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Sport97's sport

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My name is Vince, I live south of Pittsburgh, Pa. I bought my explorer after i graduated high school(july 08) with 50k for 3500

The Ex:
97 explorer sport, SOHC/auto, leather, moon roof, + mods...

The x: It had 50k miles on it when i got it, and had only minimal rust. Since then the rust has been fixed, and I'm over 100k. Maintenance has been typical with plugs/wires, fuel filter, all 4 ball joints and a thermostat. Running Mobil 1 syn has seemed to quiet the timing chain rattle. Its totally quiet in the summer, and slightly louder in the cold weather.



CURRENT STATE: 12/2011 @101k

-front skid plate
-removed front valance
-relocated front fog lights
-clear corners
-safari bar/lights (victim of rust and off roading)
-bed liner on a few things
-8" sub w/ amp
-4 pioneer speakers
-air box mod
-new rockers w/o rust:)
-cobra CB w/ 2 3ft wilson whips on the back
-Firestone At's , 265/75/16
-4 door leaf pack/aal/shackles

Near future:

-f150 tow hooks

Future: 3" body lift, 285/75 M/Ts

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Yesterday I decided to go for a ride up the mountain, against my better judgement and myself imposed rule of no off roading when there is snow on the ground. It used to be all trails but very recently the logging companies widened it all to dirt roads. No real issues on the road, used the skid plate a few times in a rut and over a rock, so far so good. We get up to a point where they do the staging and stack the logs on the trucks. I wanted to continue through the muddy area to look for the trail out and up the mountain, but decided not to risk it, as we did not have a second vehicle. So rather than turn around in the mud bog that was their staging area, I was going to back out the "frozen" path we came in on, about 75ft to a turn around spot. I was to busy watching my right side as to clear the equipment parked there that I slipped into a sludgy muddy ditch. Right up to the bumpers. At one point it was even with my drivers door. Somehow I got it out without any assistance. Low range and rocking back and forth. Transmission was clunking, I ground the gears a few times.(For some reason in low range it wouldnt get below 1200 RPMs so shifting was tricky). I had to spin my tires fast to clear mud from the treads. They don't self clean like an MT. I managed to get sideways in the ditch by using the hill behind me to turn my car. I was then able to climb out of the ditch. Few guys stopped to watch on their quads, watching me like I was a dumbass for bringing a vehicle up there.

All in all it was fun. Drivers error put me there, but the ex saved my butt, but I sure could use that body lift and 33"s...

I actually dug myself deeper than when the pics were taken, I thought I was so screwed. Only reason I got out was the fact I was never stuck in one spot in the ditch.

Now the best part...








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Looking at these pics makes me not like the foglights in the bumper opening. They look like buck teeth. Opinions?

Yeah, geuss you could've used those tires I linked to you, lol. There's also a set of four brand new 235/75/15 DuraTrac's on there too and 285/75/16's. I say put the foglights in the two center openings in the grille. Looks like your truck is related to 'Mater. Lol. Glad ya got out. I don't like to go wheelin' in the winter, you never know whats under the snow and frozen mud on the undercarriage isn't fun to deal with if you break something.

I need to get this thing cleaned out underneath somehow. The mud is on everything, I mean everything. I'm due for inspection this month. I need to re fix my exhaust before I bring it in. Its so ghetto right now, still mad at that shop...

I did check my brakes, but now my front right is not braking much, or at all. My car pulls strong left while braking. I can feel the steering wheel tug, and the front left was hot to the touch, but the front right was not. I need to pull it off, probably mud jammed in there:rolleyes:. I did lose about a centimeter of brake fluid over the past 6 months, there could be a small leak as well. It honestly needs EVERY brake part replaced.

Thats some savage mud mate!

Bugs could be a good name for the x, :) nah maybe a bar on the front for the spotties?

I think my passenger side front caliper is roasted. I took it all apart to clean it up hoping it would work, no such luck. I'll try and bleed it to see if there is air in the line, but looks like a new part will solve this issue.

I have a ridiculous shake at 65mph. I hope it was the mud caked in the wheels and in the rotors and stuff. I drove it up on ramps and cleaned every square inch of mud from underneath, in the wheels, out of the brakes and cleaned my mats as well. I love owning a pressure washer. Hopefully that solves the wobble. Brakes are still jacked up.

I was pretty dead set on more lift and 33"s but now I am unsure.

I can't be this tough on my D.D. With bigger tires and more lift I probably would get myself into trouble. Luckily, I only have minor body damage this time, but it could've been worse. Brakes are screwy now and that wobble(hopefully fixed). She isn't a spring chicken anymore, so I need to be a little easier on her now. Tranny has hicups every now and then, and 33"s may be the nail in the coffin for that. Engine runs strong still, for the most part, but sometimes it doesn't run so good. This morning I cranked it up to 95 on an open straight, but it could hardly do it. Foot ended up on the floor by 85 and it stopped picking up speed took wayyy longer than it normally would've. I know I shouldn't do that, but oh well, I drive it like its stolen:D

With that being said, and not knowing if I will get a job when I graduate (thinking I won't, not that I have bad grades, I have a 3.7 and a decent resume, but schools are not hiring here) and rising gas prices, I should stay conservative for now. A nice set of aftermarket 16" rims with a set of 265/75 mud tires. Maybe 17" rims. Maybe if I feel adventurous I can put a one inch body lift on. Lots of work for a little lift, but with 265's it could use one more inch off road.

Next addition will be f150 tow hooks. I also would like a new fender flare to replace the damaged one.

So...stay tuned, for now this is the plan, I will probably change my mind again when I have money...

Brakes are good now that they have been cleaned and checked out. I need to re-balance the front tire, I lost a weight.

I went out and bought a 2D LED maglite (awesome flashlight) and I ordered mounts for it. I have not totally decided where I want it though. Somewhere easily within reach for deer spotting, trash picking and whatever else.

Got a set of towhooks off an expedition for 10 bucks. Hopefully I'll get those bad boys on soon. Also picked up an interior trim piece and new lug wrench ( I had a bad lug nut, it destroyed 2 sockets, and my original lug wrench). I love u pull its. I forgot to look for a new fender flare though.

I'm having some issues with the car running right. It has been making a nasty smell when the engine is under heavy labor (hills, and heavy foot driving) Doesn't smell quite like sulfur smell like bad cats make. In a way it smells like mothballs, but very strong. Also on occasion, more so recently, at idle it stumbles badly. It idles at 650-700, but it stumbles to 400 or so and the car shakes, and it raises back to normal and it does this over again. I usually get the smell then as well.

Also, possibly related.... on occasion i'll be cruising along and the car just loses all power and starts laboring badly, and lets a few backfires off, and only way to regain power is to get off and back onto the gas or slam down the pedal.

Other than that it runs good, no missing or anything. Kind of confusing to me. I was getting 13-14mpg earlier this winter, which is bad, but I haven't calculated recently. Once every 5 or 6 months it will flash up a CEL for bank 1 lean (i think) but it goes away within 50 miles.

I heard once that mothballs keep snakes away? Not very helpful....unless someone you know put mothballs in your gas tank (conspiracy time! :D)

Been running good recently besides when I back into a parking spot the idle goes all over the place.

My exhaust is a complete disaster. I have no hangers left behind the cats and it leaks. Its a mess. I just wired it up to hold it together for now. So ghetto! I may actually put a dump on it in front of the rear wheels. May sound decent. The exhaust is pretty quiet with the resonator so it should give it a bit of depth to it, if it sounds like poop I'll keep the tail pipe to hook back up.

Last tank netted me 15.5mpg, but i have doubts that is accurate. I think the pump overfilled my tank, it was foaming fuel out of the filler before it stopped, so that means it could be better than 15.5...

Exhaust is fixed, got a new rear diff cover on and synthetic fluid in there. I bought a new turn signal flasher (mine is on its way out) but it didnt work. I'll have to buy one from the dealer.

True, pics or it didn't happen....


LPW cover, purchased from a member. Has a fill and drain plug.


EDIT: It is straight on photobucket, the forum is flipping it sideways for some reason...

My rear shock boot melted when the exhaust hanger broke and the exhaust hit the shock :(. My front tire is getting eaten up from my fender even though I've trimmed it back several times. Need a 1 inch BL installed.

I see you've got a skid plate, and after clicking through the links it appears to be the same guy who's selling these plates on both Ebay and The Ranger Station. How would you rate the quality of the item? I'm looking at getting a plate to protect my cross member and radiator as I don't have plans for a huge lift hoping this will hold up.

I see you've got a skid plate, and after clicking through the links it appears to be the same guy who's selling these plates on both Ebay and The Ranger Station. How would you rate the quality of the item? I'm looking at getting a plate to protect my cross member and radiator as I don't have plans for a huge lift hoping this will hold up.

I have an older one without the laser cut holes and such but it looks exactly the same. I just spray painted paint black. Its got some surface rust on it because I smashed it off several things last time I was out and didn't touch it up. Its 3/16 steel so its heavy as hell, hard to install alone. My radiator owes its life to that thing. I personally think it is great. I'm not sure you cash situation but if you have an extra hundred or so see if he will make a stainless one for you, then you don't have to worry about rusting. But I think it looks great and is plenty strong. You pull the crappy plastic thing off and it goes in place of that. I had to drill 2 new holes in my frame and tap threads into them, but from what ive seen there are 4 holes in the 4 door frame and the ranger, the sport model only has 2 of them.

Ordered new front pads, wagner thermo quiets. My front pads look like they have 50% life left on them,(even though they were the cheapest ones and have 20k miles...), but they are squealing and I have no bite with my braking. I tried new brake hardware to see if that would cure the noise, no luck so new pads are coming.

Pads cost $51, I used a coupon code for $20 off, there is a $10 mail in rebate, and i went through ebates for 12% off as well.

I hope this gives me more "bite" in my brakes, most cars i've driven, when you stomp down on the brakes you get a hard bite, i get none of that. I still think i need something repaired, i've lost a tad of fluid. I'm thinking my master is bad, because i chew up rear pads faster than front pads.

Did a little 4 wheeling today. I almost got stuck because of my tow hitch. It ruined my angle and it dug into the bottom of a giant puddle and got my hung up at a pretty steep angle. I couldn't pull the hitch out because it was under mud and water so i managed to get forward a bit and just gave it hell back in reverse and slammed through the mud and hit a boulder with my rear bumper. Small little dent, no big deal. Always a fun time offroad though!

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I wasn't about to climb into that puddle to take it off. The issue was I couldn't back down, it kept hitting the bottom of that puddle and stopping me. I had to use a bit of speed coming back down, which resulted in me backing into a big rock. All in all a fun day out though.

That pic of the river was taken not far up from where we had to park the explorer because I couldn't clear that hump of dirt.


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