1995 4.9L from F-150, UN-rebuilt, completely transplanted twice, including computer, air filter, y-pipe, & all accessories. 130A alternator, 1996 Bronco gas tank & pump. K&N drop-in.
1978 F-250 NP-435; '93 BW1356 clocked; reman rear d'shaft; rebuilt front d'shaft; '96 Bronco D44IFS with 3.07 open diff; rebuilt Ford 8.8" 3.08 open; stock F&R antisway bars & Energy polyurethane bushings all around.
It has been completely rebuilt from the ground up for the 2nd time now. Most of the body & frame are '93, the tailgate is a '96, the door mirrors are heavily modified with LEDs, and the camper shell is a '96 with a '94 Explorer roof rack & '82 sliding windows. The front shoulder belts & rear seat are the original '83 parts, but the front seats are '97 Econoline power captain's chairs with heat. The instrument cluster & wiring harnesses have been heavily modified so the factory fuel reset light works, and a semi-factory low fuel light has been added. I've added AutoLamps, AutoDimming Brights, RKE, one-touch both directions for all windows, an auto-dimming compass rear-view mirror, dual visors, dual spotlight wiring, always-on PW, OBA. The CB & radar detector are hard-wired. Planned mods include a sunroof & articulated doors. The bumpers are my own design (mostly hand-built). The front includes factory trim, 2 storage compartments, 3 recovery points, a removable fold-down grille guard, & a Ramsey RE12000. The rear bumper has an integral hitch receiver & 3 locking storage boxes.
I bought my '83 Bronco in 1989 as a replacement for the Mustang II (POS) that I had driven since high school, and ultimately from LA to CA & back towing a U-Haul trailer. When the C3 (rebuilt years earlier) lost 1st gear a week after that trip, I decided I needed something heavier. Back in college, several of my fraternity brothers had driven Ford trucks, and I knew I wanted one with an I6 & a stick. The Bronco was the first one I came across that I could afford. Almost immediately, I had to make another trip to AZ, and I got to take it into the mountains almost every day. It became a popular ride among my friends because it could carry as many people as wanted to tag along, and occasionally pulled their 4WDs out. That's when I realized I needed better bumpers, which was the first noticeable mod. I designed the front around a Ramsey worm-drive that I knew I couldn't afford, so I drove & wheeled it for many years with no winch.
But it was a Custom, so it literally had NOTHING but A/C (which rarely worked): plastic flooring, manual windows/locks/mirrors, no console, no sway bars, no headliners, no body mouldings (as I like), cheap seats, cheap interior, plastic upholstery, no tach - not even interval wipers. So as much as I enjoyed it, I missed the creature comforts, and I started browsing JYs looking for parts to swap in. I did that so much that I learned how to tell at a distance what options might & couldn't be in a particular truck, and which options were durable vs. which fell apart or didn't work. Over the years, it gained & lost just about every option Ford offered from '80-96, and several that Ford DIDN'T offer. When the engine wore out, I rebuilt it. When the carb washed the rings out again, I tossed the whole mess & dropped in a later EFI I6 with all the factory emissions systems still installed & working. Then I rolled it...
Instead of scrapping the whole thing & moving on (because I had too much invested in the engine), I found a replacement body (an '82 tub & '86 front clip), had it painted in the EB scheme, and kept driving the piss out of it. This time, I went East to NC (to help a friend build a '75 eB) & AL, so I've nearly been coast-to-coast in it. When I moved to TN, it hauled everything up here in several trips. At that point, it became a work truck, hauling crews, materials, & equipment all over town, and into AR & MS for a few jobs. With the higher density of JYs in the greater Memphis area, and more disposable income than usual, the truck almost took on a life of its own. I really filled in the EB theme with all those options, and went off the map with quasi-factory AutoLamp headlights, roof rack, 16" wheels, & a low fuel light. I also enjoyed finding rare factory options & fitting them, like sliding side windows, fog lights, aux. battery, underhood tool box, & 3rd-row seats. Despite all its "luxury", it was always a truck at heart, and I never hesitated to take it off road anywhere anytime with or without anyone. When nature, wear, my driving, or other people's driving took their tolls, I'd swap out the damaged parts for better or newer ones. It became a running joke of how few original '83 parts there were left on the truck: just the core support, the back seat, most of the frame, & maybe the door windows. I sort of lost track.
But eventually, it started coming apart at the seams. Literally. The frame was slightly limp due to several collisions & loose rivets; the body tub was cracking & tearing; and the wiring harness (which I had halfheartedly cleaned up after the roll) had become a total ratnest & fire hazard. So when I stumbled across a '93 XLT with a perfect body & frame, but a blown engine & a desperate owner, I nabbed it. After a year or so of dismantling every last nut, bolt, screw, & clip on it; washing, scraping, weathering, pressure-washing, undercoating, & painting the stuff I wanted to keep; and storing most of the salvageable parts & scrapping the rest; I stripped the '83 down to its frame and started over with a clean slate & the latest body style.
That's when it really took off...
The entire frame was pressure-washed repeatedly until it was clean enough to begin flash-rusting, then thoroughly undercoated. Since the previous front bumper wouldn't fit the newer frame, I had an excuse to design & build a new one. The old rear bumper fit, so it got moved to the new frame with just a few minor upgrades. The rear diff cover was upgraded to a cast Aluminum IRS part for cooling & off-road durability. The engine & trans were swapped as a unit, but the engine got a few new seals & the trans extension was drilled to clock the t-case. The replacement body was thoroughly washed, repaired (including the drip rail cracks), deadened with Peel&Seal, painted EVERYWHERE that I could access (including where the factory skipped), undercoated where needed, sealed where needed, and filled so it doesn't collect gravel/sand/salt in the places that typically rust. I also integrated a secure vault with positive ventilation (to eliminate condensation) large enough for a few laptops, cameras, purses, & handguns. To help keep the floor dry & the wiring intact, I added B-pillar drains. And to keep the A/C clean, I added a pollen filter & screens to the fresh-air intake. To make the A/C more effective, a vacuum-operated valve blocks off the heater core coolant (without interrupting flow past the ECT or e-fan sensors), but I haven't figured out how to make that automatic yet. The door seals are foam-filled now so they won't collapse & leak, and the doors are reinforced so the mirrors & inside handles don't tear the sheet metal. The tailgate has relays so the motor is faster & the switches don't burn out, and a water shedder so rain that gets past the weatherbelts doesn't come through the access panel. It also has an indicator light if it's not fully latched. Since I hate glare, almost all the chrome & shiny metal is blacked out, inside & out: powdercoated door handles, VentShades, & antenna base; factory black thresholds, antenna, w/s trim, & lock cylinders; aftermarket black grille, painted black mirror fronts. But the t/g doesn't look right to me without the factory brushed Aluminum trim panel, and I haven't blacked out the rims or hub lock caps (nor am I sure I ever will since I don't have to see them while driving). Other than engine, trans, ESOF, LSDs, & leather; nearly every factory option from every year is in it now, including PW/PL/PM, R-134a A/C, R.Def., tilt/cruise, tach, a fuel reset indicator (a factory option that the factory never offered), dual visors with lighted vanity mirrors (no OHC yet), dimming RV mirror, signal side mirrors, sliding side windows, aux.batt. (though not in the factory location), HO alternator, trailer package, RKE, light & convenience group, t/g carpet, F&R headliners, HD 2-core radiator, high-trim door & bedwall panels, carpet, locking glove box, floor console (temporarily removed), and captain's chairs (though they're not OE). Just to make things easier for myself, I also mounted all the dash switches (like the t/g window) to the dash instead of the cluster bezel, added a vacuum tree to the intake, filled all the body mount sleeves with anti-seize, and used blazing-white paint everywhere that's difficult to see (like inside the doors & t/g, in the engine bay, & on the underbody).
Like the previous one, the new front bumper is a true bolt-on, requiring no modification to the body or frame to install or remove alone. It's strong enough to knock down 6" trees, snatch 10" trees out by the roots, and stall a 12K winch. Its contoured grille guard folds down to carry cargo, and is removeable without tools. Its integral easy-open storage compartments are large enough for chains, straps, cribbing, & winch accessories, but they aren't apparent and can withstand hard impacts. Its 2 front receivers accept standard 2" square draw bars and normally carry oversized shackles which are very difficult to steal but easy to use, and don't swing or rattle as I drive. Since they're the standard size & very strong, the receivers can also be used for backing a trailer with the truck forward, my drawbar-mounted bench vise, future push bumpers, a future tow bar, or just about anything else I can build. The roller fairlead is recessed for protection and partially hidden by a stock '94-97 turbo diesel front bumper trim piece. It also has a pull-out step that normally conceals the winch, but doesn't interfere with the fold-down grille guard. The guard mimics the original grille, but holds a plasma-cut oval that's literally strong enough to stamp Ford on someone's ass. I've tested it using a 12# sledge at full swing a few times, and with logs piled higher than the hood. Excluding the fairlead & shackles, my bumper is the same height & width as the factory bumper, and only sticks ~2.5" farther forward. Its bottom is smooth so it won't hang up on tall obstacles. I haven't added any lights to it, but there's plenty of room for them to be recessed & protected.
The rear bumper has 3 storage compartments (all UNobvious & difficult to guess, but easy for me), an integral weight-distributing hitch receiver stronger than Class III (I nearly lifted the front wheels off the ground with it, so it might be stronger than Cl.IV), and integral mud guards. I'm still using the factory swingaway, but the bumper is ready to have one integrated into it. It's the same width & basic shape as the factory bumper, but it sticks back about 2.75" farther. Its bottom is smooth so it won't hang up on tall obstacles, and is ~1.25" higher than the factory bumper (though the top is at the same height). The only modification it required was 6 holes in the frame, just like any Cl.III receiver. It normally carries ~30' of chain, 20' recovery strap, various ratchet straps, tire chocks, e-tool, axe, limb loppers, machete, bolt cutters, snatch block, double-lift hydraulic bottle jack, air hose & tire chuck.
And I still use it like a work/play truck.
Other features include:
- 130A 3G with redundant ground & dash control to force max output
- second battery with isolation & cranking capability via dash control (even when the main battery is dead or removed)
- 12V chiller/warmer floor console
- 1KW power inverter with dash control, 2 outlets behind the LHR speaker grille, & an extension cord to reach out the t/g
- 5gal OBA expandable to 3 compressors with popoff & quick connect inside the rear bumper
- Saginaw PS pump with Magnefine filter
- integral (but still optional) e-fan circuits with dash control (auto/on/off)
- factory RKE with KE pad on the driver's door and many features not offered on trucks
- AutoLamps & AutoDimming Brights (in progress...)
- low beams stay on with highs (since they're in separate reflectors, and in preparation for HIDs)
- heated signal PM with puddle lights & LED auxiliary lights (an option on '15-up 4WD F-series) controlled by a dash switch
- cornering lamps (using the LEDs under the mirrors) only when the headlights are on
- aftermarket (but still DOT-legal) projector halo headlights
- underhood automatic 24' reel light
- gas hood struts
- one-touch modules for both directions on all 3 PW motors, which are always on
- cargo area PL & t/g window switches (not yet mounted)
- removing the camper shell disables the dash & cargo area t/g window switches
- 6 cargo tiedowns in the floor, and a homemade 6' prybar
- front & rear horns
- screened grille keeps leaves, grass, bugs, & gravel off the condenser
- screened & insulated factory CAI with K&N drop-in
- redundant grounding wires on the chassis, body, & in the engine bay
- 3-way power front seats with integral headrests, pneumatic lumbar, armrests that don't break off, & aftermarket heaters
- 2 grab handles on each side
- velour seat upholstery F&R
- extra visor hooks above the doors
- footwell courtesy lights & a dash switch to disable the driver's door courtesy switch
- tailgate courtesy light switch (in progress...)
- GM eyeball dome lamp
- Kenwood KDC-X997 w/USB, Pandora (etc.), hands-free Bluetooth, & steering wheel controls via PAC SWI-RC
- Lincoln Navigator steering wheel with real wood & leather, and illuminated buttons (airbag disabled for now)
- Cobra 75WXST (hidden in the dash) with a fold-down antenna in the center rear of the steel roof
- Bel RX65 radar detector hard-mounted to the w/s trim (no suction cups)
- USB power ports on & inside the dash switchable (in pairs) between always-on, key-on, & off; Qi phone charger
- similar switches for the cigar lighter & power point
- custom dash caddie for phones & handheld GPSs
- integral power wiring for the CB, radar detector, A-pillar spotlights & power sunroof (neither is installed yet), & multi-voltage power adapter (for any future accessories)
- upgraded pull-pull temperature blend cable
- dash switch, wired remote, & wireless remote control for the Ramsey 12K worm-drive winch in the front bumper (the one I originally dreamed about)
- polyurethane winch cable weight/hook storage/fairlead filler
- 4-way lug wrench stored on aftermarket spare tire lock; both powdercoated black
- my own design current limiter for the trailer battery charging circuit
- custom rear lower wheel arch bracing
- aftermarket hard plastic low-profile mud guards (1 missing)
- front wheelwell soft frame fillers
- removable limiting cable for the swingaway spare rack (to protect the body) & plastic shielding (to protect the t/g paint)
- factory outside cargo light wired to also function as a reverse light
- polyurethane body mounts (glued to the frame to prevent noise or body shifting), suspension bushings, tie rod boots, & trans. mounts
- Moog adjustable camber cams
- spare fluids under the hood
- 3/4-ton springs to keep all the extra weight close to normal ride height (no lift)
- AVS VentVisors, StepShields & BugflectorII
- sealed w/s trim to keep leaves out of the cowl
- paint that's easy to touch up or match when I massage the body
- custom high-clearance t-case skid plate
- padded t-case pump arm
- fuel pump access panel
- factory '96 Bronco muffler & tailpipe (so there are no U-clamped joints)
- custom hitch hauler that folds up behind the spare, but is strong enough to lift the front wheels off the ground if I overload it
- hammer-&-crowbar-proof hidden vault accessible by all seated occupants
- frame tiedown hooks above the rear axle (in case it ever gets trailered)
- clutch start switch to allow cranking in gear if needed
Things I'm working on or considering adding (in no particular order) include:
- custom anti-wrap bar
- TPMS for the Bronco, its spare, and any trailer I might pull
- reverse camera (& maybe off-roading cameras)
- memory seats & mirrors linked to the RKE
- fire extinguisher mount (I already carry one loose)
- power sunroof
- A-pillar spotlights
- more & better reverse lights
- HIDs ~4500K
- LSDs F&R
- cruise control indicators in the cluster
- dash gauge for the OBA tank
- dash voltmeter for the aux. battery
- higher-output alternator, possibly with digital ammeter on the dash
- camp shower pump & heater
- Ford 16" rims, NOT chrome, that the Bronco center caps can be mounted to, and that don't need spacers
- factory rear disks from an '04-up E150
- custom remote swaybar disconnects F&R
- custom tie rod guard
- black powdercoat for both bumpers
- custom bolt-in weatherproof half-cab bulkhead with liftgate window or maybe power drop (which would fit any '80-96 Bronco)
- custom slide-in camper (which would fit any '80-96 Bronco)
- custom bolt-in locking gun rack (which would fit any '92-96 Bronco camper shell)
- custom campfire rear seat base (which would fit ANY '78-96 Bronco rear bench)
- custom inclinometer that actually works (which would fit any vehicle)
- wheel hub winches like military Jeeps
- steering wheel heat
Things I can't ever imagine doing to a Bronco I own & drive include:
- lift (other than 33" tires) or anything that raises the CG
- 1-ton or heavier axles, sway bar delete, or anything that reduces roadworthiness
- V8 or diesel
- cage (internal or exo-), or anything that reduces comfort
- gaudy paint, body or bumper stickers, chrome, or anything purely cosmetic (other than the stock t/g trim panel & the EB tan lower body paint)
Nickel is the most-expensive, for high-temperature use like oxygen sensors & exhaust fasteners.
After.jpg 53 hits | 65.46 KB | Posted: 3/23/16 This used to be a pristine white '96 EB. But after clipping an open storm drain with the RHF tire at ~45mph, it dead-centered a power pole that turned out to feed about 1/3 of Memphis.
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