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2003 Ford Explorer Sport Trac - Baggin' The Trac

Harley Camilleri
Nov 1, 2006
Photo 2/2   |   2003 Ford Explorer Sport Trac right Side View
Some Assembly Required
Irecently purchased a new 2007 Chevy Tahoe and so far I love it. As is usually the case, the factory-offered stereo really doesn't sound all that great. After looking around some local stereo shops, I keep running into a problem with the stereo harness. There isn't one out yet! How can that be when you guys did an aftermarket stereo in your Tahoe? Is it just a mock-up and you're waiting for the harness to come out, too?
I already purchased a brand new head unit and it's just sitting there. I am holding out to buy amps and speakers until I can get an answer on this. Exactly what did you guys do to get all that equipment in the 2007 Tahoe I've seen the build-up of in the last couple of issues? Thanks for your time.
Ryan Mellon
Via e-mail
Chevy's 2007 wiring system features completely new plug ends for its harness, as you've already found out. The harness required to make it all function is definitely being worked on by the industry's best, but the last word we received was product availability is still 3-4 months away. We did not mock up the stereo in the Tahoe. It is fully functioning and rocks plenty hard. Our saving grace was Joe and his crew at Audio Innovations in Glendora, California, who installed the audio/video equipment. Our Tahoe was the base model and did not have OnStar or navigation to deal with, so Audio Innovations only had to grab switched power, full-time power, and ground to make our head unit function. The rest of the electronic gear and its accompanying wires were installed separately and not infused to the Chevy's factory equipment. Pump up the jams!
Lack of Love
Can you guys help me with some frustration? I feel that the Nissan Titan has the potential to be one of the top trucks in the aftermarket scene, but I have yet to see items flooding the market. As always, Chevy, Dodge, and Ford have everything as soon as new models and body styles hit the showrooms. Why is the Titan being overlooked in the aftermarket? There are parts if I search for them, but they are the usual grilles, exhausts, intakes, etc. Where are the specific parts to separate my ride from everyone else's? I am specifically looking for ram air hoods, body kits, and lowering suspension. Any help would be great, before I regret buying my Nissan instead of something else.
Danny Riggs
Via e-mail
A Matter of Space
My truck is a standard cab shortbed and I am 6 feet 4 inches tall. As you can tell, I need all the seating area I can get. The problem I am having is my desire for some bass from my current stereo. I already have an Eclipse deck and Infiniti speakers, so it will be easy to wire up another amplifier and subs. Where do I put the subs? There is no way I can slide the seat forward, and with the seat back, there is no room to clear anything bigger than maybe an 8-inch or two. That's not going to cut it for me. Any ideas?
Dominique Ray
Via e-mail
You didn't mention what brand of truck you drive, but we'll guess it's not a new Dodge Ram, as they have tons of space to put an enclosure behind the seat. So if you want some bass and a large stack of style points, then you'll have to make some alterations to your current seating configuration. Hopefully your truck (whatever it is) has bucket seats, because we believe we have the answer for you. Check in this very issue; you'll need to locate "Glassin' for Dummies." In that article we document the addition of a 10-inch subwoofer into a custom-built center console inside a standard-cab Chevy. With some additional work you could make that into two 10-inch subs. That way you can have bass, space, and killer looks. Make it fit!
Grille-ing Issue
GMC did not see fit to include a matching grille in the bumper insert on my 2004 Yukon Denali. The nearest match I could find was from Putco, but they don't offer a bumper insert. I am also looking for similar items for a 2007 Denali. I know the new Denali comes with a factory bumper insert, but it is not a full-length filler. Can you help?James CoueyVia e-mail
Nobody in the aftermarket currently offers an upper grille-matching bumper insert for either of those year Denali's. Putco and DJ Motorsports both offer a similar-looking stainless grille to the 2004 Denali OE version but no bumper piece. Putco only offers its grille with a cutout for the manufacturer's grille logo, but DJ Motorsports offers it both ways. The GMC, Putco, and DJ Motorsports grille holes are also different diameters. If you need to have a matching set, then we would recommend grabbing two DJ Motorsports emblem-less versions and cutting the second one to fit in the bumper opening. We have seen it done that way before. It's perfect!
OE IntegrationIhave been a reader and fan of your magazine for about seven years. Until now, I have never really had a question about modifying my vehicle. I live in Miami and drive my 2006 Chevy Crew Cab with the windows down a lot. With all the wind noise, the factory speakers are below par (as far as volume and sound) to overcome it. I would like to install an aftermarket head unit to remedy the situation but I have been told that my steering wheel controls (OnStar and XM) won't cross over. I am also under the impression that my factory message center will no longer work. Are these things true or am I being misled? If the head unit won't do the trick, will new speakers, or speakers and an amp? Great magazine! Thank you for your time.Jason PickettMiami, Florida
Jason,Sounds like you have a lot going on. First off, if you take out the factory head unit, then yes, OnStar, XM, and your steering wheel controls will be non-functional. Swapping the head unit alone will not fix your problem and neither will simply swapping speakers. Your OE head unit can't push good speakers, and OE speakers are too cheap to be pushed with a more powerful head unit. There exists more than one option, but in your case we believe that only one is best. Keep your head unit in place, add a speaker level converter to the system, and put an aftermarket amplifier and speakers in your truck. You'll have the steering wheel functions, OnStar, and XM completely uninterrupted. You can have it all!
I know you get millions of questions every day from people asking for tech support, but I thought I would give you a try for an answer to my dilemma. I'm trying to 'bag my 2003 Ford Explorer Sport Trac. The back is basic with a four-link and the whole nine yards, but the front is more difficult. The front has torsion bars and I have no idea how to do the brackets. Is there a kit, or is it all fabricated? I'm struggling here and your input would be a big help.
Robert Gillman
Via e-mailRobert,
Getting your Sport Trac to sit in the weeds isn't all that bad. Good choice with the four-link out back, as that will be perfect. No, there is not a kit for your front suspension needs, so yes, it all has to be fabricated. For the most part, start by removing the torsion bars, torsion mounts, shocks, shock mounts, etc., from the frame. You should leave yourself nothing in the way between the frame and lower control arm. Mounts will have to be fabricated between the frame and control arms as well as new shock mounts. Pieces for fabricating are available through plenty of sources. Just be sure that there is plenty of clearance between the airbag and anything that may come in contact with it. In the steel versus rubber war, the rubber will lose. Weld it up!
You guys have a great magazine and I have an issue I could use your help with. I bought a 2000 Dodge Durango 4WD with the 5.9L V-8. I'm knee-deep into customizing it and I have so many problems. I found 24-inch rims that fit, but I need a lift. The smallest I can find is a 3-inch lift. Is that good, or should I keep hunting for a suspension lift? What needs to be cut to clear? I don't want a hack job, but I do want this problem solved. Now that I have 24s, I can't afford much else.
D.M. Ward
Via e-mail
You did not mention what size of tires you chose or if you even have tires yet. The gist of the situation is, you just want the 24-inch wheels and tires to fit without rubbing. Working from there, the bottom line is this: There is no need to lift your Durango unless you are trying to make it a Donk. Tires exist that should fit fine. Your Dodge came with either the 31x10.50R15 (31-inch) or the 235/75R15 (29-inch) tires, depending on exactly what options were chosen when it was new. Obviously, your SUV clears the 31-inch tires just fine or Dodge would not have offered them. So choose 255/30ZR24 (30-inch), 275/30ZR24 (30-1/2-inch), or 295/30ZR24 (31-inch) tires to simply bolt right on your vehicle. No cutting, lifting, or other modifications are required. Keep it simple!
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