"Shade Bandit" (1997 Limited) | Page 3 | 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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Well, some bad news (even though I am a few days late in posting on here about it). On the 21st (the day the world was supposed to end) I go to leave work and Shade was just running horribly. Stumbling, no power, lack of vaccuum (Surprisingly, no check engine lights) so I managed to move the truck closer to the shop and leave it there over night. The next morning, I go back to work and hook up the IDS to the truck and performed a compression test via the computer. The test results showed over 50% drop in compression on cylinders 1,2, and 3...all on the passenger side...meaning I think my timing jumped due to the death rattle :( So I bought new chains/guides from work, and this weekend Guilbeaux and I are doing another motor swap on Shade by fixing the timing on the original motor and putting it back in shade. So yea. Fun times ahead. Luckily, I borrowed the cam tools from work so that will make things a bit easier.

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Good luck Russell. I hope I never have to do this on Red.

Good luck Russell. I hope I never have to do this on Red.

I'm thinking someone is due for a trip to austin this weekend :D

Ouch Sorry to hear about the Motor Issues And Having to do the Swap to the old one , Good Luck and God Speed !! .

Good luck to y'all. At least you won't have to worry about sweating.

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Well, as most of you know, shade's replacement sohc motor gave up the ghost on christmas. So the plan was to rebuild Shade's original motor and replace all the timing guides. After tearing down shade's original motor, it was discovered that yes..ALL the guides were bad...and by bad, i mean completely gone. SO after borrowing the cam timing tool set from work and buying the ford replacement guides, Kris and I got to work.

After tearing down the motor and removing the timing cover, we discovered this:

Yea, the timing guide was completely gone and Im assuming it was in the hundred tiny peices of plastic that fell out of the motor. So after figuring out how the timing set works, we got to work and ended up with this:



So now the next week involves taking the valve covers, oil pan, timing covers, and assorted brackets to work and putting them in the vat cleaner, reassembly, and start on pulling the old motor. Hopefully in a couple of weeks, we will have shade running like new and no more rattle!!!

You should send all those Misc. parts to Jon while it is apart. Would be a nice finish to all of your hard work

Eventually, that is something im going to have him do for me, but that's on another project that I have cooking in my head :D

I ordered all the lower gaskets this morning from work, so they should be here tomorrow. Tonight I will be getting shade ready for another motor transplant and get everything disconnected and out of the way.

Should also mention that the guides and chains I bought from ford parts, so it has all the official Motorcraft goodies installed in it lol.

Sorry for no update, but here's whats been going on. Since Shade has been down, I've been driving Blue. Well...Blues torque convertor decided to quit on a Friday night, so Kris and I got to talking, and decided to move shade's motor swap up to one weekend. So Kris and I started getting the old motor out and getting the new one ready.

Heres the timing cover after a parts cleaning from the VAT machine at work:

Getting the new motor put back together

You may notice the balance shaft sitting on the floor. We decided to remove the balance shaft completely as that is one less guide that can fail in the future.

So after an intense 3 hours, we got the old motor out of the truck and started to investigate why it failed...it was not pretty.


The motor failed due to the jackshaft bolt shearing off and causing the sprocket to come off the shaft. When that happened, the passenger side cam quit turning. So why did the jackshaft bolt shear off?


Because the guide bolt that holds the passenger side chain guide was worn through by the rattle, and the bolt fell down and jammed the jackshaft sproket...yes, pretty much internal failure.


And as you can tell, before I got this motor, it was NOT taken care of...

SO back to the new fresh motor...on sunday, we got it all put back together and ready to go in the motor

So we didnt really take any pictures of the motor going back in, as we were trying to get it done. But needless to say we got it reinstalled and running by tuesday night. I honestly cant believe how quiet a sohc motor can be after its been fixed and death rattle completely eradicated. I cant think kris enough for his assistance with Shade. He is running better than ever before.

Again I really hope I never have to do this on Red, but the SOHC is a pretty quiet engine compared to the OHV.

Again I really hope I never have to do this on Red, but the SOHC is a pretty quiet engine compared to the OHV.

You know Dan, once you figure out how to time this motor, it's really not that difficult to do. I would not be scared at all to do this all again since I know how to use the proper tools.

So this weekend when I went to the local salvage yard, I came across not one but two XLT's with factory parking aid systems (the reverse sensor type that beeps when you are in reverse to tell you how close you are to hitting an object) so without delay I yanked both systems and proceeded home.

The actuall install was fairly easy...Only have to slice in a Hot in run, ground, Data Link, and run two wires up to the front dash (where the override off switch is) and then 6 wires to the rear bumper for the sensors themselves. The only picture I took was the module (black box behind the RAP module) installed along with the chime speaker installed in the driver C pillar, just like stock. Gotta admit, my installs are getting cleaner and cleaner with each new addition.

Boom I was right.

Juggling more fur balls than a constipated cat.

So for the last couple of weeks, Kris and I have been restoring the heated 99-01 style limited seats I had in Blue to install in shade. The heated pads were missing as was the heated seat wiring, so I procured a new complete harness from a 99 limited and started work.

First, the heated pads from the 99 donor seat were burnt up (wire shorted out, thus creating an open circuit inside the pad) so that was an easy fix. Then we swapped seat foams since the donor was in a bit better shape, and added some extra support foam in the side bolsters. After that, we reassembled everything and I scrubbed the seat leather with Tuff Stuff and then again with leather conditioner.

Last night, I had to slightly rewire the factory 97 seat connector that comes up from the floor in Shade so the newer style limited seat will function properly (the memory set switch is a little different, as well as adding the two power wires for the heated function and adding the one Data Link Wire to the multiplex communication network). After that was done, I bolted the seat in and whadda ya know...everything worked correctly and the heated seats are HOT! Although I have to admit, they do take a while to get going, but I'm sure that's just A) the design of the heated seat system and B) the age of the pads. Im sure they will go back out in the future, but for now, they do work. So that's all the updates I have. I think the next thing that's going to happen is Shade is getting a Torsion Twist along with warrior shackles for a 1.5 inch lift, only for moab though. After moab, the lift is coming back off lol. After that, Ill finish up the backup sensors for the rear bumper, and then maybe start adding the 99-01 style limited fender flares and running boards.

No picture of the seat installed???

It was too dark last night or this morning to take pics Kris, but I will when I get home tonight

So today, Kris and I focused on Shade to get him ready for Moab 2013. First thing we did was hit up the salvage yard and scored a 'Shade Clone' front bumper that came off a 96, and was even painted the same color! So what did I buy a new bumper for shade??


So I could modify it and turn it into my 'off-road' bumper! Plus, I will gain more ground clearance and not risk damaging Shades original bumper. I also picked up a set of cheap off road lights from walmart to mount on top. I modified a set of stock fog lamp electrical harnesses so the off road lamps would work off the stock fog lamp circuits.



And....even though I said I would never do this, I allowed Kris to lift my truck one and half inches for moab. We swapped on a set of warrior shackles on the rear and torsion twist on the front. At the same time we installed new front sway bar links and installed new Bilsteen shocks on the front.


All in all, we got a lot done on shade today, and plus it's that much closer for Moab. I will be returning this weekend to OKC so it will be a good shake down test of Shade to make sure he's ready for moab. That's all for now.

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Who's that awesome guy in the first pic you just posted up there. He must be coolest guy on the planet.