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1986 Bronco, 351w, Edelbrock aluminum top end, Holley 600, 4" BDS lift, 35" Maxxis Razr's, stuff..
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Sorry about that folks! The last three weeks have been hell on the house and my pocketbook, and time got away from me.

I'm going to take a more narrative chronological approach to the posts, hopefully they are entertaining for you all!

I owned my Bronco for 7 months before I first laid eyes on it in person. This was both a gift and a bit of a curse at the time, but you have to risk it for the biscuit, or something, right?

I was looking specifically for a Bronco, having owned a 95 white and blue XLT previously. I had sold it along with a ton of other stuff because I'd joined the Marines. I'd always wanted one, and once I'd had one, I couldn't not have one. So once I'd graduated boot camp and combat training, I started searching for a decent-bodied Bronco right away. I've always been comfortable fumbling my way through wrenching on mechanical stuff, but wanted nothing to do with body work, so my only requirements (foreshadowing) were finding a Bronco that had a body with zero rust and for a reasonable (<5k) price tag.

I was in Florida at the time. Nothing turned up locally. I expanded my search to include my home state and places where I had family. After 8 or so months of keeping my nose to the ground, this one popped up in Idaho. It checked all boxes on my too-short list of requirements, so I called my family to take a look.



I got called back and was told everything looks great on it! And it seems mechanically sound and ready to go. This seemed too good to be true, but far be it from me to let such an amazing deal slip away. I did that once on a MKIV Supra, never again! He'll take $4k? Sold! I got everything squared away with my credit union in a completely other state, get a check cut and sent to my family in Idaho, and voila, I'm the proud new owner of a 1996 Bronco Eddie Bauer. This is the first picture of the Bronco under new ownership, shortly after everything was a done deal, circa February 2014.



My own eyeballs wouldn't lay themselves on the hide of the Bronco for another 7 months. Meanwhile, the Bronco was put to proper work on my parents' property. It's a good thing, too, because my amazing deal would turn out to be a lot less amazing. The entire drivetrain save the engine required work. The transmission was throwing a CEL and was inspected, repaired, flushed, and reassembled. The rear differential required work, one of the rear axles, the brakes, a hub in the front end... my parents were a great help in getting the Bronco to the necessary shops to get it road worthy so I could make my second high-risk decision with it - fly in to get it, pack my stuff in a trailer, and tow with it across the country.

 

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Since money was scarce, I chose to focus on the mechanical side of the house. The plan was to fly in, pack a trailer, and drive the Bronco and my things to my first duty station. What could go wrong? At this point, pretty much all mechanical systems had been touched in some way, so I told myself it should be good.

I flew in on some leave to visit with my family and to get my things squared away. I finally saw the Bronco for the first time in person. The body was straight and there didn't appear to be any rust, as expected, but the paint and clear coat appeared faded, worn, and needing work. The clear didn't seem spotty or worn-through fortunately, so my dad and I washed, buffed, polished, waxed, and detailed the Bronco to see what life we could breath into her skin. As it turned out, a lot! You can even make out the factory painted-on pinstriping, though it's faded.



We got my stuff loaded up in a UHaul. My Vulcan got the same restorative treatment as the Bronco just before being packed up with the rest of my things into the trailer. It was a bit of a tetris game, fitting a motorcycle in the center while weighting it correctly so as not to put too much weight on the tongue, and packing the rest of my belongings around it. After it was all said and done, the trailer weighed in around 3,500 pounds, if memory serves. Shouldn't be a problem for the Bronco, given the tow rating of 5,000+ that I googled. After my dad and I check all the fluids were topped off, tire pressure is good, and nothing is outstanding, I was ready to hit the road.





Only a few hours from home, driving through the Rockies, and I notice the engine temperature starting to get a bit high. "But why? Everything should be fine! The whole drivetrain has been gone over!" I lamented as I pulled off to the nearest gas station at the top of a long uphill pull. She only appeared to really be getting warm on uphill stints, but not so hot as to spike the gauge. I couldn't really afford the time to break down on this trip as I had a deadline to arrive by, so I wanted to head off any issues before they got big. "I won't be going anywhere until I track down this problem and fix it!" Spoiler, I wasn't able to track it down or fix it. The only symptom I had was heat and coolant appearing to be overflowing from the overflow reservoir... and not in small amounts, either.




Since I couldn't, I decided to buy extra radiator fluid from the gas station and carry on, promising myself to check and top it off every so often. The rest of the trip went relatively well. I even clocked 17mpg on the 5.8l while crossing Nebraska. Must have been a good tailwind and lots of flat land. I never saw anything near 17mpg ever again.

There were a lot of interesting things I got to see, but this isn't a road trip thread. I can claim my Bronco has had a tank aim at it, though!




After a few days, I arrived in Maryland at my first (and last) duty station. The odd coolant leak I wouldn't see arise ever again after I got out of the Rockies. In fact, I wouldn't even track down why that was an issue until many months after coming to MD while trying to install new headlights in my Bronco, but that's a story for next time!

 

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"What is that? What the F*** is that?!" Gunny Hartford, Full Metal Jacket



Cardboard. Cardboard is what the f*** that is. Not just one layer, but two layers of cardboard. On this day, I learned that when you live in a cold-ass climate, and you don't have a properly working thermostat or the time or money to spare for a new one, it's known practice to stuff some cardboard in front of your radiator to allow your engine to get up to temperature. After I got done ripping all of that cardboard out, suddenly my engine runs on the low end of the temperature gauge and never goes over halfway again! I don't know for a fact that is the issue that caused my coolant to overflow, but after this I had taken two or three more cross-country trips in the Bronco and never had the issue again.



The only reason I caught sight of this cardboard was because I'd finally decided to start doing upgrade work on my Bronco.

As it turns out, doing anything with the headlights on a Bronco is a massive pain in the ol' keister. Just to get to all the mounting points for both sides required removing the battery, battery tray, and fluid reservoir for the radiator fluid and windshield fluid. While I was in there I decided to throw in a new window fluid pump and reservoir, because I was fairly certain mine was leaking and the pump lock ring was rusted and gone.

The halogens inside and out were old and dim, so I decided on a lighting upgrade. LEDs everywhere I could possibly get them except for the headlights. At the time, after a bunch of research, I found that HIDs were brighter and better than LEDs, so I went that route. I was able to get a hold of @TCM GLX and he hooked me up with a set of smoked LED tail lights, projector headlights, and an interior LED kit. I specifically wanted projectors as I hate being blinded by other people's LEDs or HIDs on big lifted trucks in oncoming traffic, so I wasn't going to be that guy.





Besides installing and adjusting the headlights, the rest of it was very straightforward to install, so I won't get into that too much here. But for your viewing pleasure, here are some before and after pictures on how the LED lights stacked up against the old halogens.








I also did the backlights on the dash as well as the glovebox light. I failed to get before and afters of those, though. I attempted the ashtray light, but the lights provided in the kit didn't fit and I didn't care to find an LED small enough to fit there since I never have it open. Someday it might get traded out for auxiliary switches.




I definitely think it was worth the time investment. 5 years later, all of these lights are still running strong. I have traded out the headlights one more time, but still running the same HIDs.



... It sure would be a shame if I weren't able to enjoy those shiny new tail lights for very long, wouldn't it?

 

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I was rear-ended. One week after I installed these tail lights I was at a complete stop behind a red light, just minding my own business as one does. Well, this Kia decided it needed to use my Bronco to stop. While traveling at 30mph+. He didn't touch his brakes, I stopped him.

Fortunately, the tire carrier was still on it with a spare attached to it, which absorbed a majority of the impact. This preserved the tailgate glass and function of it, and my tail lights survived.





Red flag #1: The first thing he said when he jumped out of his car is, "Sorry man! I was on my phone."
Red flag #2: The second thing he said after he jumped out is, "Hey, can we not call the cops?"

Being that this happened on base right near the gate, they showed up anyway. Turns out he was uninsured, big no-no on base. Also turns out Air Force command and Air Force legal will defend their airmen tooth and nail, regardless of how wrong they were. After a divorce and monetary hardship sob story, I gave him the benefit of the doubt since we're both servicemembers, and let him pay me in installments to fix my Bronco. After the first payment, I get radio silence. I visit his shop, he's not there and his peers all but tell me to f*** off. So I do a claim with my insurance, what I should have done in the first place. They'll take care of the rest, they say.

More than $3400 in damages. My insurance wants to total it. We work it out so that the estimate for repair comes in lower, around $2800, and I convince them not to total it. That was a close one. I did have to make some concessions such as no new tailgate trim, no new tire carrier, repair and reuse some parts inside the tailgate, and the like.




I discovered the cruise control was broken when I brought the Bronco home after the repairs. I use it quite a bit and I wasn't okay with it being gone. A bunch of research later and it turns out having changed all my brake lights to LED nullified the necessary 12v signal for the cruise control. I changed out the red high mount brake light to be halogen again, leaving the white sides to be LED. Cruise control works and I'm happy.

I also finished installing and aiming the projector headlights just before the accident. I had a lot of issues getting them aimed high enough. Come to find out Tony thought I had a lift on my Bronco, so the projectors were aimed a bit low. Whatever, I went with it. I'm sure I'll lift it eventually, anyways (spoiler: I don't).




I liked the look of these much better. Also, the turn signal light is a switchback light, so when all lights are on, they are white, and when signaling, they alternate between white and orange which is pretty neat. The black and chrome was a good contrast for me, as I enjoy chrome but in tastful amounts, and I don't enjoy the blacked-out look usually.




Also included in the top 10 things I don't enjoy: criminals that hit my Bronco intentionally while trying to escape the scene of a crime.
 

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Kidnapping, hit and run, and brandishing a weapon. These were the acts the aformentioned criminal committed. This is probably the most thankless, most disheartening, and resulted in the most lost faith in humanity, I've ever experienced. Even though all of these things happened with multiple witnesses and reports, no charges were brought against him. And, though it looks trivial, this would be the second time a Marylander would rearrange the backside of my old girl.




Unfortunately I don't have a lot of pictures for this incident, but I do have a hell of a story, so strap in for this crazy, nearly-unbelievable ride. Also, I'm sorry for the wall of text.

I'm minding my own business, have a couple of Army friends in the truck with me, and we're headed back to base. I've got my window down; it's a beautiful day. On this day, of all days, I decide to cut through a neighborhood as a shortcut. I have never before traveled on this road and never will thereafter. Shortly after navigating the second 'traffic-calming' obstacle, I hear before I see an incident that you'd think you would only see in a Hollywood movie. Certainly someone wouldn't - no, couldn't - be so brazen in broad daylight?

High pitched screaming pierced my ears. Not the shrill shrieks of playing kids, mind you, but the kind that makes the blood feel cold and the body immediately pump copious amounts of adrenaline to kickstart the good ol' fight-or-flight. Then I round some cars parked on the side of the road and I see it.

A woman being dragged alongside the passenger side of a car by the driver with a firm fistful of her hair. What in the unholy f**?! This car is being chased by three people on foot, the sole woman of the group screaming for help. As I pass the car, it stops for just a moment. The driver heaves the woman by the hair wholly into the car and guns it.

Fleeing isn't in a Marine's f***ing dictionary. Without a single thought, I rip the absolute shit out of the steering wheel. The Bronco bucks through the tightest U-turn I've ever demanded from her, smack in the middle of this suburban road. Fuel dumps into each cylinder to match the wide open throttle, the tires skip off the curbs of the traffic calmers, and the suspension shrugs off the two speed bumps.

I've caught him. He expected no chase, he's underestimated me, and I've surprised him. No sooner than my rear bumper is in front of his front as I pass him, I stomp the brakes and come to a halt before him. Don't get out yet, he could hit you - watch how he reacts.

He hit's me. By the time I've come to a stop, there is a sizable gap between us with plenty of opportunity for him to stop. He slows and nearly does. I watch in the rear-view mirror as the emotions play across his face. Anger. Worry. Determination. He starts to go around - there is plenty of space for him to pass - and as I watch, he jerks his steering wheel. The Bronco's rear heaves to the right while the civic dumps debris onto the road and runs. Fury blends with the adrenaline and I'm after him again. Broncos weren't meant for racing, but neither were stock civics, so I'm keeping pace.

Gun. This coward thrusts his arm out of his window and waves a pistol in the air over the roof. I give absolutely and unequivocally zero f***s and this serves to do nothing but solidify my resolve. Then my long-forgotten passengers groan out a plea. Why are we chasing a gunman? Call the police. But the woman's safety! Logic wins out and I slow down while they dial 911. 2001-2003 black Honda Civic 4 door, traveling this direction on this road with this license plate number.

They caught him at his workplace, Chili's. He hit me with a car that wasn't his. This isn't the first run-in he's had with the authorities, that family, and his apparent girlfriend he'd dragged along. The family doesn't press charges. The cops don't charge him. Neither I nor my passengers are called to be a witness for any reports or testimonies. His insurance refuses to cover my damages as they've decided I was at fault for the "accident". My insurance covers it and my premium goes up.

Fortunately his car was a lot less sturdy than the Bronco. Some body putty, paint, and a new rear bumper wasn't so expensive that it would total the Bronco, but just barely. Shockingly, besides the intentional damage, nothing else broke on this wild escapade. I decided to treat her right, get her cleaned up, and get her some new shoes.



I try to keep her pristine despite the mechanical issues, the accidents, and a shady, lying, and swindling body-repair business.
 

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biggum I really like your attention to detail and documenting all your efforts. I have not voted for the Bronco of the year as of yet but you are definitely catching my attention. I really like all the little mods like the carrier guards etc. Gives me ideas :)
 

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1986 Bronco, 351w, Edelbrock aluminum top end, Holley 600, 4" BDS lift, 35" Maxxis Razr's, stuff..
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biggum I really like your attention to detail and documenting all your efforts. I have not voted for the Bronco of the year as of yet but you are definitely catching my attention. I really like all the little mods like the carrier guards etc. Gives me ideas :)
Thanks man! Patience has never been one of my strong points but I really try to do things as "right" as I can as I get older and give the Bronco what it deserves. I have the same admiration for many of the rigs on here, so much cool stuff, ideas, and work.
 

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1986 Bronco, 351w, Edelbrock aluminum top end, Holley 600, 4" BDS lift, 35" Maxxis Razr's, stuff..
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So, I liked the idea of a soft top so I could roll up the side and back windows for a more open experience. I looked through the reviews on FSB and the web and settled on the great top from Softopper. But, I was having a tough time figuring out what color combo to go with since at that time the Bronco was in it's stock XLT trim with red/whit two tone and a lack top would be odd and the white would get trashed. As silly as it might sound, this conundrum is actually what ultimately led me changing the color to Dark bright blue metallic. I had also seen some rigs done in bedliner and liked it. When I got my Bronco from California, it was completely rust free other than some cancer at the bottom of the tailgate. I had it here in Maine for a few winters and there were some small dings that had started showing signs of rust, just chips but I knew it wouldn't be long before they grew into more if I didn't take action. So I decided to de-xlt it, removing all the chrome trim and painting it with about 14 bottles of Raptor liner tinted with the ford blue metallic.

It was a fair amount of work but nothing compared to a regular paint job. Remove trim, weld up all the holes, remove grill, lights, bumpers, etc, sand everything down with 120 grit, prime any sand through spots with self etching primer, and tape it all up. I decided to paint the bottom 16" or so and around the wheel arches with POR-15 as well. Then on with the Raptor. IIRC I sprayed it at about 60 psi from around 36" away which gave me a pretty fine grit that I liked.

It was pretty nerve racking to do this to my rig which was in pertty clean stock condition - but you only live once right?

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Photo from ebay as I bought it. Some weird color stuff on both front quarters. I never quite figured out what that was from, the paint had funny spots in it as well, almost like acid got on it or something.
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I originally considered grey, red, green, and blue. I practiced a little on some tin with each color.
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And of course the top!
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1986 Bronco, 351w, Edelbrock aluminum top end, Holley 600, 4" BDS lift, 35" Maxxis Razr's, stuff..
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Personally I was really happy with how it turned out and recommend it to anyone considering it.
 

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Two and a half months for body work to be completed is acceptable, am I right? Guys? No?

Rust is the bane of all Bronco owners everywhere, we all already know. I try to be proactive about any issues that arise out of my Bronco up to and including rust. So when some very small bubbling started happening under the paint on my quarter panels at the edge of my rear wheel wells, I started looking for a body shop that could take care of it, and four other spots of concern, right away.

No one will deal with rust, as it turns out. Of the dozen or so body shops within 25 miles of me that I called and visited, just 2 said they'd be willing to take care of the rust without replacing the entire quarter panel. One looked super shady and had zero reviews. The other had a copious amount of positive yelp reviews, so I went to that one.

I was assured that the rust would be fixed, with warranty, in just 1 week. Wow! That's pretty good! Done deal.

I check with the shop almost every week for the next 9.5 weeks.
  • Week 1: No contact. I reach out to the shop and am assured with just a few more days, it'll be complete.
  • Week 2: No contact. I reach out and am told the rust is as expected, but it'll be more time.
  • Week 4: No contact. I text the owner and am informed a required tool broke, and they are waiting for the new one.
  • Week 6: No contact. I text the owner with no response.
  • Week 7: No contact. I call the shop. New tool arrived DOA, new one will arrive in 3 days. Job will be done in one week.
  • Week 8: No contact. I call the shop. No answer. I text. No answer. I call later in the day. I'm asked if it's my daily, and I reply that it is, as we discussed when I dropped it off. I made it a point that it was, and that I can't afford a rental for weeks. "Oh shit!" It'll be done in 1 week.
  • Week 9: I call earlier in the week, apprehensive of more delay. He'll call me back. He doesn't.

I call the next day. I'm chastised for not waiting for a call back. The guy working my truck is out sick, guaranteed it'll be done at the end of the week. Spoiler: It's not.

I call at the end of the week. Apparently, the guy working my truck has a family emergency. And the owner's dog has died.


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He offers me a personal vehicle to drive. Very uncomfortable with the idea of being responsible for that, I decline. I ask in the form of a statement to see my Bronco.

No. Work. Has. Been. Done. Not since Week 1 when the quarters were cut open.



Now, I made five very specific repair requests. Only one of them was touched, and only barely started.

90% chance the repairs will be done by the end of the month, more than 2 weeks away. I immediately get extremely suspicious (as if I weren't already), enough to plan on getting screwed and devise counter-plans. I state that I need an updated quote.

It's worth noting that in Maryland, no repair can be completed without the express approval of the owner if the repair is more than 10% the initial quote. This comes into play later.

The next day I ask to pick up the Bronco regardless of its state of disrepair in four days, two of which are the weekend. He promises a five hundred dollar discount if it's not done in 6. I reluctantly accept. Tuesday I stop by and peek through the windows of the garage. It has not been touched. I still have not received an updated quote. I demand it again, and state I will be picking up Thursday, regardless of the state of the Bronco.

I pick up late in the day. It's getting dark. It's snowing. I'm completely fed up at this point. Magically, he claims all work has been completed and hands me an updated quote for the first time. It is 58% higher than the original. In my frustration, anger, and need-induced short-sightedness, I paid with the intent to resolve it later with only a superficial glance at the "repairs". The next day, I look more thoroughly.

Rust under the tailgate and on the rain gutters appears to have been just painted over.





Tape left everywhere from the paintjob as well as clearcoat overspray in many places.




Bubbles in the paint everywhere as well as grooves in the body putty underneath. I put a magnet to the area to make sure there is at least metal under the body putty. These are just the easiest spots to make out on camera.




And no more than one week later, the paint bubbled, burst, and leaked... whatever this is, everywhere, on both quarter panels.




I'm still working through this whole issue. In the meantime, she still helps me get moved, the overhead console dies and I fix that via junkyard diving, the radiator leaks and gets replaced, and I fail at my attempt to rewire my tailgate harness to get more power to the rear window motor.




And the obligatory glamour photo while on a road trip to Ghettysburg.



And though she's still got life in her, she's old. She creaks and groans and sometimes leaks and gets some attitude. At this point, it's probably best to put her to pasture and let her have an easier life. Is it really worth putting all that money into her to make her exactly what I'd like, or wouldn't it be better to just get a newer F150?
 

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No, no it wouldn't be a better idea to get a newer F150. Of course I'd rather build her; I love the Bronco for nearly every feature it has, and I'm not particularly willing to give all that up.

I would love to regale you all with the multitude of reasons I have for loving the Bronco, and for deciding to spend my savings building it rather than getting into something newer. But it's too much. So here's some of the big ones. Building instead of buying will: cost half as much as buying new, give me precisely what I want, how I want it, pride, and most importantly, I keep my Bronco. If you'd like to know more, feel free to ask!

Now that I've committed to turning my beloved daily into a daily project, what do I want to do? I love the amenities of today, the reliability and mechanics of the past, and technology, so upgrades galore! My initial high-level list of upgrades were:
  • Professional-level Sound deadening. Not just some rattle trap, truly go all-out. She's noisy, but doesn't have to be.
  • Insulation. AC and heat have to work really hard to keep that much interior space at temp.
  • New seats. I prefer something bench-like up front over the captain's chairs.
  • Reupholstery. The King Ranch look appeals to me, but not the cost of the material.
  • New flooring. My carpet was in pretty bad shape.
  • Double Din stereo. Let's get some tech in here and add some nice things like TPMS, forward/rear cameras, GPS, and Android Auto.
  • Diesel swap. Of the copious reasons behind this, the big ones are: Better mileage, great towing, great offroad for overlanding, and parts availability.
And I'm off! I can't express enough just how much reasearch and prep and work I put into getting ready for these projects, and then again during them. For more details, feel free to ask or check out my build thread. The next few posts will be seriously lacking in detail because there is so much of it. Anyway, enough of that.. on to the exciting stuff!

I found a 96 F250 at a junkyard near me. It was hit broadside, but in the pictures it looked like it had the 40/20/40 bench seats I wanted in it. I pack my tools and get there the same day since 250's and better are rare in my local yards.

Needles are everywhere among the trash littering the entire floor of this truck. The dash is disgusting with grime, there's duct tape everywhere, and the door panels are practically destroyed. The seats, though, appear in much better shape. I pull on some gloves and with extreme diligence, I spend an hour picking away the trash and take a really good look at the floor before I crawl in to inspect the seats. After some fighting with the rusty bolts, I take home the seats for a whopping $90.



I'm not too worried about the fabric of the seat as I plan to get them reupholstered. Initially I drove hard for King Ranch leather, but it was going to more than double the quote for reupholstering. So I went with something that I liked instead, which is kind of similar. Vinyl for the durability and ease of cleaning, and Terracotta (a porsche pattern) for the King Ranch vibe.




I also researched and came across Sound Deadener Showdown in my sound deadening and insulating searches. What a treasure trove of information (Thanks Don!). I decided to pick up materials. The materials would achieve both sound deadening and insulation simultaneously, two birds with one stone. Luck would have it that his shop was only an hour and a half or so from me, so I stopped in. I got Constrained Layer Damper (CLD) tiles to eliminate panel resonance, Mass-Loaded Vinyl (MLV) for blocking outside noise and insulation, Closed Cell Foam (CCF) to decouple the MLV from the truck's hard surfaces, Hydrophobic Malamine Foam (HMF) for midrange sound deadening and insulation, and some Butyl Rope to stuff in places where two panels might be rattling together.

After getting it home, I tried my hand at the sound deadening process on my tailgate since it was a much smaller area that would require less work to do. It was still pretty involved.



While I was in there, I put up a plastic painter's sheet to prevent water from dripping through the access panel and getting my floor wet. The factory solution was long gone, if it was ever there. Worked like a charm! The deadening, even though just on the tailgate, made a massive difference. It also made the tailgate seat more easily when closing it due to the added mass.

Rather unexpectedly, the perfect gem I'd been looking for over 2 months long suddenly popped up in an area near me. In the middle of all my other projects, I dropped them to go and get it. Then the real challenge began.

 

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1986 Bronco, 351w, Edelbrock aluminum top end, Holley 600, 4" BDS lift, 35" Maxxis Razr's, stuff..
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Working through the interior!
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1986 Bronco, 351w, Edelbrock aluminum top end, Holley 600, 4" BDS lift, 35" Maxxis Razr's, stuff..
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Thanks @ddickenson


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

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1986 Bronco, 351w, Edelbrock aluminum top end, Holley 600, 4" BDS lift, 35" Maxxis Razr's, stuff..
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When it came time to lift it I did a bunch of research an ended up going with a mix of stuff. The front is BDS from Bronco Graveyard Front Bracket Kit With Extended Radius Arms-Broncograveyard.com with the JBG 4" springs superlift skyjacker bds procomp 4 inch lift-Broncograveyard.com and the back are 4" procomp leaf springs Pro Comp 4 Inch Rear Leaf Spring - 22415 | 4wheelparts.com and I used a set of rear shackle hangers from Sky to level it out. 78-97 Ford 4x4 2" & 4.5" Rear Shackle Flip Kits – Sky Manufacturing (skysoffroaddesign.com) I went with a set of Bilstein 5100's. I'm very happy with the results and recommend this setup to anyone thinking about it.
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Fishing the bolts through for the hangers is a PITA!
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Grab a big breaker and eat your wheaties to break those bolts holding the arms on free!
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Making a template to drill those blind holes
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A 4bt Cummins diesel with a P7100 fuel pump and an HX30w turbo. It's basically a 6bt, minus two cylinders, and that fuel pump makes the power tuneable with a live tuner.



For those who may have noticed, I also got the windows on the Bronco tinted. I chose to go with ceramic tinting as it blocks 99% of heat-creating UV light and helps with the temperature regulation in the cabin. It's a bit thicker and helps slightly with insulation, too. Though it was incredibly expensive, I think that is hands down one of the best things I've done for the Bronco. It made long trips, like the one I took to get the diesel, significantly more comfortable.

I really hate tolls. Being from the West, I had never experienced them prior to moving East. It's especially expensive when you have a third axle... go figure. Borrowed the trailer from a buddy after work. Three states and several hours later I get to the seller's house just before dark. He's ready to go with a backhoe and four or so other guys to help load this engine on the trailer. Not going to lie, I was concerned carrying that much cash and being confronted with several guys, but they were all incredibly cool and helpful. Weighed down with ~1000lbs of new dead weight, I cruise to a friends place nearby-ish, do dinner, and get home Saturday early in the AM.



Finally get the trailer to (barely) fit in the garage. How the hell do I get this damn thing off the trailer? Time to shuffle things around and clean up this disaster of a man cave.



Rented an engine lift and had just enough clearance. Turns out trying to get it lifted and maneuvered alone was a chore. Didn't die, though. I discovered much too late that the cherry picker was actually bad. Left leg was bent upward just enough and the boom twisted to the left just enough that when I got it in the air, it started leaning and falling toward that leg. I hopped on the back of the lift like I was doing a box jump at the Crossfit Open, and it was just enough to rock it back and put the three good points-of-contact on the ground. After much shouting and banging on the ceiling, my girlfriend came down and helped me get an old damaged rim under the engine so I could sit it down and not be stuck standing on the lift all night. Precarious, but it was late and I had work. Keeping the lift partially loaded with the weight and a good jiggle-check confirmed it was tomorrow's problem.



Attempt #2. I get the chain adjusted, shift the weight of the engine more toward the right leg, and voila! Finally get the dang thing off and tucked into the corner directly behind the lift on jackstands. The following day I take the cherry picker back and let the shop I rented it from know how it almost killed me. Y'know, brighten their day a little.

Over the next couple of weeks I start unbolting the transmission since I'm not going to need it. I'm going to clean up the engine and paint it, I tell myself. Spoiler: I didn't clean it up or paint it.



I bought a decal I really liked and decided I'd like to show my motivation and patriotism with it. Turns out it was a bad idea to get it on Etsy. I didn't realize it wasn't what I ordered until I applied one of the two, and it was the wrong color. It looked like the right color on the paper. Go figure, the Etsy shop isn't responding to me for a refund or replacement, and they falsely advertised with the wrong pictures of the decal. Very misleading.



It gave me practice at applying and removing large vinyls, though, so there's that I guess.



I've researched and located all the parts. There's no way I can do this job in my garage. I don't have the tools or the space and the cost of the tools alone caused me some indigestion. This was a massive and costly mistake.
 
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