"Reef Bandit" - 1994 Eddie Bauer 2-Door Restoration | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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"Reef Bandit" - 1994 Eddie Bauer 2-Door Restoration

Welcome to my latest build thread - this has been a project I have been planning for a few years now. This is 1994 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 2dr I’ve named Reef Bandit. It’s a Cayman Green Eddie Bauer which has always been a favorite color of mine on the Eddie Bauer. I found Reef about a year ago wasting away in a field; his title was lost and it had exchanged hands a few times. I got the vin and when we ran the uniqueness of the options of this particular vehicle, it was a 1 of 1 production. The only thing this Explorer had that none of it’s other 8 Cayman Green clones possessed was a factory JBL sound system with CD player. Overall, this is a very rare Explorer. I had to buy it.


The title work was a pain but I was able to obtain one after many hours of work using what is known in Texas as a bonded title process. It’s not cheap but thankfully knowing the right people helps. During this process I found all the previous owner's information that explained why the title was lost. The latest owners were an elderly couple that has since passed. The husband passed in 2013 and the wife in 2015. Reef has been off the road for at least 10 years (the last record of it being on the road was in 2009 at 144k miles when it was inspected last). When I picked up the vehicle, the odometer stated 145k.


So here I am with this broken truck. I have no clue if the driveline is good and the interior Is trashed beyond repair. The radiator was missing, I found evidence of a collision repair (albeit done badly) in 2000, and of course the fuel pump is dead. Believe it or not, I still choose this truck as the vehicle I want to restore for a special trip.

Now an undertaking like this is not easy while working a full time retail job. I estimate roughly 8-9 months of hard work to rebuild this truck. Some planned upgrades will come as well but the end goal is to keep it mostly stock as Ford designed it.

The special trip I speak of is the great American road trip. After the restoration is completed I plan to drive this Explorer across the country, eventually visiting 49 states and documenting the journey along the way. I’ve decided to name the journey 'Explore the USA' to coincide with Ford's recent announcement of #RoadtripRewind with their new 2020 Explorer.

I hope meet up with the many Explorer owners across this land and share this experience with everyone. I am so glad I’ve got myself back to a place where I can do this.

I will be posting more updates on this restoration as they occur. I have already started the tear down and hopefully I will be getting it ready for the body shop soon.

Minor updates will include factory keyless entry with a keypad on the door, limited slip rear differential (currently open), updated brakes with dual piston calipers up front, disc brakes in the rear, transmission updated with better bearings and pump from the 5R series transmissions, and a Bluetooth Kenwood headunit.

I will be doing detailed documentation of the restoration and hope you all follow along.

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The first thing I started was removal of the drivetrain. First the transfer case and transmission has to come out (along with all the related parts such as cables, driveshafts, skids plates, etc) My plan of execution on this project is A) remove drivetrain, B) remove interior, C) de-mould the body for paint, D) strip and build the chassis, and finally E) reassembly.

You can see below where I began with the underside of the truck.

After the transmission was out, I focused on the interior. I removed all the nasty and ruined carpet, seats, and trim panels.

Then the biggest part of deconstruction - the engine! I got it freed and torn down. Inside the engine was real clean considering the age and how unwell it was maintained. Even though the mileage is fairly low for its age, the fact it had been sitting combined with how the previous owners took care of it, I was worried. But nevertheless, got the engine down to the rotating assembly and took the heads to the machine shop for testing and rebuilding. I also took this opportunity to get the engine bay cleared out in anticipation for paint.


WOW Quit the project going there. Look forward to seeing more as you go on.

Thank you!!! I have it scheduled to go to the body shop Thursday for a full paint job. I will have more photos coming really soon stay tuned. This restoration is a really big deal for me.

Thank you!!! I have it scheduled to go to the body shop Thursday for a full paint job. I will have more photos coming really soon stay tuned. This restoration is a really big deal for me.

Are you gonna keep it the same color?

Are you gonna keep it the same color?

Yes it will stay the factory color since Eddie Bauer 2dr 932a package is super super uncommon. This one is the only one that had this color with factory jbl.

Updates will be coming over the next two days. The truck comes back from the body shop Tuesday. I went Thursday right after it came out of the paint booth and its jaw dropping beautiful.

Just stumbled across this thread, any updates? Very cool project. . .


Hey Paul yeah its still in the works. The paint and body work was completely done. Been busy with other things that took me away from it. I next step is having the frame pulled from under the truck i will be having the frame blasted and powder coated.


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You guys do great work - - and that paint is awesome. . . . Totally understand getting sidetracked with other projects, work, etc. Appreciate reporting back and hope you can keep us looped in as you move forward. Best of luck on the continuing efforts.


Wild! Had it painted first and then remove the frame!! Wowee
Cant wait until that sucker is on the road...... nice 94 indeed. When you come through Idaho make sure you come through NORTH Idaho I want a ride!!

Yeah i didnt want accidental overspray to end up on the frame. I have a buddies lift the body can go on for a few weeks while the frame is getting done.

your banditcustoms.com link is broke

Ok ill look into it