Whitey turns red build thread! | Page 7 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

Whitey turns red build thread!

Well, I figured this would be a good single source to document my next project. I've just finished a 10 month race truck build and finally got it out of my garage and parked on the side yard so I can start my exploder next!

So here's the info to make this whole project make a bit of sense...

I picked up this explorer, it's considered a '91.


The catch with it though is it's a mutt... It's actually 4 expos pieced together to build something that runs. List of things wrong with it, no cruise control, no heater, no a/c, turn signals don't work, power windows sorta kinda sometimes work, power locks sorta kinda sometimes work, missing a lot of the smog stuff and won't pass smog here in Nevada, doesn't run right, engine/trans/t-case all leak oil, T-case motor doesn't work, and I'm sure there's some more. I bought it mostly for the parts on it.

What it does have... Cut and turned with 4.5" per side widened beams with uniball pivots, extended radius arms on heim joint pivots, plated and braced beam hangers, real beadlock wheels, full fiberglass front and rear, national leaf springs in the rear with some nice custom shackles, rear axle is a newer 8.8 with discs and 4.56 gears.

For conversation purposes, we'll call him "whitey"... Whitey is an auto trans and pushbutton (non working) T-case with manual hubs.

Now let me introduce you to "Red". Red is also a '91, only he's not been molested and abused and raped and pillaged of parts by multiple previous owners. Red is a 5 speed manual and manual transfercase from the factory! (I prefer manual and it took me over 5 months to find this...) EVERYTHING works on Red and works really really good! I have receipts from the previous owner of a ford crate motor installed by ford dealer with less then 20K on it. I also have receipts for a rebuilt 5 speed trans from the ford dealer with less the 15K on it. Red runs great!!! Only issues are inside, he's missing a center console, the headliner looks like it got in a fight with a lion and the dash is cracking.

Nice thing though, whitey's interior is in great shape and is the same color so it's just a matter of swapping out the parts!

Meet red...



So the plan is to take all the fun suspension parts off of whitey and use them to build Red. Along the way I'm adding a few more custom touches and upgrades as well. Is this going to be some long drawn out never finished project? Heck no!!!! I have about 95% of the parts on hand for the entire build and I'm hoping for the entire build to take about 2 months total to finish EVERYTHING wanted with the only exceptions being a c-clip eliminator kit for the 8.8 and a front winch. I'm not saying those won't be done in the next 2 months but they aren't a priority and I'm kinda just waiting for a deal I can't pass up type situation before pulling the trigger on one or both.

So, here's the parts I currently have in my possession slated to get put on Red.

  • 12" king coilovers for front
  • cut and turned D35 beams, widened 4.5" per side, uniball pivots
  • Extended radius arms with heimed pivots
  • front 3rd memeber with 4.56 gears and powertrax no slip
  • custom machined axles for new wider track width, not cut and sleeved but new custom machined axles
  • 2" stroke hydro bumps for the front end to help for the occasional hard hit.
  • National spring leafs for the rear
  • custom shackles
  • 12" stroke king 3 tube bypass shocks
  • fiberwerx rear panels
  • newer ford 8.8 with discs, 4.56 gears
  • Detriot locker new in the box ready to install in the 8.8

Whitey has the 95+ conversion clip on it. While I like it, it's not what I want, so that whole clip is getting sold. Red will keep the classic front square body lines but I have a set of mcneil 6" fiberglass fenders currently on order. I should see them this week or next supposedly.

Also I'll be upgrading the steering and building a single side swing set steering for red to keep the bumpsteer hopefully somewhat minimal.

Now what am I building? Well, with the list of parts above you can tell it should be a fairly capable ride. My intent is to keep the interior 100% stock. No cage, no cutting, no craziness. Inside is going to get a mild stereo system and cleaned up. Because I'm not going to be tubbing the rear wheel wells tire size will be limited to what I can fit in them. I will be either on 33" or 35" tires mounted on champion beadlocks (different then the KMC beads that are currently on whitey).

My intent when finished is to have a clean fairly different somewhat head turning type daily driver ford explorer. I want a nice all purpose vehicle. Something I can cruise comfortably around town, hold a decent pace in the dirt, pull it into 4lo and go show my jeep friends what's up. It's not being built to haul butt or race around in. I actually own another vehicle that's MUCH more suited for that kind of stuff and actually is purpose built for that. I also am partners in an offroad race truck which this explorer will see chase duties for so why would I go out and jump this thing and beat it thru whoops when I own and have access to better tools for that job. It will be setup to handle the occasional hard hit though as you can tell.

So there's my novel!!! Following posts from here out will be mostly picture oriented to document the build and answer any questions people may have or what not so lets get started...


Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

If you look at the picture in post #102 you can see why the circles end where they do. It looks a bit strange in these pictures but in person it looks great!




Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

Caution, could watch seizures!!!

2nd disclaimer, it's my 2nd time ever pulling it into 4wd so I'm still getting comfortable with it. I already hate the low range and want to go atlas 2... I feel like I'm racing thru the rocks right now when the clutch is out yet don't want to slip the clutch the whole way either.


I want a prerunner that can crawl too! One day hopefully in the not-so-distant future. And I love those sliders and how they follow the fiberglass so closely.

road tripped it this weekend...


Entrance to Area 51...


Leaving Area 51 when the security dudes started coming my way! Deal with the dust and catch me if you can! LOL



Hot spring fed abandoned swimming pool in the absolute middle of nowhere!



You testing the tow hitch or rear bump stops? Lol.

I have a few trucks if you ever need a hand takng that out to the desert to do some testing. I'd be glad to give you a tow.

LOL, I looked and had about 1/2" of travel left... All good in da hood yo!

I actually only drove it around the block and yeah, took a little clutch to get it moving but it worked. Brakes seemed fine. Power seemed ok once moving. Not the most stable feeling setup in the world! LOL Was in a rush though so hitched up, loaded up, then dumped the trailer so all we had to do was back the real tow vehicle under the tongue and set it on and off we went.

Hey, I'm not sure if you mentioned it but do you race that green truck in SNORE? I've seen it before.

The green truck is virtually brand new. Only one race on it and it was an HDRA race. Next race for it is end of sept at the moapa 300 with HDRA again.

Took it out testing this past sunday... Got a couple pictures in the process.




Ahh, I've been to a few HDRA races. That must be where I've seen you. Good looking truck man

Thanks, it's been a ton of work to build and some decent cash on my partner's side but we're both more then pleased with the finished product! It's completely surpassed both of our expectations!!! Mine being from the fabricator's shoes and his being from the money spending owners shoes. I built it labor free of charge in exchange for 50% drive time. The truck actually lives with me also till at least 2016. I don't have a dime into it but have quite a bit of sweat, a few cuss words and not too much blood. LOL It's really really really close to being dialed though! After our next race I'm going to have Deaver make a few changes to the rear leaf pack that should help the rear come alive even more then it already is and then it's just a matter of keeping it fresh and prepped and not over driving it.

Not really much to update... Just posting up some scenic pictures from this weekend taking the scenic way home from the Ford Raptor Roundup which was between Boulder City and Henderson. Next for sure update will likely be end of this month when I paint it. Then after that depending what I can do on pricing... I may have an atlas laying in the garage to toss in it sooner then later hopefully!


The joys of wheeling solo... Gotta get out occasionally to check the trail coming over blind rises where the hood blocks your view. Hence all the random pictures...


Meant to be way more passenger side, this photo was after I'd dropped over the rock a bit, high centered, backed off it, and then decided to jump out and see where the heck I should've been. I'd already gone up this all and had turned around and was heading back down.


I know wheeling solo isn't the best/smartest thing in the world but this area has cell coverage and is at most about a 2-3 mile walk into the nearest neighborhood and city streets for help if needed.


Looks way more remote then it really is...


Like I said, I'm going down stuff I'd already gone up... This is going down... LOL Neither of these pictures show the steepness of this! I remember a few years back trying to climb this spot in my old Jeep TJ on 35's with open diffs. Couldn't make it... The expo crawled right up it with ease!


The hill in the back... Like I said, these pictures don't do it justice.


This was Sat... I rounded out the weekend by knocking out about a 60 mile loop with my yota yesterday afternoon. Ran from Henderson to Searchlight and back all in the dirt. Good times! Was interesting cause some of the trails where the same I'd done the day previous in the exploder. Back to back runs basically and it's obvious what the pros and cons of my two rides are in comparison to each other that's for sure! LOL

The pics above were last weekend. This morning I gave it some color...





Nice! What's that color called?

It's actually not paint, it's plasti-dip... I did my prerunner truck and I've been happy with it. Then after laying the rear fenders into a few walls at truckhaven I realized I'd have been pretty bummed if I'd actually had it painted so I decided to dip it. Reason being, you can somewhat repair it or worse case, just peel a panel and re-dip that panel for really cheap. I've got less then $300 into the finish... It's the "vintage gold" color on dipyourcar.com

Those are all the reasons I went with a roller and paint from Home Depot! :D

Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

Khris where did you get the graphite paint for your leafs? Does it come in spray cans? I came across this thread after reading the one on the race truck. You do very nice work!! Love them both! As a veteran of the Air Force I love it that one is living his dream and allowing you to build it and babysit it for him.