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"Red Bull"

Red Bull
(Bandit #7)




1998 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer
5.0 V8
4.10 D35 Open
4.10 Ford 8.8
Manual 4406
BFG All-Terrain's 285/75/16 (33's)



302 bored .030 over (306)
XE264HR Cam
Dual Valve Springs
OBX Headers
Machined GT40P Heads
Red Powder Coated Intake, Oil Pan, and Valve Covers

Injectors, valve seats and seals, lifters, pushrods


2003+ Sport Trac Knuckles
Mevotech TTX TRE's

Sport Trac Brake Upgrade:
-12" Rotors (Front)
Ceramic Brake Pads

6000k 30w LED's
Clear Headlight Corners and Lenses

Warrior Shackles
2" Torsion Twist
1" Body lift
Bilstein 4600 Shocks
Mevotech TTX Ball Joints and Upper Control Arms
Extended swaybar links

Limited Steering wheel with redundant radio and digital temp controls
Digital HVAC
Custom leather upholstery (red leather in place of perforated leather)

CB Radio

Custom chili pepper red Paint PPG concept
Tupperware removed and holes welded up
"Serious Explorations" license plate frames front and back
Cut and re-welded front fenders 5" to clear larger tires
Limited Color Keyed Front Grill
Painted Rear Bumper
Chopped front bumper bed-lined

JVC KW-NT300 Nav/DVD/CD head unit
PAC adapter for steering wheel controls
Kicker DS68 6x8 Coaxial speakers
OEM 8" sub

Flowmaster Super 44

Fuel tank
Leaf Springs
Steering Rack
Inner Tie Rods
Front 4.10 Diff
Water Pump
CPS and Synchronizer
A/C System
Front O2 Sensors
Wheel Bearings
Multiple Fuel Pumps
Motor Mounts
Transmission mount


Kris' Old Registry

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After dropping the tank yet again (did it in 30 minutes, I'm getting good at this :)) I found that the big tray had indeed come off in the tank. Unfortunately there was no way to fix it. Thankfully Kris came to my rescue once again with another replacement tank which he brought down for me at the Demon meet.

It took about an hour to get the tank in by myself (its not heavy, just big) with my transmission jack, but after a successful install Red now no longer is starving for fuel when I hit the brakes.


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You are welcome bro!!!!

After a while I kept looking at the CB radio I had sitting in the corner in the garage. I had picked up some coaxial cable, an antenna, and a converter earlier this year, but I never actually installed it.

I originally wanted the radio where the ashtray was, but it was too long and stuck out too far and blocked the 4wd shifter. So I had a brilliant idea to do a stealth install in the glove box! After a little drilling I managed to get the radio to fit perfectly with zero clearance issues when closing the door. Unfortunately the mic connector stuck out to far so for the door to close it had to be removed, but I guess it adds to the stealth idea.


Earlier in the week I wanted to get my antenna installed on the back of Flyer II and I scoured my parts bucket for a good bracket and whaddya know! There was the original coil retainer that I pulled off the parts explorer when I did the 4x4 build on Flyer I. It was pretty thick at about a 1/4". It was just a matter of getting the holes drilled out and bending the thing. That took a LOT of effort as I misplaced my torch and had to bend it in the vice with v-grips cold turkey. After a couple of hours of work I had it installed and pretty solid. I did have to jerry-rig the negative connector for the antenna, but it works!


And finally a gratuitous photo of the Red Flyer II!


Also for the last few months after I got the 33's installed I was having a pretty rough ride in the rear. Since I had the full warranty on the tires from Discount Tire, I took Red in to have the tires rotated and rebalanced. After all was said and done they replaced the passenger rear tire as it was out of balance. When the tire was originally installed the guys at discount had a hard time getting it to balance and threw a ton of wheel weights on it after going through three different tires. They reasoned that after a few miles it would balance itself out. Since it didn't they gave me a full warrantied replacement. Woohoo! I definitely want to do a shout out for the guys at Discount Tire on west Highway 6 for doing such a great job with my Explorer.

Also after 3k miles on the Falken Rocky Mountain ATS' I definitely recommend them as a cheaper alternative to the BFG's and the Hankooks. Their traction is superb in both rain and mud and they have excellent tread life, not to mention the sidewall is very strong. I will point out one downside that since they are an LT tire that the ride does get a bit harsher (part of that is due to my rims being only 7" wide). Still worth the money I paid for them and last time I checked the price has dropped to a little over $145 a tire for a 285.

Looking good Dan.

Red is now inspected and registered. There was a small hem-haw thing going on when the the Jiffy people noticed I didn't have hi-beams for the inspection, but fortunately they passed me anyway.

I also got nothing but compliments on the Flyer at Jiffy Lube and at the parts store. Everybody loved it. They were impressed by how good she looks and how unusual it is for an Explorer to be set up this way.

Also in prep for my trip I fixed a few things that were bothering me. I added some more freon to the a/c, dropping the interior temp down to a wintery 37F, and installed the new hood release cable. I got really tired of using a pair of pliers to pop the hood. :rolleyes: I then did a stealth install for the switch I use to ground out the safety wire on the head unit so I can watch DVDs. Unfortunately, I have to flip it off and on every time I start the car in order for it to work, but it's still better than the emergency brake setup. :)

Back from trip to the island with a new set of memories. Happily, Red is in most of them. :D

My dad and I set up camp on Surfside beach late Friday evening with the wind gusting 10+ mph. It was a real pain to get everything set up for my dad since he wanted to use a tent. As for me I threw down in the back of Red and watched DVDs to the sound of the breakers. :bdrunk:


Next morning, I was up early with the sun and I grabbed my pole after breakfast and got out in the surf. It was low tide and a bit choppy, but after a couple of minutes of remembering how to cast with the wind, I got my line out in the water. Fortunately the smell of fresh shrimp drove the fish crazy and a nice whiting got hooked on my line. With one in the bucket, I got back out there and promptly caught another. My brother, Matt, joined us that morning and pulled a giant flounder out of the sea and my dad caught a baby drum, which was a throw back, and then a good size whiting. After that all we wound up doing was feeding the fish, so we called it a morning and headed into Galveston.

After grabbing a few essentials, we headed out to the beach going under the bridge on the Galveston side. I knew that there was good system of trails running through the dunes on the bay side and promptly dropped the Flyer into 4x4 and never looked back. :burnout:

I hit soft sand, small lakes on the trails at least a foot deep, wet sand and mud, some good off camber runs and a decent place to put the truck in 4 low. All I had to do was point Red in the direction I wanted and nothing stopped her. It wasn't till I started getting to the trails on the ocean side that things got a little more difficult. The sand got deeper and softer and I was spinning the tires a lot in an effort to get traction, but I still made it through. There was finally a place I wanted to hit before we headed back to camp. It was a 30 degree climb in soft sand up and over a dune. My first shot had me over power and slide into the side of the dune which knocked out my passenger foglight. On my second run I found that I was going to need a locker to get over it so I decided to do a three point reverse. It was then that I backed into a dune behind me and buried my front up to the bumper in sand with my rear passenger tire a good a foot in the air. No amount of rocking would get me out of this one. :help:



Once my dad and brother showed up we tried to dig it out of the sand, but the tires just dug deeper. There was also the added problem of the camber the Explorer was on. All the fuel had gone to the front of the tank starving the engine. We had to jump up and down on the passenger rear tire to rock fuel back into the pump. After my brother and dad went back into town for a strap, a couple of guys showed up and broke two ropes trying to get me free. Fortunately, the strap arrived and after a little tug Red was free! :party:

This brought to my attention several issues that needed to be addressed before I try off-roading again. First is come prepare to be recovered, which means a strap, shovel, and traction adders. Second, more lift. Third, sway bar removal. Fourth, air down. Fifth, install the freakin' tow hooks. And sixth, get a damn locker!! A limited slip is not a substitute by any means. :banghead:

Live and learn I guess. Still things went well. The fish got cooked up and were quite delish. Nothing like a good fish fry, yum yum. :popcorn: We came home early today as the winds decided to demolish our popup cover this morning and the surf was too heavy for any decent fishing.



Another thing to note about going offroad next to the ocean is reduced visibility if you do not keep the windows and mirrors cleaned every day otherwise a sandy, slimy film will develop that is tough to clean when it dries.

I do recommend hitting this area on the Galveston side as it is a good level 2, with some areas hitting a 3. Besides the terrain constantly changes so its a new experience after each storm. :thumbsup: Unfortunately you can run the whole area in about 30 minutes if you are set up properly so nothing more than a day trip at best.

Anyways just wanted to post up with my first true off road experience with the Red Flyer II!! :exp:

Some interesting shots I took:





The last two are reflections of the beach in Red's back glass.


A couple of days after I got back I was still getting a bad rub on my tire off my front bumper on the side I hit on the dunes. I figured I had bent it in a little and I had to figure a way to pull it out. So I thought a good way to do that would to get my strap around the bumper and then around something that could hold Red pulling on it. Enter a big concrete pillar in the back lot of an HEB. :D It took a couple of gentle pulls in 4 low, but I got it straightened out.

I did find some other damage when I filled up the Explorer yesterday. Apparently, when I got stuck I would up pulling off the hose clamp on the gas tank filler tube. So I was at buckees with Red peeing gas all over the ground. :rolleyes: Apparently it just leaks when filling, but fortunately all I need to do is take some time to pull the wheel off and reset the hose clamp.

Aw the joys of off-roading. You always think you walk away with no damage. And for the most part you did. But it's all the little annoying things that are out of wack.

but fortunately all I need to do is take some time to pull the wheel off and reset the hose clamp.

That gas tank has dropped enough times, it should be second nature to you by now!

Also anticipate problems on trails before that happens. Scan ahead think about your routes this will save your but in the future. :)

All in all I got off damn lucky for the crap I hit out there. However methinks I need to consider a stronger front bumper...

I still have not gotten Red cleaned up from the beach trip. I have just been way too busy to give her the TLC she desperately needs. But she keeps going and going.

Oh a btw, even with 33's Red goes 0 to 60 in 7 seconds. I just love that SOHC! It is way more fun than a v8, full of life and always ready to be pushed to the red line. Surprisingly the 5r is playing very well, handling shifts firmly all the way to 5k. I know I'm not supposed to push it that hard with all the timing chain issues these engines are prone too, but it is so much freakin fun blowing cars off the light in a lifted Explorer. Makes me smile all the way back to the house. :burnout:

Anyways, along with my fuel hose problem (yes, yes I know I should have fixed it by now) I have an evap issue throwing CEL's left and right, with the recent problem of not being able to clear them with my scan gauge 2. Two areas to check are the gas cap and the check valve for the evap.

On a good note, I finally landed a part time job with the local Best Buy. Its a bit of a step down pay and benefits-wise from my last job, but I am willing to take the hit in order to get my life back on track. One big plus is now I can take care of some of the nagging issues with Red like maxing out the TT and throwing in the add-a-leafs to get rid of the stupid tire rub when minimally stuffed. Still need to add the tow hooks, buy the Powertrax No-Slip and get it installed in the 8.8, and buy and install sliders.

Come hell or high water I'm going to Moab. :hammer:

handling shifts firmly all the way to 5k.

Curious, does yours shift at 5k or 6k when you are hammer down? Mine tachs out to 6k before a shift, my parents only runs to 5k before it shifts.

Sorry its taking so long to update this thread as I have been incredibly busy with my new job.

However that does not mean that I haven't made progress on the the Flyer. Last week I took the time on Thanksgiving to install the add-a-leafs I had purchased and at the same time maxed out the torsion twist. Red sits at least a good inch higher and I no longer have the rubbing issue as well. I also disconnected the rear sway bar, put new pads on the rear discs and removed the fifth shock. Now there are no limits on the articulation of my rear axle, save the shocks, which I will be replacing very shortly.

I still have a problematic high idle that I haven't diagnosed and even after tightening up the fuel hose I am still leaking gas when I am filling up, so I am still bummed out about that. :mad: If I have to drop that damn tank again I am going to do something I will probably regret.

But in any case Red is getting closer and closer to being ready for Moab next year. :D

History of raising Red :p

1" BL and 31's

1" BL + .75" TT + 1.25" WarShackles and 31's

1" BL + .75" TT + 1.25" WarShackles and 33's

1" BL + 1.75" TT + 1.25" WarShackles + 1" AAL and 33's

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Apparently I am now having a bump steer issue and the truck is feeling a little unstable at 60+ speeds. Upon further inspection, my sway bar link bushings have completely deteriorated, which means essentially I am running without any sway bars. :eek: I guess I have some suspension work to do.

With this extra lift I am now considering whether I might be able to run 35's on Red. ;)

I am afraid I have been infected by the lift bug. :D I remember the most I wanted was 31's and I can't even consider going back to that size now.