1999 5.0 explorer firewall buggy build | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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1999 5.0 explorer firewall buggy build


May 4, 2011
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City, State
Orlando, Florida
Year, Model & Trim Level
'99 Eddie Bauer 5.0
Ive had the sas project done for over a year now. I finally got a daily driver/tow pig. that means the fun begins on the explorer now that its off the road. I decided to build a firewall buggy. i completely chopped off the body, besides floor pan and firewall. i am using 1 3/4 .120 wall dom and 1 3/4 .188 wall dom for the cage (10 sticks total so far). i built the rear of the cage shorter than the frame on purpose. one day ill 4 or 3 link it so the frame will be cut off back there leaving me with awesome departure angles. didn't want to re do the rear of the cage when that time comes here are some pictures of the build so far.


everything gone




Passenger side slider (.188 wall dom)


A pillars and b pillars bent and tacked


starting 1 of 2 rear hoops


Both rear hoops and stringers


door bars. gonna add more haven't decided how yet


rear c pillar done along with some bracing and top windshield bar done


Starting to tie the top together



Lower windshield bar. my plans were to leave the windshield but things change lol


Drivers side front clip/tube


both sides front clip/tube done, also center stringer on windshield.


measuring for harness bar. like a kid in a candy shop haha


basically done bending. got some triangulation to complete (b pillar and roof) but we pulled the cage to make the process easier.


cage pulled (ignore the front center tube the bend is off compared to the windshield bar, still gotta fix that)

will post more pictures as i go. rig is still a long way from hitting the trails. gotta mount grille, ditch abs pump, mount the radiator and coolers, front stinger and lights, get my seats installed along with 5 point harnesses, redo transmission cross member, wiring, center console and shifters.

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Awesome, loving it!

Incredible fab work, any one who does any fabrication knows the amount of skill, time and dedication this amount of work takes.
Well done!!!!!!!

a few more updates and pictures
finished up the triangulation in the top section and the b pillar section, primered some


Ended up using rustoleum metallic charcoal paint, to match my steering/radius arms and front springs
Laying the cage back on



Getting the front clip/tubes centered and aligned.

Front end aligned and grille test fitted

good choice on the grille :D

Stinger and winch plate/crossmember done


Ran out of welding gas this weekend. so i decided to load the rig up on my "new" trailer and do a test tow. I did some intake work, tuner, and total tune up but the little 5.2 in my ram is still a turd (time for a ford tow pig lol)


still no welding suplies so i started to clean up under the hood. i cut off most of the under hood wiring harness. ditched all the ac, airbags etc. i retained the factory headlight,running lights and blinker part of the harness so i could make the rig street legal one day. and thats like 10 less switches on a switch panel :thumbsup:

got some flux core :roll: wire to finish up the last 6 welds i needed to get done
getting the last of the slider stringers done

got some support tubes in behind the stinger

still need to move rear axle forward, ditch a leaf or so out of the pack to soften up for all the weight i got rid of. fab rear shock cross member/mounts, fab a battery box, tie down fuel tank, mount seats (just ordered cobreau baja ss in black vinyl/cloth yeet yeet) order 5 pt. harnesses, ditch abs module,and order led lighting etc. getting so close to hitting the trails i cant wait!

subscribing, looks sweet!

quite the bow on the coils or maybe its the photo

Yes they bow pretty good now with the softer springs i put in. easy fix tho just gotta make new lower coil buckets.

This thing is beyond cool. Nice work man thing looks amazing.

Awesome work!

Yes they bow pretty good now with the softer springs i put in. easy fix tho just gotta make new lower coil buckets.

Ahh gotcha, I like the adjustable buckets, did the same for my truck and have bump stops inside there

more pictures and proggress. my seats came in and the cage is complete(for now)





Got the seats and harnesses installed, retained the factory power seat mechanism and added rails for the cobreau seats.

Luckily i found a good trade for my tires. i wanted to get rid of the ssr radials because i dont drive it on the road anymore. traded for a set of tsl bias in 36x12.5x15. physically only 1/2" smaller than the 37x12.5x15 ssr's. :thumbsup:


measuring for rear shocks

got some 5x7 .063 aluminum sheet for $50.20. i decided to start the top first because there is a call for rain the day its making its maiden voyage with the cage. and plus, gotta count on 50% chance of rain at all times here in Florida.


tabs to mount the aluminum
i used thin foam weather stripping to keep the top quiet, and used black silicon on the driver and passenger side to keep it as dry as possible


top all finished up, came out pretty good. need to add a few more tabs in the front to get the bulge out. good for now though

going to hard-rock park in ocala Florida for the maiden voyage, one of the best and only places to craw/climb/wheel other than flat sand trails.


loaded up ready to wheel :D


Flexing on Stuarts rig. his is a 1st gen sport caged out similar to mine, both out for the first time







breaking some ujoints at the secret spot around the corner


overall a good first outing. first hill, 20 minutes in i broke the drivers u joint and ripped up a stub. same hill my buddy ben destroyed his cardan rear driveshaft. put us both out for a little but we got back out in no time. plenty of carnage with our group all weekend. nick stripped spider gears in his wj, george ripped his pinion out of the front chunk in a dakota, and erik rolled his un-caged yota down roller coaster hill:roll:. (will post pictures later). sunday morning broke another u joint same side and stuart had fuel pickup issues. time to work the bugs out and plan another trip hopefully in november :usa::usa::usa:

I LOVE IT!! I was going to do something similar but didn't get to it!
I like your design. I will get back to one in the future.