Ford Expedition Off-Road Build: Enhancing Your Adventure Vehicle

Off-roading is more than just a hobby; it’s a lifestyle. For enthusiasts who own a Ford Expedition, especially newer 2021+ models, and want to take their adventures to the next level, investing in off-road modifications can transform their vehicle into a rugged and capable machine. In this guide, we’ll explore the essentials of building a Ford Expedition for off-road excursions, from performance upgrades to safety features.

Benefits of Off-Road Modifications

Before diving into the specifics, let’s highlight why upgrading your Ford Expedition for off-roading is a worthwhile endeavor. Off-road modifications offer several benefits, including:

Improved off-road capability: Upgrades such as a 6-inch lift kit can increase ground clearance by over 25%, allowing your vehicle to navigate challenging terrain with ease. Aggressive off-road tires like the BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 improve traction in dirt, mud, and gravel by 15-20%.

Enhanced durability: Armor components like ARB’s Deluxe Bull Bar and aluminum skid plates protect vital parts of your vehicle from damage during off-road adventures, prolonging its lifespan. I installed the bull bar on my 2015 Expedition, and it has saved the front end from dents and scratches multiple times.

Personalization: Off-road modifications allow you to customize your Ford Expedition according to your preferences and specific off-road needs, creating a unique vehicle that reflects your style and personality. Lift kits and wheel upgrades have given my ride a super aggressive look.

Increased safety: Safety features such as Raptor-style heavy-duty front bumpers and Smittybilt X20 winches provide added protection and self-recovery capabilities during off-road driving, minimizing the risk of accidents.

Essential Components for an Off-Road Expedition Build

Building a Ford Expedition for off-road use requires careful consideration of various components to ensure optimal performance and reliability. Here are some essential upgrades to consider:

Lift Kits

I went with a BDS 6-inch lift kit to significantly improve the Expedition’s approach, departure, and breakover angles. Combined with larger tires, this lifted suspension helps me drive over boulders and downed trees with no issues.

Tires and Wheels

I suggest upgrading the stock rims and tires as soon as possible. The OEM wheels are prone to bending, and all-season tires simply can’t cut it off-road. I replaced my wheels with Method Racing MR702 Voyagers and my tires with aggressively treaded 35″ Nitto Ridge Grapplers.

Skid Plates

RCI aluminum skid plates protect the fuel tank, transfer case, transmission pan, and differentials. These 5/16″ skids glide smoothly over rocks without exposing crucial underbody components to damage.

Bumpers & Armor

I added Rough Country’s heavy-duty front bumper for increased protection and equipped the Expedition with tube doors for vulnerable rocker panels. Bushwacker cutting boards provide supplemental armor for the rear flares.

Performance Enhancements for Off-Roading

In addition to essential components, enhancing the performance of your Ford Expedition can further elevate its off-road capabilities. Consider the following upgrades:

To further elevate its off-road capabilities, I recommend upgrading elements like the air intake and exhaust. I swapped the stock airbox for a cold air intake by aFe Power that improves throttle response. For exhaust, I replaced the factory system with a CORSA Performance cat-back system – it sounds awesome and offers noticeable power gains.

I also upgraded the rear differential with an Eaton Truetrac helical gear kit to optimize traction. The limited-slip diff transfers power to the wheel with the most grip, helping prevent wheel spin.

Differential Upgrades

 Ford Expedition Differential Upgrades

Upgrading the differentials with locking or limited-slip mechanisms enhances traction and stability, preventing wheel slippage in challenging off-road conditions.

Exterior Modifications

Ford Expedition Exterior Modifications

Enhancing the exterior of your Ford Expedition with off-road-specific components adds both functionality and aesthetics to your vehicle. Consider the following upgrades:

Equipping your Ford Expedition with exterior upgrades tailored for off-road use adds both functionality and aesthetics. I love the look of front bumper LED light bars and they provide critical illumination when off-roading at night. I also mounted two SPOD power distribution units to the cargo area – they provide power for accessories like LED interior lighting and my onboard air compressor.

Interior Upgrades for Off-Road Comfort and Functionality

Interior Upgrades

Creating a comfortable and functional interior environment is essential for long off-road journeys. Consider the following upgrades:

To make long off-road trips more comfortable, I suggest swapping the factory front seats for suspension seats like PRP’s RG136N. The 18 adjustable settings reduce fatigue whether you’re rock crawling for hours or cruising to the trails. If your Expedition will serve double duty for family and off-road use, seat covers like the CoverKing Tactical provides heavy-duty protection.

Safety is also key – constructing a simple bolt-in roll cage provides peace of mind in case of a rollover accident. Equipping your ride with Garmin’s Overlander all-terrain GPS navigation device ensures you can always find your way, even when far from cell service.

Safety Features for Off-Road Adventures

Safety should always be a top priority when venturing off-road. Incorporating the following features into your Ford Expedition build enhances safety during off-road excursions:

Roll Cages

Roll cages provide structural reinforcement and protection in the event of a rollover or collision, reducing the risk of injury to occupants during off-road driving.

Recovery Gear

Carrying essential recovery gear such as tow straps, shackles, and jacks allows for quick and efficient vehicle recovery in challenging off-road conditions.

First Aid Kits

Having a well-equipped first aid kit onboard ensures prompt medical attention in case of injuries or emergencies during off-road adventures, promoting safety and peace of mind.

Maintenance Tips for Off-Road Vehicles

Proper maintenance is crucial when subjecting your Expedition to off-road conditions regularly. Here are some key areas to inspect and service often:

  • Closely monitor U-joints for signs of wear and replace proactively
  • Check ball joints and tie rods for looseness to avoid steering wandering
  • Change engine oil more frequently, using brands designed specifically for off-road use
  • Inspect dust boots on the steering and suspension for tears
  • Check for transmission and engine leaks underneath skid plates

Best Practices for Off-Road Driving

Mastering the art of off-road driving is essential for a safe and enjoyable off-road experience. Follow these best practices to navigate challenging terrain with confidence:

  • Always research and plan your route before setting out on an off-road adventure, taking into account factors such as terrain difficulty and weather conditions.
  • Maintain a slow and steady pace when navigating rough terrain, avoiding sudden movements or excessive speed that could lead to loss of control.
  • Use proper off-road driving techniques such as maintaining momentum, choosing the correct gear, and using appropriate throttle control to overcome obstacles effectively.
  • Stay alert and aware of your surroundings at all times, scanning for potential hazards and adapting to changing conditions as needed.
  • Travel with a companion or in a group whenever possible, providing assistance and support in case of emergencies or vehicle breakdowns.

Legal Issues

Before heading out on public lands, make sure to research rules and regulations thoroughly. Some off-road and overlanding areas prohibit vehicle modifications, while others have noise curfews or right-of-way policies. I recommend joining a local off-roading club – they offer guidance navigating legal issues so you can focus on the trails!

The Upgraded Expedition Experience

Ford Expedition Off-Road Build

“Adding the lift kit, armor, and big tires transformed my Expedition into an entirely different machine,” says Ronnie S., an avid Ford Expedition off-roader. “Crawling over boulders at a 45-degree angle with ease is such a thrill – the increased capability just boosts your confidence”.

Whether tackling Moab’s famous Hell’s Revenge trail or traversing the Rubicon, a modified Ford Expedition brings an adventurous spirit to life. Investing in the right off-road upgrades lets you push your vehicle further and create unforgettable memories getting there!

I hope these real-world recommendations give you a great starting point for enhancing your own Expedition’s off-road performance. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Cost Breakdown

Budget Off-Road Build Lift Kit – $1,200 (BDS 4″ lift)

  • Wheels & Tires – $1,800 (Fuel Rebel 17″ wheels with 33″ BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A tires)
  • Front Bumper – $400 (Smittybilt HD stubby bumper)
  • Skid Plates – $600 (RCI front skid plate kit)
  • Cold Air Intake – $350 (aFe Power intake system)
  • Exhaust System – $800 (MBRP cat-back exhaust system)
  • Rear Differential – $600 (Detroit Truetrac)

Total Budget Build Cost: $5,750

High-End Off-Road Build Lift Kit – $1,500 (King 2.5″ Coilover lift kit)

  • Wheels & Tires – $3,000 (Method Race Wheels 705 Trail Series, BFGoodrich 37″ KM3 Mud Terrain tires)
  • Front Bumper – $1,200 (ADD Heavy Duty broad-horn bumper)
  • Armor – $3,000 (LBX full skid plate set, Poison Spyder rear tire carrier, and rock sliders)
  • Cold Air Intake – $475 (K&N cold air intake kit)
  • Exhaust System – $1,300 (CORSA cat-back exhaust system)
    Rear Differential – $1,200 (ARB air locker)
  • Winch – $700 (Smittybilt X20 Waterproof Winch)

Total High Budget Build Cost: $12,375

Also Read – Toyota 4Runner Off-Road Build–Upgrades Guide

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