The Juggernaut 97 EX 5.0 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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The Juggernaut 97 EX 5.0


Well-Known Member
February 18, 2013
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City, State
Tallahassee Florida
Year, Model & Trim Level
Now an 01 Explorer Sport
This build will be slower than my last, but there are some things i can definately improve on my new project here

First of all. all i have done so far is cleaning, new Sony Head unit (Sirius Sat ready) , two MTX 12" subs, with a power acoustic gothic series amp. and new firestone 235/75/15 tires all around. when i bought it, the spare was on the ground, and none of the tires looked very good.
so with new tires, and a lot of cleaning.

Now my EX, like many, has a slight case of the saggy butt. I installed a set of these on my brother in laws ***p cherokee, and they worked well. so i ordered these, and hopefully should be in by Saturday. If so i will install them this weekend, if not, then the install will have to wait until next weekend.

Then 2" shackles, (depending on how much lift these create) on the ***p they were good for about 1 1/2". I want to get to where i can put 31/10.50/15 tires on it. since mine are new, the actual tires will probably be 6 months or so down the road.

I have also looked at the stock airbox/MAF, and i will be making a true cold air intake, cone filter, Using the stock housing i hope, with an additional ram air, from the lower front bumper area. That is the next project. I know the two schools of thought are, CAI's usually are really NOT CAI's, and that the Ford engineers know better than we do. if that is the case, then why upgrade? why headers? why Power programmers? why don't all race cars just use a Ford system??? why> because Ford has to make these smog compliant, low noise, and still relatively fuel effecient. after all Grandpa buying a 4 door EX doesn't want to hear the intake sucking air, or the Exhaust, rumbling. There are ponies in there that can be unleashed, and still have a relatively stock look, and sound. i will not be doing the "shotgun blast to the air box approach, or the drill 2 inch additional holes in the side, bottom", etc. it will be drafted from the outside, as to not pull in any under hood heat. Since i live in Florida, snow, excessive cold, is not an issue. Since i live in Florida, excessive cold is not a problem.

ALSO i do not mean to offend. I am a grandpa to 4 Wonderful Grandkids, and i am proud to say so.

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Can you get some before and after pictures/measurements on the springs? Good luck with the build.

Yes i sure will. Sadly, they did not arrive by the weekend. so hopefully sometime the first of this week. I wasn't lazy, i did do some work on it this weekend. details and pics coming soon.

First of all this weekend, i replaced the window motor/gear bushings in both front doors, now they are both as smooth as butter. I found a pleasant suprise also. my door speakers had been upgraded to pioneer. so with the addition, of my Sony HU, amp, and two 12" woofers, my system sounded really good. (Lows, Mids, and Highs). however i added a set of static tweeters to my front doors, now i have a full spectrum of sound. and it sounds awesome.

Next, i also knew i had a metal to metal bumping in the front end. (since i am getting ready to have my second back surgery), progress under the EX is "as needed" LOL. so while waiting for the rear springs, i investigated the bumping sound. I found my front sway bar bushing were shot.

a quick trip to advance auto parts, and bought a new set of Energy suspension Poly sway bar bushings, and replaced them. Now all quiet, and the front end really corners, no more dive.


Sorry to go off topic here: What is that hook on the lower control arm just to the left of the torsion bar receiver?

I thought they were a tie down hook but they're on replacement arms as well.

Don't mind at all, and to be honest i really don't know. when i saw them, i wondered the same. as i said on my other post, i am historically a chevy man, they are what i have owned the most of, and done so much modifying on. (but i really like this EX), and have never seen them before, (those hooks). This is my last ride. i sold it and bought this EX.

Sorry to go off topic here: What is that hook on the lower control arm just to the left of the torsion bar receiver?

I thought they were a tie down hook but they're on replacement arms as well.

They are the bump stop brackets.. For the rangers, thats where the factory bumpstop get installed, im not sure if the EX's use them or not but a lot of this stuff is interchangeable to multiple vehicles.

Nice Ex man!!:thumbsup:

Well first of all my spring still haven't arrived. the seller was very slow to ship. they should be here today or tomorrow. they were about 160 miles away yesterday.
So this weekend, i did polish my headlights, they were extremely yellow, and i have ordered new ultra bright white bulbs for it. i also installed a new set of fog/running lights

I also added the Name to my EX. pretty close color match!

In the photo's above the bumper/tag etc looks crooked. but it is just my photography skills, or lack there-of with my cell phone, LOL.v also the lights still look kind of yellow, but it was taken this morning barely at dawn. so i'm suprised my phone took the pics at all.

FINALLY !! my helper springs arrived. i ended up getting two sets, depending on how 1 set works, i may add the second, to avoid the shackle change. they are not as stiff as i thought they would be, but i'll try 1 set first, if it doesn't do what i want, then i'll put the other set on.
This weekend, the weather is supposed to be nice and warm, so that is my target time for installation.

Well this was the weekend for the rear springs. here is a pic of the rear before the new springs

and here is a pic of the front, before

i then took the springs apart, removed the overload springs

Here is a pic of after i installed the rear spring helpers

and a pic of the front after

Here is a pic of the stance after the spring helpers

Then the next day i added the overload springs back in, and here is the completed spring packs. also if your wondering about the duct tape, i used it to keep the two helper springs together while i bolted it all up, then it came off LOL.

here is the final rear measurment after the overloads were added back in.

I ENDED UP WITH JUST OVER 2 1/2 INCHES of lift. and while it does rider firmer, it is not rough or too stiff at all. even on the interstate at 80mph, still very smooth. it does seem more "surefooted" not as spongy.
i will add a pic of the final stance after it gets light out.

I removed the roof rack, for a leaner look.
This weekend, i also added rain guards to my EX

I added 55000K lights to the front
This pic is on DIM lights

i also replaced the side chrome trim, and a chrome strip to my mirrors, pics of that to come after daylight also.

Here is the final stance.

it's hard to see but the chrome trim strip was also replaced. i also did a chrome strip on the mirrors, turned out nice.

now my tires look small. LOL, oh well, after 2 or 3 weeks, i'll let the new springs settle in, and then adjust the front to have only a small rake, via TT. then a new front end alignment, and i'll see what kind of room i have left. of course on my brother in laws ***P, they only settled about 1/4 inch. and that was one set. i used two sets, so we shall see. my EX is heavier than is little cherokee is. The rake looks like more than it is. according to the tire to wheel well measurement, it is only 1-1/2 inches back to front.

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Lookin good man! is this a 3rd Ex?
Im thinkin about lifting the rear of mine a notch to get a rake to it since I dont want to mess with the front to try to get any lower, and I pull a trailer so I am thinkin about getting some of these springs like you got. I got a set of AAL's in there but it still sags with the trailer on it. Do you know right off how much 1 set of these will lift mine? I only want about a half inch but I dont feel like having the blocks milled - cuz Im lazy like that lol.