LONO100's SPORT TRAC BUILD | Page 3 | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations
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well, it'll be a year this week that ive had my explorer and ive completed most of the mods ive planned so i thought it would be a good time to finally do my registry. this one is going to be extensive!

my name is ken, if anyone ever wants to reach me my email is underground707@gmail.com or you can just message me here on the forum, im always on here wasting time. here's some info on my rig:

2003 Ford Explorer Sport Trac XLT
bought it for 12k and it was in pristine condition with only 60k miles on it.

my current specs and mods can be found on my vehicle specs tab

here's my build:

this is how she looked when we brought her home.

pretty much stock with a camper shell, class III hitch and brake controller

this was our first ride in the mud about the same time last year

the first thing i modded was getting a grill overlay to put over the honeycomb grill just to give it a little character.


this is a pic of my engine with the KN intake installed.

my next project was getting some fresh bright bulbs in the dash. i changed them all, stayed with the same color just some fresher brighter burning bulbs
(#194). if you plan to do this, change out all the bulbs including the HVAC controls so you wont have to take it all apart if one goes out.

i then painted my radio bezel to match the exterior paint to give it a little custom look inside, without going too custom


my next project was painting the awful grey cladding.






my next and much needed project was finding a set of black wheels and some good mud tires. this was my most fruitful project because i actually made money on this project. by being extremely vigilant on craigslist, i was able to find a set of black 15" wheels with fresh pro comp mud tires on them for 400 bucks. with my infamous negotiation skills i talked the guy down to 200 bucks and got a set of black wheels and fresh mud tires that looked awesome!

here's what they looked like when they went on;


i rode on these treads for two months before i was able to sell just the tires to a jeep owner for a whopping 400 bucks! i made 200 bucks on these treads AND i got to keep the black wheels! biggest score of my summer in 2011. i took that profit and sold my stock wheels for 600 and used that to go toward my locker and 33" tire project which you will see later.

next on my project list was to get some much needed shocks. my stock shocks were completely blown, and my buddies would say my trac rode like a boat. i went with a set of rancho RS5000 all the way around. i was able to find a set on 4wheelonline for 159.00 shipped WITH a 50.00 rancho mail in rebate. 110 bucks for shocks, score!


with the black wheels, my custom grill no longer matched, so i broke out the paint and redid my grill;

here are a few pics of how she was looking at this point;


you'll notice in these pics i just swapped out that long stock antenna for a little stubby black autozone antenna for 8 bucks.

my next project was to install a CB radio and roof rack. im a nut for cleanliness, so i planned and waited to get my roof rack before i slapped the cb radio on, that way i could conceal the antenna cable for a neat look.

this is how i fed the antenna into the cab:

15' of wire on a magnet mount antenna and i mounted the antenna right above the brake light and worked my way into the cab

fed the wire through the door seals

pulled the trim and fed it along the door jambs

and the coaxial landed perfectly under the ash tray!

tapped a fuse

grounded it

and mounted the radio

super clean look, no drilling, no loose wires

fully functional and i get great SWR readings, pretty close to 1.0 on ch20

i zip tied the wires under my roof rack


here's how it looked with the roof basket on

here's a few pics of how she looked so far, and how she put in work on our camping trips in summer of 2011








next, i got into the real meat and potatos of my build and installed my rear aussie lockers. it took me a little research on what i wanted, what would fit my needs best and i decided that a lunchbox type locker would be the best fit for me. i went with the aussies, and it's the best mod ive made by far! here are a few pics of the project
materials for the install

pics of the pumkin opened up before the lockers went in


axle shafts pulled

spider gears out!

lockers in!!!


my first problem i had with my trac was when i got a CEL code. it read back as P0171/P0174. the guys who read my codes for free told me they wanted to take apart the engine down to the lower intake manifolds, and a whole bunch of other crap to solve the problem and it would start at 600 bucks. i told them to go F themselves and went to the forum for help. luckily, ncranchero aka sport trac yoda pointed me to this infamous rubber elbow problem

i was able to resolve the issue for a dollar. thanks ranchero!

after a little planning and a lot of procrastinating i finally got my lift and 33"s on. i went with 33" goodyear duratracs on midnightrebel's recommendation and i got to say, these are hands down the best tires ive ever bought. if rebel ever makes his way out to the west coast i owe him a few beers. i did a simple shackle/TT lift. went with the tried and true warrior #153 shackles and twisted those torsion bolts. got 3" lift all the way around (2WD!). here are some pics of the project.

shackles came in the mail:

used my jack to give me a little help in lining up the shackles


after the lift but sitting on my stock wheels as my black AR-767's were at the shop getting the 33"s on.



and bam!




slapped the spare on the roof

next i slapped my alpine in and got rid of that god awful stock deck.


well, the winter came and so i slapped the camper shell on


the dogs were greatful

and that's what she pretty much looks like today, now that the warm weather is coming around and the days are longer, more projects are in the hopper. i already sourced a new radio bezel (thanks to midnight rebel for the tip) for my roof rack light install, and thats going to be next. i was planning on learning how to weld this past winter, but a pretty bad car accident sidelined me. im back on my feet and ready to go, so i will also be planning on rock sliders and a hitch mounted spare tire carrier. i have a magnaflow exhaust, but i might switch it out to a gibson or flowmaster catback system, and im thinking that since im 2WD, i should look into getting myself a winch. i might go the hitch mounted route so i can switch it to the front and rear if need be.

thanks to the forum and all the great members, i wouldnt have been able to mod my trac to the way i wanted it without the EF. ive done write ups to all of these projects so the know-how is out there, just use the search bar! if anyone would like to try any of the projects i did, or if you want to ask me questions about anything, just message me, im always on the forum and ready to help you with whatever knowledge i have, and if i cant help you, ill try and point you in the right direction to who CAN help you. thanks again to everyone, ill leave with some pictures of a few places where my trac has taken me and my friends since ive owned her. cant wait for summer 2012 to roll around, much more pics and adventures to come!

tahoe desolation wilderness




cascade falls




genoa peak



lake tahoe


on the road

pinnacles monument and hollister hills







richardson grove (redwood forest)




my duffel, been with me on a ton of trips already, and on many plane rides too!


hope you guys enjoyed the build and pics as much as ive enjoyed all of yours. this forum really gets me through the work day!

more projects to come this summer.

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HEY LONO great write up dude! i just purchased an 01 ST with 70k miles white like yours with a camper shell just about almost identical to what you started with. I am hoping to get my rig some what close to yours but not exactly lol. I am just looking at the best way to start this project going. I already purchased my warrior shackles #153 at desertrat.com for 50 bucks!!!! I am looking to buy the krylon fusion to take that nasty fade away from the trim,did you end up taking the trim of or just cover up the body to protect from over spray. i am looking for something closer to a flat black no glossy, and krylon has a ton of products to choose from-what did you use and was it too glossy at first? also what did you use to paint your grill? I am also looking to just raise my ST up to 2" and put on some general grabbers A/T with cragars soft 8, i dont want any bigger bc i dont want to regear mainly because i live in louisiana and no trails just mud and not interested in that. how is your ride quality after doing a TT 3"? any problems arise? sorry for all the questions im just really stoked about starting these series of projects and dont know where i should start first. only thing i am waiting is tires and rims which i should have by the end of july or early august. i currently have on some duelers A/T 265/70/16's so i think that should be fine for now. mainly im asking for any tips or tricks that helped you when you encountered a problem with any of these awesome upgrades.

Sweet, we will need some before and after shots of your rig. I used krylon fusion satin black. Its been on for a few summers now and I'm just now having to do some light touch UPS. I think you should go with satin, its not glossy at all, but more deeper in color than flat. Cranking the hell out of my torsion bars made the ride much stiffer, but I have been fortunate to not have experienced any crazy ride issues or problems. Just hit me up any time if you have any questions.

Thanks for the info bro that helps out a lot better im tired of reading these forums ha i am learning a lot though.. I am gonna try and paint the cladding next weekend and once i do i will post pictures.

i do have a question.... i was reading through some forums and that you wanted to paint your factory shoes black until you got your good ones.. did you end up painting them or just waiting? and did you use krylon fusion for that as well

Nah, I just got black ones and never painted. I've seen people do great jobs painting their wheels though. If you do paint your wheels, use wheel paint, not fusion. Fusion is for plastics. My suggestion if you want black factory rims is to get them powdercoated. You can find places that will powdercoat a wheel for 75 bucks.

Lono, your truck is my inspiration. being a 2 wheel drive myself, i can only dream of my trac on the same level as yours

LONO, great job! I have been viewing a lot of threads and this one by far is the best. You have me a lot of ideas on what I would like to do with my sport trac. I have a 04 2 WD. The color is blue.i would like to add driving lights to the front but the front bumper is a one piece that has the imitation holes where the driving lights would be. Could I cut them out and put driving lights there? To should I buy the factory bumper. I have lots of questions. LOL.

what are the rear lockers used for? what do they do?

They lock the two axle shafts together so that both rear tires spin at the same time with the same amount of power. A good way to envision it is if you have 3 tires on the ground. The 4th tire that is in the air is going to get all of the power with an open (no locker) differential. Basically an open differntial sends the power to the wheel with the least amount of traction.

A locker will make the wheels spin at the same speed. So back to the example with a tire in the air. Now with a locker, both of the rear tires are spinning and so the other tire that is in contact with the ground will get traction and pull the truck out of the hole or over the rock. Lockers will allow you to go slower over obstacles while having more control, leading to a lesser chance for getting damage compared to running the same obstacle with an open differential.

Glad it helped! YouTube has a lot of good action videos that sow a difference too if you want to watch some. It's pretty crazy the difference they make.

Hey quick question, I just lifted my sport trac and slapped some 33's on it, now im noticing a little shift delay or shift issue somewhere between 20 and 30 mph. You ever run into that prob or know anyone that has? I find it hard to believe that my tranny is slippin now since it was workin fine the morning i installed the tires.

It isn't really a problem with the transmission as much as the truck now having larger tires then stock so now the gears aren't matched for the bigger tire diameter. What gears do you have in your Trac? You may want to regear to fix the lag.

not sure, i wanna say its whatever gears came stock on the truck. its a hand me down from my father in law, they never use the truck so they gave it to me and now im doing lil projects on it. I assume i can find gear ration on the door panel or manual? what size gears should I shoot for.

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D2 is what the door says under axle, 4.10 limited slip. SHould be able to handle 33's right? hmm...does taking out the battery for 15 minutes reset anything that has to do with memory of how you drive? I think i read that on here somewhere.