Uberlands slow-but-hopefully-steady Excursion build.

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Uberland

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Springfield, VA, USA
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Jason
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So, as I mentioned in my introduction, a few weeks ago I picked up a ‘00 Ford Excursion. I wanted something reliable, big enough to haul my family of seven plus dog (we’re reaching max capacity in my wife’s expedition!). I’m also a diesel fan, and as we all know there’s only one option for a large SUV with diesel power! Plus, this one has the 7.3, which is pretty well-known for being bulletproof.

Because this truck will also be my daily driver, I can’t go hog-wild on crazy lifts (which I think are a bit over the top anyways) or engine modifications that could jeopardize its reliability. The truck still has to be a people mover and commuter, but with some overlanding chops.

First on the list was to go over the mechanicals of the vehicle...oil change, fuel filter change, differential and transfer case service, diesel service...again, just to make sure its reliable goveb it has 247k miles under the hood. Everything g checked out, and the previous owner had 100k miles worth of service records.

Plans? The previous owner also added a 3” Rough Country list, Nitto Terra Grapplers that are getting a little light on tread, a tuner chip, bigger 4” exhaust...not sure how much of that will stay on. Definitely needs a lift, but I’m not sure about the long-term viability of the current, budget-ish setup.

Because I have a big family I already ordered a Buckstop rear bumper for a bit more interior room. I’m also torn as to whether I should pick up a permanent air compressor first or a roof rack. Eventually I’ll also need a front bumper and winch because there isn’t much that’ll winch out a beast this big!

Stay tuned!

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Uberland

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Today, I did something that didn’t NEED to be done, but couldn’t hurt to check off of the list. The Ex has been an East Coast car it’s whole 19-plus years and had accumulated a fair amount of surface rust on the frame and gas tank cover, including a few spots where the rust actually was starting to take hold. So, I out on my nitrile gloves, grabbed a large tarp and my wire brushes (hand and drill-mounted), and scrubbed the frame, skid plates, front and rear axles...and then coated everything with POR-15 rust inhibitor. Definitely not fun or easy, certainly messy, but it’ll be a little peace of mind when it gets salty on the roads or I take the Ex out on the beach!

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Sasquatch SC

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Watching this thread!

I have always had a soft spot for the Excursions. I especially love the green!

I grew up with farm trucks and still have some buddies that still will only drive a Ford F250 diesel or a Chevy 2500 diesel (it depends on which side of the highway you grew up on and what brand of truck your grandpa bought after the war). As we have grown up, some of them have done some modifications and I've picked up a few things. I don't know what you have in there right now, but it will probably be a good idea to install some gauges. A pyrometer will definitely be crucial if you are using it as your daily driver. Exhaust gas temperature is the devil to a diesel. You should also add a transmission temperature gauge as well. You don't want to melt down any components if you can prevent it. A lot of people love their boost gauges - I don't see it as being that important unless you have made some modifications to the turbo. They are fun to watch dance as you work through the gears. I would swap wheels, maybe add a little wheel spacer and put as much rubber on terra firma as you can before you put too much money down on making it taller.

Just my 2-cents. I mostly know diesels from a farm-use standpoint - as in running the motor all day long, heavy towing, abuse and then making them keep going.
 
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Uberland

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So, turns out that Ford’s Hydroboost system works great...until it doesn’t. What makes you say that, you ask? Well, let me tell you...

Had a great day last Friday at Tasker’s Gap in the Shenandoah, which I basically treated as a mild shakedown cruise for the (as-yet unnamed) Ex. Decent climbs, a couple of decent puddles, etc...nothing major, but a good means of testing the truck’s 4x4 system (high and low) and engine/ transmission braking, which was awesome.

Truck behaved beautifully. No problems with the 200-plus round trip or the hill climb/descent. Took the missis out for dinner that night...aside from being dirty, truck was great. Next morning she and I took my 18-month old for his second haircut about two miles from home. That went well (praise be!), but when we went to leave I noticed that I had no power steering or brakes...and when I grunted the truck back into the parking spot, I saw that the truck was puking super-dirty power steering fluid. No bueno.

Long story short: tow truck to a local garage, which eventually found the leak in the high-pressure steering hose. New hose, system flush and labor set me back around $700, which will put a dent in the ol’ Overlanding budget.

Got the truck back today...steering seems fine, but it’s scary to think about what I would’ve done had that happened on the trail. I’ve driven vehicles without power steering or brakes, but I had a hard time applying enough pedal pressure to stop the Ex from IDLE, never mind down a grade! Or on the highway! Definitely some intervention from above. I really wanted to tear out and replace the whole 20-year old system, but the shop assured me everything else looked fine.

Here’s to hoping!

Also, new license plates came in today...
 

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Uberland

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Springfield, VA, USA
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Update!

So, took the Ex out with Bluestone Overland out to the Bald Mountain Jeep Trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway..fun times aside from a transmission overheat, a busted rear sway bar end link, and a TON of pinstripes!

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So, what did the 12-hour day teach me? That the truck, although it needs a bigger transmission cooler and DEFINITELY needs something better than a 3” Rough Country lift, did AWESOME on the trail for its size. Didn’t get stuck once...7.3 was a torque beast!

So, I have a Mishimoto 7.3 transmission cooler, an OME 4” suspension kit, and a Red Head steering box on-order.

In the interim, it became clear that the, um, “unique” intake the previous owner was using wasn’t going to fly...it was simply a K&N filter laying on the inner fender, totally exposed to any water that might get in. As you can see, some muddy water splashed inside the engine bay during some Bald Mountain water crossings...don’t need anything other than diesel inside this ol’ 7.3!

Picked out an S&B intake...like how it was more of a “sealed unit.” Straightforward install.

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Mid-August will bring the suspension and steering upgrades!
 

Andy J.

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Subbed. :sunglasses: I have a 2003 Ex that I will slowly be outfitting and I am really looking forward to your review of the suspension and steering upgrades. I have a little bit of that classic Ford steering play and was wondering if a Red Head steering box would fix it.

The OME lift should be quite an upgrade over the RC budget boost. What size tires are you going to run? I am hoping some 315's will fit with a 4" lift.
 
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Uberland

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Subbed. :sunglasses: I have a 2003 Ex that I will slowly be outfitting and I am really looking forward to your review of the suspension and steering upgrades. I have a little bit of that classic Ford steering play and was wondering if a Red Head steering box would fix it.

The OME lift should be quite an upgrade over the RC budget boost. What size tires are you going to run? I am hoping some 315's will fit with a 4" lift.
Aiming to put in some 315/70-17s (once the budget allows)...I’ve heard they fit with no problem...fingers crossed!
 
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thegiantSean

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New member here just thought would share my Excursion build.
2004 6.0 ( studded, deleted and a bunch of other motor mods)
Fulltraction Suspension King Coilover conversion on the front and a deaver Bilsien set up on the rear.
40" Maxxis Razor tire on XD 137 wheels.
Road armor bumpers front and rear
ARB lockers 4.56 gears
SSBC brakes
PSC hydro assist steering.
Defender roof rach with light rack, awning and a roof top tent
And of course a ARB fridge and kitchen set up in the back
 

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Uberland

Rank I
Member

Contributor I

233
Springfield, VA, USA
First Name
Jason
Last Name
B
Member #

18565

New member here just thought would share my Excursion build.
2004 6.0 ( studded, deleted and a bunch of other motor mods)
Fulltraction Suspension King Coilover conversion on the front and a deaver Bilsien set up on the rear.
40" Maxxis Razor tire on XD 137 wheels.
Road armor bumpers front and rear
ARB lockers 4.56 gears
SSBC brakes
PSC hydro assist steering.
Defender roof rach with light rack, awning and a roof top tent
And of course a ARB fridge and kitchen set up in the back
Nice!
 

Uberland

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Springfield, VA, USA
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Jason
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18565

Haven't been super-timely in my updates, but a few weeks ago I thought it time to do some transmission upgrades. Why, you ask? Because with a 250k mile original transmission and the previously mentioned transmission overheat, I need to give my slushbox as many advantages as possible. So...

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So I drained the fluid from the torque converter and dropped the pan for what I thought would be a straightforward installation of the Mag-Hytec pan.

I was...mistaken.

Turns out that with Excursions, the standard '99-03 pan WON'T bolt right up because of the location of the transmission cross-member. Which meant that I had to spend a few more hours dropping the transfer case skid plate to have something to support the driveline with, THEN drop the transmission cross-member, THEN install the (significantly larger) pan.

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Of course, this means that in a year or so I'm going to have to go through the process again when it comes time for a fluid and filter change...I'm preferring not to think about that right now!

After this took me a fair bit longer than I expected, I hoped the Mishimoto transmission cooler would be a more straightforward installation. No such luck. Some finnicky 20-year old clips, a fair amount of swearing and eight hours later, the much smaller cooler was replaced with the significantly larger one.

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After nearly 22 quarts of transmission fluid--an increase of about eight quarts from standard--and some transmission additive later, and I feel a lot better about keeping my transmission cool. I haven't installed a trans temp gauge yet (I know...it's on the list along with an EGT and boost gauges), but most folks experience a 15-20 degree drop in temperatures, which can only be a good thing!

Next week, I'm scheduled to have a Buckstop Truckware bumper and the ARB compressor installed, followed by an OME suspension system and a Redhead Steering box. I'd love to add some new tires, but I don't think I'll be able to squeeze in the 35s that I'd like until I come up with the $5k or so for the new front bumper and winch! :confused:
 

Uberland

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Big doins’ for Creedence in the past month!

New rear bumper/spare tire mount from Buckstop Truckware:

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...and an ARB single-screw air compressor (because we couldn’t find a good place to mount it inside the vehicle). Quick release is stored behind the bumper:

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...and a BDS steering stabilizer to replace the junky Rough Country one:

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And then Creedence was off to a different shop that was willing to order/install ARB’s Old Man Emu full suspension kit:

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The shop ran into a few issues with the 4” exhaust interfering with the passenger side helped spring, so they’re going to have to trim it a bit.

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Also, full front end rebuild with Moog components, new Energy Suspension bump stops all around, gauge pod for boost, EGT and transmission temperature, and a Redhead Steering box.

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I’ll post pictures of the stance when I get the vehicle next week...the smallish, 33-ish inch tires are going to make him look like he skips leg day! Debating an ARB air locker and 4.10 gears so I can mount 35”s, but that would be a CHUNK of change!

First expedition next month...we’re doing the North Carolina Trans-America Trail loop!
 

JCWages

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Where is that new intake pulling air from? It looks like it's pulling air from the grille area. That could be really bad if you go through and moderately deep puddles. Eeek!
 
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