Mounty71's 4x4 Long Travel Build | Page 28 | 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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It's been a tough couple of months with this thing. Someone broke in and tried to steal it a couple of months ago, luckily failed, but they did steal all of my tools, some spare parts, and some other stuff I had in it. Insurance didn't make the process easy or pleasant at all, and after going round and round about whether it would be totaled or not, it finally is over with and still has a clean title, and I was reimbursed for the damage so I could fix it myself. I replaced the busted door lock and ignition, fixed the tweaked door sheet metal as best I could, for only about $90. So I'm now in the process of replacing my tools and everything. I will still probably come out ahead in the end but still not worth the frustration.

Then it almost failed smog (but luckily they passed me) because I don't have a sticker for my Torque Monster headers with the CARB E.O. number and headers part number. Bob from Torque Monster hasn't been responsive so hopefully I can figure something out in the next 2 years.

I took it on a trip a couple of weeks ago and had no issues other than a lot of squeaking coming from my steering, and a vibration when turning left from what feels like a bad wheel bearing. I checked the bearings yesterday and found my passenger rear axle shaft isn't in great shape. At least it's not the bearing, so I just put it back together and am going to continue running it as is for a big trip to the Eastern Sierras coming up in a couple more weeks. And I replaced my steering swinger delrin bushings with softer rubber bushings so I'm hoping the squeaking will be minimized by that. Just have to add some tie-down points in the trunk and get my AC charged and I think I'm pretty much ready to go.




saweeet van!
Glad to see you are still at it! Thanks for posting

Well that sucks. But glad you still have it and it's still running and being used :burnout:

Yeah my friend got that van probably 6 months ago, it's pretty cool. Quigley 4x4 conversion with Dana 60s, he built a bed in the back, added on-board water and has some plans to upgrade the shocks and some other stuff.

Well that sucks. But glad you still have it and it's still running and being used :burnout:

As long as it's in my hands, that won't ever change. Speaking of which, we're considering the Rubicon again in September which I know you've been wanting to do. Get ready!

Went on another amazing trip last week through the Eastern Sierras. California has so much incredible scenery and so many cool places! Burned up another spark plug wire from these dang headers, and we spent a lot of time above 7000' elevation where this engine has a severe lack of power. We went as high as 11,700ish and I was having to pull a 2wd Tacoma uphill, and I'm surprised my car would even move itself. Anway now I definitely have my work cut out for me before the Rubicon.


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I can send you the .gpx file.

Been a little while and haven’t really driven this thing much since the last trip in august. I did go on a day trip to Pismo the weekend it opened back up but that’s about it.

The hatch window hinges broke on me for a second time so I decided to make use of actual hardware instead of the factory method of screwing a stud into the weak cast aluminum hinges. Came up with this, through-bolting through the hatch.

Also decided to make a transmission pan skid plate because I felt like the pan was a little vulnerable with my low tide height and lack of protection. There’s not much room around the front driveshaft so it’s not the strongest design but it should be better than nothing for the rare occasion I will actually need it.

And several months ago I ordered these Mastercraft Baja RS seats and finally had the chance to start installing them, along with these Mastercraft 5-point harnesses I got for a great deal. The seats basically bolted in, aside from having to tweak the factory lap belt rear bracket and fab up a mount for the electric seat buttons. I got the optional lumbar support but on first test sit, the lumbar support in the seat back is way lower than it is in the factory seats. The factory seats have always felt super comfortable for me and my back gets sore on long drives so hopefully they’re still supportive enough. If not, I’ll sell them and go with plan B of getting the stock seats reupholstered and adding slots for the harnesses. Still need to add a tab to the cage for the left lap belt and a mount for the crotch belt, but the factory seat belts are still fully useful.







I did that same hinge fix on a ‘99 we had years ago. Through bolt is a way better design than the factory joke.

I forgot you had a cage in there. Seats look great.

Finally got the passenger seat in and the harness lap belts installed. I haven’t done the crotch belts yet but not sure that I even will. These seats definitely sit up higher than the stock ones. I’m short and I have the seat all the way down, but with the stock one I had it raised up quite a bit. Not stoked about that because my tall friends won’t have ample head room with the cage. I don’t really want to get rid of the electric seat sliders to mount them lower, so I might be going back to the stock seats.

Also finally had time to install the transmission skid plate and the crossmember I built for mounting it.

Very nice plates. Looks like you could rest the entire weight of the vehicle on them. Do you have a transmission temp gauge? The reason I am asking is I modified my skid plates to remove the part covering the transmission because it would trap heat. I have never even touched the plate while crawling, but my trans is about six inches shorter than OEM and pushed up so its about 2" above the bottom of the frame. I have been thinking of putting a bunch of dimple die holes in it, then remounting it to see if the temps stay down. Not sure if my 20 ton press would be able to dimple 3/16" plate. Looking at your plate, I think you will be okay because the exhaust is outside the plated area.

I did think about the possibility of trapping heat with the skid plate but wanted to give it a shot anyway. I've always been a little nervous about how low the transmission pan is when I'm in bigger rocks. Adding holes to the skid plate could be done if it's an issue. I do have a gauge, and the trans does get really hot sometimes even with the larger cooler I added during the TTB swap. One day when I have the time, I think I'm going to try mounting a larger thicker cooler with an electric fan under the trunk floor. I've seen that work well for people who don't have the room up front.

You are right to be concerned about smacking the trans pan. I did this one year at the bottom of Strawberry lake trail (behind Shaver lake). Made for some interesting hole plug fixes to get back to camp at Bald Mountain ;)

Hopefully this sticker will make future smog checks easier :) I have extras if anyone would like one.


Sold the mastercrafts and put the stock seats back in, and then went on a 700ish mile trip and I'm so glad I did! I have so much more head room with the stock seats and they're just so comfortable, I never got tired or uncomfortable. Eventually will get them reupholstered.

Anyway, spent the long July 4th weekend in Tahoe National Forest driving almost entirely offroad from Emigrant Gap off I-80 up to Gold Lake. 4 days, 3 epic campsites, and 2 of them were unplanned so we totally lucked out. It was nice to have functioning A/C and windshield sprayers which I somewhat recently got working again. No issues whatsoever for all of us which was a relief too.









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This thing had been just sitting collecting spider webs and housing a rodent under the hood since the last trip, so I spent some time with a pressure washer, a torch (my favorite method of spider and web abatement) and removed a couple hundred acorns from all over the engine bay to get it ready for a post-thanksgiving trip. I also had a friend install a new touchscreen Bluetooth headunit, a kill switch, and a Trackmate gps tracker for me. The battery also wouldn’t hold a charge anymore so I got another optima for it. My friend and I did a short trip to California City with his newly built 4Runner, and also the first off-road and camping trip with my new dog. Thankfully not a single issue for either of us.

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