ExPo's 2000 7.3 Excursion Build

Chris Cordes

Expedition Leader
Staff member
Hey everyone! Looks like its time for a new build on Expedition Portal, and this time we've gone with a domestic full size. This is my first Ford but so far I absolutely love it. I have spent the last few months driving it stock on highways and backroads, towing an airstream, and feeling out the interior camping solutions. I finally feel like im ready to start the build now so here we go!


The Vehicle

2000 Ford Excursion
7.3 Diesel
Estate Green
3.73 gears with limited slip
116,000 miles
Suspension - Stock
Tires - 255/85/16 KM2


The Plan
ExPo and OJ are known for building Land Cruisers, Land Rovers, and other mid-size SUVs. While weve worked with full size vehicles before, they have never been our specialty. I think this is a shame since domestic full sizes represent a huge portion of what people use to explore in the United States. They are comfortable, capable, and most of all versatile. The goal for this vehicle was to build a rather simple yet functional SUV that can be used for daily errands and people hauling, heavy towing, weekend camping, or long term expeditions. While this same sort of project could be completed on a suburban or the like, the excursion represents the ultimate cross for me. Reliable diesel motor, solid axles, plenty of aftermarket support, and a large base of knowledge and parts based on the F250 platform.

We will be installing a lift, wheels and tires, a front bumper for protection on long trips, a winch for self recovery (few people will be able recover such a large truck), and various electrical and camping accessories. While I have built up some experience on basic work and maintenance, this project will represent my first true foray into electrical and DIY parts work so it should be interesting! I look forward to posting progress here, asking questions, and sharing this adventure with everyone here!

 

trijv

New member
This will be good!

I have been looking at modifying a Chevy/GMC Suburban, and I have been looking at some of the threads of guys who have done things to theirs.

This will be some more info for review and ideas.....
 

haven

Expedition Leader
How large are the tires you plan to use? I've read that the ring and pinyon on the Dana 50 front axle is a source of failure if you're planning to employ 38" tires and a tuned Diesel engine. Might be worth upgrading to a Dana 60 axle as part of the project, along with ARB locker and lower gears.
 

justcuz

Explorer
Cool!

Since your towing the Airstream the F-250 V/B spring swap will be plenty. It should handle 35" tires with the V/B spring swap and personally that would be as big as I would go. Some good shocks, talk to Fox about some performance series shocks, do a rear locker, a front 60 out of an F350 with a true trac or nice LSD, the rest of your mods with bumper, winch and recovery gear and rock that baby!

I am so glad to see the Portal building a big domestic vehicle! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

There are a couple here, the Explore New Hampshire fellow sold his but his thread is still up, so there is some stuff to look at. There is an Excursion Forum plus Ford-Trucks.com and powerstroke.org have Excursion specific sections. Plenty of info out there.

With a big vehicle like that, most of your gear should fit inside, so the vehicle should not be too ostentatious.

I'll be following for sure!
 
Last edited:

RPhil

Adventurer
I have been waiting for this build thread since I saw the initial introduction article. I will echo justcuz's thoughts in regards to the V/B swap if you are only looking at 34/35's. I did the swap and am running 285/75R17 Toyo Open Country AT II's (~34") and don't rub anywhere.

ExploreNH's build was the most well-documented expedition-style Excursion build around (his thread on ford-trucks has a bit more information than the one on here IIRC). His Buckstop bumper setup was beautiful and something I would like to add down the line. He also was on a much higher lift and 37's.

If you're concerned with aesthetics, there are write-ups on swapping to an '05 front end pretty easily. You can also get '08+ mirrors that bolt on (I personally grabbed knockoffs from Amazon which have been working just fine; OEM are quite expensive) which look and perform better, in my opinion.

I'm jealous of your 7.3L.

Are all of your door lock actuators working? If so, I am surprised. It is an annoying fix, but there is a thermistor in the actuator that you can wrap in foil for a cheap fix if you don't want to pay for replacements (just google excursion or super duty lock actuator fix, there's a comprehensive thread on ford-trucks).

Looking forward to your ideas on storage/sleeping setup if you go that direction. I have been nice and lazy about getting around to this after I bought mine.

Cheers :smiley_drive:

-Russ
 

Chris Cordes

Expedition Leader
Staff member
Thanks for all the feedback and kind words! Im really excited to bring a domestic full size to expo, it has been a long time coming.

In terms of build plans, dana 60 swaps, gears, and lockers, Im going to hold on all of that right now and keep it simple. I find it incredibly easy to go too far too quickly on builds like this, and my practical side quickly killed off any immediate dreams of 40s. As noted earlier I did a trip on sagging springs and shocks, running boards, and 255/85 tires with zero clearance or performance issues (besides a rough ride) While it is tempting to create a beast right off the bat, I want to first focus on building the most practical vehicle I can. My hope is that by doing so I can inspire those people who drive suburbans, tahoes, and the like to simply upgrade their tires, do a few home built interior mods, and just get out there. If I find I need more capability, then ill spend the time and money to make it even more capable :)

In terms of suspension I did consider the code swap, but with prices of shocks and springs I ended up deciding to do a lift. I initially considered the full Icon kit as well as the fox options however I ended up coming back to the practical side once more. I don't drive that fast, and im not building a race truck, so why spend thousands on those kits. I focused instead on something more affordable, and simple that will still improve the ride and handling over what I have now. I ended up purchasing a full ARB kit for the f250 with springs, shocks, etc. They dont have all the parts in stock though so im waiting still. Tires will be 34" or more likely 35" in a mud pattern of some sort. All terrain is likely the better choice, but im a sucker for knobby look

Yes I do have the stupid actuator issue :/ I quoted out new ones and decided that manually locking doors werent so bad haha. Martyn at AT mentioned a fix as well so I will hopefully get to that in the next month or so.

So now a questions for those of your ford gurus. From what I have seen the excursions rode nearly 2" lower than an f250, thus the lift through code swapping. If the ARB kit is a 2.5" for the f250, then it is technically a 4.5" for the excursion right? Im not worried about clearing 35s either way, but just out of curiosity since nobody seems to talk about the actual difference in height.

Also i do like the look of the buckstop a lot, but Im a die-hard believer in ARB front bars. With the effort they put into the design, their airbag compliance, and my previous experience with one in a deer impact, I consider them a must have for every truck I own. From H3T to Range Rover Classic and now Excursion I have bought one each time. MY 4Runner would have had one as well if it had been available :)
 

Chris Cordes

Expedition Leader
Staff member
Oh, also in response to the storage and sleeping setup yes there will be one. After sleeping in the excursion so far ive felt out some initial ideas which im sure will continually evolve.
 

BushHead

Adventurer
I believe that is correct, you get 2 more inches for the X from the truck kits ( or so everything I've read states ) I did the X/B swap myself, went with the X codes because I like the stiffer ride and they were on sale. It dramatically improved the ride.
 

ExplorerTom

Explorer
, Im going to hold on all of that right now and keep it simple. I find it incredibly easy to go too far too quickly on builds like this,
Agree 100%. Reasonably stock is more than enough for most of us but we get caught up with gadget envy and start going crazy.

And pay no attention to the Explorer build in my signature.......
 
Top