Explorer Conversion Vans Factory Tour

October 21st, 2016 by

Explorer Vans Factory TourExplorer Van Company, located in Warsaw, Indiana has been a leading manufacturer of Conversion Vans since 1980. Named “America’s Van”, Explorer Conversion Vans are custom built and assembled by hand to this day. Explorer manufactures conversions for GMC, Chevy, Ford, and their latest, a Mercedes Conversion Van – The Mercedes Metris. Family owned from the start, the average employee has worked at Explorer Van Company for over 20 years. Today, Explorer is one of the most sought after conversions in the industry.

All parts for Explorer Conversions are produced in house through various just in time manufacturing processes. Explorer is always working to design the latest and greatest amenities, safety features, and electronics for today’s lifestyles. From the exterior paint to the wiring harnesses, Explorer controls all of these processes. Interior dash trim and side moldings go through an ink dye transfer process producing a high-grade wood look. Carpets are cut with computer controlled machines to exact specifications every time. All leathers and foam for the industry leading seating are die cut with precision. All of these processes give Explorer the ability to focus on quality and provide customers with warranty or replacement parts, even with older models of Explorer Conversion Vans.

The beginning of our tour started with their painting facility. The painting of exterior mirrors, ground effects, running boards, bumper covers, and various exterior parts take place in this building. Explorer uses a base coat/clear coat process to blend and match paint. Each part removed from a particular chassis for painting is replaced during the conversion process with that exact part.Second stop visited the vacuum bonding facility. This is where the custom interior components are formed and cut out. Interior parts produced include center consoles, door panels, and other molding to complete the luxurious interior of Explorer Conversion Vans.

The third stop on our tour showed the ink dying process of the interior dash and other interior trim components. This is where interior trim pieces receive the “wood” or “marble” type appearance without altering the factory fit. This is a very interesting process that requires a steady hand and skill. Next we visited the carpet cutting station. All carpets are precision cut through a computer controlled machine. This ensures each piece is cut to exact dimensions for a proper fit and reduces waste. After viewing the carpet cutting process, we were shown how all the wiring harnesses are made in house. Each wiring harness is assembled by hand for each specific van. This is what connects all of the components throughout the van such as the accent lighting, television, speakers, power rear sofa, and other entertainment options.

All leathers used in an Explorer Conversion Van are thoroughly inspected for quality inch by inch. These leathers are used for the seats and cover other interior trims. All of the leathers used are precision cut and hand sewn. Our final stop through the production facility showed the industry’s most comfortable seating assembly. The foam is precision cut by computer controlled machines, then covered with Explorer’s hand sewn leathers.

After visiting the production facilities, we moved over to the final assembly building. This is where each part from production is fitted to the original van chassis. At the beginning of the line, the chassis is basically an empty “shell”. Each step down the assembly line, the final product becomes closer to being finished. The first step of assembly is installation of sound deadening material and wiring throughout the entire “shell”. Next, the carpet or flooring is installed. Once the flooring is installed, the interior side moldings and trim are installed. Once the flooring and sidewalls are installed, the ceiling panels and trim are installed along with accent lighting and the center chandelier (infinity lights). Once the television and seats are installed, the next step is cleaning and preparing the final product for delivery.

Most van conversion companies are assembly plants, while Explorer manufactures nearly every part required for conversion on their premises. With the ability to build vans to suit individual needs and lifestyles, Explorer can accommodate nearly any desire. From the business executive to families that love to travel, Explorer has a solution for you. The possibilities are endless when it comes to customization, including but not limited to seating arrangements, flooring, entertainment, and handicap accessible conversion vans.

To learn more about Explorer Conversion Vans, contact one of our conversion van specialists.

Below are photos from our factory tour.

Near Final Product GMC Explorer Conversion Van

Near Final Product GMC Explorer Conversion Van

Mold for Explorer Vans Center Console

Mold for Explorer Vans Center Console

Finishing Dash Trim

Finishing Dash Trim

Exterior Mirror Painting Prep

Exterior Mirror Painting Prep

The "shell" of a GMC Conversion Van

The “shell” of a GMC Conversion Van

Explorer uses fine leathers, inspected by hand for blemishes.

Explorer uses fine leathers, inspected by hand for blemishes.

The most comfortable seats in the industry being assembled.

The most comfortable seats in the industry being assembled.

Explorer Wood Division Building

Explorer Wood Division Building

Hand Sewn Upholstery area.

Hand Sewn Upholstery area.

Vacuum Molding of Door Panels, Various Trim Pieces, Center Consoles

Vacuum Molding of Door Panels, Various Trim Pieces, Center Consoles

All wiring harnesses are assembled by hand.

All wiring harnesses are assembled by hand.

Mercedes Metris Conversion Van Prototype.

Mercedes Metris Conversion Van Prototype.