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Expedition Squared


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so I've decided that my Expedition is going to start handling the dedicated extended trip duties. The ultimate fate of the Explorer still hasn't been decided, but it's likely to find a new owner at some point. For now, the Explorer will be used as a day trip 4wheeler where I need more capability and less comfort.

My Expedition is a 2000 Eddie Bauer 5.4L. I bought it in April of 2015 with roughly 174k miles. Best I can tell it's been a Colorado vehicle its entire life: the underside is virtually rust free.

The day I brought it home:

It had some brand new Big O Big Foot all-terrain tires on some horrible looking chrome wheels. I was a little concerned with the new tires- who puts new tires on a vehicle just before selling it? Unless you're trying to cover up some suspension issue that is causing bad wear..... I checked it over pretty good before and decided it was good. In 15k miles, I still haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary.

First on the docket was the interior. It was nasty.

But after some time with a Magic Eraser, it cleaned up pretty good:

Some other projects popped up along the way: washing/waxing to breathe some life back into a 15 year old paint job, new spark plugs, new fuel filter, new shocks, new intake manifold (the coolant cross over tube is known to crack and leak coolant everywhere).

I still had my 60 day tags and I couldn't take those wheels anymore. I got these wheels before I started seeing them everywhere. Maybe they were there, but I just wasn't seeing them in traffic like I do now.

I didn't even bother selling the old ones- plus I didn't have the lug nut key for those lug nuts. Best $72 in scrap I've ever got!

Then I took the family camping:

It worked well. 4 people and 2 dogs for 2 nights.

Then again to the No Excuses trip:

Then another trip to Mount Rushmore:

This was like a 4 night trip. We were a little lighter on the way home as the hail storm that came through camp on the last night destroyed the tent:

Looks good here- except for the tear in the rain fly and the missing pole. Oh there's the pole: it's cracked and laying on the ground.

The back of the tent:

I threw the tent away in the dumpster at the KOA we were at.

The truck took some damage, but all just cosmetic. Some dents in the hood and roof and a couple cracked plastic pieces. I replaced the plastic pieces with some junkyard donors. The dents: I got insurance money for those and left them. I didn't get enough money to fix them all since the damage exceeded the value of the truck. But I got enough to replace the Coleman tent with an Oztent and a really nice Eezi-Awn rack to carry it with- although the rack was initially installed on my Explorer.


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At some point I replaced the brakes. Some one got their money's worth out of these:

I replaced them with some Hawk LTS pads. They seem to work quite well- handle heat from mountain driving and stop quickly when cold.

The float on my fuel pump came off and my gas gauge was reading empty. With as many miles on it as it had, I put a new fuel pump in:

A USB port was added to the dash to handle phone/tablet/GPS charging duties. The cigarette lighter adapters are hit and miss- especially on rough roads:

The engine ultimately breathes through a small hole into the fender area. A popular mod is to open it up some with a short piece of PVC pipe.

Going with an aftermarket intake yields minimal, if any, gains and I wanted to keep it as factory as possible.

Drove it to Florida:

The truck has proven comfortable on long trips. The trip down to Florida was done all in one shot: 1500 miles, stopping long enough to gas up and get food. Mileage isn't the best: 12-14 depending on the wind, but it was comfortable.


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Future plans are pretty minimal:
If I sell my Explorer, then the drawers will definitely be swapped over.
Suspension: probably stock, bigger rear sway bar at most
Side steps: leave them. I use them at its current right height
Tires: 32s currently but would like to go with 34-35 to gain additional clearance. I'll go with an all-terrain tread.
Interior: aux LED lighting in cargo area
Comms: I'm in no hurry to swap my CB over from my Explorer. I'll probably look into getting something hard mounted in the vehicle with more power than a handheld Ham for better range
Bumpers: undecided
OBA: really digging this idea. It'll free up some room in the cargo area if I don't have a compressor as well.
Water: there would be space in front of the drawers for water. I think it would be a setup similar to Ben's with regard to the tanks but with Brandon's hose idea.
Roof: already have the Eezi-Awn rack installed, but I would outfit it with some stuff (lights, MaxTrax mounts, maybe an awning.....)
Drivetrain: it has 3.55 gears and the factory LSD now. Tire size will drive gear selection (4.10 or 4.56.....) and I've been really happy with my Truetracs.

I'm sure other projects will creep up as I go but my focus will be making it more useful.

Morris Yarnell

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That vehicle really is looking good and getting to be well equipped. Never would have thought of magic eraser for cleaning a car, thanks for the idea.


Can't wait to see where this goes. I really like that you build rigs outside of the typical Jeep, yota, Rover etc.. always cool to see something different out there rocking the trails just as well.


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It's been brought to my attention that my log on ExPo is a little more detailed than it is here. I blame that on the time of the opening post of this thread. My bad. I'll try to bring this one up to date.

About the only rust on this truck is on the upper and lower control arms for the rear axle.

It's a common problem that will get addressed soon. I've seen people replace theirs when the links are way more rusted through. But I'm figuring with any offroading I plan to do, I'd sure hate to have one fail on me on the trail.

I developed the famous cracked intake manifold that 1st gens suffer from. Coolant leaks down between the V of the motor. I park backwards in my driveway so the nose is downhill this allowed the coolant to drip onto the driveway.

The crack is at the top passage. The new Dorman part is inexpensive and fairly easy to replace.

While I was doing the intake, I also replaced all of the shocks with some Rancho RS5000s. Ride seemed to improve marginally.

I don't know if I'm completely happy with them. But for now they work.

At some point I filled up the gas tank and noticed the gauge still read empty. I knew I was charged for about 25 gallons but the gauge read empty. And it actually read more empty than I had ever seen. I researched and found that it could be a gauge problem, so I programmed an X-gauge on my ScanGauge to read fuel capacity. It also read zero. I figured it had to be the fuel level sending unit- which is on the fuel pump- which is in the fuel tank. Great. And the tank was full. And gas is heavy. Triple great. I drove it around for about 300 miles to burn that fuel. Dropping the tank wasn't too bad. I did it by myself in my garage. I only had to cut 1 line that I couldn't disconnect.

As soon as I removed the pump, I knew what the problem was. The foam float that moves the fuel level sending unit arm up and down came off.

So I put a big washer on the end. And yes, the float still floats even with the added weight of the washer.


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The back cargo area is set up for a removable 3rd row seat. It's removed most of the time to allow for stuff to be carried- and the dogs. But the tracks for the seat are kind of a pain:

The tracks are recessed and I'm sure the dogs didn't appreciate them.

Using the box that my Eezi-Awn rack came in (originally installed on my Explorer), I made a template of the floor area:

I then transferred it to a piece of OSB:

Picked up matching carpet from the junkyard from an Expedition without the 3rd row seat option:

And scrubbed and power washed it.

And the final result:

It's easily removable when I do need to install the 3rd row.

The reason for the OSB is to add tie down points to it. Haven't done that yet.


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Ive done a lot of cosmetic "upgrades" along the way as well. Every 1st gen I see has a rusty receiver hanging down and is quite the eye sore. So I painted mine.

I "muted" the tail lights:

Painted the grey grille black:

Painted the stuff on the back glass black:

Painted the side window attachments black:

Painted the endow trim black:

I know I said I don't like the "murdered out" look. I'm keeping the gold trim. I'm just trying to consolidate colors to as close to 2 as possible.


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I mentioned before I had an issue with the AWD system. I was getting driveline binding on dry pavement when turning tight- like into a parking spot. I could also detect a faint grinding noise when accelerating in a straight line. I pulled the fuse that controls the transfercase and it seemed solve those problems. My 4wd selector switch only has AWD, 4hi and 4lo. 4hi and 4lo worked like they should- AWD just seemed to be "always" engaged instead of only during times of rear wheel slippage like it was designed.

It appeared that I needed a way to turn the transfer case on and off easier than pulling and replacing the fuse. A common mod is "the brown wire mod" where you cut the brown wire that tells the transfercase shift motor to energize and install a switch. I did this and it appears to work great.

The switch was placed just below the instrument cluster:

I can turn the switch on to get AWD- useful when the roads are slippery but full time 4hi isn't needed. But for the most part, even when the streets are covered in snow, I keep the switch off and use RWD. It's more fun and the truck behaves normally if I behave normally.


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One of the biggest improvements I did was to take up the slack in the throttle cable. This was WOT before:

Then I added a few zip ties to the top of the gas pedal assy under the dash on the firewall:

And now this is WOT:

I could probably improve on it some still, but it's close.

I've had to recalibrate my foot. It's much more responsive now.


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I think I detailed this one in the "what did you do to your rig today" thread, but here is the full and gory details:

The rear seat has stereo controls for some unknown reason. Why should the people in the back seats be able to control the radio? I can't think of a reason. Kids thought it was great to mess with it though.

Someday (hopefully fairly soon) I'll have a new stereo and these controls probably won't do anything. So I used that space more efficiently and added an inverter.

I've had this small inverter for awhile. It can charge a laptop or HAM radio (handheld) or DVD players for the kids.

(It normally has a cover on)

I wanted to reuse the same plate the radio controls were on to keep mounting simple:

I married the inverter panel to the radio panel and extended the wires so I could mount what's left of the inverter on the floor inside the console:

All mounted up I looks pretty clean- almost like Ford meant for it to be that way:


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The last upgrade to ge me current was the roof rack. After the hail storm destroyed our tent, I got an RV-5 Oztent. The Oztent is pretty long and I didn't want to put it on the roof supported at 2 places like the factory rack does, so I got an Eezi-Awn roof rack. The rack was originally installed on my Explorer, but with the shift away from that to the Expedition, I wanted the rack on it.

Factory rack:

Eezi-Awn platform rack:

I was a bit of a moron when I measured everything- I forgot to account for the open tailgate. So with the roof rails already drilled and trimmed to the length I needed, the rack got pushed forward by about 2"-3". The result is now the front of the rack is cantilevered more than it should:

But I think I can fix it by relocating the attach foot to the forward end of the rail. The attach foot should go in the lateral channel on the platform. I've since noticed that the rack seems to rattle due to this cantilevered portion. I need to add those extra feet soon. Wind noise isn't bad either. I've since removed the air deflector as it was directing wind right down on top of the sunroof.


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Swapped out those rusty trailing arms.

Added some coil spacers for the rear and cranked up the torsion bars in the front for a quick and easy 2.5" lift with longer shocks.

Then took it camping a couple times::

Drove it to Green Bay, WI.

Got a full set of Husky Liners and transferred my tie downs up one level:

And put on some new tires. I put on a little over 42k miles on the Big O Big Foots. They were getting worn and loud and I could feel them hydroplane on occasion. The old tires spec'd out as 32.0". Looking at the wheel wells after my lift, I thought 35s would fit. But with my 3.55 gears, adding 35s, which cost more out the door, would also create a series of cascading costs........ regear and bearings...... new limited slip locker...... I decided discretion was the better part of valor. I opted for some LT275/70/18 Cooper ATPs. These spec out as 33.2" tires. The BFG KO2s were the leader of the pack in my decision list, but talking to my tire guy (guy I've known since college), he said the KO2s were wearing quickly. These Coopers were my #2. I actually gained a full inch of height with the new tires- I guess those Big Os were worn pretty good. And I think this size is perfect.

These tread blocks have small canyons between them!

Morris Yarnell

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Great to follow this with your updates. Looking like a vehicle you are going to get a lot of use out of, it seems to travel well.


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The truck is currently down for repairs. I had a coolant leak that required removing/replacing the intake manifold to fix (not nearly as bad of a job as it sounds). While the manifold is out, I decided to send my injectors to http://www.witchhunter.com/index.php to be flow tested and cleaned. I had no reason to suspect anything was wrong with the injectors other than the odometer- currently at 223,xxx miles. I just hope the pre-cleaning test report shows at least a couple needed to be cleaned.

Those that have been paying attention may have noticed that I've already replaced the intake manifold. I'm doing it again 40,000 miles later. This time I'm using a genuine Ford part instead of the Dorman I used the first time.