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1986 Ford Bronco
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43 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So my 13 year old son and I are about to start this journey with the goal of getting this old 86 Bronco looking, running, and stopping good by the time he is old enough to drive. He is very excited to have a Bronco and to work on it with his old man. Being 13 years old, he is already having dreams of grandeur regarding paint, interior, and cool wheels. I'm sure when we start taking it apart (hopefully, frame off) he will begin to realize there are many, many things that must be done before we can get to the "making it look cool" part. I've never actually done a Bronco before, thus I'm asking all of you for your pro tips for simplifying things and any mods that are commonly done to improve it. Primarily, the Bronco will be his daily driver three years from now, but he might take it off road a little bit.

This should be post one of many as we head down this long and winding road of skint knuckles, rounds of cursing, money spent, and completion.

Thank you all for your advice and encouragement!
 

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Resident Nice Guy
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2,309 Posts
Welcome to the site, Tua! You're going to have a blast with your son, enjoy it as those are the times you're going to look back on most fondly.

The site has decades of information for pretty much everything you're going to run into while working on your son's ride. When in doubt, questions asked almost always get sage advice awfully quickly.

I look forward to following both of your progress!
 

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1978 Bronco Ranger XLT, 400/C6 92 K documented miles &1994 Bronco,XLT 85K original miles
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1,067 Posts
I'm following your build.
 

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Yo TuaLaoch,
Welcome to you and your son! You are embarking on a great father-son project that as you know, may be filled with trials and tribulations that will help instill in him problem solving perseverance.

Here's an 86 Build thread by VenetianBronco a How "Bonnie" got her groove back. '86 XLT DD

And another by Lil' Red
@ Lil' Red 1986 Build Thread

TO assist in the project;

1986 Bronco ELECTRICAL & VACUUM TROUBLESHOOTING MANUAL (partial) by Ford via Gary @ 1986 EVTM - Gary's Garagemahal (the Bullnose bible)

1985-1986 Fuel System Adjustments by Ford via Gary
See more info by Gary.

1986 Bronco Operating Guide @ 1983 Ford Bronco Manuals & Pamphlets (Scanned) picture | SuperMotors.net

86 Bronco Dealer Brochure at 1983 Ford Bronco 86 Bronco Brochure Photos pictures, videos, and sounds | SuperMotors.net

Here is the 1980-86 Pickup Fasteners by Ford via Gary, but mostly for front clip

Register with VIN to see most Ford dealer maintenance/repairs done @ any dealership nation-wide @ Welcome to Ford Owner | Official Ford Owner Site

To save you time and for better responses, please fill out your Bronco info with location, year, engine size, transmission type, transfer case type (manual or electric shift), locking hub type (automatic or manual) info & major mods such as a Lift, etc. .
Bronco info is now able to be put under your user name.
Click your profile button in the top right and go to account settings.


On that first page, named Account Details, scroll down to "Vehicle Info" and type in up to 100 characters.

Now you can simply enter your information in the text editor and click save.

Forum FAQs, includes how to post pics, etc

See Baba Looey's Favorite FSB Links (lots and lots of tech links)

For any Bronco questions or to chat about it's planned modifications or build, it's better to post each seperately in Noobie Bronco Tech Questions. Flame free zone. This will get more attention and you can build up your post count to get into other sections such as Bronco and Ford Parts/Accessories (75 posts required to buy, sell or trade, due to scammers who preyed on our members too many tines.

See our new Full-Size of the Quarter & later the Full-Size of the Year Contests @ Voting
You will get mod ideas by those competing!
Also see the prizes! They are freaking awesome!
Al
 

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If I could give some advice for anyone diving into a big project......I don't know the condition of your Bronco, but I would URGE you to buy the Bronco with the least amount of rust you can afford. Mechanical work is much easier and cheaper than replacing body panels, welding in patches and doing the body work needed to make it solid and presentable.
 

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1986 Ford Bronco
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43 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the support and advice, guys. I'll keep this as up to date as I can. Ctandc, I'm definitely getting one with at little rust as I can find. Getting one from the southeast. The one I'm looking at now appears to be pretty solid. Fenders, door bottoms, rockers, quarters, floorpans, and tailgate look good. It runs, but not particularly well. We're gonna take it apart and work from there.
 

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1986 Ford Bronco
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43 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
The Bronco we got is an 86 with a 302. Body is solid with minimal rot and a little surface rust here and there. The worst rust is at the bottom of the tailgate, but it appears to be confined to a fairly narrow strip across the bottom.
 

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Yo T,
Looking very good!
 

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1986 Ford Bronco
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43 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Yep, it has begun! We started stripping out the interior today. Front seats, plastic panels, door panels, floor covering, padding, and sound proofing have been removed. Minor surface rust on the bed and just a little bit of rot in the floor pans. Pictures coming.
 

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1986 Eddie Bauer 5.0EFI AOD Full length headers Y pipe into single 3"w/cat & magnaflow 3" side exit
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144 Posts
Awesome, as a fellow 86 302 owner making mine nicer over time, I'll be following your progress as well.

Mine barely ran when I got it after decades of previous owners neglecting it. I replaced a few EFI sensors, fixed some vacuum leaks, and it runs great now, even went thru the a/c system and converted that over to R-132. They are fun trucks!
 

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1986 Ford Bronco
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43 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Mine doesn't run, but it is due to people who consider themselves mechanics screwing around with the wiring. Engine is good, but I'm rebuilding for more power, anyway. It looks like I'd be best served replacing all of the wiring...not my strong suit.

Interior is almost all out, except for the dash. Anyone know where replacement dash pads can be sourced? The original pad is toast. I'd rather replace it than just cover it up with a dash cover. My son got all the vinyl flooring and sound deadener out (lots and lots of scraping).

I am really surprised by how little rot is in this Bronco! It will make the restoration so much more pleasant. There is surface rust in the interior, of course, but just a tiny bit of rust through.

Anyone done the serpentine belt system on theirs?
 

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If you're down that far - do yourself a favor. Yank the dash.Once it's out you can go through your entire harness. Use the Ford EVTM manual. It's not even that bad in a 95/96, yours should be even less of a pain.

Odds are the wiring isn't totally shot, just shoddy "repair" jobs and neglect over the past 30+ years. If it were me I'd hunt Facebook marketplace, Craigslist, Ebay etc - and find a good deal on either a cheap parts truck or a good harness. Odds are you can find a complete harness (underhood and interior) with the options you want to add, clean it up, go through it and install it while everything is apart.
 

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1986 Ford Bronco
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43 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Definitely taking the dash out. It is the last major thing left in the interior. I just have to figure out how to do it. Haha. The current harness is cut and spliced just about everywhere under the hood. I don't really have room for a parts truck, unfortunately. I'm lucky enough to have a large workshop/garage that has room for the Bronco we are working on and all the parts, once they have been removed. My wife would smother me in my sleep if I parked a parts truck in the driveway.
 

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I also have an 86 efi 302 truck (originally). I love these years as you get a great mix of modern features with old tech and the old body style.

I have done the serpentine belt swap. Get the alternator bracket, all pulleys, power steering bracket (go Saginaw while you're at it) tensioner, i reccomend doing the 3g 130 alternator at the same time as well.
It should be a Bolton with all the parts.

I agree with what was said above about the electrical. Take your time with wiring diagrams/evtm and pull the harness apart. Most of my harness was pretty good still. I just fixed/resoldered and used heatshrink to seal splices.

With some time with the wiring you can probably salvage a good portion of the harness. If you're adding power, do a MAF conversion while you're in there. Makes it way easier to add the wires needed when the harness is already apart.
 

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1986 Ford Bronco
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43 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Thanks, smeans92.
 

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1986 Ford Bronco
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43 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Here's where we are, after about 15 hours of work. All of the rust spots you see are merely surface rust.

165291
165292
165293
165294
 

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1986 Ford Bronco
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43 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Is there a specific name for those oval plates that allow access to the body mount bolts? The ones in this Bronco are pretty rusty.
 
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