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Premium Member
416 Posts
Discussion Starter #201
Cargo area panels (cont'd)
While all those parts were piled up in my Bronco, I managed to finish the passenger side rear panel, and get that installed. The following weekend, I dropped it all off at my parents' place, and cleaned out the back. Here's the result:
78 Bronco, interior (56).jpg

I really wanted to put a pocket in the back corner, and even went so far as to pull this pocket from an Explorer at the wrecking yard. Problem is, the pocket is too deep for the Bronco bedside, and I couldn't devise a quick but clean method to make the pocket shallower. A trim ring similar to my speakers will be necessary, as will be painting the pocket parts to match the dark brown theme. An MDF mold and primitive thermoforming approach to make a shallower matching bucket would be ideal. Its still on my mind, but I have other priorities for now. I also picked up some grab handles from the same vehicle, since my girlfriend recently closed her thumb in the door while getting in...

The new 9 inch
When I unloaded the 9 inch, I couldn't help cracking it open to see what was going on. I had been told that it contained an open diff with welded gears, and boy was I pleasantly surprised to find a Truetrac, seemingly well mounted with 4.56 gears. Non of the visible stampings on the carrier helped to ID it, but the distinct appearance of the carrier and the small windows revealing the ends of the helical side gears gives it away. The current Truetrac is a variant of the Torsen Type 2 automatic torque biasing (ATB) differential. Its definitely not welded, though it I could not get it to differentiate by myself. My dad and I did manage to turn the brake drums in opposite directions by hand, but there is a lot more preload than I expected.
78 Bronco, axles (2).jpg
78 Bronco, axles (8).jpg
78 Bronco, axles (9).jpg

One thing that does puzzle me, is these washers that are visible looking in the end of the diff... Washers are necessary in Torsen Type 1 diffs (I've serviced a few of those), as they transfer thrust load into the carrier, but those are contained by features on the carrier and gears themselves. These washers seem to have some radial play to them

Premium Member
416 Posts
Discussion Starter #202
In other news, I've been picking away at removal of the old bushings from the "new" shackles and springs, and cleaning them. I have paint for the shackles, and all-new Energy bushings ready to install.

Engine tune-up
Also treated my motor to a well-deserved Motorcraft O2 sensor. I've been getting worse mileage than I should be; individual sensor tests all check out good, but I have a lingering EGR code. New Motorcraft spark plugs and wire are on standby, because one of my NGK plug wires pulled apart when I checked my plugs a couple weeks ago. I crimped it back together for the short term with pliers... not great, I know. Also ordered the joints I need for my new rear driveshaft.

Old vs new... the crimped-on portion at the wire end of the old sensor is actually bend... not sure how that happened, but I don't think it helps.

Next up on the list will be checking/replacing fuel injectors, and possibly swapping in a stronger ignition coil.

Premium Member
416 Posts
Discussion Starter #206
@curtwow glad to provide some incentive, and looking forward to seeing your progress when you get back to it!
@youngDUMP thanks! I think I'll want to run a newer CB myself than the factory unit, but its definitely cool and too good to let it get crushed; just need to find a hand control for it. I went back to see about the "welded" front D44 diff for possibly another Truetrac and matching gears, but the guy had already gotten rid of that axle

Premium Member
416 Posts
Discussion Starter #207
After work on Friday I popped all the old joints out of my '05 F250 driveshaft. Everything appears to be in good order except that I need a new dust boot for the CV ball, since mine is torn… allegedly Spicer 2-86-418. Time to start cleaning and painting the parts, and then in go the Precision/MOOG Super Strength joints, and off the be shortened and balanced to fit the Bronco. In pressing out the old joints, I like to focus on one cap at a time, and streamline the load path to avoid bending the yokes. Shown below is just getting the cap to start moving; I swapped out the aluminum block for an appropriately sized steel sleeve to allow the cap to exit the yoke.

Getting ready to put new Energy bushings into my salvaged springs and shackles, I discovered that the kit contained too many 9/16" sleeves (5 instead of 4) and too few 5/8" sleeves (only 1 instead of 2). I've sent them an email, so hopefully they make it right. Worst case, I may be able to use the steel sleeve from the old rubber bushing on one side.

Today I ran wires from my radio, between my firewall and heater, under the carpet to the back seat, and split to each side panel. Then I hooked up the 6.5" JL Audio speakers and tested them out. For a relatively primitive non-boosted audio system, it sure does sound good. My 4" speakers in the doors hold their own pretty well, but their big brothers in the back really fill the cab well. I also picked up some products to treat the inner panels to prevent rust (inside doors, pillars, tailgate, etc).

Premium Member
416 Posts
Discussion Starter #208
Just a few words today... pictures later this week.
  • Speakers sound great!
  • Driveshaft is cleaned and painted; ready for reassembly but waiting on the Spicer CV boot
  • Spring shackles are cleaned and painted; ready to start installing bushings
  • RockAuto is pressing on Energy Suspension to send me the missing piece for my rear bushing kit (y)
  • Leaf spring packs are dis-assembled; cleaning is under way, and new U-bolts, center pins, and isolator pads are on order
  • Found out my EVAP purge solenoid is shot; replacement on order
  • Fuel pressure investigation leads me to believe that leaky injectors are hurting my mileage... ordered a set of 15 lb/hr units from Accel
  • Engine oil is dripping out my pushrod cover, so I have a new cork gasket on order

Premium Member
416 Posts
Discussion Starter #209 (Edited)
Following RockAuto's prompt, Energy Suspension sent me the missing part from my bushing kit, so all is good on that front (y)

With my covers off the Hella 500s, one of them sustained damage, likely a rock off a tire causing a crack, which has migrated about halfway across the lens now. Unfortunately it looks like thats the only part of those lights that can't be found separately from buying the whole light. To prevent further damage, I ordered a set of grilles:

Tearing down the F250 driveshaft, I started by marking the joint alignments with a paint marker, then took pictures of the marks relative to any part numbers and such that I could find. This will allow me to re-mark and orient the parts correctly after cleaning and painting them. Next, I sandblasted what I could fit in the cabinet, and cleaned up the rest with sandpaper and scotch brite. Sandblasted parts were treated with Metal Prep while the hand sanded parts received the Rust Check rust converter. After rinsing and drying, POR-15 was painted on as thin as possible. The rear leaf spring shackles got the same treatment, but a second coat of paint as well, applied with a slightly heavier hand.


After painting, the t-case output and CV flange were mounted carefully on the lathe. At 100rpm, I thinned out the paint on the mating surfaces with sandpaper, ensuring that the parts will mate together snugly, without requiring aggressive action to separate them again. While I had the paint out, my new MOOG U-joints got a fresh coat, using the fingers of disposable gloves to keep the bearing caps clean.

The new Spicer CV boot showed up, a little sooner than expected per the shipping info. Fine by me!
$10.56 CAD got me a box of 5 pieces. I found a piece of thin-wall PVC pipe that fit almost perfectly around the seal, to press directly on the metal ring. With a little grease, and persuasion of a dead blow hammer, the boot was driven in place without any hassle. Except that I smacked my thumb once.

Next up, the CV flange got some grease, and the centering ball was put into place. A 1" socket and the dead blow made quick work of it. I was fairly light with the hammer and careful not to let the insert go in crooked. A few heavy swings at the end ensure it was fully seated.


Leaf springs
Getting the old bushings out of the leaf springs was no easy task... The press got me part way, but eventually I had to resort to sweating it out with a hammer and blocks on the floor. A couple of the eyes were more forgiving when I used a chisel to open them up slightly. BE WARNED if you use a chisel this way: check that your safety glasses are in place, put on some welding gloves, perhaps a cup too if you are working in a compromising position. Tool steel is very hard, and you don't want shards messing you up. The tip of my chisel broke off and a few small pieces went flying when I was trying to remove it.

To completely disassemble the spring pack, I clamped the leaves using 3 C-clamps, and removed the old center bolt, then released the clamps slowly. The center bolt broke in both cases, and the section that was in the leaves was bent, as though the leaves had shifted. I don't think it was tightened enough off the get-go.

Using a random orbital sander, I cleaned up all the leaves from one spring pack. Some flaking metal had to be knocked off with a hammer, and then re-sanded. The leaves were then wiped with acetone to remove all dust, and treated with rust converter, dried, rinsed, and dried again. Comparing the rusty vs cleaned/converted overload leaves:

Premium Member
416 Posts
Discussion Starter #210
Leaf springs (cont'd)
The bushings for the spring shackles went together easily, with generous grease application. These are now set aside to mate with the springs later.

78 Bronco, ongoing improvements (120).jpg

New U-bolts showed up, along with spacers and center bolts. These center bolts have a slightly smaller head than what I think I need though... 1/2" diameter I believe where I was expecting 9/16". Threaded section is 3/8" diameter. Back on the hunt for these I guess.

To accept the spacers, I drilled holes near the ends of the leaves, just shy of 14mm diameter. The spacers are only 2.5in wide, a little narrow for the 3in springs, but I figure its better than not having them. I'm only expecting to get a several years out of these springs anyhow, as I'd really like to go with a set from Deaver one day. On the drill press at 200rpm, lots of pressure, and adding cutting oil every few seconds, the holes were quite reasonable to drill.


I've read about paint wearing out between leaves and creating slop, and that its best to paint leaf springs once they're fully assemble. I've come up with a compromise that I think will hold the rust at bay a little while longer:
  • Thoroughly clean the leaves
  • Use rust converter (as mentioned in previous post)
  • Mask off the center of each leaf, up to about 10" on either side of the center bolt hole so that you get metal-on-metal contact between all the leaves when you reassemble
  • Paint the leaves
  • Assemble the spring pack
  • Paint the assembled spring pack
We'll see how it goes...

Engine tune-up
My new EVAP solenoid showed up, along with a new oil filter for use later. For piece of mind, I bench tested the solenoid prior to installing it: all good.
78 Bronco, ongoing improvements (122).jpg

My fuel pressure investigation indicated that my fuel rail is not holding pressure. As soon as the pump shuts off, pressure drops steadily to 0 psi, fast enough that running around the truck to check the gauge, it was already at 0. Pressure while running is slightly lower than the bottom of the spec, but rises by 10 psi as it should when the vacuum is removed. I went through all the underpressure tests in my Haynes manual, leading to 3 possiblities:
  • Leaking fuel injector(s)
  • Failed check valve in the regulator
  • Failed check valve in the fuel pump
Given that the regulator and fuel pump were new when I did the motor swap, how poor my mileage has been lately, and recent hard starting, the injectors (having 300,000+ km of experience) seemed a good, if not expensive thing to replace. A new set of 15 lb/hr units from Accel showed up, and I wasted no time installing them:

Old injectors shown below. I'm pretty sure all the pintle caps were the same color when I replaced them and the O-rings about 3.5 years ago... so that's weird.

New vs old injector tips shown below. After all I've read, I was expecting my old injectors to have a single hole, not 4. In the next couple days I'll be checking the part numbers to see if the correct Motorcraft units were in place.

With the new injectors in place, I filled their connectors with dielectric grease and plugged them in. The fuel rail that I had polished a few years ago is already corroding, and my new-during-the-swap thermactor rail wasted no time getting rusty either.

My new cork gasket for the pushrod cover is still on its way, and I have some PCV plumbing to redo, as the hose from the valve to the intake is breaking down, and the crankcase breather fitting was cracked. I'll put my new spark plugs and wires in while I change the pushrod gasket, since the wires will be in the way for that anyhow.
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