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Seth's 1999 5.0 AWD Limited registry...

Hello Gentlemen!

Pull up a chair and grab a beer. I understand the registry is where we give the who/where/what/when/why of our Explorers. So, here I go...

I recently bought my Explorer:

5.0 V-8
White Pearl with Light Prairie Tan pinstripes
Light Prairie Tan Leather interior
MACH audio system

A little history. My Explorer was ordered new near my hometown in midwestern Ohio by an older gentleman. He drove it for a couple of years, then parked it in the garage due to failing health. After he passed away, his family sold it to the Ford dealership in my hometown.

Typical midwestern small town. My mother taught with the wife of the Service Manager, and went to high school with most of the rest of the staff at White's Ford. She had an excellent relationship with them, having bought 4 cars there. When my Explorer came to the dealership, the service manager called Mom to come look at it immediately. She bought it.

Mom used this Explorer as her daily driver. It was loaded and she loved it. Mom took good care of the Explorer, and it only went to the dealership for repairs and maintenance.

2 years ago, Mom bought a 2009 Explorer, so the 1999 became her back up vehicle. Then, she let my little brother use it... :eek:

He didn't abuse the Explorer as much as neglect it. He just drove it. No maintenance, no upkeep. Nothing.

A few months ago, I decided I wanted an Explorer like Mom's. I searched all around my area. Nothing. So, why not just buy Mom's? It took me a little while to convince her, but the Explorer is now mine. :D

Here are some photos to start:





Seth K. Pyle

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Coming along nicely! Those headlights look very appealing, especially for the price. Where did you find the replacement grounding straps?

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The ground straps are universal ones from NAPA. The driver's side ground strap literally crumbled in my fingers. Passenger's side wasn't much better.
I wire wheeled the rust away at the mounting points, then installed the new straps with new hardware and new star lockwashers. May not be much of an improvement, but it can't be worse!

Seth K. Pyle

Jesus, and I thought I was OCD about maintaining the vehicles I own, haha.

If you want to fully fix the rust, you're pretty much looking at cutting and replacing. There are ways to seal it and prevent it from getting worse though. POR15 paint is the most effective, but also is very time consuming with the preprep and paint process needing to be pretty much perfect. Or you can get something like a black undercoating oil or wax from Eastwood or Amsoil to keep it from getting worse until you're ready to do some actual paint and body repairs. I've used both, and they're both awesome. The Eastwood is actually black though, whereas the Amsoil is more amberish. The Amsoil will make things darker, almost to the point of being black. If you look at my Sport Trac registry, you'll see the difference with the Amsoil, especially on the rear frame and axle.

Yeah...I have no illusions about the rust. There will be cutting discs and MIG welding in my Explorer's future.

Seth K. Pyle

Changed my mind about the CD changer. I am too lazy to keep swapping discs into the magazine. :D

So, ordered the USA Spec PA11-FORD1 iPod interface module. Installed it today. It ended up being a bit of a pain in the ass. The adapter extension harness does not include anything for the rear sub and amp plug. I mistakenly left this plug disconnected from the Mach head unit. Sound was crappy and not loud. :mad:

Realized my mistake and plugged it in. Much better. However, due to the extension harness, I had to finagle the routing and lay of the wires so as not to apply tension to the sub and amp plug.

I ended up removing the message center and top of the console to run the iPod connection cable. Best place to put the interface module was the bottom of the left side of the console, under the message center.

Only other problem was disconnecting the wiring plug so I could remove the CD changer. There was NO slack. I ended up pushing a long thin screwdriver down to depress the plug locking tab. God help me if I ever put the CD changer back in! :eek:

I tried using the interface module in 'Playlist' mode. The head unit controls the iPod, with 5 playlists emulating CD's to the head unit. That ended up being limiting and a pain. I am now using it in the 'Direct' mode. The iPod is controlled from the iPod.

Good enough for me!

Seth K. Pyle

Good haul at the junkyard today!






For $60, I got:

-tubular, bolt-in hitch receiver, labeled 'U-Haul #78129'

-factory 4-pin trailer plug-in adapter harness

-rear anti-sway bar and links

-front 34mm anti-sway bar

-two sets of rear spring shackles, one set from a 1996, the other from a 1999

-rear axle metal brake line

-good set of rear lift gate struts

-all the mounting hardware, brackets, etc... required to install the above items

All of these parts are MUCH less rusty than what is on my Explorer.

Now, I just have to get time to start installin these and all the other parts I have amassed.

Seth K. Pyle


I now have rear wiper!!!

I knew when I bought my Explorer that the rear wiper didn't work. Motor runs, arm doesn't move.

I did quite a bit of research here, learning all the problems others have gone through.

So, I went to the dealer.
$88.16 F87Z17508AD new wiper motor assembly with mounting bracket
$34.94 XL2Z17526AA updated wiper arm

Finally got them installed tonight.
Much better! The blade contacts the entire surface of the glass through the full arc of motion, and doesn't get hung up on the edge of the glass.

No photos because you guys already know what it all looks like.

Seth K. Pyle

New bling time!

I have been OK, but not overly excited by the stock '5.0L V8' trim plate on the intake manifold of the 5.0 in my Explorer. Well, I tripped over this trim plate and like it much better! Probably from a 90's Mustang or such.







Seth K. Pyle

Not much to report. The engine, transfer case, and P/S system are full of Mobil 1 synthetics.

Other than that, I have done nothing but DRIVE it! Day in, day out, my Explorer just goes and goes.

I do plan on some down time for replacement/upgrades next month, though.

Seth K. Pyle

Oh, I had been fighting with the Torque app on my Nook HD+ trying to get it to pair via Bluetooth. In disgust, I put it away last month. Now, I can't find my dongle...

Spent some money on my Explorer...:D

My wife has been razzing me about how her 2008 Chevrolet Equinox has factory remote start on it. To add insult to injury, I had to show her how to use it.

Well, I had a Viper 5706V LC3 2-Way LCD Security and Remote Start System installed in my Explorer. I am having all kinds of fun with it. Damn good transmitting power. I can be sitting in the middle of the plant and am able to start my Explorer before I get off work. Nice.


Seth K. Pyle

Before I owned it and any mods.


Since I've owned it. :)

Are you still running the BW4404 AWD transfer case?

Seth K. Pyle

4406 is a must
4404 on top 4406 on bottom.

Had a helluva weekend working on my Explorer! Finally got several things done that I have wanted for awhile.

Started off small. Replaced the failing power lock actuator in the liftgate.


Note the rod I pried off the actuator. This was an attempt to remove the actuator. It failed. The manual is correct. The only way to unhook the actuator linkage rod is to unbolt the carrier plate for all the rod linkages for the latches, locks, window, etc...:eek:

I installed 50W halogen bulbs in the reverse lights, and better LED bulbs in the puddle lamps, running boards, and license plate lights.





I got the halogen bulbs from, and the 5 SMD LED bulbs from ebay. These LED bulbs are now in the running board and license plate lamps. I don't have a photo of the 42 SMD LED bulbs I put in the puddle lamps.


Sorry about the fuzzy photo. I was trying to shoot it in the dark before the motion lights came on under the carport.




I understand halogen bulbs produce a considerable amount of heat, which is bad in a plastic housing. However, I have been running halogen reverse lights in my vehicles for years. The trick is to not leave them on for too long.

More to come on the front suspension work...

Seth K. Pyle

Took care of some front suspension issues this weekend.

Replaced the rusty original Motorcraft front shocks with Monroe Reflex shocks. I won't say they were rusty, but I had to break one of the upper studs.




Replaced everything associated with the front anti-sway bar. I got a 34mm bar with mounting brackets and hardware from a 1999 Explorer in a junkyard. They are less rusty than the ones on my Explorer. I installed the bar with Raybestos polyurethane end link kits and NAPA Chassis polyurethane mounting bushings. I cheated and lubricated ALL bushings with Energy Suspension synthetic bushing grease.


Junkyard bar and endlinks, before cleaning.


End links didn't want to come off. I won.


Loose endlinks, installed approximately 5 years and 46,000 miles ago.


Cleaned junkyard bar and bar from my Explorer.





Now, the front of my Explorer feels a little more stable, and doesn't rattle over bumps. The only thing left is to replace the inner and outer tie rods. I have new Moog pieces waiting in my shop.

More to come on the rear suspension.

Seth K. Pyle

Took care of some scary issues under the rear suspension of my Explorer this weekend.

Biggest problem was the rear spring shackles. They were rusty tissue paper. Mom never met a snowstorm she didn't like. Snow in Ohio means salted roads. I am hassling her now to keep her 2008 Eddie Bauer Explorer clean this winter.

Anyway, I am lucky that junkyards in my area have plenty of Explorers with far less rust than mine.


I was able to bend the left shackle by hand with no problem. The lower bolt for the passenger's side shackle had to be removed with a combination of vise grips, 2 lb hammer, big drift, violence, and many inappropriate words.



No rust, much better. Donor shackles went on with anti-sieze on the bolts.

Next problem was the developing sag in the rear springs. The leaves were pretty much flat. I removed the rusty original Motorcraft rear shocks and replaced them with Monroe Load Leveler coil over shocks. I got lucky in that I didn't have much trouble removing the upper mount bolts. Unfortunately, lower mount bolts required violence. I got better used lower mount bolts from the junkyard. The load levelers were a ***** to install. I ended up using a floor jack to slowly jack the shock up until I could lever the lower mount bolts in.



Rear ride height before.


Rear ride height after. I will give the coil overs a couple of weeks to settle in. I think the overall gain will be around an inch. I am good with that. My Explorer sits level now.



Replaced the rusty original Motorcraft pinion shock as well. Installed a Monroe damper. That thing was quite stiff!

Replaced everything associated with the rear anti-sway bar. I got a rear bar, endlinks, mounting brackets, and hardware from a 1999 Explorer in a junkyard. These parts were less rusty than the ones I had. I installed the bar and endlinks with Ford sway bar insulator mounting bushings and Raybestos polyurethane end link bushing kits. I cheated and lubricated ALL the bushings with Energy Suspension synthetic bushing grease.


Junkyard bar, links, and mounting hardware before cleaning.


Only replacement bushings I found were from the dealer. Nothing aftermarket.


Cleaned endlinks and bushing kits.


Completed endlinks ready to go on.



Finally got to install my junkyard U-Haul 'hidden hitch' style receiver. It took more work than I expected. Initially, there were clearance issues, and not just with the 16" spare.

I didn't pay close enough attention to the Explorer I removed the hitch from to see if it had the same vertical ribs under the bumper as mine did. There were thick metal ribs that hung down, and merged into safety chain holes under the bumper on my Explorer. The hitch hit those. Also, where Mom kissed that light pole years ago, the bumper isn't right. The frame doesn't look bent, the bumper doesn't look bent, the brackets don't look bent, but it is pushed closer to the body on the driver's side.

After forcing the hitch in place and cramming the hardware into the bolt holes, I was not surprised to find the 16" spare didn't fit. I slept on the problem. The next morning, I cut the ribs off the bottom of the bumper, and trimmed the back side of the hitch. I had already cut off the spare tire protector from the rear cross member that carries the evap vapor canister assembly. The hitch fit much better. And, with the right amount of finagling and holding my mouth just right, the 16" spare fit and just cleared the coil over springs. :D


Junkyard hitch in all its glory. I removed the U-Haul sticker.


Ribs trimmed from under the bumper.


Trimmed back side of the hitch.


Trimmed the ends of the hitch for clearance for the shackles to flex if necessary.


Hitch nicely tucked up under the bumper. Yes, I am looking for another bumper. This one is not really savable due to the dent.


Spare tire against the back of the hitch.


Spare tire clearance to the passenger's side coil over spring.


Spare tire clearance to the driver's side coil over spring. It doesn't look like it, but there is just enough clearance.


Found a factory trailer harness in the junkyard. Just had to clean it up and install it to the factory trailer harness connector in the back corner of the body. I packed both ends with dielectric grease.


While I was at it, I installed a much less rusty spare tire winch.

Between the front and rear suspension repairs, my Explorer feels more stable and sure-footed. I don't really notice the ride as being much firmer. I am quite pleased!

Still have lots to do, though:
-install better junkyard fuel tank filler neck and hoses
-rebuild parking brakes and replace driver's side cable
-new wheel bearings and seals, pinion seal, and change fluid in rear axle
-new U-joints in rear drive shaft
-new U-joint and CV repair kit in front drive shaft
-new CV axles and hub bearings

It doesn't need any of the above items, I just want to replace them for peace of mind.

It does need calipers. The ones on it don't leak and work, but are horribly crusty. I am kicking around getting the spindles from a 2003 or so Explorer Sport to go up to 12" front brakes.

At some point, I need to:
-change the trans fluid and filter, add a drain plug to the pan
-change the coolant, flush the system, replace all the hoses
-replace the spark plugs and wires
-do the wonderful PCV valve and hose replacement. Go 5.0 :banghead:

It never ends...:D

Seth K. Pyle

Finally got a tune!

The SCT Xcal3 I bought from qumanchew arrived last Friday. Thanks again! Saturday morning, I bought a 3 pack of tunes from James Henson, and sent him the required information in an E-mail early Monday morning. In preparation, I ran the fuel tank low then refilled it with 93 octane fuel Sunday night.

Later Monday morning, he E-mailed me 3 tunes. That man is quick!!!

I loaded the 93 Octane Street Tune into my Explorer's PCM and went for a drive. Using the tuner was quite easy and straight forward. The perfomrance of my Explorer after the tune was not a Jekyll/Hyde kind of thing. The 5.0 felt a little stronger through the whole range, and transmission shifting was firmer. I am very pleased!





Only have one problem. At WOT, there is some detonation. I have talked to James and we are working on it.

I am now awaiting the additional O2 sensor bungs & caps, as well as the SCT 9608 analog datalogging cable to arrive. I intend to datalog AFR from my Innovate LC-1 wideband O2 sensor kit back to James with info from the PCM for better tuning.


I might have to order another LC-1 and run 3 wideband O2 sensors. On my 5.0L AWD Explorer, each exhaust head pipe has its own catalytic converter and secondary catalytic converter. The exhaust streams don't join together until they hit the main muffler by the transfer case. So, I may have to put an O2 sensor before each primary catalytic converter to get accurate AFR information from each bank.
I am waiting to see what James says about this.

More to come...

I now have parking brakes!

This may be of little importance to many, but a functioning parking brake is something I want on each of my vehicles.

Shortly after getting it home back in July, I discovered that my Explorer's parking brakes were inoperative. I took the driver's side rear caliper and rotor off to look at the parking brake assembly. I was a rusty mess. In disgust, I put it back together.

Over the past several months, as part of ordering numerous replacement parts, I ordered a driver's side actuating cable, new shoes, and a hardware kit. Yesterday, I got it all installed.

The parking brake assemblies were one big rusty, seized mess. There was no friction material anywhere. The driver's side actuating cable was seized and broken in two places.

This job was one big *****!!! The following points of interest caused me to invent new curse words:
-actuating cable ends stuck in connecting links
-removal of parking brake shoe OEM hold downs and nails
-installation of parking brake shoe aftermarket hold downs and nails. They were a different design than OEM
-adjusting the parking brake shoes. Not so much a ***** as just tedious.

But, its done and my Explorer has parking brakes.


Hmmm...I wonder why it doesn't work...


On the right side, you can see the OEM shoe hold down and nail. ***** to remove.


I'm pretty sure this cable isn't working.


New shoes, hardware, cable, and cable to frame retaining spring.


Not good.




This end of the old cable actually broke off past the sleeve that goes into the caliper bracket.


This end looked OK, it just didn't move. New cable much better.


Very tight packaging. Ideally, I wanted to do this while I was replacing the outer wheel bearings and seals. Unfortunately, it didn't work out like that.


You can see the aftermarket shoe hold downs and nails. ***** to install.


This is one of the rear rotors that was installed new back in early July. I used a green scotchbrite pad to remove the surface rust from the parking brake drum surface.


At the left you can see the bracket that connects the passenger's side cable to the driver's side cable. At the right, you can see the cable connecting link that I cursed at.


New driver's side cable and cable to frame retaining spring. I'm not sure why the driver's side cable is that long, and why it curves up towards the frame like that. Could be clearance for the tire...


At least this cable now moves. Yes, I know, I should consider replacing the traction bars, or at least the bushings.

So far so good. The only issue now is I think the contacts in the parking brake control light switch are oxidized. I cleaned them with contact cleaner. However, it is hit or miss whether the light illuminates when I step on the parking brake pedal. Oh well, I will replace the switch if necessary.

This is one more thing to mark off the list.

More to come...

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To be installed