Build thread - Skyforger | Page 3 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Build thread - Skyforger

OK, done waffling. Final decision on color - Lamborghini Arancio Atlas.

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Added the fog and flood lights to the roof rack, and a set of driving lights on the front bumper today. They aren't wired yet.


I got some more work done today. There were a few holes in the liftgate and the driver's quarter panel. All holes on the quarter panel were rust holes, while the ones on the tailgate were from debadging, accompanied by a sick dent. I started yesterday by removing the obvious rust, and coating the remaining rust with Loctite Rust Converter. This morning, I plugged the holes with JB Weld mix stick, and by this afternoon, it was time for Bondo and sanding.



Then came primer. I used a high-grade Rustoleum filler/sandable primer.


That looks a lot better than rust holes. Now. it's been wicked hot outside, and the AC has not worked since I got the truck. I found out that the problem was 3-fold. The AC/Heat blend door actuator was not working and stuck on heat. The AC system had a decent seal leak, and it has no refrigerant.

I cut the core box open and manually set the blend door to AC, then loaded a can of Arctic Freeze large leak sealer into the low side port. Now comes time for the R134a.



The last time I loaded Freon into this thing, it all leaked out within a half hour. Now, it's been 7 hours, and it's still blowing ice cold. Good news on 90 degree days.

Now, next week's project is staring me in the face.


Looking good. Keep going man. I like the blacked out grill.

Started repairing that rusted-out fender tonight. I cut out the worst of the rust, coated the rest with multiple layers of rust reformer, then beat the edges of this mess inwards with a hammer. Afterwards, I patched the hole over with two chunks of screening, and formed up a chunk of sheet steel and riveted/screwed it into the hole. I then started laying coats of Bondo over the whole mess.

It looks like absolute garbage. However, when the sun comes up tomorrow, there will be much more skim-layering, sanding, and priming. And that makes me happy.



Reformed, trimmed, primed, and screened


Skim layer and hole filler


I pounded out as much of that sick passenger door whiskey dent as I could, and started sanding and filling that too


Then I ran out of Bondo, so I removed the rear wiper arm, holder, and motor. I then started to sand, prime, and paint the edges


The story here is simple. I've now decided against a huge, expensive, tri-layer paint job. This truck will never be straight enough to do that. The doglegs and rockers both need cut out and replaced (I'm thinking around September for that). The color I've settled on is spray-can Satin black. I'm going to do it incredibly thick. It's the same color as the wheels right now, and leaves a soft glint of light, but is not mirror-gloss (which I prefer, honestly). The rear liftgate was only done around the edges, as I am going to be finishing the gate with large red and yellow NFPA chevron decals. As for the wiper, I can't say I've ever used one at all, and I've owned an Explorer and 3 Cherokees prior.


Side note - This thing has some rust in the most interesting of places.

On the photos of the liftgate above, you will see a rainbow staining coming from the metal buttons that attach the glass to their lift shocks. Those buttons had surface rust. I sanded them, coated them in rust reformer, masked them off, and painted them with 4 coats of satin black.

Well, as badass storm-chaserific as those four roof-mounted halogen lights look, they are about to come down.

I just ordered one of these a few days ago.


Well, as badass storm-chaserific as those four roof-mounted halogen lights look, they are about to come down.

I just ordered one of these a few days ago.


i saw those lights on ebay have been thinking very strongly they may be right for my build wondering if they direct wire or need to go to a relay to power on. will be following your comments.

Direct wire will be fine. There's no way that thing will pull more than 20 amps.

I'll look at the specs when it gets here.

Looks like the exact one I have. You're going to be blown away by the brightness.

Blown away doesn't begin to describe this light.

Arrived, and properly mounted. I used self-tapping hex-head cap screws, and drilled a half-inch hole. Used a rubber grommet to run the wire through, and siliconed both sides of everything.



Next came some custom work to the overhead console -



And bright? Not even properly describing it. More like, there's another sun coming from my fire station.



Sanded the Bondo flat as humanly possible on that passenger quarter panel.


Started the two-tone can job -




More to follow

That black turned out really bad. After about a week on the truck, it was hazing horribly. I have started to experiment with many different ideas, and I found a winner.

A local trader supply is going out of business. They have the large cans of Rustoleum gloss enamel (1gal) for $12. 7747, Sunburst Yellow. Harbor Freight just opened in town. Can you say $50 paint sprayer? I can.

I sanded off the spots where rock chips in the hood were forming rust spots.

Then primered the whole thing (ran out of gray, so finished it with black)

Now, testing methods for the yellow



Moving right along. I figured out that the secret to factory-smooth glossy paint from a spray can is to sand whatever base you are painting with 400 grit Wetordry before layering multiple coats of gloss paint.



you got some mad time into this project man!! keep it up!

Looking good man. I sprayed a quart of that same paint a while back. And some John Deere synthetic enamel, now that's some crazy good paint.

Any updates?

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So, a little bit bogged down with work, but Whiskey Dents is good enough to be called Skyforger! I finished up the paint work, and have installed the NFPA 1905 chevrons (which I will photograph tomorrow). I swapped out all of the radio gear except for the CB with new radio gear.

Out with the old -
- Kenwood TK8180 UHF
- Vertex Standard VX4205 VHF

In with the new -
- Motorola XTL 1500 UHF
- Motorola MCS 2000 VHF
- Motorola MCS 2000 800MHz





I also re-cased my 2-meter portable and set it up for storm chasing, very easy and cheap.