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Obie's 2003 Trac

Ok, time to consolidate and register this new gal.

So I bought this one on May 17, 2013. Had 86k miles and came from Florida, so pretty much rust free. So wonderful to work on a truck that doesn't have rust falling all in your eyes, and bolts that aren't seized and fused into everything.

The Timeline:

Super Stock! For About Two Days :D - P255/70/R16
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The First Mod - RCI Metalworks Skid Plate
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Wheels and Tires Installed, Zero Lift Yet
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1.5"TT and War 153 Shackles
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Westin Grille Guard
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Finally, Bodylift Installed and No More Rub!
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The stats:

XLT Premium Edition with Every Package
September 2002 build date
4.0L SOHC Engine
5R55E Auto 5 Speed Trans
BW1354 Electric Shift Transfer Case - 2.48:1 Low Gear
4.10 Gears with Limited Slip Rear
Came With Jason Pace Bed Cap

The Mods:

Performance Accessories 70023 3" Body Lift
Daystar Polyurethane Body Mount Bushings
1.5" Torsion Twist/Warrior Products 153 Shackles
Rancho RS5374 Front Shocks
Rancho RS999185 Rear Shocks - Setting 3
RCI Metalworks Skid Plate
33x12.5R15 Goodyear Duratrac Wranglers
Black Rock Defender Series 905 15x8 3.75" Backspacing Wheels
Step Bars Removed - Might Reinstall
Westin Sportsman Grille Guard
Moog Problem Solver UCAs, LCAs, and OTREs
Raybestos Advanced Technology Rotors and Professional Grade Semi-Metallic Front Brakes
U-Bolt/Shock Skidplates from Brian1
Solid Offroad 8.8 Diff Cover

The Future:

4" Superlift
Coilover Conversion with Fox 2.0 Resi Shocks and Eibach Springs
EGR Rugged Series Front Fender Flares
Hella 550 Offroad 55w Fog Lights on Grille Guard
Daystar Polyurethane Shackle Bushings
Cobra 29LX CB Radio Install
Fuel Tank Skidplate
Curt Hitch Receiver Flipped for Bodylift
Auburn Gear Ected Max Locker for Rear Axle
Superior Axle & Gear C-Clip Eliminator/HD Axle Shaft Kit for Ford 8.8
Custom Bolt On Rock Sliders
Ford 8.8 Differential Pinion Slider
Hidden Winch Install

The Fix'ers:

Sunroof Drain Leaking
A/C Recharge? - Clutch Seems To Click A Lot
Driver's Side Map Light Button
...This list is wonderfully small :D

The Fixed:

Moog Problem Solver Front and Rear Sway Bar Links
Front Pinion Seal - National

The Rambling:

I always wanted a Sport Trac and I finally couldn't take anymore of guys like Lono and Offtrac and STrunner and Luke posting such awesome pictures anymore. So I got one for myself :D One of the best financial decisions I think I ever made, despite what anyone else says about now owning three Explorers. This is a tip top of the line Trac. XLT Premium, every package, every comfort and convenience option and some I never even knew existed! Gotta love the auto-dimming rearview mirror and the "vent" button for the rear window :D

I want to build this up to be able to comfortably and reliably DD 100 miles a day. So the IFS stays, but gets beefed up. I also want to be able to take it on the tougher trails and not have to worry about grenading the axles or busting up the body. So it's gonna get armor, sliders, and beefed up axles. And probably a few spare CVs just in case. I also want to keep it rust free, so she'll be washed once a week, waxed every three of four months, and undercoated twice a year, and probably get a repaint within the next five years. I sorta wanna copy Offtrac and get the Ford green ;)

I would loooooooove to swap over to a 5.0/4R70W/4406 drivetrain, but that is a super long term project that I won't even consider unless either the engine or trans goes, and after 200K.
 


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obie

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Took a while, but I finally got around to snapping a picture of the finished work. Excuse all the mud, haha, I was testing it out over the weekend.

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Join the Elite Explorers for $20 per year. Gets rid of the ads! New $5 per month "try out" option.

Explorer Forum has probably saved you that much already, and will continue to save you money as you learn how to diagnose fix problems yourself and learn which modifications work without having to experiment on your own. Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links, can add their own profile photo, upload photo attachments in all forums, and Media Gallery, create and save more private Conversations, and more. Join Today. Your support is greatly appreciated.




obie

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Couple new things in store for the Trac. Shes in the shop right now for a follow up repair from the accident, and a seperate RO for getting her undercoated. I'm gonna be the guinea pig for my shops new bedliner/undercoating system. Its some product with kevlar in it that's lifetime warranty and supposedly completely chip proof. Since I'm their first customer for it, I'm getting an insane deal as well as the company rep advising them using my truck. Pretty excited and if its good I might have it done to the 98's frame too. Oh, and I have the front PA wheel well liners and EGR glares installed, no pictures yet though. And I should get a new bed extender s oon, I just gotta pay Jerry first.

I can't wait til I get it back and get a good snow. Rooster tails all day, so excited.
 




MidnightRebel07

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I thought you were gonna get the one that was local with the tonneau cover? So when is the Explorer gonna be done?
 




01STrunner

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You have about the cleanest looking ST I know of. Glad to here you got her back and that body work is downright impressive.
 




obie

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Ok, so, I haven't been on here in quite a while. Been a crazy few months. Trac got into another accident on the 29th of January. Was changing lanes and hit a patch of ice, fishtailed into the snowy median and hit another patch of ice and lost all control. Sent me into oncoming traffic lane, almost off the road and down a steep ditch which would have probably rolled me over. Managed to get enough control to start heading back toward the median, when BAM! I hit a minivan on the front passengers fender. To be honest, I'm lucky to be alive. If all the traffic hadn't been a couple hundred yards ahead, or if there was a semi there, that would have been it. Unfortunately, the lady I hit had done nothing to avoid the accident. She didn't stop like every other car did, didn't slow down, and went the same direction I was headed instead of turning her steering wheel just slightly the other way. It was an old woman who apparently panicked and had no idea what to do.

I wasn't going fast enough to set the airbags off, but the front end was ruined. Hood, both fender, front clip, headlights, fender flares, grille guard, and offroad lights. Grille guard saved me from a lot worse damage though, as nothing past the plastics and sheet metal was damaged. I'll post the pictures up when I get off work.

Still drove fine, so I went to my fiance's parents' house and took the grille guard off and zip tied the headlights into place, replaced a bulb so the turn signals still worked, and drove it for the next two days to and from work. Just got her back two days ago. Great job, but the insurance company wouldn't replace my flares or offroad lights, so I'm gonna need to save up another hundred or so and hope the flares are still available on ebay soon.

But I also got the frame and underbody coated with a bedliner to permanently keep her rust free. And I did a bit of research with Superlift, and will soon be installing the 4" lift I had bought for the '98 onto the Trac. I just need to order one different bracket and it's only gonna cost about fifty bucks. Then I can use the coilover brackets, shocks, and springs I had for the '98 on this, get it aligned, and then get a custom front double cardan driveshaft made. All for about three hundred and fifty bucks, not bad. Beats having to pay another $1500 for a new kit or seven hundred something for shocks and coilover springs.

On that note though, the project with the '98 is dead. I'm pretty sure I'll never be able to come up with another seven grand to finish it all. Getting married later this year and there's just been so much time and money involved in other things that it's probably never going to get finished. So I may either part it out on here or see if anyone just wants to take the whole thing off my hands.
 




MidnightRebel07

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Glad to hear everyone involved is ok. Can always replace vehicles and parts, not people. What reason did the insurance company give for not replacing the other parts? I'm sure someone will want the '98. Gods to see you're still around, was wondering where ya were.
 




OffTrac

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Wow, glad that came out as good as it did. Hope it all comes back together smoothly.
 




obie

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Thanks guys. There also might be a 5.0 and 4R70W swap planned too :D

That's gonna take some research and planning and saving though. I'd probably go through and refresh some stuff in the engine and trans since they have 150K miles on them. I'm trying to keep as much stuff from the '98 as possible, since it makes everything for the Trac cheaper. Also need to have another working vehicle while that gets done.
 




MidnightRebel07

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Check out the thread "not another V8 Swap", tons of info and it's a member doing the full swap for another. I recently bought an '89 F-250 with a 351w, C6 and 1356 manual transfercase to do a full drivetrain swap in mine. Check out the show off and lifted ST threads for info, vids and pics.
 




obie

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Alrighty, here a couple pictures of the carnage. I can upload more photos of the truck as it stands now tomorrow when the lighting is better.

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And that 351 swap sounds fun. Are you rebuilding everything first or just dropping them in?
 




obie

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Actually, the lighting wasn't bad. And one of these kinda shows the bedliner on the frame too. You can see the grille guard wasn't replaced with the exact same one. The insurance company only sprung for the cheap eBay on from Hunter, instead of a Westin. I'm gonna hafta spend the money myself to get another Westin, and to get it mounted better than it is now. Before the accident, that thing was solid as a rock and didn't move at all. This one vibrates and shimmies all over the place while driving on the tollroads and isn't very secure. It's pretty much only decorative.

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MidnightRebel07

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I'll go and refresh everything involved on the complete drivetrain and rebuild if as needed but the engine runs smooth so That shouldn't be bad, gonna probably rebuild and build up the transmission to handle the 37's and black trails (big boy/ rock buggy trails).

If you have the receipts for the flares and westin brush guard I would go see your ins. agent and have them replace them (that's what you pay ins. and deductibles for). Also, just like the last accident, make sure they did an alignment and check the body for shifting.
 




obie

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THREE WORDS: 5.0L ENGINE SWAP!
THREE MORE: 4R70W TRANNY SWAP!


Geez it's been a rough three years. Been gone for a while, now I'm back with the same Trac, for at least a short while til the swap is done.

Haven't done much with it. Had to drop the RCI skidplate because the last insurance repair, the guys decided to switch my metric bolts for shitty SAEs, and when I hit a bump while offroading the bolts ripped right out of the frame. Still pissed about that. Same with the grille guard. Those new brackets snapped and split like they were made of paper mache. Actually, pretty much everything they did on that repair pissed me off. Hood and fender didn't match the rest of the paint, headlights were complete shit, hood struts can't support the weight, pretty much everything they did, I have to refix. And that supposedly indestructible bedliner they put on my frame wore completely off while scraping frame over a SMALL DIRT HILL on one section, each side. So glad that I didn't pay them for it since they were in my bankruptcy, otherwise I'd be even more furious. Split all ties with that shop and don't know if they even have my old '98 they were working on. **** 'em.

Finally got around to installing my Dixons Bros Racing heavy duty clevis inner tie rods though. Took her in for a much needed alignment too. Anyone got any advice on what to do to replace the rack and pinion bellows? They don't fit over that bolt to the eyelet and I already cut up 2 bellows to try and get them to fit.

But the biggest news: ENGINE AND TRANS SWAP!

The 4.0 is giving me massive issues with the timing chains. No lead up to it, and now all of a sudden all three chains sound like they're failing. So rather than repair that POS engine, and then wait for the 5R to eventually crap out, I'm gonna switch over to Ford's best drivetrain, the 5.0L and 4R70W from a 99-01. Gonna have to deal with the AWD transfer case for the time being since the BW1354 doesn't bolt right up to the 5R. Working on finding a donor truck now, with a good condition drivetrain. If I can find one cheap enough, it'll even be less expensive than just repairing the 4.0.

Even more hoping that I can get this done before the snows hit. Cold doesn't bother me, but I'd rather not do an engine swap in the snow. Depends on how quick the lift kit sells.

Which brings me to the sad news. In order to afford this on my incredibly limited finances right now, I have to sell a bunch of stuff. Including the 4" Superlift kit and coilover conversion that I had planned for this girl. Guess that means I'm gonna need to SAS...

Selling my bed cap too, if anyone is interested.

Anyways, here's how she stands as of today.
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MidnightRebel07

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Glad to see you're still around man. Sorry to hear about the shitty three years, my last three years have been horrible too. Still trying to find a reliable job (keep going from shit job to shittier job seems like). Almost died in a work accident a couple years ago, still trying to recover from that (WC doctors said I'm fine like they're paid to). Don't wanna blow up your thread with it, all the info is in my SAS build thread. Still building Battle Born, no funds and time at the same time kinda deal. Not sure if you're on FB but there's tons of people on there from here.
 




obie

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Welp, finally got the last part I need for the lift kit on order. The front diff torque bracket for the Trac is different than the one from the Explorer kit, and another member here gave me the heads up that the Trac kit is discontinued. Didn't want to spend the money for it quite yet, but I wanted to get that bracket before they were all gone. Thankfully I didn't need to sell the kit after all. Doing an SAS probably would have taken me another three years to get around to.

Still waiting for the tax return to come in to pick up the parts truck I've been wanting. Also need to grab a 4406 transfer case and shifter from a junkyard. I'll have about a week between when I quit this job and start welding school the beginning of March. If everything goes to plan, the engine, trans, and transfer case swap will get done, along with the lift. Hopefully getting the driveshafts redone won't be too expensive. Don't know if I'll be able to use the front Driveshaft from the F-150, or the Trac. Either would have to be modified, but not sure which would be easier.
 




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