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Obie's 98 XLT 5.0 AWD - Nickname Undecided

Obie's 98 XLT 5.0 AWD

Update 30 March 2013: Added a few paint pictures, updated current, in progress, and future mods.

I've been lurking here for a few years, became a member A little while ago, and decided I'd help out this great forum by becoming elite. Also, I never did a normal registry so now I get to make a brand new on here.

My name's Lucas, I'm living in Crown Point, Indiana and I have two Explorers. One is a 98 Eddie Bauer 4.0 4WD that was my brother's and I was going to use for parts, but didn't really need anything from it. The other one, the big show, is my 1998 XLT 5.0 AWD. I also have a 97 F150 XLT 4.6 4WD.

Here's both my girls together:

IMG_20120624_171459.jpg


Right now the 98 is down for a frame off restoration, more of which is available here.

As of the day she went down, the odo was just shy of 150k, with zero engine, transmission, or transfer case problems from day one. I've taken very, very, very good care of her since I bought her from my uncle back in 2010. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania road salt while I was going to the WyoTech out there started rotting away the body, including the cab mount brackets. I love this truck, and there was no way I was going to lose her. So, I bit the bullet and have been spending damn near all my money to get the body and frame rust treated and proofed.

Anyways, besides tune ups and normal maintenance, here's the list of stuff I've done so far and stuff in progress:

-Complete IFS rebuild with Moog Suspension parts for increased durability
-Hunter Grille Guard
-1.5" Torsion Twist and War 153 Shackles - Outdated
-31x10.5R15 Goodyear DuratracWrangler Tires - Outdated
-33x12.5R15 Goodyear Duratrac Wrangler Tires
-Black Rock Defender Series 905 15x8 Wheels
-Complete Frame Off Restoration - In Progress
-Go Rhino Tail Light Guards - In Progress
-RCI Front Skidplate - In Progress
-Dixon Bros Heavy Duty Clevis Steering Kit - In Progress
-4" Superlift - In Progress
-3" Bodylift - In Progress
-Coilover Conversion with Fox 2.0x6.5 Emulsion Shocks and 750lb Eibach Coil Springs - In Progress
-U-Bolt Skid Plates made by Brian1 - In Progress
-Eddie Bauer Fender Flares and Running Boards - In Progress
-Torque Monster Headers - Part of Group Buy
-Repaint to Marine Digital Desert Camoflage - In Progress
-Hawaiian Lei haging from rearview mirror


Future Plans:
-Cobra 29 LX CB Setup
-KC Foglights (Replacing stockers due to modified front bumper)
-Custom Cat-back Exhaust
-Custom Front Offroad Bumper with enclosed winch plate, grille guard, light guards, and built in offroad and fog lights
-Custom Rear Offroad Bumper with Swingout Tire Carrier, Jerry Can Holders, and CB Antenna
-Superlift Double Cardan Front Driveshaft
-Re-gear front and rear to US Gear 4.56
-Auburn Ected Max Selectable Locker/Limited Slip
-Superior Axle Evolution 8.8 C-Clip Eliminator 4340 Chromoly Axle Kit
-Riddler 8.8 Diff Cover
-Light Bars
-Roof basket
-4406 Manual Transfer Case Conversion
-Whatever else floats my boat

Current Problems:
-None!

I guess I could show a few more pictures...

Stock - After being detailed by my buddy's shop (another buddy thought the dual spoiler look was funny):
IMG_20110320_185817.jpg


Butt shot:
ButtShot.jpg


IMG_20120614_195146.jpg


Frame before:
IMG_20120914_163026.jpg


Frame coated with POR15:
Untitled_zps4cfb8bd4.jpg


Pictures from March 2013:
2013-02-26154726_zpsec280469.jpg


2013-03-07170742_zps79c5fe19.jpg


If anyone wants to know more, feel free to ask! I've got lots of experience as a mechanic and I've torn damn near the whole thing apart so I have a lot of knowledge on how to remove and replace stuff. You can even feel free to ask more about me :)
 


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obie

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Cool new parts today! U-Bolt skids are courtesy of our very own Brian1. These things are beefy. And the bumpstops are for the front to be used with the superlift and coilover.

2013-03-28170712_zpsb38fe654.jpg


Which may not be happening for a while. Thanks to Superlift continuing to push back and "wait for parts" that has been on order since December 15th, it looks like I'm going to be just going ahead and getting the body put back on. Once it finally arrives, I can probably just take a weekend and do the lift and conversion. So, for a little while it'll be back to the mostly stock suspension.

Maybe I should just do the body lift if I want to run 33s, and just cancel the order. If I ever want bigger tires, I'd rather have a solid axle in the front anyways. I dunno. $2000 back in my pocket would be very nice, but if Superlift discontinues this kit like it seems they are, it'll probably be impossible to get again. And my shocks and coil springs won't fit without the 4" lift.

Decisions, decisions... Or maybe I just need more patience and wait. This delay has helped me save up a lot more money. But I do really wanna drive this summer...


Edit: Oooooooh, maybe not, National Tire and Wheel says they show one in stock, they're gonna double check in the morning but I may actually have this very soon! If they actually do have one, I think I might pee myself I'll be so excited.
 


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obie

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Good news on the lift topic: National Tire and Wheel had one in stock, and it should be at my door Thursday or Friday!

Also, I've been doing a bunch of searching and googling on fender flares, and I think I've decided to go with the Eddie Bauer flares and running boards off my parts truck. I looked at both the Xenon flares (would love to have, polyurethane and American made) and the EGR discontinued flares that a few places still have in stock. In the end, both of those are too expensive, don't work to cover the rocker moulding that has about thirty holes that would need plugged, and are just the same amount of fender and quarter work as installing the EB flares. For how expensive this paint job is, I don't want rocks to gouge the heck out of it. Trail rash I can buff out, and touch up the clearcoat when it needs it, but chips and deep gouges are a lot more difficult on all the custom colors. Plus, I'm sure anyone who drives behind me will appreciate me not sending rocks flying into their paint and windshields.

Also, since I've decided that I will do the 3" bodylift in addition to the Superlift, the running boards I originally didn't want will make it easier on my knees to get in and out. This is something I've thought very long and hard about, didn't want to at first, but changed my mind. Later on down the road I'm probably going to do the 4406 conversion, and the extra clearance will make everything easier to install and make working underneath the truck easier in general.
 




obie

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It's heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere!

It's here! Yes! Finally!

2013-04-02171155_zps53701796.jpg


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And the one thing I don't like:

2013-04-02171215_zps702792ff.jpg


Leaf springs are made in india. Those will be replaced eventually by a set of 4" lift SUA Deaver springs, probably after I do the gears, locker, and axle shafts.

As for the kit itself, everything seems solid. Nice thick steel, good paint (powdercoat, I think) and detailed instructions. I was surprised to see the knuckles were painted, as I thought they were left as-cast. That saves me some time painting them myself. I'll be studying those instructions closely the next few days. Full inventory will be done Friday, since I don't have much time til then. Seems like everything is there though.

Install for the lift and coilover conversion will hopefully be started this weekend. I'm waiting for the Daystar poly bushing sets I ordered to come in for the LCAs, UCAs, springs/shackles, and rear sway bar. I also ordered a set of the stock shackles, since I won't be needing the Warriors anymore. Those I'll probably set aside for when I get another Ex. That'll also help keep the springs from flattening and be one less hang up point in the rear. The rear won't be finished until I can measure the axle tubes and order the 5/8" u-bolts I need for the u-bolt skid plates I got.

I just gotta get my bushing press set up, some tools from work, a few misc supplies, and oh yeah, the chassis. That'll be delivered sometime this week.

Can anyone tell that I'm excited? :biggthump
 




Turdle

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"If" you have 16" wheels you can get sport trac front rotors and use the outer brake bracket hole. This gives you "almost" a 10% larger brake, using the same pads and calipers.

Someone correct me if I am wrong about that.

I think some Rangers use a 16" rotor also. That is why the outer holes are there.

If not use the inner holes for wheel clearance.
 




obie

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Really? Ahhhh, wish I would have known about that before I ordered the wheels and tires I got :( Too late to take those back now. I'll keep that in mind for the future though, thanks.

I was considering going with some higher performance brakes to offset the larger wheels, like the Powerstop extreme truck and tow kit K1861-36.
 




FIND

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Over to Rock Auto I go for some rotors
 




obie

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More new parts! Got my 883 :usa: made body lift kit in today, as well as the replacement shackles. Though, I'm wondering if I'm better off just using the beefier (albeit liftier) Warrior shackles as opposed to the chinese ones... Just don't trust them to stand up to lots of wear and tear. Even the OEM ford ones aren't that great, as I pretty much tore them in half with my hands to get them off.

2013-04-05163813_zpsfa1c0e9c.jpg


Bad news though. So if anyone is wanting the following Daystar poly bushings, lots are no longer being produced. I found out today from 4 Wheel Parts (5 days after I placed my order, gee thanks)

Poly Bushings List as of 05 April 2013 - Subject to change and I might not be 100% right:
KF03021BK - UCAs - Supposedly still being made but special order
KF03022BK - LCAs - Discontinued
KF04009BK - Body Mount Bushings - Still being made
KF05015BK - Rear Sway Bar - Discontinued
KF02019BK - Spring and Shackles - Discontinued
KU13027BK - Ball Joint Dust Boots - No Idea
KU13001BK - Tie Rod End Dust Boots - Discontinued?
KU09021BK - Coil Spring Isolators - Discontinued? We don't even need these though
KF09014BK - Master Kit - Discontinued? But still stocked in a lot of places - Includes all the above
Also
KU09020BK - LCA Bump Stops - No idea, not included in master kit

So basically, I'm being forced to buy the master kit for $307, despite not needing the coil spring isolators or the TR/BJ boots, and I already have the body mount bushing set. If anyone's curious, I'm ordering this from www.daystarsuspensionparts.com

If anyone wants the set of unused body mount bushings, I'll let them go for $125, $115 if you're elite. Though I don't know how to calculate shipping costs like some other sellers do, anyone able to point me in the right direction?

And because of this, I'm not getting the chassis brought over til later next week, once I actually get the parts in. So, absolutely zero progress on the lift. Well, I touched its parts a little bit.

Oh, and if anyone is curious, I just depressed myself by adding up all the money I've spent on just parts. No labor or even including the paint and stuff I wound up not using, just parts. 5700. No wonder everyone calls me an idiot, haha.
 




obie

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Well, I just ordered what I hope are the correct tail light guards. Go Rhino part number FT32B. After reading paraphoe's registry I decided to resume my search for tail light guards that aren't Westin ones (I just don't like the way they're shaped) and found some at Street Side Auto. $114.79 with free shipping, not bad. I hope they work, as they're described for a Mountie but the liftgates are exactly the same, as far as I know. Also, anyone happen to know if Go Rhino stuff is American made or made overseas?

And, in other news, I don't have the chassis. Kinda irritated that I left work four hours early to be there to put it in my garage, only to be told they couldn't deliver it today. Now, I have to hope no one screws with it when they drop it off Monday until I get home to safely lock it up.
 




obie

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It arrived!

2013-04-15181616_zps9b21685f.jpg


Unfortunately, I can't do much until it stops raining, sometime around Thursday. You can see all the interior stuff cluttering up the garage and I'm gonna need to pull the chassis back out and move it all around again. At least everything is all POR'd and bedlinered, so I'm not worried about it sitting in the rain for three hours. Wish I had the money for the gears and locker and rear axle shaft kit, as it would be soooooooooooo easy to do right now.
 




obie

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The Superlift leaf springs and ubolt/shock skidplates are installed!

2013-04-17190831_zps9a3f40d9.jpg


I posted more over in my resto thread, but figured I'd update here too. Nothing's torqued yet until all the weight is back on, and the ubolts are only there til my 5/8" ones come in, but other than that the rear is done. Removing those shackle bushings was soooooooo much easier than I had feared. A buddy of mine gave me a tip on using a drill bit to drill into the rubber, and it will catch it and start spinning it out. Took literally one minute combined to pull both sides, and I was ready to fight them for hours with sharp objects and flame. Kinda sad I didn't get to use the flame, but oh well.

I'll start the front tomorrow if it doesn't rain so I can flip the chassis around. I don't want it getting wet because I'm gonna put a few coats of rattle can medium tan on the axles, springs, and shackles. Nothing super tough, but it'll make it look cooler for a while.

More pitchers!

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th_2013-04-17190817_zpsbf6d2546.jpg
 




obie

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Good and bad news today. Bad first. I need new CV axles:

2013-04-18174213_zpsf4c4ff99.jpg


Good news is that the floods that shut down Chicago area didn't hit hard here. Even my garage wasn't flooded, which really shocked me. Wet, but not flooded. So I was able to get some work done on the front end.

2013-04-18170951_zpsa819af14.jpg


After spending about half an hour swearing and huffing to move the chassis around by myself, uphill and slipping in mud, I got it in. Took off the sway bar links, unloaded the torsion bars, and proceeded to tear apart the driver's side.

cad5abd6-3041-47fc-8b86-988cf2c0899f_zpsc3f4b03b.jpg


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I still need to somehow get the torsion bars out of the LCAs. Time, rust, and POR15 have effectively fused them into the hex slots. I think I might need to rig it up somehow on a hydraulic press to get them out. I also need to press out the old bushings, salvage the sleeves, and get the new ones in. Ball joints and tie rod ends are still in great shape though, less than ten thousand miles on those. And all high quality Napa and Moog parts. I also have to get the Dixon Bros clevis inner tie rod installed and rig the boot back up to cover it.

I'm gonna order some new (not reman'd) Cardone CVs tomorrow once I get paid. Pretty sure these are the same ones Napa sells. Wish I could get the 4340 RCV Performance custom CVS, but I don't have $2500 or so laying around doing nothing. Or I could replace the CVs twenty times and still be ahead, so those might never happen. So for now, I'm just gonna get the passengers side apart and then wait for the weather to get better to put some more POR15 on the spots I now have access to, paint up some of the components and brackets, and press the bushings in before I start reassembling and modifying. I may go ahead and put another coat of POR on the frame too, since I have unlimited access and there's a few spots where the paint flaked from being hit with wrenches and ratchets and punches and chisels.

It feels good to actually being doing work on the Ex again. Drivetrain and suspension are my bread and butter, so I'm glad to be able to do this part of the restoration myself. It's been way too long since I've been up to my elbows in her, getting hot and dirty :eek: Missed the ol' gal.

Oh, and I got my Go Rhino tail light guards last night, and today I got my nice new EF license plates, thanks Turdle! I love opening packages :D

Aaaaand a few more pictures:

th_2013-04-18171026_zps9e5816f9.jpg


th_2013-04-18171009_zpsddfb26d5.jpg


th_2013-04-18175855_zpsa16080ae.jpg
 




obie

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Latest progress:

2013-04-19185223_zpsc5c71d7a.jpg


All the front suspension is disassembled, and the front axle is on the ground. Everything went smooth as silk until i started lowering the axle.

Oops! :bsnicker:

2013-04-19184723_zpse71c8063.jpg


Couldn't find my other set of jack stands and I decided to just go ahead and lower it anyways. Well, once the jack got close to the ground it rolled off and fell on the pinion shaft. Nothing was broken, and I'm regearing it to 4.56 with a master rebuild kit anyways, so any shock load on the bearings isn't a problem. I'll double check the inside of the pumpkin for any cracks or anything, but since it only fell about five inches I don't think any real damage occurred.

Once the weather clears up (66 yesterday, today it's snowing, what the heck?) I can start the painting. The control arms, some of the brackets, the dust shields, basically the small stuff, I can take to work and use our paint booth there. The frame is gonna be waiting for a few days, if not a week or more, it seems. In the meantime, I can cut and drill what I need to for the coilover conversion, and I might take the steering rack out. My left inner tie rod feels really sticky, and it's also good practice for when I'll need to do it in the future. Also gives me access to paint underneath it. And makes it easier to swap in the new HD inner tie rods.

I also need to finish ordering replacement hardware. The Superlift kit only comes with some of what I need, and I'm not going to use what they supply anyways. I don't like mixing SAE and metric throughout my entire vehicle. It's a bit expensive, but ordering all class 10.9 metric hardware, with high quality plating, means it's a lot less for me to worry about in the future.

I'm also wondering if I should bother replacing the bushings in my control arms right now. The uppers are only about a year old and nice Moog ones, and the lowers are still in fantastic shape for being stock. I don't really need polys that bad to go through all that hassle. And if they fail ten years from now, I have them already. Keeps me on the safe side if they ever get discontinued too. Just have to make sure I don't lose them, haha.
 




GRNMACHINE

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Didnt see this thread til today, subscribin'! Cant wait to see this finished!!
 




obie

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Thanks Green!

2013-04-21150538_zpsa41e2474.jpg


So, more good news/bad news. Good news is that I finished stripping the front down yesterday. Bad news is that now I'm going to need to strip the frame completely bare, down to nothing but bare metal, and start over again. The bedliner the body shop applied is, for lack of a better word, shit. It chunks off whenever it gets whacked even lightly by a tool, has no abrasion or impact resistance, and the texture isn't even or really even textured, it just has random razor sharp chunks. I was just gonna deal with the texture issue until I discovered how weak the coating is. I dunno if it's the product or the application, but I've seen model car paint that was more durable.

Also, I don't think the POR adhered well in some spots, as it's flaking and rusting through in too many spots for me to be comfortable with. It's weird though, because the body has turned out absolutely perfect in every way. Especially the bedliner they applied to the underbody.

So the plan is to get the frame completely sandblasted back to bare metal, sealed and primered, then trailered out to Zip's Auto Body in Rochelle, Illinois to get a coating of Rhino Liner Extreme. Quote was about $400 for the entire frame, if it's stripped bare and already has the primer. The bodyshop will cover the cost of everything I have already paid them into the frame, and I'll cover anything additional. I think it's fair, as I don't expect them to not only cover their own end, but to also pay for an upgrade. If this turns out well, it'll actually impress me more with them. I knew going into this that there were going to be hiccups; it's unavoidable on a vehicle with as much rust as this had. But the way a company handles the downs as well as ups says volumes about them. This does however set me back a few weeks, so I highly doubt I'm going to make my goal of getting it ready by July to go to SMORR. Sorry fellas.
 




GRNMACHINE

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Sorry to hear about the frame, so good you found out now though! They must like Zips to send it all the way to Rochelle! The more I read your threads the more jealous I get!
 




FIND

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POR-15 not adhering to rust? Wow.

I wonder if he used the wrong kind of primer for the coating.
 




obie

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POR-15 not adhering to rust? Wow.

I wonder if he used the wrong kind of primer for the coating.

Hmm, as far as the POR15 goes, I think I should clarify. The way I said it makes it sound like they messed up the POR coating. Prior to the fubard bedliner, the POR coat was about 95% perfect. I opted not to go for the extra cost of completely tearing the frame down (before I decided on all the suspension extras) as well as opting out of the very large cost of spraying the POR. Due to it's nature, spraying POR is much more difficult, costly, and hazardous than applying with a brush.

Because of these, it meant some spots weren't able to be painted at all, some spots could be painted but had remnants of grease and dirt that were very difficult to clean, and some spots (especially around holes) had drip and buildup that lead to poor adhesion. Some spots were also around bolted sections of crossmembers, crossmember lips, and the inside of the boxed section of the frame. Again, difficult sections to get perfectly with a brush.

The problem comes from trying to remove the bedliner without removing the POR coats, which is pretty much impossible. This means the only solution to taking the frame back to square one. So I'm not really angry, nor too disappointed. I would say that some of the fault is my own. They do great restorations, but they aren't a bedliner shop. Not too much call for that with old Camaros and Mustangs. So I could have just had it taken over to a dedicated Line-X or Rhino Lining shop, but I read enough *on the internet* to think doing bedliner wasn't that difficult. I don't want to make it seem like I'm questioning their skills or service. The way the body has come together is just amazing, but nobody's perfect.
 




obie

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So, just a quick update here to help me keep track of things.

This project is gonna be slowed down quite a bit for the next few months. I just bought an 03 Sport Trac on Friday, and that's gonna be getting a few modifications done soon. Body mounts, body lift, HD front end components, 33s, nothing major. But it does take away money from the current project. I'm also gonna steal the RCI skid plate and u bolt skids and order replacements.

Don't fear though, it's not dead! I love this Explorer far more than is sane and I'd never let her fade away. It just means it's getting delayed a bit. And I still have not found time or a trailer to take it all the way over to Rochelle, but I'm hoping once my brother finished welding pockets on his trailer he's buying, I'll be able to do it.

Also, sad news. I don't think I have any choice but to sell my 97 F150. I love that truck, and driving it back from the dealer's today I actually cried a bit thinking about selling it. And I've only had it a year. I think I have a real problem being sentimental with my vehicles :(
 




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

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obie

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Well, this project is officially dead. I'm selling some of the stuff for it, like the Torque Monster Headers and the body lift kit, and once I'm able I'll put the body and all the rest of the parts up for anyone who wants it.

I simply cannot afford to finish it. Sucks, because it's basically at the point of just finishing the paint and then reassembling. Needs bigger wheels and tires still, but the money just isn't there.

I'm cannibalizing what I can for the Sport Trac, like the Superlift (just needs one different part and it's only fifty bucks) and the coilover shocks and springs, the u-bolt skids, and some other small stuff. If anyone might be interested in it, lemme know. I'd love for the ol' gal to go to a good home.
 




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