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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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Stripe got some goodies today. Looks like this weekend is going to be a busy wrench-fest!


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I used to have that same Aiwa stereo in my shop! DUAL TAPE DECKS YEAH BUDDY!!! you are old skool
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That was passed down to me from my grandfather when he passed away. He used to play classical music on it all the time. Pretty good sound for a (now) 30 year old system.

And Stripe has a new clutch! Took me a while to do it by myself and I would up having to fashion up my own alignment tool from a long 10mm socket, some tape, and adhesive foam seal, but it done. Threw in a new slave, a shifter repair kit, and replaced the shift rail plugs with the metal ones.

There was literally no bushing left in the shifter.


I took the top cover off the transmission as well to inspect it and it looked fine, so a lot of my shifting issues were clutch and slave related.

I think I overheated the flywheel a bit. Got some nice heat cracking going on there and definitely some hard spots. Glad I decided to replace it, fortunately they are dirt cheap for an Explorer.


New clutch after using my makeshift alignment tool, not bad if I do say so myself!


I wound up using two ratchet straps hooked to the radius arms and the transmission to compress the clutch during install since I didn't have second pair of hands. Once I got the input shaft in and futzed around getting the transmission and engine lined up, it popped right in. Other than forgetting to disconnect the battery when I pulled the starter (light show!) and putting the shifter stem in backwards, it all went pretty well. Didn't even lose a bolt or have any extra!

Well that's all for now. I guess this wouldn't be a big deal for most manual Explorer owners, but this was my first time solo and I'm stoked I got it right.


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wicked good deal
Did you put in new slave and master cyl too?
I have seen bad shifter bushings before but yours take the will enjoy the feel of your shifter after all of this
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New slave, master was replaced recently. Pedal is real light. I bled the hell out of the slave because of how it felt, but it didn't change and it still fully disengages the clutch.

Shifter feels a 1000% better.

Something is wrong...

While in gear I get a loud whirring or humming sound coming from the transmission area and at around 2000 rpm the whole engine vibrates in every gear. Clutch engagement and disengagement is fine, however when I push the clutch in the noise goes away.

I am concerned that in my attempt to install the transmission I may have pushed out or misaligned the pilot bearing (I did put in a new one).

SOB! Vibration with clutch engaged is not good, something is wrong.....
Might have to drop that sucker again
Have a look inside the inspection cover and see if anything jumps out at you.
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I looked in there with the clutch in and and out and nothing looks wrong. Pressure plate has a slight wobble but that may just be perception. I'm not sure where to look? I would hate having to drop this again, with Red down I'm stuck if something is wrong and I don't have the part/tool for it. The last of the valve seals showed up for Red however, so I guess the goal for me this week is to get Red running well enough that I can take Stripe down again to figure out what I f'd up.

gosh dangit Houston is sooooooo far away! I would help you drop that 5 speed and find out what gives......hang in there. I ever tell you about how I had the 5 speed out of my BII 4 times in one week??? Many years ago.....
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Question, is the throwout bearing supposed to be spinning when the clutch is not in?

It sounds almost like clutch slippage, but everything seems fine with engagement? Maybe the slave isn't fully releasing?

Im not so sure the pilot bearing would cause a vibration, if it gets pushed out of whack usually you end up with a squeel or chirp.
You said the pressure plate looks to have a wobble? Anyway you can slowly rotate the engine around while inspecting and check out the bolts that hold it on, make sure it is still seated over the pins?
Even if you spot an issue in there the trans has to drop back to fix.... I feel your pain wish I could help!

Research says yes these throw our bearings are constant contact, so they do spin all the time. I have a 98 Ranger 5 speed in the shop right now I can look at to verify this later today

After further investigation, the hum is speed dependent. Now I'm starting to thing its in the driveline, just damn odd it happened right after i messed with the transmission. I'll have to look at it again this weekend. The vibration I think may be a harmonics thing, the old clutch I took out had 5 of those large "rebound springs", I guess you call them, and the new one has 3. Me thinks that the PO had a HD clutch on that motor that may have dampened the vibration more than the new one. Come to think of it, the old one did have a vibration around 1500 rpm and the engine was really struggling (seemed to have a flat spot there), I wonder if there is any connection?

remove drivelines see if vibration goes away?
You can even drive around in front wheel drive for testing (no rear shaft)

Who knows? it may be u-joint time... :hammer:

So it's been a month and a half since I have updated this. Nothing really to report other than he has been doggedly reliable. Loaned him out to a friend for a couple of weeks while his pos Silverado was taking up 3/4 of my garage. :rolleyes: After he turned him back in he half jokingly offered to trade his truck for Stripe, but that was met with a firm no and something about keys, cold hands, and a coffin.

He needs suspension work bad and I've got to figure out where the road noise is entering the cabin. Very annoying, but I can still jump in and he'll crank every time. Best Explorer I have ever had. Can't thank the Bandit crew enough for parting with him. :thumbsup:

Stripe has been having an incontinence issue. Appears that the lower intake gasket I put in is not holding and causing a nice oil leak.

Going to need to take care of it. But at the rate I'm adding though, he is at least getting an oil change every 3 months. :p

Dan, dont feel too bad the lower intake gasket my dad installed on his navajo does seam to be doing the same thing. Its a very leaky engine.

I forgot to mention I install the 1" longer shifter Kris gave me for the body lift (sadly no BL installed yet) just to see what, if any, difference there was.

First off I have now lost access to the 2nd cup holder for anything sitting higher than 6". Secondly, I like the throw better. It puts the shifter in reach of my hands. Had to change my shift style a little bit to compensate for the lighter touch I needed due to the extra leverage it gives me. I don't pull or push the shifter now, I smoothly slide it in with my fingers.

Overall worth it for not being able to store a 44oz big chug anymore. ;)

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I dropped in at BC for the weekend to get the guys to help me with the transmission and put in the new radius arm bushings and coil seats.

Turns out my very first assumption on the transmission vibration was correct:

I am concerned that in my attempt to install the transmission I may have pushed out or misaligned the pilot bearing (I did put in a new one).

Yup, when I installed the transmission it appears my "alignment tool" wasn't good enough and the input shaft pushed the pilot bearing into the crank. :banghead: . In any case no other damage was present, so we put it all back together after pulling out the old bearing and putting in a new one (correctly).

Upon further inspection of my suspension there were a few issues present:




I knew about the coil spring insulators, the shock mount being bent and the missing swaybar bushing were news to me. The passenger bearing also loosened up to the point that you could wobble the tire back and forth in the air.

I should also add that I was doing a sustained 75mph around all the curves and up and down hills on I-10 and TX-71 driving to Austin. Stripe did me a solid getting there in one piece. :thumbsup:

I fully rebuilt the swaybar links (I had the bushings with me as I was planning to replace them anyway) and Kris helped me install the new radius bushings and coil spring isolators. As for the shock mount, when I went to bend it back up the threaded portion broke off. WTF? Turns out at one point in its life it had broken off before and the owner put it back on with a half ass weld. So what could I do? I finished bending the stud back up in place and did my own piss-poor weld to get the threaded portion re-attached. It made it back to Houston this way so I am calling it fixed. :p

I will need to replace those shocks though, they are WAY too long for this 2" lift, probably a large part of the reason the mount bent IMHO.

Stripe still has a vibration between 2000 and 2500 rpm. Not anywhere as bad as it was but it is still noticeable. Damn.