High School Sweetheart 1992 Explorer Build

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    High School Sweetheart 1992 Explorer Build

    To move my build thread over from Canada. Updates and deviations from original plan in ( )

    Where did Jimbo92 come from? It came from the 1992 Explorer I got in high school 20 years ago. It was a 2 door 5 speed 2 wheel dig that was actually lowered when I got it. Baja Blue in color and ready to party. Dude must have done a ton of drugs in it because I got pulled out of class every time the drug dogs came.

    This truck has major history. I learned more on it than any other vehicle. I met my fiancé (now wife) giving her a ride home in it 18 1/2 years ago, we dated in it, we worked on it, we converted it to 4 wheel drive, it even ended up featured in her yearbook even though we went to different high schools. Fast forward to 13 years after I sold it sitting at a bar on Folly drinking and laughing about how funny it would be to find it and have it at our wedding....so I got to searching. Found it behind a guys trailer in the woods next town over. A little worse for wear but a crazy little time capsule. Even has some of my stickers still on it from high school.

    Original plan was to clean it up, spray some paint on it and play a wedding prank with it. The project has sort of escalated from there.

    I've got a built 9" and 44 in the garage from an early bronco.

    9": Currie hi9, 488s, arb, 35 spline chromos, truss, and discs

    44: 4:88s, arb, reid racing knuckles, crane diff cover, high steer, chromos, ctm joints, and a truss.

    These are getting mounted via a james duff long travel SAS setup with 5.5" deaver EB (ended up on 3.5" wild horse progressive rate coils) coils and spring over in the rear. (with sport trac springs)

    Have McNeil racing 4" flared glass fenders on the way, corbeau Baja rs seats, 35 bfg ko2s, and method wheels as well.

    First step is to replace the clutch that is shredded and hanging out of the bell housing and get it drive-able and go from there.

    Should be a neat little trip down memory lane and I've finally found a project I won't be able to sell! I'm basically building the truck I used to draw when I was bored in class.
    Last edited by jimbo92; 05-21-2020, 11:10 AM.

    Parts have been rolling in for the last few weeks. Ended up buying a parts truck instead of running back and forth to the junkyard finding misc crap. Parts truck has a clean grey interior (mine is the ugly blue) so its getting swapped as well. Also scored on the parts truck having ice cold A/C with R12 (ended up going all new on this) so those parts will get swapped over as well and recharged with R12. Drove it an hour and a half home, best $500 bucks I have spent so far.

    Luckily my seats had not been built yet due to waiting on some bracket so I was able to switch from black to grey vinyl with grey cloth centers. Ended up getting the heaters and lumbar as well. My James Duff coil buckets, shock towers, track bar bracket, coil retainers, and axle wedges are sitting in the garage, and my long travel radius arms and coils should be here in a few days.

    For steering I went with 1 1/2" 1/4 DOM with 7/8" heims from Barnes 4wd and went with the same material for the track bar with their offset bracket for the axle side.

    Rear is their spring plate kit for the 9"

    I have been cutting brackets (axles were in a buggy) and grinding, and grinding, and grinding for the last few days getting these axles ready for the truck. Front is in good shape, I should just have to go through the hubs and service the bearings and seals and be good to go.

    The rear is a little more tricky. The 4:88 gear set in the 9" is stripped so it needs to be replaced ( knew this going in). Ill get it torn down and I am assuming I will have to order the gear set directly through Currie. When I spoke with them this morning they also told me I would need to tear it down before ordering parts to see which pinion bearing I need. I also need axle bearings and seals as well. As far as brakes go it has some sort of rotor covered in surface rust that should turn out fine and what looks to be eldorado calipers. I need hammer down which exact kit it is so I can order some new hardware/lines and make sure I get the right calipers. (this was a james duff kit produced by TSM Brakes)


      Parts car made a great addition to our "White Trash" Halloween costume. It was an outdoor party so it made quite the entrance with lawn equipment stuffed in the back, jamming classic rock, and revving with the muffler blown out. The 5 speed, damp pavement, 3:73 gears and 27" tires also made for quite the show leaving while yelling "DO IT FOR DALE" on our way out.


        Got my front housing all ground down last night and the rear is about 80 percent. What a dusty freakin mess that is. I'll be blowing black boogers for a week. Hopefully with a new flapper disc I'll have time to finish it off tonight. Also dropping my 3rd off tonight to get rebuilt. Hoping to start tearing out my axles next weekend and getting the truck ready for these.

        *dent in the quarter was the result of doing doughnuts in a field in 10th grade. Tire blew off the rim and when the rim caught over she went. Went and made a fake accident scene and lied to my parents about a deer running out in front of me and rolling the truck trying to avoid it. I have a picture somewhere of the birthday cake Mom made me to make fun of it...little matchbox car suv she painted to match laying on its side on the cake and a plastic deer. It was pretty funny.

        Finally picked up my coils and radius arms yesterday from a guy on NC4x4. Started building an early bronco yota hybrid and never finished. These things are crazy beefy, and from what I have read the coils are a good rate for what im trying to accomplish.

        Clemson 4wheel sent me pics of my tires and wheels mounted up so now I am really getting the itch to get the axles under it. They turned out to be a great modern version of what I had on it in high school. My fenders should be in by the end of the week and I will go pick everything up together. Mom managed to dig out some more throw back pics of the thing and found a pic of the infamous cake.


          In an effort to keep from plugging this thread up too much ill do an updated recap from here:

          Ended up finishing the Exterior and having the truck drive-able for the wedding....the day of the wedding. It then sat for a year in my garage untouched until I got a wild hair to finish it for the Clemson 4wheel center poker run. The last year has been spent putting miles on it, working out bugs, and doing the detail work. AC, wiring lockers and accessories, running arb diff breathers, steering pump and cooler, new accessories, full cooling system R&R, pulleys, belts, tension, hoses....you know...all the fun stuff.

          Its ended up way better on the road than I anticipated and I drive it probably 80-90 percent of the time. It rides great, has cold ac, great stereo, comfy heated seats, cruise, and its just plain fun to drive. My only "complaint" with its road worthiness is the "bobbley" feeling it gets on uneven curvy road surfaces. I attribute it to the progressive rate springs being so soft at first and then rebounding when it hits the stiffer part. I have been back and forth between throwing an anti rock in it, or sending the shocks off and having them tuned to the truck.

          As far as a sway bar goes im not sure if better to go front or rear. When I pull my popup, rzr, or jet ski the thing drives great with a little tongue weight on it.

          The truck wheels great, seems sufficiently geared (wouldnt hate a crawl box) and catches some pretty good attention on the trail.

          *pics leaving the reception, when I found it and brought it home, and 3 weeks before the wedding.
          Last edited by jimbo92; 05-21-2020, 11:35 AM.


            Few more pics. Out wheeling and the switch panels I made for the seats and accessories.


              That is a good looking 1st gen!

              After putting a doubler on my Bronco II, I don't know how I used to wheel with 5.13s and 35s. Granted the 4.0L has better low end torque than my 2.8L did, but I definitely recommend a doubler with the 5 speed if you like the technical stuff. It makes hard obstacles so much less stressful with the added control and not having to concentrate so much on the clutch.


                Nice Sport. I have a 1994 4 door with a HP D44 and those Duff arms and 14" Radflo coil over shocks. I didn't go with Duff SAS brackets because I needed to push the front axle forward 2" for the tires to clear the firewall. I recently installed a 3.8 Atlas II. Huge difference in low speed control and power. I have had it since it was new and have been modifying it slowly ever since. You writing about the memories you have had with your Explorer reminded me why I keep it. Its very stable on the highway.
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                  Originally posted by BDK View Post
                  Nice Sport. I have a 1994 4 door with a HP D44 and those Duff arms and 14" Radflo coil over shocks. I didn't go with Duff SAS brackets because I needed to push the front axle forward 2" for the tires to clear the firewall. I recently installed a 3.8 Atlas II. Huge difference in low speed control and power. I have had it since it was new and have been modifying it slowly ever since. You writing about the memories you have had with your Explorer reminded me why I keep it. Its very stable on the highway.
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                  Thanks bud. What did you have to do to get the Atlas to clear the floor?


                    I have a GM 700R4 transmission which is quite a bit shorter than the Ford trans so the Atlas sits at a wider spot. I also beat the trans tunnel out of the way. I made a custom cross member out of 2x3" 1/4" thick square tube with a offset torque arm. It uses six puck type bushings as isolators. The cross member mounts to the AA adaptor. I pushed the Atlas up as far as it would go and it sits about an inch below the body. The only thing I don't like about my setup is the front drive shaft is a little short. I had to clearance the heck out of the double cardan joint to clearance it at full droop. if it was about 4" farther back it would be ideal. A good solution to that would be a NWF iBox, but I really don't want to redo the entire thing again right now.
                    Torque arm
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                    Cross member (those weld nuts across the bottom are for skid plate mounts)
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                    With the puck type isolators inside the cross member, it allows the skid plates to be mounted flush to the cross member. Then, even if the bolts loosen, then cannot fall out or even back off very much before bottoming out on the skid plates. Cross member mounts are also angled to keep it place even if the bolts fall out.


                      Skid plates (I went a little overboard, but those expensive parts are as safe as they can get) Transfer case skid bolts to the cross member, the frame on both sides, and to the front end of the gas tank skid plate mounts. Trans skid mounts to a custom cross member up front, and to the transmission/transfer case crossmember on top of the end of the tcase skid that is tabbed so they are flush.
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                      Center console with shifters
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                      Last edited by BDK; 08-20-2020, 01:02 PM.