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1978 Bronco Ranger XLT, 12V P-Pump Cummins, ZF5, Dana 60 Front, Sterling 10.25 Rear
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Discussion Starter #1
Sooooo I did a thing over the weekend. For the past few months I’ve been eying Craigslist and such for a 78/79 Bronco to use while I finish up my project ‘86. Key things I was looking for:
A) Mechanically Sound(or at least running)
B) As rust free as possible
C) Most of its interior intact
D) Electrically Sound
E) Preferable Ranger XLT package

One thing I’ve learned on my ‘86 is even though I saved money on the initial purchase I’ve probably spent close to what I should’ve trying to track down interior or clean up what I have and I really wanted to avoid that here. Anyways with a budget of around $5000 I knew my options would be pretty scarce.

But finally I found this, listed for $6000 OBO near Riverside, about 5 hours away from me in Phoenix.







The ad said it ran fairly decent, had a 4” lift and 35x17 wheels. So I immediately messaged the owner and asked if I could come check it and he agreed. So I flew into LAX early Saturday and had a friend drive me out to check it out early Sunday morning. Took it for a test drive and it did pretty great, quick throttle response, 4x4 worked, no rust I could find, no dents, etc. It’s got a C6 and 400 Block. This being my first time actually being behind the driver’s seat of a Bronco you can guess I was sold immediately. So I talked to the guy and he’s selling it to help with a baby he has coming. He’d bought it about a year before for $5000 and put a new radiator, battery and air cleaner on as well as bought the rims and tires. We were able to settle at $5500 and I couldn’t be much happier! Drove it home pretty easily besides a fuel line that busted but I was able to fix without too much trouble.

The truck definitely has some issues though and I’d love some input. Couple of things I’m hoping to fix:

1) Steering

As with most of these trucks I assume the Steering leaves a lot to be desired. Driving it back I had to quickly learn that when getting over I’d need to just barely merge over and then turn the wheel back several inches further to get back straight. With the lift I’m sure it needs an alignment but I’m certain it’s more than that. Seems like the steering gear needs a rebuild since, from the engine compartment, I’m able to turn the steering shaft back and forth with minimal effort. Sound like I’m on the right track?

2) Oil Leaks

I know these engines are notorious for leaking so I was pretty lenient on the amount of oil covering the starter and the rear of the intake manifold. Also covering the valve covers and near the exhaust manifolds. I’d guess valve cover gaskets and rear main seal would be a good place to start?

3) Crazy Gauges

The left side of my gauge cluster(oil pressure and gas tank) seems to have a mind of its own. Even when I filled up it didn’t go past 3/4, but then every once in awhile would drift all the way over to the right, well past full. Also, I assumed with the way these engines are with oil pressure plus it’s age that it was accurate for the gauge to read at the very bottom. But intermittently it would move to the middle so I have no real idea what kind of oil pressure I’m generating. From what I’ve read this is probably a ground issue? I’ll be checking those.

4) Headlights

Hopefully related to the above(?) the headlights flicker pretty frequently when on.

5) Missing Emission Hose?

Near the top of my fix list is figuring out what’s supposed to go here.

I can’t imagine the breather is supposed to go there, but I’m pretty stumped as to what is. I assume I need to run some hose to something on my Carb that’s been capped off? Would love any input or even pictures of the correct setup.

6)Carb Rebuild

Fires right up and drive pretty solid but I’m sure it’s been awhile. Got a picture of the #s off the base of the Carb today and will be ordering a rebuild kit. I’ve heard these are fairly easy to rebuild which I’m hoping is true since I’ve only rebuilt one other Carb.

7) General Tune Up

I ordered new spark plugs, spark plug wires, and a cap and rotor to get things started. Would it be a good idea to get a new ignition coil as well? I’ll check the timing as well. Need to get it smogged and registered so 12 degrees is what I’ve heard?

8) Cosmetic

I was able to order replacements for these off eBay pretty quickly. Should have them by this weekend.


Not exactly sure why someone added a hole there...

9) Hood Latch Cable

Doesn’t have one. Hoping to source one here or eBay. Not may 70s trucks at my local junkyard...

10) Grille


Once the latch is fixed.

I’m sure there’s more but for now those are my big concerns. Not too certain what my long term plans will be with either truck once I get them both going but for now I’m happy to be able to see what this thing is capable of. Thanks in advance for any input!




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Even though I have a '96, I have to say that the '78-79s are my favorite Broncos. You've got a great looking one there! Love the racetrack side moldings & it would look great as a two-tone! Interior looks like it will clean up very well! Those rims are the only thing that I'd change; they just don't go well with the style of the truck & look too modern.

I had horrible wandering issues with my steering when I first got my truck. I ended up getting a Redhead steering box, which made a huge difference! Also, I went thru the front end & replaced the wheel bearings, tie rod ends, & steering stabilizer, which also helped quite a bit. I'm planning to do a Saginaw pump swap soon, but that's mainly to eliminate the noisy whine that these all seem to have. I have no idea how different a '78 would be, but you're probably looking at a similar rebuild.

For the oil leak, I'd first clean the engine compartment as much as possible with a power washer, and see if you can spot the fresh oil later. You're right, it's probably the valve cover gaskets or rear main. Those early engines shouldn't be too complicated to pull, so a rear main shouldn't be too painful. Heck, I'd be tempted to pull it anyway and freshen it all up, especially considering your crazy gauges. And yes, I'd look to clean up all the grounds.

Keep posting photos & updates! This is an awesome truck & I look forward to see what happens to it!
 

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Looks very nice, looks like you did good! A few issues, but hey, it's a 40 yo vehicle.
 

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Congrats on your purchase. It's good that it's driveable and you can fix things as you continue to enjoy it. I replaced the steering linkage on mine and it's not to bad now. Still the original steering box. I have an oil leak on my rear drivers side valve covers. Mechanic told me it had uneven spots and I needed to replace them with new. That's on my list to try.

Look forward to seeing and hearing more about your's. No such thing as to many pictures!! :popc1::popc1::popc1:
 

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Those wheels aren't my cuppa' joe but that's a nice looking ride. Can't wait to see what you do to it while under your care. Congrats on the score!
 

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1978 Bronco Ranger XLT, 12V P-Pump Cummins, ZF5, Dana 60 Front, Sterling 10.25 Rear
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421 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys!
@Ghosteh
Yeah I agree on the body style thing. They just look that much more aggressive. And I was thinking something similar paint-wise haven’t quite decided though. I’m just happy that I could leave it as is at the moment. Yeah the interior is messy and has its issues but I agree, once I get a good clean in there it’ll look great. Funny you mention that about the rims, I actually really dig them! I do agree they’re not exactly OEM looking though. I wish I could afford a Redhead I’ll tell ya that. Definitely on the wish list. And I actually have a lead on a Saginaw pump at a local Junkyard I’ll be checking out tomorrow. Mine squeals pretty bad. And that’s exactly my plan about the oil leak when I get a chance anyway.

And trust me I’m very tempted about freshening it up but it’s not in the budget at the money. And at that point that 460 would sure look nice under the hood....

I can dream anyway haha.
@SRWillis
My thoughts exactly! Appreciate it. And don’t think I’ve lost any love for the Bullnoses!
@79BroncoSpringTx

Thanks! And yeah that was definitely the goal this time around. I’ve had my 86 for almost a year and it’s still not quite there. Good to know about the linkage, they didn’t seem too terribly priced on Rockauto, but it maybe worth waiting on the Redhead for $100 or so more. And oh the actual covers were bent? Didn’t think about that. Definitely gonna check.


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Very nice. Very smart to buy one with the criteria you used - and you stuck to it! Yes, that hole in the glove box door is very odd. CB or disk changer? As for your steering issue, I would change out all the front end bushing as soon as you can - especially the track bar bushings. Mine acted like that and it soon got the death wobble. Believe me you want to avoid that! Also lube up the sliding window latch mechanism - they tend to break if you force them to unlatch and open. Hard to find if you need to replace.
 

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awesome deal you scored

not crazy on the 17's but truck looks awesome

I have the same hole in my glove box door and my rig came from south cali
it has a digital clock in it
wonder if it came from same dealer as mine as it was a solid colour and had the race track trim on it also
 

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1978 Bronco Ranger XLT, 12V P-Pump Cummins, ZF5, Dana 60 Front, Sterling 10.25 Rear
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421 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
@schwim
Thanks man, I hope you know we’re all pulling for you on yours!
@Festus

Thanks for the heads up. Wish it was closer, I’d definitely snag it. LMC has them similarly priced at least...
@Scoop

Thanks! Yeah I feel very lucky to have found an affordable one that checked all the boxes. Good idea on the bushings, throwing that on the to do list along with the sliding window latch. The passenger side is doing just that.
@trustyrusty

Interesting, that makes sense. It didn’t look like too bad of a hack job so I even thought it was supposed to be that way at first. I wonder too. I do know mine was manufactured for the Denver market according to the door panel sticker. Thanks for the insight!


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1978 Bronco Ranger XLT, 12V P-Pump Cummins, ZF5, Dana 60 Front, Sterling 10.25 Rear
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421 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
wow i like it! gotta have the sliding side windows!


Agreed! I wanted them when I was looking but thought I wouldn’t be that lucky.


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awesome deal you scored

not crazy on the 17's but truck looks awesome

I have the same hole in my glove box door and my rig came from south cali
it has a digital clock in it
wonder if it came from same dealer as mine as it was a solid colour and had the race track trim on it also
I have to admit on my original 79 bought new I cut a hole in the metal just above the 2 center AC vents and installed a digital clock.
 

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1978 Bronco Ranger XLT, 12V P-Pump Cummins, ZF5, Dana 60 Front, Sterling 10.25 Rear
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421 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
78 Ranger XLT called Jack

Did a couple Bronco related things over the weekend I thought I’d share.

First off I hit the junkyard and got a few parts I’d been wanting.


3G Alternator from a pristine looking Cobra.


Saginaw Pump from a 77 Mark IV. The engine was gone so I’m still missing half the required bracketry, but it’s a start.


Some Manual Pedals from a 79 F-150 in case I ever find the big block ZF-5.??

Got my first batch of tuneup parts in!


I also met up with some members of the AZ Bronco club who were gracious enough to let us hit Mt Ord with them for an awesome off-road maiden voyage! Didn’t get too many pictures myself but I stole some others posted.











And @Quader1 hooked me up with the 78 Truck Shop Manual on disc which should come in handy!


He also helped me out with a few of the issues I’d been hoping to resolve including the leaky engine. I think he’s dead right about my oil sender being the problem.


If you zoom in you can see it’s barely threaded in. The crappy part is they must’ve tried to thread it in underneath those vacuum ports because it’s screwed in cockeyed and is impossible to get out with a wrench. So I’m deciding if I want to just go in there with a Sawzall and then fit a socket on top or take off the whole intake manifold. I’d prefer to do the whole intake and get it done right but then I’m worried it might start leaking from the manifold gasket. Hoping to hit the snow up in Flagstaff this weekend so we’ll see.

Also @itwasFREE!!!! Pointed out what’s probably the cause of my steering woes. My C bushings turned into - bushings.


Absolutely nothing on the bottom half So that’s definitely on the top of the to-do list too. Any advice for what I should take care of while I’m doing that job? Figured I’d just get a kit like this. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/ford,1978,bronco,6.6l+400cid+v8,1105614,suspension,suspension+master+bushing+kit,16059

Also got a couple of packages from eBay!



“ONCO Ranger” no more!



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