Mystery Marvin | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations
  • Register Today It's free!

Mystery Marvin


Active Member
February 7, 2020
Reaction score
City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
1997 Ford Explorer XL 4WD
Mystery Marvin - what will happen next?

There are numerous names I could call this car. More like, crossover/light truck. I also wanted to call him money pit Marvin after it being a Ford similar to a miata. I don't really have the time or the money to spend on a loan for a nice car. My first car was a '99 Chevy Cavalier, they don't make them anymore. It got replaced with a whole slew of cars after it's death. My first project I remember is doing a paint job on it. I used painters tape and spray paint to it!

Why I am posing here is because I want to share the progress that I made. Whatever the project maybe, I want to post pictures of the results. I think it would be a good way to use my time. Maintenance is usually not the fun part of a car, it's usually the driving and being on the road feeling no care in the world.

Every project I aspire will end up here. It's like a running dialog without the hassle. Will it be every Saturday that I will post? Nah.

Right now, my current project is to take care of the rust that it has. I hate seeing rust on cars. I guess it's one of the side effects of living in the rust belt. Oh well there's work to be done. I have watched countless videos about how to fix the rust and used this forum to research what I needed to get started with this project.

Below are pictures of my ride. Speak up if you can not see the pictures.


  • 20200520_152422_HDR.jpg
    240.1 KB · Views: 41
  • 20200520_152440_HDR.jpg
    231.1 KB · Views: 41
  • 20200520_152506_HDR.jpg
    221.3 KB · Views: 39
  • 20200520_152402_HDR.jpg
    268.6 KB · Views: 40

Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

The maintenance is fun also!

Good luck with your projects, and go get that rust.

Through out the weekend I have been hitting it hard on my metal work. Sanding and cutting with my new tool is very pleasing and challanging at the same time. I bought an angle grinder, heat gun, a mini drill like a dremel and a soldering kit. These were all the things that I needed to make my living situation better than it already was.

I used the angle grinder the most and it seems fine for me becuase I just need something to get by and to get the work done. I practice using the cutting wheels and a sanding disc for most of the work that is needed on marv. The rust is worst than I thought it was going to be. Ugh maintenance am I right? I saw this headache when I took off the nerf boards before. I just didn't know I had to cut inside the body so darn much. this is a picture of how bad it was. I had to cut most of the body to see what rust was under there.
I bought the rotary tool set becuase I wanted to get in the tight spots for the places where the angle grinder could not reach. I also plan to do this on the racks for the nerf boards as well. That's the fun part. I already got 90% of one done just by using the angle grinder itself.
For the sanding that I did, I went around I got all of the small paint chips and the small rust spot to prevent any other rust that might cause me problems.
As to any other maintenance that I done with the rust, I pressure washed my wheel wells for any lose dirt and debris that was in there. I laid on my back trying to clean the insides of the wells.

Got Some Orange Peel Left Over? Don’t Throw...

Everybody knows that oranges are a great source of vitamin C, but did you know...​​



  • 20200607_142451_HDR.jpg
    236.5 KB · Views: 36

I do auto body for a living and rust is a PITA! In your case you can buy a rocker panel, or other parts that need replacing, online or some local auto parts stores. My advise is wait until you have the replacement part and either cut the replacement to fit the car or cut the car to fit the replacement. A soldering kit will not work on car panels. you need a welder. Solder is like tape. it does not hold up under flexing of metal. Welding is basically melting the metal and joining the pieces together permanently.
Remove all rust possible, even where it can't be seen, by wire wheel, media blasting or chemical conversion. coat all exposed bare metal with some sort of rust preventing primer or rubberized undercoating before welding on replacement.
So far it looks like you have a good start on things.

Thanks for telling me that. Now I know your area of expertise is at.
For the truck itself, its a good process. I already knew that I had to use a welder to make the rest of this come true. I use soldering when it comes to wire work and circuit boards. I would not advise any DIYER to solder metal like this.
As for building car frames, I really enjoy vehcor on youtube. They take daily drivers abd make them better or fix them up in this case. Most of the cars are crashed, and I found them by watching one of there builds on the 2018 explorer model.

Post #3 Rust on the liftgate?

My current project is now taking care of rust on the liftgate "thingys." The things that hold up the running boards on the truck. These came with the truck and the rust that was a pain in the back to take care of.
This wasn't all I tried to take care of. I also worked on my ECT sensor or my engine coolant temperature sensor for those who can't think of the right abbreviation. This is one of the things that I cant do. Yes I put cant in there to make it more realistic. This was a messy job to clean up. I'm throwing in the towel and seeing if a shop can take care of this one. I have lost my patience with this task.

About the liftgates, I will post a thread about my two rusted ones in a different place. For this task, I got to use my new die tool. This was fun using and messing with. I lost several parts and most of them did not stay in the drill for that long. About my process, it varied. The best solution I found was to clean the dirt and rust with an old toothbrush and then scrub it with a wire brush. I then wiped it down with iso alcohol for the prep work for grinding. I then used an angle grinder to get most of it off. Then after I got that done I used the die with various extensions to clean the rust off. To this point, the liftgates are ready for paint work. Unless there is something I need to clean it with. ( Oh yeah! Check out that thread! ) I can post pictures of them of the state right now. They are really shiny and neat to look at.

What do plan to do next? Well I hope to get the rust of the wheel hubs and make my rims better. I have to buy a drill though the angle grinder is to big and the die grinder might not get everything that I want. And to solder and get the rest of my codes as well as a good engine bay detail. Let's hope.

You are getting there and completing tasks. Congratulations.

As I am sure you are learning, these 20+ year old trucks are a labor of love. You have to enjoy taking care of them, or mechanic bills will be outrageous. And if you just want cheap transportation, you are better off with a small )cheap) compact car.

You can pick whatever you want to do next. Pick your project! Read up about it on this Forum. Ask questions if you need to. Then just do the projects, one at a time. You will learn lots If you enjoy this.

Stay safe, and have fun.

Post #4 The end all things

As a struggling college student, there will be things that you will not be ok with. Things that will cost you an arm and a leg if you did want to fix them yourself. This explains my Marvin, off to another owner and with a for sale sign on him, he’s looking for a new owner. This has been a fun experience with fixing this Ford and my first Ford at that. This has been fun trying to fix the off-roader type and SUV. I’m going to miss this vehicle.

As to why I am throwing it out, the transmission is not salvable to save. Why does that Ford have to make these transmissions crappy? I wanted to keep this around for a long time but this has to end. I’m throwing in the white towel and waving the white flag on this bad boy. Good riddance.

I was in middle of several projects that really got me working into cars and trucks for this. I knew everything that was wrong with it and making better in the long run was my goal. I was going to fix the rust and the shackles and everything else on the outside as well. I was even going to put another headliner into the mix with my own fabric and or making it OEM again. I was going to make it my ride that I was going to customize it the way I wanted to but this is not going to happen the way I want.

Will I post on here again? Yeah, definitely. It was fun reading all the people posts that had the same problem as me and finding out the solution for it. I really like checking out peoples profiles that you could customize to the way you wanted.

Well, seems like you had some fun and learned some things. Well done.

Good luck in your future efforts.