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1992 Ford Explorer Jurassic Park Conversion

Discussion in 'Before & After' started by festiboi, December 30, 2015.

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    1. festiboi

      festiboi New Member

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      Hey guys,
      I had posted in the new member thread when I bought my 1992 Ford Explorer back in July, 2015. The truck itself was incredible; only 61k miles at the time and no body damage, interior wear, and for the most part, it was mechanically sound.

      Not only have I loved the first gen Explorer since I was a kid, and tried to coax my parents to buy one as a our family car (it didn't work, since my Mum hated the rough ride), but my favorite movie of all time has been Jurassic Park. What little kid doesn't love dinosaurs? Seeing them come to life on the big screen was awesome back in the day.

      It only made sense to buy this clean Explorer, but convert it to a JP Tour Vehicle. As a disclaimer, all modifications done to the truck are 100% reversible being a mixture of a wrap, plastidip, and add-ons. Plus the truck is garaged, unlike my new car, and lives a well-pampered, non-abusive life.

      This was the day after it was bought; a clean and amazing brown Eddie Bauer edition

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      Firstly, I thought the tires were newer and they did look to be that way with plenty of tread life. Turns out they were 15 years old with 30k miles on them and just weren't worth the risk given the Explorer's reputation for blowouts. New Goodyears were placed on

      Here's the numbers showing the age of the old ones:
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      New ones being put on:
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      That feels better!
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      Since the new ones were put on and no upcoming tire swaps were planned, I plastidipped the wheels to match the movie car's. It looked a little silly before the car's wrap

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      Also managed to find the taillight guards on Craigslist about nine months earlier, and saved them just in case I ever did find an Explorer. I've heard they are tough to come by and it was an opportunity not worth passing

      Next was the wrap, which was professionally done by a local wrap/advertising shop. They were pretty excited to do the project. It was a change from the usual mundane tasks of wrapping vans with ads

      Going into the shop
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      Already a dino sighting! (My husband was cool enough to secretly buy it and unveil it that morning)
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      Two weeks later in mid-August, the car debuted. The vinyl that is used cannot adhere to plastic or rubber, so the side moldings and plastic trim on the bumpers were left untouched. They even asked me if I wanted to remove the side moldings, which came with a reassuring "heck no!" During the wrap, the "Explorer" badge was removed and replaced by an "XLT" badge, which matched the movie

      Leaving the wrap shop:
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      Out for a drive the first day after completion
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      In the month following, I plastidipped the side moldings, which turned out better than expected with the color match. I also ordered foglights that were of that 90's vintage. Figuring out how to hook the foglights to the roof rack took some scouring. I didn't want to drill any holes into the cross bar (everything must be reversible, notice a theme?), so after much searching on Ebay, found some brackets from Australia that will work and loop around the bar. Surprisingly, Pep Boys or Home Depot do not offer any grips for foglights that will fit roof racks. So here is the car as of September. The order from Australia was botched, and only one pair was sent. The movie car had three lights across (and a glass dome, but let's not go there).

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      The truck even made it into the Hollywood Christmas Parade and played a part in the movie car collection; along side a Jurassic Park Wrangler

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      Finally, the third foglight brace came from a different, more reliable supplier and the Explorer spent Christmas with us in the Sierra Nevada.

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      We still need a front bar, that is being custom made, and otherwise, it's almost done.

      Owning this car has been a pleasure and so much fun. I love my Explorer!
       
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    3. chefduane

      chefduane Texas Elite Explorer Elite Explorer

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      Dude, you now officially have a celebrity parade car! That's cool as $&17! Have you been asked to be in the New Year's Parade in Pasadena yet??? :thumbsup:
       
    4. festiboi

      festiboi New Member

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      Haha, thanks! It is a little surreal to know that my car has become a celebrity (of course, I know they're not there to see me!). No other car I'll ever own probably will match this one for the looks and the fun it gets.

      The Rose Parade would be awesome; however there hasn't been any word on invites or a place for it. Maybe next year?
       
    5. KyleJames

      KyleJames New Member

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      This is so awesome! Nice work!! :)
       
    6. Paul Stha

      Paul Stha New Member

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      Last edited: November 15, 2016
    7. festiboi

      festiboi New Member

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      Thank you Paul! I was just in your neighborhood about two months ago, in the UAE. Just not with the Explorer :(
       
    8. festiboi

      festiboi New Member

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      It's been a while since I've posted anything on Timmy, the Explorer.

      Through most of the year it's done the occasional event, including a dinosaur themed exhibit at the local Natural History Museum and another at a local park. The truck also has it's own Instagram now full of sightings on the road; jpexplorer04

      A Day At the Museum
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      And with a few Jurassic buddies at the exhibit
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      But the biggest news was the brush guard, which turned out to be biggest headache of anything in this endeavor. I'd be searching for used ones with little luck. Someone in the Jurassic Park forum was planning on building replicas of the guard, but after eight months of waiting I finally gave up. I ordered a brand new Rhino guard on their site, but Rhino replied several days later that although the first generation guards are advertised, they no longer make them. Turns out nobody makes them anymore.

      A fellow Jurassic Explorer enthusiast found a used guard for sale in Las Vegas. It sounded like it was in good condition and the blurry photos made it look presentable. But after flying there, and renting a car to pick it up and bring it back, the guard was in pretty bad shape. The metal braces between the frame and along the top had been ripped off, leaving sharp, jagged edges. There was some rust, and the paint was peeling all over. It wasn't presentable and seemed beyond repair, and I was ready to count my losses and enjoy a trip to Vegas with no bar, but the seller gave an offer I couldn't refuse.

      I hauled it in the back of the rental back to LA, and in the following weeks, grinded down the rough metal edges and removed the rust. We had the bar professionally power coated as well.

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      After all of that, the bar looked great. But then more trouble came with installing it. Before doing all of this work, I measured the frame against the bumper. Aside from having to slice into the bottom plastic air dam to allow the brush's brace to wrap around the bottom edge, everything measured correctly and the braces were flush against the frame.

      But, the holes on the guard to bolt in didn't align to anything on the frame. Completely off. After about two hours of trying to figure it out, there was no way it was going to line up and it'd need to be welded on. I don't have the skills, steady hands, space, or equipment to weld, so it went to a metal shop who gladly did it.

      After all of that, voila! The guard is on and really changes the look of the truck. I think it looks great now that the front end doesn't look so "naked" and makes it look more authentic. The foglights were added on by yours truly

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    9. Billy260Z

      Billy260Z New Member

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      I know this is a old post . But that thing is sweet !!!!!
      Where did you get the fog light brackets ???
       
    10. festiboi

      festiboi New Member

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    11. Billy260Z

      Billy260Z New Member

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      Thanks . I am going to order a set for my light bar
       

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