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Looking for more ideas on major interior upgrades and enhancements

MuscleJunkie

Elite Explorer
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Year, Model & Trim Level
'00 Ford Explorer LTD AWD
Do you know anyone with amazing photoshop skills / drawing skills and some interior automotive design creativity?

These are some sample pictures of what Ford’s idea of luxury was for the “Limited” trim level of the OBS 2000 Ford Explorer. Monotone Medium Prairie Tan leather with accents of black and simulated wood trim on the center dash and door panels. Some of the pictures after that are of Big White.

Now that the 1st phase of the Supercharger Project is mostly completed, I’m now looking to start some major interior upgrades and modifications to Big White Ford Explorer.

What could Ford have done with this interior if price was not so much of a concern? What would you do to this interior to make it somewhat comparable to some of the most luxurious automotive interiors of 2021/2022….. but with some constraints?

To start - the original medium prairie tan must remain the primary color. Secondary color can be added as long as it is compliments the pearl white exterior of the truck. Also remember that BIG WHITE has a few very small exterior red accent pieces that hint at all of its performance modifications and enhancements.

The dash, door panels and center console structures cannot be changed. They must remain the same shape. The steering wheel can be modified as long as the factory airbag does not change.

The modifications can involve adding leather or other materials with any kind of stitching patterns and change of secondary colors. Certain parts can be changed to any color of metal, wood, wraps or carbon fiber.

I’d like to hear and see any ideas that anyone has. They can be ideas for individual pieces or for the interior as a whole. If you have ideas outside of these constraints I am open to them as long as they are realistically feasible.

Thanks for any ideas or input. 

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I like, prefer, the black steering wheel in my truck. You could change the wheel, and possibly find a wood rimmed version like what is common for Lincolns. Note it has to be a truck wheel, cars use a different column spline shape.

How about a memory seat in the right seat, which is not hard but adds the switch to the right door panel. I was planning that for mine but haven't decided if I do want it now. It just takes another set of memory seat motors, and the module under the seat, plus wiring to the door panel and the connections.

Recover the headliner, the surface of the overhead console, and maybe the seats. I don't like the 98+ Limited seats at all, the older nice seats are much better, anything from Eddie Bauer etc, 1991+ can work.
 






Ditch that limited steering wheel yuck!! 2005-06 ranger wheel so much better and mostly
Bolt on, get
Black shrouds for steering
Column too

I have all of the “burlwood” trim pieces in case I ever do one of those
But to me I do not like plastic parts that are fake wood, so again I would go back to black with those

Two simple ways to update that interior which is already very nice btw!!

My old 96 came to me with blue leather and blue carpet and blue dash and blue door panels, headliner etc. I hated it! Eventually I swapped the entire interior w that from a 01
Mountynon dark charcoal…. I love the 99-01 dark grey interiors… maybe not the best for a white truck but man getting rid of all that
Blue made it feel like a whole different vehicle
 






One of things I do not want to lose are the HVAC and Stereo controls on the wheel. I have them all working perfectly with the upgraded Kenwood Touchscreen. I have found some companies that can modify existing wheels (while changing the thickness and shape of the outer wheel) with carbon fiber, wood, metal or anything else but still retain the factory airbag and controls. A bit pricey but that seems the route that I will go down for the steering wheel.

I agree on the simulated wood. But what could have been expected at the $30k price point in 2000? I intend to replace all of that with something real - but probably will need to be fabricated.

I agree on the blue. Never understood why Ford would have chosen that color....

I agree for what it is - a 21 year old Ford SUV that sold in the mid $30k (for the Limited trim level) range - the interior is really nice. The whole concept of my ongoing project (now 7 years) is to create something along the lines of what Ford might had done in an alternate reality year 2000 if they decided to create a limited special edition Ford Explorer that had not only luxury (far exceeding anything on the market) but also high performance - perhaps in a partnership with Saleen & SVT - selling for perhaps $60k to $80k or more in the year 2000. I've come along way so far and I'm pleased that way things have come together but there still is much more to do.

I’m hoping someone out there who is extremely creative might be able to help me come up with some ideas on how to change up this interior to continue to bring this concept to life. I've seen some interior photos of a concept that Ford did based off of the 2nd Generation Explorer in that late 90's and have gotten alot of ideas from that (example 2+2 seating that resembles that found URUS that came over 20 years later) - but still want to take it up several notches to where the interior will be absolutely amazing while still maintaining the shape of what is there. I hope that through different materials, colors, seats and how it comes all together it could be comparable to some of the best interiors on the market today but definitely still a 2000 Explorer... well an alternate reality 2000 Explorer.
 






I like, prefer, the black steering wheel in my truck. You could change the wheel, and possibly find a wood rimmed version like what is common for Lincolns. Note it has to be a truck wheel, cars use a different column spline shape.

How about a memory seat in the right seat, which is not hard but adds the switch to the right door panel. I was planning that for mine but haven't decided if I do want it now. It just takes another set of memory seat motors, and the module under the seat, plus wiring to the door panel and the connections.

Recover the headliner, the surface of the overhead console, and maybe the seats. I don't like the 98+ Limited seats at all, the older nice seats are much better, anything from Eddie Bauer etc, 1991+ can work.
Great idea for memory on the right seat. I imagine I could get a door panel from a RHD explorer that already has the controls built in. I wonder if Ford offered that option on the RHD trucks and did they have MPT interior color with the Wood inserts on RHD limited trims???

I'll probably go with some Recaro Style model seats and 2+2 configuration for the back like the Ford Concept photos from the late 90's (that strongly resemble the 2+2 Lamborghini Urus that came over 20 years later - see photo below) . I totally agree on recovering many things with some nice leather or ???. Just want to get the cushion and cabin stitching patterns or the dash/panels & seats right.

187760399_278230064004815_3571255322187605717_n.jpg
 






Here's my 99 work truck after I finished it in early 2007. The 99 dark grey is nice but I prefer the medium grey which was changed during 1999. The seats you can recognize, same as your old Limited, those are 93 seats from my old green truck. Th door panels are from my 98 Mountaineer, the medium grey.

Note the two switches I added to the right door panel(turn signals and mirrors). You can add a memory seat switch there very easily, the edges cover the entire hole. Look at your two door panels, the shape at that area is slightly different, the left Limited panel has a more flat surface there. But the surface on the right panel is close enough that it should look natural with a switch added. I was actually going to add the memory seat and switch to this truck, placing the switch above the other two.
Projectthread108.JPG
 






Here's my 99 work truck after I finished it in early 2007. The 99 dark grey is nice but I prefer the medium grey which was changed during 1999. The seats you can recognize, same as your old Limited, those are 93 seats from my old green truck. Th door panels are from my 98 Mountaineer, the medium grey.

Note the two switches I added to the right door panel(turn signals and mirrors). You can add a memory seat switch there very easily, the edges cover the entire hole. Look at your two door panels, the shape at that area is slightly different, the left Limited panel has a more flat surface there. But the surface on the right panel is close enough that it should look natural with a switch added. I was actually going to add the memory seat and switch to this truck, placing the switch above the other two.
View attachment 423859
Ah yes, I remember those seats well. BTW - I still have the center console cushion I got from you back 14 or 15 years ago.

As I mentioned - might be a good idea to try and procure a door panel from a RHD as it probably has the correct shape and buttons already mounted if it was equipment with those options. You can't see it in this photo but I'll ask some of my UK, Japan and Australia people to check..

255507042_2049006531933618_8838482762780848028_n.jpg
 






I figured the RHD models might not have the memory seat as an option. I have wished to find a RHD dash and firewall, to swap into a 1999ish mail truck that was based on the 2nd gen Explorers. A door panel wouldn't be ridiculous to ship, a dash though, wow, that's a crate or pallet shipment.

For what it's worth, here are two links of steering wheels with wood built into them. One is a used Navigator model that should bolt in, and use the same switches. The airbag is a bit different but it's an option. Finding things like that new are the hard part, they are much more scarce now, and the used stuff is junk.

Here's a NOS 2002 Continental wheel in grey, $199 with minor scuffing is not bad. That car part won't work, but you see what the wood looks like with the rest a match to the Explorer's.

Having a wheel modified could achieve a similar look, but that also would be expensive, $500ish I've seen.
 






I figured the RHD models might not have the memory seat as an option. I have wished to find a RHD dash and firewall, to swap into a 1999ish mail truck that was based on the 2nd gen Explorers. A door panel wouldn't be ridiculous to ship, a dash though, wow, that's a crate or pallet shipment.

For what it's worth, here are two links of steering wheels with wood built into them. One is a used Navigator model that should bolt in, and use the same switches. The airbag is a bit different but it's an option. Finding things like that new are the hard part, they are much more scarce now, and the used stuff is junk.

Here's a NOS 2002 Continental wheel in grey, $199 with minor scuffing is not bad. That car part won't work, but you see what the wood looks like with the rest a match to the Explorer's.

Having a wheel modified could achieve a similar look, but that also would be expensive, $500ish I've seen.
Thanks for the links. Maybe the RHD limited models had that option. I'll ask Simon in the UK. Yeah shipping would be expensive but depends on how far you want to go to make your dream a reality. We only live once and time is soooo short so go for it while you can because you might not be able or want to later.

I think having the OEM wheel modified regardless of cost might fit my vision the best. They can do just about anything. I'm thinking something along the lines of a fusion of the existing wheel and the current AMG G-Class wheel while maintaining the strong Ford DNA.
 






That's the way I would lean to, keep the OEM flavor and add in more of the way you want it. I like the back seat idea too, for my use I'd be unlikely to need three people in the rear.
 






That's the way I would lean to, keep the OEM flavor and add in more of the way you want it. I like the back seat idea too, for my use I'd be unlikely to need three people in the rear.
Let me tell you - in the 2nd Explorer - the 2+2 configuration that Ford did for the concept that based on the 2nd Gen Platform is absolutely amazing - hands down. Looks nothing like what came in the later generation Explorers but instead very similar to that photo of the 2+2 in the Lamborghini Urus.
 






I do love the concept. I could see the rear seats being a little bigger(wider) than the fronts, and moved towards the center a little also. I have been a passenger a lot in my younger years, it's not that enjoyable to ride in a vehicle where you can't see much forward past the two front seats etc. I'd think about limiting the center space to allow the rear seats to give a better view for those passengers.
 






Also have you thought about the roof rack or sunroof? I'm going to install a Mountaineer roof rack on my 98. Those are more attractive, and none of them are useful for real heavy objects anyway.

The sunroof is nice, but troublesome with age. I could see one added behind the front one, but I wouldn't do that just for the maintenance issues(leaks etc.)

BTW, you might think about resealing your sunroof soon. I've discovered leaking in all three of my trucks, my fourth has the 93 roof and it's opo up style, whole different animal.

The sunroof of all 1995-2005 Explorers are the same part, and they will eventually leak around the perimeter seal that is bonded to the glass. The seal lets go and allows water to wick in and down, usually falling onto the headliner. It took me a couple of years to track down that in my black 98. The answer is to tape off the seam where the glass and rubber meet. I used Ultra Black RTV on the one I've done so far, nobody sees it and it survives washing very well.
 






Also have you thought about the roof rack or sunroof? I'm going to install a Mountaineer roof rack on my 98. Those are more attractive, and none of them are useful for real heavy objects anyway.

The sunroof is nice, but troublesome with age. I could see one added behind the front one, but I wouldn't do that just for the maintenance issues(leaks etc.)

BTW, you might think about resealing your sunroof soon. I've discovered leaking in all three of my trucks, my fourth has the 93 roof and it's opo up style, whole different animal.

The sunroof of all 1995-2005 Explorers are the same part, and they will eventually leak around the perimeter seal that is bonded to the glass. The seal lets go and allows water to wick in and down, usually falling onto the headliner. It took me a couple of years to track down that in my black 98. The answer is to tape off the seam where the glass and rubber meet. I used Ultra Black RTV on the one I've done so far, nobody sees it and it survives washing very well.
I have a moonroof in mine already but the idea of adding another seems interesting. I wonder how bad that would affect the rigidness of the truck though?

I removed my roof racks - just the rails remain and i like the look of it.

Is there another option for replacing the glass with seal as a preventative measure before it leaks?

IMG_0785.jpg IMG_0625.jpg IMG_0796.jpg
 






I do love the concept. I could see the rear seats being a little bigger(wider) than the fronts, and moved towards the center a little also. I have been a passenger a lot in my younger years, it's not that enjoyable to ride in a vehicle where you can't see much forward past the two front seats etc. I'd think about limiting the center space to allow the rear seats to give a better view for those passengers.
On the ford concept photos I previously mentioned, the center console from the front extends to in between the two rear seats and it has grab handles for both passengers. Absolutely amazing and I intend on duplicating it.
 






The roof isn't very strong for cargo, and the racks kind of help it I think. I would like to be able to add thin structure on the underside of the roof. My 93 leaks at the sunroof due to the roof sagging slightly at the rear. So the rigid glass now has a gap of a good 1/8" from the seal in the center. I removed the seal(brand new) and added some RTV under it to raise the seal some, which helped a ton. I would like to see if a strong piece of steel could be placed from side to side above the headliner, and find out how much strength that could add. I wouldn't consider another sunroof without more structure added. I have my old 99 sunroof as a unit, with slight cracking of at least one corner of the inner part(it's all plastic and sheet metal).

The 95-05 sunroof glass is a large molded piece, it's the glass and rubber with whatever underneath material is in it, some felt materiel etc. The OEM is the only choice unless there is some aftermarket replacement, or a recall I've never heard of. I've never read of anyone else suggesting their leaking is from the glass seal, I think everyone else assumes it's the drains or something else.
 






What about heated and cooled seats or even the massage chairs like from the new sploders? I like Lincoln seats because on eBay they are cheaper then ford and they make some wicked seats from the factory these days

My 88 bii has a 96 stang floor shifter, 01 Eddie Bauer heated leather seats and a rear seat from a Suzuki samurai. I also used a rubber floor kit from a sport trac and cut it to fit. Dash is still 1988 bronco ii except I put auto meter 5” gauges in the factory dashpot and relocated my brite indicator, I have double din touchscreen w front and rear cameras, RE located the factory hvac controls down one spot. I also have auto meter 2-5-16” fuel, oil, coolant abs trans gauges below the hvac controls and integrated my arb compressor and locker switches. Also 2001 ranger explorer vanity visors, everything else is 1990 bronco ii Eddie Bauer trim… it is still a wip but that truck came out so nice and is useful.

My 97 f350 crew cab got a rubber floor from a superduty since they don’t make one for the obs, heated and cooled leather navigator seats up front w super duty center console and super duty black leather rear bench
In the process of converting dash door panels and headliner all to solid black to match

I post this just to give you some ideas see what is possible

The 07 ranger I am building right now is getting escape seats, 360 degree camera system and a Lawrence way finder along with many many other goodies heated and signal side
Mirrors, and more

Many ways to update an old ride
 






What about heated and cooled seats or even the massage chairs like from the new sploders? I like Lincoln seats because on eBay they are cheaper then ford and they make some wicked seats from the factory these days

My 88 bii has a 96 stang floor shifter, 01 Eddie Bauer heated leather seats and a rear seat from a Suzuki samurai. I also used a rubber floor kit from a sport trac and cut it to fit. Dash is still 1988 bronco ii except I put auto meter 5” gauges in the factory dashpot and relocated my brite indicator, I have double din touchscreen w front and rear cameras, RE located the factory hvac controls down one spot. I also have auto meter 2-5-16” fuel, oil, coolant abs trans gauges below the hvac controls and integrated my arb compressor and locker switches. Also 2001 ranger explorer vanity visors, everything else is 1990 bronco ii Eddie Bauer trim… it is still a wip but that truck came out so nice and is useful.

My 97 f350 crew cab got a rubber floor from a superduty since they don’t make one for the obs, heated and cooled leather navigator seats up front w super duty center console and super duty black leather rear bench
In the process of converting dash door panels and headliner all to solid black to match

I post this just to give you some ideas see what is possible

The 07 ranger I am building right now is getting escape seats, 360 degree camera system and a Lawrence way finder along with many many other goodies heated and signal side
Mirrors, and more

Many ways to update an old ride
Thanks a lot of great ideas there!
 






If my interior looked like that (new), I would maybe change the steering wheel for black and leave it alone. I would probably spend time trying to make any modifications look OEM.
If you are set on changing things just for the sake of change, you could make a custom center console. Here is the one in my 1994. All the accessory switches are in it so I did not have to put any extra holes in the dash.
20171101_183049.jpg

20171218_164944.jpg

20190905_171317.jpg

Not really the street look, more of the offroader look, but might give you some ideas.
 



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If my interior looked like that (new), I would maybe change the steering wheel for black and leave it alone. I would probably spend time trying to make any modifications look OEM.
If you are set on changing things just for the sake of change, you could make a custom center console. Here is the one in my 1994. All the accessory switches are in it so I did not have to put any extra holes in the dash.
View attachment 423888
View attachment 423889
View attachment 423890
Not really the street look, more of the offroader look, but might give you some ideas.
Great offroader look you created. Like the CB radios.!
 






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