Following up on Part 1 of the restoration where I spent a ton of time (and money) getting the cosmetic side of things sorted out, Part 2 took much longer but I was able to knock things off in batches.
Round 1 – The Basics
Before I could drive this car at all, I needed to make sure it was safe. Besides the tires that were old and had dry rot, the car was leaking brake fluid and had a very spongy pedal which made it pretty sketchy to drive. I limped it to the nearest shop and had them do a full inspection and we replaced a ton of parts including:
- New tires
- Oil, coolant, and brake fluid flush
- New brake pads & rotors
- Steering rack
- Tie rods
- Upper Control Arms
- New Drive Belt
After this, it was finally time to enjoy the maiden voyage in my Saleen XP8 – and boy was it exciting. From the first cars and coffee to today, it never fails to grab attention and having people come up to me and either ask about the car, or share stories about the late 90s and seeing this car when new. It’s been a great conversation starter and it’s so cool to see it enjoyed by so many people around San Diego.
Round 2 – The Shakedown
I drove it this way for a while and it ran great – but after 500 miles or so I noticed a ticking noise that sounded like an exhaust leak, where it went back to the shop and sure enough – the header gaskets needed replacing. Much smoother!
It ran trouble free for the next 1,500 miles or so, at which point it was due for another oil change.
At this point, I had a Paintless Dent Repair person come and pull out random dents in the car, and had been slowly chipping away at replacing other cosmetic items that needed love including:
- New rear wiper assembly (removed by PO)
- New (reproduction) center caps (originals gone missing)
- New headlights & corner lights (replaced fading ones)
- New floormats
- New radio
- New SALEEN pedals
The car was slowly but surely becoming one of the nicest XP8s on the planet!
Round 3 – Shocks & Pulleys
Another 2,000 miles or so of driving and it was time for the next oil change and batch of fixes, so I decided to take it to a specialist that could diagnose some of the areas in deeper detail.
They found a few vacuum leaks that was causing the air not to blow properly inside, and identified that my repeated issues with idler pulley squeaking wasn’t a bad belt but actually a bad pulley – so the pulleys were replaced.
Next, after over a year on backorder, I was finally able to get new Racecraft/Bilstein shocks for the car through a friend who works there, as I had no luck ordering through retailers. They got installed and the car rode great, but as I was driving to the shop the accessory belt slipped off.
I reinstalled the belt when I got home, but the car wasn’t happy so I returned to the shop that recently installed the belt & pulleys to see what the issue was. It turns out that the supercharger puts the belt at a somewhat unique angle, so they needed to put on a spacer to get the pulleys to line up perfectly. Without the spacers, it was prone to lose the belt again, or start squeaking more. Once that issue was resolved, they were able to identify a random misfire that was occurring due to one of the spark plug wires melting through, and they did all new wires & plugs and re-ran the spark plug wires so they won’t get too hot next time.
Time to Sell!
It’s been about 3 months and roughly 1000 miles since the last trip to the shop, and she runs better than ever. Both inside and out, she’s in amazing condition…the project is now complete!
Normal people would savor this moment and just enjoy their fully dialed in car, but not me.
I’ll be selling this glorious Saleen XP8 on Cars & Bids with no reserve.
I’ve loved this car a ton, and it was an absolute dream come true…but after 2 years and countless car shows, cars & coffee, and trips to daycare, I’ve had my fun. I also bought a new car to replace the R8, and I want to free up some cash to help cover those expenses in the interim.
I’m fortunate that I’m friends with a lot of the crew at Cars & Bids, and even more fortunate that Doug DeMuro himself will be reviewing the car on his YouTube channel that will get published when the auction goes live.
To go along with my auction listing, I’ve made an incredibly thorough walk through of the car here, which will accompany my auction.
I’ve also uploaded a ton of pictures as well, which you can find below!
I will not be entertaining offers prior to the auction so if you want it, you’ll need to bid!
Thanks for everyone who has participated in my quest to build/restore the nicest 1998 Ford Explorer on the planet, especially Kevin at Elite Finish, Doug DeMuro, and Big White Ford Explorer for the help and pointers along the way.