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Premium Member
504 Posts
Discussion Starter #181 (Edited)
Steering pump swap
For the most part, the swap was easy. There was a snag though, causing me to stretch the project over 2 days. I reviewed the draining/bleeding sections in both my 1973-79 and 1980-96 Haynes manuals, as well the tips from Redhead's site, though I have yet to pick up one of their gears. Parked out behind my work place, ready to get started:

Propped up the front end on my new lightweight 3 ton axle stands, so that I can steer back and forth:

The old '78 steering pump, ready to face its fate:

Draining the system was a lot cleaner than I expected (thanks Haynes). Basically just moved my return line into a bottle and turned the wheel back and forth to empty out the line and gear.

Here is the mess that the old system left in my engine bay. It been running all over my front axle, track bar, drag link, and leaving drips everywhere I park. I'm pretty sure in hindsight that I used the wrong type of hose for my return line, because it was spongy and saturated with oil... no good at all.

Old vs new bracket and pump. They sure look similar, right down to same spacing between the axes of the pump and tensioner (I measured, didn't record it though).

Pressure line assembled and read to go in. I used approximately 2 feet of Powerflex hose. For my return line this time I ordered a new stock '78 low pressure hose.

The new setup bolted in, filled with Type F from Castrol. I turned the steering wheel back and forth about 30 times each way, lock to lock, topping up fluid as necessary. Not interested in air bubbles so I went the route of overkill, and moved on to other details during the 2 hour minimum wait time that comes next. Got all the bolts for the bracket installed, and put the pulley back onto the pump:

Premium Member
504 Posts
Discussion Starter #182
Steering pump swap (cont'd)
However, I wrongly assumed that I would be able to use my existing serpentine belt, based solely on the fact that the brackets look so darn similar. I was already pushing the limits of my '94 F-150 belt from the slightly larger pulley on my 3G alternator, and it turns out the E-Series bracket holds the Saginaw pump just a little bit further away than where my Ford pump was placed. I realized this right about the time that the parts stores were locking up for the night, and my Bronco was not in a position to be driven. Rather than accept defeat and wait until morning to resolve the problem at the part counter, I opted to try making my own smaller pulley from some scrap plastic:
78 Bronco, Saginaw steering pump swap (108).jpg

The custom pulley did not solve the problem, so I attempted to modify the tensioner to key into the bracket at a slightly different angle. I had two chances:
  • The original '94 tensioner, which uses a 1/4-20 fastener on its rear face as a key. I drilled and tapped a new hole, but when I went to install the smaller custom pulley, the thread for the idler pulley bolt had stripped. I did not have an appropriate sized tap to re-thread it.
  • The '90 van tensioner, which had a cast-in boss as a key feature. I milled this boss off, and drilled and tapped a hole in the desired spot.
Installation revealed the real source of the problem: the belt line was passing through the center of the tensioner mount, so no smaller pulley or clocking adjustment would fix this. I must have smacked my head somewhere pretty good not to notice this... oh yeah, on the corner of my glove box while it was open. The only solution would be a longer belt. And now that I've ruined two good tensioners, a new one of those too.

Got my girlfriend to pick me up at that point. Next morning I booked a carshare and picked up a belt for a '90 E-150. Comparing to my spare Motorcraft belt (had a Gates or similar installed before, but threw it once, hence the spare), to the new AC Delco one:

Decoding the Motorcraft belt number with help of a graphic from RockAuto:

  • J = belt line
  • K = rib belt
  • 6 = 6 ribs
  • 976 = 97-6/8" circumference
  • C = cog-type design
Applying the same logic to the AC Delco belt:
  • 6 = 6 ribs
  • K = rib belt
  • 990 = 99-0/8" circumference
Tensioners, with the two ruined ones on the left and the new one on the far right:


Still no new drips on the ground at this point... With everything hooked up again, I turned the steering wheel back and forth another 15 times, then topped up fluid, started the engine, and topped up fluid again. Got the Bronco back on the ground and out for a test drive...

The new pump runs great! It can still be heard, but its much quieter than the old one, and I feel a lot better about this one not leaking all over the place. The door is open now for things like hydroboost... once I get the budget together, and after I make the switch to a newer master and RABS.

Premium Member
504 Posts
Discussion Starter #183
After lass than 30km, that AC Delco belt tore itself apart. It was the Friday following my steering swap, after work and on my way to pick up my girlfriend and head back to the island for the weekend. About 5 minutes down the road from my work, my voltage dropped and steering got heavy. I armstrong'd the Bronco into a parking lot, opened up the hood, and sure enough, the belt was wrapped around the fan, with a split down the middle, about 1/3 the belt's length.

I carefully extracted the belt and reinstalled it... yes, I reinstalled an obviously damaged belt. We were trying to catch a particular sailing, and the alternatives would have been to get a cab to the nearest parts store and back again during rush hour, or kindly ask BCAA to bring me a belt. Keeping my revs under 2000 rpm, I made my way to a parts store that was along my original path, got a new belt and installed it in their lot, and continued on my way to pick up my lady. I returned the ruined belt to the parts store the next week, and got my money back. The replacement belt has been working, but squeaking for a few seconds every time on start up. Belt dressing did not help.

A couple weeks later, we went to down to the States to pick up a couple packages, hit Trader Joe's, and fill up on cheap gas. The packages included an ABS headliner and a new Motorcraft serpentine belt ($8 closeout on RockAuto!). It was raining pretty heavily, and we were north of the border, almost home again, when the steering started to cut out. I had full power assist as long as revs stayed around 2500+ rpm. Anything under 1500 rpm was non-assist. I muscled the Bronco home, taking the straightest path I could. To get into the parkade, I had to clutch-in to keep going slow, and rev the engine up to get enough power steering to get around the corners. After parking and letting it sit for a while, power steering returned to normal. I put the front end on stands and cycled the steering, checked for leaks... no problems. It seems as though the Delco belt was slipping in the excessively wet conditions

I swapped out the Delco belt for the Motorcraft one I had just acquired... its a bit dusty and dull looking, but definitely new and still pliable. Comparing the two belts:
  • Per the part number, the Motorcraft belt is 99.5" long, vs the Delco at 99.0"
  • Holding the belts together, the Delco one appears to be about 0.5" longer than the Motorcraft... The Delco may have stretched significantly over only a couple weeks
  • The ribs on the Motorocraft belt appear to be slightly deeper... Rib pitch is the same, but tip width is narrower on the Motorcraft one
  • The Motorcraft belt is marginally thicker than the Delco belt, so hopefully less prone to stretching

While I was under the hood, I swapped out my started solenoid for a new Motorcraft unit. The one I pulled out was also a Ford part, but the studs are not in great shape... cross-threaded and a bit corroded, and the thing has a distinct rattle to it. Not sure if the rattling is really a problem, so I will likely open it up and have a look. Between this, and a new clutch position sensor, my intermittent no-start issue has disappeared (would always start, just sometimes had to try twice).

Premium Member
1979 Bronco Ranger XLT, 400m engine, C6 trans, D44 front with Dick Cepek manual locking hubs
499 Posts
You are such a professional !!! Really great work and crazy deep dive into things to get it working - or transformed the way you want it to be.
good progress and perfect results which you do present to us!

I will need this thread often I feel, as soon as my 79 arrives from US here in Germany, it will help.
I am really curiously reading through these build threads to create a better understanding of this old Ford tech.

Premium Member
504 Posts
Discussion Starter #186
Time for some catch-up...

Bumper lights
I finally wired up my old Hella 500's on my front bumper, and that provided a very welcome increase in visibility! My regular sealed beam headlights are pretty sad, especially compared to the blindingly bright headlights that new cars all seem to have. With these suckers on, I can actually see the lines on the road at night. I thinks its a bit of a vicious circle... manufacturers increase brightness of headlights to provide better visibility for drivers, then they need to increase brightness of dash/interior displays to be readable against oncoming headlights. All the while, people's night vision gets progressively worse from the light pollution, and the cycle repeats... I had previously reserved these lights for extreme conditions and off-highway use, but it seems that they just keep up with average modern headlights now, so I will use them as such.


High beams:


Tire carrier repair
The open-lock on my swing-out tire carrier had broken off, due to rushing that weld. I cleaned up the threading housing, and re-welded it to a piece of steel square tubing to be bolted back on. This layout required the lock pin to be slightly longer, which is amplifies the stress in the components, but seemed like the best way to get it functional again. I disassembled the spring-loaded pin, measured and machined a replacement from 303 stainless steel on the lathe, and reassembled the whole deal. I made an extra pin, and added a nylon screw to the tip of the pin to prevent scratching the locking plate on the bumper. Due to the way I finished the threads on my custom pin, I had to make them slightly longer than the original.

Step one: Clearance the threaded section of the pin. The tailstock on the lathe I was using is misaligned, so I relied on the stiffness of the full stock diameter to maintain my desired dimensions

Step 2: Turn the threads

Step 3: Turn the remaining length of the shaft, and the shoulder

Step 4: Flip it around, and turn the tip of the pin
Step 5: Drill, tap, and slightly pocket the tip of the pin for the nylon screw

Finished parts vs the original pin:

78 Bronco, ongoing improvements (26).jpg

Premium Member
504 Posts
Discussion Starter #187
I've also made some serious progress on the interior...

Cargo area panels
No one in my family seemed to take me seriously when I said that I would be doing any amount of sewing. In fact, that's the one class I failed in middle school, simply because I did not take it seriously. Eventually, my grandparents on my mom's side happened across a sewing machine that they needed to get rid of, so I took that off their hands. Side note: my Nana used to drive a '78/79 Bronco back in the day, with the freewheeling package (black with the orange/yellow pinstriping). That sewing machine needed a bit of work (belt and wiring to the motor...), and being in a cabinet was going to be a bit of a hassle in our tiny condo. My grandmother on my dad's side heard about all this and offered up a much more portable sewing machine, which I took home with me, leaving the cabinet machine at my parents' place.

This video on Youtube was my inspiration for trying to mimic the factory look:

I bought some nice dark brown vinyl, and picked up some foam-like fibrous material called "Fibre Form" for half price, and cheap fabric for backing. Unfortunately the filler was about an inch thick - twice as thick as I think I needed, but I'm making it work. Trying my hand with a few scraps, I put together a test piece, and used it to work out my material allowances, followed by mapping out the project on the back of the vinyl.


I pushed the sewing machine to its capacity, and broke several sewing machine needs. Upgrading to needles for leather, I broke a few of those too... A machine with more space under the arm really would be more ideal for this project. It worked best for me to start in the middle of the panel and work out to each side, with the foam rolled up as tightly as possible.

But the overall result was moving in the right direction:

Preview of what the top and bottom edge will look like:

To provide nice mounting locations for my rear speakers, I made some rings from scrap PVC. These will clamp the upholstery down to the plywood, so that the speaker and bezel would not have to compress the foam, leaving visible pinch lines on the vinyl and probably eventually cracking the bezels. CNC machining is much more my speed than sewing... I made them 95% on the mill, then finished them manually on the lathe, adding a chamfer to the side that would clamp down the upholstery. The chamfer effectively hides the pinched edge of the vinyl. Initially I thought I would paint the rings, but I actually kind of like the white... it matches the white top in the back, so it won't be out of place to use them as-is.

Premium Member
504 Posts
Discussion Starter #188
Cargo area panels (cont'd)

To hang the panels, I found these fasteners from Button-fix. I will mount the black housing in the plywood panel, triangle pointing down, and the green buttons on the bedside mounting rails using countersunk screws. A pair of simple plastic CNC milled jigs served to properly guide the hand router and locate the slot relative to the required pair of mounting holes.

My first attempt to locate the correct mounting points involved reaching through speaker holes with an over-sharpened pencil, and trying to trace the holes on the back side of the panel. This was foolish, and resulted in the entire panel being shifted to far forward by about a 1/2". So I bought some fresh plywood and tried again. At the store, I had them cut the sheet to 64" long, and then two 20" wide pieces from that, so that it would fit in my Bronco more easily, and I wouldn't have to run it through the small table saw at work by myself. To quckly get back to where I was, I screwed the old panel to the new panel and used it as a router guide.

Having learned my lesson, I sharpened a few machine screws, and installed them in the bedside frame, pointing in towards the cargo space. I placed the panel and smacked each rough location with a dead blow hammer to make indents on the backside of the panel. Next, I removed the bedside frame and took it back inside with me so I could mark out the remaining locations and fit-check along the way. Using the jigs again, I made slots for each factory mounting location, expecting to only use 4-6 of them, plus a couple of new points near the top of the panel. Press-in tee nuts help keep the fasteners anchored, and are also used for the speaker mounting ring.

Premium Member
504 Posts
Discussion Starter #189
Cargo area panels (cont'd)

Each Button-fix has an integrated detent, and overcoming all of these simultaneously during installation would not be trivial. I used a utility knife to remove the detents on the 3 middle fasteners.

On the button side:
  • M5 countersunk machine screw
  • M5 fender washer
  • M8 fender washer
  • M5 Belleville washer (to center the M8 washer)
  • M5 nut
  • (bedside rail)
  • M5 regular washer
  • M5 nut
This arrangement does a good job of keeping the screw perpendicular to the rail, centered in the hole, and the button spaced away far enough to allow the housing to slide over easily.
78 Bronco, interior (39).jpg

Back into the Bronco for a test fit, and to double check the feasibly of my upper mounting locations before cutting them in with the router.

Yesterday I wrapped the driver side upholstery onto its panel, using lots of 1/4" staples in my old Swingline #800 heavy duty tacker, and a bead of wood glue.

The finished panel:

And installed! The passenger side is about 50% done sewing, and will be soon to follow.

Premium Member
1979 Bronco Ranger XLT, 400m engine, C6 trans, D44 front with Dick Cepek manual locking hubs
499 Posts
congrats - now you "crowne" yourself.
This is really great work and the youtube videos are fun as well. GO GO GO --- but there is not too much left.

I need to get my car to Charleston, as the forwarder will put it in a container right there.

Premium Member
504 Posts
Discussion Starter #194 (Edited)
Around mid-November, I pulled the trigger on an ABS headliner for the front of my Bronco... mentioned in post #183. I had bought enough vinyl to cover this as well, so that it would match the rear panels. The ABS has a smooth side, and a textured side. The smooth side is better suited to thin adhesives, like a trusty can of 3M Super77, while the textured side would lend itself better to paint. Before applying my spray adhesive, I removed any excessive burrs using a utility knife, and thoroughly wiped the sheet down on both sides with 99% isopropanol.

To ensure adequate coverage of my vinyl, I placed the headline down, smooth side up, and rolled out the vinyl on top, with ample overhang on all edges. I then rolled the vinyl back across the headliner to the halfway point, and started applying glue. I would spray a 2"-3" strip of plastic, then roll the vinyl over it, and applying pressure, starting in the center and working towards the edges to avoid trapping any air. I continued this method all the way to the end, then repeated for the other side.

After giving the glues about an hour to cure, I went back and peeled up any loose edges I could find. A piece of cardboard was used to shield the good side of the vinyl while I applied more adhesive to touch up these spots.

Finally, I trimmed the excess vinyl down to about 1/2" overhang, and then wrapped that around the edges using crazy glue (and patience) to secure it. The chrome trim then got some attention. A very light exposure to a soft wire wheel did a fine job of shining them up. There were a few spots staring to flake where I had to be extra cautious.

And installed! I had to make a hole, about 1/2" for my alarm receiver. Perhaps one day I will find or make an overhead console that I like, and hide the receiver and the hole. I placed the hole away from the edge with that in mind.

Premium Member
504 Posts
Discussion Starter #195
We're never really DONE with these things are we?
I've got a wish list still, and it seems to grow every other week. Once I get it out in the dirt more, that list will probably grow even faster. Also my engine and trans, although running very well, were never rebuilt. And this motor has somewhere over 300000 km on it... I know these this can run a lot longer, but its old enough to have earned some new rings and such. More likely I would build up an identical motor/trans, and swap them in for minimal down time. But certainly not while living in a tiny condo!

Premium Member
504 Posts
Discussion Starter #198
Interesting idea, clear coating the trim... I would be a lot more concerned if they were exterior pieces, because the chrome is quite thin.
3 of the 4 pieces came out really nice, and the 4th one is alright if you don't look too close. Perhaps I'll try clearing that one, and if it doesn't turn out, then seek out a replacement. Thanks for the tip @curtwow!

Further work up there will probably wait until I make a decision on an overhead console. Its a bit of a juggling act to get the headliner in and out... not hard, but a little tedious, because a few of the mounting holes in the body were stripped by a PO overtightening the screws. If it had been on my mind, I might have TIG'd in the holes just a little bit prior to paint. I can only upsize the screws so far without making them look out of place.

Premium Member
504 Posts
Discussion Starter #199 (Edited)
Hope everyone has been enjoying the holidays; I sure have.

Cargo area panels
I've finished the sewing for the passenger! Its just a matter now of recessing the fasteners in the plywood panel, wrapping the upholstery, and installing it. I am still contemplating a storage pocket in the back corner... there are a few old Explorers around that I could salvage from, but I would have to cut the hole in the plywood prior to wrapping the upholstery on.

Rear driveshaft
I finally got around to finding a rear shaft that will work for me. Its a double-cardan shaft from the front of a 2005 F250 4x4, and bolts up the flange output I picked up for the rear of my BW1345. It has about 2.5 inches of slip travel, and will need to be shortened from 39 inches down to 30-1/16 inches. All joints are 1350 series, so I will need a 1310-to-1350 conversion joint for my 9 inch rear end. One day I will swap to a 1350 yoke, when I upgrade my rear diff. All the part numbers I can read on the shaft are genuine Spicer.
78 Bronco, ongoing improvements (32).jpg
78 Bronco, ongoing improvements (33).jpg
78 Bronco, ongoing improvements (36).jpg

More parts
In other news, I came across a '78 that someone is parting out. Dude only really cares about keeping the motor, trans, t-case, fenders, and wheels. I was pretty quick to pull the slider rear windows, tailgate lock and switch, some woodgrain dash trim, and seat belt bolt covers. I'll be going back for the rear leaf springs, which appear to be stock sitting on blocks, and much less tired than mine. I may also grab the rear axle.

There's a ton of good exterior trim on this thing, including the front bumper and grille shell that I just don't have space for.

Premium Member
504 Posts
Discussion Starter #200
About due for an update I suppose...

The plunder
From that green Bronco, I scored the following for $200 CAD:
  • Rear sliding windows
  • Front seat belt bolt covers (will need to be painted)
  • Dash trim and vents (glovebox and surround are particularly nice)
  • Paper glovebox (as a template to make a sheet metal one from, while keeping my current one in service)
  • Door locks and locking hood release
  • Tailgate switch and lock cylinder
  • Non-intermittent wiper switch

A week later, the guy had the body off the frame, and had pulled the rear suspension apart. For another $200 CAD, I scored:
  • Stock-height rear leaf springs with healthy arc, plus shackles
  • Complete Ford 9" axle with 4.56 gears and what appears to be a Truetrac diff
  • Door, quarter, and tailgate trim, F O R D letters and cowl emblems
  • Low-back seats (in need of some TLC), with mounting brackets and hardware
  • Factory CB radio (transmitter, antenna splitter, and wiring), but missing the hand control
  • Driver side door window (pulled out easily through the bottom of the rusty door shell)
  • A throttle pedal with an aluminum pivot plate (everything I've seen until now has been plastic pivot)

Pretty good haul if I do say so myself.

Not-so-intermittent wipers
My intermittent wipers have been acting up: wipers will randomly stop working and start again later when intermittent or low speed is selected High sped is affected too, but would break down less often, and sometime stop partway through a cycle. I've installed the fixed-speed switch from my parts haul to tie me over for a while. Then, I made myself a tool for the wiper switch nut, so that I can swap between sever intermittent wiper switches that I have more easily, and determine whether the switch or relay box is the problem.

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