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1993 Explorer - Built to Smash

Brecklin

Red Skull Member
Joined
May 20, 2020
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634
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202
Location
Appleton WI
I finally started building this year's demolition derby truck - a 1993 Explorer. This will be the fourth 1st gen Explorer that I've built for this, so I'm hoping to be able to tweak some of the fail points from the last builds.

This is one of the cleanest ones I've had. Living in WI, the salt pretty much kills anything and everything. I figured this one was pretty solid but I was happy to see a fully intact floor when I pulled the carpet last night. The last one I built, even before running it. The floor was not attached to the rest of the body. The only thing holding most of the body to the frame was my cage.

Right now I'm still stripping all the unnecessary shit out of it. I'll update the thread when I actually start building. I've got quite a bit of wiring to go through and get rid of, as well as basically everything under hood besides the engine. The dash has to go, along with all glass, etc.

Here's some pics of how it looks right now. Pretty nice compared to some of the ones I've smashed. 😝
 

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Brecklin

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Here's a couple of the last ones I've built, just in case you don't know what my finished product will be. Just redneck shit, but smoking people is almost as fun as wheeling. 😎
 

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Brecklin

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Got quite a bit of the cage done. Still have to add a piece to triangulate between the passenger door bar and bar between the rear door posts. I'll mount my battery box off of that.

Mounted off the rear post bar will be the fuel cell mount, which has some built in protection for it.

Everything is 3/8" wall and will unbolt and bolt back together into the next truck. All bolts are 5/8 or 3/4"

Ran out of gas for the welder, which cut the night short.
 

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Brecklin

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Appleton WI
Cage is about 95% done, just have to get some shorter bolts to replace the 4 that are too long (you can see random nuts used as spacers) and add down bars from rear most bar to the frame.

Next up, setting up the front and rear suspension and getting front and rear bumpers on it.
 

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Brecklin

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Got out in the shop to work on it today. Added a Chevy 63" leaf to each side (rules say you can't add springs or modify packs, but they never can tell). The trick is to add the spring in upside down, it helps flatten the pack.

In these pictures I am chaining the axle to the frame humps. I'm using my squarebody to keep force down on the back of the Explorer so I can jack the axle up before adding the chains. I do this for a couple reasons. The lower your rear bumper, the better it is for tire shots on other vehicles, which will usually lead to breaking their axle. Keeping it low will also help the frame from going up, as most hits are going to have a downward force. Adding these chains also helps keep the frame from blowing apart at the humps, which it would normally do if you don't add some tension.

The only thing left to do to the rear suspension is spring clamps. I whipped up some plates to sandwich the spring packs, which help add strength to the main spring. I didn't have enough 7/16 hardware, so I'll grab some tomorrow after work and post a picture.
 

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Toreadorranger

Atomic Test Lab Rat
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Here's a couple of the last ones I've built, just in case you don't know what my finished product will be. Just redneck shit, but smoking people is almost as fun as wheeling. 😎
Whats the deal with the tires on the old one? equipment tires?
 

Brecklin

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Appleton WI
Whats the deal with the tires on the old one? equipment tires?
The rear tires are 25x8.5R14 8 ply skidsteer tires. I have a regular passenger car tire stuffed inside, and then a tube. It's a 14 ply total tire, it is damn near impossible to get a flat.

The fronts are 750-15 14 ply forklift tires.

This truck will be the fourth vehicle that I've run these tires on. Rears are getting pretty haggard, this might be their last run..we'll see though.
 

Brecklin

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Appleton WI
Some events have tire rules, mostly strip the car and go type derbies make you run DOT tires. I used to have a set of snow tires that I doubled and tubed, they dont know the tire is doubled and it is a definite advantage.

Most places just have rules on wheels. People run bead lock wheels that have a locking ring that covers the entire sidewall of the tire, most derbies wont let you run that style. My wheels are DOT wheels that I've braced with steel, which is allowed where I run.
 

Brecklin

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Appleton WI
Just for grins, here's one of my old cars. I used to run a lot of these W body GMs...Lumina, Grand Prix, Cutlass, Monte Carlo, etc.

This car was built for the midsize weld class. The unibody was plated from the firewall forward with 3/8" plate. The bumper "shocks" were square tube 16" into the unibody. The bumper itself started as a Chrysler pointy and had tube steel on the inside and a lot of plating on the outside.

These cars were fun, I built my own intake manifolds that ran a Rochester 2J carb. You didn't have any electronics or factory wiring to fail. The only sensor was the crankshaft position sensor, which communicated with the coil pack. Transmission was hot wired to default to 1st gear, with a toggle for second.

I enjoy running the truck class more, but the midsize cars hit a lot harder.
 

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Brecklin

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Only pics I could find, was from around 17.
 

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Java230

???
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assuming the duct tape is there for keep your damn thumbs out of the wheel? :lmao:
 

Brecklin

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Appleton WI
I neck and back hurt after looking at those videos. :laughing:
It's not so bad, really! I ran an 80's Caprice for my buddy last summer. He is shorter than I am, and it was setup for him. My helmet would bounce off the roof on the hard nose to nose hits. That hurt the neck the most lol!

assuming the duct tape is there for keep your damn thumbs out of the wheel? :lmao:

Spot on. A long time ago I caught myself on video reaching through the wheel trying to fix something. It isnt something you think of while youre out there, but the results could have been pretty cool had I gotten hit while doing that. Now every steering wheel gets taped up. They do make a solid faced wheel for derby, but its expensive and bends really easy.
 

woods

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Spot on. A long time ago I caught myself on video reaching through the wheel trying to fix something. It isnt something you think of while youre out there, but the results could have been pretty cool had I gotten hit while doing that. Now every steering wheel gets taped up. They do make a solid faced wheel for derby, but its expensive and bends really easy.
That's funny. I wheeled a stock Samurai with no power steering. You'll always see my thumbs out. :laughing:
 

Brecklin

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Location
Appleton WI
Rear suspension is done and the rear bumper is about there, ran out of wire in the welder but just have a couple finishing welds left.

The rear bumper I chose to run a stock one this time, like I did on my first Explorer. I ran a 2x4 tube on the last one and I think the bumper being harder than the frame rails hurt me in the end.

I ditch the stock brackets and cut a piece of 3/8" thick angle to weld the bumper to the frame. Between the frame rails I also welded in a 3x4 tube, which the bumper was also welded to this. It worked well on my other builds, so why deviate?

Thanks for looking at this post guys. I know it's just a little gay demo truck, but not many people realize the amount of work you can stick into these things, if you want.
 

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Brecklin

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Appleton WI

Last derby I ran in 2020. It was a fun one, the top 5 trucks left were my buddy in his Dakota, myself, and 2 Explorers and a Ranger that were all on the same team. It was 2 on 3 but my buddy and I lit them up pretty good. When it came down to the 2 of us, we laid into eachother hard. My truck was completely dicked and his wasn't fixable anymore. He has won so many derbies with that truck, shame it's junk now.
 

Brecklin

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Appleton WI
Did a few things tonight after work.

2x2 tube from the cage down to the frame. Rules allow you 2 vertical bars down to frame. On these Explorers the frame narrows in quite a bit, conveniently right where my seat bar lands. These tubes welded where they are really help the frame from turning into a "Z" where it narrows.

The chain also helps keep the frame from bowing out and doing weird things. It runs from rail to rail and the tighter you can get it the better.

The frame plate is not legal, but hopefully they won't be able to see it. Its only on the passenger side, right in front of the shackle. The rail has a hard bend and gets narrow. Without a plate there, it tends to kink and then it wants to push the rail inward.
 

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