So I bought this 4x4 SUV...ld50 | Page 2 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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So I bought this 4x4 SUV...ld50

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So I bought this 4x4 SUV...Ld50 mods

So I bought this SUV...

I`ve never had a 4 wheel drive vehicle before now. Oh, I used to go out with friends years ago, got stuck, seen things break, the usual. Always had a car though, and that was fine.
Well I got this job working on pipelines, and gained more experiences with off road on the right-of-ways. All the work trucks were 4x4s with winches, and we worked them hard over the 4 & 1/2 yrs I was doing it. I`ve been itching to get into it myself for some time after hearing about my couzin`s
exploits in his Jeep, but thought I`d wait till my son was a little older and we outgrew my mustang.

Well the time came last February, in the form of a 1993 4-door Explorer XL 4.0 with manual hubs and a manual 5 spd trans.

I have some cash to put out, and have made some mods already, which I have tried to capture with my digital camera as I go.
I do have limits. I want to keep it low enough to fit in my underground parking lot, and I want it to be street legal.
At the same time, I want to go out with my cuz` and his friends, and show those lightly modified Jeepers up!

I`m starting this thread so I could maybe help some guys who are new to this, and want to build something up, without going all out like some of the members (and organizers) of this site.
The next few posts are going to tell the story up till now, including problems I`ve had, and prices I`ve paid. You may not agree with the order of the mods, but I`m learning!
I welcome all comments, Ideas, help, etc.

Serious Explorations has been my Bible for the past few months and I hope to help as much as you all have helped me!

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lower ball joints are a total pain in the ass to do

Yeah, Last time I tackled something like that, it was kingpins and was hell, So I thought I better just let them do it. Sometimes I just don`t feel like gettin dirty too.:D

what type of off road is this truck going to see

I sure saw a lot of mud while working the pipelines and that will not be something I want to search for, but I want to be able to handle some. I want a good rocky trail truck, that can climb some steep stuff, and have killer traction. Like a medium- capable vehicle, if that makes sense. Or a "truck of all trades".
Lets face it though, I only got 2"(2&3/4" with the tires?) more between the frame and the rocks, so I will be limited for a while. I don`t plan on going higher with the suspension at this time. When I get more balls, I might try some cutting and stuff bigger tires in there, at least 32 maybe 33s but it depends how tall I sit after my next few mods. Any info I get is great, and feedback is cool.
Keep watching, you will like my next project -mua ha ha.

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=) my next mod was forced on me, tranny blew up this weekend, on the way home from camping, which was a good thing, for a low $$ mod and after filling my front diff with water, i would suggest routing longer vent tubes :D

I'll keep a eye out for whats next

He he,
Noticed that. The rear one is very long, but the front is small like a candy cane. Already on the to do list, definitely won`t forget it now that I know it is a weak point. Crappy bout the tranny though.

Good luck man it sounds like a good idea to me

and yeah call it a truck, a suv sounds rather well not like Truck

Think I might call her "Jim`s Station Wagon"
You guys are right, SUV sounds too lame.

they closed it?????????? i knew they were going to but didnt think it would be so soon:fire:

well i know lotsa ppl who go up and im sure there will be ways around the gate quite soon, do u ever go out to stave?

WIll this explorer your doing me trails, rocks, or mud?

Yeah It`s closed and I don`t know if messing with the gate is a good Idea. They are going to have some cameras around there, and the neighbors who wanted it done will be watching.

Go to BC4x4 and look at the trail info thread to get the whole story.
There is talk of 4x4 clubs getting keys, so being diplomatic about it might get us in there.

Never been to stave, but will definitely try.

yeah i go to bc4x4 alot just never noticed that post, you shoudl try stave its alot of mud bogging but the damn is filled so u cant go now, april is the best time to go

So the project is sailing along nicely.
I got me a little lift, some bigger tires. So what next?


I was blessed with the 3.27 gear sets which didn`t pull very good with stock tires, and with the 31 inch tires I could barely pull my sick grandmother off a toilet seat.
After a few posts, and a lot of research on this site I concluded that I needed 4.10 gears to make me happy.

I wanted to get a gear set that would still allow me to go a little bigger with the tires without me wanting to change them again. I like a little more torque than average. I figure they would be okay up to 33 inch tires if need be.


Fueled by my desire to out do my cousin`s Jeep pick-up, and show his jeep buddies what a Ford can do, (you can`t beat the blue oval!) I decided I needed a locker. I did more research, and concluded that I needed a Detroit Softlocker in my rear diff, for medicinal purposes.

I chose Detriot, for it`s notoriety, toughness, and reliability. I`ve heard stories of others failing, and would rather pay out more for the piece of mind. Almost went for an air locker though..
I chose the Softlocker because I still would like good road manners with a locker, and hearing about the noises and clunking from the EZ-locker and others, finalized my decision to go with the much more expensive, but quieter, Detroit Softlocker.

I asked a local buddy where the best place to go was, in our area. He also had a locker, and told me to go where he went, to No Limit Off Road, which was within walking distance of my house.
I talked with Reo, and was a little nervous that he seemed to work with Suzuki`s alot, but came to realize that he modified alot of trucks with American drivetrains.
He seemed like a trustworthy guy too, and was overall very vocal, and knowledgable.

I got him to do it. I asked him to check my U-joints since my alignment guy had brought them up, and he suggested replacing two in the front axles, and I agreed.

When I picked it up, he said it would be smart to take a road trip for break-in of the rear gears. He said pick a fairly straight road where I could travel at near freeway speeds, vary my vehicle speed, and stop after half an hour. After waiting 20 - 30 minutes I am too keep going for another half hour and stop for another 20 - 30 minutes. Then I will drive home with a broken-in rear diff.
On the weekend, I`ll get on a dirt road and do the same with the front diff. locked.

So I`m driving home, and it`s been raining out.. I first noticed feeling the power that was going back there at take-off.
Reo told me that the Detroit would have a tad more play when starting, and that was noticeable as well. I could easily smoothen it with some clutch-finnesse.
The locker grabbed quite noticeably when power was applied, and in a slight corner I could feel where it would disengage. It seems to disengage silently, which is really cool. Also feels very easy to spin the tires on the wet pavement, but still had a lot of bite to the asphalt.
That is the extent of testing, and I started writing this within an hour of that mod.


Truck = $8500.00

Plasma white hid headlights = $39.96
Mini driving lights = $65.00
Filter adapter = $68.41
K&N filter = $50.00
Window visors = $45.00
Cheap CB = $75.00
Antenna = $50.00
Tow hooks = $40.00
2" susp lift with shocks = $464.00
31x10.5 BFG T/A K/Os = $835.00
New lower ball jts. and alignment = $ 604.00
Fire extinguisher = $ 40.00
4.10 gears, locker, U-joints = $2635.37

Total "EX"penses = $13511.74

Tomorrow is break-in day, and probably another post to give more assessments about how this mod will help me in the future.

Okay The break-in is out of the way :D

Overall, I am happy with the performance.
It was dry on the roads for MOST of my trip, so I got to see how it feels on dry AND wet pavement.
With the new gears and locker, it feels completely different. It`s hard to describe, but the locker gives a sense that you are really connected to the ground. If you powered into a turn, the tires would bite and chirp, which fed some dark primal part of my brain.
When I encountered traffic I had to fight the urge to grunt like Tim (the tool man)Taylor, and drive up the median, over the shrubbery, and push traffic outta my way!:thumbsup:

But this was reality so I`ll get back to it:

I`ve heard about the front end plowing when locked in a turn and did experience that for myself. It`s like the truck wants to go straight, and the front tires have to fight it a little to turn you. It`s not alarming, but it does feel a little wierd. The front tires didn`t slide or anything, but I wouldn`t want to be turning at high rates of speed with it locked up in wet weather.

When coasting through a turn, the locker released silently, and reengaged with a solid feeling when I accelerated again. The locking and unlocking and clutch work involved does cause the truck to wobble and sway a bit, but I don`t mind. There was a couple bangs from back there, It is still an auto locker, after all. With a little practice I believe I can keep it to a minimum.

The difference is almost as if I`m driving a fullsize truck now, I never realized how much the stock Ex drives like a car until now. It feels heavier and definitely more capable.

Definitely happy with it.

My maiden voyage in "The Station Wagon" is going to be this weekend, so I hope to have some action pics up soon.

But first, I`m going to see about that left side lean.


While searching this site for a solution, and not finding a definite one, I had and idea after learning this..

The cause is most probably the years of driving with more weight on the driver`s side. First of all, the gas tank is situated towards that side. add the weight of the driver, and you have more strain on the springs.
This would cause the driver`s side to start sagging after years of use.

In my one of my previous posts I mentioned wishing I had swapped the springs when I did the lift, remember? Well I got an air gun hooked up and went to work! ;)

I swapped the rear leaf springs around and here are the results:


Rear, measured from shackles to ground indicated a difference of 3/4"

Front measured from frame behind bumper indicated a difference of 1/2"


Rear, measured from shackles to ground indicated a difference of 3/16"

Front measured from frame behind bumper indicated a difference of 1/8"

I guess the idea that the springs fatigue faster on the drivers side would explain the lean phenomenon, but can`t explain why all new springs wouldn`t help in one of the posts I read.

Don`t want to do the front coils, but I bet that would even it right out.
I can live with it being out 3/16" though. I can`t notice it by looking at it now.

Sorry, no pics, since I forgot the camera!

I did the swap without even removing the tires. I put jackstands under the frame, my floor jack under the diff. and my Explorer`s Jack was used to hold the forward most part of the diff. before the U-joint, to keep it from falling down when I undid the leafs. I adjusted until I figured everything was at rest before starting.
I just undid the shock mount from the leafs, leaving the shock still attached. It only took me 1 hour at most. Gotta love power tools.;)

It WOULD have been easier if I had to use hand tools this time since I cleaned up and never-siezed every bolt I had to take off when I did the lift.

When that side sags again, I guess I`m buying new springs, but I can wait, Maybe I`ll swap the front one day.

<Just to give credit, I did find a thread since, that said to try the swap. the info was in a post by Dead Link Removed . Thanks man! I will use your method of leveling out the Station Wagon with the Warrior shackles! :D >


Nice looking truck. I thought I was only one in this area to modify the hell out there truck. Nice to see some guys on the board close by.

It really sucks that all of these great 4x4ing places are being closed. McNutt was the by far the best trail I have ever done. Stave is a great place if you like mud, If you want good rock climbing then you have to go up near Squamish, Hut Lake is awesome if you can make it up the waterfall. (lockers front and rear and a winch help there)

Thanks Speedfreak,
Looks like you`re building a monster yourself.
Really don`t see many Explorers being done up around here. It`s all Suzukis, Toyotas and Jeeps (oh my)
Seen some cool full-size stuff around too.
Maybe we need a BC Explorer club.

Don`t remind me about winches, I`m working on the stuck avoidance part first. LOL, probably buy one after I get stuck with no one to help me!

Only places I`ve been to are all closed now. Will need to travel to the places you mentioned and check em out.

Originally posted by ld50
Thanks Speedfreak,
Looks like you`re building a monster yourself.
Really don`t see many Explorers being done up around here.

I have seen a 91-94 X in the area that is lifted like 6" with at least 35's on it. He has lights all over this thing, and it is well decked out. I'll have to stop him to see what good trails he's seen.

The only place I've been is those pits behind that arena in Surrey. It seems everyone knows about there, or Stave lake, but nowhere else locally to wheel.

It is good to see all the B.C people on here. :D

OK I want to do the grill inserts. What the heck do you call those and where (in the US) can I get the material? I have been looking at farm supply stores and thought about screen, (like for a porch) but am worried that it would not hold up and restrict air flow to the radiator.

Please help with this as you are one of the only ones I have seen do this. I am not in medicine so where could I find this stuff? Will they stay shiny or dull down, I want something to stay bright (well as best as expected.)


go down umm...damn forget the name, well anyways go up snake hill and continue on past the KY then when u pass that produce store across from that old corner store on your way to Mohawk, the road starts to decline and on your left(heading towards Mohawk) there is a driveway and a purple/bergundy explorer(1st gen) parked there running 35s and has nice rims too, tinted windows, good lift, etc.

When i was out at stave i saw him parked beside a black 1st gen. running 35s also so i had to take a pic, i WOULD post it but my brothers comp with all the pics on it has a virus and we dont know if we can save any of the data.

I have seen about six trucks myself, a black Sport on 33"(Vancouver), a burgandy 4dr on 31'(Richmond), a huge white Illusions X on I believe 35"Vancouver), a two tone grey/red on 35'(came in to CeeGee's Auto Wrecking when I was working there), a tan one on 33'(seen same place as two tone truck) and a red Sport on 33' at work (Neptune Foods)

A B.C. club would be cool. We could go out on trips. Check out places that haven't bein shut down for stupid reasons.

there is a driveway and a purple/bergundy explorer

Drive by there once in a while, LOL gotta open my eyes!
- Clarke rd. by the way. Always messes me up cuz it should just be called North rd. To make it easier!

OK I want to do the grill inserts.

If you contact a Medical supply company, I`m sure you can get the mesh. It`s just called splinting mesh I think, and it is made of aluminum.First aid is pretty standardized, so The mesh is most likely found in the US as well. Check the phone book. If you know a first aider, ask if you can get six pieces on the sly.;) As for fading, it still looks good on mine, and grabs everything.

Here is a pic of the hole I did up for the screwdriver to push the latch over. If you just put a hole there, it will look crappy, and the mesh isn`t that strong either. I used two washers and two machine screws. I ground about 2/16ths off the top of the washers, and drilled two small holes for the screws. I fit the washers over the hole I had already put there, and screwed it on. I ran the drill throught the holes in the washer to get the machine screws in.
(those yellow things are flower petals, I was doing some "bumper"gardening out back of my work.)

Dead Link Removed

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Having to wait way too long for stuff! The local 4x4 shop is supposed to be phoning me when my body lift comes in. It`s been quite a wait though, I`ll have to phone them soon.
Found a place that sells Warrior products, and of course they have to order in the stuff I need, so longer wait there, Also the don`t have everything listed that I asked about.

One thing I gotta get is longer shackles. I was going to get WAR123 but want WAR153 instead. I got roped into helping someone move and seeing it with the weight in there, I think I could use the extra hieght the 153s will get me, even if it sits a little higher in the back when empty.

Just waiting for a phone call then I`m on the road to Hope, BC to drive some dirt roads, and hopefully test the suspension and see if I can give the new locker a challenge. The locker seems to be working even smoother since I got some more Kms on it.

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