Top 5 Upgrades For The Explorer ST

Samuel Weber
August 11, 2021

When it comes to the SUV, very few vehicles are as recognizable as the Explorer. Taking the world by storm during its initial debut, the popularity of the Explorer has continued to grow, branching into different markets than most SUVs could ever reach. With the newest Timberline model, the Explorer is back to its off-road capable roots, but the most entertaining remains the Explorer ST. With rear-biased performance and a twin turbocharged engine, the Explorer ST is easily one of the most thrilling SUVs available on sale to date. The ST accelerates like a muscle car, handles close to a sports car, and does it all with seating for seven comfortably.

With it being so easy to modify, picking the top 5 upgrades might seem difficult, but there are some that shine above the others. These engines and vehicles have shown themselves to be incredibly easy to modify - more so than many other family SUVs. Just like performance cars like the Mustang, the Explorer ST is brimming with possibilities for higher performance. As one of the newest hot vehicles, we at Steeda are more than ready to make it the ultimate performance SUV from Ford.

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Video Tuning Air Intake Cat-Back Exhaust Sway Bars Shocks

Explorer ST Review

explorer sct tune

Explorer ST Tuning

As impressive as the Explorer ST is, it can always perform better, run faster, and drive harder. The engine comes from the factory putting out 400 horsepower from its V6 engine. While it is no slouch, running the 0-60 in 5.2 seconds, the car can have extra power put in easily. The twin turbo V6 is incredibly easy to tune and upgrade for more power, and upgrades like this are relatively affordable as well. The tuner that SCT makes is capable of full diagnostic work plus installation of tunes for your ST. SCT’s X4 tuner for the Explorer ST is able to help data log extra info for upgrading, such as fuel economy, torque, turbo pressure, and more. This tuner can add more power if you tune it for it as well as being able to improve fuel economy.

explorer st intake

Explorer ST Cold Air Intake

If you intend to upgrade your Explorer ST, you’re going to need to improve how it breathes. Paired with a tune, the addition of an aftermarket cold air intake can be massively beneficial for power and performance use. When properly tuned, an air intake can make a difference of quite a lot of horsepower, with some adding nearly 70 horsepower with just a tune and an intake. AFE’s Pro 5R intake shows over 70% increase in intake over the factory setup, resulting in a torque and horsepower gain that is noticeable and can cut acceleration time down as well. The 5R is also easier to clean than an average intake system, meaning easier to use too.

explorer st exhaust

Explorer ST Cat-Back Exhaust

One of the most common upgrades to any vehicle is the exhaust, and when it comes to performance-oriented vehicles there are more options than ever. The Explorer ST actually has multiple aftermarket exhaust options, but not all exhaust setups are made equal, especially in terms of performance. It is easy to say which exhaust is the best for the Explorer ST - the MBRP Explorer ST Pro Series Cat-Back Exhaust - which gives sound, style, and performance. The MBRP exhaust is aggressive without being too loud, and sounds like a performance car, especially when you hear the turbo blow-off after the initial rev. Additionally, this cat-back exhaust flows 25% more efficiently than the stock system which is why it performs better as well as sounds better.

explorer st sway bar

Explorer ST Rear Sway Bar

As powerful and tossable as the Explorer ST is, it is still a large SUV. At 4,700lbs, the Explorer ST is on the larger end, even when compared to some rivals. Thankfully, the ST is easy to modify for suspension and stability, just as it is for power and acceleration. To ensure your Explorer ST stays planted on the ground, the installation of sway bars is highly recommended to help reduce body roll and increase structural rigidity. With the ST’s handling in mind, we developed our Explorer Adjustable Rear Sway Bar which we have tested on vehicles from base Explorers through Police pursuit vehicles. Tested at high speed and under aggressive cornering, these sway bars are lightweight while being very durable under pressure. With multiple adjustable settings, these can be changed to your liking to be tighter for handling or looser for comfort.

explorer st struts

explorer rear shocks

Explorer ST Shocks

Along with the rear sway bars, there are other upgrades that will improve the handling of your Explorer ST too. Upgrades to suspension are the best ways to improve handling, such as lowering or reinforcing for structural rigidity. While there are not many upgrades on the ST currently, the option to nearly create your own ST yields many upgrades like the Steeda Pro-Action Front and Rear Struts and Shocks. The Steeda Pro-Action Struts are proven to make your Explorer handle at least on-par with the ST, lowering the center of gravity while also keeping the car more stable on the road under corners or hard acceleration. For even more performance, installing the Steeda Explorer Lowering Springs which will lower the center of gravity further and allowing you even more control over your Explorer ST.

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