My first Offroad experience | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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My first Offroad experience


Explorer Addict
May 6, 2001
Reaction score
City, State
in the poconos, PA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2001 sport
yesterday was great. i went offroading with my friend in his jeep. this is the first time i did anything like this. there were dozens of trails that went for miles. there were a lot of cool differences in these trails. some had huge rocks and boulders (i thought we were going to tip a few times). some were full of mud (the jeep was green when we went in, brown when we left). and the view was awesome.

now i want to lift my explorer, get rid of the running boards, and throw on some big tires.

the only thing is that my friend said "dont bother, the wheelbase on the explorer is too long to do any serious trails or rock crawling." i told him about this site and all the people that take their explorers offroad. but he told me the jeep was built for this and the explorer was never meant to leave the pavement.

does anyone have a really cool picture of their explorer offroading or rock crawling, so i can print the picture and show him.

obviously with a little jeep he can do more than me, but i want to show him what an explorer is capable of.

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I think a lot of guys here will back me up on this. The Explorer's longer wheelbase is actually a good thing. Yeah, it widens the turning radius, so really tight little trails are slow sneaky going, but a lot of the hardcore jeep builders will take a CJ-8 for the longer wheelbase(scrambler, little jeep front/truck bed back) and cut the bed overhang off. I think those have a wheelbase really close to the Explorer's. As far as Jeeps being meant for offroad; what about the TJ or YJ? Yeah there are some really cool built ones, but almost all of them are strictly urban transportation things. I'd take an Explorer over a Jeep any day, stock for stock. I don't do the hardcore rockcrawling, but i'll crawl a little once my suspension setup is done. Ever seen a Jeep desert run? I sure haven't, other than one Cherokee. Just a thought.

As far as modding your Explorer, if I were you, I'd get the 4" Trailmaster kit with all the doodads and whatever, eventually replace all the springs with customs from National or Deaver, get some ncie shocks (don't know what brand I'd choose) then get some Perry's Fab 'N Fiber fenders and run 35's. Ditch the swaybars while offroad and show your buddy what's up ;) But best of luck man. :smoke:

If you want to lift your truck so you can go more places by all means do it. if you only want to do it to prove something then you are doing it for the wrong reason. Obviously your friend has very little experience off roading because anyone who has knows that every vehicle can do some pretty amazing things with a few modifications and that there is no one "best" 4x4 for every situation.

Tell your friend when we are done modifing our Explorers they are still Fords. We don't need to transplant engines, axles, tranmissions, steering boxes etc. from every other manufacturer.

Look at the built Jeeps and you'll find Chevy and Ford engines, transmissions etc. Ask him why all the Jeep guys are coming here looking ofr 8.8" axles for their rigs :D





thanks guys.
i want to lift it so i can have fun on the trails. it's not to prove a point. i've never been offroad before, and it was great. i cant wait til my explorer is ready for the trails. my wife came along on a couple of the runs yesterday and she loved it too.

now i'm going to be thinking about this every day until my explorer is ready. i just have to get some money together.

thanks again:)


Hey Leenjen, now that you've got the bug, how 'bout joining us next saturday at Paragon??? There are trails there that a stocker can go on, and if you don't want to take your vehicle, you can ride with one of us (I'm the only one coming w/my truck, so I have empty seats). Ya up for it??

that sounds fun:)
where is Paragon?
i'll just have to check with my wife if we have any plans, but i dont remember her saying anything.

It's near Hazleton. Gotta run. Lightning storm

Rick...those pics are awesome!! Did you decide whether or not you were going for the gusto on your additional droop or not.

I am with you Lee...I can't wait to be able to do trails. I need to be rich!! Not only do I need money to do the necessary mods but then I need back-up money for when there is an "ooops".

hazleton isnt that far from me.
when you get a chance, can you email the directions?


I love it when someone dogs another vehicle and it's off-road prowess(mostly jeep guys) They usually don't know all that much about anything...

Originally posted by rustytr
I love it when someone dogs another vehicle and it's off-road prowess(mostly jeep guys) They usually don't know all that much about anything...

this is very true! I've been told this many times by people who think jeeps are the only vehicle for wheelin. I'm in no way belittling the abilities of the jeep, we all know they kick butt. But, there are others out there that do just as well.
You guys have a great site and most seem to not care who you wheel with as long as you get to and it's fun. that's nice to see. the are obviously some pretty sweet rigs here that will do anything you toss at them. that's why people need to step back and use an open mind before they put their foot in their mouth.
when I was stock, I could go basically anywhere any other stock vehicle could go, and some places others couldn't. now that I added a 5" BDS and some 33x12.5 BFG MT KM's I can't wait to see what she'll do.
keep up the good work here guys/girls and don't bother with the ignorant people. ;) :cool:

You just have to concider the source, and your Friend is just ignorant about what Explorers can do. That's alright, most people are. In fact even some of the Ford Engineers couldn't believe we could do what we do in a Explorer. Invite him to our site. We'll be more than happy to show him what Explorers can do.

Warning! Modifying you truck is habit forming and will cause you to spend great sums of money! First it's bigger tires, then maybe more lift, then you gotta have that winch, or those lights, and how about rock sliders, or a Hi-Lift jack. It just doesn't stop

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It's true that there are advantages to various wheelbase lengths and vehicle widths. Every setup has pros and cons. I happen to think the Explorer is a very good all-around vehicle. It is very comfy on the road (compared to many other SUVs): ask your friend if he would take a J**p Wrangler on a 2000 mile highway trip through thunderstorms and blizzards!

Even in stock form, the X is fairly capable offroad. Look at some of the things my "stock" 2WD did in Moab:




Good luck Lee, and remember that once the mod bug bites, it never lets go!

The only major draw back to the long wheel base would be the fact that it is easier to high center. But that said the Explorer wheelbase is not that incredibly long.


the people on this website are awesome:)

thanks everybody for all the pictures, email, and information. this is really great. when i joined this site, i never imagined that i could drive my explorer on the trails. and i never thought the people would be so nice and supportive. thats really cool. i've learned so much by reading through old and new posts. i just want to say thanks, and i hope that i can make it out west next year for one of the big runs.

i showed my friend the pictures and he was amazed. apparently most people have never seen an explorer go offroad (before i joined this site, i never did either). he plans on buying another vehicle in the next few months, he might look at a few first generation explorers.

thanks again to everyone:)