the front end occasionally during slow reverse braking (that was originally the reason for the front end refurb). Everything under it is new and tight. I BET the pad seat surfaces on the OEM knuckles are worn and hammered.

Thanks all, for the kind words. More to come.
 






Back
Top