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Old 11-01-2009, 01:22 AM   #1
shipwreck
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best year FSB 80-96?

What are the better years for the FSB? Are any of them solid axle from the factory? I am in the market to buy an FSB 1980-96 and was wondering what my best option would be. I want 6" of lift and a strong v8.
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Old 11-01-2009, 02:23 AM   #2
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I do not think of it as the best years of Broncos, but as best owners of Broncos. Clearly any Bronco can be very nice and have a lot of life left in it from an owner who took good care of it and appreciated it's existance.

And then there are the other ones...
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Old 11-01-2009, 02:37 AM   #3
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you want a '78 or '79 for the solid front axle.
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Old 11-01-2009, 04:21 AM   #4
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It depends on how you plan to use it.

The body style breaks are 78-79, 80-86, 87-91, & 92-96. If you look thru the Post a Picture of your Bronco you can see the different styles. As they get newer, wheel openings seem to get smaller.

1980 had an odd frame with holes in it. In 81 they went back to the solid frame. I think in 92 they went to the accordion style frame horns, so it can be trickier to add recovery points. 87 & some 88s with manual hubs had the top hat hubs that are expensive to replace, & require a lot of parts to swap to the more common hubs. Auto hubs are prone to fail, but they are easy to convert. The manual transfer cases seem to shift more reliably than the electric ones.

I think Broncos with 302s had EFI before the 351s. As you move to newer trucks, the electronic systems become more advanced. I think 96 (Maybe 95?) is MAF (Which is more adaptable to intake/cam changes) & OBDII. 87-92 had rear antilock brakes, 93-96 have 4 wheel ABS.

As mentioned above, 78-79 are the only years that came stock with front solid axles, which the rock crawlers like. The high speed desert guys seem to prefer the TTB front axle which is stock from 80-96.

All full size Broncos had the removable tops, but the newer ones (92+?) have rear seat shoulder belt mounting points & 3rd brake lights, so they aren't supposed to be removed.

The later years come with an E4OD 4 speed overdrive tranny. It's a heavy duty trans, but doesn't like heat & is expensive to rebuild. It's a good idea to add an external filter & cooler if you get one (Like this: Trans Filter, Cooler & THERMOSTAT install by Fireguy50 or this VOTE For Sept.'07 FOTM by Sixlitre -Post 173 Trans filter.) They did do some upgrades to the newest E4ODs, & when the older ones are rebuilt, they should include those upgrades. If you are using it primarily offroad, you might prefer an older truck with a C-6 (Non overdrive) trans. There were other trannies used as well & adrianspeeder's Bronco Tranny and T-Case Info thread has a bunch of trans/engine/year combo info.

As for being lifted, you'd rather have extended radius arms than radius arm drop brackets. Blocks are definitely bad in the front, & aren't the best solution for the rear either. Take a look thru the lift section of Baba Looey's Favorite FSB Links for several links on the subject.

For my use, if I was buying one today, I'd probably be looking at an 89 351w or a 78-79. The 89 is very similar to my 90, (Which I like a lot & have grown familiar with) but the 89 has a C-6 behind the 351. I don't drive mine much on the freeway, so I don't think I'd miss the OD. 78-79s are just cool, simpler (If you learned on carbureted engines anyway ), have larger wheel openings, & have solid axles.
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Old 11-01-2009, 08:05 AM   #5
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1985 was the best year because it was the last year you could get a carburated model, the wiring was still fairly simple to troubleshoot and fix, and mine came with a 9 inch from the factory. This is also the best looking body style since 78-79.
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Old 11-01-2009, 09:21 AM   #6
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1985 was the best year because it was the last year you could get a carburated model, the wiring was still fairly simple to troubleshoot and fix, and mine came with a 9 inch from the factory. This is also the best looking body style since 78-79.
Wrong. 1985 is the last year for a carbed 302. the 351 still came with a carb in 1986 and that is also the last year for the factory to use up the remaining 9" rears as well before going to the 8.8".
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Old 11-04-2009, 01:10 AM   #7
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Wow, thanks for all the great info. Nice that people took the time to post. Love the 78-79 and the bronco II (I have two 1986 Bronco II) but I think I will keep an eye out for a bronco that someone did an SAS.... or take it on myself if I find the right deal. I like the 87-91 models
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Old 11-04-2009, 01:25 AM   #8
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'89 is the best because that's what I have.
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Old 11-04-2009, 01:29 AM   #9
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I have owned a 1978,1980, 1985, and a 1989 model and they are all tough as nails it really just depends on what body style you like. I like the 78-79 full size and the 80-84 front ends better than any but its a matter of opinion. The great thing about fords in general is you can swap all different drivetrains/axles and have lots of options on transfer cases but its hard to beat a 302/NP205/9"rear on any model. But I can say I would love to have owned an early 60's/70's bronco but they are hard to find cheap...good luck
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Old 11-04-2009, 01:30 AM   #10
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I prefer my 78, but I might be biased. Solid front axle, minimal electronic crap, 9" rear axle. Best of all, it came factory with no cat convertors.
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Old 11-06-2009, 12:12 PM   #11
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78 would be nice but I think California would still require smog since it is not pre 1975
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Old 11-06-2009, 12:18 PM   #12
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I like the 85-86 efi 302 eddie bauer broncos. Pretty cool to have the classic looking 80-86 style.
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Old 11-06-2009, 06:15 PM   #13
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I like the 85-86 efi 302 eddie bauer broncos. Pretty cool to have the classic looking 80-86 style.
heck yeah, like those too. Hard to find one in great shape... though I enjoy fixing them up :)
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Old 11-06-2009, 06:39 PM   #14
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When I was looking I wanted an 87.5- 89 with a 351 efi and a C6 transmission.I never found it and settled for 302/aod which I paid $900.00 and daily drove for a year before I made it my trail rig.

My reason's were (even though I didn't find one) .

1. Can't beat the 351efi/C6 combo
2. 9'' swaps right in ( you lose rabs)
3. I already owned an 89 f150 and had lots of parts
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Old 11-06-2009, 07:14 PM   #15
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Wrong. 1985 is the last year for a carbed 302. the 351 still came with a carb in 1986 and that is also the last year for the factory to use up the remaining 9" rears as well before going to the 8.8".
To be honest, 1987 is probably one of the greatest years. It was the newer body style, but with the 351W it was still carbed, and it had the C6. 1987 was the last year for a carbed 351W. I believe there were a very few still that had a 9" but you can easily pick one up and throw it in there in less than a few hours.

Really you need to ask yourself, EFI vs Carb, and Factory Straight axle or IFS (with possible SAS). The rest is really easy to change up. from 80-96 you can swap out the front clips to make them look like whichever bodystyle you like, the only problem is with the 80-86 with the rear quarters being different.
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Old 11-06-2009, 08:38 PM   #16
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The best year by far is the 1992.
It was the first year of the last body style.
Fuel Injected and still had the big 351.
Auto locking hubs, nicer interior..
Oh.. I also own one.
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Old 11-07-2009, 02:31 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shipwreck View Post
Wow, thanks for all the great info. Nice that people took the time to post. Love the 78-79 and the bronco II (I have two 1986 Bronco II) but I think I will keep an eye out for a bronco that someone did an SAS.... or take it on myself if I find the right deal. I like the 87-91 models
Prepare to pay out of your mind for an SAS'd vehicle. Most often when people do this sort of major mod they have tossed the idea of ever selling it. They would never get what they put into it, and most would not dare let that much work go for nothing. An SAS is not an afternoon job, takes custom fab and lots of time and tinkering. I haven't done one myself, but you can rest assured if I do I'll sooner give my left one to science once I do my SAS than sell it for a loss.
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:15 PM   #18
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Newbie. SAS stands for?
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:17 PM   #19
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solid axle swap
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:37 PM   #20
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Thank you! :) (and duh, that makes sense)
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