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Well-Known Member
November 12, 2007
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City, State
Gypsum, Colorado
Year, Model & Trim Level
'94 Eddie Bauer
So awhile back I decided it was time to start doing some mods to my X. Some mods that would make it better off road. A friend of a friend had a Warn 9000xd that had only been used once. He rolled his Toyota and they used it to roll it back over. I made him an offer of $300 cash and thought we had a deal. A couple of weeks later, our mutual friend is asking me if I can help him figure out how to wire it up to make sure it works! He sold it out from under me! Of course I told them to figure it out for themselves.

Fast forward about a month to the weekend of my birthday. My wife and kidz are taking me out of town to celebrate. As we are getting in her truck to leave she hands me the keys the car in the garage and tells me to check the trunk. I'm thinking it must be tools or something, after all, it's a Miata. The trunk space is about the size of a shoe box. So I opened it up and WOW! I wouldn't have been more suprised if someone would have jumped out and hit me between the eyes with a pipe! My winch was laying in the trunk! My wife went behind my back and bought it out from under me. Then she had them make sure it still worked and rewrap the cable so it looked pretty for me. She really is the best!

So now that I have a winch I decide to lift the X a little for more clearance. I started with the F-150 coil spacers and had my buddy Karl (professional welder) build me a set of shackles for the rear. This helped, but my goal of running 33x12.50R15s was going to take more. I didn't want to spend a bunch doing a big lift on the ttb since I plan on going SAS at some point. That left me with a body lift. The information I found said that it would be tight and fender trimming would be a probability. They also said those tires wouldn't fit right on the stock rims. I don't listen well and decided to go for it anyway and bought the 3 inch body lift and installed it. I don't have any pictures of the install, but it went just like the instructions said. I didn't raise the bumpers since I was planning on custom bumpers, and also have an electric fan.

I drove it around lifted with the stock sized tires and stock bumpers in their original position for quite awhile before I was able to begin building the custom bumpers. Here are some pictures of her in the mock up phase.


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Pretty cool looking mock-up. That winch is going to be in there tight to the rad. How much room did you allow and how beefy are you making the winch plate?

I am in the process of gearing up a winch in my custom bumper too.

I really like you design for the rear.

Keep in mind it's January in Colorado when we're doing this. I drove it around for one week with the mock ups on it while we gathered parts and steel. It snowed on us a couple times that week and the cardboard warped a little. But we were able to salvage it and begin building. We worked four weekends, two for the front and two for the rear to get them built We added some features along the way that made it more difficult than it should have been, but I am completely satisfied with the end results We shot them with a black primer and mounted them up. We decided not to finish coat them until after I had a chance to test them out. Here are some pictures of them with the 33x12.50R15 tires that everyone said wouldn't fit right on the stock rims and wouldn't clear without trimming.




Soo nice...

You have any build pics? They both turned out great.

Your wheels would look good satin black.

Here are a few action shots of her sporting the bumpers and tires I wanted when I started this little project. The tires rub the front swaybar at full lock, and the rears rub inside the wheel wells when you get off camber. I'm working on wheel spacers for the rear, and I just remove the swaybar up front when I go wheeling now. Right before we got our first big storm here, I stripped both bumpers off and applied a bedliner compound to both of them to seal them up. I did have to go back in and repair the front bumper near the opening for the winch. I used the fairlead as a ram against a rock and bent it and the bumper on the lower drivers edge of the fairlead. I just applied heat to it and beat it back as far as I could and then welded a strip along the bottom edge of the opening to reinforce it where it is weakest. I haven't had a chance to see how strong it is since the repair, but I don't recommend or have plans to use the fairlead as a ram again either.


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Great work. I love the tire mount. That rear bumper and mount must weigh a ton.

Beautiful country out there.

I would really like to see more detailed pictures of your rear bumper and swing out tire carrier and if at all possible get the measurements for it. I plan on making a steel rear bumper and swing out tire carrier for my "03 Sport Trac. Thanks in advanced.

I wanted to put a swing away carriers like that on my stock rear bumper and get my spare out of the back. Do you have a pic of your latch?

Great pic's of Holy Cross trail.

A little more info on the build. I don't have any build pictures...I get too wrapped up when working to stop for pictures. There was plenty of room behind the bumper between the radiator for the winch, but notice the transmission cooler isn't stock anymore. I removed the factory cooler and replaced it with a cooler from a Super Duty w/ a 7.3 diesel. It fit nicely and is alot more efficient. Karl built me custom hydraulic lines to replace the factory steel lines. They turned out awesome. The front bumper weighs about 50-75 lbs without the winch. The winch has to be close to that (try hanging one of those things behind a bumper by yourself!). That rear bumper is damn heavy! It has a hidden toolbox built into it, so it probably weighs around 150 lbs without the spare. Toss another 40-50 lbs on for that. Don't forget about all the crap in the toolbox, and you get a pretty good idea of how heavy it is. We used 1/4" cold rolled for most of it except the toolbox, we used 1/8" for it. The tire carrier is 2 x 3 rectangular tubing 1/8" wall. The hinge is a kit Karl found online, it came with tapered roller bearings, seals, a two piece inner shaft, the outer "hub", that sweet looking aluminum locknut, and that upper support bracket. It is supposed to be rated for 1000-1500 lbs. I bought the latch kit that was sold by the same company. The "D" rings are 1" plate that Karl cut out with the torch. Like a hot knife through warm butter. There isn't any extra support for the winch, it doesn't need any. We used two 12mm bolts and two 3/8" bolts on each bracket to bolt it to the frame. Then the receiver hitch actually ties into a 2" tube that is part of a new rear frame crossmember I welded in. I cut the old one out to make room for an auxillary fuel tank I want to add. They have been field tested several times and I finally broke down and removed them and cleaned them up and applied a couple heavy coats of Herculiner to seal them up. I will get some more pictures of them this weekend and post them up.

I feel the need to explain why people say 33's wont work on stock wheels. They fit, but the wheels are too skinny for a tire that wide, so the tread doesnt stay flat if you inflate the tires to the factory specs. The only problem that will cause on road is the center of the tire will wear faster, and off road you should air down, but most recommend airing down anyway. My experience is that even 32's on stock rims wear poorly. Just a bit of info for ya. I love way it looks though

I've noticed that, but I run them around 22-24 lbs and they seem to be pretty close to flat in relation to the road. I guess time will tell...

awesome looking explorer! makes me wish i left mine with the lift on it, and went this route instead of where i ended up now

:thumbsup: I love this type of bumper that you did, what thickness of the material you chose for this achievement please
Do you keep the original attachment of the bumper or you make with new
thank you very much


It's made of 1/4" cold rolled steel, except for the hidden storage compartment, we made it out of 1/8". We made new brackets that bolt to the original bumper mounting points. The rear bumper reciever hitch also mates up to a custom rear crossmember that ties the two frame rails together and has a "spud" sticking out of it that locates into the backside of the reciever hitch...giving it extra support.

Amazing fab work!

Would you be willing to post your source for the rear bumper parts? And maybe some action shots of your custom cross-member and ninja toolbox?

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I've noticed that, but I run them around 22-24 lbs and they seem to be pretty close to flat in relation to the road. I guess time will tell...

If the tires are still new enough, and you can find some flat, dry pavement (big if's); you could always do the chalk line test on your tires to find the right psi. It is annoying and slow, but could really save a headache down the road.