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Stripe (again)

Bandit #13

This Explorer started out life as a 93 Limited from Oklahoma. He was purchased by Russell ( @NICE59FORDF100 ) through a very arduous process with the owner and brought to Texas. Once there, as the A4LD was beyond redemption, he and Kris decided to do a full manual drivetrain conversion, modify the front fenders, and throw on a set of BFG 31's. Stripe was then sold to a then "friend" who later had Kris put a 2" Superlift on, added the Duff shocks, and the Hella lights. It was during this period of ownership that I believe he had his engine hydrolocked, bending the crank.

Unfortunately, Stripe was later stolen and wound up once again in Oklahoma, abandoned by both the thief and the owner in an impound lot, racking up fees. When the owner could not pay the fees, he offered to give Stripe back to Russell in exchange for paying off the impound lot. Stripe was brought back to Texas again, however he was a shadow of his former self.

He was resold again about 3 years ago to another good friend who treated him well, but during an off road excursion Stripe got caught on a submerged log, damaging the passenger side doors and custom fender. Also, during this time Stripe was apparently going through clutches and starters every few months as the bent crank became an ongoing issue.

Stripe was traded back to Kris and Russell a little over a year ago in exchange for another Explorer for the owner's wife. And thus he was moved into the "field of dreams", the backlot of Bandit Customs, where unfinished projects and parts vehicles are stored; an ironic place to house those Explorer's who have been dreamed of and those who will never dream again. But Stripe was in limbo here, his fate undecided. He was in rough shape, beaten, battered, and broken. It was very unlikely that he would ever have a home again, his needs significantly outweighing his value...

...but this was not the case to me.

Ever since I saw Stripe years ago, I wanted him. He was unique and had the characteristic charm of the first generation Explorer. However, funds never became available at the right time and thus I watched him pass from owner to owner over the years.

Last year Russell and Kris called me one day and asked if I wanted him. (they had previously offered me another Explorer in exchange for some work I had been doing for them). I was flabbergasted and never said "yes" faster in my life. Thus I became the third owner of the lucky #13 Bandit and started a labor of love that will hopefully last for years to come...

When I got him:


2 Months later:



(Updated 4/20/20)

93 Limited
4.0 OHV
Manual Hubs
Sun Roof

33x12.50R15 Hankook Dynapro ATM's

Kenwood KMM-BT322U digital media receiver with Sat Radio and Bluetooth
Pioneer TS-A682F 4-Way coaxial speakers

Hella off road lights
Navajo tail lights
Clear headlights with 35W 6000k LED's

LED conversion
2nd Gen Limited Leather heated seats

2" Skyjacker lift
James Duff 70/30 Shocks

Front fenders trimmed 2"
Passenger side beauty marks
Decorative rust pattern on doglegs
Lovingly weathered Oxford White paint
Reese Roof Rack

Valvoline 10w-30 Synthetic Blend
FL-1A Motorcraft oil filter

Parts Replaced:
130A Alternator
Front Calipers
Front Brake Pads
Tensioner and Idler Pulleys
Rear window motor bushings
Steering Shaft Rag Joint
Crankshaft Position Sensor
Steering Gearbox (Replaced again 9/19)
Water pump
Fuel Pump and sending unit
Heater hose
Upper and lower intake gaskets
Valve cover gaskets
Auto to Manual computer
Heater core
Fuel pump and sender

Future Mods:
8.8 Disc Swap
Super Secret Upgrade
Regear to 4.10's
Throw in my Spartan Locker
1" Body lift
Short throw shifter
New headliner
Winch (don't quite know where to mount it...yet)

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I just recently moved, so I haven't had much time to work on Stripe, that and being up in Austin nearly every weekend to work on Red.

However a big pro on the move is that I finally have my own garage! :bounce:

My first act was to change out the heater core and diagnose the blower motor issue. One was easy, the other a fire hazard!! :eek:


So first thought was blower relay and/or resistor. That was a big fat nope! So next up was the blower controller and thats where I found a nice surprise in the form of melted connectors, burned wires, and a fairly toasty controller.








Therefore, until I get these replaced I am on a self-imposed blower embargo. No heat and no A/C outside of the old vent and speed trick.:(

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HOORAY for having your own garage!!
Looks alot like my first house garage, wicked good things happen there!
Now you can tackle these issues.
Get to the junk yards and collect those plastic connectors, so you have replacements. I have a box of BII headlight connectors (steering column), solid state intermittent wiper relay boxes, and heater blower motor resistor wiring plugs...all of these are obsolete and often need replacing from melting and connector issues like you have there..........The wiper relay box is basically impossible to find anymore a working one.
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I was having an intermittent misfire on Stripe. Happened randomly, but only threw the CEL flashes once. Pulled the codes and nothing! Decided to pull the plugs to see what's going on. Cylinders 1 and 3 had plug gaps of .050 instead of .054. I also had some ash build up on the other plugs. Cleaned them up and reset the gaps. The misfire seems to have gone away for now.

Still having issues with clutch engagement. Sometimes I don't think the clutch is disengaging every time. 2nd and 3rd are still touchy. I have to hold the clutch all the way in for about a second before they will engage without grinding, but it doesn't always happen. Sometimes I can disengage the clutch halfway and slot them into gear without a problem. Kinda scratching my head here. :confused2:

the infamous air bubble?

it sure sounds like a trapped air bubble, even a tiny one can cause this
it could be in the line also not just the master
the top of the master cylinder is where they all COLLECT over time into one larger sized bubble
If you have ever hung the system on the wall and while somebody was pushing the plunger (bench bleed) and your wrapping on the air line with a screwdriver, you watch the tiny bubbles come up through the reservoir you will know what I am talking about. Many many little bubbles the size of a pin head will gather together over time into one the size of a pea.
They can get stuck in the hydraulic line where it dips down
Also they get trapped in the master cyl
If a 5 speed has intermittent shifting issues, the clutch slave and master are all known as good, then I tend to lean towards trapped air bubbles.
Why else would clutch release fully at times and not at others? it is a closed system and air is not a good hydraulic fluid

Thanks 410. When I get a chance I will bleed the system.

Managed to replace the connector and blower motor switch. What a pain. Managed to de-pin the old connector (more like cut it apart because it was so melted) and re-pin the new one. I did have to solder the top black wire connection as the insulation had been melted off. Now I have a working blower aaand then I misplaced the blower motor knob. :banghead:So again I have it locked on high for now until I replace it.

Also a new bevy of leaks presented themselves this week. One was the windshield decided to start leaking right above the steering wheel and two, the fuel line connection to the engine blew apart again at a drive thru. :censored: Took me all of two minutes to figure it out and put it back together. This happened last year around this time so I think it's due to the cold. Nonetheless, I am going to try and find those quick disconnect retainers to prevent this from happening again.

The windshield will be another project as I also have to replace the seal in the rear quarter panel as well.

Geez Stripe, give it a rest! :rant:

On this cold winter morning...Stripe decided to not stay running. Turned engine over then it died a few seconds later. I could only keep the engine running if I had my foot in it, but it was not happy. After a while it smoothed out, but it nearly died a few times on the way to work idling at stop lights. Pulled the codes at work and came up with the 157 "MAF Voltage Low or Grounded".

I wound up just unplugging the MAF to go to lunch and boy did that make a difference! I have always had a flat spot between 1500-2000 rpm and it was very noticeable in second gear. That is now gone!

I think a new MAF is in the works... :banghead:

And boy was it not the MAF!! After weeks of diagnosis by myself and the BC team, we found two problems and a bunch of little ones.

Little problems:
Bad coolant temp sensor (wrong resistance)
Bad idle air control
Broken intake tube
Bad gasket for the vac tube going into the brake booster

Fixed all this and it actually got worse!

While up at BC Russell and Kris took a look at it and at just that moment both their NGS' crapped out. So they whipped out a running first gen that Kris was rebuilding and used it to compare volatages. Turns out the PCM was sending way too much voltage to the MAF causing everything to read wrong, thus over fueling the engine.

Ok no big deal, I had a 93 manual PCM I picked up. Had to adjust some wiring (this truck was originally set up to run off the auto PCM) and I would be good to go!

Aaannd, no. After I got the truck back to Houston, I tore into the wiring to get the manual PCM to read the CPP switch so I needed a 5v reference circuit. Long story short, I also found out that the belt had slashed two wires going to the O2 sensors (that definitely did not help) and I fixed that.



Put the manual PCM in and the engine went nuts, spitting codes out everywhere, idling high, then idling low. It was not happy. Turns out there wasn't enough voltage on the 5v reference circuit for the PCM to get a reading. After conversing with Russell, there was definitely a problem with the wire going to ground. Out came the voltmeter, and sure enough there was continuity between the body and the circuit. Traced it back and it turns out the PCM was grounding out its own reference wire. With the PCM disconnected, no continuity to the body. WTF?

So I disassembled the PCM and found something very wrong... can you spot it?


Capacitors are all bad. Just to satisfy my curiosity, I popped open the auto PCM


And it was worse...

I am now waiting on replacement caps to see if I can fix either of these PCM's because, for now, Stripe is not going anywhere.

FML :banghead:

Good news!! After a very long and arduous process of multi-meter handiwork, Stripe now runs on the manual computer. Was ripping my hair out until I realized I was testing the 5 volt circuit all wrong. Since its powered on the ground side I needed to check ground to positive and I was checking ground to ground, duh! :banghead:Replaced the caps in the computer and fixed some traces and I was back in business.

However the auto PCM is toast. Was still reporting low voltage on the MAF return circuit when the voltage was clearly within spec. Oh, well. :dunno:

In any case, another course in first gen electrical circuits and PCM's is behind me. Now onto new a new clutch. :rant:

So far Stripe has been very reliable (minus a idle problem that occurred due me forgetting to tighten down the intake tube :banghead:). He is still leaking oil like crazy, new rear main seal is a definite now along with the shift rail plugs and the shifter bushings (I can jiggle the shifter up and down an inch in neutral). The floor of my new garage is an oily mess. I also just found out he needs new radius arm bushings too. Thankfully my brother @96AWD5.LOL had a spare set of Moogs hanging around he let me have so when the coil spring isolators are replaced I'm doing those as well.

Fuel pump replacement number 11. Happened while I was in Austin. Got it towed back to my parent's house and replaced the pump (easy) and then replaced the (very) clogged fuel filter (not so easy). The quick connect got jammed on one side of the filter. This required me to cut the filter out and try to re-align the fingers on the disconnect so my tool would work and remove the stem of the fuel filter.

That was incredibly fun doing it at night, upside down, with fuel dripping into my face (and nose, blegh :fart:), but I got it! And Stripe drove back to Houston with out any issue, so... win! :thumbsup:

11 fuel pumps!! Clogged filter might have been killing them! What brand pumps are you installing?

I HATE those spring style quick connect fittings at the fuel filter......arrrrgggghhh!!! So much frustration over the years.
People ask me can you replace the fuel filter too..... and I'm like ummmmm maybe! I would rather pull teeth
My BII used the old plastic clips that slide in from the side, so glad to have an 88 sometimes.

The cap of a sharpie pen can work wonders at getting those spring fittings apart. You have to cut the cap so it fits in there just right
If you do booger up the spring clip you can get replacements at the auto parts store

Way to keep that ol 93 Limited going!! Whenever I see those old limited still on the road I think of Stripe and the struggles it takes to keep them going.......
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11 pumps over SEVERAL Explorers. Red has had 4, Stripe 2, 1 on my brother's first gen, 1 on a Mounty, 1 on a 3rd gen sport, 1 on a Sport Trac, and a couple of other's I don't remember. Sufficed to say, I can drop, replace, install, and roll in about two hours on these things, less if it has the clearance so I don't have to jack it up. (Red's takes me about hour.)

I have a set of those angled plastic Lisle quick disconnects that work 80% of the time (pretty high considering the rest of the crap I've tested), but I think I had dirt in the disconnect so when I twisted the tool around to make sure all the metal fingers had released I bent a couple. Serves me right for not spraying it out with brake cleaner first. :banghead:

Oh yes, Stripe is definitely a labor of love.

brake cleaner, compressed air and then PB blaster!!!, plastic metal other style plastic, cheap aluminum I have all the styles of fuel line quick disco's, never know which one will work so I just grab them all and keep trying, on the real stubborn ones a chopped up sharpie cap or even chapstick tube have saved the day a time or two
I HATE that feeling you get when the gasoline makes it past the gloves and down the sleeve and into the arm pits!!

I'm glad to hear stripe has not needed 11 pumps.
I never counted how many I have installed, I bet I put 11 pumps in the BII over the years, especially since it used to have that stupid two pump setup......

One of my big pet peeves with Stripe was the sunroof wind noise. It got to be really bad on my trips back and forth to Austin cruising at 75 (BTW 3.73 gears, 33's, and 5th gear does not make for a happy hill climb and Austin is notorious for hills that could be mistaken for small mountains). Even low speeds could get annoying if the wind was blowing from the right direction.

I had to crank the radio up pretty high to drown it out. So I came up with the idea to re-seal the sunroof with some of that weather seal from O-Reilly's. It was just recently that I took the time to do it.

I had hypothesized that over time the sunroof seals had shrunk from age and were allowing air to pass through them creating the annoying roaring sound. My hypothesis turned to theory when I was able to lightly push up on the glass right next to the adjuster which allowed a roaring tornado to develop.

I applied the 3/8" sealing tape around the whole inside edge for the sunroof glass. (had to take out the glass to do it, but I was very careful with the red locking tabs; apparently those have a tendency to snap easily and are b!tch to find in good condition)

And poof! Noise gone! I can now hear myself think while cruising along. :cool:

I think I have been putting off the maintenance on Stripe for too long:



I'm going to have to take him down for a lot of maintenance pretty soon, as of right now he needs:

-Shifter repair kit
-Shift rail plugs
-Rear main seal
-Front swaybar links
-Radius arm bushings
-Coil spring isolators
-Passenger side ball joints
-Front shocks

I also had to fill up his power steering and brake fluid as well as the coolant reservoir.

And even with all this, Stripe is still holding it together. I love this truck!! :thumbsup:

Noticed my passenger front tire was really flat when I got home from work. However, when I went to go fill it up, there was a loud hissing from the valve stem.

Yup, the valve stem rubber had cracked leading to a bad air leak. Fortunately Red was sitting right next to him on 4 brand new BFG 285/75/16's and proffered one for use on Stripe while I ran the Hankook down to Discount Tire for a free repair.



Gotta love being able to swap parts like that. :D

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I got all the parts on order for Stripe, but I want to get Red working first before I take him down to do the work.