Converting to square body | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

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Zwooster

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Hey I just inherited a 2004 Explorer from my parents and want to make it my daily driver because although I LOVE my 2010 Ranger, I need an SUV for storing tools with a bit more towing capacity. I am currently fixing the reverse band In the transmission and have a 2” body lift kit to put on it and then a shackle to level out the back.

The reason for this post though is that I love the look of the 1st generation square body Explorers and really would love to get that look on this 3rd gen Explorer. I know there is a 2” width difference because of the roll over problems the original explorers had but has anyone had any luck changing at least the front bumper, grill, fenders, panels, and hood to get that square body look? I know I can get custom work done but I am very scrappy and like to do all the work myself.

If anyone has attempted something like this please let me know! I love this old car and want to make it look awesome.
 
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CDW6212R

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I think the greater width at the front firewall, the door area, will make matching the front end parts not work out well at all. If you could live with the 2nd gen trucks, those are the same at the firewall and front doors. The fenders are a perfect match at the doors. But changing that 91-94 front end onto a 95-01 is also not simple. The radiator supports are much different at the front top, higher on the older trucks. So for those, you would need to alter the top of the radiator support, sectioning and merging the old support with the 95-01 structure. I almost went that route with my 99/93 truck, but I opted to cut the whole firewall and front clip to use the 99 front end.

The 98-01 302 Explorers are the most reliable of any Explorer so far, those are still very good starting points for a truck, if you work out the old age items(water pump and timing cover gasket, timing chain), and general wear from prior owners(poor oil maintenance example).
 
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Zwooster

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I think the greater width at the front firewall, the door area, will make matching the front end parts not work out well at all. If you could live with the 2nd gen trucks, those are the same at the firewall and front doors. The fenders are a perfect match at the doors. But changing that 91-94 front end onto a 95-01 is also not simple. The radiator supports are much different at the front top, higher on the older trucks. So for those, you would need to alter the top of the radiator support, sectioning and merging the old support with the 95-01 structure. I almost went that route with my 99/93 truck, but I opted to cut the whole firewall and front clip to use the 99 front end.

The 98-01 302 Explorers are the most reliable of any Explorer so far, those are still very good starting points for a truck, if you work out the old age items(water pump and timing cover gasket, timing chain), and general wear from prior owners(poor oil maintenance example).
That is a tone of really helpful information thank you! I have thought about going with the 2nd gen front end but if I’m doing all that work and buying the parts (or sourcing from the scrap yards) and then likely having to paint I’m thinking I might end up trying to fabricate custom front end parts to get exactly what I want.
 
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CDW6212R

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Maybe give McNeal a call and see if they have anything in fiberglass that would fit?


That is a good idea to explore also. The aftermarket does make a lot of wider body parts now for all models of Explorer. They might make fenders for a 1st gen that could more easily be adapted to a 3rd gen front door, than any OEM fenders.

Hell, maybe given some wide fenders like that, the rest of the 91-94 front end(grille etc), might be more feasible. The 1st gen's are taller at the front than the 2nd gen trucks, and possible similar to the 3rd gen's at the front.
 
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Rick

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Hell, maybe given some wide fenders like that, the rest of the 91-94 front end(grille etc), might be more feasible. The 1st gen's are taller at the front than the 2nd gen trucks, and possible similar to the 3rd gen's at the front.

They make wide 2nd gen fenders to fit 1st gen's but I don't think they make 1st gen fenders which will fit a 2nd Gen.
 
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yeet1331

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I got the third gen specifically because I personally think it's the best of the Explorers with a perfect harmony of old and new tech, design, and power.
 
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domct203

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..........I am currently fixing the reverse band In the transmission and have a 2” body lift kit to put on it and then a shackle to level out the back.
There are no shackles on the 3rd Gen, it’s a full independent suspension
 
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CDW6212R

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There are no shackles on the 3rd Gen, it’s a full independent suspension

Yeah, the rear axles go right though the frame. That's wild.
 
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Mbrooks420

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How?
 
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J_C

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I suspect that it won't be until you get older, that you realize what a waste of time and money this was, IF you continue down this path.

If you really want a project, it's not your daily driver any month soon, and you should pour that into something that will be restored to be more valuable instead of modded into something nobody else considers value-improved, so maybe get a Bronco?

Suppose you pour $5K worth of time and parts into this (mostly time), then some patch of ice or a texting teenager totals it. What then? Can you even get insurance for declared value from this kind of modification? Probably if you pay enough, but did you consider this extra expense and if an (your) insurance company will even want to cover this?

It's all adding up to something that seems like it won't benefit you. Maybe think on it a few months.
 
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Mbrooks420

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You can insure a vehicle at any value you want. When I was insuring my KTM I had it insured for over double it’s book value.

Granted, dropping such work into an Explorer that’s still going to have a problematic motor and transmission probably isn’t the most sensible.

It’d be far cooler to source a lower mileage 1st Gen, and add the options and convenience features you want.
 
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