ld50 Explorer mods revisited | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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ld50 Explorer mods revisited

Hello fellow Explorer enthusiasts.
If you want to jump to my solid axle swap thread click link below: http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=163210

If you start here you will see the mods to my Ex in cronological order as they happened, and as my own ideas and expectations were being formed. Some of my early mods led me into my SAS, and were essential to the process. There is a link to my solid axle swap at the end.

This started out as a re-do of my modification thread I started before I finally became elite. I couldn`t go back to it and post pictures so I wanted to redo it in style.

~~~~~~ TABLE OF CONTENTS ~~~~~~

This is a rough guide that may depend on your resolution!


-Front license plate raised
-driving lights
-Stock picture
-Cone air filter
-CB and cheap glass mount antenna
-Wire mesh grille
-Front tow hooks install
-2"suspension lift + shocks


-2"suspension lift + shocks cont`d
-Broken front lower shock mount remedy
-Addition of 31x10.5 tires
-Alignment woes
-Fire extinguisher added (with warning pics)
-Rear locker added (my initial thoughts)
-How I beat the "left side lean"
-My first real trip report with thoughts on truck perf.


-Body lift kit parts problems
-Canadian flag 3rd brake light
-2" Body lift install
-2" Body lift install cont`d
-Short lived front bumper gap filler (LOL)
-Rear bumper remount (2" higher)


-Rear bumper remount (2" higher) cont`d
-Front bumper remount (2" higher) (Tow hooks raised inside frame)
-Warrior shackles and rear shock mount skidplates
-Skid plate problems
-My first time towing a Jeep outta the mud
-Rear sway bar removal and upper shock mount mod
-Emergency brake cable mod #1


-More Warrior skidplate/shockmount problems noted
-Front splashguard (bumper to swaybar)
-Trip report; Vancouver Island
-Post trip thoughts
-Warrior skidplate shock mount breakage
-The amazing throttle cable mod!
-Hieght measurements to bottom of bumpers


-Info on wheel spacers
-Warrior comes through with proper plates
-Rear shock mounted to axle with old sway bar brackets
-Raised upper rear shock mounts
-I get the dumb idea to buy a bra
-The "Zimmerman" rear spring mod (I later regret)
-Front swaybar disconnects (cheap, didn`t work well)


-Emergency brake cable extension!
-1 & 1/2 inch wheel spacers
-1 & 1/2 inch wheel spacers cont`d
-Custom exhaust (brand?)
-My first stuck!
-Wheeling thoughts and misdiagnosed problem
-Hippoliner on rockers (like herculiner)
-Replacing a rear shackle bushing with poly
-Starter problem troubleshooting, repair
-Note on premature corroding of battery cables for 91-94 Explorers


-Better front swaybar disconnects
-Dual battery setup!
-Dual battery setup! cont`d
-Fender trimming to fit 33s


-Fender trimming to fit 33s (cont`d)
-I put my front driving lights in the back for reverse lights
-The 33s are on!
-Warrior shock relocation bracket mounts for rear lowers


-Four foot antenna mount at rear corner
-Another trip report
-1 year anniversary
-I prove that I could possibly be crazy


-Cheap fender flares
-Old Man Emu rear springs (OME-36)


-I assume that I have reached a plateau!

-Detroit EZ locker install into my open front diff.

-Detroit EZ locker install into my open front diff. (cont`d)
-Rear towhook install

-J-Clips to keep front coils from popping out at the top

-Link to rusty rocker panel repair
-Link to Solid Axle Swap

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I`ve never had a 4 wheel drive vehicle before now. Oh, I used to go out with friends years ago, got stuck, seen things break, the usual. Always had a car though, and that was fine.
Well I got this job working on pipelines, and gained more experiences with off road on the right-of-ways. All the work trucks were 4x4s with winches, and we worked them hard over the 4 & 1/2 yrs I was doing it. I`ve been itching to get into it myself for some time after hearing about my couzin`s
exploits in his Jeep, but thought I`d wait till my son was a little older and we outgrew my mustang.

Well the time came last February, in the form of a 1993 4-door Explorer XL 4.0 with manual hubs and a manual 5 spd trans.

I have some cash to put out, and have made some mods already, which I have tried to capture with my digital camera as I go.
I do have limits. I want to keep it low enough to fit in my underground parking lot, and I want it to be street legal.
At the same time, I want to go out with my cuz` and his friends, and show those lightly modified Jeepers up!

I`m starting this thread so I could maybe help some guys who are new to this, and want to build something up, without going all out like some of the members (and organizers) of this site.
The next few posts are going to tell the story up till now, including problems I`ve had, and prices I`ve paid. You may not agree with the order of the mods, but I`m learning!
I welcome all comments, Ideas, help, etc.

Serious Explorations has been my Bible for the past few months and I hope to help as much as you all have helped me!

So the truck was here, and It needed me.
The first thing I did was raise the liscence plate. (the front skirt/airdam was already gone)

I pulled off the plate holder, hacksawed off the lower bracket, and turned it upside down. Hmm, no good, now the top of the plate would stick out because of the angle.
I hacksawed the knobs that the mount screws went through so they were flat, and screwed them on with a washer large enough to not go through the hole, voila!
Oh yeah, my uncle gave me the plate frames! don`t laugh. I might ditch them, but can`t decide...

Also picked up some zenon, or ultra blue white lights, or what ever hyped name they had and threw them in. As an after thought I got those hyper mini driving lights and put them in the bumper slots. Only tricky thing there was I had to unscrew the light covers and flip them so the drain/vent holes were underneath the light, ( I mounted them upside down, they were set up to hang under the bumper or something)


Truck = $8500.00
Plasma white hid headlights = $39.96
Mini driving lights = $65.00

Total "EX"penses = $8604.96

Stay tuned...

The first camera shot when I was basically stock!


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My next purchase was a cone filter adapter that I found on ebay.


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Alot of people wonder about the two hoses going from the stock airbox.
The two hoses operate a valve that allows air to be drawn in from near your exhaust manifold. You can feel under there and see where it hooks into the intake.
The connectors at the air filter box has a bi-metal switch that allows vaccuum to go to one hose or the other, which controls the valve. This is to get warmer air into the engine at startup, and cooler air as you drive.

I removed the hose connectors and installed them onto the end of the K&N cone filter. Then I ripped off the baffle in front of the filter intake tube. (behind the grill, next to your headlight) I figured any cool air that could get there would help.
I have not noticed any side effects from more hot air being drawn in, but haven`t been through some really hot weather yet. Southwestern BC is very temperate.

The adapter was an easy install and I`ll tell ya it was a shock to feel how much difference it made in my power range. I did a drilled filter box mod to my 5.0 mustang a while back and never noticed any thing, but maybe it sucked as hard as it could already.

Oh yeah better add the cost of the side window visors I got from Walls-Mart.


Truck = $8500.00
Plasma white hid headlights = $39.96
Mini driving lights = $65.00
Filter adapter = $68.41
K&N filter = $50.00
Window visors = $45.00

Total "EX"penses = $8768.37

So now I needed to work on my mobile communications. I needed a "Citizen Band" radio, or CB for short.

I cheaped out here. I heard they all transmit and recieve at a standard level because of government guidelines, so I went to Radio Shack and bought the cheapest one. I know, some scan & do fancy stuff, but hey..Canadian Tire supplied me with a through-the-glass antenna, which I mounted on the front windshield, driver`s side. It`s like those cell phone ants. Remember, I can`t get too high with the truck, and I thought I could run around town with it adjusted back and down so I can still get in my garage after lifting a bit.
The instuctions suggested this spot if you have a pump in your gas tank, so .

Outside looka like dis:


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I had to put it at an angle for the slope in the glass. When it is strait up, it is at 90 degrees to the truck.

Inside you see this:


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The cable is run under the dash, up the inside of the window frame to the receiver.

And the CB I mounted with velcro, then screwed 4 short screws into the soft part of the paneling. I wish I had a right angle drill to mount to the metal, but we`ll see.


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Truck = $8500.00
Plasma white hid headlights = $39.96
Mini driving lights = $65.00
Filter adapter = $68.41
K&N filter = $50.00
Window visors = $45.00
Cheap CB = $75.00
Antenna = $50.00

Total "EX"penses = $8893.37

I did something wierd next, but It`ll be cool, and cheap.

I was looking on ebay one day and saw these mesh grill inserts people were putting inside their front end openings. can`t remember if they had one for an Ex. But didn`t care.

The mesh looked exactly like First Aid splinting mesh. I`ve always been into first aid, and this same mesh helped me bondo a seriously rotten Datsun 510 when I was a teen. -I taped the mesh behind the holes in the rocker panels and spread the bondo into it. Works great, and saves bondo! (wait a minute, why did I waste my time on that?)

I wanted it for the EX because of all the small rocks I saw caught in the a/c evaporator(?) behind the grill, and it looks nifty.

It comes in strips, so I had too use six of them. I trimmed `em with cutters and bent them in at the top so there would be no gaps. Then I just bent it around the contours of the grill.


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I drilled holes, and kind of sewed it on with bailing wire. I really should have used stainless wire here because it is bound to rust.


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I have to use my screw driver to open thye hood now. I drilled a hole and fastened two washers on each side with small machine screws which go through small holes I drilled on either side of the washer hole. The screwdriver, or, "hood Latch Lever" as I call it, is kept in the glove box.

I had the splint mesh so it was a free mod!


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Next was to do half my "recovery" system.

If I had the money now, You know there would be a new bumper and winch on there right now!

I went to "Lordco" and bought two chrome tow hooks they had for sale.

More easy stuff, I won`t drag this out. I just bolted the rear of the hooks in the forward-most stock holes, made sure it was pulled forward tightly, and drilled the second hole out forwards from that. A c-clamp helps. The second hole in the tow hook is, of course, your guide.


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I`m not sure how to do the back yet. I have a tow ball and may take it off and carry a shackle for now. Might go for a hidden hitch, but need to get a tire under there.

Next episode:

"Jim does a pro comp 2" add a leaf and spacer lift - all by himself!"

I picked up a Pro comp 2" add a leaf and spacer lift from ebay (did I mention I love ebay?) I also ordered 4 new Procomp ES 3000 shocks from the same place (RSDI racing, I think they were called)

--The kit was this:
Explorer Pro Comp add-a-leaf. part # 56001
& a set of poly 2" spacers (don`t know part#).

Others have used these for the front:
Ford F-150 spacers - I found 2 part numbers on a post for these:

I was supposed to have my couzin help me, but he went camping and 4x4ing that weekend, traitor!. Having the kit sitting there was too much, I had to get it on NOW!

I went in to work on my day off and started at about 12:30 pm. I was done at 8:00 pm

I used alot of info gained from this site on how to attack it.

A must was a liberal soaking in penetrating oil long before that day. I soaked all the nuts I would
be removing a week before, and then the day before. I don`t have power tools and even with the soaking, every darn bolt fought till the bitter end.

Another must was a punch to knock out bolts that went through rubber. (Sway bar connections& leaf spring ends)
And I did need a chisel, you`ll see why..
And a vise. If you don`t have one, you`ll need a few c-clamps

I jacked up the rear, and supported the truck from the frame like this:


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I took out the spare tire and before undoing anything, I put the floor jack under the diff. to just support the axle`s weight, since I would only do one side at a time.
Look at the condition of those shocks -disgusting!


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