Family Dune Bronco build - Ford Bronco Forum
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post #1 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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Bronco Info: 1981 Bronco XLT Ranger go fast w/ LS3 power, TH400, Atlas II, Raceline beadlocks, BFG KM1s
Family Dune Bronco build

I have been talking a bit on my next project and I made up my mind to build my 1981 Bronco. I was toying with the idea of just building up my Raptor but I decided to pay it off and use the rest of my time and funds to build the Bronco. I toyed with the idea of buying a built truck but I just couldn't find anything to fit my family and offer the level of performance i'm looking for. This build will be in stages. First I will get the drivetrain in and then concentrate on the roll cage and interior so I can *hopefully* be up and driving by the end of the summer. Stage 2 will concentrate on the front suspension and then stage 3 will be rear suspension and fiberglass. Right now i'm still gathering parts to get started. I ordered 300' of tubing, a 4'x8' sheet of .040" cromoly plate, 4'x8' sheets of .060" and .187" alumuminum and am waiting for that to really get started. I also got my GMPP crate LS376 480 motor with the stand alone harness, computer, and accessories. All that is mated to a Finishline Transmissions BUILT TH400 with a reverse manual valve body and a LS Super Bell bellhousing. I went with Finishline since they are local to me and have a HUGE backing in the drag racing world. Plus, Culthane would not build me a trans as they were too busy WTF. I had a custom Atlas II transfer case built with a 2.0 low range. I went with a Circle D 3,600 billet converter and one of their SFI flexplates. I plan to add a Whipple 4.0L supercharger down the road and wanted everything to handle 800-1000RWHP at that time.

1981 Baby Blue Bronco built to go fast in the sand
LS3 480hp w/ reverse manual TH400
Atlas II 2.0 x-case
Full cromoly cage w/ racing seats
Raceline Monster beadlocks on 35" BFG KM1's
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post #2 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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Bronco Info: 1981 Bronco XLT Ranger go fast w/ LS3 power, TH400, Atlas II, Raceline beadlocks, BFG KM1s

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1981 Baby Blue Bronco built to go fast in the sand
LS3 480hp w/ reverse manual TH400
Atlas II 2.0 x-case
Full cromoly cage w/ racing seats
Raceline Monster beadlocks on 35" BFG KM1's
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post #3 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Bronco Info: 1981 Bronco XLT Ranger go fast w/ LS3 power, TH400, Atlas II, Raceline beadlocks, BFG KM1s
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1981 Baby Blue Bronco built to go fast in the sand
LS3 480hp w/ reverse manual TH400
Atlas II 2.0 x-case
Full cromoly cage w/ racing seats
Raceline Monster beadlocks on 35" BFG KM1's
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post #4 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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Bronco Info: 1981 Bronco XLT Ranger go fast w/ LS3 power, TH400, Atlas II, Raceline beadlocks, BFG KM1s


1981 Baby Blue Bronco built to go fast in the sand
LS3 480hp w/ reverse manual TH400
Atlas II 2.0 x-case
Full cromoly cage w/ racing seats
Raceline Monster beadlocks on 35" BFG KM1's
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post #5 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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Bronco Info: 1981 Bronco XLT Ranger go fast w/ LS3 power, TH400, Atlas II, Raceline beadlocks, BFG KM1s


I got a good Black Friday deal on these Raceline 17x9.5 beadlocks and I was able to swap my old Raptor tires onto my CJ7 before I sold it. Then I took the Jeep's 35" KM1s and mounted them up.
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1981 Baby Blue Bronco built to go fast in the sand
LS3 480hp w/ reverse manual TH400
Atlas II 2.0 x-case
Full cromoly cage w/ racing seats
Raceline Monster beadlocks on 35" BFG KM1's
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post #6 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 07:59 PM
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Subbing for the awesomesauce!

This is my signature. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
My signature is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

Schwim! A social site with an identity crisis.
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post #7 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 09:51 PM
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Oooh. This is going to be fun to watch.

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post #8 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
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Bronco Info: 1981 Bronco XLT Ranger go fast w/ LS3 power, TH400, Atlas II, Raceline beadlocks, BFG KM1s
LOL yeah I've been dying to start a build thread but I wanted to wait until I had a bunch of stuff to get started. I've had the Bronco sitting next to my garage for the last 3 years and finally 4 months ago was I able to start ordering parts after years of planning. The hardest part was using a GM engine and trans. I just couldn't justify the cost to build a Ford engine. I learned my lesson building the AMC 360 in my CJ7. I had $7000 into that motor with barely 400hp. Every way I priced building a stroked 351W was huge money and to build one to handle 1000hp, was just way outside my budget. Plus, building a bullet proof TH400 is cheaper than a C6 (and lighter) and the torque converters are cheaper as well. I was just money ahead putting the LS3/TH400 in. The Atlas II is a work of art, I think for the money, you cannot buy a better made product. Not to mention the peace of mind it will give knowing it will never break.
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post #9 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 10:32 PM
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sounds like you have a well laid out plan ahead of you

now get to work so we can see you build it
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post #10 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-25-2016, 11:44 AM
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Poor Bronco getting a blazer heartbeat put in it.. Just joshing with you! Sounds like a great build plan. That's a lot of muscle you are talking about. Definitely a "go fast" build lol

94 Bronco XLT. Beefy 351, 6" , 37's, 4.88: burnt
86 Bronco custom, 4" 37's, locked 4.56, 300 i6 4 bbl, np435/208
96 f350 XL, rclb, 351, c6, BW4407 xfer
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post #11 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-28-2016, 11:59 PM
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That engine looks good. I'm looking forward to this project. Good choice on the LS3, it looks to be all aluminum? Correct me if I'm wrong but that LS must be a good chunk lighter then the Windsor. Plus you shouldn't ever have any issues with the transmission or atlas. Carry on good sir.

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post #12 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-29-2016, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
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Bronco Info: 1981 Bronco XLT Ranger go fast w/ LS3 power, TH400, Atlas II, Raceline beadlocks, BFG KM1s
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Originally Posted by tsoptich View Post
That engine looks good. I'm looking forward to this project. Good choice on the LS3, it looks to be all aluminum? Correct me if I'm wrong but that LS must be a good chunk lighter then the Windsor. Plus you shouldn't ever have any issues with the transmission or atlas. Carry on good sir.
Yes, the LS3 is all aluminum. I keep finding varying weights on the LS3 and 351M but the average I find is 413lbs for the LS3 and 575 for the 351M. That seems a bit light on the 351M but either way, its a huge savings. I think the cast iron intake alone is over 100lbs where the LS3 has a plastic intake weighing a few.

1981 Baby Blue Bronco built to go fast in the sand
LS3 480hp w/ reverse manual TH400
Atlas II 2.0 x-case
Full cromoly cage w/ racing seats
Raceline Monster beadlocks on 35" BFG KM1's
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post #13 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-30-2016, 12:12 AM
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That is a good saving in weight, at least it should be about the same with th LS and a nice front bumper compared to a 351. Next question, are you planing on trying to make some of those LS swap engine mounts work or custom make some?

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post #14 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-30-2016, 01:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by black954 View Post
Yes, the LS3 is all aluminum. I keep finding varying weights on the LS3 and 351M but the average I find is 413lbs for the LS3 and 575 for the 351M. That seems a bit light on the 351M but either way, its a huge savings. I think the cast iron intake alone is over 100lbs where the LS3 has a plastic intake weighing a few.
The 351m is essentially a big block in the weight department, not the same as a Windsor motor. You could have easily achieved your power goals with the 351w, I love your build but that chevy guy logic you used to come the LS swap conclusion is old.
The TH400 is no cheaper to build that the c6, the parts are pretty much the same cost and any transmission builder that can handle a h400 should be able to build the c6 (which stock for stock holds way more power).
Between the transfer case, brand new motor, the wiring and controller, the custom fuel lines, the custom drive shafts, the custom headers custom everything basically...there is no amount of money you saved choosing an LS that would save you the difference having just used Ford parts.
I'll go you one better, all of this stuff would have bolted into a K5 with no fab work, headers would be off the shelf and you'd have a solid front axle not to mention the ability to use a stock NP transfer case.
It's a nice build brother, but that Chevy is cheaper logic has got to go.
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Custom built EFI 5.0, MSD, SpeedShop C6 w/E40D gear set, ATI converter, Trac-loc'd 44HD, Skyjacker 182s springs, RS9000 front shocks, Procomp adjustable rear shocks, SpeedShop triangulated rear shock system, TRE flip, SpeedShop fabricated bumpers, Long tube headers, SpeedShop 2.5 Y-merge to 3in single exhaust, 33x12.50-15
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post #15 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-30-2016, 09:48 AM Thread Starter
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Bronco Info: 1981 Bronco XLT Ranger go fast w/ LS3 power, TH400, Atlas II, Raceline beadlocks, BFG KM1s
You're keep it all "Ford" logic is ancient! You obviously haven't actually priced out the ACTUAL cost of building a high horsepower engine. Last time I checked, Ford or any other manufacturer, isn't sponsoring guys to build toys in their garage so I will use what I see fit for my needs. You would be correct if I would have rebuilt the LS motor, but that's where you're wrong (and why I chose NOT to rebuild an LS) There is absolutely no way I could have put together a ford drivetrain for even close to the same cost. Price out a 1000hp capable 351w and it's already blown the budget. My LS3 was $5800 shipped to my door with a warranty. Add $600 for the wiring harness, computer, gas pedal, O2 sensors, MAF sensor, fuel pump controller, and electric fan controller. The accessories (all serpentine with a 150 amp alternator and PS pump and resevoir) for $535. That included ignition, throttle body, and injectors. All told I have under $7000 into my entire engine that you simply couldn't do on a 351w. I said I learned my lesson on my Jeep keeping it all AMC. I cannot afford to build an "all Ford" drivetrain, but I do commend others that do. The TH400 was another area where I just couldn't match the build level for the cost of building a C6. I've owned a K5 and that's why I'm building my 2nd Bronco.
I just don't understand guys logic like yourself. EVERYBODY puts GM 14bolts into their off road trucks with zero negative feedback. Yet a guy puts a modern efficient powerful GM engine in their Ford and all of a sudden he's a traitor.

1981 Baby Blue Bronco built to go fast in the sand
LS3 480hp w/ reverse manual TH400
Atlas II 2.0 x-case
Full cromoly cage w/ racing seats
Raceline Monster beadlocks on 35" BFG KM1's
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post #16 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-30-2016, 01:47 PM
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Your LS3 is not 1000HP capable out of the box. I build engines of all types (Chevy and Ford as well as AMC and foreign) as a large part of my profession, for your budget I could easily build a 351w and have it beat that completely stock LS.
You left out a huge amount of money in reference to your build, you'll be over 15k in parts before it ever starts, if you're not already.
I have a an EFI 5.0 swapped bronco, I'm familiar with what you're doing on many levels, I also have a built Tahoe, neither is cheaper than the other to own or build.


Custom built EFI 5.0, MSD, SpeedShop C6 w/E40D gear set, ATI converter, Trac-loc'd 44HD, Skyjacker 182s springs, RS9000 front shocks, Procomp adjustable rear shocks, SpeedShop triangulated rear shock system, TRE flip, SpeedShop fabricated bumpers, Long tube headers, SpeedShop 2.5 Y-merge to 3in single exhaust, 33x12.50-15
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post #17 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-30-2016, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
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Bronco Info: 1981 Bronco XLT Ranger go fast w/ LS3 power, TH400, Atlas II, Raceline beadlocks, BFG KM1s
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Originally Posted by RocketcarX View Post
Your LS3 is not 1000HP capable out of the box. I build engines of all types (Chevy and Ford as well as AMC and foreign) as a large part of my profession, for your budget I could easily build a 351w and have it beat that completely stock LS.
You left out a huge amount of money in reference to your build, you'll be over 15k in parts before it ever starts, if you're not already.
I have a an EFI 5.0 swapped bronco, I'm familiar with what you're doing on many levels, I also have a built Tahoe, neither is cheaper than the other to own or build.
What did I leave out? Any engine will need a fuel system, intake, and exhaust and those are the only things i'm leaving out. I've already put the entire fuel system together for $475. I have all the 4" aluminum tubing, clamps, silicone coupler, and K&N air filter to build the intake totaling $135. Where does $15k come from? Cause i'm at $7,700 for a running LS with excessories and fuel system. Do your research, there are TONS of junkyard LS 4.8/5.3/6.0 motors making 1000hp let alone stock LS3's which have a much stronger rotating assembly and better flowing heads. To build a 351W long block to handle 1000hp equals or exceeds my entire running LS3 engine cost and you still need a FI system to run it. I appreciate you swapping an EFI 5.0L into your Bronco, but I am going a totally different direction/level.

1981 Baby Blue Bronco built to go fast in the sand
LS3 480hp w/ reverse manual TH400
Atlas II 2.0 x-case
Full cromoly cage w/ racing seats
Raceline Monster beadlocks on 35" BFG KM1's
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post #18 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-30-2016, 08:55 PM
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Don't let your build thread turn into a pissing match. It's your truck, your money and your life. You build it however the f*%k you want.
to everyone else
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post #19 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-30-2016, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
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Bronco Info: 1981 Bronco XLT Ranger go fast w/ LS3 power, TH400, Atlas II, Raceline beadlocks, BFG KM1s
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Don't let your build thread turn into a pissing match. It's your truck, your money and your life. You build it however the f*%k you want.
to everyone else
Thank you for that, I was just thinking the same thing. I by no means was trying start any sort of Ford bashing when I started this thread. I am going with what I believe will be best suited for my budget and goals.
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1981 Baby Blue Bronco built to go fast in the sand
LS3 480hp w/ reverse manual TH400
Atlas II 2.0 x-case
Full cromoly cage w/ racing seats
Raceline Monster beadlocks on 35" BFG KM1's
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post #20 of 61 (permalink) Old 04-01-2016, 07:51 PM
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Traitor :) just kidding. Have you seen the video,s going around of the LS powered bronco with the 8 into 1 stainless headers that goes up and over the motor. It sounds wicked. Looking good. have fun.
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