Mounty71's 4x4 Long Travel Build | Page 27 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Mounty71's 4x4 Long Travel Build

My pride and joy, the Mounty:





It's a 2000 Mercury Mountaineer. I acquired this fine vehicle in 2003 with just 32,410 miles on the ticker, and it was in pristine condition, having been driven by an elderly couple, and always serviced regularly at the same dealership it was delivered to from the factory.

This thing has gone through a series of different suspension setups, but currently it has:
Solo Motorsports 4" extended D35 TTB with D44 outers, and custom radius arms
2.5x12" King coilovers with 2.5x12" secondary King reservoir shocks
4WD conversion with BW4406 manual transfer case
2.5x18" rear King shocks outboard of the frame
custom ordered Deaver leaf springs with 12" 2AM Fab shackles
Full-width 8.8 rear with stock disc brakes, Blue Torch Fab diff cover/truss
4.56 gears front and rear, lunchbox front locker, limited slip rear
roll cage through dash and firewall to engine cage

(previous front suspension setup)
Long Travel front end 5" wider per side with 2.5x8" Sway Away coilovers, Dixon Bros. shock hoops
2.0x2" King bumpstops
Full heim steering
3" Procomp lift spindles
homemade lower rear A-arm crossbrace, lower A-arm mount weld-washers, upper A-arm gussets
8" limit straps
removed swaybar

MAC performance muffler with turn down tip
MAC performance intake

front bumper with removable light bar, with 4 Hella 4000 55w HID conversions
custom rear receiver and swing out spare tire carrier w/ gas can
clear corners
McNeil fiberglass fenders
removed running boards
5.0 emblems
color-matched grill surround with mesh grill
clear LED light in rear bumper

ABS defeat switch
Icom race radio
recovered center console in black
fog lamp-hi beam mod
added tie-downs in cargo area
rear hatch interior handle
4x4 Ranger front towhooks
driveshaft "loop"

3-link rear suspenion
add 2.5 or 3.0x18" King bypass shocks to the rear
switch front smooth body shocks for 2.5 or 3.0x12" King bypasses
rear fiberglass







Newly lifted on 31 BFG M/Ts:


After its first offroading:


Almost stock:



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On the way back we saw a Jurassic Park Jeep YJ which made me feel even worse!

I mean I could have brought the Ranger, if JP makes it look to easy:p

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Just found this bit of damage last night. Can’t believe it held up like this while pulling another rig on the trail too, and then no vibrations on the 350 mile drive home.



That's impressive. When I ran the Rubicon, my rear drive shaft had a slight barber pole groove towards the axle side. Not nearly as deep as those.

This is very premature, but I had been working on the 3-link design for a while and decided to take advantage of the 3 day Labor Day weekend and have everything cut out ahead of time so I could weld it all up. I spent a full day forming everything and tacking it all together, and 2 full days welding.

Also finally got a new driveshaft, but it has a larger yoke than my old one and would have hit the gas tank, so I took care of that issue.










Are reusing the front spring hanger for the link mount?

No, that would make the links only like 18" long haha. The brackets at the front of the trailing arms are the frame side mounts. Also I don't know why the pictures are in such a random order.

What does this hose connect to underneath the upper intake manifold? That's the canister purge valve that the elbow comes off of. I have a check engine light on and P0455 code, Evap Emission System leak and I'm thinking that broken hose is the culprit. Replaced the purge valve, the fuel vapor hose that was rotted out, and the gas cap, and noticed this damaged hose afterwards. It drives like normal so I haven't worried much about it, but I have to smog it in a couple months. I can't find this hose online anywhere.


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Evap is the worst

Been a long time since I've been in here and now I'm stuck at home bored and not working, so thought I'd update. I spent 4 days in Death Valley in January which turned out to be one of the most incredible trips. It was a group of 12 of us from all over the world including CA, NY, Denmark, Sweden, and London. Most of us didn't know each other at the beginning, and most people had never done anything like this or had even been offroad before. We were in 5 vehicles, including the Mountaineer, a Cherokee, stock TRD Tacoma, a VW Touraeg, and a rental Jeep Rubicon. We went all over the national park, covered over 300 miles offroad and about 1400 in total. There are probably hundreds of photos taken from the trip but here are a few.

On the second day I noticed one of my AC hoses was rubbing on the AC compressor pulley so I had to ratchet strap the hose out of the way, and run the rest of the trip without AC. Then on the 500ish mile drive home the AC compressor pulley gave up the ghost and left me and 2 Swedes stranded at a gas station in the middle of nowhere on interstate 5 at 1am. The 2 others had a flight back to Sweden the next day, and luckily the Cherokee was about an hour behind us, so when he arrived we swapped some of his luggage for the 2 Swedes and they continued the 140 miles home and I waited another 9 hours for a tow truck to come. Thankfully things worked out the way they did, everyone made it to their destinations, I was within my AAA towing range and this didn't happen on the side of the highway or in the middle of Death Valley a hundred miles away from civilization.

I now have a shorter belt that I will keep with me as a spare, and I just finally got around to replacing the compressor and the hoses. At the same time I decided to take another stab at improving the steering. The power steering pump was whining a little, and the autozone steering box I had was super loose, and when I did the TTB conversion I had initially tried hydro assist but messed up when drilling and tapping the box, so I gave up on it at the time, so I wanted to try again. I got a rebuilt and ported box from Minh Worx and tried it again, only to realize that the stock steering pump isn't powerful enough to push the ram. With the ram assist on it felt like the tires were stuck up against a wall, making it sometimes impossible to turn the wheel at all. So for a second time I've had to give up on hydro assist. Maybe down the road I will try to figure out how to adapt another pump to my motor. The available Saginaw pump conversions necessitate eliminating the AC which I don't want to do.

So now the next hurdle is what to do with my motor. When I had the head gaskets done my mechanic friend accidentally cracked my oil pan, and the JB weld repair is currently leaking. So I'm weighing my options on what to do next, whether I can fix it with the oil pan installed, pull the motor so that I can remove the oil pan and fix it correctly, rebuild the tired old motor while it's out, or get a different motor. Buying a refurbished long block scares me because of all of the horror stories about issues and warranties not being honored.


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Looks like a great trip!

You built this stellar suspension, I bet you could build the 5.0.

The problem is I live in an apartment so I'm limited on what kind of projects I can tackle on my own.

Sounds like a epic adventure. My buddy Mike and I had planned a Death Valley trip but the jerk moved to Idaho.

@BKennedy everyone moves to Idaho now :rolleyes:

@mounty71 I have a spare AC compressor from SOHC, not sure if if it's the same for the V8. You could come down and pick it up with the HVAC ducting.;)

Steve, I got wrapped up in the steering stuff and completely forgot about the ducting! I'll try to figure out tomorrow what I need. And I already got a new AC compressor installed, but thanks.

No shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Idaho is full up! If you do move here you want to go to Boise, I hear it is really clean, good quality of life down there. North Idaho is tooooooo cold and rough for anyone to want to live here, plus its full of back woods wierdo's..... trust me!

How many miles on the "old tired" 5.0?
There are some crate engines you can buy that come with a warranty and are built by stellar companies that remanufacture lots and lots of engines (so they know what they are doing).
We are EXTREMELY happy with the 302 engines we get from ATK, never a hiccup:


172k miles. It runs well, it’s just gutless and compression is low across the board. I know most companies have warranties and I also thought that since they build so many of them, they should have it down to a science. But Powertrain Products is actually the company I was looking at most seriously to buy from since they have the best warranty, and you still read tons of reviews from people saying the engines failed within a couple thousand miles, the warranties weren’t honored, there were hurdles to jump through as far as who is authorized to work on it (which leads to another issue of finding someone actually willing and able to work on this Frankenstein truck), the process of abiding by all of the warranty stipulations, etc. plus being an off-road vehicle, if somehow they realized that, I would automatically be denied any warranty claim.

So you want a rebuilt 5.0 with a warranty that covers off road/modified rigs? you are looking for somebody that can rebuild and install because that is the only way they will cover it

I mean can you blame them?
They test each engine before it leaves the factory.
An engine is only as good as its installer

This is why you get a rebuild from a company that has the best reputation and builds the best engines.... rebuilding an engine IS A CRAP SHOOT look at all the stories out there. Not just because of the rebuild but also because of the install.... I mean if it runs too lean boom damage done, if it runs too long without proper oil pressure, boom warranty claim, wrong oil = warranty, so much can go wrong when installing an engine into a custom rig! A crate engine is only as good as the installer and the parts that are being attached to it!

So the alternative is: rebuild it yourself. You want to talk about horror stories, read some of those.
Buy an engine from Ford or buy an engine from ATK, or rebuild one at a local rebuild shop....
You will find people not happy with a new factory engine, a new aftermarket crate engine, an engine they rebuilt themselves with help of a local machine shop, heck everyone who plays has to pay.

For every complaint on a forum talking about how they were ripped off by this company and that I bet there are 50 trouble free engines installed and going down the road........we know this!

I understand all of that, there’s no 100% fail-safe option. And I know that most reviews for anything from motors to restaurants to hotels will always be from bad experiences, not good, because people just expect good experiences. And I definitely don’t blame them for denying a warranty because they have no way of truly knowing what happens once the engine leaves their factory. But from my perspective, I only have reviews to go on, so how could I not take them into consideration? I don’t want to spend $2500 knowing that I have no recourse if their product fails, even if there’s 100% certainty that it’s because of a defect on their end and the installation is done correctly. If I had the resources to do a rebuild myself I totally would, because I’ve been proven more than enough times that if I want something done right, I should do it myself. And then if it’s done wrong, I only have myself to blame.

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…...I’ve been proven more than enough times that if I want something done right, I should do it myself. And then if it’s done wrong, I only have myself to blame.
This is exactly how I think. I have had better experiences doing things myself and learning than paying others to screw things up. Seems like I have spent the past several years unscrewing stuff I paid good money for. Besides, it gives me excuses to purchase more tools instead of paying labor. Some things I still pay someone else to do because the learning curve is too long and expensive, and/or its cheaper to go that route. Engine and transmission rebuilds would fall into that for me.