Truck of the Week RPheezy 2/19/04 | Page 2 | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

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Truck of the Week RPheezy 2/19/04

12/09 UPDATE: I have updated the Interior Mods section of my write up.

Hey Everyone this is RPheezy, formerly known as the R.

I have finally graduated to Elite Explorer status and I have uploaded pics of my rig. Below is a write up of all of the mods I've done complete with pictures. Please feel free to post questions or comments.

BACKGROUND
When I first got my truck in 98, I never planned for it to become what it is. I thought I would just do a few mods like a stereo upgrade and a few exterior fashion mods. Luckily when I got the truck, I got it with 4.10 gears, which saved me from having to regear when I finally put on my 33s.

My brother had a 97 TJ and was fixing his up, so I started to learn about building an off road rig. Unfortunately, there was no and has hardly been a substantial aftermarket for our rigs, so I was limited. The only major off road mod I had for a while was getting a set of 31x1050x15 Super Swamper SSRs during the Firestone recall. I knew I wanted to have a lifted rig, but I didn't want to spend a ton or do anything I wasn't capable of.

I finally decided on the type of rig I wanted to have, which was the single most important decision I made. I wanted a truck to take wheeling every so often, but I wanted it look good and drive well on the road because it's my daily driver. On the scale of 1-10 with Rick's rig (the Great Pumpkin) being a 10, I wanted to be a 6.5-7.

After making this decision, I decided to do the 3 inch body lift. My personal pros and cons are detailed below. In addition to making it off road capable, I wanted a nice stereo system, some performance upgrades, and some good looks. Below is a list of what I currently have on my rig.

EXTERIOR MODS
- Lift: Torsion twist, Warrior shackles, Add-A-Leaf, 4-door leaf springs, 3" Performance Accessories (883) body lift, Rancho RS9000Xs
- Tires and Rims: 33x1250x15 GoodYear MTRs, Black RockCrawlers
- Intake and Exhaust: K&N drop in filter, Flowmaster 50 Series SUV (dual in, dual out) with dual exhaust, 3" black chrome exhaust tips
- Misc: Range Rover Style Explorer badging, Black Grillcraft speed grill, black Ford emblem, Surco 45x60 safari rack with spare tire mount, 2" Hidden Hitch tube hitch, hitch mount tow hook, Altezza style tail lights, de-ambered clear corners, tinted windows

Here are the earliest before pics I have. It already has the TT/Shackles/AAL. I have a set of 31x1050x15 Super Swamper SSRs in this pic. I liked the look and performance of the SSR, but I didn't keep them properly inflated and balanced, so they started to cup. The road noise was more annoying than a crying baby.
150old_l_side.jpg

150old_r_side.jpg

150old_front_corner.jpg

150old_rear_corner.jpg


Here are the current pics. I was debating between doing the suspension lift or the body lift or both.
The pros for the suspension lift were:
- it provides higher clearance for the frame and chassis
- slightly higher lift than body lift
- increased articulation
The cons for the suspension lift was:
- I didn't want to spend over $2,000 to get it installed and I didn't have the time or expertise to do it myself
The pros for the body lift were:
- easy to do, I could do it myself within a day as this is my daily driver
- a lot less expensive
- gives enough lift to fit bigger tires
The cons for the body lift were:
- it doesn't provide higher clearance for the frame and chassis
- less articulation than suspension lift
- the guts of the truck show on the side and my hitch would be 3" lower than the bumper

After much debate and waiting about a year an a half to make up my mind, I decided to just to the body lift. It was a fairly easy intallation. First thing I did was gather as much info as I could from this site and other sites. Thanks to everyone for their expertise, it saved me much time and anguish. The only tips I have besides the ones already mentioned are make sure to unclip the brake lines and tranny shift cable. Also, I used an electric impact gun, which saved me tons of time. I was able to spin all of the bolts off in no time. Lastly, be prepared to spend a bulk of the time with the bumpers. I got 2 brackets made at a local metal shop. More info on the bumper bracket below.
150l_side2.jpg

150r_side2.jpg

150rear1a.jpg

150front_close.jpg

150l_corner_rear2a.jpg

150r_corner_rear2a.jpg


Here is a pic of the rear bumper bracket I had made. I got a schematic that is posted on several of the threads on this forum, took it to a metal shop, had them cut it, drill pressed holes (note: the holes need to be larger than 1/2" if you're using the stock bumper bolts)
150rear_bumper_bracket5.jpg


Here is a pic of the Grillcraft grill, black Ford Explorer emblem, and Range Rover Style Explorer badging. The grill was easy to install, I just removed the black surrounding grill, drilled three holes, attached the grill, and that was it. The Explorer lettering was removed from the rear and attached with extra strength double sided tape.
150front_grill.jpg


Here are pics of the exhaust. The tips are black chrome from Toucan Industries. The tips hang slightly low under the bumper, but it's fine because if I ever need to mess with the body lifted bumper I have some room to work.
150muffler.jpg

150exhaust_tipsa.jpg

150l_exhaust_tip.jpg

150exhuast_piping4.jpg

150exhuast_piping4.jpg

150exhaust_piping1.jpg


Here are pics of the safari rack, hitch tow hook, de-ambered clear corner (notice the cut where I dremeled, not noticable from a distance), altezza style tails, and locking gas cap. I don't know why Ford did not not have a cab operated gas lid opener like in most cars. They have an unlocking system where anyone can siphon your gas, pour sugar in the tank, etc. I think this is one of the best investments I made.
150l_side_safari2.jpg

150hook_r_side.jpg

150l_cc.jpg

150l_tail1.jpg

150locking_gas_cap.jpg


INTERIOR MODS
- Audio: Alpine head unit, MB Quart RSB 215 separates, Q Logic kick panelsRockford Fosgate 4x100, Pioneer 5x7s, JL Audio Stealthbox, MTX Thunder 2x100, Neo MP3 player

150stereo.jpg

150l_kick_panel.jpg

150tuffy_inside.jpg

150tuffy_open.jpg


I wanted to provide more cooling for the amp in the Tuffy box, so I installed a computer fan and drilled 1" holes in the sides.
150tuffy_rear.jpg


The New Jukebox is a little glitchy, but 20gigs of music is sweet on long drives.
150neo.jpg


The JL Audio Stealthbox "is so necessary". It hits pretty hard, but stashes away for maximum storage capacity. I highly recommend it.
150jl_box.jpg


- Misc: Tuffy Stereo Security Box, Explorer Express Storage Console, APC Pedals, rear mounted fire extinguisher and Maglite
- Seating: I replaced the crappy cloth captain's chairs and rear cloth seats with leather front and rear. To power the new seats, I spliced into the monster cable used for the stereo system. It was a fairly easy install. If you have a sport, you must get the sport seats. The sport seats have the sliding rails to move forward when someone wants to get into the rear and has rear lower thigh/rear quad extendable pads.

This storage box is great for all the junk, cell phone charger, earbud, tire gauge, condoms, etc.
150storage.jpg

150pedals.jpg

150maglite.jpg

150extinguisher.jpg

150board.jpg
 
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SGR1600

Elite Explorer<br>ECX Member
Joined
January 12, 2003
Messages
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City, State
Chappaqua, NY
Year, Model & Trim Level
'97 XLT 4X4 SOHC
Very nice truck. Great writeup too. Keep it up!
 
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Rick

Pumpkin Pilot
Staff member
Admin
Elite Explorer
Joined
February 8, 1999
Messages
33,457
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1,789
City, State
Wayoutin, Aridzona
Year, Model & Trim Level
'93 XL Pumpkin Edition
Callsign
AB7FH
Hmm, I wonder if he even knows he has TOTW. I tried to contact him, but no reply...
 
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Texplorer

Explorer Addict
Joined
November 20, 2001
Messages
3,514
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City, State
Morgantown, WV
Year, Model & Trim Level
96 XLT 4x4 4.0
Nice truck, congrats. But Rick, when does he get put on the homepage:p
 
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RPheezy

Well-Known Member
Joined
February 19, 1999
Messages
222
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City, State
Vallejo, CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 Sport
I apologize for the late response, I just bought a home and I've been in the process of moving the past couple of weeks.

Thanks Rick for the TOTW honor. It really is an honor because there are a ton of great trucks on this site. I have gotten numerous ideas from the the rigs on this board and the input and support have been truly valuable.

Thanks to all for the kind comments and input. This board is one of the reasons why I think the Internet is the greatest thing in the world. I can instantly communicate with you guys who live in Arizona, Florida, New York, and in other countries. We can share pictures, stories, and information that benefits us all.

Now for a public service announcement: For those of you who are not Elite Explorer members, please become one. Rick and the mods do a lot of great work on this site and your donation will help to keep this fabulous board rolling along.

I have added a prerunner bumper and some KC Daylighters to my ride. I will post pics soon. Also, I plan to become super capable by adding lockers in the future.

If anyone has any questions or comments, please let me know.
 
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RPheezy

Well-Known Member
Joined
February 19, 1999
Messages
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Reaction score
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City, State
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1998 Sport
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j602

resident ******
Joined
April 11, 2004
Messages
3,544
Reaction score
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City, State
Dothan, AL
Year, Model & Trim Level
'92 XLT
Man. That is a baaaaad truck. I love pretty much everything you've done to it. I have a black '92 and wasn't sure whether or not to get the black rock crawlers, because I wasn't sure how they'd look w/ the black paint, but your truck has inspired me to do it. It almost looks like what I wanted mine to look like when I got it done, only in a 2 door version. :) Looks great, man. Later.

Josh
 
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bmxking5

Explorer Addict
Joined
May 2, 2004
Messages
4,786
Reaction score
3
City, State
Monroe, GA
Year, Model & Trim Level
'93 Sport & '96 XLT
That looks awesome. great job. where did u get that surco roof rack and what size is it?
 
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RPheezy

Well-Known Member
Joined
February 19, 1999
Messages
222
Reaction score
1
City, State
Vallejo, CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 Sport
Thanks for the replies fellas.

bmxking5, I got the rack at Summit Racing, it is the 45x60 for $150.
 
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off-road97Xplor

Well-Known Member
Joined
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768
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City, State
moscow,PA
Year, Model & Trim Level
1997 Explorer XLT
What kind of muffler tips are those there very nice and i need 2 for when i finish my exhaust
 
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RPheezy

Well-Known Member
Joined
February 19, 1999
Messages
222
Reaction score
1
City, State
Vallejo, CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 Sport
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