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Poor Man's EE Air Dam

97Sandbox

Elite Explorer
Joined
February 7, 2019
Messages
1,191
Reaction score
1,111
City, State
Seward, NE
Year, Model & Trim Level
2000 Explorer Sport
If I only had a time machine, I'd go back and buy all kinds of Explorer Express goodies. Swaybars, rear wing, air dam, etc. For now, I have Addco bars and a Lund Windjammer that I was lucky to find in a salvage yard. But what could I substitute for the air dam?
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Maybe someday I'll find one, but for now DIY seems the best option. I've been looking into Ranger and Tacoma air dams to see if there is anything readily available that could be modified to fit. There are some okay looking options, but I'm reluctant to drop decent money on an aftermarket part for another vehicle and then hack it to bits trying to make it work (not that I haven't done that before). I already have the '99-'01 air dam that my Sport came with, but it doesn't look like it'll mount to the '97 bumper easily. It's also tiny. What I do have is a '96 non-fog light valance that has broken mounting tabs and is destined for the trash...

What if I flipped it upside down?
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Hmm...fits okay, but needs a trim.

Looks about right:
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Off to grab the jigsaw!

Needs cleanup and a mounting solution, but I think I may be onto a half decent workaround:
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Looks like that will work. Are you going to paint it body color?
I'll probably keep it black. I've been hunting for a black valance with fog lights with no success, so I may just paint it all flat black.

First though. That tree needs a treehouse.
That's a great point. It's a nice solid oak and I'm sure my son would love a treehouse!
 






Dam nice!

My old Ranger:
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It's just taped on for mockup purposes and I want to trim more off the ends, but I think it's looking decent.
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Can't decide if I want to epoxy the air dam to the valance, plastic weld it, or make some stainless backer strips and rivet it. I'm reluctant to go with any really permanent solution, because I'd still like to find a real black valance instead of painting this one. Then again, I don't want the air dam falling off.
 






I like it! Should remain somewhat flexible however you mount it
 






I'm half tempted to just drill holes and use zip ties in order to be able to take the air dam off later. Purrington is helping me come up with other solutions though.
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"L" brackets behind and black hardware?
 






Yeah I was thinking some backer strips of thin stainless and rivets. Drilling the rivets later would be a pain though. Maybe panel retainers instead? I should look through some of my misc parts bins and see if inspiration strikes.
 






I wanted to keep it clean and clear of anything on the front, but I had some old aluminum truck cap clamps that had the perfect angle to work.

Rivets would not show as much as bolts and be cleaner looking.
 






Painted my lower valance black and "stitched" on the air dam with wire for now. I still hope to find a black valance someday, the Krylon Fusion Flat Black is not matte enough to match faded stock plastics. But for now, this will do.
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