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Posted: 10/31/2009 10:36:10 AM EST
I'm possibly getting a 2003 Ford Explorer XLT. Fairly stock. I would like to get my BOV building started in stages. What order should I get stuff and what are those things to do? (Please no, "sell the vehicle and get a ****"" Thanks)
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 11:02:49 AM EST
make sure everything is in working order, replace anything that needs it...

What type of terrain do you plan on traveling on? Here in the PNW Most of the forest service roads can be traveled by a stock 4x4 with no problem (Alot of them are driven by cars if it doesn't have the ditchs cut into em) Then again others that are un-maintained may be a lil more challenging, Maybe look at getting the biggest tire you can fit without rubbing, I assume its 4x4, if it doesn't have a Limited Slip in the rear maybe look into that (Don't know how it will act with the traction control though) and if you plan to try some harder stuff a winch would be nice..
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 11:10:29 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 11:18:51 AM EST
Originally Posted By DBerk:
make sure everything is in working order, replace anything that needs it...

What type of terrain do you plan on traveling on? Here in the PNW Most of the forest service roads can be traveled by a stock 4x4 with no problem (Alot of them are driven by cars if it doesn't have the ditchs cut into em) Then again others that are un-maintained may be a lil more challenging, Maybe look at getting the biggest tire you can fit without rubbing, I assume its 4x4, if it doesn't have a Limited Slip in the rear maybe look into that (Don't know how it will act with the traction control though) and if you plan to try some harder stuff a winch would be nice..


Step 1. Make sure everything is good to go.

It will still be a daily vehicle for me so mileage etc has to still be good for that. I think I'm over killing things in the plains of Iowa with a extremely lifted truck requiring a ladder and a set of super swampers. I think the only time I'll need to leave the roads is truely when shtf. The winter snow is the reason why I had to get it with 4x4. It's also the flex fuel version. Not sure if that makes a difference.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 11:21:21 AM EST
Thanks. I don't have a lot of vehicle choices. I have a newly acquired Uncle-In-Law in SD who is taking really good care of getting me/us a vehicle under book value.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 12:10:26 PM EST
For what you are talking about I would just leave it stock, and when the tires need to be replaced maybe go up one size or so (check some explorer forums to see what they say) and get yourself some chains in case it gets really bad

As for leaving the road.. buy a strap from Harbor Freight (also good for winter) and take a friend who has a truck and go check out some forest servie roads some time, best thing to have is practice driving on different types of terrain and knowing what your SUV can do..
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 1:14:39 PM EST
Originally Posted By DBerk:
For what you are talking about I would just leave it stock, and when the tires need to be replaced maybe go up one size or so (check some explorer forums to see what they say) and get yourself some chains in case it gets really bad

As for leaving the road.. buy a strap from Harbor Freight (also good for winter) and take a friend who has a truck and go check out some forest servie roads some time, best thing to have is practice driving on different types of terrain and knowing what your SUV can do..


That makes sense. Why figure out what you can do when it's your last resort. Know before hand. Kinda like learning to shoot when you need to shoot.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 9:12:34 PM EST
If you want to ruggedize it you need to look at the suspension and tires. Consider some armor (see off roading sites) for your differential, gas tank, and other criticals that are under the chassis. Last thing you want is a hole being poked in your tank or hitting a rock and having your diffs being ripped open.

Some mods to consider, wallet depending, that would still make for a decent daily driver:

6" suspension lift
33" to 35" A/T tires
new differential covers
gas tank sheild
brush guard or bull bar w/winch (can do before lift) difference is what you want protected by the bar and there are plenty of companies to choose from.
Seat organizers (someone bought one ouf of MOLLE I saw) or see an offroad dealer
Line the rocker panels of your body (lower 1/8 of the truck)
Line the bulldog seat and floor of your Explorer (easier to clean) can also choose a BedRugz if you like that look instead but may not be as easy to clean
Run a 12V and 110V converter/outlet to the back of the truck for running other auxillaries.
Shotgun rack drilled into side of bulldog seat

The most expensive thing you can do is the lift and tires. Brush/bull guards and winches are also costly but you can install them yourself within a day. Everything else, minus the electric converters, my son can do. That might take some trickery depending on the electrical set up with your truck and you may need a better battery.

Take alook at some of the Explorer forums (or go to a F-150 forum, similar chassis and engines) and many have both. Your brain will quickly outspend your wallet when you start seeing all the ideas. Good place to start pricing parts and equipment: www.autoanything.com

Link Posted: 11/1/2009 3:55:07 AM EST
www.explorerx.com

www.rangerpowersports.com

www.explorerforum.com
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 5:32:43 AM EST
Originally Posted By kudzu630:
If you want to ruggedize it you need to look at the suspension and tires. Consider some armor (see off roading sites) for your differential, gas tank, and other criticals that are under the chassis. Last thing you want is a hole being poked in your tank or hitting a rock and having your diffs being ripped open.

Some mods to consider, wallet depending, that would still make for a decent daily driver:

6" suspension lift
33" to 35" A/T tires
new differential covers
gas tank sheild
brush guard or bull bar w/winch (can do before lift) difference is what you want protected by the bar and there are plenty of companies to choose from.
Seat organizers (someone bought one ouf of MOLLE I saw) or see an offroad dealer
Line the rocker panels of your body (lower 1/8 of the truck)
Line the bulldog seat and floor of your Explorer (easier to clean) can also choose a BedRugz if you like that look instead but may not be as easy to clean
Run a 12V and 110V converter/outlet to the back of the truck for running other auxillaries.
Shotgun rack drilled into side of bulldog seat

The most expensive thing you can do is the lift and tires. Brush/bull guards and winches are also costly but you can install them yourself within a day. Everything else, minus the electric converters, my son can do. That might take some trickery depending on the electrical set up with your truck and you may need a better battery.

Take alook at some of the Explorer forums (or go to a F-150 forum, similar chassis and engines) and many have both. Your brain will quickly outspend your wallet when you start seeing all the ideas. Good place to start pricing parts and equipment: www.autoanything.com



+1
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 6:18:18 AM EST
Dual battery setup with Optimas, yellow top.
CB radio and decent antenna.
Hi-lift jack (works as a winch too)
Tool boxes in bed (or on top of bed sides for more space)
Chains, chains, and more chains.
Flexy tow strap.
Blankets, jackets...
Flares.
Portable air compressor, as big as you can afford.
Tire patch kits, plural.
Welding cables, rod holder, to attach to batteries in series.
Welding rods in airtight container.
GPS, non-TomTom, something that does not limit you to known roads.
Salt, cat litter, chains, hardware cloth.
Aux gas tank, or good gas cans, 20 gal at least.
Siphon and long hoses, to borrow transfer fuel.
Spare plugs, etc...
Antifreeze, oil, tranny-brake-ps fluid, rear/front end grease.
Starting fluid spray can.
Spare belts and hoses, two of each.
Epoxy tank patch goop.
Tools...

That is what I carry. Doesn't help the mileage.
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 7:31:45 AM EST
Originally Posted By TheMirage:
Originally Posted By DBerk:
make sure everything is in working order, replace anything that needs it...

What type of terrain do you plan on traveling on? Here in the PNW Most of the forest service roads can be traveled by a stock 4x4 with no problem (Alot of them are driven by cars if it doesn't have the ditchs cut into em) Then again others that are un-maintained may be a lil more challenging, Maybe look at getting the biggest tire you can fit without rubbing, I assume its 4x4, if it doesn't have a Limited Slip in the rear maybe look into that (Don't know how it will act with the traction control though) and if you plan to try some harder stuff a winch would be nice..


Step 1. Make sure everything is good to go.

It will still be a daily vehicle for me so mileage etc has to still be good for that. I think I'm over killing things in the plains of Iowa with a extremely lifted truck requiring a ladder and a set of super swampers. I think the only time I'll need to leave the roads is truely when shtf. The winter snow is the reason why I had to get it with 4x4. It's also the flex fuel version. Not sure if that makes a difference.


OP It sounds like you are going to use the BOV on pavement about 99.44% of the time and the 4X4 would be to keep the BOV on the pavement.

Since you apparently have not bought the truck yet you may save yourself some drama with careful shopping. If you can get a limited slip differential already in the truck then you don’t have to buy one. That may save $500 or so.

Best things for my BOV so far.
1) 4X4 built in the BOVs; I don’t rock crawl or bog but the 4X4 has been great to keep the BOV on the pavement. $what you pay.
2) Limited Slip differential, built into the BOVs; I did not offer to buy any potential BOV without 4X4 and limited slip. $zero extra.
3) good tires; I’m still using the factory size but I got good ones when I bought them almost 100K miles ago. $1000 or about that for new.
4) Specialized tool kit; I crawled all about the BOV and determined what basic tools and special tools I would need and limited the kit to that. I have the correct tools without toting a 150 pound tool box. $150 at Harbor Freight and you may have to spend some at Snap-On too, so $250
5) Good quality ice chest; get a 5 day rated one. This great even to keep groceries cool on a hot day. Found for free and repaired for $20, but $80 new.
6) Inverter. $20 dollar one from Home Depot but it charges my laptop.
7) Roof rack and accessories I went cheap here by carefully shopping craigslist and the hardware store.

BOV


Tools


Cooler


Roof Rack




Link Posted: 11/1/2009 9:36:38 AM EST
Thanks. I think the slow and stead route is the best way to go. I'll check to see if it has a slip differential already on it, hope so. I like PA22's list of simple items before getting to the real ruggid stuff. A life would be good with a solid under body kit to protect the inards. Thanks everyone.
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 1:11:17 PM EST
Hey I'm glad to help.

The one accessory that I had and I'm happy to say succumbed to age without being ever used was a fire extinguisher.

Some of the other posters that can offer sound advice are die-trin, Quarterbore, TomJefferson, and Waldo.

die-tryin has assembled a Chevy Blazer that is an excellent example of a dedicated BOV.
d-t's Blazer that I played paint with for fun


Quarterbore has a Ford SUV for a family BOV
Qb's ford that got caught in the same thread


As you can see in the last pic of our BOV in my other post, it is an LT, which is the luxury interior; leather seats, etc. By getting a LT I got dual AC, dual heat, power windows, power locks, and the quietest interior that was available then. I also looked around on the web and found the build codes for limited slip, trailering package, and off road protection package. I was then able to open the glove box and look at the build sticker where the codes are recorded for the kits I wanted.

I do not know the build codes for Ford but you might find them at one of the sites listed above.

Off road protection package.
fuel tank shield


transfer case skid plate


Front differential skid plate


Link Posted: 11/1/2009 3:19:22 PM EST
Originally Posted By TheMirage:
I'm possibly getting a 2003 Ford Explorer XLT. Fairly stock. I would like to get my BOV building started in stages. What order should I get stuff and what are those things to do? (Please no, "sell the vehicle and get a ****"" Thanks)


First and foremost, make sure that it is good running order.

Second - Although most forest roads and the like can be navigated by stock to nearly stock 4x4's, the late model Ford Explorers have very little ground clearance. Many also lack good skid plates and they tend to damage gas tanks or transfer cases when the do bottom out. I would start by fitting the biggest BFG all terrains that will fit w/o rubbing. If you can afford, buy a mild lift kit before buying tires. Quality of lift and tires are important.

Assemble a basic truck kit with fluids, tools, recovery (Hi-Lift, straps, D-rings, etc) and survival gear. Keep it in the truck at all times.

From here add some high quality bumpers, winch, comms, or other accessories as needed.
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 5:22:41 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/1/2009 5:29:09 PM EST by NorthernHillbilly]
IMO the others have great ideas.

I know from 1st hand experience that an explorer can get through quite a bit...mud bogs, rock crawling, etc...the key is knowing how to drive it. Knowing what your truck can't do is important.

Like others say––a small lift and bigger tires; full size spare.
I might add–– a few cans of fix a flat (until you get that fancy onboard air setup), and self-vulcanizing duct tape (actually rubber tape for hose repair) and at least two tubes of marine JB-weld for repairing anything, wet or dry.

If you can't get a winch right away make sure you have a come along. Not tacti-cool but they've saved my butt a few times. Portable and won't waste battery power. If going all out BOV consider making (or having someone make you) front and rear winch mounts (receiver hitch) and run battery cables for each. I like simply moving the winch rather than running a line under the truck, or monkeying with a bunch of snatch blocks.

We also built a nice pullout drawer for the back cargo area––just plywood on 2x4s that was divided into sections for gear, guns, etc. Put a blanket or one of those custom rubber mats and no one can tell, but gear is readily accessible with the back hatch open and the drawer pulled out.

Remember too much dedicated BOV stuff may limit weight and storage capacity for the things that you plan to BO with.

Good luck coming up with the $$$ for all the things you'll want to get/do.

NH
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 10:30:57 AM EST
Honestly, do some research before you buy it.

I really wanted to get one too, but after some research, and second hand experience i decided it wasnt worth it.

A close friend of mine had one, he bought it with relatively low mileage, around 50K. I think he paid around $9K for the truck.

After a few months, something in the front went, I wanna say it was steering/suspension issue, and it cost him over $1k to fix.

Some where along the line, the tranny went, and he had to have it replaced to to the tune of another few thou.

Okay, so a few things go here and there. 70K miles, the engine is blown. Truck is now worth nadda.

I did some research, and the power train on that year range (2001 on I beleive) is crap. The tranny is actually made in France, and is known to give out and need replacing before 70K miles.



Remember it doens matter how many mods your BOV has or how much gear or cargo room if the tranny and engine die on you.

Good luck
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 1:04:30 PM EST

Originally Posted By Pav56C:

The tranny is actually made in France, and is known to give out and need replacing before 70K miles.


that would be the A4LD which is actually a REVISION (added overdrive) of the C3 tranny which is the ACTUAL French POS. in 95, they switched to the 4R44E, which was much more durable and in 98-99 TOTALLY redesigned it adding another gear for the 5R55E. it's RARE that one of those needs replacing before 100k, many of which are still going past 200k.

in 02, they went to a suck-tastic independent rear. stay away from those.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 2:27:55 PM EST
Originally Posted By kudzu630:
If you want to ruggedize it you need to look at the suspension and tires. Consider some armor (see off roading sites) for your differential, gas tank, and other criticals that are under the chassis. Last thing you want is a hole being poked in your tank or hitting a rock and having your diffs being ripped open.

Some mods to consider, wallet depending, that would still make for a decent daily driver:

6" suspension lift
33" to 35" A/T tires
new differential covers
gas tank sheild
brush guard or bull bar w/winch (can do before lift) difference is what you want protected by the bar and there are plenty of companies to choose from.
Seat organizers (someone bought one ouf of MOLLE I saw) or see an offroad dealer
Line the rocker panels of your body (lower 1/8 of the truck)
Line the bulldog seat and floor of your Explorer (easier to clean) can also choose a BedRugz if you like that look instead but may not be as easy to clean
Run a 12V and 110V converter/outlet to the back of the truck for running other auxillaries.
Shotgun rack drilled into side of bulldog seat

The most expensive thing you can do is the lift and tires. Brush/bull guards and winches are also costly but you can install them yourself within a day. Everything else, minus the electric converters, my son can do. That might take some trickery depending on the electrical set up with your truck and you may need a better battery.

Take alook at some of the Explorer forums (or go to a F-150 forum, similar chassis and engines) and many have both. Your brain will quickly outspend your wallet when you start seeing all the ideas. Good place to start pricing parts and equipment: www.autoanything.com



You put 35 inchers on that and you will deruggidize it a lot faster. The stock running gear will not take off road abuse with that big of tire.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 6:07:45 PM EST

Originally Posted By odontia32m:
Originally Posted By kudzu630:
If you want to ruggedize it you need to look at the suspension and tires. Consider some armor (see off roading sites) for your differential, gas tank, and other criticals that are under the chassis. Last thing you want is a hole being poked in your tank or hitting a rock and having your diffs being ripped open.

Some mods to consider, wallet depending, that would still make for a decent daily driver:

6" suspension lift
33" to 35" A/T tires
new differential covers
gas tank sheild
brush guard or bull bar w/winch (can do before lift) difference is what you want protected by the bar and there are plenty of companies to choose from.
Seat organizers (someone bought one ouf of MOLLE I saw) or see an offroad dealer
Line the rocker panels of your body (lower 1/8 of the truck)
Line the bulldog seat and floor of your Explorer (easier to clean) can also choose a BedRugz if you like that look instead but may not be as easy to clean
Run a 12V and 110V converter/outlet to the back of the truck for running other auxillaries.
Shotgun rack drilled into side of bulldog seat

The most expensive thing you can do is the lift and tires. Brush/bull guards and winches are also costly but you can install them yourself within a day. Everything else, minus the electric converters, my son can do. That might take some trickery depending on the electrical set up with your truck and you may need a better battery.

Take alook at some of the Explorer forums (or go to a F-150 forum, similar chassis and engines) and many have both. Your brain will quickly outspend your wallet when you start seeing all the ideas. Good place to start pricing parts and equipment: www.autoanything.com



You put 35 inchers on that and you will deruggidize it a lot faster. The stock running gear will not take off road abuse with that big of tire.

i'd SERIOUSLY hesitate to go over 32s. the solid rear of the earlier exploders are heck for stout, but the later independent rears and the a-arm style independent fronts aren't known for their strength. IMHO, Ford never has been very good at CV joints –– especially in light-duty rigs like Rangers, BroncoIIs, and Exploders
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 6:14:50 PM EST
Didn't see it but:

Change all fluids and filters first.

Oil, raditator, trans, rear diff...

Fuel filter, oil filter, trans fluid filter...




NN
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 6:43:05 PM EST
Ford Exploders are pretty good, but you may find a 4X4 Expedition for the same money. If you don't hate Chebby, you could get a 2002-2003 Z71 Tahoe 4X4 with all the off road trimmings included for $10-12K.

Just an idea. Best Regards!

Highstepper
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 6:56:32 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/2/2009 6:58:13 PM EST by 8upwitHDs]
Mirage... I am glad you are getting a Ford and I am sure your uncle is going to do you right, I am a big Ford guy myself. Please do your homework on modding this vehicle that you have selected.

Some other things to consider from what has been stated above:

Gears: Bigger tires = bigger gears or a dead tranny (do these with the tires, don't say you will get them later after you cook your tranny)
Guages: get some pillar gauges to montior your tranny temp, oil pressure and fuel pressure
Hubs: get an extra set incase you have a failure
New sway bars. The Explorer body roll is horrendous even in stock form (high center of gravity), it will get worse as you go up in inches
Only do a supension lift......no body lifts
Lights....lots of offroad lights
bigger alternator to run all of your gear along with your dual batt set-up
good tecnical manual (Haines, Chiltons or the actual Ford maint CD)


It is not cheap to properly lift a vehicle, expect to spend about $6k or more before its all said and done. Go to the sites mentioned above and ask around, these guys know how to do it right so you dont waste money and have to do it again.

a few more sites to look at:

virtualford.org
fordtruckworld.com




Link Posted: 11/2/2009 7:57:55 PM EST
Originally Posted By highstepper:
Ford Exploders are pretty good, but you may find a 4X4 Expedition for the same money. If you don't hate Chebby, you could get a 2002-2003 Z71 Tahoe 4X4 with all the off road trimmings included for $10-12K.

Just an idea. Best Regards!

Highstepper


I am a big ford guy, but that is the truth about those Z71's.. One of my friend has a tahoe and fit 33's with just cranking the torsion bars..

Another friend has a 1500, that also runs 33's and a torsion bar crank... I have seen him go to some pretty impressive places with that truck..
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 1:32:07 AM EST
Originally Posted By DBerk:
Originally Posted By highstepper:
Ford Exploders are pretty good, but you may find a 4X4 Expedition for the same money. If you don't hate Chebby, you could get a 2002-2003 Z71 Tahoe 4X4 with all the off road trimmings included for $10-12K.

Just an idea. Best Regards!

Highstepper


I am a big ford guy, but that is the truth about those Z71's.. One of my friend has a tahoe and fit 33's with just cranking the torsion bars..

Another friend has a 1500, that also runs 33's and a torsion bar crank... I have seen him go to some pretty impressive places with that truck..




The Suburban that I posted above has everything that the Z71 package has except the "Z71" sticker. Now you see why I bothered to read the build tag.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 8:13:58 AM EST
Originally Posted By PA22-400:
Originally Posted By DBerk:
Originally Posted By highstepper:
Ford Exploders are pretty good, but you may find a 4X4 Expedition for the same money. If you don't hate Chebby, you could get a 2002-2003 Z71 Tahoe 4X4 with all the off road trimmings included for $10-12K.

Just an idea. Best Regards!

Highstepper


I am a big ford guy, but that is the truth about those Z71's.. One of my friend has a tahoe and fit 33's with just cranking the torsion bars..

Another friend has a 1500, that also runs 33's and a torsion bar crank... I have seen him go to some pretty impressive places with that truck..




The Suburban that I posted above has everything that the Z71 package has except the "Z71" sticker. Now you see why I bothered to read the build tag.


Thats a good point about checking that

I know my Dad's Superduty has the FX4 OffRoad package but he had the sticker removed when he bought it because the RED stuck out too much on his blue truck.

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