7s Explorer Revival

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Travisfab

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 21, 2003
19,966
188
63
San Diego
#1
This was an unexpected project. A co worker actually found it & knew about my weird obsession with Explorers. The truck was 2 hours away, and I decided to roll the dice and see if it was decent. The Craigslist ad hinted at the owners knowledge; key points were "Won prerunner class in Baja", "Totally caged", & "Very fast". I figured the lack of knowledge would either work greatly in my favor, or greatly against it. As we drove through the port of Long Beach to pick up the truck in San Pedro, the rain intensified to a solid down pour, awesome! I hate to pre judge, but pulling up to an apartment complex, and having an eccentric 65+ year old man come out to greet me did not exactly give me the most confident feeling.

The truck was tucked in the back of an underground parking structure, and had accumulated a fair amount of cob webs and dust. Initial inspection was pleasantly surprising. Decently tucked 2" cage, decent welds, and brand new BFG 33x10.50's. Chassis inspection revealed a leaky diff, blown shocks, but there was not a drop of oil on the ground below it. About this time the owner's 30ish year old son came by to give me the run down. All fluids were excellent, and the truck fired off with ease, idled smooth, and had zero abnormal noise coming from the engine. A quick test drive sealed the deal for me.

The next stage of this journey was getting this beast back to San Diego 100 miles down the 405/5 (yes I should have brought a trailer!). Keep in mind, the atmospheric river was at full pour at this point. Episodes of Roadkill played in my head as I squinted through a terribly blurry window, being smeared by decade old wiper blades. The driver rear window was not working and left me with a nice 8" gap of constant air flow. 4 blown shocks made the ride nice and springy, and the typical Ford power steering allowed 3" of steering wheel play in either direction. All minor inconveniences for a hardened off roader, and the beast was running like a champ down the freeway at 70+.


The rain has been relentless, and I am still revealing details about this truck, but here is what I have found.

- 4.0, runs excellent, mileage unkown, broken speedo/odometer, I can see that the intake manifold has been replaced, havent dug any further
- 5 speed with about 12" of play in the shifter, shifts good otherwise, good clutch
- Cab cage is 2" laced in with 1.5. An X crossmember was put through the rear passenger area. I am thinking this was a parking lot fix to pass tech at some point. This will be one of the first things I cut out and re do.
- Engine cage is all 1.5" tube, kind of funky/fugly, but lands on the frame enough times to be decently strong. This will be an area that I will revisit when suspension upgrades start to happen
- Front suspension is built to the classic 7s specs. Bent beams, lift coils and the stock radius arms, all controlled by 2.5x12 Sway Aways
- Rear suspension looks like a bastard pack, it could be from the National Spring days. It's a nice thick pack with about 10 leafs. It surprisingly uses the stock shackles. Rear shocks are also 2.5x12 Sway Aways

Misc Details
- Howe Power steering pump and reservoir
- Brand new 33x10.50R15 BFG tires on Outlaw 2 style wheels
- Stock location fuel cell (I think they may have just covered the stock gas tank with sheet metal, lol!)
- Functional heat, AC, gauges, power door/locks (luxury prerunner)
- A faint remnant of a BITD tech tag
- An even more faint name on the passenger door. Anyone know Joe Haight? The previous owner also mentioned Dennis Confrontino. Any of these names ring a bell?


My plan is to make this truck functional, clean, comfortable, and modernized. The immediate goals other than the standard clean up/zip tie treatment are to rebuild the shocks, cut the rear X out, add a bench, and add longer radius arms (I happen to have a pair). There is also a cracked tube going from the engine cage through the firewall, I'll unfortunately have to pull the dash for that. I also need to address the rear axle, and cross my finger that it's only the diff cover leaking.

Here are the photos from the ad







I'm holding off on any bigger goals/plans with the truck until I get it out in the dirt, hopefully it works good!
 

b-lake

Senior Member
Nov 19, 2009
360
0
16
menifee
#2
Ad “Ex factory racer”
Haha. I saw this and thought man it has some possible potential!

I think it’s kinda rad! Curious to hear(get some videos) of how she goes in the dirt!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

mjlogan

space cadet
Feb 9, 2007
672
33
28
34
ontario ca
#10
I saw that ad too, things rad. Engine looks like it sits lower than stock, does it have a body lift or something going on?

Bet it works pretty good as is if you were to put some seals and oil in those shocks
 

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