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Max's 93 XLT 4x4

Hi All,
I have finally gotten my own explorer after a long search for a midsize 4x4 suv. I come from a ford family and have owned fords most my life so it was natural to end up in an explorer. It's still in the early early stages but I wanted to get this started to document its transformation. It has 105k on it and a very clean interior to go with it. The paint on the hood and roof are faded beyond repair so at least the hood will get a new coat of paint. Before purchase the power steering and brake lines were replaced. It has the 3.73 LS rear end, premium sound, and power cloth seats. This will be a DD and camping/off road exploring vehicle for me so the modifications will be subtle by comparison to some of the full builds here.

The first step was to try to bring back the paint that was still ok. A good coast of ColorX helped a lot. It's got lots of little chips that will be touched up but it will always be a 5 foot car. I also painted all the wiper arms and the step part of the rear bumper. I also got a set of cheap floor mats to cover the tan carpet to keep it from getting too dirty. It needs a new right side ac vent and the cover for the rear sub and the headliner needs to be re-done. I pulled off the 3 of 4 remaining vent visors and the front mud flaps as well.

Then it was parts time. A new pioneer head unit with bluetooth and 4 6x8 speakers are on their way. It has the premium sound system with the sub so I'll have to look into being able to use that too. It’s supposed to come with the proper wiring kit to connect to the amp/sub so hopefully they still actually work. Currently there is an old Sony head unit that only plays out of the front speakers so let’s hope its busted speakers and not screwed up wiring.

Then I ordered a set of 31x10.5x15 Mickey Thompson Baja MTZs and wrapped them around Pro Comp series 5129 in 15x7. That should change the attitude of it.

Further down the line it will get a set of Bilstein 4600 front shocks and Monroe load adjusting helper shocks for the rear(it’s got a little rear sag). I'd also like to convert the interior lights to led, get clear turn and marker lights, and it will need a full fluid change some day.
The day I brought it home-

Cleaned up and shined up


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To update- My stereo and speakers arrived. There is a old Sony unit already in there but only 1.5 of the front speakers work. I am seriously hoping they installed the radio properly so that I can use the adapters that I have and not have to fish through wiring to figure out where to tap things into. Ill probably dig into that latter this week or this weekend.

Wheels and tires- 4wheelparts told me after I reached out to them on the 4th of 5 days (ordered rush processing to get them in 3-5 business days) that both the wheels and tires were back ordered. I called them Friday(the 5th business day) and they couldn't give me a time when they would be available and couldn't explain why I was never informed of this. I cancelled my order with them and immediately ordered wheels and tires from Tirerack. The sales rep was helpful and I should be getting 31x10.5 General Grabber AT2 and 15x7 ATX Slot wheels this afternoon- 2 business days after ordering!

Paint- my touch up paint should be getting here this Saturday so Sunday I will be sanding down and painting my hood. I might try to re-do the top of the rear hatch as that's the only noticeable part of the roof that is faded.

Thank you. It's early days but I'll make it a clean dd/off road/desert toy

Bilstein 4600 shocks for the front and Monroe Load Levelers for the rear(to fix the little sag and let it be loaded up for camping) on the way!

A gearheads favorite delivery!


And installed- They fit fine but I saw it getting close so I trimmed the air dam and the rear fender molding to be safe

Little better daytime pic

I'm thinking of taking off the lower body molding and the front air dam.

I know the air dam doesn't do much MPG wise because it's so far from the ground and I think taking off the molding will give it a little less grocery get-er appearance to it as well as make room for sliders one day.

Small update- I got the hood and cowl sanded down. There was actually a coat of some wrong green over the original green so I tried to sand that down/away as best I could. It really needs a full striping and re-painting but this is a budget truck and not a show truck. So I sprayed on new/correct green and some automotive clear I had. Well it was too windy so the clear is real stripey. I sanded and buffed it and it helped but its still noticeable. I'm happy its all one color and fairly close to the slightly faded rest of the vehicle so I'll call it good for now. One day I'll pull it off, strip it down and paint it properly but that's low on the priority list.

Stereo- I got the factory door speakers out. As I had feared instead of using the proper adapter the po ran new speaker wires but only to the two front doors. Then they cut off the factory connectors and wired those to the new wire so they could hook up the stock speakers.

After pulling out the crappy old Sony hu and replacing it with the new Pioneer with the proper adapters the rear speakers and sub now work. I just have to go back in and connect the front speakers to the original wiring which is thankfully still there.

However the sub doesn't sound happy. It works but any real bass and it gets all distorted so it's either replace it with a aftermarket 6.5", get a 95-01 housing and get a 8", or find another stock sub that works. I don't need a thumping system so replacing stock for stock seems like the smart time and money move.

Welcome, nice looking wheels.

Thank you!

Replacement sub on the way. Thanks to the info on this site I found an aftermarket one (Dayton Audio DC160-4 6-1/2") that should work perfectly and was super cheap. Getting some weird interference on the passenger rear speaker. It currently is very very quiet and will occasionally get really bad static interference. thoughts? Looks like it could be a loose connection somewhere.

Got my air vent and rear cargo speaker cover. Just need to paint them tan.

Time for another small update- Got the interior pieces painted. The tan I got was a little lighter than the rest of the truck so I pulled both passenger air vents so at least it looks like I planned it. Got the sub cover painted too. I'll pop those in soon and get some pics.

Didn't get a chance to put the new sub in but it looks like the whole rear panel might have to come off and I was burnt out.

Speakers- Got the front speakers re-connected to the factory plugs so I got the passenger front speaker working but still don't have sound from either drivers side speakers. It might be a bad connection at the stereo so I'll pull that out some time soon and take a look

Shocks- I got the rear monroe load leveling shocks in. The old reflex's that were on there were ok. One compressed way too easily and didn't rebound. I only had a bottle jack so it was a fun ordeal trying to compress the shocks enough to get on the jack to lift the lower end high enough to get into the shock mount. That took longer than expected so the front Bilstein 4600s will have to wait for next weekend. The rear does seem to sit about an inch higher than it did which is good because that is about exactly how much the rear springs have sagged compared to the front.

In my short 2 mile drive on them so far I noticed a lot less body roll and it's much smoother over bumps without being super stiff which i worried the helper springs on the shocks would make it.

Sorry for the lack of pictures but what I'm doing has been done before so I'll take pics at the end to show it off all done.

My usual post weekend update-
Got the front 4600s on. Was a pretty simple process. I removed the wheel for access because I got to use a garage. Impressions- they aren't as stiff as the lifted height 5100s I had on my single cab F150. It does help with sway a little bit. The reflexes I pulled off took some weight to compress still but the rebound didn't exist.

After the rear helper shocks brought up the rear of the truck I think its time for some springs for the front but that's a low priority. I'd most likely just wait a long time and get a full set of springs all around.

Radio- I played with the plugs on the back that take the speakers big block connector down to the 4 RCA style inputs on the rear. I got 3 of 4 speakers to work but the rear drivers side is still silent or with static on bumps. I wonder if the actual connectors on the speaker itself are loose. I'll play with that next weekend.

I thought replacing the sub would be a whole ordeal but I found the screws under the foam which let me pull just the sub. Reverse of the removal process and I have a functioning sub! It'l never make car alarms go off but it gives a nice weight to the sound and is much better than the crackling I got. The old sub was totally dusted and crumbled when I removed it.

Future work-
I need to finish painting the hood. I don't know if I'll stick with normal clear or keep it flat in preparation for a windshield light bar. That would be very far down the line so I think it's normal gloss for now.

There's two windshield chips that need filling. The tan paint I got for the new interior pieces is way too light so I have to find a closer tan match. I want to put on new plugs and wires, new fuel filter, and tcase and diff fluid changes. Most of the bigger things are done so its just maintenance now.

Got some new GE Nighthawk Platinum bulbs in the front. I haven't driven at night so I'll report back when I do. I usually go for Sylvania Ultras but these got really good reviews so I gave them a shot.

Driver rear speaker still isn't working. It at least isn't getting random static when driving but now it's just silent. There nothing obvious wrong so the wires from the speaker to the stereo must have some problem.

Next up is a set of plugs and wires, some miscellaneous bits, and then probably a fluid change.

Motorcraft plug wires and plugs on their way. Might not be necessary as it seems to run fine but I doubt they were changed and it has 105k on it.

A small upper rear door rubber bumper, windshield molding clip and hood stop bumper are on their way as well. That should get it pretty much back to 100% except fluid changes which will probably happen around turkey day.

Might be taking her up to Reno at the beginning of November so I want to make sure everything is in good working order.
-Gotta test the ABS as the light lights up fine in the dash when its key on and goes off when running but i can get the tires to lock up pretty easy.
-Also I think I have a small exhaust leak at the muffler that I need to get welded up or possibly swap out for a magnaflow.
-If it snows in the mountains closer I'll have to grab a set of chains too.

Got some new GE Nighthawk Platinum bulbs in the front. I haven't driven at night so I'll report back when I do.

The reviews on the GE Nighthawk Platinum I've heard say they don't last as long as other bulbs -- but that they are top notch when it comes to 9004 halogen lighting.

My biggest concern would be, do they run hotter than other bulbs? If they do, will they melt the housing? That's what keeps me from buying them so far.

Thankfully I don't really drive that much at night, I just like having the best when I do. It does seem like their life might be a little short (150 hrs) but at the price I can easily grab my usual Ultras.

Got some more small stuff done this weekend-
-Got the radiator support hood bumper put in so the hood closes and sits properly.
-I tried to re-attach the molding at the bottom of the windshield without any luck. The PO siliconed the wedge shaped attachment to the molding and did the same to the end by the mirror but just to the vertical molding. I had gotten one of the little clips thinking that would be all I needed but I couldn't find a place where it would attach to the molding (I think it was more to hold down the wedge than go from the body to the molding). So I re-attached it with windshield silicone and called it good for now.
- Plugs and wires showed up but I didn't have time to put them in. The driver side looks very easy but the passenger side is gonna take some research.
- Spent some time cleaning the interior. Buying it from a small dealer I assumed they would detail it properly but that wasn't the case. The very top of the door panels was very dirty on all doors (you could see the grain in the panel due to the dirt, now you can’t). I also scrubbed the cargo area panels to clean them up some too.

I drove her out to the central valley on her first real long drive. It was low 80s and had a few grades but she did great. A little under powered on the hills but with stock 3.73s and 31s I wasn't too surprised. I know it'll never be a powerhouse. I topped off the coolant and checked the other fluids and it all looked good so I think she could handle a journey to Reno in potential snow. The plugs and wires should hopefully help the power a little as well as getting what I’m pretty certain is an exhaust leak welded up.

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And interior pictures because we all love pictures. You can see the mismatched color new interior pieces.


It's harder to see in this pic but the headliner has tons of little nicks in it and bigger chunks towards the front. It's low on my priority list but I'll get it covered or replaced some day.

I kept the stock floormats in case I ever need them