'98 XLT 5.0 Frame Off Restoration | Page 3 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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'98 XLT 5.0 Frame Off Restoration

I don't think you'll need a new fender if you're willing to put in the work on what you have now.

I would probably not re-weld the very bottom part of the fender where it bolts to the rocker, instead just coat it really well since that's where the rust is bad due to water draining. The bolts clamp it all together anyway so there's no need for a tack weld to hold it together, just clamp it when installing.

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So I got my new radiator support and a few cans of the basecoat spray paint in last night. Radiator support will need a good blasting and KBS repainting to fix all the scratches, chips, and scuffs in the paint from S&H damage. This is going to go down to bare metal so I don't have what happened before, happen again.

Also got a quote on having a restoration shop sandblast the frame and media blast the body. $630 for the frame and around $1,600 for the body. Free towing both ways though, since they're local to me. I might get a discount for doing a two birds, one stone kinda thing.

I may decide to go this route though. So far, the chemical stripping is extremely slow, messy, and leaves lots of crap behind. Plus, I have a feeling that disposal fees are going to be ridiculous. Hand sanding... I don't even want to do that. I'd use a DA sander, but unless I rewire my garage I only get a few minutes before the compressor trips the breaker, and I have to empty the tank and completely refill it.

So, I'm gonna save up for the next few weeks and put in some OT. Yeah, it's expensive, but this will save me about two or three months worth of prep time, and make it much easier to get the paint finished before winter. I really, really don't want to have any metal laying around unprotected in an uninsulated, unheated, prone to flooding garage. Hell, it's difficult enough to keep my tools from rusting, imagine uncoated steel exposed to that.

Ok, some news again. Been a very busy last few weeks and I've barely gotten to do anything more than look at it since I've been working so much.

I just ordered the two replacement dog legs, some more of the camo paint, a few more things from KBS, and the GrizzlyGrip bedliner kit. This is the one that will be going on the frame and underbody. Hopefully, it should have enough coverage for both. This is the Santa Fe brown color with the fine texture. In the next two, maybe three weeks the 'Ex will be at the shop getting completely stripped. So during that time I'll get my garage paint booth set up and everything ready to go.

I figure if I can pick it up on a Friday, I'll spend two days cleaning and prepping everything, and then take two or three days vacation to get the KBS base coat laid down, and possibly the light tan initial top coat.

What do you guys think about repainting the interior? Right now, everything is the gray graphite color. I've been contemplating stealing the prairie tan trim from my Eddie Bauer, but the carpet and seats are in terrible condition. The plastic trim is pretty beat up too. Mine's in better shape, but I'm not sure how well painted plastic trim would hold up in the long run. I could always get new LMC carpet and some seat covers though...

So I got those dog legs from Raybuck last night, and I don't think they're going to work. Despite being advertised as 1991-2001, the part says '91-'96 on the sticker, and it's slightly different from what's on the vehicle right now. The one on the truck has a section that is stamped lower, which seems to be for door clearance. The Raybuck part doesn't. And without cutting it out, welding the new one in and checking the door fit, there's no way for me to tell 100%. Maybe I should just try and repair the rusted sections, but there's a lot of rust and whole chunks that are gone.

Most after market body panels require some modification. But it sounds like they try to get close to a match for a few different years and models, typical. Going to have to make them work or find salvaged dog legs. Let us know if the after markets can be made to work.

Most after market body panels require some modification. But it sounds like they try to get close to a match for a few different years and models, typical. Going to have to make them work or find salvaged dog legs. Let us know if the after markets can be made to work.


Well, today was the day she got towed off to the body shop.

The only parts getting blasted are the underbody, firewall rise, rocker/dog leg/quarter panel trim areas, and the cargo area of the cab floor. Along with the frame. I'm having them do the rust repair though, since the cab mounts are structural, the dog legs require forming, the rocker lower/side/inner panel or whatever it's called is unavailable, and all of that is beyond both mine and my neighbor's skills. Once the things done, I'll have them do the radiator support too, since it got pretty beaten up during shipping. They're also going to replace my liftgate lip, and maybe one or two of the door lips, depending on how bad they are. He rough quoted me for four grand. Pricey, but these guys do amazing work.

I got almost everything I need to get the paint done before it's too late for the year though. Once this next package from Aervoe comes in, that'll be it. And since the girlfriend is going to be moved up to Michigan in about three weeks or so, I'll have plenty of time to actually get some work done.

Would bristle brushes work better then?

If you're not going to spray it with a decent sprayer, thin out the paint so that it will self level good and use a high density smooth foam roller. It's the white ones.

Here's where the technique basically started. There are at least three threads on there dedicated to this. He was using Rustoleum paint but you could probably use the technique for almost any paint.


I decided to check and see how the colors would look on my old radiator support. Starting from the top left, you can see the light tan, the slightly darker tan, the light brown, and the medium brown. I can't wait until I get this thing back and can start laying the paint down.

The shop is getting it ready to go to the blasters. Once there, they said that would take a week, tops. Then they'll start doing the rust repair. I have a slight setback regarding that lower rocker panel, the one that the lower rocker area is welded to. My order from Bob Utter Ford for both sides was canceled because they said no one has any. So the shop might need to fab new ones. I don't think patching will work because they're both rotted far, far too badly. Oh well.

Make sure when you start to paint the Digi-Camo that you make your mind up about the curves of your vehicle.

You can either paint the digi to go with your curves, or you can take the time to make it blend out your curves.


with this aircraft, the painters decided to go with the curves of the aircraft. it is easier because you just lay the stencil on and paint away. it will cut your time. In the end i think this way looks sexy. the smaller your blocks the better it will look.


the other option is, to take more time and effort to make everything look like strait lines. if you look at the noses of the aircraft. you can see that one moves with the curves of the jet and the other tried to keep it blocky. i know the second picture is not a great example because its paint job is not as involved, but it shows somewhat what i was talking about. i only throw this option out because some people have different preferences.


P.S. I plan on "Digi-ing" up my truck one day too. good luck!

Nice examples Dano! The second jet is more the look I'm going for. Straight lines, larger blocks, less "functional" but less crowded. Both look nice, but with something larger than a set of cammies, the four different colors start to look jumbled. Also, Explorers have some nice lines and I want to accentuate them, rather than hide them.

Tomorrow I have to bring a few parts over to the shop and give them my down payment. Everything should be seperated by then, so I'll try and get a few good pictures. They also told me that rather than sandblasting the entire frame, its cheaper and easier for them to prep it, POR it, and they'll even apply that brown bedliner I have over top of it. So maybe in the next two weeks or so I can show you guys the finished frame.

I do have one question about painting though, and reading various autobody forums shows two different opinions. For painting over the factory paint, after sanding, do I need sealer before I prime? Or is that only over bare metal?

Edit: Also, I wish I could find some pictures from when I was back in Yuma. We never had our Harriers digi'd out, but there was a really nice prowler there for WTI with a grey and light blue scheme. We did have a nice black tail bird though. Man, I miss being a Tomcat.


I miss it sometimes too. i spent some time in Corrosion Control and helped paint this aircraft. I Remember having to go to walmart at 2a.m. to get some painters tape to paint the ensign on the cheek. i had to re-do the whole thing. i didn't go home till 10a.m. it was a nightmare. using gloss paint that close to each other and getting strait lines is hard.



There she is. Body is already at the blasters. I'll get a more accurate quote once the resto shop gets it back, so they can see how much rust repair they're going to really need to do.


That's how bad the frame got. Looks a lot worse than I had realized. They can still save it though, so I picked probably the last year everything was still salvageable to do this.

I also got to take a look at the liftgate they'd started on. Not completely done yet, but the new metal was on and it's pretty much perfect.

And as far as that whole six month timeline and three grand budget, well, that's completely out the window. I'll probably have it down for the next year or two so I can get it all finished, instead of half-assing it just to meet an arbitrary deadline I set. This way, I can also save up to get some Torque Monster Headers and a custom rear trail bumper made up. Oh, and maybe the cowl hood I've been thinking about...

On a project like this, you are far better off being patient and doing it right the first time.

Keep your eye on the target - the end result - the time will pass faster than you think. ;)

i really dont see anything wrong with the frame. most of that would come off with a wire wheel and elbow grease.

Agreed- that frame isn't bad for a northern salt-road truck.

Are you going to redo all of the steel lines while you're in there?

Yup, redoing brake, trans, and fuel lines. Also going to replace all the power steering hoses, coolant hoses, heater hoses, and trans cooler hoses. And since its going to be open for so long, I'm most likely going to need an entire firewall forward a/c replacement. Heck, by the times I'm done it's gonna be cleaner than your rides Joe. And she's never seen bosch spark plugs, haha.

Stopped by on my way into work today. They had the frame prepped and nearly the entire rear end done with the first coat of POR. Already looks waaay better. Body should be back from the blasters tomorrow or Thursday. Also, since the guy who makes the Grizzly Grip is going to be going away for a few months, I need to order another few quarts or a gallon before Friday when they won't be taking any more orders. Hopefully he comes back when its time to get the stuff to go on the sides of the cab.

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nice cost a lot to paint?? this truck looks great... all parts so nice painted too

wery good job ...:thumbsup::thumbsup: