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Old August 25th, 2009, 07:21 PM   #1
FQXehhhh
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Default Anyone ever build an Expedition?

My family has had a 1997 Expedition since they day it rolled off the show room floor. Long story short, i have an old Expedition that hasn't been a DD in over six years sitting in my barn. Now, I've been wanting a Jeep to build up but what about this thing? The body and interior are in crappy shape but the drive-train is nearly perfect. It seems like this would be a fun little() project, but i don't know what i would be getting myself into.

I have searched here, pirate, and even google but have only found lifted street queens. I want something that could handle R&V, Drummond, Badlands, ect.
Plans (probably over a looong time):

-Solid front axle and better rear
-A cage of some sort (not a fan of exos)
-Figure out some sort of 4-link
-possibly swap the auto trans for a manual

Would this fat broad be worth it, or is an Expedition just too big? I have seen people squeeze fullsize rigs through many trails but never one of these
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Old August 25th, 2009, 08:20 PM   #2
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I used to frequent a few of the ford forums a few years back, and there were a few mildly built expeditions running around that I saw. Like you said, most are lifted street queens...but a few really did get used.

Really, the expedition isn't that big...it is the same length as a single cab, short bed F-150...just all cab instead of a bed. Definitely bigger than a jeep, but not enormous.

The stock rear axle should hold up ok as long as you don't go crazy with tire size, the 9.75 is relatively strong. The IFS is iffy, I have seen them run with 39's...but they never got wheeled. IF you stuck to 33's-35's it may hold up for a while...but a solid axle swap would be much better. I have seen plenty of SFA f-150's, so it would be the same procedure for an expedition. There are actually kits on the market to swap a 97-03 f-150 to a solid axle front, but they are pricey...I'm sure you could fab up something for much cheaper. I can give you a friend of mines email that put a superduty suspension under his 97 f-150 if you want, I'm sure he has a lot of tips and tricks to make the job easier.

A cage would be no big deal, you can cage it just like anything else out there.

A manual trans would be an issue though. The M50D is the only 5 speed used in a f-150 body/frame, and its not the strongest thing out there. There are two different models of this transmission used for these trucks...one was used with the 4.2 liter which shares the bellhousing pattern with the 3.8, 4.9, 5.0, 5.8. And the other was only used with the 4.6, which shares the same bellhousing pattern as the 5.4. The only problem is that the bellhousing is cast with the transmission, so you can't pull them apart to swap them between vehicles. You would have to find one used in a 4.6 liter F-150 to be able to bolt it up to the 5.4, but like I said...it is pretty weak so not worth the effort. The other option would be to find a ZF 5 speed from a superduty with the 5.4 and swap that in there. Much stronger, but also much larger. And it was never offered in the f-150/expedition platform....so it would probably be a lot of work to switch it over.

My parents also have a 97 expedition eddie bauer sitting up at the cabin that rarely gets driven that has been a project in my head for years, but I doubt I will ever touch it.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 08:25 PM   #3
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why do you want a manual? Just to be different or can you really justify it?
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Old August 25th, 2009, 08:46 PM   #4
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i got a 99 that im building up , nothing huge like your talkin about but i got a 2inch suspension lift and im doing a 3inch body lift soon with 35s . they do pretty good in the mud , heres mine

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Old August 25th, 2009, 08:54 PM   #5
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The manual trans wouldn't be until the auto implodes. It's really not a necessity, i just think it would be cool to have eventually. I'm not someone who needs to have a unique ride, but isn't a manual better to have on rocks and stuff anyway?

This probably wouldn't be something i throw 33's under with a lift and build on. I would go all out once i start digging into it. I have an 03' Supercrew to hit the two tracks with. This is a project that can sit around for four years, collect dust, and i won't lose sleep over it. It's just not something i want to waste my money or time on if it's not worth it.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 09:31 PM   #6
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I have wanted to build a expedition based buggy for a long time now. IF you want to sell it let me know. I have a complete one ton drive train waiting for something new.
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 05:19 PM   #7
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theres a guy on pirate4x4 that has a 97 F-150 that he sas'd. i think he even sells a kit to do it. his was a front leaf setup though. here is a link to one of his threads. should be the same as your expedition. not an sas thread but theres a couple shots of the front end set up. His truck kinda falls into the big gay truck category. looks like he mounted his front spring hangers on the bottom of that huge front crossmember and put the shackles right where the frame straightens out under the cab.
http://pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?t=790686
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 06:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broken2wd View Post
theres a guy on pirate4x4 that has a 97 F-150 that he sas'd. i think he even sells a kit to do it. his was a front leaf setup though. here is a link to one of his threads. should be the same as your expedition. not an sas thread but theres a couple shots of the front end set up. His truck kinda falls into the big gay truck category. looks like he mounted his front spring hangers on the bottom of that huge front crossmember and put the shackles right where the frame straightens out under the cab. http://pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?t=790686
I knew it would be Bigreen before I even clicked on that link. He built that truck by himself when he was 16 or 17 years old, and now owns a pretty good sized fab shop called Farmboy Fabrications where he does all of the design and fabrication...has his own line of traction bars and is doing quite well for himself for someone in their mid 20's.

And I guess you can call it what you want, but a cummins swapped SFA '97 f-150 is a nice project in my book...especially since it was built for running mud and everything down in Florida, not much rock crawling being done down there. But I guess I have a "big gay truck" also, so I may be a little biased.
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 07:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FQXehhhh View Post
I'm not someone who needs to have a unique ride, but isn't a manual better to have on rocks and stuff anyway?
This is totally a prefrence thing, but one of the MAIN reasons I did a drive train swap was to get rid of my manual trans. I HATED IT. Wheeling with a stick you are constantly shifting from 1st to 2nd and back again. Afterwards my leg was killing me. My 700r4 is geared lower any how . Like I said some people swear by them, I swear at them.

I think a expy is a cool idea, would be awesome for a family. Do a solid axle for sure on the front.
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 07:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 04PSD View Post
I knew it would be Bigreen before I even clicked on that link. He built that truck by himself when he was 16 or 17 years old, and now owns a pretty good sized fab shop called Farmboy Fabrications where he does all of the design and fabrication...has his own line of traction bars and is doing quite well for himself for someone in their mid 20's.

And I guess you can call it what you want, but a cummins swapped SFA '97 f-150 is a nice project in my book...especially since it was built for running mud and everything down in Florida, not much rock crawling being done down there. But I guess I have a "big gay truck" also, so I may be a little biased.
hes the one that said it was a big gay truck. I just put that in there so fqxehhh would know that it may be a little taller than what he wants. nothing against bigreen or his truck.

Last edited by broken2wd; September 3rd, 2009 at 08:17 AM.
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