"Blue Bandit" (1992 Eddie Bauer) | Page 4 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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"Blue Bandit" (1992 Eddie Bauer)

Registry Version 2.0 (Warning: Lots and LOTS of pictures...)

The story of Blue Bandit is a long and fun-filled adventure...well, ok not really. This Explorer has been though Hell and high water, all over the US, and has put up with my abuse for almost 10 years now. This is my constant and ongoing project vehicle, and the epitome of the Bandit name. I would like to say that I have a direction with the design and revised engineering of this vehicle, but it's always changing. I'm making this truck my own, designed in my own image. Not to mention the sentimental value of it, as it was my first car when and I have had it since I was 15. But first, a little background..

The vehicle is a 1992 Eddie Bauer manufactured in April '92. It was then shipped by train to Joe Cooper Ford of Yukon, Oklahoma where it was sold to Owner #1 in May of that year. During the first year of ownership, the entire driver side of the truck was repainted for reasons unknown to me. In May of '93, Blue was traded in at Diffee Ford of El Reno, Oklahoma where it was purchased for a neighbor of my sister using funds from a Texas state lottery. She drove it until '97, when my sister purchased the vehicle at around 50,000 miles. It was here that I saw the Explorer for the first time around '97. I even was allowed to drive it a couple miles to a family friend's house when i was still in my early teens. Blue was the first car I ever drove on the roads :D. My sister owned and drove the vehicle until 128,000 miles when in 2001, the motor overheated and blew a head gasket.

Here's where I entered the picture. I was about to turn 16 in 2002 and needed a vehicle to drive. My sister offered to give me the Explorer and to take over the bank note on it (which was $1,958.00) and I could keep it. Keep in mind it needed engine repair and the A/C system was non-functioning. But I was happy and sent the truck off immediately to a mechanic and have the heads checked and new gaskets.

Three months and $951.00 later, it was August 2002 and I had a drivable car. I was still 15, but had a learner's permit so I got to drive the Explorer to school in the mornings with my father. Once October rolled around, I passed my driver's test, and on 10-21-02 I was free...Well, i would have been except Blue's starter went out the day I got my license. Oh, foreshadowing, you are an evil ***** :roll:

Two weeks later, I was on the road again, and kept the truck pretty much stock for the first few months. It was here I discovered ExplorerForum.com when my 4WD quit working playing out on a river July 4th weekend, 2003. Trouble has ensued since :p:

List of Modifications:

Limited Grille (1994)
Limited Headlight doors (1994)
Explorer Express Fiberglass Airdam W/ Foglamps
Side Mirrors w/ puddle lamps (1999)
Eddie Bauer running boards w/ flairs w/ lights (2000)
Lund Windjammer air deflector
Second Gen Power Sunroof (1997)
Roof Rack Removed
Aluminum Billet Fuel Door (5.0 Resto)
Mountianeer Rear Bumper w/ reflectors (1997)
Navajo Tail Lights (1992)

Limited Seats w/ memory function (2000)
-ISO Data Capable
NOS limited door panels
Second Gen carpet (1997)
Second Gen Trim Panels (1997)
Second Gen Center Console (1995, 1998, 2000)
Second Gen Headliner
Second Gen Overhead Console w/ sunroof (1997)
-W/ First Gen Window Rocker Switch
Second Gen sun visors w/ homelink (2000)
Second Gen Seat Belts w/ Buckles (2000)
Tan Glove Box w/ matching color handle (1993)
Tan door handle cover plates (1999)
First Gen limited Dash Bezel (1994)
Navajo Gauge Cluster w/ 6-digit odometer (1994)
Reverse Glo White Face Gauges
Faux Carbon Fiber Gauge Overlay
P R N D 2 1 Indicator (2001)
O/D Cancel gear shift lever (1997)
Electronic Mirror (1994)

Hybrid EEC-IV/EEC-V harness
-W/ Data Link Connector
EEC-IV Diagnostic Monitor Switch
RABS Diagnostic Monitor Switch
Second Gen Message Center (1995)
One Touch Down Relay for Passenger Window
Automatic Headlights
-Remote Access Feature w/ FOB
Sidewinder 6500 ESP Alarm w/ remote Start
DEI 795T Pager System
DEI 516L Voice Module w/ P.A.
First Gen Anti-theft light tied with Alarm (1994)
Second Gen cargo Door Lock Switch
-W/ First gen Lock Rocker Switch
First Gen JBL duel Amp with subwoofer (1991)
Jensen VM9512 Head unit
Jensen Nav101 Navigation Module

Hand-Rebuilt 4.0 OHV (1992)
-Clevite Bearings (Cam, crank, etc)
-Manual Transmission Cam Profile
-Bored .030 Over
-Shaved Heads
-Higher Compression
-New valves and seats
-Painted Block (Medium Ford Blue)
-Custom Painted Valve Covers
5R55E Automatic 5-Speed Transmission (1997)
-Plug-n-Play Custom Wiring Harness
-EEC-V Controlled
-Live PID Data Capable

Here is how the truck looked when I got it back from head gasket repair and started cleaning it out:












After getting it cleaned and vacuuming out all the horse feed and hay, i went to the Ford dealer and purchased a replacement arm rest bracket to fix the one that was broken. $69.00 dollars. Oh, I wish I had known about salvage yards.

Then my first aftermarket parts. When I found EF, I also found ExplorerExpress.com as well. So I got a billet grille and installed that.

Shortly after, clear front signals.


After this (I don't remember exactly when) I changed to an aftermarket radio and got a set of white face gauges from carparts.net and installed them.

I was in my first vehicle collision on 07-25-2003 at 9:03 AM in west OKC. An Isuzu Rodeo failed to yield to oncoming traffic (me) and I t-boned him smack in the A-pillar doing about 30 MPH. He and his grandson was uninjured as was I. I was upset of course, but no citations were given and thus began the process of insurance. In the end, a month later, i was given a check for $1,600.00 dollars since the truck barely missed being totaled.

And what was sad and funny at the same time was a day after my wreck, I received my open air intake from Ifab.net. So being the impatient teen, I installed it anyway with the truck still wrecked :rolleyes:

Well, seeing as how I wanted to learn how to work on cars, i repaired all the damage myself...albeit poorly looking back :rolleyes:

Did I mention that I started and finished all the body repair in one night...as school night? Because I did have to have it the next day :D

So the next day, i finished up with some of the little things and was done...Or so I thought.

With the aftermarket Ford panels (purchased from FordPartsNetwork.com before they went away) I was noticing some fitment issues. This could have been because of my poor repair abilities, or because of the panels themselves. SO that plagued Blue for a LONG time..

(Blue's first limited-spec addition, a plum colored hood, LOL.)

It was at this point the true nature of what would become a Bandit took place. With the money I saved in labor costs, I started upgrading parts. First I started with the ExplorerExpress fiberglass airdam:

And then the limited seats. It was here I tried my first wiring attempt to make the limited power seat tracks work...I failed. So I just swapped over the original Eddie Bauer seat track and bolted the limited seat to it.

After the limited seats were installed, I discovered that they started making the diamond eye clear headlamps for first gens. So of course I bought a set :rolleyes:

By now I think it was 2004 and I decided to try my hand at wiring in a remote start with keyless entry. The system is a discontinued Directed Electronics Sidewinder 6500ESP. I bought it used from a member here on EF. It came out of a Bronco II I believe. Anyway, did this all in one night and swore never to do another wiring job again, LOL. The irony. :D

I decided to hide the main module beneath the cup holders so I modified the Center console to hold it. This would bite me in the bum year later when I went to install my second gen center console :rolleyes:

Next I wanted to change up the tails on Blue because at this age, If i saw something that was offered for Explorers, I bought it no matter what. Oh well, it was something different :cool:

While I was working on the rear end, i thought 'Hey, why stop there?' See, there comes a pivotal point in every Explorer Owner's life where he crosses the threshold of taking a sander to the paint. It was here that I decided I wanted to play body repair man and bought primer and body filler. So for those of you that have always wondered why my truck has primer on it longer than good paint, the following is why.

First I removed the emblems. I wanted a nice smooth look in the rear.

Next I removed the upper and lower window trim pieces. These, IMO, interupt the flow, lol

Well, we can't just leave those holes sitting like that...

Ground the welds down smooth

And lastly, primer...Just not done very well.

Did I stop there? Naw, I still had a can of primer left :D So the dents on the passenger side were filled and smoothed out

About this time, it was December of 2004 and I needed to replace the front rotors. Why replace them with stockers when I can get a set of powerslots for christmas? So I did :D

So I began swapping them over

Also during this time, I had this wild hair to lower my explorer. Well, after searching, I found a set of discontinued Ebach 2" lowering springs for the explorer off eBay for 50 bucks. So yea, i got them. Also picked up blacks for the rear, and went to town.

Stock Height:

And beginning by ripping out old springs and shocks

And then I Started on the back...

And here it was 2" lowered all around. This lasted for about a year before I couldnt stand the harsh ride anymore and went back to stock springs and height. But it was a fun experience for sure, lol.

About this time I decided to also paint the interior trim some accenting colors to contrast with the still non-existent paint scheme :rolleyes: Hey, i was young, lol.

There was a group buy on EF from 50resto.com for Mustang billet fuel caps, so I jumped on that and decided to install it somehow.

Had to modify the body just a bit...

Shortly after moving out, my friend Andrew and I had a rollover party for our vehicles...200k for Blue, and 100k for his thunderbird..so we had fun with that

The Isuzu Rodeo Pinata

Me on the far right looking hot as ever :p:

This brings us to the summer of 2005, if I havent left anything out. By this point, I was graduating high school and was getting ready for my move to Edmond for school. You may have noticed that the barn pictured throughout this registry...I would be leaving that too, so there was a couple years from 2005-2007 I kind of disappeared from the forum. Not because of lack of interest, but because of school, my mothers death, and lack of a place to modify stuff, I just really couldn't do anything. So here are some random pictures from that 'dark era'.

While in school, I made friends with a guy named Craig, who has a 96 XLT, and he hasnt left me since (lol, kidding craig, youre a great kid)

In December of 2006, I took Blue to the colorado mountains for some skiing fun and adventure...some of you may remember that this was also the same time frame as one of the worst blizzards in denvers history...so much it shout down Denver International Airport..But I digress. Begin randomness...

On the way home from Loveland Pass, Co, the roads had opened back up and since we were so close to Estes PArk, Co, I wanted to visit the Stenley Hotel...You may recognize this as being the hotel that Stephen King wrote 'The Shining' and was the same location used for the miniseries of the same name in 1997. Anyway, here's Blue at the Stanley...

In June 2007, I wanted to go tour the Lousiville Assembly Plant where Blue was manufactured all those years ago. You can read about my experiance here.

So I drove the 14 hours there, in Blue, and took him 'home' for the first time.

That brings us to the end of 2007. 2008 was pretty much uneventful as far as mods to Blue. I did move into a rental house though in April '08 which had a garage, so that's when I started getting back into the forum much more and began a new shift in diving into Blue and changing things :D

Until the end of 2008. 12-17-08 to be exact. It was a sunday afternoon and Blue's head gasket went AGAIN :mad:. So What to do? Well, refer to to the forum of course! After much reading, and borrowing my mom's old Lincoln Town Car, I decided of all things to rebuild Blue's Motor. I have never rebuilt a motor before, and to that point in my life, that would have been the most advanced mechanictry I have ever done. So will AllData in one hand, and the Forum in the other, I went to town and bought a 1992 Ford Ranger 4.0 with a manual transmission and transfer case for 400 dollars. Motor ran, tranny was bad but all i needed was the motor. I ended up scrapping what I didnt use anyway. The Ranger was named, aptly, Blue's Little B***h. :cool:

So the Ranger was towed home and I lept in with both feet.

...And started getting the motor ready from removal. Mind you, I had never done this before, lol

And finally it was out! Yay! But now I had to start tearing it apart, uh oh.

Just thought I would remove the dash for no other reason to then to see how difficult it was...

Gotta have my models :D My Best Friend Alicia was so gracious enough to help me out with this whole project..Thank You Alicia!

After the motor was pulled from the ranger, it went to ranger heaven, and Blue was pulled in...

And then Blue's motor was out...

Meanwhile, while All this was goin on, I had the heads resurfaced, vatted, and magafluxed along with new valve, springs, and guides.

And then low and behold, the motor came back with a balanced crank, bored cylinder .030 over, new plugs, polished cam, and the entire rebuildkit

Me praying to the OHV gods...

And would you believe it took me 3 HOURS to polish and clean this thing???

Hmm, what could I be doing here?

Oh, thats what I did :D


We can save him, we have the technology...

And after 10 months, 2500 dollars, a lot of blood, sweat, tears, swearing, and damn near dying, my Blue bandit is ready to breath life once more...

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So this weekend Dan and his brother came up to get Baxter and bring him back to Texas. This was a good time to head to Pull a part and get a few things. Well, ill let the pictures speak for themselves, but look what Russell found at the salvage yard for $7.50 per seat...Here's a hint...they are heated AND cooled and from a navigator :D:D



Stay Tuned :eek:

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I havent gotten the seats modded or rewelded to be bolted in, but last night I did wire up the passenger seat (4 wires) by making a converter harness that goes between the explorer black 4 pin connector in the floor (99-01 style) and the 4 pin navigator connector in the seat (they are different). Doing it this way prevented me from having to recut and resolder the body connector and allows me to still run the limited seats should I not permanently install these navi seats. But anyway, wired it up and the heated function works very well! About 40-50 degrees warmer then the surrounding leather (verified with non-contact IR thermometer). Waiting for a warm day to check the temps for the cooled function, probably this weekend.

I also built the driver side converter harness, which is a bit more complicated since it has all the memory functions and wiring for the mirrors as well. But same thing, ill be able to retain the body side limited seat connector from the floor.

They are gonna look, and feel, great Russell. :thumbsup:

Thanks Dan! You sat in them, so you can tell if they were comfy or not lol. But for the price I paid for them lol

Well, tonight was a big step in functionality. While not a difficult repair, I did get the A/C system functional again. It last worked if I remember about may of last year when the evap compression nuts rapidly discharged the entire system while on the freeway. Never could hold a vacuum again after that. So tonight I bought a brand new evaporator (125 dollars, eeck!) and coolant and such and in about an hour had the system holding a steady vacuum (yay). I ran out of freon but charged it and its working beautifully now...well, FOR now anyway, lol. interesting side note: the ac system has been repaired in some manor about 5 or 6 times in the last 10 years. The condensor, however, is still factory on the damn thing lol. Oh well, working ac means the cooled seats will work better now at least. Thats all for tonight!

Only update so far is three words...

Power adjustable pedals


Just a little tidbit of info...I thought that if in the future, should anything happen to me, i needed a good resource for Blue so that the next unlucky owner would know what the hell i did and how i did it. So i put together some light reading material...granted, it's not done yet, nor do i have my electrical diagrams in there, but hey, better than nothing!


I also found a few electrical goodies in my local salvage yard, and proceeded to pick them up. Got the tan passenger vents from a 93-94


And i also got the complete rear parking aid/sensor system from a 2001 Navigator (Someone i got my seats from). this is the switch, the module, and rear bumper sensors and all the wiring for it. Here is the module mocked up in a spare fender i had to check for clearance.


But, until after the move, all my projects are on hold for now. it shouldn't take long to install the back up system, but alas, packing and getting ready for the move take priority.

And while I dont have pictures of it working, the driver seat Navigator seat is installed and working properly (heated, cooled, and memory functions). And I alluded to it in the above post, but i also jacked the power adjustable pedals from the navigator to retrofit into blue, which ties into the memory function of the driver seat module, so cool things are on the way!

in the midst of packing, i thought i would head down to the local pull a part and do a little shopping. while there, i picked up a new heated/cooled selector switch for the passenger navigator seat, a non-broken DPFE sensor, and 10 door handles. Why 10 door handles? Well, Im doing some experimentation....

door handle from a Grand Marquis...

And a door handle from a 97 Lincoln Town Car...

like i said, just doing some testing around to improve the looks of the interior. And yes, both handles snap right into place and open the door w/o modification. The only mods is the reshape the actual handle to clear the little black plastic cover thingy that goes behind the door handle.

And since I had the rear door apart, i threw in the one touch down relay on both rear doors real quick


in my effort to try and bring a few little luxurious touches to the 92, i decided to do something with the many cargo lights i have and create a footwell light. So i cut a hole on the center console, and ran the domelight supervision circuit to it and, well, there you go....


Not much to post here right now, I took blue off insurence for the time being, but that only means that I have got some cool stuff planned for him soon...including:

Rear disc brake / axle swap
Rear Air ride Control
Backup sensors
Sunroof install finishing
auto-up windows w/ alarm arming

and much, much more!

So stay tuned!

Going to go pick up some new goodies tonight...pics later...

Well, tomorrow blue gets pretty much all new suspension, a new steering box, and a rear disc axle. That is all


Well....its nit exactly me whos doing the work lol. Kris offered to do all the work for me lol. He's pretty awesome lol

You are gonna owe Kris big time for this...still he will never feel the joy of taking a sawzall to Blue like I have. :p:

You are gonna owe Kris big time for this...still he will never feel the joy of taking a sawzall to Blue like I have. :p:

dude, why is everyone out to try and destroy my truck?!? :eek:

So since I am work, Kris is working on Blue at home. And for those that know me, even though i have complete 100% faith and trust in Kris and what he is doing, im still freaking out a bit since im not there with him (Blue, not Kris, lol). So here are the pics ive gotten this morning that sent me into shock...




Poor Kris. Looks like Blue is putting up a fight.

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As Blue is wont to do...I know he misses me and is probably freaking out because im not there.