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Travis' 94 - The Culmination!

Thanks for checking out my thread!

I've owned about a dozen 1st & 2nd gen Explorers over the last 8 years. I've done Dana 44's on a 1st gen, coilovers on a 2nd gen, uniball uppers, leveling kits, lift kits, fabricated a handful of front ends, shock hoops, bedcages, the list goes on and on. For my latest truck, I began my search towards the end of last summer & actually started out looking for a 2nd gen, (I really like the ones with the AC in the center console). Thankfully this truck was not needed as a daily driver, so I was able to take my time. I happen to stumble across this extremely clean 1st gen that reminded me so much of my favorite Explorer, which was also a white 94 with black wheels. I could not pass this truck up. Here in Southern California, these trucks are getting very, very tough to come by, and this was one of the cleanest 1st gens I have ever seen. Here are the specs:

1994 XLT
218,000 miles without a rear main leak, signs of a power steering leak, mostly clean oil pan & block, clean rear end & under carriage
4x4 - A4LD - Pushbutton 4x4 - Stock auto hubs
3.73 Limited Slip
Full power seats with lumbar & bolsters
A small additional lower exterior trim piece that seems to not be too common
31x10.50R15 Toyo AT knock offs on Pro Comp Series 51 steelies
Kenwood Deck with a pyle (o' shi*) sub in the stock location


I'm 9 months behind on making this thread, and I have done A TON with this truck, so stay tuned for a lot of catching up!!!

Current pic
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Here are the photos from day 1 (October 13, 2019)
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Travisfab

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After my spring break trip, I was full throttle for NORRA with my buddy who was racing his first race. We had a blast and finished! After that was wrapped up, I finally had some time to throw some parts att my truck that I had been collecting.

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Travisfab

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So are you at about 5" up front, then? What are we doing to "level" the rear?
I ended up cutting down the coils and after an alignment, and some beating, the ride height has really setlled down.

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Travisfab

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The No Door (see signature) is going to finally be used for what I bought it for, which is it’s awesome drivetrain. It came with a stack of receipts including a 60K motor purchased & installed by Ford in 2010.
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It will also be giving up it’s rebuilt trans with 20K, new MAF, and new exhaust system with Magnaflow cats.
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I did have intentions to do a V8 swap in this truck. This new drivetrain, and the work I’ve already done are going to give me a vehicle that should be very reliable for another decade of adventures with minimal maintenance. I’m actually pretty happy to finally be doing this.
 


















Travisfab

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Here's the breakdown of what is happening

60K Motorcraft engine built in 2010
20K trans built in 2018
New exhaust from the Y pipe back
New radiator
New MAF
Solid motor and trans mounts
New intake, and valve cover gaskets
Welded in the main motor/suspension crossmember
Eliminated the rag joint steering shaft with a U joint
ABS delete
Replacing all hard plastic vaccum lines with rubber
"Race" prepping the harness
& just a good scrub down of every wire, plug, line etc.



I have a one year goal of taking this truck to Cabo via as much dirt as possible!!!!
 






BKennedy

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That's a good list for a reliable rig.

Get an all aluminum radiator. The plastic models seem to fail at the most inopportune moments. I have a 3 core made my Champion. It's been in my Explorer 3-4 years. One less thing to worry about.

ABS delete is fairly easy with the 1st Gens. Removal of that giant ABS pump leaves room for a second battery. Pull the ABS relay and the dash light stays off. When I had to rewire the Explorer I removed what must have been 100' of ABS wiring. Left the sensor in the rear diff because it keeps the gear oil in.

What intermediate steering shaft are you going to use? I had a modified one out of a XJ in my rig for a few years until the u-joints fell apart. Went back to OEM, but have been looking for a alternative for a while that isn't stupid expensive. It's possible the SAS puts more pressure on the joints but I don't think so because the wheel is easier to turn post SAS. You might experience more vibration and feedback through the steering wheel. It's not uncomfortable, just different. The bigger the knobs on the tires, the more vibration. The rag joints soften that substantially.
 












Travisfab

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That's a good list for a reliable rig.

Get an all aluminum radiator. The plastic models seem to fail at the most inopportune moments. I have a 3 core made my Champion. It's been in my Explorer 3-4 years. One less thing to worry about.

ABS delete is fairly easy with the 1st Gens. Removal of that giant ABS pump leaves room for a second battery. Pull the ABS relay and the dash light stays off. When I had to rewire the Explorer I removed what must have been 100' of ABS wiring. Left the sensor in the rear diff because it keeps the gear oil in.

What intermediate steering shaft are you going to use? I had a modified one out of a XJ in my rig for a few years until the u-joints fell apart. Went back to OEM, but have been looking for a alternative for a while that isn't stupid expensive. It's possible the SAS puts more pressure on the joints but I don't think so because the wheel is easier to turn post SAS. You might experience more vibration and feedback through the steering wheel. It's not uncomfortable, just different. The bigger the knobs on the tires, the more vibration. The rag joints soften that substantially.
Aluminum radiator - Agreed, we put one in my buddies prerunner and he runs it without a thermostat, he beats on it, and it stays nice and cool.

ABS - I now need to find the T for the front brake and coupler for the rear!

Steering shaft - I used a Sweet Mfg U joint with a solid steel bar for the shaft. I cut apart the stock rag joint and utilized the coupler that bolts on to the upper shaft out of the firewall, and another piece in the rag joint that bolts to the coupler, I had to drill out a few rivets to get them to bolt together. The U joint I scored at a garage sale, and it just so happened to slide on perfectly and utitlize the set screw. The only part number I saw on it was 12, so I assumed it was a metric, but now I don't see anything like that on their site. I'll have to look at it a little closer because I want to make a couple more.

I am 100% ready and expecting the additional driveline and steering rigidity and feedback. I think it will feel great on rough roads! My truck has 54 pounds of sound deadner in it. Every panel has new clips, and there are probably 100+ zipties throuout the truck adding more rigidity to wires, lines, etc. It does not rattle or squeak ANYWHERE. A lot of what I do is to reduce fatigue while driving off road, and however it effects street driving is just part of the deal!
 






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The only time the feedback through the steering wheel got annoying was on some deep washboard roads, but the cure for that was to just go faster.

I just briefly browsed Sweet's website and their products seem very reasonably priced.
 






Travisfab

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Making progress. Putting a non egr motor in an egr truck has been a little bit of a challenge. The engine wiring harness is different, and today I am going to learn how to install a cam synchro.

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Motor is in & running great. I guess I didn’t realize how tired my old motor was! I’m blown away on how much stronger it pulls now. Zero clacking, zero surging, and just overall so much smoother from idle to 5k. The new solid motor mounts are perfect for my truck. The added rigidity is noticeable as soon as you turn the key. I can also feel it in the gas pedal, & in the seat. I am pretty in tune with the handling of the truck, & I feel less “slop” in bumpy corners, where I would feel the truck wander before. When I hit 65-75 on a smooth highway, it really mellows out & is barely noticeable. I think all of the sound deadner that I have added makes it much more bearable on the street.
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I also had a some time to work on my rear bumper. I cut off the little storage box that was attached to it. I’m pretty sure it was acting like a bass drum over heavy Baja washboard roads. The rear hatch is already dented from flying tow straps, so this will give me some protection and cover the dent. It is bolted to the swing out tire gate.
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Good to see it back running and better than ever. I made some fold down tables for the tire and gas can swing outs on my bumper. You could easily turn that into a table for camping with a piano hinge.
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Travisfab

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Good to see it back running and better than ever. I made some fold down tables for the tire and gas can swing outs on my bumper. You could easily turn that into a table for camping with a piano hinge.

I was considering doing something like that, but I dont usually open my hatch when I'm camping, only the glass. It has so much Kilmat added to it that the struts wont keep it up. I also push my truck so hard through whoops, that I kind of had to compromise on some quick accesibilty for strength. The gate has 2 anchor points, the .75 bolt on the driver side (nut is welded to the bottom), and the plate that is welded to the back of the hatch that has tabs & accepts a smaller half inch bolt through a bushing that is mounted up at about the center of the tire height. It's still fast, but it needs an impact, and when everything goes back together, it needs to be torqued down really tight.
 



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Having it mounted to the hatch as well as the bumper would take a lot of wobble out of a tire carrier. I thought about that but wanted to be able to quickly open the hatch while on the trail or camping. There is also a lot of movement in the end of the frame. I usually go on the expedition type trips with a buddy who usually sets up or breaks camp in about 10 minutes. Even with easy access, it still takes me about three times that long. My tire carrier doesn't wobble very much compared to most, but I use a bolt instead of a latch to lock the swing-outs down to the bumper. 1/2" bolt, just like a whole bunch of my suspension components with the ratchet wrench in the driver door pocket. The swing-outs used to have brass bushings, but I got tired of fighting it as it was always too tight or too loose. I redid it over the first COVID lockdown to add the traditional 1500 pound trailer spindles and bearings. Having the ends bolted down takes the strain off the trailer spindles.

With the fold down tables, my Coleman two burner camp stove fits perfectly on the tire carrier side (not the gas can side for obvious reasons).
 






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