26 July 2017

Meet Curtis, Baby's new TV

Back in late January when we had a cold snap, I killed my 1998 Ford Explorer Sport with the difficult to find 5sp manual transmission.

Brandon was no looker, but he was reliable and paid for something I'd come to value more than tech and gadgets since I don't really drive much.  Would I like a newer car with all the new features and stuff?  Not if I have to pay for it, I concluded right after I got Brandon last May.  I knew he needed to have the radiator replaced but the mild weather lulled me into a state of forgetfullness.  One cold snap later and I suspect a blown head gasket.

The cool thing about Brandon was that he had the venerable OHV 4.6L V6 engine.  He needed a little work but he was clean and cheap.  It hurt the day he sputtered and died.

I don't know what all was in that radiator but it looked like blood leaking onto the pavement as I sat alongside the highway waiting on the tow truck.  I figured with all those Explorers with bad transmissions, I could get one and marry it's motor to mine and maybe fix some of the little problems I never got around to (Like the back door not opening).

Enter Brandon Too:
A 2000 sport with a few less mile and bad auto tranny.

I would make one explorer out of two.  I liked the darker blue and complete bumper with a rear hatch that actually worked.  About two days after I got this towed to the house, another Sport that was actually running with my beloved 5sp manual appeared and I was having second thoughts.  Did i really want to go through with making 1 outta 2?

I hadn't actually made my mind up and the yard was getting cluttered.  I also had a little runabout that I bought for a song about a month after Brandon died.  Leroy was getting me around just fine but he was not a TV.

Baby was a little skeptical when I introduced them.  But since Leroy was old, I don't think he could hear the derisive comments Baby muttered.

As it got hot, AC was needed and Leroy didn't have it.  Well, he has it but no belt and i don't know why there's no belt plus I didn't want to spend much money on Leroy because I needed that for a mechanic to resurrect  Brandon.  There's an even longer story about how I got to Brandon that involves another Explorer that I'm just not going to tell.

While I saved to get Brandon back on the road, I kept an eye on Craigslist for a running Sport with 5sp manual.  It was a frustrating thing to see auto Sport after auto Sport come up over priced and sit for month after month while 5spd Sports barely lasted two weeks.  There may have been 3 or 4 in the six months I was looking that I thought I could afford to buy.

Then after I got back from the Rally, I saw an almost month old posting for a 5sp Sport Trac that I could not afford to buy but was my preferred vehicle when I bought Brandon.  Those are even more rare than the Sports, and like the Sports only come with the base level trim.  Ford believes if it ain't a Mustang, if you want a stick you must be a cheap ass.

The first time I saw a 5spd Sport Trac ad, it lasted 3 days before disappearing.  I didn't even have time to decide if I wanted to finance a car.  This time, my mind was made up and I made the call even though I'd just spent all my money on bills and the trip.  As I suspected, the dealer thought the truck was made of platinum.

But this time, I had time on my side.  The craigslist ad had been up for about a month and expired within days of my call to the dealership.  Another ad appeared for the same truck on AutoTrader but at a much more reasonable price.  Then the astonishing happened, Daddy said "Call the man, let's go get that truck."

What?!  I wasn't sure I understood but we called and Daddy decided he'd get it financed and let me pay.  He's got old man, 8million credit so what they offered him was much better than what they told me.

I did a little more research to be sure it was indeed a good deal.  I mean it is a 16 year old truck.  They only made the 5spd for the first two years of the Sport Trac's run. I knew gen 1 was the only 5spd that was offered but not that it was only the first 2 years.  Mine had less than 150k miles and that was the lowest on any one offered for sale within 500 miles.  It was also the lowest price and when a phantom dude from Tennessee called the dealer to say he was coming down that weekend it was time to go get him and make him mine. Meet Curtis:

He's a 2002 Ford Explorer Sport Trac in Estate Green.  There's a lot of "Less" listed when you look it up on the Ford Etis site that details how it came out of the factory.  But it is what I wanted.  Since I got it, I changed the shifter to one I'd ordered for Brandon but didn't arrive until well after it was supposed to and he'd expired.

Ironically, it matches the trim accents.

Then I took the radio out of Brandon and put it in Curtis.
And I added in channel vent visors.
I also took Leroy back to the guy I bought him from so it was like a long term rental.  In Leroy's place, I picked up Mollie.
Don't worry, Mollie isn't for me but for someone I know who will be buying her soon.

I want a tonneau cover but I think I'm going to make that a diy project because $400 for something I'd like to have is more than I want to spend.  Plus I don't want it to look like I have a cover. I also need to get a bed extender so I can keep my tool box in the bed under the cover.  The back seat is spoken for.

I was stopped at the light.

More dawg approved than the Subaru.
There are also some maintenance things I'm supposed to do like new battery and tires.  It runs great, clutch is smoother than Brandon's.  The SOHC engine is a little more powerful than the OHV one also more efficient so I read but it gets about the same gas mileage as Brandon did which is around 22 mpg in mixed use.  I can't fill up the 22 gallon tank with $20 like I could with Leroy but I'm not over driving it like I did poor Leroy.  I think he was happy to be going back to the guy I got him from.

Did I mention the a.c. is Ice Cold?

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

Do you think I can do this?


  1. I love Curtis! Looks good!! Maybe needs a day trip to someplace in Alabama. �� Love reading your writing!

    1. TV = tow vehicle. Day trips are motorcycle only and everyone knows day trip to alabama this time of year = heat stroke :P


Search This Blog