wrecked my '92 off-road rig's body, need some technical help | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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wrecked my '92 off-road rig's body, need some technical help


Well-Known Member
December 20, 2010
Reaction score
City, State
Northern NV
Year, Model & Trim Level
'92 Dora XLT 4x4 5Spd
Hi guys, been quite a while.

Picked up my current '92 Explorer XLT 4 door 5 speed rig back in '14. About 3-4 years ago finished it up and has been used a number of times in desert and offroad conditions and performed amazing.

Sadly, ended up avoiding a dirt biker that showed up at the top of a hill I was about to crest and instead of potentially running them over, had to stop and then started rolling backwards since brakes did nothing, lost control when rear wheel hit a larger rock and spun the truck sideways and then rolled it a few times, landing on all 4.

Drove the truck back to the staging area without issue, however the roof and rear quarter panel took on substantial damage, along with some crinkling in the top between doors.

From what I've gathered in getting some quotes, repair is around 8-11k. So, repairing the body is out of the question.

My questions are:

If I want to grab a donor truck for the body, will any '92-94 (4) door 4x4 XLT \ EB work, in terms of ease of swapping?

If I can't find a good 5-speed based body, what issues will I have if I go with an automatic based body?

Any exceptions or caveats I need to be aware of, so I don't buy something that will cause me more issue and headaches?

Some of the suspension is bolted and some of it is welded, as I have a coilover front-end and full rear suspension cage, along with custom radius arms, which is why it might be harder to move everything over to a replacement Explorer. Additionally, mechanically my truck is in exceptional shape and the interior is near perfect as well (as strange as that might sound), so I'm reluctant to moving everything over to another.

Any information to help answer those questions will be awesome,

Thank you everyone!

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Or have has it normally worked out better to just move the parts over to another rig, bypassing the entire body swap mess altogether? Seems there is wiring harness differences between years too.

I’ll throw some comments out, fwiw!
First, is McNeil Racing still in business? They were out in east county, and rebuilt my truck when I rolled it hard. They grafted on a ‘new’ roof, including A pillars and cab corner. Original floor remained. They did the work at their body shop in Mexico. This was in 2000 and I believe it cost me $1400. Still got the truck.
If you’re going to swap bodies yourself, there should be no difference between a 5speed body and an auto body, other than the floor shifter plate which will swap over, the steering column for the shifter, and the pedal assembly. If you can swap a body, you can swap those minor pieces.
Same for different years, 91-94 are identical bodies, just the minor stuff like interiors and maybe some under hood stuff had changes, all of which would swap over.

Do you have any pics of this rig to post? Either before roll or after. Or both. Then we could all see what you’re dealing with.

you could go as high as 95-01 for the body, only 2 mounts wont match on the radiator support if you wanted to update to gen 2, be a little extra wiring. 91-94 will be the easiest.
all explorers have the plate on the trans tunnel for the 5 speed, just have to swap the pedals in(bolt in)

The McNeil family is still doing great work. Very well known in the off road go fast world.

These guys have you covered. Sorry to hear about your rollover, trucks can be replaced, people cannot. Hopefully the dirt bike person was grateful!

Thank you RangerX and Alaskan for the help and suggestions.

Yes, McNeil is still around, just saw their site. It's not too updated, but it's out there. I've heard of them, but haven't used them for anything before. Suppose I can always send them some pics and see if they think it's even possible. The roof is so integrated with the rest of the body, it just makes the work that much harder to get even close to right, let alone back to where it was...but hey, anything is possible I suppose.

I honestly like the first gens most, so would prefer to stay with that if I could. If a body swap occurs, I'm just trying to not introduce any additional wiring issues and whatever approach, I want to keep it as simple and effective as possible. I realize this won't be a freebie will take some labor, but prefer the cleanest approach is taken, so the outcome is as close to where I was before the slow speed roll.

I did read the 93 or late 93's had EGR and also the 93 and or 94's had an updated fuel injection system as it relates to wiring, sequential if I recall, and the old school 91 and 92's had batch injection, meaning, the 92 and back had less wiring and the 93 and or 94 had wiring to each injector. Basically, just saying, that means there's different wiring and likely ECU stuff, so body swapping to a newer year might present those challenges, if not more.

The explorer was built by Threat Motorsports (he's now out in Hurricane UT instead of Perris, CA, however still within a day's drive technically. However, he doesn't do body swap or repair work, but he could obviously move my setup to another rig, but that work could likely be done by any reputable offroad fab shop here locally in Northern NV or even Sacramento area. (I relocated from North Country San Diego late last year, just updated profile).

Here's a few pics. Hope they help.

The rear gate didn't suffer any damage, nor did the hood or front end. The quarter panels, I think most of them have damage, the most damage is the roof and the passenger rear quarter panel. Again, some crinkling between doors at top of roof ridge as well. Doors do close, but there's some binding because of the crinkling at the top of roof line, etc. Panels are easy to get, whether fiber or a junk yard, but that rear pass quarter is smashed in fairly well.

Here's the current status of the truck....

-The engine has about 135k on it and is in exceptional shape, no burning oil, holds good pressure, no head issues....
-M5OD has been fully rebuilt within the last few k, incl HD clutch
-All maintenance items replaced within the last few thousand miles
-All drivelines updated with new joints
-Tcase original, no issues, just new syn fluid
-All fluids full syn or semi syn
-Fuel pump replaced
-Relocated optima battery
-Custom front and rear bumpers are bolted on, so they can be relocated
-Rear suspension cage is bolted in, can be relocated
-Front suspension is welded and bolted on. The arches are welded in, as are the bumps. The center section over the engine is bolted in, between main hoops.
-Interior is in awesome shape, no rip or stains, super clean, with electric seats, looks like a 4-5 year old car, haha.
-Diffs are in great shape, but still only 3.73's with rear posi. (purchased 4.56's and new posi clutches, but have not yet put in)
-4x4 push button low and hi work without issue
-All HVAC works great
-Super tiny leak at oil pan, if at all
-Radflow resi coilovers and rear Radflow resi shocks just all rebuilt and refreshed, only 75 or so miles on them
-Full brake job within the last 6k
-33/12.50 BFGs Tires will need to be replaced next year, based on age alone, not wear
-Even cruise control works....haha

So, as you can see, I'd have to find a super clean replacement truck and then move over all things necessary or desired, based on condition and or additional feature.

Or, body swap, but choosing wisely, so I keep all hassles and issues at a minimum to reduce costs and complexity.

Most likely, I will have to pay to have the work done, no time to be dealing with this kind of stuff, nor the room to do this in.




Thank you Micah, that's good to know!

410: Yes, you're quite right. I had a younger passenger with me, and I told him we would not be doing anything amazing or fast, since we didn't have anyone else with me and the area is newer to me, it was not a time to be messing around, so literally just cruising around and enjoying ourselves. The hill, was maybe 45-60 ft long and I was going up in 2wd with ease, but this truck hooks up, so the angle was still somewhat advanced, but just in first gear high at a standard pace. Yes, the dirt biker was very grateful and shocked at what happened. I just told him, his life was more important than the truck. I also could not see who may have been behind him since the hood of my truck was in the way of my eye sight....so I just needed to error on side of caution. Been offloading for about 34 years and driving trucks offroad for about 26 years. This is my first accident with a vehicle offroad. Suppose the odds are still there, even if being "safe".

Dang, glad everyone made it out okay. So no cage? Body swap is a piece of cake, bring it to AZ, do it in a weekend.

Micah, yes, not a scratch on us. Just a bit of my pride... :( No cage, correct.

Hey, at least you're positive about it being a no brainier....hopefully my options are good and can get this back to normal this year. Appreciate that.

Ah, not as bad of damage as I expected! But, bad enough, right?
I rolled my truck in 99. It also was in great shape and ran perfect. Only body damage, so I had it repaired, new roof, doors, and windshield. One year later, I rolled it again! So I had it repaired again. And then had the exo cage put on. I had learned my lesson. ;)
Even tho you’re not in SD anymore, I would still contact McNeil’s and just see what they suggest, they have rolled and rebuilt countless first gens.
Also, sounds like Micah is offering to do the swap in a weekend, maybe talk to him and head down to AZ!

Thanks RangerX, there's some wisdom in that. The exo cage does sound smart at this point. Not a cheap hobby we have, is it? :eek:. Nice you kept the rig going and kept at it. I will definitely reach out with them for some ideas and or pricing, as they have a lot of experience doing this over and over again over the years and I'm sure, in much worse cases than mine. It would be nice to get mine fixed if at all possible, but just not sure how well it will turn out vs the alternatives.

Didn't want to assume, unless Micah has that capability and expertise and I can pay him to do it when I'm ready to pull the trigger. :dpchug:. I have friends out in Queen Creek and Tucson, so I can stay and work from there if need be for a week or so, but not sure how far he is from those areas. But would need to get (2) explorers to him too, a bit harder than just one being towed there by me. :popcorn:

But would need to get (2) explorers to him too, a bit harder than just one being towed there by me
AZ would be a perfect place to find an old vehicle in great condition!

:eek:That sucks man, that was a good looking sploder before......Like stated repeatedly, glad everyone was ok.

Thanks forpickupman! I'm really hoping to have it sorted this year. And yes, all were safe, thankfully!

Guys, out of sheer curiosity since I had already been wanting a v8 (to be able to some duning too), is there any chance a mid 90's second gen with the factory 5.0 be able to use my suspension front and rear, essentially a 4wd beam conversion from the factory awd a-arm setup?

And yes, I'm aware it's not a bolt on kinda thing....but simply checking viability here....


I think '96-01's with the 5.0.....

Doh.......forgot the AWD 5.0s have no high - low TC. Nevermind.

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It’s totally doable, if you have the skills or the money. My neighbor dropped an Explorer 5.0 and trans into his 94 Ranger, along with a F150 transfercase. Others on this forum have done the same with Explorers and Bronco IIs.