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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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Looks like I got some catchin' up to do! Truck is looking great man!

Thanks Chris!

Took advantage of the nice weather today and messed with the rig a bit. Too bad the chores around the house got neglected haha! This crazy thing just keeps me so preoccupied, I need to attend some 4x4 anonymous meetings to balance my life back to normal. Step 1....I admit I am powerless to wheeling......

Will get some pics up tomorrow of the progress, if I make it back home before the sun goes down. :(

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Been busy, but managed to get home before the sun went all the way down today :)

Slider caps welded back on. Not painted yet, but soon.


Fender chop.



Cable brush protection for jungle wheeling (Midwest US).

Once the bumper is installed, it will have separate posts to connect the cables to. They are connected to the brush guard and the roof basket for now. They are completely removable in seconds. Stainless turnbuckles to tighten and loosen for install & removing.




Used a set of marine clevis tie downs for cable guides. These are held on with epoxy to the windshield weather seal. Their only purpose is to stop the cable from carving a groove in the roof.


Looks good, pretty soon your going to be in my territory about cutting of sheet metal lol.

Might be stealing the cable idea pretty soon, always saw the land rover guys with them and thought they were just goofy since I didn't know the reason for them before.

Diggin' the cables Gregg! Always thought about doing it 'eventually,' now I can see how they look on an X :)

Yes, those cables will provide some protection for the windshield and help with a good field of view when going through the thick. They will hopefully divert branches away from the glass, & hood.

They are so simple to remove, and hook up, it will be a snap to slap them on before heading out on the trails.

Took the rig in for an alignment. Had a dr side tire wobble. Thought it was the outer tie rod end. I brought a pair of them with me to have them installed before the alignment was done as to not have to worry about setting the toe and driving it to the shop. Simple, all good right?.......NOT!

Once on the lift, we discovered some bad news bears parts. Both new (couple of months) upper BJ's were toast. The weak stock inner tie rods were junk. Dr side was barely on at the joint. Thus the bad wobble. The outer tie rod ends were fine, so they were returned.

I ordered the Mcquay/Norris extreme inner tie rods, and a M-N pass side upper UCA/BJ as that is all I could find being sold anywhere. I ordered a new HD M-N version sold at Napa for the Dr side.

The alignment shop thinks the steering rack gear is shot, the shop that installed it (2yrs ago) says its fine. We shall see who is right and who is wrong after the parts are installed and the alignment done.

Ah so, you are exploring the limits of the vehicle suspension parts in heavy duty usage. Hopefully you will have it sorted out this time with the better parts. I'm sure others will appreciate learning this from you, well done.

In! thx for the chance!
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All I can say is, it's a learning experience with a hefty price tag :)

These simple little parts are very pricey. They add up to nice chunk of change. I really hope they hold out, if they don't, a SAS is looking awfully tempting. The IFS is really limited to level 3 (out of 5) trail ratings. 4's & 5's are just to much as there is no droop / flex with it. Rollover's will happen with this setup, so a mild trail rig is the best it will be with IFS. Is it all worth it? I can't really say at this point. I tend to want to go harder, faster, bigger, in progression every time I leave the pavement. I am learning to never say

Lots of work, time, trial & error on my part to fully comprehend this. But, hey, it's a Great mild trail rig!

Weekend Update:


Did some work on the rig this weekend. Installed some heavy duty IFS parts.


The Inner tie rods & pass UCA are the McQuay Norris Extremes.


The drivers side UCA is a HD brand made by XRF. They have a 1 million mile warranty. They make every part for our IFS as well. I found out about them after I had purchased the M-N parts. I stumbled across these talking to a NAPA store looking for the M-N dr UCA. It was considerably less money than the M-N Extremes. This NAPA is an independent store, and the corporate stores don't sell them.

Here is a link to XRF parts.

The rig went in today for a much needed alignment. It has sat since the new IFS parts were installed. Took it to an "Old School" shop, with experienced employees.

They couldn't (or wouldn't) align it. It seems that the bushings on the steering rack are shot to ****, and there is play side to side because of this. I also have a Ear bent on the pass LCA mount. Not a biggie, I can bend it back. I am also going to get the HD Outer tie rod ends and Lower ball joints installed before I bring it back.

Now for the rack bushings. I need to start hunting those down. I would like to find some good (stronger than stock) replacements for them.

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