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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks.

Some (probably uninteresting) backstory:

For as far back as I can remember, my dad has been a "car guy." Some of my earliest memories are of him prepping his 1979 Lincoln Continental to be repainted. For decades, he restored people's vehicles in our garage as a hobby, honing his craft to the point that -when he was fired from the local manufacturing factory when I was in high school- he ended up taking out a small loan to open up his own restoration shop in rural Minnesota. Since then, he's made his passion into a full-time career, restoring rusted-out junkers into show-worthy vehicles.

I think my dad always wanted me, his only son, to be "car guy" as well - he had me work in the garage to earn spending money as a kid, sanding down hundreds of coats of primer over and over. Each weekend, he'd drag me to every local car show in the tri-county area. We'd watch old episodes of Trucks and Shadetree Mechanic on TNN every Sunday. But despite his wishes, I just never got into it. I just liked comic books more than NASCAR - painting landscapes more than turning wrenches.

I eventually went off to college, and -for a lot of reasons- sort of lost touch with my family after that. We weren't estranged or anything -we'd see each other on holidays and the occasional visit- but the chasm between the liberal, arts-minded person I was becoming and the conservative, blue-collar guy he was continued to grow wider and wider.
Years have passed, and I now live in Southwestern part of the US with my wife and infant daughter. Things hadn't improved much between my dad and myself - we were still two strangers that mostly talked about the weather. Since moving down here, I'd learned that if I didn't give him a list of small projects around the house that he could "help" with, he'd just end up sitting around our house, looking bored. So I asked him to replace a ceiling fan in our guest bedroom on his most recent trip down, in January.

COVID has been unkind to my parents, and they've never been in the best of health. They've had hard lives full of physical work, and their bodies have been breaking down for a few years now. But this last time he was here, my dad couldn't stand up on a ladder for more than an hour or so without having to take a break. I'd actually planned on him replacing three fans in our home, but after the first one was done I realized that he couldn't physically do any more. He'd gained a lot of weight and was looking older and weaker than I ever remember him being.

I realized something that weekend: my dad wasn't going to be around forever. He might have 3-4 good working years left, but I'd be surprised if he made it that far. I didn't have an eternity to reconnect with him.

Plus, the irony of his entire career and passion was that he'd spent his entire life restoring other people's vehicles, but if he were to die today, our family would be left with a dozen rusted-out cars and a few good ones that he didn't even restore himself. An entire lifetime with nothing to pass on to his children.

I saw an opportunity. I spoke to my wife and the two of us agreed that we'd spend some money to buy a car and have him restore it (with my "help" occasionally). Not only would this be something we could remember him by, but it would also be a common connection for the two of us to re-connect through. I'd always liked Broncos (my Uncle owned one that we'd always admired), and so after talking with my dad, I found a 1979 Ford Bronco in Wisconsin that he dutifully went up and trailered it to his shop last weekend.

r/FordBronco - [1979 Bronco] Restoring the past for the future (long post)

What I'm hoping that you, as "car guys" can help me with:

I have enough ambient knowledge about cars to talk about them without looking completely clueless. But I'm not well-versed in Broncos, specifically, and I was wondering if you could begin by offering up some suggestions on products/configurations/parts that would be a good "fit" for what I'm looking to do. My father obviously knows how to restore the car, but I'd like to offer some of the direction that I'd like to go without sounding like an idiot. If I had specific recommendations about what I'd like to purchase and install, it'd save us a lot of time and energy.

What I'm looking to do:

My overall goal is to have a truck that I can use as a daily driver on a seasonal basis down here. I know that it's always going to be an old truck, but if there's any way I can make the overall experience a little more comfortable, I would be willing to make those modifications. I'm definitely not looking to make this into a stock restoration, as I'm hoping to shave some of the emblems and install things to make it a little more modern.
  • I don't need it to be off-road capable. This isn't going to be used for anything other than street-driving on a seasonal basis. Therefore, I won't need huge tires, roll cage, or suspension that is built to straddle boulders.
  • I'd like it to be as comfortable as possible. I'd like to install some newer seats from a later F150, put some sound-deadening material beneath the carpet, and install a better aftermarket air conditioner. But I don't know what sort of suspension, rear end, lift kit, etc. I could use to make the driving experience a little smoother.
  • I'd like it to be a little more modern throughout - in addition to the seats, I'd like to install a coyote motor from a late-model F150 - I've found a place that sells "pallet" engines that don't requires all of the sensors, etc. and are designed for engine swaps. I know that this will be expensive, and while I don't have the technical qualifications to do this, my dad has done similar swaps in the past. Any advice on this would be appreciated though.

Basically, I could use any advice you all have to give me. I'm lost, here, and I don't know what I want. I'd like to have something to build off of as I try to suggest things to my dad, who doesn't have a ton of knowledge about the Broncos, specifically.

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.
 

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So my opinion is first get it running reliably ! that you can hop in the morning and it starts

After that you can take care of the rust or replacement parts it needs, if its a carb, i would suggest maybe getting a holley EFI or sniper EFI

i would first get every thing (except the interior) up to standard like how the truck was, THEN~! you can slowly put better and more modern things, like better brakes,lights,relays,radio,interior,shocks.....and so on

but before any of this, first diagnose the car and see what it needs,after you get what the truck needs then you can go on and get upgrades :)

good luck and send my wishes to your parents and hope they get well
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So my opinion is first get it running reliably ! that you can hop in the morning and it starts

After that you can take care of the rust or replacement parts it needs, if its a carb, i would suggest maybe getting a holley EFI or sniper EFI

i would first get every thing (except the interior) up to standard like how the truck was, THEN~! you can slowly put better and more modern things, like better brakes,lights,relays,radio,interior,shocks.....and so on

but before any of this, first diagnose the car and see what it needs,after you get what the truck needs then you can go on and get upgrades :)

good luck and send my wishes to your parents and hope they get well
Thanks - I appreciate the advice and steps forward. I'm not familiar with the Holley EFI or Sniper EFI - are they good additions to the existing motor to help it start more reliably?
 

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78 Custom 460 NP435 NP205 Sniper EFI HyperSpark Ignition 4.56 Gears Front/Rear Grizzly Lockers
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The Holley Sniper is a throttle body fuel injection (TBI) system.

If your plan is to go to a coyote motor, or anything else that's modern (EFI) for that matter, I wouldn't bother getting the Sniper. If you planned on keeping the original engine in the Bronco, but you wanted EFI instead of a carb, then I'd suggest the Sniper or one of the other TBI setups from the various manufacturers.

They aren't cheap, but they do work well. I just wouldn't "waste" $1,000-1,500 to put a Sniper on your current engine if you're going to get rid of it for a coyote swap. I would just use the carb that's with your existing engine, provided it has one!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The Holley Sniper is a throttle body fuel injection (TBI) system.

If your plan is to go to a coyote motor, or anything else that's modern (EFI) for that matter, I wouldn't bother getting the Sniper. If you planned on keeping the original engine in the Bronco, but you wanted EFI instead of a carb, then I'd suggest the Sniper or one of the other TBI setups from the various manufacturers.

They aren't cheap, but they do work well. I just wouldn't "waste" $1,000-1,500 to put a Sniper on your current engine if you're going to get rid of it for a coyote swap. I would just use the carb that's with your existing engine, provided it has one!
That makes sense - I guess I was thinking that the only reliable way to get an EFI motor was to switch to a newer motor, but this sounds like a promising thing that might work instead. This would make the current motor into something on-par (in terms of reliability, gas consumption?) with a newer motor setup?
 

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That makes sense - I guess I was thinking that the only reliable way to get an EFI motor was to switch to a newer motor, but this sounds like a promising thing that might work instead. This would make the current motor into something on-par (in terms of reliability, gas consumption?) with a newer motor setup?
Reliability yes gas consumption no. The 351w/400m coupled with the c6 or manual transmission isn't efficient by todays standards but theyre practically bullet proof


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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Reliability yes gas consumption no. The 351w/400m coupled with the c6 or manual transmission isn't efficient by todays standards but theyre practically bullet proof


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Thanks for the insight - the odometer on this machine says 61,000, but no one knows if that's 161,000 or 61,000. I'm worried that I'll end up having to rebuild the motor if it's too high mileage. But if they're pretty tough, I might not have to worry and can just get an EFI (vs a TFI?).
 

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Depends on what newer motor you are comparing it to. lol.

Will a 351M or 400 get mpg like a coyote? Definite no. Will you have to fiddle and make adjustments like a carb with something like a Sniper? Not after you get it set up when you install it. Your 351M or 400 (I don't know what you have, but they came with one or the other) will only be as reliable as it's current condition and how well you maintain it.

I think the biggest thing for modern engines that makes them "trouble free" is the EFI, honestly. My wife's '06 Honda needed a new water pump a few months ago. I've replaced the battery on it and I replaced the alternator on it when a bearing went out and it started smoking. Those are the kinds of things that will/can go bad on pretty much any engine. You know what I haven't had to do with that thing? Adjust its non-existent carb. lol. It fires up every morning (20 degrees, 100 degrees, whatever degrees) with only a single crank. My Bronco didn't do that when I first got it. It does now. I have a Sniper. (end commercial)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Depends on what newer motor you are comparing it to. lol.

Will a 351M or 400 get mpg like a coyote? Definite no. Will you have to fiddle and make adjustments like a carb with something like a Sniper? Not after you get it set up when you install it. Your 351M or 400 (I don't know what you have, but they came with one or the other) will only be as reliable as it's current condition and how well you maintain it.

I think the biggest thing for modern engines that makes them "trouble free" is the EFI, honestly. My wife's '06 Honda needed a new water pump a few months ago. I've replaced the battery on it and I replaced the alternator on it when a bearing went out and it started smoking. Those are the kinds of things that will/can go bad on pretty much any engine. You know what I haven't had to do with that thing? Adjust its non-existent carb. lol. It fires up every morning (20 degrees, 100 degrees, whatever degrees) with only a single crank. My Bronco didn't do that when I first got it. It does now. I have a Sniper. (end commercial)
It's a 400.

This is an honest question - well, a few honest questions:

What's the difference between an EFI and a TFI (besides the one is electronic and the other is throttle) - it sounds like the EFI is the way to go, right?

Why do people swap the Coyotes in, then? I just assumed that it was a reliability issue, but it sounds like I can get a 400 to do what I need it to.
 

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EFI stands for Electronic Fuel Injection. TFI stands for Thick Film Integrated ignition. TFI is Fords ignition system when they went to EFI. Nearly all fuel injection is electronic. In the very early days of fuel injection they made some mechanical, non-electronic, fuel injection. I think they did it as an option on the 63 Corvettes or sometime around then.

Coyote swaps, in my opinion, are done for a few reasons. These are in no certain order and are not exhaustive, just ones that come to mind for me. One, which may be the biggest (lol), they look cool. Two, they are fuel efficient compared to older engine. Three, if you swap one in you can easily get a 6-speed auto behind it versus a 3-speed, though people are starting to come out with kits to adapt said 6-speeds to older engines, but it's still all a lot of $$$. Four, they do have good reliability. Five, they make very good power out of the box (365-460hp depending on the year and vehicle it came out of) and the aftermarket is pretty decent for them due to the Mustang crowd.
 

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I'm not trying to persuade you one way or the other, just trying to help inform and give a few opinions. If I had bought mine and went with a cruiser type of build I probably would have just left it carbed and not put in a different engine. It ran pretty well, but the carb definitely would have needed a rebuild and some tuning work to keep me from smelling like gas after every time I started the engine or drove around in it. My kids now associate the smell of gas with my Bronco. lol.

There's a lot of options for you, which is good, so keep that in mind when planning this all out. Cost will vary a lot as well. That may or may not matter to you, but saving money is always a nice thing especially when it means it can be spent on other mods or upgrades you'd like to make.
 

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It sounds like you have a very good plan as to what you want to do with the Bronco. With that list, I'm sure your dad can nail the restoration, making it a bad ass rust free Bronco on the information you just provided us. I bet he knows exactly what you're looking for. Stock suspension, nice soft shocks will make it ride as good as a Bronco can, then if you go with a coyote motor, & trans from an F150, dont forget to bring all the a/c items too, cuz its hot in the south!! I think your dad's got this, just try to keep up with him & enjoy the time spent with him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It sounds like you have a very good plan as to what you want to do with the Bronco. With that list, I'm sure your dad can nail the restoration, making it a bad ass rust free Bronco on the information you just provided us. I bet he knows exactly what you're looking for. Stock suspension, nice soft shocks will make it ride as good as a Bronco can, then if you go with a coyote motor, & trans from an F150, dont forget to bring all the a/c items too, cuz its hot in the south!! I think your dad's got this, just try to keep up with him & enjoy the time spent with him.
Thanks - that was sort of my question - you'd keep the stock suspension?
 

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Thats entirely up to you my friend... I've had 4 Broncos & the first 2 were lifted, a 79, an 85, and the next 2 (96 new & an 86 now) were not!!

The lifted look is cool, but been there, done that. If you make the investment to restore a vehicle, you should then keep it nice by storing it in a garage & a lifted Bronco may not fit in a standard height garage door. Just something to consider.

To me, a Bronco is a cool old truck to cruise around in & enjoy with the family & friends& its got a decent amount of room in it, so thats nice. Like you, I do not go offroading. I want a/c, power windows & locks, an automatic transmission, cruise control. The only modifications on my Bronco are a nice stereo, full length headers & a good sounding exhaust. It gets 15-16mpg & I think that's great for a Bronco. It fits my needs.

When I was a young punk, I needed a lifted Bronco, now, I prefer a nice laid back cruise enjoying the scenery. So its your dream Bronco, make it exactly what you want it to be, & if you want to lift it, just for looks, go for it, but they are also really cool not lifted!! You basicly can do no wrong, it will be great however you do it.
 

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Hey folks.

Some (probably uninteresting) backstory:

For as far back as I can remember, my dad has been a "car guy." Some of my earliest memories are of him prepping his 1979 Lincoln Continental to be repainted. For decades, he restored people's vehicles in our garage as a hobby, honing his craft to the point that -when he was fired from the local manufacturing factory when I was in high school- he ended up taking out a small loan to open up his own restoration shop in rural Minnesota. Since then, he's made his passion into a full-time career, restoring rusted-out junkers into show-worthy vehicles.

I think my dad always wanted me, his only son, to be "car guy" as well - he had me work in the garage to earn spending money as a kid, sanding down hundreds of coats of primer over and over. Each weekend, he'd drag me to every local car show in the tri-county area. We'd watch old episodes of Trucks and Shadetree Mechanic on TNN every Sunday. But despite his wishes, I just never got into it. I just liked comic books more than NASCAR - painting landscapes more than turning wrenches.

I eventually went off to college, and -for a lot of reasons- sort of lost touch with my family after that. We weren't estranged or anything -we'd see each other on holidays and the occasional visit- but the chasm between the liberal, arts-minded person I was becoming and the conservative, blue-collar guy he was continued to grow wider and wider.
Years have passed, and I now live in Southwestern part of the US with my wife and infant daughter. Things hadn't improved much between my dad and myself - we were still two strangers that mostly talked about the weather. Since moving down here, I'd learned that if I didn't give him a list of small projects around the house that he could "help" with, he'd just end up sitting around our house, looking bored. So I asked him to replace a ceiling fan in our guest bedroom on his most recent trip down, in January.

COVID has been unkind to my parents, and they've never been in the best of health. They've had hard lives full of physical work, and their bodies have been breaking down for a few years now. But this last time he was here, my dad couldn't stand up on a ladder for more than an hour or so without having to take a break. I'd actually planned on him replacing three fans in our home, but after the first one was done I realized that he couldn't physically do any more. He'd gained a lot of weight and was looking older and weaker than I ever remember him being.

I realized something that weekend: my dad wasn't going to be around forever. He might have 3-4 good working years left, but I'd be surprised if he made it that far. I didn't have an eternity to reconnect with him.

Plus, the irony of his entire career and passion was that he'd spent his entire life restoring other people's vehicles, but if he were to die today, our family would be left with a dozen rusted-out cars and a few good ones that he didn't even restore himself. An entire lifetime with nothing to pass on to his children.

I saw an opportunity. I spoke to my wife and the two of us agreed that we'd spend some money to buy a car and have him restore it (with my "help" occasionally). Not only would this be something we could remember him by, but it would also be a common connection for the two of us to re-connect through. I'd always liked Broncos (my Uncle owned one that we'd always admired), and so after talking with my dad, I found a 1979 Ford Bronco in Wisconsin that he dutifully went up and trailered it to his shop last weekend.

r/FordBronco - [1979 Bronco] Restoring the past for the future (long post)

What I'm hoping that you, as "car guys" can help me with:

I have enough ambient knowledge about cars to talk about them without looking completely clueless. But I'm not well-versed in Broncos, specifically, and I was wondering if you could begin by offering up some suggestions on products/configurations/parts that would be a good "fit" for what I'm looking to do. My father obviously knows how to restore the car, but I'd like to offer some of the direction that I'd like to go without sounding like an idiot. If I had specific recommendations about what I'd like to purchase and install, it'd save us a lot of time and energy.

What I'm looking to do:

My overall goal is to have a truck that I can use as a daily driver on a seasonal basis down here. I know that it's always going to be an old truck, but if there's any way I can make the overall experience a little more comfortable, I would be willing to make those modifications. I'm definitely not looking to make this into a stock restoration, as I'm hoping to shave some of the emblems and install things to make it a little more modern.
  • I don't need it to be off-road capable. This isn't going to be used for anything other than street-driving on a seasonal basis. Therefore, I won't need huge tires, roll cage, or suspension that is built to straddle boulders.
  • I'd like it to be as comfortable as possible. I'd like to install some newer seats from a later F150, put some sound-deadening material beneath the carpet, and install a better aftermarket air conditioner. But I don't know what sort of suspension, rear end, lift kit, etc. I could use to make the driving experience a little smoother.
  • I'd like it to be a little more modern throughout - in addition to the seats, I'd like to install a coyote motor from a late-model F150 - I've found a place that sells "pallet" engines that don't requires all of the sensors, etc. and are designed for engine swaps. I know that this will be expensive, and while I don't have the technical qualifications to do this, my dad has done similar swaps in the past. Any advice on this would be appreciated though.

Basically, I could use any advice you all have to give me. I'm lost, here, and I don't know what I want. I'd like to have something to build off of as I try to suggest things to my dad, who doesn't have a ton of knowledge about the Broncos, specifically.

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.
First things first.
You need to go through the structural, drivetrain,and fluid systems to identify what HAS to be replaced. That can inform your decisions moving forward.

  1. Have your Dad remove the interior and check the floors.
  2. Pull the body off the frame and inspect the frame for rot.
  3. Replace the body bushings which are likely shot. If you want this thing to be comfortable (and safe) you need to swap them out.
  4. Replace all of the old brake lines and fuel lines. (again, safety and reliability. This should be easy for your Dad even if he's having a tougher time getting around.
  5. Swap the old rear drums for rear disks (Safety in traffic)
  6. With the body off he can
    1. inspect the fuel tank for wear points, rust and potential leaks.
    2. Replace all the suspension bushings, shocks and ball joints. Again, this is much easier with the body off.
  7. I'd pull the transmission and transfer case and have them inspected/rebuilt.
  8. A good rebuild on the motor should run $3-4 K but it will only get you reliability, not modern power or fuel economy. BUT, swapping for a Coyote motor is significantly more expensive and complicated. Look at your intended use. The difference between 14 MPG and 21 MPG (which is as good as the Coyote in my 2011 Mustang 5.0 GT has ever done) is minimal if you drive even 10,000 miles per year ($650 per year @ $2.75/gallon). It might take 10 years to recoup the price of the engine swap in fuel savings.
  9. Once the bottom half is done, you have a reliable vehicle for your family and you can do what you want with the body and interior (there are too many choices and they are all dependent on taste)
  10. I'd invest in a new wiring harness (about $1,000 but easier and more reliable than trying to troubleshoot and spot repair 40+ year old system. (Hint: the old system will always break at the most inopportune moment).
Hope this helps

What it is...
176347


What it shall be...
176348
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
First things first.
You need to go through the structural, drivetrain,and fluid systems to identify what HAS to be replaced. That can inform your decisions moving forward.

  1. Have your Dad remove the interior and check the floors.
  2. Pull the body off the frame and inspect the frame for rot.
  3. Replace the body bushings which are likely shot. If you want this thing to be comfortable (and safe) you need to swap them out.
  4. Replace all of the old brake lines and fuel lines. (again, safety and reliability. This should be easy for your Dad even if he's having a tougher time getting around.
  5. Swap the old rear drums for rear disks (Safety in traffic)
  6. With the body off he can
    1. inspect the fuel tank for wear points, rust and potential leaks.
    2. Replace all the suspension bushings, shocks and ball joints. Again, this is much easier with the body off.
  7. I'd pull the transmission and transfer case and have them inspected/rebuilt.
  8. A good rebuild on the motor should run $3-4 K but it will only get you reliability, not modern power or fuel economy. BUT, swapping for a Coyote motor is significantly more expensive and complicated. Look at your intended use. The difference between 14 MPG and 21 MPG (which is as good as the Coyote in my 2011 Mustang 5.0 GT has ever done) is minimal if you drive even 10,000 miles per year ($650 per year @ $2.75/gallon). It might take 10 years to recoup the price of the engine swap in fuel savings.
  9. Once the bottom half is done, you have a reliable vehicle for your family and you can do what you want with the body and interior (there are too many choices and they are all dependent on taste)
  10. I'd invest in a new wiring harness (about $1,000 but easier and more reliable than trying to troubleshoot and spot repair 40+ year old system. (Hint: the old system will always break at the most inopportune moment).
Hope this helps

What it is...
View attachment 176347

What it shall be...
View attachment 176348
This is a fantastic post - thanks for replying. I was leaning towards the Coyote, but you're right - it might be better just to go with a simple rebuild.
 
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