*UPDATED 3/04/11 (latest updates in red highlight) - jump to underneath pics for stats, history, future plans*
This thread is step 1. *checked off the list*
Some pics of what it looked like when I brought it home.
At one of the local watering holes...
Had this dealio attached to the MAF conversion. Removed it. If anyone wants it, PM me.
One of my starter/relay meltdowns that left me stranded. This is the one that really kicked into gear to start buying stuff for it. It was either that or sell it.
Starting about two years ago, it became apparent that I really needed to get another 4x4. My 5.0 Mustang just wasn't cutting it the way I wanted it to for skiing/snowboarding and getting away from the city to remote spots. A friend of mine had a 2000 Jeep Wrangler TJ. That truck was a lot of fun, and seemed like it would go anywhere, there are millions of them for sale in SoCal, and they have just about the biggest aftermarket parts supply you could ask for, so that's where I started my quest.
After about 6 months of exploring the Wrangler market, everything from CJs, to YJs, to TJs (didn't really like the looks of the JKs), I came to the realization that a Wrangler just wasn't going to work either. Too small to fit all my crap, and no good as a work truck either. My 5.0 had more carrying capacity. From there, I moved onto Jeep Cherokees.
Another 6 months rolls by, and checking out all kinds of cool modified Grands and XJs, I notice a pattern: Most of the stuff that is considered an 'upgrade' on Jeeps, is entry level stuff on FSBs and Blazers. Along with 4 wheel drive, another thing I really wanted was open air (which is another reason I initially looked at Wranglers). I owned an '85 Toyota Landcruiser at one point in time (has the removable fiberglass top). Truck was a blast to drive, but had no balls. Also, Jeeps tend to be really expensive for what you are actually getting vehicle-wise. People seem to think gold is spelled j-e-e-p.
So now reality sets in, and what I really need is a full size Bronco or Blazer. Between the two, I like the styling of the Broncos, better. Plus, I have owned a couple of 5.0 Mustangs, so have a passing familiarity with '80s/early '90s Fords. And I also owned an '88 Bronco with the inline 6 for a couple of months (thing was rusted to hell, and used it for a winter beater when I lived up by the Great Lakes). Really, really liked that truck. That one was a bench seat though, and this one has captains chairs. That right armrest (left on the passenger side) has got to be one of the greatest inventions, ever. Right up there with sliced bread.
It must be fate that I chose to look for a Bronco when I did, because not long after I started looking I found the truck I currently own. It was priced similar to many of the other local Broncos on the market, and about one third of what a similarly equipped Jeep would run. But this thing was loaded. PO was just a cool guy, lived way off the beaten path, and had a gas saver car and built Wrangler on 40s, so this thing just sat for a couple years with only the occasional run down the driveway.
Now that I know more about Broncos, there are definitely a few things that I wish were different, but all in all, I am extremely happy with this thing. Also, it allowed me to discover this forum, which is one of the best I have ever been on. This board then allowed me to meet all the cool dudes - and the dude with a V - at "THE SHOP". I have also met some cool people through the vendor and for sale sections of this board. All in all, a pretty good deal from one vehicle purchase.
So now that the backstory is out of the way, let's get to my
Build/Modification criteria for the Bronco:
My 5.0 is in storage for at least the next year while I acquire parts for the build. This Bronco needs to be my daily driver. SoCal is also about 3000 miles from where I grew up, and I have friends spread throughout the country from Alaska to Florida. I love to roadtrip, so along with great offroad abilities, this truck needs to handle the highway as well. I think this limits my tire size to 35", but that is something to figure out. This gets addressed more in the Future Upgrades and Mods section. My interests include mountainbiking, skiing, snowboarding, sailing, light camping, and moderate wheeling. Truck needs to handle all of that. I also need to do moderate towing and hauling of building/fab materials. Bumper to bumper city to remote BLM land. Want it to be as self sufficient as possible (probably won't go so far as an onboard urine-to-water recycler or on board fuel refinery, though).
Although I was a custom painter in a past life, not really looking to cherry it out. I never want to be afraid to "take that trail over there" if I think I can live through the experience. I don't want to worry about sheetmetal dings or some aXXhole keying it. Gas mileage is a consideration, but not a priority. I run premium because of the compression, and most places I see it's only about $0.20/gallon more so it's not a big deal per tankful. I also want it to sound good, but not be so loud that I go deaf or can't talk to people in the truck. It also has to be comfortable, as part of the criteria is roadtrips that could be thousands of miles in duration.
Motor: Now that I know more about Broncos, I would have preferred to have a 351 or a big block. But there was no way I was going to pass up this motor and this truck. If nothing else, I can always throw it in my Mustang later.
302. Block: Blue Printed, all machining was done, decked, bored .30 over, align honed, oil passages de-burred, etc, etc. Connecting rods are forged Crower Sportsman rods which are rated for 500 hp at 8,500rpm with ARP bolts. Pistons are forged SRP (JE’s), with quality rings (I don’t remember which kind). The cam is an Elgin custom, and it is a single pattern cam with .502” lift, 224 degrees duration at .050 lift. 268 degrees overall.
Heads are Edelbrock Performer aluminum with 2.02 intake, 1.60 exhaust, stainless valves. The heads have been surfaced and cc’d, and have Comp Cams Magnum roller rockers. The compression ratio is 9.8:1
Has Ford Racing MAF conversion with 73mm throttle body. MSD Pro-Billet distributor, Crane Cams Hi-6 ignition box, Crane Cams Fireball LX-91 coil, Crane Cams 8.5mm Firewires, Champion sparkplugs (recommended by the guys at Edelbrock for their heads). I had it chipped and dyno'd, but am looking into going with a programmable chip instead (see Future Mods and Upgrades).
Intake is a stock Ford unit - still trying to determine from what. Still has the stock airbox, although with a K&N filter in it. Want to do something to open up this end of the system, as right now this is the weak link. The actual intake at the grill is like 1" in diameter (or something ridiculously small - plus don't like the location of entry).
Exhaust consists of JBA shorty headers, Bassani Ypipe, Edelbrock series 304 muffler. It's not too loud, and has a real musclecar sound to it. Has all emissions stuff, and it all works. Doesn't seem to hamper performance, this truck gets up and moves pretty well for a big, heavy, brick. Clean air is nice to breathe, too. And, to top it off, I'm getting 14 mpg and that's having fun driving it. And it has A/C. For those hot days with the top on.
Aluminum radiator and clutch cooling fan. Have had an electric on my Mustangs for years, but I think I will stick with the clutch on the Bronco.
Transmission: AOD rebuilt with shift kit. Spicer ujoints.
Transfer case: BW1356 auto. Also rebuilt. Spicer ujoints. Have a Shiftster in the console 'just in case'.
Front: TTB D44. 4.56 Richmond gears. Eaton TruTrac. Forged Spicer Ujoints and shafts. Disc brakes. Warn Premium hubs.
Rear: 8.8. 4.56 Richmond gears. Eaton LSD. Moser 31 spline chromoly shafts. Drum brakes.
Lift: 4" ProComp Stage II with extended radius arms, dropped pitman, and poly bushings. ES3000 shocks.
33" BFG Mud Terrains. These tires are great on the road, handle well, very low noise, seem to wear pretty nicely, also. Can't yet speak to the off road capabilities, but they seem to have pretty good reviews across the board. Wheels are polished aluminum Weld Racing. I love the look of these, but for wheeling, steelies would probably be better than aluminum. Something else that may find it's way to my Mustang.
Future Upgrades and Mods:
OBA (Onboard air): Not sure what to do here. Pretty much ruled out ARB style compressors - too small, too weak, too slow. Thinking a York. Considered something like the Shadofax build utilizing my existing A/C pump, but I really like having A/C.
OBW (Onboard welder): I think I have settled on the Premier Power Welder. Here's a "shootout" of different portable welders:
The Premier is generally well reviewed (have read other reviews), plus it would kill a few birds with one stone. It would take care of the 3G upgrade, it comes with a 160a alternator. It takes care of my inverter, has a plug to run 110v accessories, and it also can be used as a battery charger.
Any suggestions/comments regarding this subject are welcomed.
Bumpers/sliders: It currently has a custom front bumper on it, with the standard tow hooks you see everywhere. It has a nice look to it, and I probably would have kept it, except...I really, really wanted to get a winch. I also wanted to get a rear bumper with a tire carrier integrated. And the spare moved to the driver side instead of the passenger side. That little it extra window space helps, especially if I ever go bigger than 33" tires.
So one day I'm perusing the FSB classifieds and I see triplesix is selling his front bumper from his sig pic, his sliders, and a custom rear bumper for a great price. Well the bumper in his pic is something I liked from practically the first day I logged onto this site. Gotta get sliders sometime anyway, so I talk to John and he sells me just the front bumper and the sliders since the rear was a very spartan design, and I'm looking for the bells and whistles. Since I'm buying his front and sliders, I commission John to build me the rear as well, since his fab skills are first rate. Anybody needs custom fab work, I highly recommend John (triplesix). Great guy to deal with.
Lights: Just bought HID hi/low conversions and HID 500 Hellas from TCM GLX (Tony - bajahids.com). Another great FSB member to deal with. Still need to be installed.
Dual batteries: Thinking yellow or blue top Optimas. Still not sure where I want to locate them.
Dual fuel?: This might be one of those "put down the pipe" ideas. Never even occurred to me until I saw Slim's rig on this month's FOTM. Having a propane backup may have advantages, not the least of which may be an OBBBQ (Onboard BBQ).
3G 180 amp alternator: Going to be getting this from Fireguy. Still reading over his website with all of the articles. Should be ordered soon. >See Premier Power Welder above<
All new weatherstrip/weather trim: My rubber is all hard and cracked. Not good for pregnancy prevention, or weather protection. Waiting for 1ATony to put together a kit price.
Sag pump upgrade: Bought the bracket from justin here on FSB, now just need to get the pump and hose. Gotta swing by NAPA soon. Bought the pump and hose. Will install after headgasket replacement.
Redhead steering box: Nothing wrong with the one I have currently, but going to see if they can make it so it has more 'roadfeel'. This truck steers too easily...
Winch: Warn or Mile Marker. Still doing my research on this, won't get to this until after the 3G and the dual battery mods.
Rollcage? Something on the backburner. Where it ends up in the que depends on how serious I get for wheeling.
SAS? If I stay with 33" tires, probably no point in doing this. I have a pretty solid setup right now. This is something I won't decide on until after a good year to a year and half of wheeling the setup I have now.
Deaver springs/coils, Fox/Bilstein reservoir shocks, truss, cut and turned beams? This goes along with the SAS comments. If I don't go SAS, I will definitely be upgrading at least the coils, springs, and shocks. The current setup just doesn't ride as nicely as I would like it to.
CB: Need suggestions on models here. Mostly just used to communicate on trail runs, not going to be hanging out at truckstops picking up lot lizards.
Remote security system: Need a good anti-theft system. No stupid loud alarms though. Would like something that has remote shutoff, and probably a remote tracking system.
TwEECer or similar: Forget the TwEEcer. Decision is between Megasquirt and Quarterhorse. Megasquirt replaces the factory computer, while the Quarterhorse adapts the factory computer. Still in the early stages of research on this, but so far I am favoring the QH. Want to be able to tune my truck from my laptop. Want to be able to save a couple different tunes, from gas saver to performance, depending on how I'm using my truck that day. Any suggestions/comments on this welcomed.
Shaker hood scoop? As stated above, I want to do something about expanding air intake. The stock system on my Bronco is pathetic. The intake hole is literally and inch and a half across. I can't believe this truck runs at all. I should notice a huge improvement once I get this breathing (see pics):
Underhood 'cool air' systems are a joke. I like some styles of snorkle, but it's not really my thing. I absolutely love the shaker scoops on the old 'Cudas, Cobra Jets and Trans Ams. I don't think it will be that hard to fab one. It can be designed so it seals from the elements, and it would provide a possible Ram Air effect. Plus it would be genuine cold air. I am thinking to pattern it after the old Banshee system that used to be offered for Foxbody Mustangs.
Relocate all breathers (tranny, diffs, etc) to a higher location: Self explanatory. Suggestions for locations/materials to use welcomed.
Generally waterproof the truck within reason: Suggestions welcomed.
Custom security console: Nothing available on the aftermarket does it for me, so I will be designing and building my own. Not much point in taking the top off in SoCal, if you can't keep anything secure. Bought some ammo cans from jerad to use in the interim.
Rear discs: I like the simplicity and performance of discs over drums.
Under armor: Still researching this. Suggestions/comments welcomed.
TTB poly bushing kit: Bought this off of joshhath here on FSB along with a few other things. He had it for a good price, and my rubber bushings could use an upgrade.
Convert A/C to R134 from R12: Gotta be done.
Upgrade intake? The stock intake seems to work pretty well, but if I go shaker scoop, this may need to change.
Upgrade fuel delivery system (pump, injectors, etc)? Still researching this.
DC to AC inverter: For those items that won't run on DC power or OBA. >See Premier Power Welder above<
Insulate/Headliner on capper; tint rear windows: Tired of condensation forming on the fiberglass, and also want to tint the windows for some measure of privacy.
So that's the list for now. What order they get done, depends on what deals I score, what time I have, and what cashflow I have. As I gain more knowledge, this list will inevitably change...or as the title states: Evolve....
Thanks for reading, and any suggestions you may have. Pics and updates are forthcoming on the mods I already have.