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"Thunder" 1998 Expedition Build Thread .... fixed pics!!

Discussion in '1st Gen - 1997 - 2002' started by MISTERgadget, Mar 24, 2021.

  1. MISTERgadget

    MISTERgadget Full Access Members

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    Mine had some surface rust that was wire wheeled off and rust preventative was sprayed into all the cavities. I live in FL and the Expedition has been in my family since new and garaged the majority of its life, so not really one that would have had much rust. Likewise, it's been babied and garaged, never any issues with window or windshield seals.

    The socket there wasn't quite a careless mechanic, but I'll show the details in another post.

    They're different. Even things as minor as the mirror turn signals are not wired in on XLTs but they are on EBs. I learned that the hard way and it'll be covered as the build progresses.
     
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  2. toms89

    toms89 technical advisor

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    Nice build ! Can't wait to see your progress
     
  3. MISTERgadget

    MISTERgadget Full Access Members

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    Thanks Tom!! I still remember seeing your truck run at NMRA in Maryland in 2013. Loved it!
     
  4. MISTERgadget

    MISTERgadget Full Access Members

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    Ok, so a little explanation on the 10mm socket gag...

    On the OEM "cups" on the framerail for the motor mounts, there's two studs pressed in on the passenger side that you then tighten nuts onto from below. The go into these two slots in the crossmember.

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    The AutoFab motor mounts use a nut and bolt, but it makes certain procedures a little tricker. Most of the time, rather than loosen the motor mount bolt, you actually want to pull it or drop it in all together, which is why the pressed in studs are easier.

    With the upper mount in place, it's impossible, to reach the bolt heads.

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    I had jumped the gun and not welded the bolts into the mount before powdercoating, so the next best thing was to weld something across them to hold them both in place... I was going to use a piece of flat stock but then this idea hit me and seemed like a fun little easter egg in there.

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    I triple checked that I had remembered the 3/8 plug in the coolant passage behind the motor mount... learned the hard way on my Lightning once when I started to fill it with coolant and it went straight to the ground.

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    Got it all buttoned together on the drivers side as well

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    Finally loaded it up on the hoist to go in!

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    Driver side cup attached to the frame as well

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    And of course, I had to at least drop the blower on top if for nothing other than the photo once it was in!

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  5. JamaicaJoe

    JamaicaJoe Full Access Members

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    There looks to be enough room there for two more cylinders!

    Sent from my SM-T350 using Tapatalk
     
  6. MISTERgadget

    MISTERgadget Full Access Members

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    Once the motor was in, I started putting everything else in the engine bay around it. Got my Superduty trans cooler mounted, and the header panel brackets on.

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    Couldn't help myself putting the radiator tank in right away with the custom lid on it. (Even though it was still gonna have to come out a few times)

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    Still making progress on getting the dash and wiring back in as well, I took a bunch of the dash brackets into my high tech paint booth. The largest one was unfortunately just too cumbersome to disassemble and the dash a bit too brittle with age to risk tearing that all the way down.

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    and into the oven for curing they went

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    Back in the engine bay, some of the brackets for the 99+ wiring only lined up with some holes and not all, so a few rivnuts went in to give us a solid mounting surface.

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    now it's all right at home

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    One of my favorite little touches was using zip ties with push mount heads on them to keep the wiring harness tidy

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  7. MISTERgadget

    MISTERgadget Full Access Members

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    In the interior, a few hurdles popped up in converting to the 2000 dash harness I had. The first was the RCM (airbag) module in a different location, had to weld that bracket to the floor.

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    Now all put back together, the lower AC ducting and the bottom attachment to the HVAC box were different from my 98 ones as well, to accomodate the module, so I used the ones from the donor.

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    Intercooler heat exchanger is mocked up

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    Radiator is back in, with the freshly powdercoated brackets

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    Tight fit with the late model F150 e-fan and all the supercharger goodies, but it works!

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    Wasn't so lucky with my JLP intercooler tank for Lightnings. Turns out the Expeditions have one of the AC switches oriented differently on the lines.

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    Still a long way off from being all the way in....

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    Nothing some trimming can't fix

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    And I'll just have to put a new front on it

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    With the new front panel on, it went... you guessed it, back to my paint booth

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    I love the VHT texture black... makes all this aftermarket stuff look "maybe it coulda been OEM"

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    Around this time I got my headers back from Swaintech with their White Lightning ceramic coating

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    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021 at 12:24 PM
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  8. MISTERgadget

    MISTERgadget Full Access Members

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    Now it was finally time to at least get all the harnesses plugged in and see what happens... it wasn't pretty, but at least I could test a few things

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    We had power, and I had expected to see all the idiot lights on, but all dashes for the odometer wasn't quite right.... then I figured, let me test a few of the basics, see if the horn works, or the wipers turn on.... and nothing.... so at this point, I figured out the F150 fusebox/engine bay harness and the Expedition dash harness were not going to be friends....

    Took a look at the wiring diagrams and there was over 80 pins that were different between them. The big issue was that even a lot of basic things like brake lights and the horn circuit were all different. Many of the things going to the rear for example run through the body on an Expedition, while on an F150 it goes through the connectors under the airbox and down the framerail. These harnesses were not going to play nice together without a lot of work, and then I would have such a custom harness that it could be nearly undiagnosable or unrepairable in the future, at least never by anyone who wasn't me. Any repair requiring a new harness would mean a ton of work replicating all my changes...

    By now, we were taking our summer vacation and I had to put everything away neatly (or as neatly as I could) for a little bit, while we took a break to relax and I had some time to brainstorm the best way to go.

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    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021 at 9:40 PM
  9. MISTERgadget

    MISTERgadget Full Access Members

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    So, a few weeks later, back from vacation and after a near miss from a hurricane, and lots of time spent scouring some wiring diagrams and manuals... the plan was in place. Time to load up and get it done!

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    After lots of research and some more trial and error with the parts I had on hand, I kept coming back to the same conclusion. Not only did I need the complete underhood harness and the dash harness, as well as the security/door harness, as well as the primary corresponding modules, thinking mainly of the various ones under the dash - GEM, RCM, Security, and the EVO/Ride module... but to make the process as painless as possible and increase my odds of success, I realistically needed to be able to go back to the same vehicle and get connectors, clips, or other odds and ends. So, for $600 I had a donor with all the right bits! 1999, 2wd, 5.4, 4R100. In retrospect, it being a 1999 was a win-win for a couple of other things as well, as it was the first year of the new wiring setup and a couple of holdover items were still compatible with some hardware on my 1998.

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    The return home was not uneventful as the trailer did decide to eject a tire on I-75!

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    Got it home and it was time to tear it down! My hope was, by the time I finished parting everything out, I may gotten have the parts I needed for free or nearly free

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    Looks like it had definitely lived a rough life

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    interesting collection of scrap metal in the back

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    Lucky for me, it still had cats on it to sell!

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  10. MISTERgadget

    MISTERgadget Full Access Members

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    Back to the paint booth as well with my headers. The white Swaintech looks great when new but quickly gets gross just from installing it, never mind how bad it looks after some road time, so they got a few coats of high temp black for cosmetics.

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