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Old 12-04-2018, 04:32 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Got the clutch fixed! Lost the rear brakes.

Ok, so update on the 2000 Explorer (Green Truck).

Back in May, I lost the clutch slave cylinder pulling out of the parking lot at work. Drove home without a clutch, parked it, and borrowed the MIL's truck for the rest of the day. White Car's battery was stone dead, so put it on the charger overnight. Next day, was able to shuffle the vehicles around a bit and started driving White Car again. Lucky me, didn't get around to selling it.

Drove White Car for ~4 months before I got all the good parts swapped over from the 1997 Explorer (Black Truck) to get Green Truck going again. Black Truck donated a resurfaced flywheel, new clutch master and slave, new clutch/throwout bearing, functional rear O2 sensor, front part of the muffler pipe (flange on Green Truck was rotting off), misc. nuts and bolts to replace rusted/busted ones, etc. Pulled all the rocker panel trim off Green Truck and could not put it back on - rust had consumed necessary mounting holes. Cleaned up a few bits in front and painted them a non-matching green I got free at the local Re-Use center. Managed to put a nice cut in my scalp by dropping a driveshaft on it while putting loctite on the bolts I hadn't put into it yet. Swapped over a few misc. slightly better parts off Black Truck, too. Got it going and it smoked like mad burning out all the crud that went into the manifolds and pipes while working at getting bolts loose. Once all that cleared up it ran fine. Running RWD/2WD for now because I left the front driveshaft off - busted bolt in the front mounting flange, with a busted-off EZ-Out in it. Pay someone for an hour and a half of labor to swap on a better flange and hope the bearing preload turns out OK, or wait until I "have time" (ha ha ha) and just swap over the rebuilt axles from Black Truck?

Drove Green Truck for about a month like that, Check Engine light went on for a bit after the smoke and then went out and stayed out - no more rear 02 sensor code! Figured out something, too: my mpg tank to tank varies a lot partly because those air shocks in the rear are extremely inconsistent in terms of angle the tank sits at - and thus how much gas is in a tank when it is "full". Only getting about 16 something MPG or so average. Not horrible, but not great either.

Monday morning before driving to work I lost the rear brakes - after it being fine while moving the vehicles around to shovel the driveway on Sunday. Haven't taken a close look yet, but it looks like the hard line on the rear axle has developed a severe leak. Black Truck has a completely new rear brake system on a rebuilt rear axle - I "just" need to undo 24 bolts, two flare fittings and two parking brake cable connectors, tear apart the Black Truck parking brakes to get the levers freed up properly (Green Truck also has new rear brakes, but has the same parking brake problem...), and swap them over. If I do that, though, I might as well swap over the front axle too so they match and I can re-install the front driveshaft and have 4WD again. That's a lot more work...

Driving White Car again. Lucky again - haven't gotten around to selling it yet. Needs an oil change, even though it burns enough to replace all 4 quarts via top-ups every 5,000 miles or so. Still drives good, gets 30+mpg. Will need brakes in the spring. Getting noisier, too. Rust holes are getting bigger, and it rides like crap with the blown struts.

The garage bay Green Truck lived in for 4 months being worked on is now full of stuff, so it's stuck outside in the increasingly inclement weather we have here in a MN winter. I can't just move the stuff back in the house - it came out of the house so we could sell it cheap. Decent desk and chest of drawers, or I'd just pitch 'em. Trying to flog them cheap on one of those neighborhood sale sites. Then I have no idea how long Green Truck will be in the garage this time around.

I have a serious "sunk costs" problem on my hands, as there's no economical way to fix Green Truck without doing all the labor myself, using the good parts from Black Truck. Paying someone else to do it and/or buying new parts would be just tossing away money. Scrapping both trucks would just throw away most of the money already spent, plus mean giving up on a hobby for the second time. Pretty close to doing that, TBH, but can't get past the "I should be able to do this - I did it before!" argument. Plus I still haven't had a chance to see if I like off-roading again. Starting to see why people have a daily driver *and* a cheap 'wheeling rig. Realistically, I've had 2 spare vehicles sitting around for nearly a year at this point, so it isn't like I don't know whether or not I can afford it. Clearly I can, I just haven't accepted that old trucks that need unplanned repairs along with the regular maintenance are *not* meant to be daily drivers...

Guess I'm mostly venting here. I just hope White Car holds together long enough that I can get Green Truck rolling again, Black Truck stripped and gone, and figure out what my plans are to deal with the coolant usage issue.

Whatever happens, if I get a replacement vehicle of any sort, it damn well better have an *external clutch slave cylinder*!

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Old 12-05-2018, 12:49 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Thanks for keeping us updated on your truck. I own a Jeep XJ and I've done some mods on it to increase fuel efficiency, so I'm pretty interested in what people do to their trucks and SUVs to achieve results.

In my experience, my "old" Jeep (1997) has held up very well. I haven't ever had a major problem in the 7 years I've had it, though there were some big maintenance items like replacing the entire cooling system and replacing the rear main seal. It is my daily driver and it can go off roading. I know I'm comparing apples to oranges here, but if I were in your shoes, I would figure out a way to do the job myself.

...or buy a Jeep Cherokee

Last edited by Taylor95; 12-05-2018 at 12:56 AM..
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Old 12-05-2018, 06:05 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Hello Taylor95,

Glad you appreciate the updates.

Well, I've done no fuel efficiency mods yet other than parking it and driving the White Car... Instant 90+% increase in mpg. I suppose you could count putting synthetic fluid in the transfercase?

It isn't a question of ability, really - I am capable of doing the work necessary. It's a question of available time and garage space.

I was actually looking at an old XJ when I found Green Truck. The XJ had rust-through on the floors almost all the way around, though, and then I saw Green Truck. Decided to look it up on the dealer website while sitting in the parking lot - and it was listed as a stick shift, so I went to look at it. Ended up buying it within a month or two.

One disadvantage the XJ has is no rear headrests, which isn't good for my kids' necks. Not something that can be fixed with a quick weekend bolt-in, unfortunately. Up here in the land of salted roads, in the price range I was looking around in, there were no XJ's or TJ's that were not excessively rusty.

Well, that's the biggest problem for finding a vehicle - my biggest problem is scrounging time and space to work on one! I can't just go buy an XJ right now anyway - all my "Toy Cash" is tied up in Green Truck and Black Truck.

Need to clear out the garage, get the Green Truck back in, and set to work finishing up the "goodies transplant". Since the 32x11.5R15 mud tires (nearly 100% tread, on new 15x8" black steel rims, on Black Truck) are a very poor choice for winter driving, I'll probably see if I can flog them and pick up some Wrangler Rubicon takeoffs - 255/75R17 would be a good size to go with the 4.11 gears from Black Truck. Would need either captive-lug spacers or rims with the right backspacing.

I can just leave the existing 235/75R15's on, but RPM's will be up a fair bit due to the jump from 3.55 to 4.11 gearing. Factory tow package gearing, though, so not unthinkable.

Dang lucky my wife isn't really mad about not having a garage space.
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Old 12-05-2018, 10:19 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Ha, you are real lucky. My wife probably would not have that.

Yeah rust can be a pretty big issue with xjs. I'm lucky that I live in an area that isn't really that bad when it comes to rust. Plus if you are carting kids around, I guess that the no head rest thing would be an issue... something I don't need to worry about.

If you're going down in gear size and getting different tires anyway, have you considered going bigger? 33 x 9.50 seems reasonable with 4.11 gears. I think that fuel economy would fall if your tires are too short for your gear ratio. Of course that could also mean more cutting and other work involved. But either way going with a skinnier tire should net you some mpgs.

I wish you luck though... I can totally relate with the no time or space to work on my car problem.

Edit: Nevermind, I guess the skinniest 33s come is 10.5"

Last edited by Taylor95; 12-06-2018 at 01:39 AM..
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Old 12-06-2018, 01:18 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Hello again Taylor95,

My wife has been really supportive.

Hmm, the gear swap might not actually be that bad with my current tires - peak torque for the 4.0 OHV is at 2750RPM vs 3000RPM on the SOHC. Swapping in 4.10 gears with the 235/75R15's would take 55mph/5th gear rpms from ~1848 to ~2135 - still below torque peak, so probably on the same BSFC "island" (don't have a map for this engine). What has me more worried is the effect of an LSD in winter with RWD on road manners. Hello fishtailing!

I don't *have* to get new tires - I have two sets of good tires, one 235/75R15 and one 32x11.5R15. I just don't want to run the 32x11.5R15 mud tires in winter due to the bad effects of wide tire and lack of siping on winter roads. 33x10.5 are not cheap, so I'd need to do very well selling the 32x11.5R15's to get those. 32x11.5R15 fit with only a bit of "persuading" of some plastic fender liner bits. Narrower tires should be similar/better - people have reported 33x10.5 with the same mods that fit 32x11.5, so long as you get the backspacing correct to fit the wheelwell. The 255/75R17 Jeep Rubicon take-offs are inexpensive - and often come with wheels that just need spacers to fit. 265/70R18 are an inexpensive size, just need 18" rims that fit. These larger rim sizes are not ideal for off-road, but most of this truck's miles will be on-road commuting. I can save my pennies and get some bias-ply P78x16C Buckshot Mudders or 33x9.5 Super Swampers to put on a set of used cheap steel Explorer rims for off-road use only. If I swap in the 4.10 gears.

Either way, sometime in late February or early March one of the two trucks *must* be out of the garage, unless I buy a shed to stuff all the not-truck stuff into so I can make room. GS Cookie Season - need a place to store all the cookies for the Troop... No work in the garage during that time-frame, either. Given that it took me 4 months to replace a clutch, I can't put Green Truck into the garage for a big job at all, as it'll never be done in time. I *might* be able to pull off a rear axle swap with parking brake actuator repair in that time-frame - 24 bolts per truck, plus 1 brake line fitting per truck and 1 parking brake cable connection per truck. 4.10 in the rear, 3.55 in the front - no front driveshaft. Rear ABS sensor reads the ring gear, so it should not freak out with the different ratio. Then I need to plan on a time after GS Cookie Season to do the front axle swap, complete with new hubs and rotors and shocks and at least the upper ball joints... Or I can just fix the rear brake line for now to get Green Truck rolling again and just start stripping Black Truck of all the goodies I want to put into Green Truck. A stretch goal would be to swap the lift shackles and rear shocks in, too, to get a stable rear end height. That's only 16 more bolts. Right rear shackle on Green Truck is rotten/cracked, so I *should* do that sooner rather than later.

In lieu of parking brake, I just tied together a set of wheel chocks. Put one under each driver-side tire, and the rope fits over the driver mirror so it doesn't get buried in the snow. I had to do this because the truck will now back down the driveway against engine compression with the truck in reverse. Don't need to wake up to find it half-way into the street, with a ticket on it and a plow berm piled up around it, or a vehicle slammed into it...
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Old 12-06-2018, 03:03 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Oh if your peak torque is at 2750 then I guess the smaller tires aren't really that bad. With my car my peak torque is about 2200-2500, so I try to make sure that my RPM at 65 mph is close to there, since I do mostly highway driving.

Not using the wider MT tires is a good choice--especially given that you do not have 4wd at the moment. RWD is definitely a pain in the snow.

February or March sounds reasonable to get something done--I would definitely underestimate what could be done so I'm not stuck with a half done project at the end. It sounds like if you just fix your brake line, you would be able to have the other truck out in time and have your Explorer driveable again. Personally I would be nervous to drive it if one of the shackles is cracked.

I distinctly remember a thread on a different forum where a guy (now passed away) was somehow able to get 30 mpg on his Ford Explorer. If you're interested at all, I probably could find it again.
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Old 12-06-2018, 03:33 PM   #37 (permalink)
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I did find it actually. Here you go
https://www.explorerforum.com/forums...ge-tips.44372/
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Old 12-07-2018, 06:08 PM   #38 (permalink)
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<looks at calendar>

Cookie Go Day is Saturday, Feb 9, 2019. That's only 9 weekends from today, including the X-Mas and New Year's holidays, and I must assume the cookies get picked up the weekend before, so I net 8 weekends. I'll have some time during the holidays, but the family won't like me being in the garage all that time. With two kids and the rest of the usual homeowner stuff, I don't get to use too many weekends for garage time.

I can commit to the brake line, and possibly the shackles, if a bolt doesn't break during removal. Those can be done reasonably on a "put the butt end of the Green Truck halfway into the garage, wear warm clothing, use the 300-Watt Halogen lamp as a heat source" basis, so long as it isn't snowing/isn't excessively windy. Not doing an axle swap without being able to close the door and turn on the heater, though.

Black Truck is just for parts. I doubt I can strip it completely/competently by that Feb 9 deadline, and it is a royal pain to move it because it cannot move under its own power - no transmission/transfer/driveshafts. Can't run right now either - no exhaust/02 sensors/battery/starter. I'll nibble at it as time permits, and prep all the goodies for swapping onto Green Truck so I have only 1 truck's worth of rusty bolts to deal with for a given job on Green Truck.

Saw that 30mpg thread a while ago and have it bookmarked. SOHC so his engine mods won't work on my OHV truck, and custom tunes to boot. 2WD and an automatic, as well, so a bit more orange than apple, so to speak. With the Green Truck drinking a bit of coolant, I don't want to put synthetic in it just yet. Basically, I've got more things to repair before I can start modifying for mpg - need a good baseline. The ForScan app on phone and an OBD2 dongle will allow me to do some feedback-assisted adjustment of the nut behind the steering wheel. That app will also allow me to reprogram the speedo/odo after the axle swap and tire swap, program more keys, etc.
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Old 12-09-2018, 12:36 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Yeah, a good baseline is pretty important. A lot of times mpg tanks because of failing parts.
If you are able to work on your car halfway out of the garage in this weather, I applaud your effort. I can't even imagine Minnesota weather. 20s is plenty cold enough for me.
It may be more oranges to apples but I think that the guy has some pretty good stuff that you could do. I've been reading a bit of that thread. Some of those things are getting an air dam, synthetic fluids, gearing, and a 2.5" catback exhaust

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