Lvin4jc's "Dora" Budget Trail Rig Build | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Lvin4jc's "Dora" Budget Trail Rig Build


October 22, 2008
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City, State
Rapid City, SD
Year, Model & Trim Level
??? ??? ???
Well I finally have a minute to start a build thread. This Explorer has been a lot of fun already and we're just getting started, heck, I haven't even gone off road yet, just preparing.

Here she is the day I brought her home. Low, horrible ground clearance, front wheels were both about to fall off, brake pad had worn down to just the backing pad and got jammed between the rotor and the hub so the caliper was leaking fluid like crazy. Also, I will spare you the interior photos, it was an un-driveable storage unit for around 2 years when I bought it, the filth was pretty horrendous.

Still, I was happy with it for $400 purchase price and the seller says (unverifiable) that the trans and T-case were both rebuilt 30k miles ago.


In addition to installing new wheel bearings on both front hubs and all new brakes up front I also rebuilt both door hinges on the driver's side and installed a new striker bolt. Now the door closes without the 2" drop it had and after the striker it even clasps to the 2nd click on the door latch, we're high-society now!

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The first thing i've always done with any truck i've bought with running boards is remove them. I don't think i've ever had a set of running boards last until the next day. So I pulled these off and discovered, well, there really aren't rocker panels anymore. While the paint is pretty decent and the frame/suspension is pretty good, the lower part of the body is gnasty. Here's what happened to my driveway when I removed the boards.


I then decided the best way to fix the bottom of the body was to bedliner that area. This isn't necessarily my favorite option because I think it's a bit overdone, but I have to admit I do like the look. I have done this to 2-3 of my own vehicles before and i've completely bedlinered the exterior of at least 2 vehicles i've had in the past. I am a fan of bedliner :)

I've never gone this far before but the Explorer has me motivated more I guess, that or i'm bored while waiting for new parts in the mail maybe. So I decided to strip it down to steel.


While i've been working on that I had my eye out for some new tires. In that time a friend of mine gave me some wheels for free. I love this style of wheel so that worked out really well, I owe that guy lunch! They're brand new with the stickers on them. He mounted a set of tires and it didn't work for his setup so he's just been storing them, 0 miles on them.
I found the tires I was looking for, 33X12.5X15's that are practically new. Had them mounted and didn't want to wait for my 4" lift kit (in the mail now) so I installed them with no lift at all. Believe me or don't but they just barely rub at all and only in certain turns. They do look a little ridiculous without the lift though, haha.


Today I decided that the front bumper would look better and give me more clearance if I removed the "Limited" plastic moulding.

Step #1 Tear that sucker off!
Oh, there's rust under there, who would have guessed that?


Step #2 Flap Disc it down to steel


Step #3 POR 15 The bumper as a base for the bedliner (I also hit the rocker panels with POR 15, especially the rotted area under the doors)


That's all for now. My Shutz gun for the Raptorliner (great product) gets here Monday. The 4" lift for the front, Springs, Drop TTB Brackets, Drop Control Arm Brackets and Bilstein Shocks shows up in a couple of weeks. I'm fixing little interior issues, broken door handles etc. Also installing a new alternator this week. Not sure what else worth mentioning will be going on before then but i'll keep you posted.

Be sure to regear the axles before you drive it too much, you'll kill the auto trans if you don't.

Be sure to regear the axles before you drive it too much, you'll kill the auto trans if you don't.

x2 on this. Do it immediately if it's anything other than 3.73. If you absolutely can't afford it or don't want to do the job, offroad only in 4x4 Low and never use OD.

On the positive side, I like what you've done with the bed liner. I might have to do that as well.

Looks like you have a Sport grill. Too bad it did not have the Limited grill anymore. Must have gotten damaged, or someone removed it to sell at some point.

I recently POR15'ed the rear frame and shock crossmember on my truck. It turned out really well.