Project build - "Elvira" | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Project build - "Elvira"


Well-Known Member
July 11, 2011
Reaction score
City, State
Indianapolis, Indiana
Year, Model & Trim Level
'94 Limited
As most of you know what happened to my previous Explorer, and after a 4 month hiatus, I figured I'd start a build thread for those who'd like to follow my progress.

I picked up a 1994 Dark smoke grey one in Florida in October, mostly rust-free. In Indiana, they rust from the bottom up; In Florida, it's from the top down. Despite my clever name, I don't like rust.

On the long trip home, left to nothing but my thoughts, I gave it her name, "Elvira", after my favorite 80's actresses Cassandra Peterson, best known for her on-screen horror hostess character Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. I am a child of the 80's obviously. Because I'm into Rat-rods and I've always loved her '1958 T-Bird, the "Macabre Mobile", I will be using some of the styling cues from it for the inspiration on my build.

I've been gathering parts over the last few months, some of which were intended for my previous ride and it's about time to start posting some pictures. I may have a few things for sale (less the body and lift parts) as I start this project.


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Nice , did you have to modify the wheels to fit over the 4x4 hub ?

Wow, thats a clean rig. Should make an awesome base for upgrading!

Those are some nice wheels, are you lifting it and going offroad or other other way with street rubber?


I did my homework on the wheels.

They are direct bolt on, no machining. 4x4 auto locking hubs fit perfectly, but the center caps for the front will have to be modded or hubs painted for looks only, not function.

Manufacturer: Ridler Custom Wheels
P/N 695 -2865
Style: Ridler 695
Finish: Matte Black/Machine Lip
Size: 20X8.5
Bolt Pattern:5X114.3 (5X4.5)
Offset: 0
Center bore: 83.82
Cap: C10695MB
Price: $200.00 /each shipped

It will be lifted 9.5". I'm starting off with street tires, 31" or 32" All Seasons temporarily and switching them to a 36"-38" All Terrain tire after I lift and regear (5.13).

It will be primarily used on-road, but will be off-road worthy.

I snuck a couple unrelated pictures just to keep the thread interesting. The intake is ported/polished, and my oldest son has on what I like to call "Mommy-muffs".

And yes, that's a Solo red cup.


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Love the kiddie toys in the garage with the big kid toys...oh the joys of parenthood!

Good to know the Hub Dia to go off of ! , And Great port skills ! , I do my own port and polish on my and my friends stuff , Its time consuming but wow at the Difference !

Good stuff Rusty. I'm sure this one will last longer than the EB did.

Looks great! Subscribing.

Tires + Wheels

I have two choices:

255/55R20 (31.1") Bridgestone Dueller H/L Alenza -Take off's from a 2011 Traverse. These are Touring/All-Season.

275/55R20 (31.9") Pirelli Scorpions STR - Takes offs from a 2012 Nissan Titan. Highway All-Season

I'm leaning toward the Pirelli Scorpions, a more premium tire.

I'm very fortunate, my Father's in the Indianapolis tire distribution business, lucky break huh? Anytime he gets a new vehicle, first thing he does is switch to brands he carries. His Tire Rep gives him the tires they want to promote, mounted on custom wheels of Pop's choice from ATD wheels. Both sets above are from his stock vehicles, almost new. 20" are the most common nowaday, so I raid the used tire shelf for the hand-me-downs. He get's Sh__ty if I swipe new ones but I guilt him with this line, "It's for your Grandchildren", hasn't failed me yet. That's the back-story why I've had so many wheel/tire combo's over the years. So far, my favorites have been the Nitto Terra Grapplers mounted the previous EB Explorer, if you're interested in my $0.02.

For the wheel center bores, the 83.82 (3.3") diameter on the inside and tapers down to roughly 2.5" on the outside , so don't use that hub center bore diameter as a size reference for wheels if you're shopping. It was just a lucky break the taper was spot on.


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Thanks for the heads up Rusty ! , Also good deal with the rim and tire Options , Gotta Love Family Discount !!

Me jealous of the tire discount!!! At least you're making good use of it!

Nice rust free find, should make installation of the lifts a breeze!

With minimal lift and stock gearing, the 255/55s may be a better choice. Are you planning on putting the 36"-38" tires on the 20" Rims?

On a side note, i ran a 275/60r20 Cooper Zeon LTZ on my explorer and was pleased with the ride quality, sidewall height, and traction

The wheel/tire challenge

Are you planning on putting the 36"-38" tires on the 20" Rims?

There's a lot I haven't decided on yet, but it depends on the stance after the lift, and how I deal with the challenge of two bolt patterns - front vs back - when I swap to TTB Dana 44 hubs. I do know that I will not go less on the wheel diameter, 20" is the minimum. I've been shopping for additional wheels with a high (-) offset, -20 to -60mm after it's lifted. Cost is a factor. I'll get a deal on the tires, but I'll have to pony up some $$ on 5 new tires. Even discounted, that adds up quickly.
Once you start dabbling in the world of 22"-24", the tire price ramps up disproportionately because they are more of a specialty. I could easily fit a taller wheel and reap the benefits of a lighter wheel/tire combo (Less tire and more wheel = less rolling mass). Your choices of wheels are limited in the 22-24" range with a 5x4.5. I won't bolt on a set of gawdy, chrome, pimp wheels.

I was pulled in by her name and the word project ill stay for the lift with those wheels...and if u ever need to get them off ur hands ill try to save up money

After replacing so many sets of the Dueller I would highly recommend against them. When I worked at Acura, the Dueller tires would always wear unevenly and cup way before they were worn out.

I'm glad your back in the game. Though i was looking forward to the road trip. Next time.

I'd advise against the scorpions. Everyone that I know that had them on their trucks hated them on anything but pavement. Even dry grass gave them problems. Sweet wheels btw. Looking forward to where this build is headed.

Advice needed

Are alternator housings top or bottom load?


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LOL. I can't do things like that anymore since I was caught cleaning a transmission in the bath tub. I'm not even allowed to use the oven to bake non food items (unless i know she will be gone long enough. :)

Oh, yeah Tweaked....been there doing that! I won't repeat some the the things I got busted for!

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My wife had a friend over for coffee and saw me scrubbing 302 pistons in the kitchen sink. She asked my wife why she let me clean car parts in her sink, my wife asked her, "where else is he suppose to do it?" She understands me...