Explorer Power Up
I have a '97 Ford Explorer XLT with the 5.0L V-8 stock engine. I am interested in swapping out the old engine for another newer, more powerful one. The new 5.0L Cammer engine from Ford Racing really caught my eye, especially how the F-100 panel truck was beefed up. First question: Will said crate engine fit my ride? I'm willing to make any modifications to cram it in. I understand that a lot of work will be needed and other changes to be made to get it in if possible. Second question: Can you offer what I would need to convert my Explorer into the Ford Racing beast I'm dreaming of?

If it isn't possible to use the Cammer, can you offer another engine, preferably another Ford Racing engine and parts?
Ben Paisi, via e-mail

As sexy as the Cammer engine is, we'd pass on that approach, even though, with enough time, money, and fabrication skills, you can power your Explorer with any engine you want, even a super-tuned 6.0L Power Stroke diesel. (Don't laugh: These engines produce low-11-second e.t.'s in near-6,000-pound crew cabs.)

If you're up for an engine swap, we recommend you take the time and money you'd spend on fabricating and tracking down all the odd hardware and rebuild your engine. Beef up the bottom end with a forged crank, rods, and forged aluminum pistons. Try SCAT Enterprises Inc. [(310)-370-5501] and JE Pistons [(714) 898-9763] for recommendations on these hard parts. You'll also want a good set of aftermarket heads. Air Flow Research [(818) 890-0616] has 185cc chamber aluminum heads that bolt right on your motor. And with the JE pistons installed, you won't have to worry about the pistons interfering with the heads' big valves. Call Competition Cams [(800) 999-0853] for the right cam specs, bolt on a GT40 intake, and tune the fuel delivery, and you'll have a combo that will necessitate a transmission upgrade in a hurry.

If you really want to walk on the wild side, bolt a blower to the above combination. Explorer Express [(888) 397-5673] has an X-Charger system based on the Eaton compressor. It requires 92-octane fuel and fits '96-'00 5.0L V-8s with the exception of some '96 and early '97 models with internal EGR supply.

Just remember, after you build the motor, you'll need to enhance the trans and rearend.

Exploring the Possibilities
I would just like to say that I enjoy your magazine and thousands of soldiers are avid readers. I own an '00 Ford Explorer XLT and would like to do some interior as well as exterior upgrades to my truck. However, there seems to be a lack Explorer-exclusive accessory manufacturers; there aren't too many billet or otherwise Explorer interior accessories for my year truck. Are there any other Ford vehicles I could use to extend my search of accessories and kits?
Spc. Chelsea Plater
Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Glad to hear our armed forces are hard-core sport truck enthusiasts. You're right: The Ford Explorer isn't a high-demand vehicle for the aftermarket stylists. You can get performance parts for it, but it is somewhat limited on bolt-on aftermarket interior restyling; however, there is enough selection to personalize your rig. We recommend you start researching with our mail-order advertisers. For example, www.traders.com; www.truckperformance.com; www.stylinconcepts.com; www.sporttruckdirect.com; www.godfathers.com, www.explorerexpress.com - you get the idea.

Marine Needs Advice
I'm currently deployed in Iraq and am planning on lifting my 4WD '98 Tahoe about 6 to 7 inches when I get back. I also planned on upgrading the tires to anywhere from 35 to 37 inches. My truck is mainly for street/highway use, with occasional runs through the dirt hills in my backyard. My question is, which manufacturer makes the best kit for my truck and what size tire is best for this lift? The tires I have been looking at are the new Dick Cepek Radial F-C2s. They seem to be a good choice for my truck. Do they make 36-inch tires, and do you think that would be a good choice?

I want the mileage and engine stress to be as minimal as possible. I was thinking of throwing in antisway bars to smooth things out. Good idea or no? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time.
Josh McDonald, Iraq

Thanks for your time, soldier. We haven't reviewed the Cepek Radial F-C2, so we can't offer any firsthand experience with the gear. We have used the Mickey Thompson Baja Claw, and it's a great-looking tire that performed and rode well for us, and the company makes a 37-inch-tall tire. If you go with the 37-inch tire, you'll need to run at least a 4.88 gear to put you back at the stock effective final drive ratio. For the lift, Fabtech's Ultimate 7 kit is a great way to go. It's very complete and well-engineered. You'll need to add a 3-inch body lift; we suggest Performance Accessory's kit to fit your tire choice. As for bars, we think it's a good idea to have a good-handling street piece; besides, it's easy enough to disconnect the links from the rear bar when off-road to allow better articulation and traction. Hellwig has front and rear bars for your application. That's about it. Stay safe and stay strong, and let us know when you get your rig the way you want it.

Extreme Prejudice
Hello, first off, I must say I am glad you guys did the S-10 special. I do have a few questions that you might be able to answer. I have an '02 S-10 Xtreme 2.2L. I went and later tried to find some of the parts to buy so I could add them to my truck, such as the header. Do they make this header for the 2.2L? I have seen other companies also sell headers for the 2.2L, but they only went until the model year '00. I have an '02; is there no hope for me? Do I have to be the slowest car out on the market? Also, did you guys do some sort of testing to show what hp the truck was at before the modifications and then afterwards? Please help!
Brian Berger
Severn, Maryland

Well, we didn't do the testing on it, but GM lists the 2.2L (134ci) Vortec four-banger as producing 120 hp at 5,000 rpm; 140 lb-ft at 3,600 SAE at the flywheel. That's not a lot to work with. On the bright side, however, you're probably getting good mileage for it. Really, the best solution is a street blower (4- to 5-psi boost), or perhaps nitrous for a quick and easy street blast.

V-8 Envy
First off, I love your tech article in the S-10 Special Sept. '04 issue. It was a huge help. I'm curious, though, are there any other performance parts for the four-cylinder motor? I haven't been able to find any and I'm running out of ideas. I'm highly considering turbocharging it, but would my motor be able to handle the boost? Also, any idea how much power I can send through my automatic tranny without it blowing up on me? Some say it can't be done, so I really want to prove them wrong. Any suggestions would be greatly welcomed.
Eric Hodes, via e-mail

Turbocharging is a great performance solution, though we're not aware of any commercially available turbo kits. We are aware that the folks at Gale Banks Engineering have a 2.2L S-10 mule they're turbocharging, but there's no word on whether it'll make it into the company's catalog. However, John Espino at GBE said to give him a call [(626) 969-9600, ex. 4300] and he'll be happy to help you get hooked up and haulin'.

Central Port-Injection Woes
In the Letters column by Kevin Wilson, there was an article about CPI fuel injectors saying that someone made an error in the way CPI worked. In the reply, he talks about why a CPI system is not a good candidate for enhanced power, then he talks about changes to a CPI Tahoe. What changes were made? My friend and I have '97 S-10s with 4.3L V-6s that we want to be hot rods. We're thinking about boring them out 0.030 inch over, installing a new cam and 1.6-inch rockers, and cleaning up the heads (port and polish). But all this will not work if the trucks are going to run lean. If you could send me a copy of the story on the CPI Tahoe, it will help.
John via e-mail

All we did with the Tahoe you're referring to was install an aftermarket intake and exhaust. We didn't reprogram the computer on that unit. We also stroked a CPI 350 and reprogrammed the computer and it worked OK. So the fuel system has a little reserve to create some additional power. We think the mods you're thinking about with a CPU edit would most likely do you fine. But give Dave Darge a call at Powertrain Electronic at (805) 466-5252 or check out the Web site (www.powertrain.net) for a custom edit.

Stroked V-6
In your Aug. '03 issue, you had an S-10 Special that included a buildup on a 4.3L making 300 hp. I read this article and found it very informative. Something came to my mind a few days ago that wasn't in the article. I understand the whole idea that the 4.3L is basically three-fourths of a 350. The 4.3L in stock trim displaces 262 ci. If the 350 can be stroked to 383, would a 4.3L be able to be stroked to (if I did my math right) a 287? If there isn't a kit to your knowledge, would you be able to mill off the other two cylinders of a 383 crank? I enjoy your magazine every month; please keep up the good work.
Joshua F. Firestone, via e-mail

Thanks for the compliment. Creating a crankshaft isn't that simple. Fortunately, you don't have to. Speed-O-Motive [(626) 869-0270] makes a crankshaft and stroker kit for that very application but with 272 cid instead of your larger figure. The kit comes with a fully prepped cast 4.3L stroker crank, 5140 forged 6-inch I-beam rods, ARP wave loc bolts, full-floating Keith Black hypereutectic flat-top pistons [0.040 and 0.060 available], Speed Pro Moly ring set, Clevite tri-metal main and rod bearings, 168-tooth auto-trans flexplate, and 6.18-inch-diameter harmonic damper, and it's balanced to within half a gram. Give 'em a call.

Sex Appeal Is Not Immoral
I'm 68 years of age and I used to give your magazines to my grandson after I read them. Well, I don't anymore, due to your bikini-clad young ladies on the cover. The three on the cover of Sept. '04 issue - is this considered conservative attire? And just because there are magazines on the newsstands such as Playboy, doesn't mean you should put these in Sport Truck magazine. And maybe you should edit for morality.
John Zimmer, via e-mail

First off, thanks for supporting our magazine; we appreciate your point of view and don't blame you for not passing the magazine to your grandson. But consider this: Our core reader is 18 to 35 years old. We're not sure how old your grandson is, but if you remember what excited you when you were the age of our core readers, I think you'll agree we're not as risqu as you think. As a matter of fact, we were watching some footage of the Bob Hope USO tours in Korea and Vietnam. In one of the clips, he commented on one of the female entertainers, scantily clad as showgirls usually are. He said, as he spun her around, showing her to the admiring troops, "I just wanted to remind you of what you're fighting for," to which he got thunderous applause. As you can guess from our demographic age, we have a lot of military readers, a lot stationed overseas in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and other hot spots. We view our covers and show coverage as a reminder of what they're fighting for.

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