1997 Expedition XLT 4x4: Is it worth the effort/ money?

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the_law_man01

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1997 Expedition XLT 4x4
4.6L Windsor
300k+ miles (odometer stopped at 286k)
Interior in good shape
Frame in good shape
Rock Panels rusted out
Exhaust manifold leak is bad (found dime size hole at #1 cylinder)

I bought a cheap set of shorty headers and started the exhaust repair. We couldn't heat the exhaust studs because the head gaskets were leaking oil so bad it was catching fire. We decided to pull the heads to get the manifolds off, clean everything up, and go back together. There is no significant wear in the cylinders. Can't even catch a lip with your fingernail at the top of the bore. Valves/ heads look ok. While pulling the passenger side head, there are signs of heat which could indicate a clogged port. Ok these heads, is it worth cleaning up as long as it's not warped or cracked?

Also, timing was at least 10 degrees retarded on the driver side cam. No apparent damage. The timing set appears nearly new with little to no wear. I think someone did a timing set and did not reset the timing properly on that head.

Also, the spark plugs are toast. The anode and cathode are just about gone on every plug. I bet they have 200k+ miles of they're not the original. They are motorcraft, so being original is not outside the realm of possibilities given what they look like.

With all of this, there's no wonder it seemed gutless.

Is it worth messing with, or should I swap the engine?
 

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Hamfisted

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Depends on what you're going for. If it's just an off-road beater vehicle then repair / rebuild what you have. If you're going for a performance off-roader I would look for a post-2000 5.4 2V motor and rebuild that. Check the motor mounts while you have the heads off. Much easier to change with the heads off. Depending on the maintenance history of that motor how long the lower end lasts. If they never changed the plugs, how often do you think they changed the oil ?






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the_law_man01

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Depends on what you're going for. If it's just an off-road beater vehicle then repair / rebuild what you have. If you're going for a performance off-roader I would look for a post-2000 5.4 2V motor and rebuild that. Check the motor mounts while you have the heads off. Much easier to change with the heads off. Depending on the maintenance history of that motor how long the lower end lasts. If they never changed the plugs, how often do you think they changed the oil ?
First of all, sir. By Hamfisted, might your name elude to an Amateur Radio license? If so, N0KHP here.

Now to business at hand: I do plan to use this vehicle as a basic trail/overland rig. Maybe eventually go to some 35s but not trying to win any hill climbing competitions with it.

I have considered a 5.4L and a couple other engine swap options. I don't need to make 500hp. If I could get close to 300 lb-ft of torque in a trustworthy/reliable configuration, it would do everything I need it to do.

Current plan is to just get this 4.6 together in better shape than it was and keep running it as I decide which direction to go with the rig.

Regards,
Joe
 

EngineerMike

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IIWMI'D stick with yor current plan since Ur that far into it, check airbags (& seriously consider steel springs), change all front end rubber bushings, & do an aftermarket xfer case shift motor & keep original for a spare (might never have shifted into 4x but at 300k who knows). Other known trouble includes gas struts (so you don't get hit in the head like I did), rear window & hatch cables, emergency brake cables. I have 170k on mine & haven't had window regulators go bad but it's on my mind due to age.
 

Roindhouse

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I have a 2006 , different gen, but I noticed your comment about the transfer case shift motor and I’ve had issues with mine .
Goes into 4 easy but doesn’t want to come out .

Blew the fuse so many times we replaced the fuse with a circuit breaker . And also replaced the shift motor with a new one from a auto parts store

But still has issues

Is there an after market motor that’s stronger than the rest ?
 
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