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Thread: Working on Big Bertha

  1. #1
    Events Manager minuteman048's Avatar
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    Working on Big Bertha





    Been working on my son's 2005 Ford Excursion Eddie Bauer 4WD V-10 every weekend since he got it in late January. We picked it up in Pensacola FL and the 500 mile drive back was trouble free. Started this thread as a documentation of preparing it for his move to Washington State this summer. If you guys feel it does not belong here I will remove it. I think it is interesting in the contrast between working on the MX5 and this monster. My granddaughters call her Big Bertha. The two pictures are just file photos for now but I will post vehicle specific pictures starting next week.

    It is mechanically sound and everything works, well almost and we are correcting what needs to be done every Saturday. It's a win win situation for me since I get to spend time with my son before he takes that 3000 mile trek to Spokane Washington with his family. My granddaughters come along and the 4 year old loves to be a helper and hand me tools while the 2 tear old makes cookies with grandma. Got to love it.

    Since we brought it home these are the things we have done to it:


    • Lubricate the front brake pads which are new to keep them from squeaking. They were new and so are the front rotors.
    • Replace the front bump stops which were gone.
    • Repaired the rear windshield washer which was not working. The problem was a stuck check valve but involved pulling a lot of internal panels to trace the hose/tubing. I am proud to say I did not break any panel tabs and my investment in panel removal tools was worth it.
    • Replacing the rear differential cover which was pretty rusted but the rest of the diff was fine......go figure. No drain plug so we had to pull the cover and I had a big enough tub to hold the oil. The diff used fully synthetic gear oil plus a bottle of "friction modifier". The stuff smelled horrible and my garage still stinks.
    • Cleaned and repainted the V-5 12,500 lb rated trailer hitch. To replace it the gas tank has to be removed and since it holds 44 gallons, its huge! I just cleaned it up. BTW> Ford will not remove it unless you replace it since it protects the gas tank.
    • Replaced a few ground straps.


    Upcoming projects:

    • Replace the rubber bumpers that are on a forward bottom unattached leaf of the rear leaf springs which act like a ladder bar to prevent wheel hop. They were gone also.
    • Spending time on the rear axle and suspension we found the the spring plates that the u-bolts attach to were severely rusted and need to be replaced. Dealer part!!! They make springs, shackles, shackle bolts, u-bolts after market but this lousy plate of steel is not available. Luckily there is a Ford Ebay dealer in Mass. called Quirk Ford (really!) that sells the parts at a discount like Rosenthal in Virginia for Mazda at a reasonable cost.
    • Figure out why running/fog lights don't work and how to turn the darn things on.


    This vehicle spent most of its life in Florida but spent a few winters in Maryland explaining the few odd rust issues.

    The job I passed on was replacing the rear emergency brake backing plates, brake cable, rotors, brake shoes, and brake pads. The rear rotors are a combination rotor and drum. The drum part is for the emergency brake and on the inside of the rotor and a very impressive design. To do the job the axle had to be pulled on a full floating axle and the whole job required two special tools. NOT!

    In about two weeks I will be taking it to Georgia to pick up a new cargo trailer that offers a big discount for picking them up at the factory.

    Luckily there is a great Ford trucks forum with lots of information. Pictures next week.
    Last edited by minuteman048; 02-29-2016 at 12:46 PM.
    99 Emerald Mica, 01 Header, Ground Control Springs w/Bilstein HDs. Thompson CAI, High Flow cat w/Borla Exhaust, Fab9 COP's
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  2. #2
    ⚙ Gearhead 1K+
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    Re: Working on Big Bertha

    That looks like quite the undertaking......

    I did something similar with my full size truck when I bought it..... well worth the time/money to make it solid again.

    I too passed on a job that required a blow torch to get ball joints out..... gah

  3. #3
    Original Gearhead Joe Morreale's Avatar
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    Re: Working on Big Bertha

    Sound like fun with a BFH.
    2001 SE British Racing Green - FM frame rails - FM solid sway bar - FM clutch- Mishimoto 53mm radiator - Bilsteins -
    Complete MK Turbo kit with intercooler - 3'' custom exhaust - Custom door panels - Custom "shorty" console

  4. #4
    Events Manager minuteman048's Avatar
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    Re: Working on Big Bertha

    I double up on the jack stands, especially if they are made in China.
    99 Emerald Mica, 01 Header, Ground Control Springs w/Bilstein HDs. Thompson CAI, High Flow cat w/Borla Exhaust, Fab9 COP's
    Good Judgement Comes From Experience
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  5. #5
    Individual-1 ☚☻☛ Agent☣Orange's Avatar
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    Re: Working on Big Bertha

    I had to drive Excursions between Navy bases all over San Diego and Coronado because that's all we had. Definitely overkill for south California just to pick someone up at the airport and probably overkill for Spokane but one hell of a sturdy, enclosed truck as long as I had the gubmint gas card.

    By the way, both the 370Z and Corvette utilize a combination rear rotor whereas it's a disc brake for stopping but also a drum brake for the emergency/parking brake.

  6. #6
    Events Manager minuteman048's Avatar
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    Re: Working on Big Bertha

    I think that's the best design for an emergency brake. BTW, son has three kids and two big dogs. With exception of a full size extended van he will be using all the space driving cross country hauling a big trailer.
    99 Emerald Mica, 01 Header, Ground Control Springs w/Bilstein HDs. Thompson CAI, High Flow cat w/Borla Exhaust, Fab9 COP's
    Good Judgement Comes From Experience
    Experience Comes From Bad Judgement

  7. #7
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    Re: Working on Big Bertha

    I know that Spokane always has higher gas prices than Seattle given the locale. A Subaru would make more sense IMO.

  8. #8
    Events Manager minuteman048's Avatar
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    Re: Working on Big Bertha

    Here is a shot of Big Bertha:

    99 Emerald Mica, 01 Header, Ground Control Springs w/Bilstein HDs. Thompson CAI, High Flow cat w/Borla Exhaust, Fab9 COP's
    Good Judgement Comes From Experience
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  9. #9
    Events Manager minuteman048's Avatar
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    Re: Working on Big Bertha

    Replacing the rear suspension U-bolts this weekend. Will document this job with pictures.

    Could not find a set of OEM sized ones from anywhere and those exstortionists at Ford wanted over $50.00 a piece for them that that did not include the nuts and washers which they wanted $5.00 a piece for for another $40.00.

    I could only get extended length ones for lift kits and nobody else sold them. Had a set made for a total of $28.00 and this vendor gets pissed off Ford customers all the time and keeps him in business.
    Last edited by minuteman048; 05-11-2016 at 06:59 PM.
    99 Emerald Mica, 01 Header, Ground Control Springs w/Bilstein HDs. Thompson CAI, High Flow cat w/Borla Exhaust, Fab9 COP's
    Good Judgement Comes From Experience
    Experience Comes From Bad Judgement

  10. #10
    Individual-1 ☚☻☛ Agent☣Orange's Avatar
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    Re: Working on Big Bertha

    They really have no shame. Just like my seatback trim.

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