"Shade Bandit" (1997 Limited) | Page 4 | 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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Not much news, but last night I did remove the running boards to help with ground clearence. When I get home Ill post up pics

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lol, nope, back at work. to dark when i got home and was trying to get stuff in order so i can drive back to okc this weekend

How do you keep your heating elements from breaking in the seats? I've repaired mine 3 times and each time my solder joint keeps breaking. :( It's not a pressing matter now but they were nice in the winter.

How do you keep your heating elements from breaking in the seats? I've repaired mine 3 times and each time my solder joint keeps breaking. :( It's not a pressing matter now but they were nice in the winter.

I have found that 9 times out of 10, the heating element circiutry will break where the pad is folded into the creases of the seat foam. These bends cause extra stress on the physical wire, and with the actual heating element, it's easy for them to break (and the fact they dont use standard automotive grade sheathing on the wires themselves).

To repair, what I do is cut some larger guage wire (perhaps 12 guage) and cust a little extra length than what is needed. Strip both ends. Then on the pad, I cut out the damged wire (burnt, broke, ect) to a little shorter than the length of replacement wire. Strip both ends. Then I twist both ends (one end new wire, to one end old wire) facing each other in opposite directions to help lock the wire together. I get my solder gun and allow it to heat up to correct temp. I flox the tip with solder prior to placing it on the wire. Then I apply the tip of the gun to the wire and immediatly begin touching the solder to both the tip and where the wire meet (this helps super heat the copper fast without burning the insulation)

Once solder begins to flow into the copper strands, i move the solder to just the bare wire and fill in all the explosed copper. Afterwards, after it cools, i put some heat shrink around the solder and heat it up. Repair done! Hope this helps yea out bud!

I replaced the wiring the spans the gap in the center of the bottom, from what you're saying I'm thinking I have mine too short and it's putting it in a bad area. Next time I'm feeling frisky I'll pull the seat and try it again. Thanks man!

I replaced the wiring the spans the gap in the center of the bottom, from what you're saying I'm thinking I have mine too short and it's putting it in a bad area. Next time I'm feeling frisky I'll pull the seat and try it again. Thanks man!

Not a problem bud! If you want, you can ship them to me and Ill repair and test them for yea

Finally some photos..

The new 99-01 style limited seat with heated function and side impact air bags


Also got a new CB radio installed for the moab trip

And here is the reverse sensor system deactivation switch (factory explorer equipment)

And just some beauty shots





And a picture of a baby horse because....well, for no reason

Moab 2013!

Been a while, but here are some updates:

First, Shade has been running great since the motor rebuild. Couldn't be happier of him. But last we left off, I was getting him prepped for Moab 2013 - only a year later, but here are some pictures!

We started off the trip and stopped in Roswell, NM to see aliens. Our rigs parked outside the alien museum. Left to right: Shade, Kris Guilbeaux's Mountaineer, and Dan Jones's Red Bull.


Then we got to the KOA and made camp:

And then lot's and lot's of Moab'ing!












And finally Me with Shade at Top of the World:

After Moab, Shade pretty much went untouched until about May 2014. He's still my daily, so nothing too crazy. But at one point we went mudding somewhere:


And oh yea, I picked up a brush guard from the salvage yard that fit like a glove (minus some trimming on the brackets)

Also, since I do work at a Ford dealership, had the paintless dent guy who works here take out a couple dents. This one had been there since I first bought Shade.


A few more weeks went by (because I started tearing Blue apart, and bought a thunderbird) and then I started throwing money at Shade:

First, I had the body guys at work start repainting the front bumper. Before I got shade, it had been run into, scrapped, and just looked like crap (see above photos). So the sanding began:

and after:

Since I had the brush guard off anyway, why not have it painted ivory pearlescent too!

And since I had all this off anyway, it's as good as time as any to replace the faded over factory headlights...

Wired them up and was testing function. Front bumper installed at this point

Since I had the entire front header panel off, it was a good time to power wash EVERTHING.

Coming back together:

And back together! With a freshly repainted front bumper, cleaned up grille and header panel, and new projection headlights!


Once we had the front end reassembled and headlights aligned, it was time for the final touch - the brush guard installation. I can't believe how much a little paint can change the entire character, but it does. So now, some beauty shots:




And the first place I take Shade? To a cars and coffee car show of course!


And that is where Shade is up to this moment. Sure has come a long way...

Well, it finally happened... At 6:45 pm on August 21st, 2014, Shade was accepted into the Quarter Million Mile Club :) Congrats Shade, you have been such a wonderful truck and a special addition to my fleet. you have continuously served me well, and I look forward to the next 250,000!


You were in 2nd gear going 50mph?

Anyways, congrats! Red is still about 2500 miles away