92 EX going to Burning Man as art car, many questions and pictures. | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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92 EX going to Burning Man as art car, many questions and pictures.


Explorer Addict
March 16, 2000
Reaction score
City, State
Pleasant Hill, CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
'92 4 dr. EB
So my 92 Ex is being brought in from the pasture that is my side yard. It was replaced by a Ram as my daily driver/work vehicle. And all my friends have sold their wheeling vehicles so I haven't driven it in a long time. (I haven't posted on here in forever either.) It's getting a new lease on life because I'm converting it into an art car/mutant vehicle for this year's Burning Man. This was the mutant vehicle we've been using for the last couple of years. http://burningup2007.blogspot.com/search/label/Perambulator It was based on a golf cart. Our new one is going to be based on my '92.

I'm going to need to bolster the carrying capacity many times over. I know that I've carried a ton (an actual ton) of refuse to the dump on a few occasions. The truck seemed to handle it okay. Now imagine that the truck is carrying 25 people (in various states of dress) and an additional 850 lbs. of wood fiberglass and steel shaped like art. What can I do to increase it's capabilites? I've seen a lot of weaker cars carrying more weight there. And I've seen a lot of vehicle's backs broken as well. I want to do what I can to keep it running all week. On the cheap of course.

Here's what I'm working with:
92 Eddie Bauer 4x4, 229k, auto tranny, factory transfer case, 3.73, rear axle is out of a 95 and has disc brakes, Superlift 5.5 SOA lift with Superlift extended radius arms, warrior shackles, Rancho adjustable shocks. I'm embarrassed to say that I'm running 33 x 10.5's in the rear and 31's in the front. (so no 4 wheeling in it's current setup) There's also a questionable powertrax no-slip in the rear. Door tag says GAWR rear 3000 GAWR front 2640.

I'm thinking at least some helper springs or load leveling air shocks. Or both. I was also thinking of adding cooling capacity as the vehicle only goes 5 mph all day with a heavy load. Transmission cooler too? Any thoughts? The crazier and/or cheaper the better. Springs out of another vehicle? Wooden blocks? Additional radiator? Think Pick-n-Pull. Let's hear it.

I'll try to keep you all updated as construction begins.
Thanks guys.

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I think the book says the rear is good for 3200 pounds. I would say add-a-leafs and anything to cool the truck better. Air springs would greatly help. If your truck does not have a two row radiator, get one. Maybe even a pusher fan to help the factory one. I have converted all of mine over to two row.

What exactly are you doing with this? I'm kinda confused as to the purpose.

First off, you sure about this? You could potentially sell the vehicle as-is (or with another pair of 33's on it) and have enough moolah for several beater art cars.

Otherwise, first thing I would do is pick a tire size and get all four the same, 33's being ideal to go with the lift. This lets you do some wheeling in the desert while you're out there, and/or actually drive it without looking dumb.

I'm not sure if you'd need any additional load capacity, the stock springs along with warrior shackles gives 7 inches of lift already. Anything like an add-a-leaf or helper springs is either going to change the ride height or give capacity at the expense of something else. If you can find a vehicle at the junkyard with the bolt-on type of helper springs, they may give the stock leafs support under load, without any more lift when unloaded. Air shocks are a bad, bad idea. They put the load on the shock mounts.

Adding cooling capacity, along with cooling system maintainence, would be ideal when in the heat of Black Rock City. If your A/C is working along with it, all the better. I'd say at least a coolant change, maybe converting to a dual-core radiator if you don't have one already (most Auto trannys had dual core), and a transmission cooler would help a whole lot if you're going to be straining it creeping around with a load of junk and people on there.

Maybe you could remove the hood and replace it with some wire mesh on a frame? A lot of heat from the engine and tranny would escape that way.

Personally I'd say sell it to someone who is looking for an awesome 4x4 while it's decent and worth $$$ rather than let a bunch of hippies in the desert mess it up and damage it.
The art cars tend to be barely-running junkers that are scrapped once used up, and it would be shame to see that happen to an Explorer, especially one in good shape.

x2 on the explorer kind of being wasted for this event...

that said: strap a big beer keg, or something else to the hood/bumper/roof wherever and plumb it up with some nozzles so you can spray your radiator with water if it starts to get hot...water on the rad. cools it down quick and you can have some outlandishness built into your cooling system.:)

Put me down as another person opposed to the idea... I'd love to give an X like yours a new good home. Mine needs company :)

However if you do plan to load it down, an aux trans cooler for sure and make sure your tires are up to the task.

I appreciate you guys sticking up for my truck. But really it isn't worth much. And at least I get to keep it around (in some form) if I decide to get back into wheeling. But I don't see that as very likely. It sat in my yard for almost two years now with no action. All of my friends that had trucks sold them or started families or both. The nearest offroading is 2-3 hours away. Waah.

Anyway, thanks for the ideas. Gonna add a transmission cooler and probably a pusher fan for the radiator- If the junkyard gods smile down on me. I like the idea of the water on the radiator too. No air shocks-check. Mesh hood or no hood-good. I'll keep an eye out for stock help springs as well.

As for the design- The art car as I imagine it is this. From the front doors back the body is being removed. In that place is a giant fiberglass cereal bowl. Ten feet in diameter. The inside has molded seats and a disco floor in the center. It should seat 8-10 people. The front half of the vehicle is a giant milk carton. There is a second floor over the cab. Milk and cereal. The wheels will be covered by a 'table' with tablecloth all the way around. The milk carton will have a slide out of it's side to the ground.
Here's a pic of the beginning construction of the bowl.

The neighbors are gonna LOVE you! :p:
Be sure to post all progress pics.
Do you have a pic or two of other art cars from burning man, so we could get an visual of the scope of the project?

Brandon, those lights are already in the plan.:) The milk carton is going to have it's spout open for that purpose.
Here is a group on flickr showing other mutant vehicles from BM. They use the term mutant vehicle to get away from the art car idea that is typically just a bunch of stuff glued to a car. http://www.flickr.com/groups/528136@N22/

You can see that there is a wide range of quality and awesomeness. I like my stuff to be at the more awesome end. Like this.http://www.flickr.com/photos/71419960@N00/3904285485/sizes/l/in/pool-528136@N22/

Neighbors be damned.

I'll post more pics as work progresses.

Here's a photo op of our first art car in front of The Steampunk Treehouse from 2007. Just because I like showing it.

As for the design- The art car as I imagine it is this. From the front doors back the body is being removed. In that place is a giant fiberglass cereal bowl. Ten feet in diameter. The inside has molded seats and a disco floor in the center. It should seat 8-10 people.

You can save yourself a lot of time and labor if you sell your Explorer or trade it for a pickup. This way you can just remove the bed and/or just keep the bed floor to build on. Otherwise you're going to spend a lot of your time welding metal to the frame and body to keep what's left of the cab from folding in on itself or crumpling under the weight of the second floor.

Anime, you are correct except for a few things. We'd like to be able to get from the 'bowl' to the driver's compartment without having to get out and go around. So we'd have to cut the back out of the pick up anyway. Second, there's only about 8 linear feet of cutting, removing few body to frame bolts and viola! the back comes off behind the B pillar. Third, I already own this truck and getting it ready to sell and then finding another donor vehicle would take more time.

Well since you seem set of going forward with it, are you selling whatever you take off?

Looks like the roof rack (Thule?) would be a pretty hot item on here for parting out.
Rear doors and all the rear glass plus the liftgate would be good too. There are probably people who would love you forever if you cut off the rear body panels cleanly and sold them off for patches, too.

Are you going to keep the stock taillights in place?

I will probably be selling the spare parts in the Spring when we know what we will and will not need. The rack (not Thule) is being reserved for my wife's car. Sorry.

Hey awesome idea - kudos for doing it and transforming an Explorer beyond what most of us can achieve! Good luck and have fun!

So we cut the back off the truck today. Took longer than I thought it would. We spent much of the time just getting all the wiring removed and bundled into the front half of the truck. (BTW what is the computer in the rear compartment next to the washer bottle?)
Looks like I'll be selling the parts we removed earlier than I thought.No place to store it all. Basically anything not attached to the frame from the front doors back. I guess I should start another thread with this info but I don't have the bandwidth right now.



Hey great progress! I think that computer is for the keyless entry, either that or the audio amplifier.

Seeing that pic made me :(

I would have loved to have that explorer, I would have traded you my 92 eddie which is more scrap worthy...

Sorry Brian. It hurt me too.

I think the amp is on the other side by the sub. And I don't have keyless. It has a red led and a reset switch as well.

Bowl in place-test

Oh yea that's the 4x4 control module...like the brain of the 4x4,the button is to reset it and the led flashes for different settings or whatever haha

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