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2002 Ford Excursion - What A Pro Drives

This '02 Excursion Is A Shining Example

Joe Greeves
Jan 1, 2009
Photographers: Joe Greeves
Photo 2/26   |   0901 8l 01 2002 Ford Excursion Custom Graphics
If you are a regular reader of 8-Lug, you'll probably agree that customizing your ride ranks right up there with some of the basic necessities of life. What you drive says a lot about you, and most folks want to make a good first impression. You can roll with a stock suspension and set of wheels, but it's sort of like taking your little sister to the senior prom. It won't kill you, but you know you could do better. Customizing your truck is something that sets you apart from the crowd.
Suppose, however, you are one of those talented types who create radical rides for a living. What does a guy drive who builds custom vehicles professionally? You guessed it! It's a lot like the truck in the photos. Like most of us, Keith Wampler has a hard time driving anything stock. Keith does custom paint and bodywork while working for Eye Candy Customs in Kissimmee, Florida.
Although he has owned his '02 Excursion for two years, he told us that the truck spent its first year in pieces. As part of the customizing process, Keith tore it apart and then reassembled it, carefully massaging every inch. After removing all the accumulated dings and dents in the sheetmetal, creativity kicked in and the list of body mods now includes shaved rear door handles, a Cervini fiberglass hood, an RDX chrome grille, a Xenon front bumper cover, APC headlights, side corners, and taillights, along with a QuickFill billet gas cap, and subtle billet side marker lights. Although the truck was originally white, after all the bodywork, Keith shot it again with White Pearl, then laid out the House of Kolors Majestic Blue graphics on the sides and roof. The front and rear chrome bumpers have painted blue inserts and the large side mirrors also received their share of custom paint. Keith added several coats of HoK Intercoat Clear between pinstriping and airbrush layers to protect the artwork, along with several coats of final clear to give the truck a glass-smooth surface.
Once the exterior was complete, Keith turned to the interior. Dashboard and trim pieces were painted blue and white to match the outside and all the seats were upholstered in blue and white leather using tribal graphics that continued the theme. Even the headliner got the custom touch, stitched in blue and white leather. Majestic Blue paint covers the hand-fabricated fiberglass door panels, which are the introduction to the audiovisual system that sets this truck apart.
The Excursion is loaded with electronics beginning with an Audiovox 7.5-inch monitor in the dash. Built into the new fiberglass center console, the JVC head unit, with its own miniature monitor, controls the audiovisual system. Directly below the head unit is the CB that allows Keith to get into some interesting two-way trucker conversations as he rolls down the highway. The Excursion has three rows of seats and all the passengers enjoy the Audiovox monitors built into the headrests. They are also surrounded by concert-hall sound, thanks to those fiberglass door panels, each holding a pair of 6.5 Polk Audio component sets. In addition to the four sets in the doors, the truck uses two more sets for rear fill, mounted on the large sub enclosure behind the third seat. The box also holds a pair of 15-inch subs that rock the interior with booming bass. On top is a single JL Audio Monoblock 1001 amp that powers the MTX subs. Out of sight under the back seat, there are three four-channel Memphis 604 amps energizing the components. Dynamat was added to the floor and doors to minimize unwanted road noise and the interior is illuminated thanks to the Recon LED conversion package. Between the comfortable custom upholstery and the radical audiovisual system, there isn't a bad seat in this party wagon.
The truck was virtually complete before any lift hardware was purchased. As a matter of fact, the custom-painted tribal graphics on the roof were visible at one time. (Now you have to look down from a second-story window to see Keith's artistry!) The lifting process began with Superlift's 7-inch suspension lift. It uses new Select Series front springs and urethane compression travel stops to maintain the Excursion's excellent ride quality. The factory rear stops were relocated, a dropped pitman arm corrected the steering geometry, and the track bar was lowered to keep it in phase with the drag link. Sway bar brackets were included to prevent bar preload. In the rear, lift was achieved with a combination of 4-inch blocks and Add-A-Leaf springs. Keith plans to replace the standard Superlift shocks soon with reservoir versions. Finishing touches up front include the Fab Tech dual-shock steering-stabilizer kit that improved directional stability while the long, custom-made ladder bars in the rear minimized axlewrap.
Although both front and rear differentials are stock Excursion, the internals have been replaced with 4.56 Detroit gears. To add a little bling, the rear differential cover was painted candy blue to match. Keith waited until all the ride height details were in place before choosing the tires. The set of Eagle Alloy rims-22x9s-were wrapped with 37X13.5-R22 Toyo Open Country rubber, providing aggressive handling without compromising ride comfort.
Of course, you can't have a custom truck and forget about the vast array of aftermarket options for increased power. Keith began the upgrade of the 7.3L turbodiesel by equipping the turbo with a Banks Wicked Wheel to control surge. The Banks Big Head wastegate maintains more boost throughout the powerband by eliminating premature wastegate blow-open. A Garrett inlet was fitted with a BD Diesel Performance X-Intake airbox for a dense charge and a TS Performance chip with six power settings was flashed to accommodate all the mods on the motor. Stacked on the TS is a Banks Six-Gun tuner for even more gains, with a 60-shot NOS nitrous setup thrown in for good measure. A 4-inch downpipe feeds a 5-inch straight-through exhaust. Since the combination produces an estimated 450 hp, Keith reworked the Ford 400RE transmission with hardened input and output shafts, adding a Banks billet torque converter, carbon clutches, and Bully Dog shift kit.
The completed truck is great fun on the road and Keith drives it on a regular basis. Designed to be a cool street ride, the truck provides an added benefit for this full-time automotive professional. One look at his careful craftsmanship and you'll be more than comfortable letting him customize your truck. Special thanks goes to Brad Tilson, Adam Fletcher, and especially to Michelle, Keith's wife, for their help in creating his dream truck.


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