Truck of the Week Hartman 2/11/04 | Page 3 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Truck of the Week Hartman 2/11/04

I received this truck in June of 2001 for my 16th birthday. At the time, I didn't think much about modifying vehicles, but slowly I began to add things in order to change the look of my Explorer. I started out with blackouts in the front and rear. EVERYBODY has gone thru a blackout stage, so don't laugh! This is the stock-est picture that I have:


Later in the months, I added a system and some underbody lights. It seems so long ago.

About 6 months later, I began to do some real mods. I picked up some 18 inch rims off eBay. It was more of an impulse buy than anything, and looking back now, I really don't like the rims at all. My tastes have done a complete 180 since this time period.


As you can see, I had the basic mods at the time. I purchased a monochrome grille shell, billet grille, clear corners. A few months later, I decided to lower the truck and do some work on the suspension in order to make it handle better. I lowered it 2" in the front with 2" blocks in the rear. I installed an Explorer Express rear sway bar and KYB Monomax performance shocks. In addition, I replaced all of the suspension bushings with Energy Suspension polyurethane bushings. I also painted my trim black. Other enhancements include an airdam from Honest Charley and a set of PIAA 510 driving lights.




In December of 2002, my truck was involved in an infortunate accident. While I was parked at a popular mall, purchasing Christmas gifts for my parents, some guys decided it would be a good idea to try to steal my rims. Apparently they tried the drivers left wheel first, and they loosened the lugs. They saw me coming back to my truck, so they scrambled to put the center cap back on. I did not see them do this. About 7 miles down the road, while making a right turn, I lost the drivers left wheel. The wheel rolled about 50 yards down a VERY busy highway, but I was lucky enough to catch it before it caused an accident. I was extremely lucky, because no suspension parts were harmed in the accident other than the ubolts. If I had not had 2" blocks in, I would have done more damage to the axle. The blocks kept the axle elevated over the pavement. Overall, there was still about 2k in damage. While in the stop, I had them take care of some key marks as well. Here is a pic of the truck when it was getting worked on:


After everything was fixed, I sold the 18" rims and began saving for some 20" rims. This is how the truck looked after this point:


In April of 2003, I started putting together plans to fabricate my own fiberglass rollpan. In June I started the project, using an F150 rollpan from Keystone Restyling Products. This project took about 45 days total to complete, including literally hundreds of hours of hand sanding and shaping. I also purchased rear splash guards from Limited and filled in the body line for a smooth look.


All construction pics can be seen here:

Just this November, I purchased my new rims. They are 20x10 Limited 208s with 275/40/ZR20 Pirelli PZero Rosso Assemetrico. I've always liked these rims, and when it came down to purchasing, I had to buy these. I really like the squareish look of them. Despite popular stereotypes, I AM NOT a fan of rims that are flashy and obnoxious. You will not find the words "bling bling" in my vocabulary. I like a clean look.

Here is my truck as of now:









- 20x10 Limited 208s
- 275/40/20 Pirelli PZero Rosso Assemetrico
- Custom Rollpan
- Clear corners
- Billet grille
- Billet antenna
- Billet lighted license plate frame
- Shaved side moldings
- Honest Charley airdam w/PIAA 510 driving lights
- Tinted tail lights and 3rd brake light
- Body matched front and rear bumper trim
- Body matched Ford emblem
- 15% tint
- Sylvania Silverstar 9007 headlight bulbs

- Tweed interior
- Shaved center counsel
- Custom switch panel
- Black painted vinyl inserts
- Autometer F150 steering column pod with trans temp gauge.
- Sony head unit
- 3 12 inch Kicker Comp VRs in custom box
- Back half of the truck covered in Dynamat Xtreme

- 3/3 drop via blocks and torsion twist
- Explorer Express rear sway bar
- KYB MonoMax shocks
- Energy Suspension poly bushings throughout
- Energy Suspension sway bar end links and low profile bumpstops

- K&N Fuel Injection Performance Kit
- Custom catback exhaust with Flowmaster 40 series muffler
- Auxillary transmission filter
- Throttle cable mod

Future plans:
Do more interior work. I'm in the process of doing more tweed and fiberglassing more parts in my interior. The dashboard is going to be black, plastic parts are going to be fiberglassed and painted italian blue, and accent pieces are going to be covered in charcoal tweed. I also plan to purchase a bunch of billet interior pieces. I just recently installed a set of black leather seats from an Infiniti I35. I will have pics of that soon.

Shave the rear hatch. I want my hatch to be completely smooth. Emblem holes filled, wiper gone, key hole gone, t-handle gone with solenoids so I can open the hatch wirelessly, and two 50 lbs door poppers.

Build a fiberglass sub box. I'm planning a fiberglass sub box to fit 3 12" subs. It will have lots of curves and look like a "pod."

Find a way to get it lower. Me and James T along with others have been experimenting with things, and I'm sure will find something that works soon!

Well that's it guys. I just want to thank Rick for putting this site together. Without it, I would probably still have a stock Explorer with blackouts. I have learned so much about my truck from this site that it's unbelievable when I look back on it. Thanks Rick. :cool: