"Shade Bandit" (1997 Limited) | Page 2 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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"Shade Bandit" (1997 Limited)

Seeing as how I am up to my chest hairs with explorers, might as well actually create registries for them :rolleyes: Got one for Blue (as severely lacking as it is) so I'll start one for Shade.

Shade is my 1997 Ford Explorer Limited. The truck is completly bone stock, as I plan to keep it. Much to Kris Guilbeaux's angst, I will not be lifting it, and it will not be called that which shall not be spoken :cool:

Anywho, I purchased Shade from Manhatten, Kansas back in March of 2010. Shade was my first 'second' explorer (and a second gen at that) of mine, so I was pumped. I never really remembered what made me search for a second one, but I blame the forum :p: I found this rig on craigslist, and the seller was advertizing it as an Eddie Bauer...when I saw the pictures, I knew this was not the case. So I called the guy up and asked him about it. Appearently, him and his wife bought the truck at an auto auction for her to drive and kept it for a couple of years. Then it started making this god awful noise up front and they parked it....

...Did I mention this truck is the SOHC motor?:rolleyes:

So, being niave about the whole death rattle issue, I asked the guy how much for it. He told me he wanted a thousand even as is. I told him I would come up the following monday and pay him $750 cash...and he reluctantly agreed. Awesome I thought...but I would still like to look the truck over some more...hmmm

Then V8powerbaby (Nathan) said his friend and fellow forum member Elasser65 was up in that aera, So I called him up, and he graciously agreed to swing by and give it a good look over. Afterwards, he gave his approval and the sale was set in stone (thank you by the way for driving over there and looking at it!!)

So it was set. I, Russell, was about to purchase my second explorer! But wait...how exactly was I goin to pay for it? Oh crap....But wait! I had a 1996 Thunderbird LX sitting in my garage I wasn't doing anything with...


...So I sold it the following day for, surprisingly enough, $750.00. Alright cool, but how was I going to get it home? Well, as fate would have it, Kris Guilbeaux, as some of you may know, was planning on making a trip up to see me that same weekend I was to get this explorer...and he has his V8 Mounty...So after much begging and pleading and offerings of gas money, Kris agreed to tow it back for me...After some grinding on Blue of course :D


So, the next day, we loaded up our gear and tow bar (Kris wanted to flat tow it) we were on our way for the 6 hour drive..Saw a lot of Oklahoma and Kansas...which was flat fields, LOL. Then towards late afternoon we arrived. I fell in love with the truck! It was so pretty, and in reletivly good shape. Sure, a few cosmetic things, but very sound looking and very solid. I paid the man, put in the battery from Blue (it didnt have one) and started it right up...

...and woke the dead. Did I mention it has the SOHC motor?:rolleyes:

Whew this thing rattles! Loudest noise Ive ever heard come from a motor. But Kris assured me it was the balance shaft (it has control trac, BW 4405 4wd) and drove great. So We busted out the tow bar, removed the front bumper, and hooked him up!


I was so excited! My very own second gen, and a full fledged limited at that! I couldnt stop oogling it :D

We said our goodbyes to the previous owner, title in hand, and took off out of the neighbor hood as dusk was forming. After the third turn, however, we hear this crash, then something spewing, then Shade started drifting...

...Uh Oh...

The passenger rail of the tow bar snapped and plunged right into the Tranny cooler, A/C condenser, and radiator. So ATF was leaking, R-134A was filling the atmosphere, and I thought Kris was going to have a heart attack. I calmed Kris down, assured him everything was ok, and on the bright side, we knew the A/C was charged :cool:

So We pushed Shade back to the previous owners house (couldnt run it long since the tranny cooler was busted) and got a hotel room for the night. The next day we secured a u-haul trailer (LOL's all around here folks) and loaded it up and was ready again...


(Kris looking pimp as ever)

...And started out journey back to my place. Everything was pretty smooth sailing. On the way home, stopped at my fav salvage yeard, and picked up another tranny cooler for free, and got it home


We unloaded Shade at his new home, Kris took the uhaul trailer back while I did my very first repair in the cold rain in the middle of the street installing the tranny cooler, and finally, drove Shade into my driveway...


Thats pretty much the story of how Shade entered my life. Since then, I've put about 3000 miles on him ( i know, death rattle, its a no no) until I discovered brake fluid leaking from somewhere, so I havent driven him lately. A big thanks to Kris for putting up with my fanatical optimism during this adventure, LOL. But Please, gather over some more photos of him :D





And of course, when I pull into work, I spot another, so guess where Russell parked? :rolleyes:

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I just love how the name I gave your truck is sticking way better then the one you gave it. :wavey:

Enjoyed reading the adventures of getting shade home. Oh... the memories you will have.

Congrats on joining the Limited crew:thumbsup: :D

Ahh, so the Shade Sage continues....

So after letting Shade sit for so long with no love, I decided to change projects yet again, and concentrate on him. As you all may know, Shade has a bad case of Death Rattlitus. So sure, I could have pulled the motor, tore it down, replace all the timing components, and reinstall, but why do that when all of the sudden another SOHC motor enters your garage from out of nowhere!!:eek:



So thus starts my (insert random number here because I have lost count of the motor swaps ive done in the last two years)th motor swap into Shade. This new motor runs, is quiet, and has 30k less miles on it. Plus for free, I can't complain :cool: My goal here is to get Shade as my daily, tear the original motor back down, fix, repair, and paint, and reinstall as a good working spare engine.

But I had to clean out the garage from the madness of frame cutting and F100 mania. So after that was done...

..Shade gets pulled in for the operation...which I am getting way good at by the way :D

(Shade eyeing the new motor over...Shade is not amused)

So I begin like we all do and start disconnecting and removing various bits and parts

And that's where the simplistic nature of a motor swap ends. I somehow have upset the Limited Gods that be, as this motor has given me the absolute most difficult time EVER!! (Kris, you are a liar saying that pulling a SOHC is easier than a first gen :p: )

Getting into this motor swap, i have discovered the following:

  • Three of the exhaust header stud bolts snapped off on me
  • two of the exhaust header bolts were missing all together
  • One of the A/C compressor mounting studs was already snapped off
  • The firewall behind the upper intake manifold was scratched to hell
  • three of the upper intake manifold bolts/screws had old tool bits broken off inside the hex
  • the y-pipe will not budge
  • and the water pump pulley bolts are stripped, thus not allowing removal of fan

Which leads me to the belief that this motor in Shade has been pulled before, or replaced. To all the serial number gurus out there...how and where do I look to see if this motor is numbers matching to this truck?

Ok, so after a full weekend of working on Shade, the old motor is still sitting in the truck. But light was being seen towards the end of this tunnel. By sunday night, all I had left was the motor mounts. Well, they put up a fight as well, as no tool I had at my disposal would work/clear/fit on the 4 nuts...Until in a fit of rage and anger, I came up with this device:

My very own, custom made, Bandit-spec 'SOHC Motor Mount Removal Socket Wrench Breaker Bar of Destiny'...Made out of an old spark plug adjustable wrench and a 1/2" drive rachet. Perfect length for inside the engine bay, and long enough to get good torque on those damn motor mount nuts.

Regardless to say, the motor was ready to come out. Had the Engine attached to the cherry picker, and was lifting it out when....

...the cherry picker crapped out on me. SO I threw in the towel, and have left Shade to sit and think about what he has done to me, and hopefully to get a better attitude about all this non-sense he is causing me.

And my buddy craig thought this was the MOST oppurtune moment to take a picture of me :rolleyes:

Russell, do you have a picture of a minivan on your wall?

Russell, do you have a picture of a minivan on your wall?

Yes...yes I do :D Even though the freestar is...well, a freestar, it still deserves love :p:

Nice job on the mod for the wrench Russell! Did some of the luck of Dan lurk around for a bit at your place? :D

You might have to get a vendor's license for that engine mount remover wrench Russell!:thumbsup::thumbsup:


When we last left off, the Old motor was pulled out and the new motor waiting transplant. Then 4 months passed with no progress. Don't ask me, I don't know :rolleyes:

Anyway, since I was scheduled to go to the Central Texas Meet and Run on August 6th, I needed a vehicle to get down there and run, so I decided it was time to get Shade up and going.

So my buddy Mike came over and we got the new motor set in FINALLY and then it was just a matter of hooking everything up and filling fluids. I didnt take many pics because it was just a little motor swap that kicked my ASS! LOL But here it is set in the bay at last!

Then finished up on hooking everything up

And the first test drive! YAY! Also, had to pick up some tasty beverages :D

Oh, and I guess it needed a hood :rolleyes:

So Shade was pretty much ready for the 600+ round trip to texas only a week away at this point (End of july). So I guess I needed some a/c, so hooked up the gauges and charged it. Yep, I think the A/C works now...

So took Shade down to the meet and other than a tire blowout and exhaust leak, performed excellent! Here is some video for your enjoyment:

And some from the run down there (great trip, thank you guys!!)






Then en route back home, had to stop for some photo ops at Texas Motor Speedway like I did with Blue a couple years back



Any my favorite of the night:

Well, thats about it for now, Shade is going good and is my current daily.

Should have stopped in for a beer. I am only 4 miles off of I-35W. I am about 7 miles away from Texas Motor Speedway.

Dang Mike, I wish i would have remembered that. Well, good to know for next time if I ever blow a tire near there :D

I am your North Texas Service Center.

Not really an update, but just some more photos :D

We all remember the 1996 movie Twister, right? The one with Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt as storm chasers in Oklahoma? Well, believe it or not, some of that movie was actually filmed in Oklahoma. Especially the drive in movie scene.

That scene was filmed in Guthrie, Oklahoma, the original state capitol of Oklahoma. The following movie scenes (property of Universal Pictures) are below:

First, notice the red brick house here with the front porch:

And Again...

And then notice the grain mill to the left part of the screen...

And right behind Helen Hunt...

I have a point for bringing this up. I was in Guthrie, so I thought I would take some photo ops of Shade out there in the field where all this was filmed. The "house" is really just an old abandoned railway house shown here:

And the old grain mill today...

Anyway, here's the photos I took, lol



















Anyway, that's it for now, still driving Shade as my daily for the time being, just wanted to show him some love and soft grass :D

thanks mike! :thumbsup:

TECHNICALLY, those are on city property, but me and the City Of Guthrie police are so good friends, i can pretty much just pull the "Hi, I'm Russell" card and get away with anything there, lol

If you ever make it down to Austin again I can bring you to where they filmed the latest "True Grit". It was the town I was married in.

Cool, we'll set it up next time you are granted a passport/visa to Texas.

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So did Shade's first mod a few days ago! Seeing as how Shade is in fact a Limited, I figured i would add my own few touches and try and make it a little more "Limited-y" than the rest. First being the window switches. All second gen door and lock switches are black with green back lighting. that's all well and good, but Shade is a LIMITED! :D SO I found a grand marquis GS and robbed the switches out of it so i can have color matching switches. Go ahead, be jealous LOL


Did all 4 doors, and everything was complete plug and play. All I got left to find is a tan memory switch and lock switches (so the letters are facing the right way) from a 96 MK VIII and this mod is done!

Also, found a mounty bra in my collection of parts so i threw it on for no reason. I call it my Hannibal Lector Mask for explorers. you like? Also, random off-roady pictures out at my sisters place.




That's it for now folks!