My 2000 Limited Build | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

My 2000 Limited Build

I used to own a 1996 OHV 4.0 Explorer, that was unfortunately taken from me due to unaffordable insurance after an accident that I was wrongly blamed for. Many years later, I decided I wanted to buy another Explorer, as I always had plans for my original one, but it was taken from me too soon.

In 2010, I found the perfect project Explorer, after several weeks of searching Autotrader and Kijiji (it's like Canadian Craigslist). The truck was located in Montreal, Quebec, and I went to pick it up over the weekend of my 27th birthday. I got it for $7000 cash, with only 77,500 original KMs on the odometer. It was black, which I wanted, Limited, which I wanted, 4x4, which I wanted, and had the 4.0 SOHC V6 engine. I was looking for the V8, bust most of them in Limited trim were available only in AWD. I figured that since this truck hit on every other point, especially the low mileage and color, I bought it after a quick test drive to confirm everything was working well. This is a picture taken once I got it home from the trip.


I always told myself when I did take on this project truck, I would postpone any appearance mods until later in the build. My reasoning for this was twofold; first I kind of liked the idea of a sleeper that looked like an old school SUV, and second, I wanted to avoid the all-too-common "all show and no go" modified vehicle stigma. For these reasons my first mods to the truck were a K&N after market intake system coupled to a 75mm MAF sensor, and a Cortex Tuner from Superchips. I swapped out the oiled K&N filter with the dry media replacement filter from Amsoil, to prevent gumming up the MAF sensor with oil residue. I also installed a YellowTop battery from Optima. The only thing I had done appearance wise when I got it was to remove the gold pin stripes and give it a good wax and polish.

5 Intake MAF.jpg

I remember how much it felt like a different truck after these few mods. The difference in throttle response, acceleration, and overall power was pleasing, and my low-mileage truck took quite favorably to the modifications. Knowing I'd be producing more power than stock, I had also flushed all the fluids and replaced them with premium brands; Amsoil 5w30 for the motor with a premium filter, royal purple severe gear in both axles, and synthetic tranny and transfer case fluids as well.

Now I was hooked on power adding bolt-on parts. With a cross-country move from my home province of New Brunswick to Alberta for work, I installed the Gibson cat-back exhaust system before the 5000km cross country road trip, hoping the initial expense would be offset by increased efficiency of the engine. Since I had also now added some performance to the truck, I also ordered a set of smoked black chrome taillights from eBay to enhance the look a little.

22 3rd Brake.jpg

After having lived in Alberta for a little while, and with my new job allowing access to a shop with a lift and endless amounts of tools for my borrowing pleasure, I installed an upper and lower billet grille to enhance the front end appearance. To those performing this mod, the lower grille was a total PITA to install. Be forewarned.

1 Grille.jpg

2 Lower Grille.jpg

3 Lower Grille.jpg

Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

Liking how the appearance mods were changing the look of the truck, and having been working in Alberta for a few months making way more money than I was used to, I pulled the trigger on the wheelset I had been looking at for some time. They are KMC Hoss in 20x9, black finish, with 265/50R20 Nitto Terragrapplers. This wheel and tire package really made the truck, and made significant progress towards the blacked out look I was going for.

6 Hoss.jpg

7 Hoss.jpg

To complement the wheels, I installed a set of EBC brake rotors and GreenStuff pads in the front and rear. The larger wheels were heavier, resulting in greater unsprung weight and greater rotational inertia, thus slightly reducing braking efficiency. I went with the best rotors and pads I could find to combat this effect. Additionally, I had Bilstein shocks installed at all 4 corners, and in the 5th shock location, to dampen the suspension with my now heavier wheelset.

8 EBC.jpg

Hating the dated look of the old headlights, I ordered a pair of Eagle Eye CCFL Halo replacement headlights with an accompanying 8000K HID kit from ebay.

9 Headlights.jpg

They installed fairly easily once the stock lights were removed, and the enhanced visibility was a very welcome improvement.

10 Headlights.jpg

Shifting my focus back to the performance end of the spectrum, I installed a set of Gibson headers and Magnaflow cats to complement my existing Gibson cat-back exhaust system. Upon doing this, I found that the Gibson muffler inlets had already rusted away, due to lots of highway driving in Canadian winters, and untold amounts of salt exposure. I replaced the muffler with a Magnaflow and all new piping to go with the new exhaust parts.

13 Headers.jpg

There are those who would say that there is no point in installing headers on a 4.0. And then there are people like me, who would say those people are dead wrong. If you have the money, and want to extract as much performance out of the 4.0 SOHC as possible, I highly recommend it.

I ended up moving back to my home province, and did a few mods once I got home to some parts. Black anodized CNC machined race pedals were a nice interior touch, and the increased grip on the brake pedal was nice, especially when driving with wet footwear.

16 Pedals.jpg

17 Pedals2.jpg

I also better equipped the truck for winter use, as I often take it snowboarding with a number of people. A set of Yakima WhispBars and a rooftop cargo carrier were installed.

18 YakimaRails.jpg

26 WinterEx.jpg

I installed a Screamin Demon coil pack and LiveWires around this time as well.
19 DUI.jpg

When I got home I finished my stereo install. I had already had a Pioneer aftermarket head unit for some time, and JL TR570 series speakers in all the doors. I complemented this setup with a set of amps hidden in the rear storage compartment, and a stealth sub box as well on the adjacent side. As much as I like aftermarket audio, it was always my goal not to remove the "utility" from "sport utility", and as such sacrificing trunk space for a large sub box in my trunk was out of the question.

20 Amps.jpg

I also found a good deal on a blacked out LED 3rd brake light from ebay, just to complete the look of the rear end.

23 3rd Brake2.jpg

I went with a G2 rear differential cover in order to more easily facilitate rear end fluid changes down the road. The drain plug on the bottom of the unit allow for fluid changes without requiring removal of the cover itself. Additionally the increased fluid capacity and milled cooling fins were a nice performance boost as well.

24 G2Diff.jpg

Finally and most recently I installed a Professional Products Throttle Body out of a 96-01 4.6L 2V V8 Mustaing. That was undoubtedly my engine's choke point, as everything else upstream and downstream of the TB was already done. I have never seen such a performance increase for only $200 spent. The difference was unreal. I get much greater throttle response out of this aftermarket throttle body, and at part or wide open throttle now exists a very pleasant induction noise.

25 TB.jpg

20 Amps.jpg

21 Sub.jpg

23 3rd Brake2.jpg

24 G2Diff.jpg

25 TB.jpg

Finally, a few of my favorite pics:

11 Calgary.jpg

12 Calgary.jpg

14 Winnipeg.jpg

Canada's Great Lakes:
15 Great Lakes.jpg

nice explorer you got there

Flex-a-lite black magic 180 electric fan installed.


The ASP underdrive crank/harmonic balancer pulley was recently installed, along with an overdrive alternator pulley. Pics and effects of the pulleys on performance to follow. Initial impressions were that idle has smoothed out considerably, the engine feels as though it revs more freely, and throttle response was noticeably enhanced. The only drawback, if it could even be called that, is that it takes slightly more steering wheel input at very slow speeds, such as in traffic or in a parking lot. Effects on fuel economy will be assessed following my next road trip.


Very Nice Truck!

On a recent 5,000km road trip across Canada (My 4th time doing this), average fuel mileage was calculated at 20.5mpg. This was with my rooftop cargo box installed which had a significant impact on wind resistance, and about 1,500lbs of belongings packed in the back. On shorter trips without the weight and box, I've been able to return fuel economy numbers as good as 23mpg. Not bad for an old girl who recently turned 17 years old.

Recent minor upgrades have included a new fuel pump, and polyurethane upper and lower control arm bushings. Sway bar bushings and end link bushings were converted to poly long ago as well.

I was also forced to drop in a brand new reman 5R55E last fall, as the stock one I had rebuilt about 3 years ago failed.

Plans for the near future involve replacing the hydraulic timing chain tensioners, as they've never been done and I've developed a mild rattle.

Installed PowerMaster 200amp alternator unit.


@WormsExplorer I used the XD400 for the door speakers, and XD300 monoblock for the subwoofer. I believe this range has since been discontinued, and has been replaced by the XDV2 range.

Thanks Greg. I like my music a lot and I like it to sounds good. Not rattle all the bones loud but loud enough to sound good. My 11 Sonata limited has a great sound system. Pretty much what I would like in my explorer.

I never have seen this thread before but I must say, great looking Ex and congrats! A real nice job tastefully done! Subscribing :)

Thanks @mic98xlt

@WormsExplorer for stereo components, I have a fairly basic pioneer headunit, JL TR-570 series coax in all 4 doors, and a JLaudio 10w1v3 4ohm sub installed into an MTX stealthbox enclosure, to which I later added a small port. It sounds great, and there’s room to upgrade to the C5 door speakers if I ever feel inclined, with enough power available to run those as well.

Thank you Greg. Think I will be getting my Stereo upgraded then. I do like right now having the Stock unit in just because it is clean and unmolested. Mine came with the 6 disc CD changer. Yes I know that is not a big deal now a days but it is still pretty cool. If I could get a head unit that will work with the CD changer I will probably get that one. The Original unit in my EX does not turn off. Push button and it comes right back out. :) So either I find a good Stock head unit or one that can control the CD changer will see what happens. Right now I am happy with what I have.

... a JLaudio 10w1v3 4ohm sub installed into an MTX stealthbox enclosure, to which I later added a small port. ....

Interesting Greg, what was that deal about adding a port to the Stealthbox? I have one yet to be installed. What made you think of altering it, and what did it do? I love clean loud music, exactly as recorded(no super bass etc).

Interesting Greg, what was that deal about adding a port to the Stealthbox? I have one yet to be installed. What made you think of altering it, and what did it do? I love clean loud music, exactly as recorded(no super bass etc).

@CDW6212R I noticed a while after installing the sub in the black abs plastic stealthbox, that it would often “buzz” or seem underpowered at first startup, a problem noticeably amplified during the cold eastern Canadian winters. During some investigation one day, I unscrewed a few of the screws holding the driver into the box, and experienced a sudden “whoosh” of pressure releasing. This led me to believe that the sealed enclosure was not ideal for my application, and the driver began working like it was supposed to again after cutting a 3” round hole in the stealthbox itself. The failure of the pressure to adequately equalize behind the subwoofer driver caused some stress to the unit, and was evidenced by the damage of the driver’s suspension material. I will likely replace the driver someday soon to restore my system to its full potential. I listen to a lot of different genres of music, but was a 90’s kid and love some old school hip-hop so one could say that I’m all about that bass! The JL10w1v3 likely has more deflection than the cheap stock MTX sub driver that came with the box. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a box without driver option to purchase in Canada, but with their box, the port, and the upgraded driver, all genres of music sound excellent from my system. I try to let the amps do most of the work, without boosting any frequencies too much from the headunit (ie: preamp) itself.

Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

That sounds good, working out the bugs. I've got the Stealthbox, and bought a new 10" woofer also, but hadn't gotten to doing the amps yet, or any of it yet. I've got the pieces, just hadn't made the time.