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Starkman's Explorer build thread


Well-Known Member
October 22, 2006
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City, State
Arvada, Colorado
Year, Model & Trim Level
2000 Explorer Eddy Bower
First off I want to thank everyone who posts their experiences and builds on this forum. I read and use them often.

So, I thought I would add a thread with my project and maybe someone else can use me as help.

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My Explorer is a 2000 Eddie Bauer with 135K miles with a V8 with dark gray interior and in great shape. I bought it from the original owner's son after he passed away. It was purchased from Estes Park Ford in Estes Park Colorado.

Here it is as I bought it;

The intent of this build is to create something that is comfortable for daily driving and can pull a dirtbike trailer or a small camper and explore trails in Colorado and Utah. The key is to not modify it passed the point where it doesn't work as a "comfortable" daily driver.

Mods done so far (will add as completed);

Torsion bar twist
Shackle install
Rancho RS9000X shocks
33x10.50-15 BFG AT tires
15x7 American Racing wheels
removed running boards
Rock sliders
4406 transfercase swap
Front bumper with winch mount
Rear bumper
Spare tire mount inside hatch
Gold trim blacked out

Future mods;
Redesign rear bumper - tire carrier, fuel can, hi-lift jack mount, bumper will be an air tank
On board air
Rear locker
Regear to 4.56
F150 spring mod
Front swaybar disconnect

I would be happy to answer questions about my experiences in these mods.

with removing running boards did you "plug" the holes, leave them there, or put the xls trim piece in its place?


did you leave the fender flares? dont they tie in with the running boards? i feel like they wouldnt look very good without the running board to tie each fender together..

Great questions!

One of the future mods is to add rock sliders. So, I want to do something different in the Explorer world but normal in the Jeep world. I will attach the sliders to the rocker panels. They will attach to the factory running board attachments and I will put nutserts in the "holes" where the trim attached. Understanding that the sheet metal isn't strong enough to support the weight of the vehicle but the real load bearing will happen in the back of the rockers at the running board threaded inserts. I don't plan on smashing this thing on the rocks but I do want some protection and also the clearance this mod provides.

Here is the mock up I did to get measurements;


The steel I got is thicker then the mockup steel. It's a 2x2 angle and a plate measuring 3 1/2" all 66" long. I will add round tubing to this to add more protection also. Yes, there are stronger ways to get this done but I think it will work for me. I bent what I thought were very strong sliders on my Ranger so I feel I understand the limits.

I won't be doing this.

This is the last time it was out, more mods since then.

You can see the way the flares stop at the bottoms, not perfect looking but not too bad.



Looks good. That gold really needs to go black though. ;)

Transfercase swap

I finally dug in. Low range here I come.

Will it fit?

Interior prepped.

Hole cut in the floor for the shifter.

Trimed and cut and used the factory F150 inner boot. Had to add a strap to keep the rubber from pulling out but works well.

Reinstalled the interior and took the Ex out and the swap is complete!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do the 33s rub? If so will you trim or body lift?

Do the 33s rub? If so will you trim or body lift?

Trim, I want to keep it as low as possible. I'll be testing this weekend and will post pics.


I am so happy. The Explorer performed very well today. Disconnected front swaybar and it works better than I expected. Now finish bumpers and sliders and add a rear locker. Low range is so cool, never realized I missed it so much. And, this is the first vehicle I ever wheeled with an automatic trans. I love it!


Good compression on the drivers side.

Rear flex.

One more, you can see the beginning of the rear bumper and sliders.

If you decide you want to wheel more than tow... go SOA I get an insane amount of flex now

how does the gearing hold up? I have the same truck. Do the 33s really rob power from you on the trails as everyone says?

Yes, I can notice a power difference on the road but not off road. In low range and an automatic it crawls just fine. But I will regear someday. I ran 4.56s in my Ranger running 33s and that ratio was great.

Sliders done!

After paint;

Ok, I know you've done more since.........I'd really like a peak at that front bumper. I'm lookin to fab up something similar, but the pick in the lottery thread is a little to far away......
And I'm wondering how you made out with the 33's initially? They had to be 31's are.

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Hey Rich, I forgot you had a build a thread. It's definitely out of date though.

You should share what you learned on the front bumper. That could open up some possibilities for other people.