Got my tube bumper made up this weekend... | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Got my tube bumper made up this weekend...


Explorer Addict
January 3, 2001
Reaction score
City, State
Cedar Rapids, IA
Year, Model & Trim Level
'93 Ranger
She is outside drying right now, but here are some unpainted pics...


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Looks good. Tad bit bulky for my tastes but nice none the less. Are you putting anything extra on it? Winch mount, d-rings, receiver, etc.

Got specs on that monster Ford in the corner?

Very nice, by the way what kind of truck is that in the back

We had to make it that tall to make up for the BL, any smaller and it wouldn't cover the gap and still be infront of the frame horns. I'm not adding anything to it, mine is purly cosmedic. If I was going to start wheeling again I would put some clevices and a reciver on it.
With that basic design the modifications that can be made to it are almost endless... winchmount, clevices, reciever... the hight can easily be adjusted with shorter cross bars, the tube can be shorter or longer, it can had more of a curve too it, and can be farther out too of course.
The whole thing was made by hand with a manual tube bender.
Not sure on the specs of the truck, I'll ask my friend... I drewl over it every time I see it too. ;)

i like that bumper man. looks good! and that other project your workin on.. id love to cut the back of my truck... :D

your explorer looks really good with the new bumper, it looks more offroad
good job,

is that a skid plate i saw under there? and if so how did you make it?

Greg Cejka said:
is that a skid plate i saw under there? and if so how did you make it?

Front skid plate for '95 - '01 Ford Explorers...

Tools I used…
Ratchet set
1” open-ended wrench
1\4” open-ended wrench
Long needle-nose pliers
Bottle jack
Scissor jack
1” and ½” drill bit
Electric hand drill

After putting way too many dents in my front cross-member and getting sticks and mud packed up in my radiator. I decided to install a skid-plate on the front of my ”99 XLT Explorer. A friend in a local club had already made one for his í97 Sport and another had one for his “01 Sport, so I looked at both of theirs and started to make my own.
The first thing I did was take measurements from the out side of the left frame-rail to the outside of the right frame rail, right behind my front bumper. I took my bumper off for this, but it is not necessary. I then added two inches to that measurement to make sure I had hangover on each side. The reason I am not including measurements with this write-up is because each person may want to make their skid-plate wider than another does. I could have made it wider if I had wanted. This is now what I call the top of the skid-plate.
The next measurement I took was from the end of the frame-rail to the front of the cross-member. I then added on 5 inches, because I knew I wanted it to not only goes to the cross-member, but also to go back far enough to cover the bottom of the front differential.
Next measurement taken was the width of the cross-member. This is important, because if you have some hanging over you could hit the skid-plate with the lower A arm on either side.
I took all of my measurements and drew out a diagram on a piece of cardboard of how the skid-plate would look. Basically it will be like this \_/. I then took the diagram to my local metal shop and had them cut out a piece of 1/4” dimondplate using my diagram. I got non stainless steel dimondplate because I liked the look of it and I knew I was going to be painting it, but you can use and steel that you think looks good. Also I got ¼” because I new I was going to actually be using the skid-plate to deflect rocks and stuff. If you are only making a skid-plate for looks you can use 1/8” and it will still give you some protection.
After getting the cutout skid-plate, I placed it in my cargo area and forgot about it till spring. I don't have a garage to work in and it is no fun laying in snow and ice.
Once I was ready to install the skid-plate, I went and purchased 2 1”x4” grade 8 bolts and two ½”x1” grade 8 bolts with washers and locknuts.
I went to a friend’s house to have his help and I was glad I did, because it was his idea to reinforce the skid-plate with some 1/8” angle iron he had lying around. We placed one piece of angle iron on each edge about 1" from the top and 1" from the line where the front of the cross-member would be. Then we placed one down the middle from the top edge to the same 1" spot from the cross-member as the sidepieces. We sprayed the welds and the back of the skid-plate with primer and set it aside too dry.
Now we went about removing the front bumper, which is very easy. There are four nuts to remove, two on each side where the bumper attached to the frame-rail. If you have driving lights and have not all ready unplugged them, do so now. Pull the bumper forward and it will come right off. It is a little top heavy, so be ready for it to roll back toward the Explorer if you are holding it from the bottom. Lay the bumper off to the side.
Now is the perfect time to install front tow hooks. I already had mine installed, but I will go through the installation of those too.
I bought my tow hooks from Pep Boys. They come individual, but also come with all the required hardware to install them. There is already an oval hole on the bottom of each frame-rail that you can use for the front hole of your tow hook, but you will have to drill a 1” hole for the rear hole of the tow hook. Place the tow hook up to the bottom of the frame-rail and slide one of the bolts up through the hook and the oval hole into the frame-rail. If you look down inside the frame rail from the front you will see the bolt. To place the washer over the bolt, I used a set of skinny needle nose pliers and went through the end of the frame-rail. Same for the nut. I then put my finger through a hole in the side of the frame-rail to hold the nut and got it started on the bolt. Now, take an open-ended wrench and turn it side ways to slide through one of the slits in the end of the frame-rail. Turn it back the right way and you can place it on the nut. Tighten the bolt using a wrench or air ratchet and get the hook tight. Mark where the rear hole for the tow hook should be and turn the hook sideways and drill a 1” hole. Do this on both sides and then remove the tow hooks.
Now I placed the skid-plate up into position and marked where I needed to drill holes for the top bolts. I used the front holes (oval one) for my skid-plate. Next I placed the tow hook against the frame-rail and installed the rear bolt. I then placed the skid-plate up to the first hole and threaded my bolt (one of the 1”x4” ones you bought) through the skid-plate and tow hook. Tighten it down a little and repeat on the other side.
With the top bolts in place, but loose you can press the bottom of the skid-plate against the cross-member and make sure every thing lines up. A slight or 30 degree or so bent right where the skid-plate touches the front of the cross-member makes it easier to drill holes for the bottom bolts. We used a plow assembly to make out bend, but it was not easy, as the metal is VERY rigid. With the bent where we needed it and the top bolts reinstalled, we used a jack to push the bottom of the skid-plate up against the cross-member and drilled one hole on each side for the two smaller ½”x1” bolts. Insert the bolts and use you fingers to hold the nut in place from the open ends of the cross-member.
Tighten everything down nice and tight, reinstall your front bumper (don't forget to plug in your driving lights) and stand back and take a look.

I spayed my skid-plate down with two coats of some Rust-o-ileum rubber spray. It has yet to wear or chip off on me after a year. Check here for some pictures taken during the install...

thax i think its a great project that i will do if i can scrong up some mettal. By the way i really like your rig its the look im going for.

Looks good Brian. Nice running boards! :D

Bronco638 said:
Looks good Brian. Nice running boards! :D

Yeah, bolted right up thanks again. :thumbsup: My friend said when ever you are ready for your bumper come on up. Now that he has the measurments and has done one he can build them no problem, he can even make a kit that you can have welded up yourself. ;)

SplashMan said:
My friend said when ever you are ready for your bumper come on up. Now that he has the measurments and has done one he can build them no problem, he can even make a kit that you can have welded up yourself.

I'll be in touch this Fall/Winter - D.

Bronco638 said:
I'll be in touch this Fall/Winter - D.

Just drop me a PM and I'll get you in touch with him... like I said, with the basic measurments he has he can pretty much custom make it too what you want.

Would it be possible for me to get ahold of one of those bumpers? I live in Michigan, but I could pay for shipping?? I really like it, I could have it welded up here too. I have a 99 XLS. I am going to get started on the skidplate and tow hooks this weekend:) Even before the lift and tires:) As long as it would work. Thanks... And NICE Rig!!!

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I really like your bumoer and skid plate. Does anyone know if someone has done a similair skid plate project for a first gen? Would it be possible? What kind of tubing did you use for the bumper? Great job by the way!