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Shocks

I have a full set of Ranchos on order. I was eyeballing Bilstein, Rough Country, and Skyjacker options, but to get the most out of my stock suspension these made the most sense right now. It seems to me that none of the "stock" options out there really allow the stock suspension to flex as much as it can. Not sure if I mentioned this previously, but a while back I removed my shocks, disconnected the front anti-sway bar, and jacked up each corner to measure full compression and droop with only bushings to limit travel. Does not account for bump stops. Results:

Shock location...…………………… Normal ride height……Compressed (axle touching frame)……Extended (full droop)
Front, forward of axle (outer)…………… 19.00 inch………………………14.00 inch………………………………………………24.25 inch
Front, behind axle (inner)………………… 15.38 inch………………………10.50 inch………………………………………………19.25 inch
Rear…………………………………………………… 18.25 inch………………………11.25 inch………………………………………………22.00 inch

So I ordered the following from Rancho, a mixed bag of RS5000 and RS5000X that will minimize impedance of my travel:

  • RS5017 x2 for front forward of axle... 15.125" compressed / 25.250" extended
  • RS55117 x2 for front rear of axle... 11.870" compressed / 18.700" extended
  • RS55118 x2 for rear axle... 14.010" compressed / 22.290" extended
  • RS5403 x1 steering stabilizer
I'll be interested in seeing how those work out for you. I'm not looking to lift my Bronco, but I do want to get the most travel and flex out of the stock suspension as I can.

When I was having my lockers installed I was able to see mine at full droop with everything connected and currently my limiting factor is my center brake line going from the frame to the front axle. There was like 1/2" of slack left in it, so I'll have to extend that before I unhook stuff to see how far it'll droop.

Looks like you're really getting the most out of your Bronco! Love the scenery!
 

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Discussion Starter #142
I'll be interested in seeing how those work out for you. I'm not looking to lift my Bronco, but I do want to get the most travel and flex out of the stock suspension as I can.

When I was having my lockers installed I was able to see mine at full droop with everything connected and currently my limiting factor is my center brake line going from the frame to the front axle. There was like 1/2" of slack left in it, so I'll have to extend that before I unhook stuff to see how far it'll droop.

Looks like you're really getting the most out of your Bronco! Love the scenery!
Thanks!

I was hoping to have the shocks this weekend and put them in right away, but the rear shocks have to come all the way from Rancho rather than the place I ordered through... so hopefully around the middle of next week. My front flex brake line gets tight about the same time that the springs take the weight of the axle, when moving slowly. Any bounce from going fast would likely wreck it, so a longer line is on my list also. When picking shocks I sacrificed a bit on the compressed side for 2 reasons:
  • I will be putting bump stops in again (not included in my measurement)
  • It seems difficult in my limited experience and from what I've heard to actually stuff the axles all the way up to the frame with the stock suspension, even one side at a time
The only shock where I think I've had to compromise from my measured droop is the front inners, by half an inch. I figure that will be plenty good for me, since I'm still pretty green at wheeling and won't be pushing the limits. Limit straps may happen later also to keep the shocks from getting beat up.
 

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I think my front axle bump stops are only about 4-5 inches above the axle housing. The bottom of the stops, the part that would hit the axle first, is about flush with the bottom of my oil pan sump. The oil pan is rear sump, so that won't hit, but that's what I noticed as far as how much room the axle has to travel upwards.

I'm not sure how much more flex I'll gain by disconnecting my sway bars, but that'll be my first course of action before extending any lines or putting new shocks on. About two months after I got my Bronco I put on a set of well worn 35's that I got used off FB (the rims are on my truck now) and I took the Bronco off road in the lava rock where I live. I tried to get as much flex as I could and this was about it. It doesn't look like it in the pics, but there was quite a large hump in the trail maybe a couple of feet high and that's what I used to get some articulation. Again, this is with both sway bars connected and the current shocks that are still on my Bronco as of today.

Sorry for the quality of the pics, I used a "dumb" phone to take them at the time.








The inside of the rear wheel well was rubbed just a little bit with the wheels I had on it at the time. I'm not sure if that was stopping things from getting stuffed more though.





I had a lot more fun with the Bronco the first few months I had it than I currently am as it's been stationary for most of the year.
 

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Discussion Starter #144
My 4.9L is rear sump, and I'm pretty sure the axle doesn't get anywhere near it... front crossmember was my limiting factor for how low I could set the engine. None of my pictures so far capture that angle, but I'll look in the morning. Prior to putting on the fenders, doors, bumpers, dash, and windshield, I had measured 6.125" from axle tube to frame rail up front and 7.0" in the rear. Obviously that extra weight compressed things a bit, so its probably worth another measurement.

Disconnecting the bars definitely makes a difference. I don't have the rear one, but unhooking the front on mine allowed much more droop for the sake of my test. The type with a bar that mounts on the frame and links down to the axle seem a lot less restrictive to me... search long travel anti sway bar. Currie and Skyjacker both have what appear to be solid designs, not specifically for Broncos but could be reasonably built/adapted. Once I get my hands on a stock rear bar, I'll probably think up a decent quick-disconnect system, and continue to drool over aftermarket parts for a few years before pulling the trigger on that.
 

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Discussion Starter #145 (Edited)
@Doosenberry

A quick and dirty measurement in the parking garage (on a slight slope right side lower than left) revealed the following axle tube to frame distances:
  • Front left: 5"
  • Front right: 4-7/8"
  • Both rear: 5-3/8"
Oil pan to axle tube looks like there's plenty of clearance, except I don't recall that dent with the shiny crease in it ... I had painted the pan when I put the motor in. Possibly happened on the camping trip I guess? The only reason I don't have my bump stops installed already is that the nut is accessed from inside the frame rail, and my engine mounts prevent access there. I was too eager at the time to get the motor in, and forgot the order of operations, so in my toolbox they sit... now it will require lifting the engine for a moment to move the mounts out of the way. Time for me to suck it up and get it done.

148959
 

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Discussion Starter #146 (Edited)
We took my buddy's paddle boards out for one more afternoon on a local lake (Sasamat) before I return them. Belcarra Regional park is close and easy to get to, but quiet and green enough to be a nice break from the city.

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While camping at Manning a couple weeks ago, I had noticed a bit of play in the u-joint at the top of my rear driveshaft, so I ordered up a new one, along with new u-bolts for both ends, and a new seal for the output of the t-case. It still isn't leaking, so I'll hold off on replacing it for a bit. With any luck it will hold out until I can find a rear double cardan shaft for the output flange I picked up a while back.


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New joint installed. Premature replacement is better than a busted shaft on the highway. I greased the new joint on the bench, and the existing one at the axle end (still reasonably new). A clamp across the caps keeps them from popping off while pumping the grease in.

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This little fix reduced a vibration that has been bugging me for while. I like results. :thumbup
 

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Discussion Starter #147 (Edited)
About a month ago I found an ad online for a 4.9L from an E-series, with about 190000 km on it... as much I would like to do a full rebuild on a second motor and swap it in, I just don't have the space, and other priorities are eating up my $$$, like those shocks I just ordered. Fortunately, the guy was willing to sell me the can of ham off of it, along with the relevant mounting bracket, which will bolt right up to my block. I picked it up after work today, $60 all said and done. Now I need to start saving up for a Redhead gear...

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Finally finished reading your build thread. Amazing! I love the color orange! Yours is definitely one of the best looking Broncos out there, to me. Thanks for sharing in such detail. Great fabrication skills too. That Bronco is something to be incredibly proud of and I'm sure a blast to drive. 👍
 

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Discussion Starter #149
Finally finished reading your build thread. Amazing! I love the color orange! Yours is definitely one of the best looking Broncos out there, to me. Thanks for sharing in such detail. Great fabrication skills too. That Bronco is something to be incredibly proud of and I'm sure a blast to drive. 👍
Thanks a lot man! It really is (2.5-3) tons of fun, and I couldn't be happier with the color. In the next month or so I'll be back into building the front bumper
 

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Discussion Starter #150
I got my new shocks and stabilizer in, minus the front rear-of-axle ones which are still on backorder from the factory... no ETA yet.

Per the part numbers I posted earlier, the front-front shocks are RS5000's which are not gas charged, but wow what an upgrade those have been over what I had. It used to be that simply revving would send my front end into a wobble... now she's steady, even on sharp downhill corners in the parking garage in 2nd gear. The rear shocks are the RS5000X variety, and these suckers are gas charged. So far they've only had to soak up a couple of speed bumps, but in general should be higher performing than the RS5000. The gas charge is to keep the oil inside from cavitating (forming bubbles). The front-rear shocks, when they get here, are also RS5000X, so I can count on these not to fade up front if I manage to push the front-fronts to their limits.

Going to my buddy's wedding this weekend, so pictures will have to wait til next week. Getting the old right rear shock out was a surprising hassle.
 

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Discussion Starter #153
What alarm system did you go with?

By the way are you living on the island?
Yo Dazman,
I grew up in Victoria, but I'm on the mainland now.

For the alarm I went with Viper... Not easy to get the brain without a dealer trying to install it. I think that having a completely custom wiring system scared them enough to let me do it myself
 

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Discussion Starter #154
Really awesome job! Can't wait to see the bumper build. I've looked for a long time and haven't seen a bumper that looks right on a 78 so I think I'm gonna build it myself.
Personally I like the look of the older Warn and Ramsey winch bumpers, but they're hard to find and missing a few of the features on my wish list. From what I've seen of other builds, the Protofab one is pretty good, but sticks out a little further than I'd like, won't hold the winch I have without modifying, and doesn't seem to be adjustable. Hopefully I've addressed my concerns well enough in my design, though its going to be a heavy one for sure
 

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Discussion Starter #155 (Edited)
Shocks

Unpacking the Ranchos last week and putting the stickers on:
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The replacement for the front-front shocks is a little longer than what I had for increased droop. My old steering stabilizer doesn't seem to be bad, but the threads were buggered up and it was a pain to take off. Not sure how old that one is, but I've painted it a couple times over the years.
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Front-front shocks installed,. along with the stabilizer:
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In the back, I fount that the lower bolt on the right side shock was bound up in the sleeve in the end of the shock. Turning the bolt caused the sleeve to spin inside the bushing, and no amount of percussive maintenance seemed to help. I even put a C-clamp on there to try and press the bolt out, using a deep socket for bolt head clearance, and more persuasion from the hammer. No luck. Eventually, I had to cut down the rubber bushings with my knife and cut the bolt using a die grinder.
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The new rear shock is longer than stock too, but about the same as what I had been using (rears from my dad's '04 F350 about 10 years ago, since they beat what I had at that time).
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Some highway time on all the new shocks has felt great so far. The overall ride has smoothed out a lot. There's still a vibration from my lack of rear double cardan, so I'd better fix that right sooner than later.
 

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Yo Dazman,
I grew up in Victoria, but I'm on the mainland now.

For the alarm I went with Viper... Not easy to get the brain without a dealer trying to install it. I think that having a completely custom wiring system scared them enough to let me do it myself
Love BC, lived in Comox from 2004-2011.

What model of Viper and does opening the doors trip your alarm? I have an alarm in one car and will have to look into the viper system.

Thanks
 

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Okay, I found a place that will sell me a system with an impact sensor and glass breakage sensor for $196.00
 

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Discussion Starter #158
Love BC, lived in Comox from 2004-2011.

What model of Viper and does opening the doors trip your alarm? I have an alarm in one car and will have to look into the viper system.

Thanks
Right on! I haven't spent a lot of time up island, but have been up to Mt Washington for snowboarding a number of times, and Tofino for surfing.

I don't recall the model number... could probably dig it up though. Opening the doors does trip the alarm. Also lowering the rear window and opening the hood will trip it. The brain is also capable of starter kill, passive arming (gets an insurance discount), and can accept multiple sensors. I added a proximity sensor to warn people know that it has an alarm before they try anything, and it will also go off if someone climbs in the back when the top is off.

$196 doesn't sound bad, as long as you're happy with the list of features
 

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Right on! I haven't spent a lot of time up island, but have been up to Mt Washington for snowboarding a number of times, and Tofino for surfing.

I don't recall the model number... could probably dig it up though. Opening the doors does trip the alarm. Also lowering the rear window and opening the hood will trip it. The brain is also capable of starter kill, passive arming (gets an insurance discount), and can accept multiple sensors. I added a proximity sensor to warn people know that it has an alarm before they try anything, and it will also go off if someone climbs in the back when the top is off.

$196 doesn't sound bad, as long as you're happy with the list of features
If you can dig up the model number that would be very helpful.

I was told the proximity sensor was only designed for convertibles, jeeps, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #160
If you can dig up the model number that would be very helpful.

I was told the proximity sensor was only designed for convertibles, jeeps, etc.
The proximity sensor works well in my Bronco, and will chirp if someone tries looking in the side windows. Anyhow, Broncos are technically hard top convertibles :ford
 
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