Prerunner Features

The Versatile Prerunner – Ford Explorer

While browsing a few of my favorite message boards I came across this Explorer that I had to share with all of you. I contacted the owner, and he was nice enough to provide us with some great pics and the details of building an Explorer Prerunner that makes for a very versatile prerunner.

The owner of this daily driven Explorer prerunner is a full time student at Cal State San Marcos, Dave Richardson. Along with thrashing around in the deserts near San Diego where he lives he is also an avid surfer.

“I decided to build an explorer due to the versatility of being able to still carry 5 people in the desert as well as keeping the bed space for everyday use like carrying around surfboards since I surf a lot, and driving around friends.”

To start with Dave had Johnny and his crew at Richer Racing, located in Oceanside, CA., build the front end using the Camburg 6.0 Ranger Edge Performance Kit. Richer Racing also made it possible to use larger King 2.5” 8” reservoir shocks using a custom-built shock tower. This also made it possible to add some much needed Swayaway 2.0 air bumpstops to help control the front end when Dave decided to get a little air under his Explorer. Richer Racing also added limiting straps to limit front-end travel to 11”. To help gain some clearance for the front end Dave choose Hannemann fiberglass fenders.

rear suspsionMoving to the rear of the truck (oops Explorer for all you hardcore X Fans) you can see the custom fab work Richer Racing did to get as much rear travel as possible without cutting holes in the bed area of Dave’s Explorer. Holes and a bedcage are great for a toy or race vehicle, but can get in the way of a daily driver.

You can see from the picture that new lower shock mounts were fabbed along with a custom cross member that stretches between the rear framerails. It serves double duty as the top shock mount and a nice place to mount the reservoirs for the rear 10” King remote reservoir shocks. Another important part of this Explorer’s impressive rear travel is the Deaver Springs Explorer Race Pack. Deaver’s leaf springs offer a great amount of flex as they are constructed from multiple thinner leafs. The rear end is strapped to limit travel to 13”.

To help overcome the increased gearing and weight of the 33”x12.50 BF Goodrich All Terrain tires mounted on American Racing wheels Dave replaced the rear gears with some 4.11 gears and a Ford Racing Posi Rear End. This will help get the most out of the 2WD Explorer, and makes for some awesome sliding in the turns.

Dave’s ’97 Explorer is powered by a healthy 4.0 SOHC V6. He supplemented its power with a K&N 57 Series Intake, a Flowmaster 70 Series exhaust with turndowns, and as if that was not enough to wake up the V6 he had the computer reflashed using the Bamachips tune. Dave should have no problem getting to where he is going quickly. In order for the fun to continue when the sun set Dave also added 3 Hella 4000 lights to the front bumper.

Dave’s Explorer is a great example of having fun with your daily driver. This is the same thing we are doing with our Desert 4×4 Project Ford Ranger. Most people think you have to own a race truck to have fun in the desert or anywhere else offroad, but Dave has shown with some quality changes to a great platform it is possible to blend the two.

“Even though in my eyes it is a very mild prerunner it has worked great out in the desert and is a reliable source of transportation for all my daily activities. This truck is a good medium between offroad car and daily driver and provides me with the best of both worlds.”

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