My 97 SOHC 5 speed sport street/drag build | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

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My 97 SOHC 5 speed sport street/drag build

I picked up a rust free 2wd 97 big flare sport with the SOHC 4.0l about a month ago now. This thing is SPOTLESS!!! I bought it for Penny's with a bad transmission in it and the plan to turn it into a 12 second turbo'd street/drag truck.
As of last week I finished swapping in a 5 speed manual transmission I built for it with the lower gear ratio out of the 4 cyl ranger. 3.73 posi rear end, I put on a custom bent Magnaflow stainless exhaust, lowered it 3" and put a set of 18x10 Ford Racing "Cobra" wheels on it.
The difference in power and acceration is incredible with the 5 speed compared to the 5r55e. I'm not entirely happy with the M5ODR1 though and will be swapping it out for a Tremec before I turbo it. I'm also swapping back to taller gears in the transmission since this thing has no issues launching in second gear with excessive tire spin as it sits now.
 

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Slick Fan

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Utah...SNOW BLOWS!!
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'03 Aviator AWD
That's a great looking Ex!
Ironically, last September, I initially started out looking for something pretty much like yours...and over the course of a couple months, the search gradually morphed into the '03 Aviator I have now. Haha!
 




Twisted1

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97 2wd SOHC 5 speed
Thanks, it took me years to find the exact truck I wanted and being rust free makes this truck a bit of a unicorn here in NH. All my friends thought I was crazy for not swapping in my GT40 Ex drivetrain but now that they've ridden in it they are all on board with my SOHC choice.
 




4pointslow

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ex

Nice truck!
You found that rust free? Man, needle in a hay stack.
Nice look too, keep up the good work!
 




Twisted1

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97 2wd SOHC 5 speed
Yea it's 100% spotless! All factory paint too so it's never been wrecked in any way.
 




vroomzoomboom

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if your looking to go into the 12's you better pay close attention to 4pointslow's posts on his rocket on wheels.
 




4pointslow

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Boost

If you go over 14lbs of boost get ARP head studs.
With a turbo you should be able to acheive more HP than me since it doesn't take horse power to spin it. With my SC I am losing about 75 HP.
 




Twisted1

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97 2wd SOHC 5 speed
I've done some homework over the past 5 or 6 years on what I have to do. There's not a lot of tech in the explorer sites so I've been quietly snooping the mustang V6 drag forums ;-) the plan is to be under 13psi but head studs and a few other supporting items are being done before my second engine see's a turbo. The 5 speed is going to be a huge advantage over the automatic and I'm going to be messing with my gear ratio's more with the T5 or if I happen to find a better suited option for my set up. Either way the M5OD shaves time like you wouldn't believe but the slight delay it has getting the synchro's to mesh is going to cost me probably 1/2 second per shift over a T5. I've got about 1,500 miles on the set up now and it's already clicking between shifts and I'm starting to hear bearing whine.
 




jimster502

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socal
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1997 Ford Explorer
I love the way it looks with that wheel/drop combo! (Drewling)
 




Twisted1

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97 2wd SOHC 5 speed
SOHC is hitting the scrap pile

After some serious number crunching and re evaluating my end goals with my Ex I've opted to change up my plan of attack. The SOHC is coming out next weekend in favor for a warmed up GT40 I've been gathering parts for. By Monday the latest round of go fast goodies will be at my door. Port and polished GT40p's, port and polished 98+ exhaust manifolds, ported intake manifold, Trick Flow stage 2 cam, Crane cams performance valve spring kit with retainers, Stainless ringed head gaskets, ARP head studs, and a high volume oil pump. I'm into everything for the V8 swap upgrades for less money than just the head studs would have cost me for the SOHC.
I also picked up a M5ODR2 out of a 96 F150 to run behind it for now. I'm not confident on the performance of the F150 trans behind my engine but it will be enough to get it rolling simple for now. The slave from the explorer bolts right in and works with the new trans so no custom hydraulics needed or cable conversion for now. It should be more than enough to get some base line #'s and record some decent trap speeds even if I can bang gears like I want to.
If the number crunching is correct, after some seat time and tuning I'm looking closer to the power adder 1/4 mile times while keeping it NA and daily driver status. It will be getting a 200hp shot of spray eventually which should be more than enough to get me into the 11's.

Stay tuned for more updates! haha :burnout:
 








Twisted1

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97 2wd SOHC 5 speed
It was very doable with the turbo'd SOHC. Mustang guys have been running 11's with that set up for years. But the additional cost to do it with a 6 cyl and the trouble I've already had trying to get performance parts to my door for the SOHC swayed my decision. As far as hitting 11's with the V8, I'm not too worried about it. I know what's needed to get there and yes I have custom exhaust to support my mods.
 




2000StreetRod

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weight & frontal area

My Sport weighed 3900 lbs before I added the M90 and a bunch of other things. Mustangs weigh less (3400 lbs) and have a lower coefficient of drag (0.35? vs 0.43) due to reduced frontal area (22.5? vs 32.9 sq. ft.). 4pointslow has a M122, 4.88 gears and a custom tune and is just able to get into the 12s on cool days. If you're able to reach the 11s with a street and strip truck I'll be surprised but I wish you luck!
 




4pointslow

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V8

Bring on the power!
We need more fast explorers!!!!
 




Twisted1

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97 2wd SOHC 5 speed
Bring on the power!
We need more fast explorers!!!!

Thanks 4pointslow.
I've done my homework on all the modifications that have been done and have a good idea where my #'s SHOULD be. There's always unknown variables but the weight difference isn't one of the variables. My Ex has been dieting and I am lighter than the 4x4 versions out of the box. The way it sits now I'm comparable to a Fox body on weight. On top of the lighter weight of mine I have significantly less parasitic loss being a manual swap and also no T case to run through.
Once it's all tuned the way I want and with what's coming from various sources to go into it now I should be 350-375hp to the wheels NA. If it comes up short I've got a few other tricks but I'm fairly confident where it will dyno. I've already got the nitrous set up coming from a buddy but that's not priority right now.
The only way to tell for sure is to get it tuned and then to the track. Ill be back with some hard evidence.
 




Twisted1

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97 2wd SOHC 5 speed
I don't think the aerodynamics will be a major concern being as low as I am. Plus there's been more than a few fast rangers running around over the years hitting lower numbers than I'm shooting for. If it can be done as often as it has been with a ranger there is no reason explorer's shouldn't be running the same times aside from dedication. Hell there's a couple of 8 second jeeps out there and I'm pretty sure we have a slight aerodynamic advantage over a cherokee or wrangler!:bsnicker:
 




RangerX

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In the first post, you mention dropping in a manual trans out of a 4 cyl Ranger onto the 4.0 shc, how did you manage that? I thought the bolt pattern was different for 4 cyls and 4.0s. Is there an adapter plate?
 




Twisted1

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97 2wd SOHC 5 speed
In the first post, you mention dropping in a manual trans out of a 4 cyl Ranger onto the 4.0 shc, how did you manage that? I thought the bolt pattern was different for 4 cyls and 4.0s. Is there an adapter plate?

I used the 4cylinder gear set with a 4.0l case. The bell housings are different but the internals are identical aside from the gear ratio.
 




4pointslow

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Pictures

Pictures please!
We want to see parts! Eye candy! When they start to show up that is.

Going with the 8 cyl has advantages like you stated. I have to agree that the performance stuff is much more available for them.

Do you have a track near by? Once you have a fast explorer you will just love spanking other cars at the track. lol.
 


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ThatExplorerDude

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Will be following this thread :)
 




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