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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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WAR 153 shackles and WAR 1780 skidplates

Okay I wanted to raise the rear a bit to get a little rake happenin`.
The truck seemed to ride a little low in the rear, especially if I had a lot of weight in the back.
I was happy to see that Warrior makes shock mount skidplates for us now, so I got a set of those too.

It was an easy install, using techniques I`ve already mentioned, so I won`t bore ya!

Heres some pics:

the plates

The shackles sure stick out now!

Rearward shot

Side shot


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
2" body lift kit = $148.45
Shifter extension = $58.21
2" x 20' tow strap = $40.50
War1780 skid plates - $115.00
War153 shackles - $99.95

Total "EX"penses = 13973.85

So now I am very happy with the way it sits, and can stop crawling underneath for a while.

Or can I......

Next episode:

"The Warrior skidplates Do not work on pre 95 trucks without further mods!"


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Those darn skidplates!!!

A few days after installation, I was feeling antsy, so I got my couzin to show me these wheeling pits out in Surrey BC.
I had my first chance to use my tow hooks there! My cuz went carreening into a mud pit and "KATCHANG" toasts his front axle. Then he couldn`t get out. Itwas rather comical, and I grabbed my camera for kind of a cool shot:

Get me outta here!

Chuckle. I like how you can see in the pic that his front tires aren`t spinning. Doh!

Any way, There was lots of humps and bumps and stuff in there so my suspension was getting a workout. The next day I found that the skidplates had put the shocks close enough to the sway bar that my shocks were damaged when my rear tires got stuffed.
They got a minimum 1/4 inch dent in each one now! If I didn`t have any lift back there I`m sure they would have been punctured, what a joke!

Next episode:

"Deciding what to do now"

Where abouts in Surrey were the mud pits you are talking about?

Where abouts in Surrey were the mud pits you are talking about?

YOU told me about the pits in Surrey, silly!

By the way, the " 'wheeling pits" behind that arena off of 152nd in Surrey have been opened up with a dirt road. They are putting in a water pipe or something. I thought you should know.

Originally posted by ld50

YOU told me about the pits in Surrey, silly!

That is what I thought! Iwas wondering if you had found them, or if you had found some other ones. I saw the picture, and I didn't remember any real mud at that place. That is what threw me for a loop.

Remedy for sway bar!

I took it off!

I haven`t done a whole lot of driving with it off, but it feels okay so far. I will leave it off until after a big trip I have planned for the end of the month. If I want it back on, I will have to do some custom bending to make it fit.
Another option suggested to me is going for those bushings they talk about here for the front swaybar. I`m told they will lessen any sway caused by the loss of the rear anti-sway bar removal.

(I have sent an email to Warrior, outlining what happened to me. they appear to have a strong commitment to me, from what I read on their website.
I have been able to find people with 95 and older Explorers who did not have this problem, but no-one else has come forward with a late model Ex. I would really like for them to offer some new shocks, since it is their design flaw which has damaged mine. They seem to still travel past the dents, but they can`t be that great now.)

I have much more droop it seems, with no swaybar, and the shocks would definitely extend till they stopped, which would be the only thing holding the axle from drooping more. I have been fooling around with a way to lower the upper shock mount points.
I got some longer bolts and nuts (strong stuff) And used some metal tubing to create spacers. I may have to modify this further if it appears to be weakening later on, but for experimental purposes I think they will be fine.
They are 1& 1/2 inches long, and the shocks are stock lengths:

Shock mounting

I think a problem might be that they could shift on the part that the bushing envelopes, but otherwise they seem very solid, and force is directed fairly straight into them.

Next episode:
"Emergency brake cable problems"

Yeah I want to see some pics of the X in those pits!

Yeah I want to see some pics of the X in those pits!

I wimped out on the deep mud since I haven`t modified my front diff. breather hose yet. Also I seem to get a LOT of mud into my engine compartment, and want to make some splash guards soon. I actually have to change the diff oil anyway since it is getting contaminated with water from doing stuff like this:

Surrey pits

I also have a web page you can check out. I`m going to put some of my fave pics there as I take them. there is a cool water pit pic there, but most of the others have been posted already:

Dead Link Removed

Emergency brake cable problems!

Well since my rear tires are getting futher from the frame I have noticed the brake cable was becoming rather tight. When I fooled around with a jack stand and a floor jack to see how much travel I am getting after removing the sway bar, I saw that at full droop I was close to ripping it right out of the drum! Not only that, it was now contacting the tire!

Most of the problem seemed to come from where the cable runs through the bracket close to the rear tire.
Here you can see that sitting on flat ground, the cable is already being held up by the bracket:

Gimme a break!

So I unhooked the metal connector which was in the middle of the cable, and used vise grips and pliers to loosen the rear section of cable from that doo-hickey with the spring attached to it. Then I pulled it out from the bracket.

Doohickey detached

And then I just put it together like like that, using a huge pair of pliers to bend the doo-hickey back in place.


Now my rear tires can move freely without messing with the brake cable. The other side of course is fine since the cable branches out from there and follows the axle. There is enough play to keep it from binding.


I replaced my front differential breather hose today. I know, I was warned that I would get water in there and it definitetly looks like I did. I messed up, and hope I didn`t cause harm to my new gear sets in there. I should have listened. I`m going to go to a lube place to get it sucked out and replaced tomorrow and see what we can do to get it all out without taking everything apart. Probably add new oil and suck it out a few times.

The new hose is four feet long, and terminates next to those polution control cannisters by the coolant and washer tanks. 3 bucks and ten minutes of my time. Could have saved me the trouble if I`d done it sooner.

More on the Warrior skidplates

Warrior is going to make me a new set of plates with the mount moved in one inch.
I am trying to convince them to move them up because I am bending the mounts and scraping the heck out of my shocks. We`ll see.

Check out what`s happening:



-I am also making my engine compartment less susceptable to water, since alot gets thrown in there when I go through even shallow water. I`ll throw up more pics when I`m done, but here is my first addition:

Front water guard

the plate is just a sheet of fiberglass, and I have some garden edging attached behind my sway bar. I just have to cover the holes in my wheel wells now, and maybe some more playing with the edging.

My flag was falling apart, so I decided to paint one right onto my brake lite.
It`s gunna last forever now!

Permanent flag

I've been keeping up with you story for a while now. I love the way you make it a story, makes it much more interesting. Keep up the good work!

(THANX, monkey_boy)

Well I decided to get my A/C fixed and retrofitted to the new system before my trip this friday (Vancouver Island).
It may have a negative effect on new goodies I want because apparently my evaporator has a leak.:(
It`s going to end up costing me over $700 CDN.

I had been looking at a Ramsey 8000 receiver hitch winch setup that they just got on one of the trucks at work. It`s really sweet, even the lettering is blue to match the truck. I decided that I will PROBABLY go that route, since I could take it right off when I don`t need it, and not worry about it getting ripped off.
Anyway, I`ll have to recuperate from the A/C bill first. before attacking any new project,

My Island trip should be very awesome, and I`ll be sure to put up a bunch of pics, they don`t call it beautiful BC fer nuthing!

Originally posted by LiKuiD
Custom 97' Explorer Overhead Console

Was this very hard to do? Ive spotted a view good buys on Overhead Console's on Ebay, and im thinking of picking one up. Any comments?

its really easy, i did it in 4 hrs since i didnt have a wiring harness and i used a giant roll of same colored wire so it took a while to label everything but if ya have the nerve to cut a hole in your headliner then its really a novice job. i really reccomend it, gives the interior a new feel and look.

I`m back, with a story to tell. I hope I`m not cluttering up the modification thread by doing this, but it does help to see what my current setup is capable of before deciding what else is next.

Putting my home to my back early friday morning, I headed for Horsehoe bay Ferry terminal, packed with camping gear, my son, my brother, and my backroad mapbook. Destination: Nanaimo, then Courtenay, BC


The carrier on top, although prividing storage for all our bedding, put me overheight, which made the cost to ride, $70 and change (CDN). Without it, cost is $50.
I will not bring it to the island again.
-7ft is the height you want to be below-

First night we stayed at a friend`s in Courtenay. Next
morning we headed out with him along. I wanted to find some caves that were on my map, which depended on a gate being open. The inland island highway took us to an exit by the Oyster river where we found the gate to be closed due to extreme fire hazard.

So we crossed the river and headed towards Mt Washington, which has a lot of logging roads and abandoned roads too.
These roads are all called "main" for some reason, so somewhere along the Pigget Main I checked out this trail which was not really very satisfying. It was one of those west coast trails that leads you on with nice open areas visible in the distance, but demands a run through paint-hungry branches to get there.

Dead Link Removed
There were some rough spots to test the truck.

Dead Link Removed
But those branches were getting bad. I was gripped with a need to see this trail lead somewhere interesting, but all I got was a big pile of dirt and a trail that just petered out.

I got out of there and found a cool little trail that was quite easy and long, taking us from Dead Link Removed main road to Dead Link Removed . Then we ended up camping on the shore of Wolf Lake.

We went back to my friend`s in the morning, shed all the gear except my toolbox and some essentials, and headed for a trail I was recommended to try. The Boston Main near Comox lake.
It was a good trail, and was a highlight of the trip, since it was the only real challenge so far. It started out with some steep rocky stuff and then went into a dark valley which was packed with undergrowth, which was cool, then got rocky and rutted for most of the way after..

comin thru

I lost traction and spun out only once, just after the second photo you see here.

Dead Link Removed

Dead Link Removed

As soon as my rear tires got in that rut, I believe I had only one front tire down, and I spun the tires. I had to get a bit of a run at it to get through.

It started to rain while we were up there, and you shoulda seen the grin on my face coming down in the cloud shadow, trying to remember myself coming up, so I would know where to best go.

The sign says Boston Main

Next day was a long one. we took back roads towards Port Alberni and tried to find a waterfall along the way. It was supposed to be on BR73, we couldn`t find it, but the road had a really cool stream crossing (my first big one)that I didn`t get a picture of (no one wanted to wade through for me) We found a really cool swimming spot along the river that must of had the falls along it, but thats it.
The rest of the trip gave me lots of experience with freeway driving with my rig, since we went toDead Link Removed and then Long beach, which is at least 2hrs and 40 mins from Courtenay, by highway.
It was a very windy road in parts, and I had no rear Sway bar, remember.

I`ll post more on how the ex handled and my thoughts about it in the next post.

Looks like a good time Jim. Great pic.s

(thanx toad)

Thoughts are:

- Rear sway bar is permanantly off now.

It is a little hairy when the locker breaks loose on a sharp curve, but It is not a huge deal. I love how the rear tires were able to articulate so much on rough stuff. It felt as though they were solidly on the ground through everything. If I did another mod to the rear it would be The Zimmerman, with long travel shocks, but first...

-Front suspension is so stiff!

I never disconnected the front sway, to see how that would feel, but I know I had a tire off the ground when I lost traction that time. Another time, I had to get through this ditch with a big rock in the middle of one side. I had to approach until one front tire was in the air for a few seconds, until the truck leaned over enough to get the tire on the ground, frightening my passengers. It felt a little strange for me too!
So I have to think about what to do to the front, which may include losing the spacer and buying longer coils. I`m going for a quick overnighter(Harrison hot springs) this weekend and promise to unhook the front swaybar and see how it is, instead of being lazy.
I`ll see how that feels.

-Ex is a dog on long, heavily loaded trips.

With all that weight, after a couple hours the ex seemed to have less power than the beginning. It wanted to stall when trying to start off uphill and just seemed to lag alot. I left it in 4 lo for a while when we were searching for a camp site cuz it sucked otherwise.
Sure would be nice to have a V8. I think I will replace the exhaust soon with something better, and look into a larger TB and a performance chip. I even wonder if I should have gone to 4.56 gears, but it`s still a tough call, cuz it`s great when not loaded with so much stuff, and the highway would suck more gas.

-I wish I could afford a GP unit.

It would have been awesome to see a layout of our path to compare to my map. I found that I kept going further than I thought we were on the map, and was confused alot when I couldn`t find a road sign to reassure me.

All in all I had a great time, and it was a laugh to hear my buddy from Courtenay continuously say "no, you can`t get through there, no way, we`ll get stuck!" LOL, especially on the stream crossing, he insisted that we would be stuck right in the middle, the tires would dig down, water would start to push us down stream, etc. It wasn`t even that deep, maybe 2" at most, and slow moving too, 1st gear lo all the way.

Hey Id50, I was wondering if you could tell me how to take the nut out that holds the front coils down. There's the lower seat, the spacer, the retainer and then the nut and I just can't find a way to get something in there and loosen the nut. I've heard of people useing a deep socket but how do you get the ratchet in there. I only have hand tools and it seems that an ordinary wrench wouldn't work. I want to do the coil spacers and shackle lift but am seeing if I will be able to install them before I buy everything. Also, after I intall it will I be able to drive it to the alignment shop with out doing any damage? I don't think that I would be able to put in the new camber shims myself or what ever they are because I don't know anything about them. So would the shop install them for me?

I am also thinking of doing a 2" body lift. I think I will do that first because it's less money and four wheel parts is doing a 50% off installation right now for internet customers so I thought I'd take advantage of that since I'd probably screw it up doing it myself. Anyways do you or anyone else know if I could fit the 31x10.50" tires with just the 2" body lift without them rubbing anything? Thanks

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Hey Id50, I was wondering if you could tell me how to take the nut out that holds the front coils down

Don`t know if I got lucky or not, but once I had the suspension hanging as much as I could I was able to loosen it with just a wrench. I could only get the open end on it through the coil. I also put a lot of penetrating oil on it a week before, and then again the day I did it. A rubber mallet helped me crack em loose.

It`s fine to drive it into the alignment shop like that, and the shop should have the kits handy for the camber adjustment, and install them for you, just tell them you know you need them.
You could fit the 31x10.5 tires on without any lift, but they will rub a bit off-road. Mine rub a tiny bit in the rear right now.

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