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Post number 3327 has been selected as best answered.

Whats In A Name?

It was hot humid august night. The winds have all but vanished. I was doing my best to keep the sweat out of my eyes. The A/C was dying in my 94 Explorer, lovingly named "Pugly", and there was no relief in sight. I decided it was time to stop throwing good money into bad. I was gonna do the unthinkable,.......I was going to commit the most heinous crime of them all! I was going to trade Pugly in for a newer model! Oh the heart break! The insanity of it all! I couldn't believe the thoughts were even going through my head.

I managed to get the old girl back home, to her resting place. She seemed at ease in her familiar surroundings. I had to come up with an explanation to let her know of my evil plan. So i just gave her that old wink and grin that she likes to see from me as we made it back home from another day of adventure in the treacherous Midwestern terrain. I did my best in hiding my cynical thoughts, as I walked around to her rear flank and gave her that little pat on her bumper, as I always have when we part for the night.

The next morning I gave her a real good bath, cleaned behind her mirrors, and brushed her grill. She still looked pretty good for her age. Oh sure she had the tell tale signs, gravity has got its firm grip on her, and I am not the best cosmetics guy in the world. she didn't seem to mind too much, she still kept her nose up and drove with pride.

After looking at many vehicles I just could not find anything that had the same feel as my old girl. Then it happened! Was I seeing a mirage? Was I so desperate to find another rig that I was blinded by insanity? I found my replacement! I quickly made a sale with the owner, and brought it home.

When I pulled in the driveway, my heart sunk as I looked into the yard to see my 94 looking at me in disbelief. She was sunning herself in the grass looking all shiny and then, she just looked away from me. My heart was tearing in two. I parked the new rig, and walked up to her and gave her a soft spoken "Hello". No reply. I tried to tickle her mirrors, no response. The tension was so great, you could have cut it with a 32 count fine tooth hacksaw. I had to explain to her that she gave me great satisfaction for many years, and we made a terrific team together, but the time has come for her to just relax and enjoy her final days. She finally revved up, and understood, her days as my work horse has ended (so we thought).

I introduced her to her daily driver replacement. The shiny new(er) next generation of her kind. The 95 Explorer XLT. She warmed right up to it. Before you know it they were swapping stories. Now I had to ask her for help. I needed a name for the new ride,
so I went to find her, and what did I see? Those two were grill to grill in the driveway. rubbing chrome! I had to get the water hose out and break them up! Sheesh, she was acting like a girl at the prom dance! I let the name thing drop for awhile.

The new(er) Ex needed to get its shots, and a physical. When I got the word on it's health, I about had a coronary. "What do you mean Doc"! I yelled. "Your kidding right"? I asked. The Doc just shook his head and gathered his tools. As he walked away, He said it had a 50/50 chance of survival. My stomach knotted up, my teeth ground, my heart raced, and I could feel the energy build up as I let it all out, "Why! Why! Why did this have to happen"! I screamed.

The prognostic exam from the doc was as such. It had a blown steering rack, the shocks were gone, the brakes were non existent, front sway bar was cracked in half, the 3rd brake light was out, none of the windows or the moon roof would work, the door locks were broke, the rear end LS clutch pack was burned up, the tires were all in need of replacement, the spare was a Firestone recall and flat, the engine had a nasty tick to it, the TPS was shot, the MAF was corroded, the battery had a dead cell in it, the hood shocks were not working, the rear hatch lock was jammed up and you couldn't open it with out a key in the lock, The carpet was stained to no repair, the rear window wiper didn't want to work, and we could not tell what year its engine swap came from. it was a mess, to say the least.

I went in the house to get my gun. I was gonna just put it out of its misery right there and then. I suddenly realized I was out of ammo, from shooting at the jeep that was in my field. I went to the computer to find a place to buy some cheap ammo, and I stumbled across this website, that said it could heal any ford Explorer no matter what the problems were! I jumped for joy, I could not believe the things I was reading! I wore out the search button, asked a bunch of questions. I quickly broke out my pen and paper, feverishly writing down things as I was learning! I had found a cure for everything that was wrong with my new transport. It was a Godsend, an angel from the SUV heavens!

I sprung into action. I worked day and night, Pugly was right by my side the entire time, helping me in any way she could. I never seen this side of her, and was really amazed at how well she handled the pressure. She gently squeegeed the sweat out off my fore head with her soft wiper blades as I worked away. After an entire weekend of work, I collapsed. I needed some rest, and so did the 95. The sun crested over the hills, and awoke me to a new day. I shuffled my feet to the window facing the driveway, peeled the drapes gently back, and peered out at the 95. WOW!
It had a its color back, and was looking great! Now as the time went on, (and most of my paychecks), and the selling of almost everything I own, for funds to get the 95 to its former glory.

After some time to reflect on this name thing, I strolled up and whispered into Pugly's passenger side mirror, and she giggled with delight.

I climbed up onto the front bumper in my pajamas and robe half opened, with a cup of coffee in one hand and the daily newspaper in the other, I raised my arms with out stretched hands and proclaimed the new name of the 95.

BEHOLD...........THE BLACK HOLE!!!!!!!! (Then the neighbor yelled at me to close my robe)

The End................(or is it just the beginning?)

Actually, only some of this really happened. :D

View attachment 324381

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I doubled up the tcase skid plate last year as well as the fuel tank. I also discovered there are two types of tcase skid plates at that time. Fortunately I was able to get back to the pull a part to get the right kind.
I think I still managed to bend the doubled up skid plate. Need to pull it off, pound it out and strengthen it somehow.

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Well, they are just stock 1/8" stamped metal. I think they are intended to take maybe 1 or 2 hits in it's lifespan. Doubt the engineers designed these thing to abuse over and over, like us morons do. :D Landing hard on them will bend/ding em up. It's when backing up and they catch that really messes them up. The back edge needs an angled lip better than it has for that, so it slides up & over. I should have added that to mine the other day! lol

The tighter together they are to one another when stacking them will increase the strength overall. Any gap between them weakens them for impacts. I fudged with mine for a long time, before I was happy with them touching as tight as possible. I used a ton of clamps on it to hold it tight for welding.

When I add to the front of it, I will add to the back as well. A pc of small thickwall sq tube or angle iron, across it on the top side, will help strengthen it too.

Oh!!! lmao!

No, haven't got to that yet. Still trying to wrap up an ongoing project I started yesterday. Be next weekend or the following weekend, before I can get to that debacle.

I had 4 different projects to do on the BH this weekend. It rained most of the day yesterday, and I only managed to get a little done on the 1st project. :(

Between work and nature, I didn't get much done as planned this weekend. :(

What I did finish is the dual battery charge system for the trailer. Well, finished until I own a DC-DC charger on the trailer, then a little change up to what I did here will happen. Might be a year before that happens, so this setup will do in the meantime. :)

I needed a decent wire ran to the bumper from the battery, to trickle charge the Aux battery bank of two group 31 MAGM's in the trailer, while towing down the road. The trailer has other means of charging the batteries while parked, but I wanted to be able to charge while going from place to place too.

The 7 pin harness was installed a while back, and it has a 10 awg trickle charge wire in it, just like the trailer harness has. I wanted more than that charge wire could offer. I didn't hook those wires up. I opted for this instead.

I ran 600 volt 4 awg welding cable, from the front to the back along the frame rail. It was completely sleeved with flex tubing. From the battery, it runs to a 140 amp smart charger, to a 150 amp circuit breaker, to the rear and terminates with a 175 amp Anderson connector. A 4 awg ground wire was attached to the frame and to the Anderson connector as well. It is stored behind the bumper until needed, and fed through an opening in the bumper to be hooked up to the trailer.

So where to put these charging gizmos? They need to be close to the engine battery. I have a space where the ABS pump used to be, but that space is already spoken for another mod coming soon. I decided to cram them next to the power distro box, but needed a way to mount them.

Using a 10"x3"x1/8" pc of flat stock, and a pc of 1/8" hanger stock, I made the mounting bracket. The smart charger, and the circuit breaker was bolted to it with stainless hardware. I made a Z bracket and used it to bolt it to the interior fender wall on one side. Then a bolted to an existing tab on the PDB bracket. I had to remove the PDB for room to wire it up and bolt it down.

Once I had it mocked up, I could measure the cable lengths, and install the copper lugs on the bench with the hammer crimper. Off it came, put the cables on it, and back in it went. (bored yet?)

bracket metal raw.jpg

New bracket with charge gizmos.jpg
Z bracket on charge bracket.jpg
Charge gizmos installed.jpg

Temp 175 amp Anderson storage.jpg

Trailer side will have the same cables on the other half of the 175 amp Anderson connector, then to another 150 amp circuit breaker, finishing off at the batteries. This is way more charge than that 7 pin harness 10 awg setup, and the DC-DC charger will be leaps and bounds over this setup. Reason for not using a 2 awg cable, is because of the future DC-DC charger install. It doesn't need anything larger, as it amplifies the current, just like a stereo amp does before sending it to the speakers.

Small mods and a refresh to the front bumper this weekend.


Made new mounts for the light bar and camera. Light tabs was on the main tube, on the front, and I cut them off and put them on the back. Had some hokey mounts added to push the light bar back. Always disliked them. They gone.

The camera was mounted to the same tube in front of the light, and faced forward. While it helps on the trails, I wanted it to point downward some to show the ground in front of the rig better. So I made an adjustable mount to be able to move it by hand at what ever angle I wanted.

The height changed on the camera, so I had to raise the light bar too. Made some spacer blocks out of Superstrut, so I can use the slide nuts on them for the light bar. Worked very well as I can adjust the light bar side to side, or front to back, depending on the strut orientation. I ended up with a side to side mount.

After welding the tabs for the camera, I made the swivel bracket to mount the camera onto. Rounded the tops of the tabs, and used Stainless bolts and wingnuts with extruded locking washers. simply turn the wingnuts, move the camera to the desired angle, and tighten back up.

BH front light bar brackets.jpg

BH light bar strut nuts 2.jpg

BH front cam mount.jpg

BH light bar and cam mounted.jpg

I tried to move the bracket on the light, and all 4 of the tiny Allen bolts was frozen solid. Oh well, I can live with it not being centered (sort of) for now.

Got a question for you 5.0L guys. Does your oil filter have a stiff harness going over the end of it, blocking removal? Is this normal, or was the bracket bent on engine install? I have no idea what that harness is even for. Anybody?

50 oil filter.jpg

I'm going to have to bend that bracket to move it out of the way. Just want to make sure it's safe to do so.

I checked the oil level on it, and that goofy corkscrew dipstick says it is 2 quarts low. No idea how it can be that low with only a few hundred miles on the refreshed engine. I know it has a leak as evident by the oil on the trans and t-case, but I didn't think it was that bad.

Since I'm not familiar with that dipstick yet, and how to read it accurately, I am doing an oil/filter change, and adding Mobil1 oil & Mobil1 filter. I will be able to judge the oil level, and how to read the dipstick better this way.

I don't recall anything being in the way when I change oil. It's always very easy.

That wire bundle on yours looks odd, too thick like they unwrapped them for some reason. The brackets are correct, they're long, and you can bend them as needed. I had a set of the starter wiring as spare, and installed it on my 91 Lincoln, which had corrosion in the main starter power wire. So I noticed the difference of the brackets, I bent them a bit for my car that has less stuff hanging low there.

Here are good pictures. The first is of my spare starter harness, before I put it in my 91 Lincoln. The next shows the harness as it goes in my 98 Mountaineer, it goes under the filter.

Your guys must have not been sure how it was supposed to go, and they bent that bracket forward to route it to the front of the filter. You should have no trouble pulling the oil filter, and bending the bracket so it's straight down, and the wires go under the filter.

Here's one last one, the new 1.5" sway bar I put in at the same time back in 2008ish. You can barely see the starter wiring behind the bar, below the filter.



Addco sway bar brackets.JPG

Thanks guys. I knew it wasn't right. I traced it to see what it was after I posted about it. I just wish I seen Don's post before I finished the oil change, and moved it where it should be. Next oil change, I will correct it after the filter is off.

Ok, so that was a weird find, but this part is downright irritating. Most all already know the history for the last couple years on this thing. Since it has been more a yard ornament than anything while repairs have been made, the oil was the last thing on my mind. I have been so used to the flat straight dipsticks of the OHV, that the 5.0 corkscrewed pigtail dipstick just threw me off balance. It wanted to curl up and make a U when removed. When it said 2 qts low, I was like man, this thing is just goofy, and I don't know how to read it right. No way a fresh rebuilt engine with a few hundred miles can be that low.

Well..... This is what was drained from the engine after 45 mins, with cap and filter off.

BH 1st 5.0 oil change 1.jpg

This is the oil filter drained dry, after the pan was emptied into the jug.

BH 1st 5.0 oil change 2.jpg

In case you can't see the marks on the jug....

BH 1st 5.0 oil change 3.jpg

Yep, that arrow is showing the total amount removed from the engine. The dipstick read right, and 2 qts low is just a slap in the face to me.

I'm no longer shocked by what else I find wrong, but it still stings.

Moving past the negative post, lets move onto a positive one! :)

Part of the front bumper mods was to add side kickouts to match the rear kickouts installed a few months ago. It looked a bit awkward, like something was out of place. Solution was to add them to the front as well.

This meant removing the bumper, removing paint for welding, and steal glue them SOB's on. Getting the tube notches right reminded me how much a PITA the rear was to do, and these weren't any different. Lot's of back n forth, removing a little at a time. Was tempted to buy a tube notch rod measure thingamajig, but just dealt with it. lol

Sanded the entire bumper, cleaned with wax & grease remover, dried, self etching primer over raw metal, and 3 topcoats of gloss black.

Used 3/8" extensions in two of the four bolt mounts, to hold the bumper in place while I got bolts in the other holes. Amazing what you think of when working alone, and you need 3-4 hands. lol Got the light bar, rock lights, and camera wired back up, and a few steps back to say....Ahhh yeah, that dog will hunt.

P side kickout above view.jpg
P side kickout side view.jpg
BH light bar camera top view.jpg
BH front bumper center front view.jpg
Dr side kickout side angle view.jpg
BH bumper refresh frontal.jpg

Oh, BTW... This thing is making it's way back to the trails in a few days. Time to test it all out yet, once again at a local off road park for a shakedown.
Lets see what else I can find needing done to it, that I have not been made aware of yet. Lol

Lets see what else I can find needing done to it, that I have not been made aware of yet. Lol

I'll bet my to-do list will be bigger lol

I'll see your negative post and raise you a positive one :D


Thanks Kurt. I hate making negative posts, but I need to keep a record of all the finding's (good or bad) on this rig. It's the only way to keep track of it all, and this thread helps me with that process.

When Kurt & I hit the trails this weekend, we are both doing a shakedown run, looking for things to improve on or fix. His maiden voyage after an SAS/SOA! Should be fun.

Life lesson #957:
I snorted too much grinding dust over the weekend, and am suffering from it now. It's in my sinus cavities, and causing mad pains to my mouth, throat, & ear. I'm a dumbass, as I have respiratory gear too. I just didn't wear it. Let that be a lesson to all of you. LOL!

If the BH was to have leaked 2 quarts, your driveway would be a mess. I gotta admit the last oil change on Betty was done without checking oil at all during it's life, just taking for granted it doesn't need it. Makes me wonder, so I will ask, when was the last time you checked it? Not playing advocate but it would help to know how long it too to drop to that level.

Honestly I don't think I ever checked it after it came back. I'm embarrassed to admit that, but it is what it is.

Like I mentioned, it wasn't even on my radar with all the other things wrong that I was focused on. Yes, it's my bad for not checking it after all this time. I knew I was going to change it to full synthetic oil eventually, but it has been down all this time for more pressing problems.

That time came yesterday getting it ready for this coming weekend.

I was able to wipe off the trans and tcase with rags, and it wasn't 2 quarts bad. There is no stains on the drive either.

So, it might not have been filled in the first place, which, considering everything else rings true.

edit. To check oil on a newly delivered engine, being driven only for shakedowns of other repaired issues, would be a waste of time IMO so I will not consider this a slack at all. The truck has not even made a trip across town yet.

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So, it might not have been filled in the first place, which, considering everything else rings true.

edit. To check oil on a newly delivered engine, being driven only for shakedowns of other repaired issues, would be a waste of time IMO so I will not consider this a slack at all. The truck has not even made a trip across town yet.

I don't know what else it could be, as it's not burning it. Even if it was, to burn off 2 quarts in a few hundred miles, would make a smoke show every second it was running.

Checking trans fluid level is next! lol