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Keki's 94' Apocalyptic EX


Active Member
June 18, 2015
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Year, Model & Trim Level
94' EB X
This is my 94' Explorer Eddie Bauer (Slay) that I am going to within the next year or two be made over to an Apocalyptic vehicle. This truck is one of my firsts and even with getting newer cars, I want to keep this one. So I decided it needs a purpose and for this one, an apocalyptic theme will fit it best. As much as I would love to restore this into an original Eddie Bauer, it has too many larger issues to bother doing that, so if I'm going to dump a couple thousand bucks into it I might as well make it a fun vehicle. Aside that I would like to do some moderate off roading with it.


For starters, I bought this truck because I had a 99' Cadillac Eldorado that had a blown rod and was going to die at any time so I immediately needed another vehicle. All I had to spare was 500$ and I just so happened to find this EX on craigslist for 1000$, which before even seeing the truck I talked him down to 500$ somehow. Either way I would have anyway.

So off I went to go pick up the truck, from the start I could tell why it was cheap. Let me just make a list of the things I noticed right off the bat:

3/4 tires were all different brands and were all bald, the 4th tire was the spare with the other AGAIN different brand tire was sitting in the back, flat as can be.

When I got there the truck was already running from a jump because the battery was dead, and non chargable.

The engine was chugging, and shaking every few seconds and sounded like the roadrunner except 60 years old and out of breath.

2/4 doors opened

The driver window was held up by only a stick shoved halfway in the door panel

All 4 door panels were destroyed

The thing had enough cigarettes and loose change to fill a 20 gallon storage bin.

The carpet stinched of jack daniels and mary jane.

Passenger brake hose was split and leaking everywhere


So yes this thing was a piece of ****. It had been trashed on for 230k miles but somehow was still chugging along.


I've stripped the interior entirely and trashed most of it, I bought new carpet, put in a new headliner and got most of the panels painted. I only have the front passenger door panel completed in full.

Audio-wise I've thrown in a new radio, 6 1/2 inch 200w coaxile kicker speakers for the fronts, and naxa 800w coaxile speakers for the rears with twin 12" Dual 875w subwoofers in the trunk area.

Brake-wise I replaced the front hoses, rotors, pads, cleaned up the drums and shoes some and flushed out the brake fluid and put some nice new stuff in.

Tires I've bought some basic 235s for the original rims. I will likely still use original rims for my second set with 31s. (I'm having two sets of wheels because I take long distance trips often and dont want to be rolling on mud tires on long treks)

I replaced my steering pump and flushed that out, finally no more whining all over the place. While I was doing that I noticed my lower radiator hose looked like it was about to have triplets with how fat it was and about to burst so I replaced both radiator hoses, of course finding that my coolant was orange from being full of rust and leak seal. Flushed all that crud out and I'm finally running green again. However I still do not know my tempature because all of my gauges are incorrect and the speedometer doesnt work at all or even have a needle.

I got all the doors fixed so they all open inside and out now, the problem WITH EVERY. SINGLE. DOOR. was that stupid little plastic clip that connects the rod to the system. I've had to replace all 8 of them to fix those stupid doors, why they just cant make them out of metal anymore..

I replaced my battery and my terminals, I should probably change my wires entirely but I will likely wait until later next year since they haven't ever given me an issue. I also replaced my starter

I've done a lot of other oddball things but I'm not here to bore you with that. I just wanted to point out some things.


As of today I've finally begun the process of adding the theme to this truck. My future plans for performance is simply I'm buying a donor truck with a newer 5.0 and swapping them. Along with a superlift of 4-5in. Otherwise I dont plan on any other modification and Most first gen explorers I see around locally sell for about 1.5-2k with 80,000-120,000 miles. Which is a lot of miles yes, but for me that's a huge upgrade and of course I can clean it up a little before throwing it in mine. About the same for 5.0s with some body damage. As of right now I'm pretty busy with classes and dont have a lot of work so I've been doing a lot of simple under 100$ projects and probably will continue with that until January/February when I can get more work in.


I've been following around this forum for a few months now, I have gotten a lot of good help and I'm really enjoying it so I hope it continues. So another reason for me to post this is that I haven't seen any threads about making an explorer into something like this. I'm sure there are some somewhere, but I just haven't seen any so I thought I'd make one and I think it would be cool to have the input from the rest of the explorer community go into this build.

So for the next 4ish months of busting my knuckles getting this thing up and running good I'm going to bring my focus into finally doing exterior modding. Which should be a nice, fun break from all the work. Here is a picture from when I bought it, until now and you can see I've done almost nothing to the exterior.


Now as of today I started on exterior modding, since I don't plan on buying tires bigger than 31s I'm keeping the original rims. So today I started with a nice paint job for the wheels and hood.

And yes there is some green patches on the hood I haven't even finished all the coats yet as I'm writing up this thread lol

One other thing, as far as the 5.0 swap can we try to avoid that? I'll make a separate thread to discuss that along with rear end and compression ratios transmission options etc when that time comes.

Some other pics you might like;

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More fog lights? Your lights are already fogged :D

Seriously though, looking good. What did you use to paint your rims? I've got the same ones except mine are meant for your vehicle, they have the ugly beige (almost pink) inlay/paint. I've been wanting to black them out, just haven't seen good pictures until yours.

my poor lights.. =(

I actually tried Rust Oleum's Industrial performance enamel spray, recommended by a friend, seems to be holding up well so far and looks well. Normally I would use Dupli-color's wheel paints which have always worked well. This is my first time using a Matte on wheels though so I thought I would give it a try :D

Todays upgrade includes more trim removal.


To my surprise they were stuck on, I expected some pegs and holes to weld up =(


After tons of angle grinding and sanding to get that gluey tape junk off I finally started to add some paint. and yes I decided to grind it off to give it some texture.

On a side note the grinding turned out better than I thought, I might do that for lots of various areas on the body to add more of an apocalyptic feel.


So this is it for now, I'm going to finish painting the doors tomorrow inside and out.


I would also do fenders but unfortunately there is a good bump on the right side that hit the headlight and bumper that prevents me from doing so because when I replace my headlights and bumper they will appear to stick out by nearly 2 inches because of the indention on the fender. It's too big to bother bondo'ing up so I'll just have to buy another fender later.

I didn't know Duplicolor made wheel paints, I'll have to check that out.

I'm glad to see someone else around here doesn't like the goofy plastic trim on the doors. I peeled mine off real quick and it makes the side look cleaner. Word of advice for your future self; get an "eraser wheel". It is pure magic. It can take a while but it peels anything off of paint without hurting the paint at all. There's a pretty good mess left over and it can be tiring but it's worth it.

Yes they do, I also use Dupli-Color for vinyl/leather paint which I used on the leather areas of my door panels and I would actually consider calling it a 'spray dye' because it works so well that you start destroying the leather before you get the color off.

Thanks for the advise, is that how you got it off so cleanly on your blue? I've heard of them but I've never seen how well they work, or had the need to use one.

For my motor issue, there is a 91' Navajo at my buddy's yard that he will give me for cheap, 110k miles and its near mint! Its very clean, he told me that it was driving good when it was parked 5 years ago and hasn't sold anything off of it since then. I'm considering doing a swap from that and while doing so throwing on new exhaust manifold gaskets, the exhaust leak is just the gasket is out, I can feel it blowing out right there, I might just buy new manifold to go with it though. As for the Navajo after I swap out the motor and trans I would likely sell it here, they are pretty rare so I'm just in shock at how clean it is. No tears or worn spots in the seats, armrest or panels. Carpet doesn't smell like dope. Not missing any parts inside or out. High model with sunroof and powered everything. I'm also located in Kansas so I'm not far from most places being in the middle of the country. I'll see about it later next week.

Old panels


New panels (Carpet will be replaced later)


For tommarow I'm planning on designing up a custom grille, I see that I really only have three options, the Billet grille, the stock grille, or the limited grille. And I don't really care for any of them so I'm thinking of making one. I think I'm going to go with a mesh style. (Inspired by this thread: ) I may add / trim some metal around to change it up some, the front end of the first gens are just so clear as to what they are, whether they have euro lights, stock lights, clear lights they all have similar shape and I'm looking for a way to make my front end very different from any of those. To fit the theme I will likely just take 4 strips of steel for the frame and just bolt the corners with a crossbrace behind the mesh. I've tried to find some bolted grille styles but they are all too clean, I need something more haggard. I'm really thinking about adding circular headlights and then fabricating a body piece to fill in all the space. for the side signal I would add separated ones opposed to the common new styling of having the lights stretch around the corner. But that's later, for the next couple days I'm going to be strictly focusing on the grille. More to come soon, thanks again for the support!

So after spending many hours today planning and designing with my good friend I think the conclusion has come to build a 1/2 in thick black steel border around the grille and then adding 3-5 horizontal rows of barbed wire about 3/4 in deep inside the grille. Behind the grille I will also be adding some aluminum plates that will go cover the same spots as the stock grille did for increased air flow to the radiator opposed to hitting the front end frame. I will line a thin aluminum mesh that will be able to slide in between the two plates going across the radiator for a bit of a filter. I'm quite tired of my radiators being full of big rocks and grasshoppers.

The wire idea will look similar to this except imagine it in an explorer grille.

Another thing that we will be working on at the same time is a center console. The stock one simply doesn't cut it. The new design will stretch to the dash, having a full plate of space to work with. Matt suggests it to be used mostly to add a manual transfer case shifter, which I think is a good idea since we all know how junky those stupid shift motors can be. Pushing a shifter up or pushing a button its just as easy either way, why ford thinks doing things electronically is cool who knows. A big concern for me was cupholders, old cars or new cars they all have these shallow, small cupholders and most with twin cupholders sit too damn close to each other. I guess they expect me to use an 8oz can of lemonade since even a basic water bottle tends to fall out of most cupholders. This will be made using a bunch of scrap wood I have laying around from some old furniture, some 1/4 in thick foam padding and upholstery leather from a local fabric shop. Sometime I would like to line the door panels with the same idea, leather for everything except the stock leather area, and for the stock leather area I was considering doing a modern suede material. the amount of bare plastic in these explorers is enough to supply fisher price for a years worth of production. I will post pics with diagrams of the console and grille as soon as possible.

For now have some older before and after pics!

Carpet Before


Carpet After


Headliner before:

Headliner After

Dash re-color before:

Dash re-color after:

Well as it turns out the console design that I would like to do would have terrible looking alignment because of the dash design not being centered and I don't want to angle and curve around my console to fit it. So out with the dash. Time to build a new dash, which is a good time for me to replace my broken gauges anyway. Thanks to the dash removal thread I got it able to come out in about an hour. It wasn't until 2 hours later it actually came out because I went back behind and just disconnected all the wiring from the dash, instead of disconnecting the harness and taking the dash off with the wiring which is how it was done in the write up. I also found that getting the instrument cluster is much easier when lowering the steering column first, I cut up my hands pretty bad trying to get the cables unplugged before lowering, I couldn't get them so I lowered the steering column and it was much easier. I also didn't find the need to remove the steering wheel or the plastic that goes around the column.

If anyone knows some good gauges to buy be sure to let me know, I really have no idea what brands are good.

a quick sketch of what the new dash will look like:

Taking out the dash:




I got the base pieces cut out already for the dash, so by the end of tommarow hopefully the most of it will be put together and ready to mount.

I will likely end up delaying the grille until the weekend, the closest place that sells the wire I want is on the other side of town and I haven't gotten around to going down there to get it.

Welp, it's been a long weekend but we managed to get the grille built and the center console mostly built. We just finished the console and it's 8:30pm so its too dark to get a picture but I'll add some tomorrow. Here's the grille at least, we decided to go against the wire because I found this cool steel grate sitting in my backyard, it wasn't quite enough to stretch the whole length but I think it looks cool. We added some rusty wire and zipties for haggard approval :)

And yes, I actually managed to just cut out the old grille, keep the stock frame and fit the steel beams along the inside. I like it that way. I always wanted to keep the ford emblem stuffed into the frame. like that.

The console is made of mostly mdf wood, a ton of L and T brackets to hold it in place, wrapped with cotton batting for some cushion using spray adhesive, and then wrapped in black upholstery leather. I managed to created 4 inch diameter cupholders that sit 3.5 inches deep, which was enough to fit a QuikTrip "Big Q" cup perfectly, I also tried some other glasses from home and they stay in very nicely (tested with parking lot donuts). Last thing left to do is add the chrome cupholder inserts and bolt on the armrest, which is wrapped in 1 inch thick foam padding and then wrapped in the same leather onto the stock armrest pillar. Can't wait to post pics tommarow

Thank you hobby lobby for having upholstry leather 30% off on top of only being 10$ a yard making it about 7$ a yard.


To take a break from doing so much upholstry, we decided to throw together that steel bumper. So heres what we got scrapped together, and now it just awaits my buddy to come down and weld it up when he has time since I'm not so great at welding and hes a professional. For now it's held in by 6 bolts and a lil tape lol




Will add brush guard & push bar later

Back to the dash build, I just threw down about 200$ on gauges. got them all hooked up to make sure they worked first, so tommarow they are coming out, then building up the driver side portion of the dash and then putting them all back in cleanly and permanently.

Also I have no bumper at the moment, the steel pipe one is under construction at my friends welding shop being carved around more to fit together neatly and getting that outer bar lowered so it isn't in the way of the fog lights and then finally going to be welded up, wire wheeled and painted a nice gloss black. and he stole the brackets so I cant put the old one back on :$

Other odds n ends: replaced condenser hoses and power steering hoses, bought a 3 1/2 inch cone air filter and some 3 1/2 piping so start up on the snorkle/cold air intake. Planning on making an 800 mile trip from here (Wichita) to Wisconsin to visit a friend for a week so doing some other tune up jobs to be prepped.

Will post pics as they come!

Pic time!

First being the guages:

old cluster is there until I get all the sensor wires figured out tommarow

This intake became very massive very quickly, and is probably the most haggard intake I've ever put together.

Originally planning to run through the fender:

However the 3inch piping was way too big and there was no good place to re-position the distribution box where I could still access it.

So up through the hood it goes:

Somehow the hood got cut nearly completely wrong, but that's okay, just going to weld up the old section over the giant open area that doesn't need to exist. then add the scoop to clear the piping.

Anyhow, tommarows project will be getting the sensors together so I can finally keep the old cluster permanently out. than build the drivers side portion of the dash, cut out the holes for the new gauges, slip them in, put the MAF in, add the scoop and whala. Dash 2/3 completed and snorkle/Cold air intake in place.

Update time!

So here we were changing the exhaust manifold gaskets in the campus parking lot


Even after continuous soaking in pb blaster over the course of 3 days and using a 3/8 drive with an extended handle turning slow as possible we still managed to break nearly every bolt. Most at the coils unfortunately. In our favor though, the driver side manifold is cracked so now theres a good reason to go ahead and buy the whole set. Will do on next months pay.

Anyhow we went to the shop and started building up something for the hood


Our mock up idea:


A whole lotta pop rivets later:


Annnnd kaboom


With that out of the way going back to the dash build. With so much wiring all over the place I decided this week was going to be wiring week, going to strip out everything that we dont need and clean up what's left. As well as add some things in before putting the dash entirely together and in place.

So here we go!


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It's way past midnight now but we have a strong start, it's only monday and most of the major wiring is cleaned up.

Going from the picture above, to this:


The fuse box I plan on mounting to the lower section underneath the steering wheel, I will cut out a hole for it and add an opening panel to cover it, but having it face more outward will make changing a fuse so much easier than breaking my neck looking underneath for it.

All the wiring along the floors for lights, speakers, power windows/locks etc is all cleaned up and now with all the dash wiring together its time to add things

The original cluster still holds a large amount of function, so tomorrows plan is to dissect it and get everything laid out and organized as possible, practically just rebuilding it, except without the gauges. I will be re-using all the lights except turn signal lights because thats just pointless when you can hear them. Check engine light, brights light, 4x4, 4x4 low, battery etc is all going to be re-added. Looking forward to that.

Wasn't originally going to post today but getting the gauges together just looks so good. I wish I had a better camera.