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Full circle - 97 V8 AWD restoration

  #1  
Old 09-09-2017, 11:43 PM
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Full circle - 97 V8 AWD restoration

This will be very long winded FYI.

It all starts back in the summer of 2002. My dads current Chevy Blazer was totaled and he needed something to drive. I was 13 at the time and already a Ford guy and loved Explorer's since my grandpas first 1994 XLT. I found this truck in the classifieds of the local newspaper. It had 47k miles on it with a mountain of paperwork for the original owners from warranty repairs, oil changes, window sticker, repairs after warranty was over. It was bought local with the extra rust proofing and sound deadening they were asking $13k we ended up paying 12k with a set of snow tires.

Over the years I took my learners permit and drivers license tests in this truck. Many road trips with my dad to go fishing, getting picked up and dropped off at school before I could legally drive myself. A ton of memories!!

Late 2008 rolls around and my dad has the opportunity to purchase a family friends 99 V8 awd Limited with 17k miles and never been driven in the winter. So we had to sell this 1997 but it was for the greater good..btw his 99 now has 46k miles on it and has been flawless

So the lady we sold it to was amazing, she paid our full asking price of $5,500 in October 2008. I'd run into her a few years later and she told me how much she loved the truck..etc. I had not seen it in many years and expected it was wrecked and in a junk yard somewhere.

I hopped on Craigslist this last week just to peek around and what do I see? Our old truck! I call and it's the same lady, she actually recognized my voice. The transmission went out in 2012 and she parked it then, its sat ever since. We agreed on $300 and I told her I wanted it back very badly.

Went and picked it up today, it only has 135k miles on it, interior is in basically the same great shape as when we sold it. She did have a little fender bender with a pole but I'll fix that up, otherwise the body is in good shape! The transmission worked enough to get it on the trailer and move it around the yard until I get that replaced.

I have huge plans for this truck, restoring just about all of it with customization along the way. I sat in it listening to the radio for a bit and the memories came flooding back

I got a price on a reman transmission and will be ordering it as soon as I sell my other 97 Explorer as I need that for funding. Once it's fully running and driving I'll start going through the systems from there.

Here are the photos from today.

Where it sat since the summer of 2012






























Here are some super old photos from 2006/2007/2008






With my 96 limited which was totaled in 2011, I still have it though












This was my 96 Limited which was totaled, I'll be taking a lot of key elements from that build into this truck.

 
  #2  
Old 09-10-2017, 11:34 AM
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[QUOTE=AlaskanEx;17453801]This will be very long winded FYI.

It all starts back in the summer of 2002. My dads current Chevy Blazer was totaled and he needed something to drive. I was 13 at the time and already a Ford guy and loved Explorer's since my grandpas first 1994 XLT. I found this truck in the classifieds of the local newspaper. It had 47k miles on it with a mountain of paperwork for the original owners from warranty repairs, oil changes, window sticker, repairs after warranty was over. It was bought local with the extra rust proofing and sound deadening they were asking $13k we ended up paying 12k with a set of snow tires.

Over the years I took my learners permit and drivers license tests in this truck. Many road trips with my dad to go fishing, getting picked up and dropped off at school before I could legally drive myself. A ton of memories!!

Late 2008 rolls around and my dad has the opportunity to purchase a family friends 99 V8 awd Limited with 17k miles and never been driven in the winter. So we had to sell this 1997 but it was for the greater good..btw his 99 now has 46k miles on it and has been flawless

So the lady we sold it to was amazing, she paid our full asking price of $5,500 in October 2008. I'd run into her a few years later and she told me how much she loved the truck..etc. I had not seen it in many years and expected it was wrecked and in a junk yard somewhere.

I hopped on Craigslist this last week just to peek around and what do I see? Our old truck! I call and it's the same lady, she actually recognized my voice. The transmission went out in 2012 and she parked it then, its sat ever since. We agreed on $300 and I told her I wanted it back very badly.

Went and picked it up today, it only has 135k miles on it, interior is in basically the same great shape as when we sold it. She did have a little fender bender with a pole but I'll fix that up, otherwise the body is in good shape! The transmission worked enough to get it on the trailer and move it around the yard until I get that replaced.

I have huge plans for this truck, restoring just about all of it with customization along the way. I sat in it listening to the radio for a bit and the memories came flooding back

I got a price on a reman transmission and will be ordering it as soon as I sell my other 97 Explorer as I need that for funding. Once it's fully running and driving I'll start going through the systems from there.
Here are the photos fr
om today.




















that is awesome! i saw it on FB. i'd love to find my 92 explorer but i doubt i ever will. can't wait to see the progress!

things are a bit crazy here at the moment with this hurricane coming right at us..hopefully my cars don't get destroyed
 

Last edited by tseekins; 01-27-2018 at 05:51 AM. Reason: Photos deleted on Post #2 at OP request via private message.
  #3  
Old 09-10-2017, 05:45 PM
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subscribed!
 
  #4  
Old 09-10-2017, 11:48 PM
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VJ stay safe down there!!
 
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Old 09-13-2017, 12:34 AM
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So I have an extra 40% matching rear seat, so I plan to turn it into a 4 seater like my Limited. I'll repaint the console Grey and have the armrest recovered or purchase another one in grey. This was one of my fav mods because everyone who saw it asked me if it was some factory option.




I'm getting closer to getting the transmission ordered, just have to sell my other 97 Explorer.
 
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:11 PM
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I'm subscribing Russ. Congrats again buying back the old Exploder! Good luck, I can't wait to see what you do with it.
 
  #7  
Old 11-11-2017, 08:43 AM
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So here is an update, unfortunately nothing has been done to the truck except a used battery put in so I can start it without having to jump it.

I flipped two trucks and paid off 10k in CC debt with that, my plan now is to save cash and pay for everything for this truck with cash the way it should be. This will slow my process down a good bit but it has given me a lot of time to think about what I want and how I want to go about it.

Repairs/drive ability:

1. First up will be a new transmission which will be a Napa remanufactured and installed by a local trusted shop.
2. New custom exhaust as it's been cut off at the cats and is missing, I'm thinking a cool dual exit center of the rear bumper with removal of the spare tire
3. New idler pully, tensioner, belt, spark plugs, differential fluids, t-case fluid, brake fluid, antifreeze, new windshield and replace the broken headlight switch
4. New brake rotors, pads front and rear, new shocks, new tie rods, new sway bar end links, alignment check CV joints and wheel bearings
5. Clean up the whole underside and POR15 everything so it stays in good shape

All items above should get it back to 100% daily driver status if needed and I'd feel comfortable taking it on any road trip...that's all the easy stuff. Where I'm hitting a roadblock is exactly how I want the customization of the build to go. I fall asleep many mighty thinking how and what I want to do. Right now much is subject to change but here is what I'm thinking.

Mods:

1. 1" lowering blocks in the rear and cranking the torsion bars down in the front for a slightly lowered ride height all around well trying to maintain a good ride
2. Fix the damage on the passenger side, then paint. I can't decide if I want to keep it blue over gray like stock, go full two tone line my old truck OR solid blue monotone
3. Install my shaved hatch, Saleen XP8 style wing, install a 95-98 Limited bumper, install paintable grill off a 00 sport that I have, finish my custom rear bumper from my old Limited these items will all be painted at the same time as the truck, new 5.0 fender emblems
4. Paint the interior items to match the exterior like my old Limited, install quad seats and console, pull carpet and pressure wash, do a custom headliner..thinking a blue flannel for some reason seems cool to me
5. Black projector headlights with HIDs, custom clear taillights with LEDs, Rigid DOT for lights in factory holes, 20' Rigid led light bar in the bumper opening tied to the high beams

6. Wheels and tires I have summer wheels narrowed down to two wheels in 17" both are a classic muscle car style wheel/mustang-ish with a 255/60r17 all season/summer type of tire

Winter set-up will be factory 15" teardrop wheels with Studded Firestone Winterforce or Blizzak DM-V2 in 31x10.15 size

What do you guys think of the wheel choices?
 
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Old 11-14-2017, 06:18 PM
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Sounds like a good plan Russ. Credit card debt is a silent killer, and should be avoided if at all possible. Unfortunately in our culture of "instant gratification", it's a very easy trap to fall into. That's one reason why I keep my truck fairly low buck, and the modifications I do make are a long, slow process. I'm paying for it all with just spare cash. I have to shop around to get the best deals I can, and I try to buy used whenever possible.
As for the "Exploder", take your time and do it right. You'll get there. Ain't no need to be in a big rush, we're not going anywhere. It sounds like you've got some good ideas, and I'm looking forward to seeing your vision come to life! It sounds like you've also got a lot of spare parts left over from a few of your other Explorers that you can use on this one. That'll save a ton of money!
 
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Old 12-02-2017, 01:39 AM
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Well, one small step was taken today. I had the title put into my name and I decided to register it and get new plates so $185 and 20 mins at the DMV today fixed that.

I'm debating on having the original transmission rebuilt now instead of a reman. Looking at about $2200 going that route. I had some other things pop up...like life always does that has pushed back my ability to save as much as I wanted now. I'm hoping around March or April I can have a transmission in it and have it driving.
 
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Old 12-05-2017, 08:38 PM
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What's the price difference between a reman and having the original rebuilt? Is the rebuild significantly cheaper?
 
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Old 12-06-2017, 12:23 AM
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Cost is basically a wash either way, the reason I'm thinking about a rebuild is purely to keep it with the original case..I know it doesn't really matter but why not right?
 
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Old 01-22-2018, 02:14 AM
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I'm just itching to get this truck back on the road. This week I'm stopping in at the transmission shop I'm pretty sure I'm going to have do the work. They have done a few for us including our Oldsmobile convertible. If all goes right I'd like to have it dropped off before February comes around.

I'll need to install a new battery and replace the headlight switch so that once it's drive-able I want to be able to put the first 500 miles on the transmission relatively quickly as they want you to bring it back in for a check up around then.

I found some more old photos I figured share. I'm thinking about saving some cash now and using the old 17" wheels you see in these photos as I still have them in storage. I would send them out for blasting and powder coat. It's going to be baby steps but the big one is getting it on the road.
 
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Old 01-22-2018, 11:58 PM
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Ok, stopped in and talked with the transmission shop owner, great guy! They have a slow point right now and said get it down this week and he could start on it. So tonight I put a new battery in it and put some wheels and tires that hold air on it. I'm going to have it towed down to the shop later this week.

Seems like the thermostat is stuck open, it didn't want to get off cold on the gauge cluster or put out much heat so that will be one of the first fixes besides the headlight switch. I'm super excited to say the least!

I kind of destroyed the front bumper pulling it out of the spot I had it in..oops glad I didn't want to keep that bumper anyway haha





 
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Old 01-25-2018, 01:04 AM
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Long week and it's only Wed! I'm planning to call a flatbed tow truck tomorrow and have it picked up and delivered to the shop. If call goes right it will be down there this week.

 
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Old 01-25-2018, 05:35 PM
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Tow truck is on the way, Transmission shop is ready for it. Things are happening!
 

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