Tom's '97 XLT registry | Page 17 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Tom's '97 XLT registry

Here's my registry. It's not going to really serve as much of a build log or anything, just to help keep track of the (minor) things I do to it along the way.
(Edit: yeah, that all turned out to not be true...... Keep reading to see what I mean)

This is my 1997 XLT. I bought it on 10/13/2010 with 117,500 miles for $2000. It has the SOHC V6, 3.55 rear end and the "Controltrac 4 wheel drive".

This is basically as it was when I brought it home:

Interior shots:pG[/IMG]
(lost photos)

side-step boards
6,000 lb receiver
Ford mudflaps (removed)
hood wind/bug deflector

This Explorer wasn't abused- just a little neglected. The interior is in good shape. The paint isn't in horrible shape- some dings and scratches here and there. All-in-all, good shape for a 13 year old vehicle.

cracked and pitted windshield (fixed via post 61)
inoperable 3rd brake light (fixed via post 68)
inoperable fog lights (DS housing is smashed on backside and button on dash does not illuminate) (removed)
poor heater output (fixed via post 3)
coolant temp gauge not moving much (fixed via post 3)
pulsing front brakes (fixed via post 2)
slightly sagging rear end (fixed via post 7)
weak hood lift struts (fixed via post 5)
weak glass lift struts
weak tailgate lift struts
broken driver's seat recline handle (fixed via post 8)
leaking rear transfer case output seal (fixed via post 23)
worn shocks (fixed via post 7)
alignment out-of-whack (fixed via post 12)
lack of engine power (fixed via post 3)

So basically from here on out, this registry will be dedicated to how I have breathed some life back into this thing and some adventures along the way. I've already addressed some of the issues mentioned above. I'll try to post as many pictures as I can, but I know I've already failed on some.

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Great thread. Love the bumpers on it.

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Changed out the rear diff fluid tonight.

I was a little worried that it would look a little watered down with the several deep water crossings I've done, but it looked pretty good still.

Front axle gets some attention tomorrow.

Ran into a small issue while swapping out the axles:

The part numbers for a CJ and XJ are one number off. I got the CJ axles. Oops.

The passenger side unit bearing had some play in it. I have new bearings to put in for that.

Well work continued today. Got all 4 ball joints out. Both upper joints, the pin came out in the knuckle. And both bottoms had some decent play.

And just because, I hit the Cs with some black caliper spray paint.

I'm painting the knuckles too.

Finished up the axle shaft install today. It's been a slow process. It took basically a month to do- partly because of wrong parts and partly because it can (it's not a daily driver).

The passenger side u-joint had some play in it. With everything bolted back together it is definitely smoother on the road below 50 mph. There's a small vibration from 50-55 that was there before. From 55-70 it's smooth- which wasn't the case before all the work. I'm happy!

I didn't take too many pictures. It was a dirty process.

I love the smell of a good maintenance regiment in the morning!


2timingtom, You may have seen mine around I highlands ranch! I'll upload a pic later but it is almost identical to yours when you first got it, including the DT. Has roof racks, charcoal two tone on bottom with matching running boards and maroon on top.

I just finished reading the whole thread.. Awesome truck!

Installed 4 of these LEDs on the rear hatch panel:
1 of them was a dud that I didn't realize until I was about to final install the hatch panel.

Back of the hatch panel, all wired up:

Simple toggle switch to turn them on:

The 2 on the top of the hatch will shine forward when the hatch is closed to light up the cargo area when reaching through the open glass:

No nighttime shots yet. I did try the top 2 with the garage door closed and they lit up the cargo area pretty well- couldn't operate back there but it's certainly better than the factory overhead bulb (even with an LED bulb there).

And installed a couple Quick Fists to hold that axe I found last fall:

Awesome!! I'm so jealous!! I was shooting for getting out there for the anniversary this year, but at this point its not looking good :( Still too much to do to get the 94 on at least 33's. Someday though.........only time I've been out there so far was with the ex-wife's family and all we had was her damn Dodge Nitro. No 4low :thumbdwn: cant wait to get back out there with something a lot more capable. What all trails did you do?

And a sidenote, or question rather, what's the backspacing on your wheels?

Hells Revenge
Fins n Things
Baby Lion's Back
Porcupine 4x4 Trail
Sevenmile Rim
Wipeout Hill
And a dirt road in Arches NP

That slick rock is something else! Good time was had. I've got a more detailed trip report in progress on RMO.

I'll have to check on the back spacing.

Wheels are 4" back spaced. If I were to do it again, I'd go with back spacing that pushed the wheel out a little further for more stability.

Cool thank you, by chance do you remember the width? And what are the tires? 33x11.50?

I was just on RMO reading your write up. Sounds like a blast. Way to rep the Fords well!! Those are all trails on my list, but I'm wont even drive out there without at least 33's. Glad you had a good time, that campfire with the neighbors sounds like a blast!! We stayed at that same campground when we went, not a bad place. We hung out at the Moab brewery across the street every night, drinkin and playin pool.

And I can't remember, stupid CRS diesease, you know when you get older and cant remember anything............did you ever sell your first set of front springs?

I'm pretty sure the wheels are 9" wide.

The tires are 33x12.5r15. The classic Cherokee we were out there with was on 31s, so it's possible.

I did sell those springs.

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Did a few projects recently.

I took off my Eezi-Awn rack and put it on my Expedition. I found it too heavy and contributed to some tippiness that I didn't like. After I took the rack off the Expedition, I got to thinking that the extra length would be nice. The Expedition tracks are 10.5" longer than the Explorer tracks.

Unfortunately, only 1 hole lined up with the Explorer tracks and a wanted to use screws in the countersunk portions of the tracks instead of matching drilling the Explorer's spacing. And that extra length was going to need its own fastener anyway. So I had to drop the headliner. Dropping the headliner was pretty easy.

I filled the Explorer holes and used some big fender washers and RTV to make it waterproof.

I picked up 3 more cross rails from the junkyard and spaced them all evenly along the roof.

The result is a super lightweight rack with plenty of support for my Oztent.

I did the Rim Rocker Trail to test it out.