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Jan'19 F.O.T.M.
347 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
It was about time I started this thread. Now that the truck passed the Smog, I can safely start restoring this Bronco, which by the way I nicknamed "Bruce" in honor to Bruce Springsteen, I am a big fan :)

My intention is to restore it as close as possible to the original, with a few upgrades to make driving and handling it a little safer.

Unfortunately, I cannot afford to make a frame off restoration, and this will be a slow process due to budget and time restrictions. But I have the intention of tackling the most important stuff as quickly as possible. Not necessarily in order the following are some of the things that I would like to dress:

When I received the truck it was missing all the smog equipment. You can read all about the process of restoring all that back to stock in this thread. This has been succesfully completed.

A comparison of before and after.

-Rebuild Front and rear axles
-Rebuild front and rear driveshafts
-Repair leak in Transfer Case

Ziggy and I already rebuilt the front axles and I rebuilt the rear driveshaft, but there is still some work left. We have to open both front and rear differentials and see how everything is looking in there. And of course change the fluids. Maybe swapping my stock 3.5 with a 4.10 gear ratio, which would be more suitable for the 33” tires I have now. The transfer case is leaking, so probably changing the seals and most definitively changing the oil.

-Bleed old fluid
-Install new Master Cylinder, existing is leaking
-Install new calipers, extended line due to lift and rotors at the front
-Install new drums, extended line due to lift and hardware at the rear.

-Eventually I would like to install a Hydroboost system, but I cannot afford it now.

-Install a Saginaw Pump
-Install a better gear box, Ziggy recommends a Redhead Steering Box.
-Fix rag joint.
-Fix links and replace bushings.

-Replace all Shocks
-Replace Bushings

-Address a big leak that is been happening in the transmission where it meets the engine by replacing the gasket.
-Change oil pan gasket to fix a leak there too.
-Ziggy detected a bit of water coming from the exhaust. I have to be vigilant but most likely there is a leak of water in the engine.

-Fix/Replace fuel lines
-Fix/Replace sending unit, existing one doesn’t work properly. I have a 33 gallon tank but when filling the tank to 25 gallons the needle moves to Full, filling it more than that makes the needle go back to empty.
-Replace tank for new one, existing is rusty.

-Upgrading Alternator to 3G
-Upgrading Water pump to high flow.
-Installing Ziggy’s Windshield washer fluid / radiator combo overflow tank
-Reinstalling stock AC, most of the components were missing. Eventually I would like to upgrade it to a more modern system but for now I will bring it back to stock with some junkyard restored components.
-Install new radio and speakers. PO ripped off everything, leaving holes everywhere.

-Down the road if money permits it would help to have the truck rewired and maybe install one of those new Dakota VHX Instruments. But that would be more of novelty.

-Repaint the whole truck. Ideally a two tone (Blue/White) and install the racetrack moldings, although that will be $$$
-Install new weatherstripping
-Replace windshield, existing is cracked
-Replace rear left quarter glass, existing is cracked
-Install sound dampening
-Install new carpet
-Restore door panels
-Restore dash and cluster
-Reupholster front bench, restore rear
-Restore rear kick panels

I am sure there will be more stuff that I am missing but this is way enough to keep me occupied for a very long time.

Stay tuned! I have pictures of the front axles and rear driveshaft restoration coming soon.

Jan'19 F.O.T.M.
347 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
As promised, this is the process of restoring the front axles. Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of the disassembling process but I have some pictures of how we put it all back together. So basically reversing that should work if disassembling. What we did was swapping my front axles with restored ones from Ziggy's with already installed new Spicer u-joints. Replacing inner and outer wheel bearings and seals, cleaning and regreasing everything. We didn't open the differential, we will do so another day and change the gear oil as well.

These are the parts we used, without counting the restored axles with new u-joints:

2x Spindle bearing kit w/seals + washers, front.

2x inner bearings

2x outer bearings

2x wheel seals

After lifting the front with a trolley jack and using a couple of 6 ton stands. We used an impact driver to remove the five bolts securing the left wheel. Next was disassembling the Lock Out mechanism. There are six allen bolts that are really easy to remove. The housing and actuator knob came off really easy. After that, there is a snap retaining ring that holds the mechanism in place. With the help of a dental pick tool and a flat screwdriver, we removed that retaining ring. Then its easy to remove the retaining plate and actuating cam. After that, you need a snap ring plier to remove a smaller snap ring that sits on the axle itself. Then you can safely remove the axle shaft ring sleeve and ring assembly and the inner clutch ring and bushing assembly with the help of the dental pick. The pressure spring will come off easily. I believe the Spindle Nuts and Washer are just after that and then you need to use a spindle nut wrench like this one:

All its left is a spring retaining plate that should come off easy with the help of that dental pick tool. Here is a diagram from another forum that illustrates all the components of the lock out mechanism, although it is not showing the Spindle Nuts and Washer:

When all this was out of the way and placed over a clean rag, we removed the caliper so we could safely slide off the rotor and hub. We removed the retainer bolt securing the caliper, then the retainer clip that holds it in place and then moved the caliper aside without disconnecting the line. Then with a mallet we tapped from behind the rotor and the whole thing came off.

After that, we removed the nuts holding the spindle. And then with the help of a hammer tapping behind the steering knuckle, the whole thing came off, but unfortunately, this was very hard because of the amount of rust and dirt. Although this side was way easier than the other which Ziggy had to use a chisel to separate the spindle and break it loose.

Once all this is out you can finally remove the axle and then proceed to remove the inner, outer bearing and the seal from teh hub. Here are all the components out of the way, you can see some of the tools I was mentioning before:

Put a rag on the opening to prevent other dirt from going in:

The old axle out of the way, it doesn't look too bad. However, I am not sure if you guys can notice this but the notch where the retaining ring sits seems to be located a little further in the axle than normal. Which means that at least the stub axle was the wrong one. Another medal for the PO.

This is the correct axle, already in place. The notch is closer to the end, like it should be:

New seals in place, we put some lithium red grease to help them get in place:

If I remember correctly we were not able to remove the spindle bearing so we had to leave the old one in. We cleaned it as much as we could and put new grease:

Spindle seal in place:

Where the wheel seal will sit on the spindle, it actually goes in the hub ;):

We tried to switch the rotors for new Centric ones but unfortunately, the bolt holes on the new rotors were too big and the studs were loose. We had to install back the old rotors and return the Centric ones, too bad:

I am not sure if you can notice this in the picture but the old rotors are actually damaged, the PO had probably a flat tire at some point and it totally flattened the edge:

A bit of emery cloth to sand the old rotors:

Putting back the Hub in the old rotor:

With the help of this great tool we installed the new outer and inner bearings in the hub:

Using the bearing tool to press the bearing into the hub:

Bearing in place:

Steering knuckle, dust shield and spindle in place. Bolting it all together:

Going back to the bearings, we used the same lithium multi purpose red grease and it is important to press it inside the needles of the bearing, things got really nasty there :thumbup:

A little more grease in the outer of the bearing:

And more grease after putting the bearing in place:

Preparing the wheel seal and installing it, be careful with it because it's a bit delicate. We damaged one in the process so it might be wise to get extra ones just in case.

Hub and rotor ready to go:

I don't have pictures of the bearing that goes inside the hub but its basically the same process as this one.

Greasing the spindle:

Putting the Rotor and Hub in place:

Ready for the Lock Out mechanism:

First, goes the nut that has the pin, then the washer that has the holes and then the other nut. You just have to be very careful to align everything properly so using those dental picks helps a lot ( a great trick from Ziggy!)

I do not have more pictures after that but basically, the process is placing the spring retaining plate, the big spring, the axle shaft ring sleeve and ring assembly and the inner clutch ring and bushing assembly. Hold everything in place by putting the small snap ring. Then the retaining plate and actuating cam and the bigger retaining snap ring. And then jus the housing with the actuator knob and securing everything with the allen bolts.

The other side is basically the same. I do not have pictures either, and like I said it was way more difficult. At some point there was a lot of water going in the the PO did nothing about it.

I think this is all for now, I will post later on about the rear driveshaft.

A few things to consider:

-Make sure the wheel studs fit firmly in the rotor, otherwise they would eventually wear down the holes in the rotor. This is why I ended up returning the new rotors.

-Use quality lithium grease, the PO had used really bad stuff in there that was black and nasty.

-After we were done and I attempted to test drive it, the truck wouldn't stop no matter how many times I pressed the brake pedal. Make sure you pump it a few times before test driving it. After doing any type of job where you will be moving the brakes around, even if you do not disconnect the lines, it could be enough for the lines to collapse. I almost crashed a car behind me, thank God nothing happened!

Jan'19 F.O.T.M.
347 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Time for an update!

1. The rear driveshaft has been rebuilt like I mentioned earlier and here are some pictures of the process. I do not have many since I had to rush to return the tool :) I wish I had time to repaint it as well.

Marking everything before disassembly:

It was very nasty in there, took me a long time to remove all the crap:

This is the reason for the loud noise I was having, the centering yoke was completely busted, the needle bearings were all over and the little spring was smashed in half:

After some cleaning I could see all the marks caused by all that beating:

Some more cleaning revealed the blue Teflon coating still in pretty good shape:

This is the driveshaft finally back in place:

I ended up using GMB U-joints instead of Spicer. A regrettable decision, the grease fittings that came with them didn't even fit! The threads were bigger and chipped the metal as I tried to screw them in. I am worried that some metal particles might have gotten inside. I will probably replace them for some Spicer soon.

Also, I have been working on some cosmetics:

2. My dashboard lens was really scratched.

I used Novus to restore it, I have had really good results in the past with this. And it sure didn't let me down. The lens looks almost like new now. This is the process. First, you clean it with water and soap. Then you sand it to basically "erase" the scratches. This will make the surface dull, going from 320 grip up to 1500 to make the surface as smooth as possible.

Then it is just a matter of applying the Novus 3 step process to clean and polish. Magically the lens comes back to life:

3. Another little project was my steering wheel which was really nasty and the vinyl woodgrain was broken and peeling. I have a cruise control, and it is almost impossible to find a steering wheel with that in good condition. So I decided to restore it.

I managed to completely disassemble the whole unit without breaking it, it was easier than I thought!

Cleaned it all as much as I could. I tried different products to clean the plastic but a combination of a light degreaser and some vinyl conditioner seemed to do the trick.

Do not use Purple Power degreaser on plastic, it seems to fade it. I also tried this "As seen on TV" product called Wipe New that worked really well on the vinyl and rubber.

The only quest now is to find the correct Woodgrain vinyl.

I know this will be difficult, but it has to exist because companies are still making reproductions of parts such as the cluster or glove compartment which have it. If anyone knows where to find this vinyl woodgrain, let me know!

Some more little stuff, the small blue logo repainted:

I will post some final results on this when I find the correct woodgrain vinyl and I am also planning on adding some leather on the steering itself to add more grip and to hide a couple of cracks on the wheel.

4. I have also been working on the door panels. Mine were cracked and poorly patched and had screws to hold the thing in place, aside from the usual chrome peeling:

So I ordered new ones and carefully removed the woodgrain panels out of the old ones. This was really hard. The first one I managed to remove it without breaking any of the pins but the driver's side, for some reason the pins kept breaking. I removed all the peeling chrome and for now, I just used a silver Leafing pen from KRYLON. I know it is not the same but I do not have the knowledge or budget to rechrome this. It doesn´t look too bad actually:

I figured out a way to fix the broken pins behind the woodgrain panels tho. I ordered a threaded nylon rod, a few nuts and washers from McMaster-Carr and decided to plasic/weld them into the panel. To do so, I had to drill a hole into the panel to better secure the new rod in there. I even went a bit more crazy and ended up tapping the panel so the rod would stay in place more firmly.

You just have to be careful not to puncture the vinyl. However, there are two layers of vinyl in there, so you would really have to drill hard to break it. I didn't use a power drill, by the way, I did it by hand just in case :)

To better secure it, I then I applied QBond. The thing is stronger than the original. Really a great solution. And now I do not have to worry about breaking any pins in the future, I only have to unscrew them.

I am still working on this, but I will have final pictures soon.

Here are the parts in case anyone wants to do the same mod:

98831A330 Nylon 6/6 Fully Threaded Rod 8-32 Thread, 2 Feet Long, White

94812A400 Nylon Hex Nut 8-32 Thread Size, Off-White, Packs of 100

90295A414 Nylon Plastic Washer for Number 8 Screw Size, 0.188" ID, 0.5" OD, Off-White, Packs of 50

26955A73 General Purpose Tap for Closed-End Hole Threading, 8-32 Thread Size

5. Worked as well on restoring the emblems.

This is how they looked before:

I cleaned them really well first with water and soap and then with lacquer thinner to remove the old paint, it's safe for the chrome by the way.

I then used Sharpies Oil based paint pens. The red is not like the original one, but I am happy with the result. I still need to clean it up a bit and paint a second coat tho.

A side by side:

6. And lastly, I started working on the brakes. I replaced the Master Cylinder and rebuilt the rear brakes.

Removing the old Master Cylinder was easy. The only hiccup was that I had to get a long 9/16 socket, the one I had wasn't long enough and would not grab on the nuts enough.

I bled my new master Cylinder with one of those bleeding kits. This was easy, but I wasn't aware that you have to push that hard and that much with a screwdriver.

I also tested this product called Corroseal in the Main Drum. It basically converts rust into a strong black coat. It really works! So I am excited to use this in other parts, especially the frame.

The rear brakes were a straight forward process. There is a ton of information online on how to disassemble them.

Both wheel cylinders were severely damaged covered in rust and there was a big amount of rust at the bottom of the brake assembly as if water had been sitting there for a while.

All the parts out of the way and placed in the cotrrect position as a reference:

Also, the axle breather was disconnected and that could have been a reason for having a leak in the rear differential. I still have to get a new hose for that and a cap breather.

All the parts that need to go back in (parking brake link, parking brake lever and other hardware) cleaned and rust completely removed with Evaporust. They look like new. The only problem with Evaporust is that if untreated the metal will flash rust eventually so I painted them with Rustoleum 500. I probably should not have done that, but I really hate rust.

I also tried that product Corroseal in the Brake assembly. It worked really well and turned the whole thing black. But I know the break assembly gets really hot (I have heard around 300º), so I contacted Corroseal to check heat tolerances, they told me its rated to 280º. So just in case I top coated it with Rustoleum 500 as well.

I will be putting it all back together soon, but I should be pretty straight forward since I have lots of pictures.

Next will be to redoing the fronts (replacing lines, rotors and calipers) and then I will bleed each of the brakes starting from the rear passenger one. Then the brakes should be done until the day I have the budget to install a Hydroboost.

gone fish'n
23,564 Posts
Nice work, I hope you retained the OEM spicer hubs up front. Those things are stronger than any hubs made today.

Jan'19 F.O.T.M.
347 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thanks guys!

Nice work, I hope you retained the OEM spicer hubs up front. Those things are stronger than any hubs made today.
Actually, the front hubs are in bad shape. While redoing the front axles we noticed they are worn out. So eventually I will have to replace them. I am not sure if they are the original ones tho.

Resident Nice Guy
2,222 Posts
You (and Ziggy!) have just done a fantastic job on this so far. I'm really looking forward to seeing what you do with it. I'm a sucker for the minutia, like restoring badges and the like.

Jan'19 F.O.T.M.
347 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
You (and Ziggy!) have just done a fantastic job on this so far. I'm really looking forward to seeing what you do with it. I'm a sucker for the minutia, like restoring badges and the like.
Thanks Schwim! The small stuff is what I am best at :)

Jan'19 F.O.T.M.
347 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Looks great! I just subscribed tot this thread. What part of Los Angeles do you live? I am in Torrance and working on restoring my 79.
Thanks for subscribing! I am close to Culver City, so not too far from you ;). When did you start restoring yours?

Premium Member
10,000 Posts

Jan'19 F.O.T.M.
347 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
That plastic threaded rod is an incredible idea for saving the woodgrain panels for a transfer.
Thank you Scott! Many years of DIY and my wife yelling 'what the h*** are you doing???' have paid at last! ;)

Cool man! Looks like you have a lot on your plate as well :) Look forward to seeing pictures of your progress!

1986 Ford Bronco my flip video library video | SuperMotors.net
1986 Ford Bronco my flip video library video | SuperMotors.net
These are almost impossible to find anymore and this was the best I could do, I'm always on the look out for a "complete" set up........so when you get done working on your Bronco can you come down here and give me a hand........waiting for full right hip replacement.......got lots of work needed to be done.......lol lol.......:doh0715:
Good Luck ~ :thumbup
Haha If I had the time and knowledge I would help. But I am not a mechanic, a year ago I didn't even know how to change a tire. I am learning as I go and I am very lucky to have a friend who is a mechanic and is assisting and teaching me. But with resources like this forum, youtube and other online sites you can pretty much troubleshoot almost anything nowadays!

Nice work!!! Your detailed write-ups are fantastic- I'll be referring back to these when working on my axles in the future! Looking forward to seeing more!
Thank you so much! Like I was saying, I am no expert but I am trying my best. I wouldn't been able to be where I am without the help of this forum and specially without Ziggy's help.
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