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Discussion Starter #1
Completely serious questions- I am enlisting in the Air Force in a couple months for Pararescue and will have an increased budget for my fun toys. I have my heart set on a 1978 or 1979 Bronco for short sprints down rough country roads and cruising through town. I know, some of you may see it as a waste of a good Bronco, but I will be away from home for over a year straight, and then only home for a short time before deploying for at least another year, and I want something ridiculously cool and fun to sit in when I have the chance. All that being said, I would LOVE to hear the input from you bronco buffs on how to build my dream bronco! Please keep in mind that I still have a budget, just not as small as it is now- maybe $25,000 over 6 years. Here is what I NEED to have as a features:

Removable rear bench seat ( not necessarily factory seat)

Quick steering (very precise with a good bit of road feel)

Reasonable gas mileage (10 mpg or so)

Ability to take ROUGH country roads just as fast as my heart desires.

OK now here is what I WANT:

450 hp from a 351w stroker

Suspension setup similar to the Moss Brothers '78 Bronco- theirs was designed by West Coast Broncos and seems to be a good design

Ability to do mild climbing just to show off to the guys

Tubular frame. I know just thinking about it drains my wallet, but I have never seen a 78-79 bronco tubed out. How much would that even cost, and how much weight would I save?

LOUD sound system- does not have to sound like one big bass thump, but I like my music to cleanly hit 140 dB

I have a strong feeling that I will have to give up the tube frame in order to afford the motor and suspension- as long as it feels like a sweet and powerful ride and turns heads wherever I go, I will be happy. I want 37 inch tires and only enough lift to acommodate the suspension and tires. I am completely serious about building this and I am prepared to spend as much as I stated, but that is probably my max. I eagerly await any suggestions of how to make this come together!
 

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Tube Frame no, not on that budget. 351W no, Go with the 351m.....all else is doable. Good luck and show us pics when your done.
 

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MARBLE GARGLER!
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I would not go with the 351m..... I would go with a 460. And dont spend a dime now, Wait and save for the 6 years- then check back-
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I would not go with the 351m..... I would go with a 460. And dont spend a dime now, Wait and save for the 6 years- then check back-
Yeah I bet technology will be a bit better in six years- I will probably buy the starting truck whenever I see a good deal. Also, why a 460? I have considered it myself, but how much will gas mileage suffer? Will I still get good mid-range power? how much would I chop off my max RPM?
 

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MARBLE GARGLER!
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I would think any motor capable of 450 h.p. is going to get the 'resonable" 10 mpg you speak of. Ta hell with the technology in 6 years, you are gonna have to throw a ton of money at this thing and you might as well do it all at once, I recommend a 460 because it will be easier to make the 450 horsepower with and might be cheaper. You will still get good mid range power...{its a friggen 460} Gas mileage will suffer like a stuck pig..... no offense, how old are you ? Have you ever built a motor before ? You must BLEED cash ! Whats with the "quick steering" ? I just have shitty Bronco steering and it does great-
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I would think any motor capable of 450 h.p. is going to get the 'resonable" 10 mpg you speak of. Ta hell with the technology in 6 years, you are gonna have to throw a ton of money at this thing and you might as well do it all at once, I recommend a 460 because it will be easier to make the 450 horsepower with and might be cheaper. You will still get good mid range power...{its a friggen 460} Gas mileage will suffer like a stuck pig..... no offense, how old are you ? Have you ever built a motor before ? You must BLEED cash ! Whats with the "quick steering" ? I just have shitty Bronco steering and it does great-
Haha no offense taken- I understand that this post seems way out there. I have never built a motor before, only driven the frankenstein creations of my neighbor (guy used to build sprint car motors and offshore racing boat motors). I am 23 and about to more than double my current income and drop my $10,000 a year rent habit. Lol you add that up for six years and you get a Bronco. As far as motor size, I noticed that most of the class 3 trucks I have seen run smaller motors, and do it well. There must be a reason for that? I will never race in a real class 3 or 8 event, but I want this truck to have the same 'spirit' of a desert racer or mean prerunner. I don't plan on jumping into any mud puddles with it. And I still want to be able to hit the highway for maybe a two or three hour trip once a month. My shitty bronco steering has already had my rear end puckered up more than necessary, so I have been considering a system by Howe steering with maybe 2.5 turns from full left to full right. It is now over 4 turns and has a lot of play in it. Lol you try holding the wheel straight over a fast washboard section and have the truck dive toward the rock face on your left without the wheel ever giving any feedback, and one tiny correction later you are sliding and facing the other side of the road- 20 feet drop to the river if you lose a wheel over the edge. Never again. I am scared to take my '92 off the pavement now because it handles that terribly. My honda civic takes the big bumps much easier than the bronco, even at a good speed. Need '78 dream machine!
 

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MARBLE GARGLER!
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If I were building myself a motor {which ive been considering latley} I would build a 351w- 408 stroker because it will act like a 460 without the added weight, I would stick with cast iron heads because I just trust them more, And take them to a good race shop and have them ported properly- They way you are going to treat {brutalize} your Bronco you might look into 3/4 ton running gear.... you have to-
 

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You can have almost everything you listed, except for the steering part. No amount of money is going to give you tight steering on a Bronco, especially with 37" tires. It's a big clumsy truck, I have one so I know. They're super fun, but not 90mph through the twisties kind of fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You can have almost everything you listed, except for the steering part. No amount of money is going to give you tight steering on a Bronco, especially with 37" tires. It's a big clumsy truck, I have one so I know. They're super fun, but not 90mph through the twisties kind of fun.
Lol I will find a way no matter what to get good steering. If it is slack because of the tires, then I will just accept it as a consequenco of large tires, but there will be no mechanical slop in my truck! 'Nuff said.
 

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Most of these trucks came with the 351m or 400 and I agree with 351w500 on building a motor I just would not change to a windsor. Why? because then you are dealing with the drive train. Find the cleanest 78-79 you can - no rust - frame off, body work, powdercoat and paint - that's a chunk of change right there. Build the motor, 351m or 400, to a 408 which will get you 300+hp and 400+lb ft. If you really want more hp go with the 460. New wiring harness. Go through the tranny and transfer case, drive shafts, axles, ETC. If you want to go on road trips then 33's or 35's will be better and you said you will not be doing much wheeling. As for music I'd stay with the original AM radio that came with it if it's still there.
 

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:twakSounds like my average wet dream. Hope you get to build the bronco you want but I think I might be a little more realistic. Are you going do all the work yourself? If you do buy $25k in parts its goin to cost another $25k to have someone do all the install and fab work. 450hp = $5k on the low side of the scale. I wish you the best as a fellow Bronco lover.
 

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If I were building myself a motor {which ive been considering latley} I would build a 351w- 408 stroker because it will act like a 460 without the added weight, I would stick with cast iron heads because I just trust them more, And take them to a good race shop and have them ported properly- They way you are going to treat {brutalize} your Bronco you might look into 3/4 ton running gear.... you have to-
a 408 stroker? what a waste. a stock 400 will be more than plenty unless one is planning on racing the thing in mud bogs and shit. besides the M block heads will out flow the pos weezer ones.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Most of these trucks came with the 351m or 400 and I agree with 351w500 on building a motor I just would not change to a windsor. Why? because then you are dealing with the drive train. Find the cleanest 78-79 you can - no rust - frame off, body work, powdercoat and paint - that's a chunk of change right there. Build the motor, 351m or 400, to a 408 which will get you 300+hp and 400+lb ft. If you really want more hp go with the 460. New wiring harness. Go through the tranny and transfer case, drive shafts, axles, ETC. If you want to go on road trips then 33's or 35's will be better and you said you will not be doing much wheeling. As for music I'd stay with the original AM radio that came with it if it's still there.
Traditionalist. Why is it not ok to install a 351w stroker, but a 460 is fine? I do plan on replacing the entire driveline to handle the power, and maybe 4.56 gears to ease the pain. There are no AM stations with speed metal or classic rock. Since I will only see this thing a few times a year, I will chuck out the money for a nice sound system to soothe my soul. I do see your point with the tires- maybe some wide 35's will satisfy me instead. Frame off and rust proofing + either powder coat or LineX is a given. The rest is icing on my well-endowed long+travel cake.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
a 408 stroker? what a waste. a stock 400 will be more than plenty unless one is planning on racing the thing in mud bogs and shit. besides the M block heads will out flow the pos weezer ones.
What about ported heads to match the demands of a 351w stroker? I know more power comes easier for larger displacement motors, but when does it get so big that I narrow my powerband to only a few hundred RPM instead of 1500, and how big does it have to get to kill more gas than a more heavily modofied smaller engine of similar power? This truck will realistically only see 15% offroad time, and maybe 1000 miles per year of driving, total. But when I drive, I drive hard and fast. Who else can make a stock jetta beat a supercharged camaro in a drag race? Say peace out bro in a family sedan at 160mph. Can't wait to have my own truck with triple the power and four times the torque with only a thousand more pounds to pull around. I want it to be driveable around town, but when I want to, I need this thing to be exactly enough for me to handle well- too much and I won't drive it confidently, too little and I will get bored and not drive it. Gotta find the right balance, or close to it, before I dump years of money into it that I could have turned into guns instead.
 

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MARBLE GARGLER!
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Jopes, I am a big fan of the 351c and 400. The 400 is easy to make good power with, but every time I try to sell someone on the greatness of the 400 they don't want to hear it... so I dont even try anymore-
 

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MARBLE GARGLER!
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TDFbound, if you go with a 400, race prepped rods, ballanced rotating assy, bla bla bla. look into CHI 351c 2v heads, they kick ass-i gots me a pair of them.
 

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I would start with buying as nice of a 78/9 Bronco as you can afford, drive it, and decide form there what you want to do to it.
Here's a good one to start with: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1979-Ford-Bronco-4x4-/270574095600?cmd=ViewItem&pt=US_Cars_Trucks&hash=item3eff790cf0
It's an XLT with cruise, tilt, A/C, bucket seats, he claims the metal is solid, and doesn't appear to have been f'd with like most. A good base to start with that you could drive as is.
As far as 450hp and all that, go with a 460. It's stupid cheap and simple to get lots of reliable 450HP out of that engine. A pair of D0VE-C heads and a mild cam will do the job on an otherwise stock short block and it will go like a bat out of hell all day long for years.
 

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MARBLE GARGLER!
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If he is willing to spend ton's of money he should get the CRAPPIEST Bronco he could find, He is going to go through everything anyways.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Jopes, I am a big fan of the 351c and 400. The 400 is easy to make good power with, but every time I try to sell someone on the greatness of the 400 they don't want to hear it... so I dont even try anymore-
Hey man, I am posting in the nooby forum for a reason- I'm a noob at this stuff. If you think a 400m is a good engine to start with to get about 450 hp out of, I am open to suggestions and willing to listen. How would the throttle response and rpm range compare to a stroked 351 with same power rating? I assume the 400 will have more low end torque and a smaller powerband, but that just seems like common sense basic stuff- anything more specific to add? Look forward to learning more about the possibilities!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I would start with buying as nice of a 78/9 Bronco as you can afford, drive it, and decide form there what you want to do to it.
Here's a good one to start with: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1979-Ford-Bronco-4x4-/270574095600?cmd=ViewItem&pt=US_Cars_Trucks&hash=item3eff790cf0
It's an XLT with cruise, tilt, A/C, bucket seats, he claims the metal is solid, and doesn't appear to have been f'd with like most. A good base to start with that you could drive as is.
As far as 450hp and all that, go with a 460. It's stupid cheap and simple to get lots of reliable 450HP out of that engine. A pair of D0VE-C heads and a mild cam will do the job on an otherwise stock short block and it will go like a bat out of hell all day long for years.
I saw that truck a couple weeks ago on e-bay. I am kind of surprised that nobody has bought it yet. What kind of mid-range acceleration do you get out of a 460 like you described? Enough to pass a semi truck quickly when starting at 55? Good throaty sound? I want to feel it in my chest just as much as I hear it. How much would it cost to build something like that? Doesn't sound too outrageous. Look forward to hearing back!
 
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