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LONO100's SPORT TRAC BUILD

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
2WD
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.
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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
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the first thing i modded was getting a grill overlay to put over the honeycomb grill just to give it a little character.
before:
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after:
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this is a pic of my engine with the KN intake installed.
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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.
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i then painted my radio bezel to match the exterior paint to give it a little custom look inside, without going too custom
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my next project was painting the awful grey cladding.
before:
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after:
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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!
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here's what they looked like when they went on;
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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!
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with the black wheels, my custom grill no longer matched, so i broke out the paint and redid my grill;
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here are a few pics of how she was looking at this point;
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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
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fed the wire through the door seals
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pulled the trim and fed it along the door jambs
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and the coaxial landed perfectly under the ash tray!
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tapped a fuse
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grounded it
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and mounted the radio
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super clean look, no drilling, no loose wires
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fully functional and i get great SWR readings, pretty close to 1.0 on ch20

i zip tied the wires under my roof rack
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here's how it looked with the roof basket on
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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
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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
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pics of the pumkin opened up before the lockers went in
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axle shafts pulled
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spider gears out!
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lockers in!!!
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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
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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:
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used my jack to give me a little help in lining up the shackles
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after the lift but sitting on my stock wheels as my black AR-767's were at the shop getting the 33"s on.
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and bam!
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slapped the spare on the roof
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next i slapped my alpine in and got rid of that god awful stock deck.
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well, the winter came and so i slapped the camper shell on
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the dogs were greatful
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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
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cascade falls
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genoa peak
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lake tahoe
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on the road
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pinnacles monument and hollister hills
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richardson grove (redwood forest)
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my duffel, been with me on a ton of trips already, and on many plane rides too!
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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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01STrunner

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4.10s and 33s aren't a bad ratio. The battery disconnect is a long shot. You're used to driving the truck with. 4.10s so it'll feel sluggish off the line unless you regeared to 4.56 but IMO that would be a waste of money for you.
 


Join the Elite Explorers for $20 per year. Gets rid of the ads! New $5 per month "try out" option.

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LONO100

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It doesn't matter what gearing your truck came with stock, if you have an auto transmission, its been programmed to calculate speed by the diameter of its stock tire diameter. If you have lower gears (higher ratio) stock, like a 4.10, it will not he as noticeable as say a 3.55. With that said, your Speedo will be off by a few mph, which will throw off the shift points ever so slightly once you throw on the bigger tires. Hope this makes sense, you could always regear which could cost some bread, or you can have a ford dealer reprogram your tranny to your current tore size. This would probably cost am hour of labor so around 100 bucks, but you will have to go again if you ever regear, change tire size or go back to stock.
 




LONO100

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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

Just saw all of these latest posts on my build, thanks everyone for all the kind words on my truck, I'm just trying to pass the knowledge on like it was passed to me by guys like rebel, offtrac and ncranchero. For all the new guys out there, feel free to pm me if you ever have any questions I might be able to answer.
 




Kjhadfield

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I wish I would of knew about this site when I first bought my trac back in 09. I would of saved some money doing things my own and made more progress by now (doesn't look like much traffic nowadays). Nice trac, I've had the Thule basket on my wish list for yrs now, wishful thinking. Prior to joining I was searching for camper shells with not much luck but that looks right, good to see how it would look on mine, also white trac.

I haven't pulled the dash off yet for the instrument lights but I had 1 out and now it's 2. You said its #194 , could you fit those led 194 from the auto stores? I think I read it's 6 plus 2 for hvac (something like that)?

Could you explain more on the problem you were having when the code popped up. The shop wanted to take apart your engine for$600 but it was an easy fix. Is that the PVC or p "something" elbow? What's the infamous problem and fix.

Thanks for any help
 




LONO100

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#194 bulbs are the same no matter what store you go to. If you go into the sport trac 01-05 section, there is a thread that talks about the dash lights and replacement that I did. Also, for the vacum leak, there is a sticky in that section labeled p0172/p0174. That's the sticky that explains it all. Hope this helps!
 




Kjhadfield

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Yes it did thanks. You think the led 194 would be too bright, I don't want to be blinded but like a crisp light and rather only open up the dash once. I read that PVC thread, basicly only if a code pops up to check it or power loss? Is it 1 of those that would be good for preventive maintenance. I have the k&n box filter, would a breather help or hurt? If so is there an easy way to plug (I guess you would plug) the hole in the intake tube that the PVC connects to. I thought I read somewhere it's not good but can't find it again and looking for another opinion
 




LONO100

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im running the #194 bulbs and i think they are a good medium. not too bright, not too dim. as for the code i mentioned in the thread, it had nothing to do with my intake, it was actually the elbow on the vacum tube located near the oil cap. i simply replaced it, reset the code and was good to go.
 




quickslvr8000

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so did you ever get the hitch mounted spare tire carrier on ?
 




HarrisonCain4

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i posted this on a few threads already but thought that id add a few pics on my reg of my brand new kick ass thule MOAB roof basket.

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What brand and type of tires are those?
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heres a shot with my thule apex 4 hitch mounted rack i got for free from my shop. score!
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MidnightRebel07

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Those would be 33x12.50x15 Goodyear Duratrac's.
 








Speadykev

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so i have a 1996 eddie AWD, so im gathering that i can not go any higher then a 1.75" TT to be safe, i asking because my shackles are both rusted completly out,and replacing them with Warrior 153, trying to make sure the assend wont be way higher then the front end going this route
 




MidnightRebel07

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The truck will sit level with that setup or slightly higher in the front depending on how worn out the leafsprings are. Should be damn near level though.
 




Speadykev

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ok thats for the feed back just ordered my shackles, but while under the X i noticed i have a few cracks and a small chunk missing outa my frame so now its off to a body to have the frame looked at and fixed... there goes my savings lol
 




Jasonweaver78

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What K&N CAI did you use. I went to the website and they don't show one for the sport trac.
 




LONO100

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What K&N CAI did you use. I went to the website and they don't show one for the sport trac.

I want to say its the KN 77but I'm not sure. Just search for it as a ford ranger with a 4.0L SOHC. It will pop up. Hope this helps, sorry for such a late response.
 




victoronline2

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Exactly the info I was looking for. I have the same kind of truck with the exception of color. Mine is silver. I'm looking to do almost exactly what you did. I'm looking at the shackle and tt lift next. Did you notice any difference in driving in the city? Did you feel the need for steering stabilizer? I'm just starting out so prob ask a lot of dumb questions. Anyway, awesome truck.
 




01STrunner

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Exactly the info I was looking for. I have the same kind of truck with the exception of color. Mine is silver. I'm looking to do almost exactly what you did. I'm looking at the shackle and tt lift next. Did you notice any difference in driving in the city? Did you feel the need for steering stabilizer? I'm just starting out so prob ask a lot of dumb questions. Anyway, awesome truck.

I'm sure Lono will chime in soon. When I did my TT/shackle lift, I noticed the front end was slightly stiffer but no stiffer than a half ton pickup in my opinion. Older ones of course since the last 3 or so years of half tons ride like Cadillacs. At any rate I never noticed a negative effect on everyday driving and never saw a need for a steering stabilizer.
 


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victoronline2

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I'm sure Lono will chime in soon. When I did my TT/shackle lift, I noticed the front end was slightly stiffer but no stiffer than a half ton pickup in my opinion. Older ones of course since the last 3 or so years of half tons ride like Cadillacs. At any rate I never noticed a negative effect on everyday driving and never saw a need for a steering stabilizer.
Thanks 01STrunner..I'm OK with stiffer steering. I thought maybe with the lift, it would be the opposite. Since my wife is still going to drive it sometimes, I want to keep the handling as close to factory as possible...and of course safe.
 




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