So I bought this 4x4 SUV...ld50 | Page 6 | 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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I would second the poly shackle bushing idea, but if going offroad.................just pull the sway bar off.:D


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Poly bushings

That is a debate in itself. If they are indeed softer, I don`t know if I want them in my rear suspension components. I`m worried about lateral(side to side movement) of my rear axle right now. Since I have those long shackles and very flexy springs I want it to be tight back there. So the question is, are they softer? Anyone know? I`ve been told both that they are softer and they are more rigid, so what is it?

I want to eventually replace all the front bushings with poly bushings, since more movement there would be fine.

Any thoughts? Just imagine the forces in play when my rear suspension is working!

_Oh, and disconnecting the front sway was great this time out. What a difference on the dirt roads too. My couzin rode with me, and I may have convinced him to finally try disconnecting his.

From what I've heard the poly bushings are supposed to be much tighter than the stock rubber bushings. If you upgraded your front sway bar bushings to poly there wouldn't be as much play as the rubber ones. It reduces body roll and tightens things up. Same with the leaf spring bushings. That's why it gives you better handling. The rubber bushings are the ones that ride softer not the polys.

Allright, I guess I was getting bad info. Everyone does claim it tightens up your sway bars so I guess it makes sense that they are stronger.

Still don`t have those bushings, but the mods go on!

I am talking with a guy in town that might build me a set of rock sliders. He`s relly into wheeling and does some awesome work. First I had to do a bit of prep work for them tho`.

I got rid of the tupperware, which was a good idea after all, because there was some rust forming under there. Anyway, I got this stuff called "Hippo-liner" which is the same as rhino, herc, etc. I cleaned up the rockers and bent the pinch weld in so that I could eventually have the sliders as far up as possible. I got some plastic push things to cover the holes, then I Hippo-lined up to my door trim.
Here`s some pics:

Dead Link Removed

Dead Link Removed

It looks pretty good, and I managed to keep the liner off my body ;)

You may notice that I took the bra off. It sucked, flapping in the wind and catching all the dirt and mud from the trail. Not good for off-roading.


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 **
1.5" Wheel spacers - $504.87 **
Custom exhaust - $320.00

(** includes shipping)

Total "EX"penses = $14798.72

I got me a set of poly bushings in town after calling every place I could think of. They were Energy brand.

-Then I buggered one up so could only fix the offending one for now, which was okay because after spending three and a half hours to get one side done I have had enough.

-And I hit the center of my hand with a hammer, something might be broken, hurts like a *******, almost puked too.

-And just to round out the wonderful evening, when I went to leave my workplace, where I was conducting my repairs, SHE WOULDN`T START! Just a big ol` "click" when I turned the key. I tell ya man, I just felt like laying down for a while after that. Thankfully there was a hill from the shop so I jumped it and came home.

I`m thinking (hoping) I just knocked something loose with all that hammering. It wouldn`t take a jumpstart either so maybe if I check and clean the connections at the starter it will work.

Well I`m gunna put some ice on my hand, an ice cold beer in my belly and kick back now.

Sorry to hear that man:( It looks like the "EXpenses" are about to go up again:(

Check the connections at the battery first, If you have the original lead formed terminals that are part of the wire, this will be the problem. The wires corrode really bad in there and end up cooking the starter because of a hugh voltage drop through the termilals. This happened to me at Stave one afternoon and shortly after putting in a new starter. I replaced the starter again and the truck still won't start, after a couple of hours of trying different things I ended up driving home with vise-grips as a battery terminal.

Pardon me, but:
F***in G*dDa*m F***in Ford C***!!!!!


Well I went down this morning to see what was what, and it fired up first try. Then it refused to do anything after that, just that "click". I went for a walk and bought some new battery terminals, trimmed off the ends of my wires and connected that all up and "click"
Then I swore at it for a bit, then pulled out the starter and cleaned all those connections. I left the starter out and tried again. "Click"
So I disconnected the starter and walked across the street to get it bench tested at a shop, and it was fine.

My shop manual suggested a test for the "starter relay" where you put a jumper wire from your battery terminal to your relay and try it. I did and "click"
Anyway, it appears to be the relay, so I guess I`m off for a little stroll now. Might grab a new positive battery cable to be sure.

** I`m back, but I tried something else first! I bypassed the relay entirely so that when I pressed the Neg batt cable on, it sent full power to the starter, which got me that "click" again. I started thinking maybe the bench test just "happened to work at the shop and perhaps something was amiss with the starter itself. I hooked everything back up and tried an old trick I learned long ago. which is beat the starter with a hammer. Well I turned the key and it turned over and started up instantly. I tried it three more times before the "click" came back, so it must be the starter then! Right? Thing is, do I replace the whole starter or just the solenoid? Ah hell, better to replace it all, I guess.

Sorry to hear that man It looks like the "EXpenses" are about to go up again

-Wise a$$! :D

Originally posted by ld50

-Wise a$$! :D

I aim to please:D

Have you checked the actual votlage at the starter side? Try leaving on the headlights while tring to crank the starter. If they go out, there is a probem with the cables or starter itself, not relays.

Starts Now!

Whew, fixed her. Got a new Bosch starter. $180.00 cdn. I hate electrical stuff!

there was a note in the box it came in:


1992-1993 Ford Explorers and Mazda Navajos, May exhibit repeated no start conditions. Ford suggests that technicians inspect the condition of the battery cables and any other wiring harness in the vicinity of the battery for signs of corrosion. The condition is easy to spot as the cables will have become swollen and discolored from the battery acid emissions. To cure this condition, all suspect cables should be replaced with new, and a new battery cover (Ford part # F3TZ-1OA687-A) should be installed over the battery to prevent this condition in the future"

I say:

"how bout bucking up for the problem, since you have admitted to it?"

My cables don`t seem to be too bad right now and I have a new , sealed battery in there that they put in when I bought it. Might look into new cables anyway, but maybe I`ll ask how much they cost from Ford.

Id50- i just took off my tupperware, Where did you get the plugs? I have some herc and I am doing the same you did, but I ddon't know how high up to do it, and I am thinking of doing up around the fenders- Any thought/ regrets from yours?

Thanks, KIRBY


I found the plugs at Lordco, the local auto parts store. I found a small pack of what I wanted in the "help" rack. by eyeballing it out, and then asked if they had more, which they did, in a box of 50. Then I ran outside with one to double check the fit.
You need 38 of `em.

If you bend your pinch weld up, I would suggest starting it with a big pair of pliers, then hammering so that they bend properly. I didn`t bend the part where the front fenders are fastened.

If I had a second chance at the lining, I would have masked off and painted further into the doorsills. Like just a foot and a half area where your shoes rub when you get in and out, You follow? As you can kind of see in one of the pics, I just went in about an inch to where the sill bends up.

Prep is important too, follow the directions to the letter.

Also, I probably should have done some in the rear
fenders there, but it was so dirty, and I didn`t feel like cleaning and prepping it all. I ended up throwing alot out because you can`t save it once you mix the two parts together.

Good luck, wear gloves, and take them off when you`re done ;)


My pass. side shackle is still a little bit crooked. Might have something to do with the springs, it straightens when it hangs. OMEs are pretty expensive too, DOH!

But they are built well, hmmm. $$

{ I dunno if I bent that ranger leaf or not, but It seems to not even want to sit straight in the pack any more either, like it doesn`t line up with the old main leaf. I just might be getting rid of the Zim now. Killer droop, yes, but there doesn`t seem to be a lot of strength there to keep the axle from moving laterally, which is most likely why they want to get all askew for people. Kind of a bummer, but only cost me 30 bucks anyway. Perhaps my Ranger springs were too old for this.
My other option would be definitely Old Man Emu springs and new poly bushings to put in with them. I already priced it out, I`m lookin at about 900 bucks for these items. OUCH! but they do seem to be good shat, and I am so sick of messing with the damn rear end.
I can get a set made for me, there is a spring place in town so I guess a phone call to them can`t hurt.}

Hey people, You remember when talked about getting a fire extinguisher? I finally got those pics I promised.
I just made a thread about itDead Link Removed

So whats up with the truck?

Well, I should tell you that I get a little bit of noise from my quick disconnect system for my swaybar. I don`t know how to get it tight enough with my method, so it make a popping noise as it moves. It is not terribly annoying, but I thought I would let you know.

I am still waiting on a guy who is going to make me some rock sliders, I`ll have to bug him some more.

I am not happy with my long shackles. They are hell on my departure angle. I am trying to figure a way to do a spring over while maintaining the same height I have now. that probably means getting new stock springs. I haven`t figured it all out yet. they hit the ground quite a bit when wheeling though, and makes me leary of stuff, so they gotta go soon.

Thanks for the tips on the liner. My Herc is getting thin on my hood/ bra area, so I am going to apply a thick caot in 2 spots soon. I looked in the help section at autozone, they had them 2 for like 2 bucks, I need like 50. I will check pepboys or something.

About the shackles, I ran shackles and an add-a-leaf for a long time. I had the same problems as you with departure angle it sucked. My add-a leafs made the ride really stiff also. I only had 3" on the front, but i put some F-150 coil seats in there for an extra 1.25" and I did a spring over and emoved my overload. It sits about 1/2" taller in the rear, but the ride is soo much better. I fit 33's on it also and my departure angle is awesome. Now it is time to work on a rear bumper :D

No prob Kirby,

I just can`t go higher because of my parking spot:(

I been kicking around the idea of losing the shackles altogether and fabbing a slider that would let the rear mount move back and forth. It`s a crazy idea, but man it would be cool. That way the rear could mount within inches of the frame and let me get away with a SOA with only three inches of lift or so. Well I`m hoping it would. just a thought for now, but I`d like to pull it off.

A slider would be good for droop. Kind of like some do with the 1/4 eliptical on the axle side. Consider though that the leafs control the axle that is why we don't need any links. So you would not be able to compromise that, or fab some links- then you might as well ditch the leaves all together. Also the shackle works well with very little resistance, with a slider you might have a rough ride and alot of noise.
Interesting idea though. If I was you, I would consider moving the leafs outboard of the frame. You could go to the yard and salvage ranger hangers and shackles and bolt them on instead of the rivets that come from the factory. Then you could weld your spring perch about 4 inches out tword the brakes, and you wouldn't get caught up anymore on the low hanging front hanger like I do. Also you would have a whole lot better handling. Alot Of guys do this on Jeeps with 1 ton axles.

Just a thought-you might be sick of the custom ranger stuff!


I`m giving up on the slider idea. Don`t think it is practical and is just too crazy:D besides I still probably wouldn`t have enough lowering anyway.
All I can figure is a 2" superlift in front, in combination with my spacers, and the the SOA with short shackles, and add-a-leaf removed.

Thing is, I don`t have room in my parking lot for much more. I would probably have to get rid of my roof racks. AArghh! or move out!





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