Jurassic Park Explorer #5


Active Member
I just realized I wasn't posting anything about my most recent build over here on RPF, so figured I would do a post dump to get caught up.

I thought I'd wrap things up with just the Jeep but now I've got the bug. A late night session of Facebook Marketplace led me to a solid base vehicle for an Explorer build. It's a 1992 Eddie Bauer 2WD with a tan interior that's in halfway decent shape considering its age. I'll have some rust to repair or replace on each side near the rear wheels and several dents and dings to try to fix. The rear windows all have the privacy tint on them and the back glass seals look to be rotting a bit. Engine and transmission are in good shape and it recently had the cooling system reworked (an aftermarket thermostat gauge was added since the original stopped functioning, I'll be replacing all the gauges with digital when replacing the dash).











A few weeks later, my father lets me know he found a 1991 for parts. The engine works in that one but the transmission only operates in reverse. It has the AS2 glass in the rear door windows and AS3 regular glass in the back glass and hatch glass so I'll transplant those to the 92. It also has manual seats. And it's red. So. Much. Red.



I'll probably wind up swapping an entire door or two so I won't have to hammer out some of the larger dings. I've started gathering a few of the smaller parts like the antennas, license plate and frame, roof box lights and Pelican case. Decals and bubble dome have been ordered and hopefully I'll be able to get in on a run of accurate brush guards. I think the next steps will be to start dismantling the interior so I can see if the carpets can be cleaned or need to be replaced.

My intentions are to go as screen accurate as my budget will allow (with the exception of the receiver hitch, I'll be leaving that on there). Now the hunt is on for some of the oddball items like cameras and such. I'll need to do some research on structural modifications when I cut the hole in the roof and hopefully I'll be ready to paint by the middle of next year.
I'm going to have to quit shopping for a bit after this last buying spree. I was able to strike a deal for the BL90 cameras for the dash and also picked up a BT-S901YN monitor and a Maxa Beam flashlight. I was hoping to find the monitors locally but my TV station only used Sony, Ikegami and JVC. I reached out to the chief engineers at the other local stations and they didn't keep any of their CRTs around after they upgraded to LCDs, so, eBay to the rescue. The monitor wasn't packed very well and bounced around inside the box but fortunately made it without damage. Those old broadcast monitors were tough. Dug out my old test gear and gave it a brief shakedown. Can't wait to see the tour program running on it.


I got a few more parts for the track sensor, just need to pick up some bolts, rubber gaskets and another set of fake security cameras for the dome guts. The first set of fake cameras I ordered didn't work out at all - fortunately they were cheap.
Progress has been exceedingly slow due to poor weather, a bit of traveling and an increase in hours at the office. Got the brush guard on order and picked up a set of KC Hilites for the roof box. Just need to track down one more clear lens. Been eyeballing a bunch of stuff on eBay and trying to decide if I want to go with the WV-LA6A lenses or keep playing the waiting game for some WV-LA12A's to come along. Also trying to find a suitable replacement for the Hella lights for the brush guard since those have been discontinued. I did take the opportunity to build out the Pelican case and the track sensor.

I stumbled across an almost perfect case and picked it up, only to realize that I overlooked the pressure valve. I was able to order a replacement valve and got it mounted; the real one has the valve recessed so it doesn't interfere with the handle. I figure this will work for now until I can trade up for a more accurate one.


The fire extinguisher is the modern version of the Kidde 466141n. Valve and label are a bit different but I'd rather have a known-good extinguisher than have an older unit malfunction if I needed it. Plus, I can look in to a replacement label later and it will still match the type of extinguisher.


Still need to finish wiring the adapter so I can charge the Maxa Beam. I'm excited to see it work.

I re-visited the fake dome cameras I picked up for the track sensor and got a little crazy with the Dremel and some E6000 glue. Still need to attach the brackets to mount it on the front license plate holder.



I'll keep tinkering with smaller stuff until the weather improves. Seems like a good time to work over the antennas and maybe paint up the rest of the Motorola radios I have and get those programmed.
Did some more cleaning on the 92 Explorer and started stripping down the 91 to get ready to swap doors. I also pulled the seats out of the 91 and discovered that the floor pan profile changed between the 91 and 92 and I'll need a different slide track. I've found some aftermarket replacements but those guys want $124 per seat for the rails. My local scrapyard has three pre-95 Explorers on the lot right now and, if I'm not mistaken, I should be able to use the slide rails all the way up to an 01, which gives me 23 vehicles to pick from. Hopefully I'll be able to find some AS2 glass in that mix and maybe pick up some new side mirrors in better shape than mine while I'm there.


I was being stalked by some six-foot turkeys while I was pulling pieces off the 91. :D


In other news, picked up this little guy off eBay. It's the screen-accurate lens that's seen on the two Panasonic cameras that stick up between the steering wheel and the windshield. Now I'll have to keep an eye out for one more. Also nabbed a Panasonic BT-702N monitor for the back seat and a CD caddy for the "interactive CD-ROM" panel while I was shopping.


Seeing another builder's latest video with a functional touchscreen makes me want to dig out my old ActionScript books and start tinkering again. Still a long ways away from that portion of the project, though. We just got in a small fleet of little HP Elitedesk Mini computers at work; I'm thinking something like that may be ideal to drop in the Explorer. The older models are really cheap, they have a VGA output that I can easily adapt to composite and s-video and I can pick up a smart DC-DC power supply that will let me run the system off 12v and do graceful startup and shutdowns based on the vehicle key.
While stripping down some of the 92 interior I noticed water in the cupholder. Found a small drip coming from the headliner. Tracked it back to this lovely rust spot. Probably going to do a temporary patch on it until I get to the painting phase, at which point I'll pull the windshield, correct whatever lies beneath and have a new windshield put in.


I pulled all the seats out of the 91 and started prepping them to go in the 92. Discovered that the floor pan changed a bit between the 91 and 92 resulting in different seat tracks. The 91 seat tracks are two separate pieces with some springs connected between them. The 92-01 seat tracks are all one piece. A quick trip to the junkyard yielded a nice pair of seat tracks from a 96, rear quarter AS2 glass from a 99 and a factory premium sound subwoofer plastic faceplate from a 93. It's slow going pulling the aftermarket tint off the quarter glass and one of the windows has pitted rubber but it should work well for the time being until I come across something in slightly better shape.


Snapped this for a quick comparison of the back seats. The red cloth is from the 91 XLT and the tan leather is from the 92 Eddie Bauer. The seat foam and mounting brackets are all identical. Just the front seat mounts changed.


My Jeep cats have decided they like the inside of the Explorer. They're going to be rather disappointed when I don't allow them back in when the interior starts going back in.



The 7" Panasonic monitor showed up and looks pretty good. Just need to rip out the weird power connector and replace it with a standard one. Or just wire it directly to a cord - that would probably be more reliable since it's going in a vehicle.



Also started in on the mirror antennas. Got the Tram mast cut off from the mount, cut off the additional mounting ear from the mount and shaved off some of the plastic from the threads so the antenna holder sits a bit lower on the mount. The original Tram mast was very thick and rigid. I wanted the antennas to move like in the movie when they closed the doors. I picked up some fiberglass yard markers from the hardware store that move the way I want them to and got the holes in the mount drilled for them. Just need to finalize the length, epoxy everything together and give it a good coating of black paint.


Still inching forward. Got the mirror antennas finished. Managed to shatter the glass in the driver's side mirror while trying to remove one of those little blind spot add-a-mirrors. Apparently I wasn't using enough heat. Was going to have to repaint the mirrors anyway since one was pretty bleached compared to the other. Heading out to the junk yard again tomorrow to grab some replacements and a few trim pieces that I've found broken while disassembling things. I looked in to some aftermarket mirrors but they used plastic instead of metal where the antennas would mount. I'd rather go with the metal ones so I don't have to worry about the antennas snapping off when the doors are closed.


Speaking of doors, got two of them replaced today and the wiring pulled out of the other two before I managed to hurt my back and have to quit for the day. Much easier than trying to hammer out all the dents, plus the back doors had the AS2 glass in them.


Picked up new shoes for both the Explorer and JP12. I really loved the looks of them on JP10 and figured since I was ordering for the Explorer, might as well do JP12 while I'm at it. Still need to order the tire stickers for them.



I've also taken the opportunity to fiddle with some more of the props for the vehicle fleet. Got all my radios painted up and programmed.



I've noticed that the recommended hard hat on the JPMP page has changed styles and is only available in a matte finish now. Looks pretty slick, but definitely not the same sheen that was on screen.


I sprayed a few coats of gloss clear on it but then went ahead and picked up a few other styles to tinker with. I ordered two alternatives to compare to the Roughneck and the images I've been able to find online of one of the screen used hard hats. The Honeywell North Safety E2Rw46A000 and E2Rw03A000 have a near-identical appearance to the Roughneck P2ARW46A000 (minus the drip edge around the rim of the hat). Ratcheting headband mechanism appears to be the same. The two North Safety hats both come in a gloss finish. I think the regular orange E2Rw03A000 looks to be a bit closer in color to the screen used hat versus the Strong Orange.

More parts have been ordered: dash, center console, SM99 microphone and replacement dog legs and a few other odds-and-ends. I took a wire brush to the rust spots to see if I might be able to seal and patch them and found the damage was more extensive than I originally thought.



LMC Truck carries a bunch of different body panels for the Explorer so I was able to order some new dog legs to replace the rotted ones. I was surprised by the amount of dirt that was packed inside the area. The rust definitely started in the wheel well and allowed all the crud being slung off the tire to accumulate inside the panel. Fortunately there are already seams in the area so I should be able to hide my crappy welding abilities.

Peeled off the pin stripes and removed the Explorer emblem on the back. The green paint is surprisingly crappy. Quite a bit of damage was done while removing the pin stripes. It came off the red doors like a dream, though. Just underlines the difference between a factory job and the Maaco weekend special. Good thing it's all going to be thoroughly sanded and primed.


I finally found some paint stripper that had methylene chloride in it. That's some naaaaasty stuff. Worked wonders on stripping the tint off, though. One of the windows has some rubber rot going but I figured I could work with that for now and swap it out for a better one when I run across it.


I was very fortunate that our local junk yard got in a 92 with the same color interior as mine. Nabbed the A-pillar trim to replace mine (previous owner overtightened a screw and snapped off a chunk of the trim) along with a handful of those little press-fit trim retainers that like to snap off. I found a new set of mirrors from a 96 that would work (would have to change a bit of wiring) but apparently Ford swapped out to plastic components at some point. The 92 had a decent driver's side mirror that I was able to harvest. A little bit of painting and it should be ready for the antennas.

The Panasonic BT-S702 I bought is eating fuses. Still stepping through the power supply to try to figure out what's going on. I ordered a replica faceplate when I purchased the dash and center console; I think I'll transplant the faceplate over to one of my JVC or Sony monitors and use that as a backup if I can't get the Panasonic running again.
Peeled apart a bit more of the interior this weekend. Everything is now out except for the dash and front carpet. Will have to track down three of the little plastic press-fit keepers that go under the rear windows. The rear windows were leaking quite a bit from the previous painters damaging the seals and the carpet was soaked.


I scraped off the bad sealant and dropped in the AS2 glass. I'll be pulling them back out when I'm ready to paint. Hopefully I'll have a different passenger side glass by then as the rubber is quite pitted.



Managed to get all the pits filled in the side mirrors. Still a bit more to go on those before I can bolt on the antennas and mount them back on the Explorer.
Slow progress, but progress nonetheless. Finally put up one of those car canopy things to help keep the Ex out of the elements. Finally got the driver's door swapped (those things are heavy!), just need to remove the pin stripe and get all the wiring put back into place. Got the antennas test mounted, too.


Some of the bigger parts have started making their way in. The bubble dome has arrived and I picked up the center console and dash while I was on vacation.



The brush guard should arrive next week. Once I get it mounted I'll peel everything back apart and take the rims and bumpers in to be powder coated. I've also started prepping the new tires for the tire stickers after everything comes back from the powder coating shop.

Picked up a functioning Panasonic BT-S701N, so the non-functioning 702N gets banished to the spare parts pile.


Also picked up the hood light and top fog lights. Figured since I was already ordering a few I might as well take the opportunity to upgrade the rear fog lights on both of the Jeeps.


I might see about fabricating the steering wheel guard next. That seems like something that should go together and make me feel like I'm getting somewhere.
New toys!


The brush guard came out beautifully. Got the front mounted up and used rivnuts for the tail light guards. Broke the mandrel on the rivnut tool on the first one so I was delayed a bit while the replacement came in. The brush guard makes a huge difference in how the Explorer looks. I love it.




Also decided it was a good time to test fit some of the front greeblies. I'll need to make a new bracket for the camera so I can adjust for some differences in the camera that I have versus the one the original bracket was designed for.


While I was perusing the 4k version of the movie I noticed that the track sensor was bolted on instead of clipped on. Since our state does not require front tags I opted to go with the bolt-on route. I'll paint or power coat the bolt heads so they blend in a little better like the movie ones.



I realized I got a bit ahead of myself with swapping out the doors. The Explorer has the VIN number on the door instead of the door jamb. Not a big problem if I were keeping the original dash, but I'm replacing that, too. The last thing I want is for an officer to get cranky because they have to crawl under the vehicle to try to verify the VIN number for some reason. I think I can get a replacement VIN sticker from a body shop but from what I understand it's quite the hassle and rather expensive. Fortunately I figured out how the trim comes off so I was able to transplant the 91 trim over to the 92 door. That just leaves three small dents I'll have to worry about.




My six-foot turkeys were back stalking me again.


I thought I was settled on colors, but now I'm questioning myself again. Had picked out Rust-Oleum Colonial Red, Kilz Watered Grass and Rust-Oleum Sun Yellow. My sister matched the Sun Yellow to RAL 1021 for powder coating, so my intention was to take those colors (and the powder coat sample chip) to my local auto paint shop and have them match it for my final paint. That said, I just saw some better photos of one of the Explorers that used the Sherwin Williams paint codes and it looks much better than the sample photos on the JPMP reference page. I'll have to stew on it a bit more before I fully commit to one or the other. Still have some body work to do before I get to the painting phase although it would be nice to get a jump start on the powder coating.


(It's hard to get accurate pictures of paint colors with a cell phone. lol)
I'm completely fascinated with this! Keep up the good work and please keep us posted with plenty of photos.

Colour matching from screen shots is frustrating! You never know if you're correct, or even close, sometimes.

I've worked on things where the colour of something looks different in every scene, sometimes changing from shot to shot in the same scene!

BTW where I work there are three Jurassic Park jeeps in the car park! Just coincidence that three employees happen use them as their daily commuting vehicles.
Youreally should do a video diary. I was fascinated of the videos from the guy, who restored the Lost World RV. Always love to see in moving pictures, how everything comes together. Really cool pics... Can't wait for more...
Youreally should do a video diary. I was fascinated of the videos from the guy, who restored the Lost World RV. Always love to see in moving pictures, how everything comes together. Really cool pics... Can't wait for more...
I've started posting some low quality, poorly-edited videos to YouTube. I can drop the link if you really want to suffer through them. :lol:

Been a while since the last update due to travelling and work-related stuff. Some more goodies arrived and I had to do a quick mockup of the dash camera. This is going to be awesome!


I also found some older thin client computers at a computer salvage company near my grandmother's house and figured those would work well for the onboard computer. They're small and have a nice SSD installed. I picked up a DC/DC converter for the power supply that is designed for car use. I'm using the Tour Program video from Themaxleydog on YouTube for the time being until I can get a tour program of my own going.

I'm feeding VGA out of the thin client into a scan converter and using composite video from there into the Panasonic monitors. The scan converter I picked up from Amazon wound up being absolute junk, so back it goes. I have a new one on order, hopefully it will be a little better quality.


My vacation allowed me to really think about things, especially the fate of the 91 Explorer that was purchased for parts. I have decided to keep and repair it. It will become JPEX 04. I'll start a separate thread with all those shenanigans once it gets underway.

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