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preparation for the field-Haiti

Joined
January 15, 2010
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City, State
Denver, colorado
Year, Model & Trim Level
1992 explorer
Hey guys, im a missionary that's going to be moving to Haiti in a few years. I have a 92 ex with 153000 miles, and im planning on preparing it for export to Haiti for my mission work. But, there's a few things I need to do. I've been to Haiti several times, and its pretty rough driving, ecspecially for a missionary. So, i need ideas to kinda toughen the truck. lifts and a ton of aftermarket performance upgrades arent really going to be possible because in Haiti they dont have that stuff in the case that I would need to replace anything. Some add ons I can do, just not a ton. They have a lot of water to drive through, and often 10 people will cram into a car made for four, with their heavy bags included. so basically i need to strengthen the suspension, get a better tranny, enhance its reliability, and make it off road ready for the long run. any suggestions?
 



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From my limited knowledge of the Ex's and 4x4 in general, I would do the following

1) 5 spd, instead of the auto
2) Manual locking Hubs
3) Snorkel
4) Computer relocation to behind glove box
5) Vent tubes for the diff's
6) Remove carpets
7) Body Lift
8) Heavy Duty Front Bumper with winch and 2" receiver mount
9) Heavy duty rear bumper with spare, jack, and fuel and water cans
10) Roof Rack for holding all the other gear and bags
11) Fire extinguishers
12) Recovery gear
13) Second fuel tank if possible to extend the range.
14) Add Heavy duty coil and leaf springs.

Added the items from "SuddenDeath"

15) Locker of some sort. You have no idea how invaluable a locker is. For pure reliability I would personally choose something like a lunchbox locker, an Aussie Locker for example. No electrical lines, no air hoses to mess up, it's just a pure mechanical locking differential.
16) First Aid Kit or medical supplies mounted in the cabin.
17) If you get a roof rack, I'd fabricate a locking roof-box for emergency supplies like food, water, etc. You can also store spare parts in this box, such as U joints or locking hubs. Research around Explorerforums to see what parts break often, and stock up on them. No one enjoys having to get in the mud and change a busted U joint, but you'll be thankful you had spares if you snap one in the middle of noplace and loose your 4WD.
18) A CB radio or some sort of mobile radio set up. Speak to others who have gone/are going, see if they have any mobile radio equipment. Whatever they have or use, get it. HAM, CB, whatever. Communications is life. If you're stuck in the middle of no where and it's 50 miles to the nearest town through the jungle or something, having a radio to call for help will be nice.
19) For heavier load capacity/suspension lift, I'd suggest using the F-150 leaf pack modification for the rear end of your truck and getting some 70's F150 coil springs for the front. In the front, to get it level with the rear of the truck, I'd also recommend doing the F-150 coil seat modification.
20) For even more off road performance, on a budget and easy to fix or replace, I'd do the F350 shock tower modification and put on extended travel shocks for more suspension travel. Also extend your brake lines.
21) Sway Bar Disconnects. If you see a really nasty patch of stuff, you can get out and disconnect your sway bars for more suspension travel. More travel=more wheels on the ground=more ability to keep moving.
22) Manual Transfer Case. No wires to screw up, no electrical nonesense. Just shift it into 4WD and you're going
~end of additions by SuddenDeath"

I hope this may cover some of the basics, I would make sure that it is set up like a 1 ton or more as you stated you are looking for dependiblity and not creature comforts.

Doug

PS I am pleased at what you are going to accomplish in Haiti, Good Luck
 






hey thanks man, ill defenitely check into that, good stuff.
 






Well, I have to say that it's a wonderful thing you're doing! Secondly, Doug up there has a great list of mods for you to do to get your X ready. I think about what you're going to be doing, however, and all I can think about is the light-dutyness of the Explorer's front suspension. The TTB isn't going to do too well with what you may encounter, and it's always best to plan for worst case scenario than anything. Have you thought about possibly putting in full size truck axles? Like a solid axle swap? If that's too much for you, I'd like to simply add some things to Doug's list:

15) Locker of some sort. You have no idea how invaluable a locker is. For pure reliability I would personally choose something like a lunchbox locker, an Aussie Locker for example. No electrical lines, no air hoses to mess up, it's just a pure mechanical locking differential.

16) First Aid Kit or medical supplies mounted in the cabin.

17) If you get a roof rack, I'd fabricate a locking roof-box for emergency supplies like food, water, etc. You can also store spare parts in this box, such as U joints or locking hubs. Research around Explorerforums to see what parts break often, and stock up on them. No one enjoys having to get in the mud and change a busted U joint, but you'll be thankful you had spares if you snap one in the middle of noplace and loose your 4WD.

18) A CB radio or some sort of mobile radio set up. Speak to others who have gone/are going, see if they have any mobile radio equipment. Whatever they have or use, get it. HAM, CB, whatever. Communications is life. If you're stuck in the middle of no where and it's 50 miles to the nearest town through the jungle or something, having a radio to call for help will be nice.

19) For heavier load capacity/suspension lift, I'd suggest using the F-150 leaf pack modification for the rear end of your truck and getting some 70's F150 coil springs for the front. In the front, to get it level with the rear of the truck, I'd also recommend doing the F-150 coil seat modification.

20) For even more off road performance, on a budget and easy to fix or replace, I'd do the F350 shock tower modification and put on extended travel shocks for more suspension travel. Also extend your brake lines.

21) Sway Bar Disconnects. If you see a really nasty patch of stuff, you can get out and disconnect your sway bars for more suspension travel. More travel=more wheels on the ground=more ability to keep moving.

22) Manual Transfer Case. No wires to screw up, no electrical nonesense. Just shift it into 4WD and you're going.

Hope I helped some :)
 






I would also concentrate on some extremely good tires--- Good Tires will be hard to come by in Hati. (thick sidewall)
 






Make it bullet proof
 






Honestly, Tire wise, I'd recommend one of those new kevlar reinforced tires. I think goodyear makes them. And Instead of 1 spare, I'd carry two. Get a bull bar or grille guard and mount one spare up front and one on the roof/back.
 






Sell it and get a newer vehicle that has parts sold in Haiti. If I was taking the X I'd do standard maintainance. Fix everything that needs fixed. If you invest a bunch of money you might as well just get a better vehicle.
 






Sell it and get a newer vehicle that has parts sold in Haiti. If I was taking the X I'd do standard maintainance. Fix everything that needs fixed. If you invest a bunch of money you might as well just get a better vehicle.

I'm kind of with this guy. I can't see how an old truck like this will possibly be beneficial to anyone. I'd at least go with a 2nd gen.
 






wow very cool, you should check out 4x4him.org. i bet no matter what route you go we may have a few guys willing to help you with the build!! if you where closer to me i'd say come on over! if i can ask who are you affiliated with? good luck with the build and God bless

John
 






Well, i would get one that has sellable parts, but there are none! There are actually fords sold there but they're more like island car fords, ones we dont often see here. I'm going with the explorer because it has some space, and with some buildup it'll be tough enough for Haiti. In Haiti they get cars shipped from America all the time. I've seen chevys, fords, lincolns, hyundais, nissan, honda, toyota, volkswagen, and even daihatsu. With all those extra cars, theres plenty of parts laying around, but ill be filling the ex with plenty of extras before I put it on the ship. The thing is, in Haiti you really dont drive that much. usually you'll go about 3 weeks without going over 35mph, and the average distance for driving for a day is maybe about 10 miles. my commute from Gressier to Port-au-prince took about an hour and a half, and its only a 25 mile trip. So, as far as miles go, I wont really be driving that many. Here, we'll drive at least 10000 miles in one year, but in Haiti, it'd take more like 5-6 years. So, not too many miles, but theyre just rough miles. I would just buy a car there, but its ridiculously expensive, about 35-45 grand for a new standard, super-basic truck, and about 6-10 grand for any car between 88 and 95. I'm not trying to make it last forever down there, just for several years until I can afford one of their cars. Thanks so much for the input!!
Darren

P.s. I work with Pastor Walter Dort, a Haitian Pastor who ministers in the city of Croix-des-bouquets, a suburb of Port-au-prince.
 






Humm. So you are going to be driving for long periods at slow speeds in hot weather? I'm new to Explorers, so others may have more details, but I would suggest looking at an electrical fan that you can switch on and off from inside the cab. Be sure to have your radiator and hoses inspected before you leave. Look in buying extra hoses or hose repaire kits.

Roof racks and baskets are great, but find a way to keep everything under lock and key if you do use them. I had a guy that I worked with that had people try to steel his watch, from his arm that was hanging outside the driver's window, while on patrol there a few years back...
 






Yeah, thats a good idea. People there will attempt to steal pretty much anything, so I understand where youre coming from. when I'm there I cant wear watches, sunglasses, or anything nice. Carrying things on the roof is usually a point a to point b kindof situation, and people usually dont climb onto roofs of moving vehicles over there. But, you do have a point. I'm going to try to get hood locks so that I can have the extra protection, and put an alarm system on. The fan Idea would be great though im defenitely going to be looking at cooling systems. you wouldnt believe what kind of cars run over there. they still have daihatsu trucks from the 70s blowing black smoke like theres no tomorrow. And, mostly everything is jerry-rigged somehow. theres trucks with compact car transmissions welded to the back of the engine, its nuts. Thanks for the help!
 






Pop in over at UCORA.org, introduce yourself, and state your needs. You'll find a bunch of dedicated Christian off-road enthusiasts that would like nothing more than to help you get set up.

Otherwise, a lot of what has already been said in this thread is right on the money. If it were me, I'd be looking to ship over a quad-cab superduty, but if you can only afford the Explorer, there are things you can do. The first couple of responses in the post were just about perfect. Oh, and the TTB is plenty tough for that sort of work.
 






One thing that you need regardless of the type of vehicle, (I agree the explorer is probably not what you want) is a winch. One on front and, if you have space, one on the rear. If you get stuck in the mud, a trench, or a river it will be a life saver.
 






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