Thanks for allowing me to enter my 1986 Bronco in FOTM! My name is Phil and at 40 years old, I have been playing with Ford trucks off and on for 24 years. At 16 my first vehicle was a 1983 Chevy Van (my father owns a carpet cleaning business so I needed a van) but within 6 months I bought a 1976 F-150 for $300 as a project. I loved that truck and learned to wrench because of it. My best friend loved it too, so much so he wanted one himself and bought a 1978 Bronco. I was immediately jealous and that Bronco haunted me for years.
In 2006 I moved from Oswego County New York to Flagstaff, Arizona. One of my criteria for getting the heck out on NY was to live somewhere that old vehicles aren’t destroyed by rust. As I slowly got my act together out here I started looking for a new project…. A 1978-79 Bronco. I was trying to be patient but in 2010 I found this 1986 that had already undergone an SAS for $2200, I couldn’t help myself. I ended up paying $1900 and have no regrets.
Here is how I bought it:
I thought the front bumper was well built and badass but I felt it protruded out too far and hung too low for my taste. More to come on that.
The truck came with pretty sweet half doors. I have no idea why but I didn’t like them at the time and sold them off on Craigslist. This is the first of many, many regrets I have over selling parts. I try not to sell much of anything anymore.
I cruised it around mostly as-is for the first summer. These pictures are on the way to Lake Powell.
In some of those pictures you can see small weld bumps where the PO had filled in holes from trim. I became obsessed with trying to weld in every hole on the body. This was the first time I hade ever tried to weld sheet metal and although it took some getting used to, I started getting better as I went on.
I started on the fenders, grinding what was there and filling in the holes he didn’t get to:
Then it was on to all the unfortunate holes from the little tie-downs all along the bedsides:
But also the scar from what must have been a long gone CB mount:
The Body had tears along the top of the B pillar. Pretty common place for fatigue and something I wanted to address. I had some thin, soft steel around and did my best to patch the area.
Rather than try to fill in the holes from the tire carrier, I put the bolts in their holes, ground the heads off and welded them in place.
Things were slowly starting to shape up. At this point I still thought I was doing a good job. The truth is, I was warping the hell out of the body and didn’t know it. I’d later do some reading about how to minimize distortion but ignorance was bliss and I really thought things were going well! lol Also going through these pictures reminded me I was simultaneously building my tube doors. I guess I completely forgot about that.
F.O.T.M Voting > January 2018 F.O.T.M. Vote here !!!!!
Happy New Year and thank you for giving me the opportunity to participate in the January '18 FOTM.
My name is Christopher, age 28, and am the proud new owner of this 1993 XLT.
Born and raised in north Georgia, my wife and I moved to the beautiful Bitterroot Valley of western Montana this past year.
We are big outdoors people and both instantly fell in love with the American West when we first started travelling out there a few years ago. Traveling to and hiking through different National Parks (Grand Canyon, Petrified NF, Antelope Canyon, Yellowstone, Death Valley, Joshua Tree & Glacier) we knew one day we wanted to relocate. An opportunity became available and we packed up everything and moved. We couldn't be happier.
I have been an avid dirt bike and dual sport rider for a long time. It wasn't until recently that I decided I wanted to enjoy everything there is to off pavement but on four wheels this time.
My grandfather owned a Bronco when I was younger and my dad had an old K5, so I've always had a "thing" for fullsize, two-door SUV's. I like BKO's the most and set out on my search for a good one.
I was searching from Seattle to Salt Lake to Billings to Cody. I waited a while for the right one to come along, and came across this dent-free, rust-free example -- and what was even better -- it happened to be in the next town up, just 20 minutes away!
Here she was the day I bought her.
Mechanically bone stock, except for flowmaster muffler.
PO had added the following:
-4" Rough Country Lift.
-33" Cooper Discoverer STT's.
It didn't take me long before I started to make it my own.
So far I have added the following:
-RLC Weld Fab front bumper.
-Affordable Offroad rear bumper.
-Surco safari rack.
-Rigid Industries Dually spots.
-Smittybilt XRC winch.
I had the bumpers powder-coated silver, which I felt matched the paint scheme and overall look better than black would have. BKO paint scheme is “dark shadow blue” and “oxford white”.
It is my daily driver and I plan to rebuild the engine at some point (205K on the clock).
So far I have replaced the radiator, water pump and all the hoses.
Next on the list is the idler and tensioner pulleys and the Sixlitre tuneup.
I've already been having a blast driving around the mountains and forest service roads, and snow-wheeling.
Hey all. I’m not home till tomorrow night to post up pics but figured I’d pop in and say my story.
I’m Chris, from New Jersey. Got my current 96 bronco October of 2016. I had a bronco about 16 years ago and decided it was time to go again. After a summer and two winters she’s finally on the road and being driven
Sad part of or color and license plate, back when I had my previous we got a puppy and named her jade. She’s was a fan of riding in that rig. She got to take a few rides in this one and still loved it. Sadly she passed a few months ago. So the broncos painted in “jaded green” and that’s the “Jade 17” plate
I’ll get some pics up and start posting.
Happy new year guys/gals. Can’t wait to see all the other broncos.
Hope everyone has had a chance to sneak out some free time to work on their rigs this holiday, because the truck is a part of the family right?
As some of you may know this is round two for the 96bronco, this time I (Colton, Alan’s son) will be running for F.O.T.M! I am 18 years old and currently am a freshman attending University of Colorado at Boulder- Sko Buffs! Right now I am currently looking into becoming a business student and long term possibly law, but that is still years away for me and couple of extra bucks.
I am born and raised in Parker, CO a town south of Denver, which I am lucky enough to call home. I always hear friends up at CU who talk about how cool it is to live here, near the mountains and how crazy it is when it snows, but those who know, know shoveling sucks.
As many are here, my Dad and I are outdoor people, we hike, bike, and love sneaking away time to work on the bronco we have today. It has been a great father son bonding activity, while there may be ups and downs, leaves a smile on my face at the end of the day.
We’ve had the truck for 20 years when my dad bought it in 96 being 3 months old and 20k on the clock.
And just in case anyone is wondering, yes I do have this picture of the bronco framed up in my dorm at CU, because sadly, I didn’t (and couldn’t) take the truck up to CU.
I look forward to sharing my personal experience with you and being able to see the two points of view we have sharing the build!
Exciting month ahead of us, and best of luck to all involved, great rigs all-round!
Here is a little detail of the tube doors. I had some aluminum diamond plate I bent and installed some 6.5” Polk Audio speakers. The doors latch with aftermarket automotive latches. I grab the bottom tube and pull down on the little lever to open.
To keep the doors from rattling, I re-used the rubber bumpers from the factory spare tire carrier. These bumpers were prefect to take up the slack.
I’m looking around for old pics. I want to tell my story chronologically although I also feel like I’ll need to splice in some action, even if it is out of order. That said, I dug up some interesting pics from the beginning.
Here is a shot from when I was playing tour guide to my Dad and his buddy who were visiting from NY. They borrowed my Victory and a friend’s Mean Streak to tour Northern AZ. I was driving the Bronco in a support role! Miss that Victory.
While those guys were out on their vacation, I decided to turn around the rear seat. I’ll come up with some photos of that mod but what a great way for me to drive people around and allow them to relax and take photos.
I was surprised to run across these two photos. Don’t you hate it when you are trying to work on your Bronco but the Fire Department forces you to evacuate….. how inconvenient!
Our latest project we have completed was work on the rear suspension components. We originally were going to do a shackle flip to help gain some of the height from suspension compression we had as a result of age and the weight of the rear bumper. Well, that quickly changed.
To both of our surprise when we started working on the springs, we noticed that the hangers the springs sit on were nearly rusted out, along with the passenger side spring, which the lowest tier spring actually fell apart when we removed the axel (blurry pic of the rusty hanger- look on the lower right where I had grinded out the rivet. There you can see the fracture in the metal) This was a good find although it wasn’t what we expected when we started. This resulted in me having to tear apart all the work I did putting everything back together. Ugh, luckily its not too bad of a deal with a impact wrench to speed things up. So per usual, our simple 2-hour afternoon project was put on the back burner to order new springs and hangers to replace the old rusty ones.
Here is the installation of the new hardware, the first time
Drilling out the larger holes in the frame. We bought a step drill bit, I swear by them now, they are sweet!! I recommend a little oil to keep the bit cool, and to help it last.
Hard part about this was damn axle would align center in the wheel well and I could put all of my might into it to get it back the 2" I needed it to, get the u bolts tightened up, only to realize that the u bolts were skewed. Ugh
Then my dad thought of a novel idea to go back and read the instructions :twak
He found out we had to dill the plate the u bolts connect to in order to compensate for the re alignment, something so simple caused me hours of frustration and sore muscles the next day.
Here it is all completed.
Wrapping this post up, the fix is complete for right now. We are considering front springs that accommodate the extremely heavy front end.
I think we will post abut my first police encounter tomorrow, should be a great story!
Today’s update is regarding the construction of my front bumper. I had a fairly popular thread in the fabrication section about it and how almost all the materials were sourced from my local landfill. I’ll talk more about that in a bit. But that thread like many is lost to the great Photobucket apocalypse of 2017.
I ditched the existing bumper and trimmed the bottom of my fenders to be flush with the lower valance. My goal was to keep the bumper high and tight for approach angle so I started by boxing the frame horns with angle and plate from the landfill.
I had old pipe kicking around and after test fitting decided the lower valance could go as well.
I bent the pipe with a Harbor Freight pipe bender. It was a pain to get matching bends on each side.
I felt the look was unfinished so I added in ¼” plate ‘wings’ and short pieces of bar stock on the edge to tie it together.
After a rattle can paint job:
The next step was to start a stinger. This would be the second time I’ve ever tried to bend tube and I had no idea what I was doing….. I just knew I wanted a stinger. I tack welded little pieces of scrap conduit to try different angles.
Once I had a plan it was time to try the homemade bender my buddy and I shared. He built this off plans he found on-line and it works pretty well.
The next step was to add recovery points and I wanted to keep with my landfill theme (to be honest though, I did buy the tubing) so I cut up some ½” plate and doubled it up. This was not worth it. The welding, grinding and drilling all sucked when I could have bought shackle hangers relatively cheap.
Then through mounted into the ¼” face of the bumper:
Hey guys heres some pics of the starting point of my rig.
The original frame under mine had some real bad rot all over it. So i got another couple of frames from the junk yard. lol. good to know someone there.
I found this 96 frame which just had extremity rot and the two rear body mounts. ANd you can see the body brackets removed
started blasting and replacing the mounts. I have mounts from an 89 and 92 bronco and f150 installed on there.
couple quarts of chassis saver and rustoleum on top of it..
reassembly while replacing wear items...
not sure I have any engine rebuild pics, but it was unexciting as the truck only had 120k on it. Pretty much mic'd everything and everything was in spec so just slapped new rings and bearings in it. Had almost no sludge. I did get some new remachined heads for it.
What happens when you let a freshly licensed kid on the road...
We are going to do a substantial post today to help cover for the time I will be gone in Mexico this coming week from Saturday to the following Friday!
A little backstory on me.
Ever since I heard the sound of a good ol’ v-8 start up, I wanted to drive. I was always super interested in cars as a kid and nothing has changed, if anything it has gotten worse now that we have a toy to work on. I am sure my Dad can attest to this as he had to deal with me always begging to ride in the front seat as a kid, and then when I was finally old enough to do that I wanted to hop behind the wheel. When the day finally came that I was going to hop behind the wheel, we were actually out of state in Oregon climbing their highest point Mt. Mcloughlin.
I was feeling the fatigue near the summit and my dad gave me something that lit a fire behind me. He said if I make the summit, I could drive the rental GMC Yukon XL. Oh boy did that work. We made the summit and I wanted to run down to the trailhead. We get down to the trailhead and before you know it im asking for the keys (please!!!). I was 15 at the time and boy was I excited. I of course didn’t just hop behind the wheel though, my dad gave me the long talk of how careful I needed to be because not only was I not permitted to drive, but I was also driving a rental car. So with that understanding being made, I turn the key, put it in reverse and off we go. I was so scared at first but it was a quiet dirt road out in the middle of the wilderness so it subsided. Then when we hit the actual pavement, we swapped seats and the car somehow was still in one piece.
Fast forward to the time when I just barely had my license. I was so ready to be out on the road all on my own, so much so that I ensured I could get my license the day I turned 16. Actually it had to be 2 days after my 16th birthday because the dmv is closed on weekends and I had to wait. But Monday finally came and you can bet I was in line at the door before they opened lol.
Now not even a week later after getting my license and we had just finished working on the trucks 1-ton brake booster upgrade. Dressed in a red sleeveless cutoff shirt with grease covered pants I was taking the truck out to fill it up with gas. I was cruising windows down 45mph in a 45 zone, when I saw a state trooper two lanes over ahead of me. I must have been ignorant because I look down at my speedometer and it said I was going 40 (but because the truck has big tires it was actually 45) and he got caught up in traffic so I pass him being super careful not to speed.
Well that didn’t matter. I see him move over one lane, which spikes my anxiety, now I’m just looking in my rear view mirror. Sure enough I see him move over another lane, and he follows me for what feels like an eternity (probably 2 miles). He’s right behind me. I am losing my sh** because I know I’m going to get pulled over. Sure enough, on come the lights as I was taking my turn to fill up with gas. I come to a stop, roll down my window and this lady comes up to me and is like “You know your brake lights don’t work?”. I was actually caught off guard, I told her no I didn’t. We continue to talk and I ask her to swap seats with me because I was more curious as to why they didn’t work rather than the ticket. So I hop out, she hops in and presses on the brake pedal and what do you know, the brake lights come on. She thought I was joking but I get back in the driver’s seat and press on the brake for her to see. I told her we just got done with the MC and booster which she understood because I found out she has an old Chevy she works on too. I kept my mouth shut about that though, because I wasn’t about to tell her Fords are better.
She then lets me go, never asked for my I.D, insurance or anything. I wasn’t about to stick around for her to see that the brakes sensor on the pedal that makes the lights come on wasn’t perfectly aligned, and under light pressure doesn’t trip the sensor. So I get to the gas station and call my dad telling him I just got pulled over and how she just let me go, he was laughing at the fact that I made a friend with a cop in a situation I probably should have got a fit it ticket for.
I just can’t (actually I can) believe that I got pulled over not even a week into having my license. My luck.
Short update today, I’ll finish the front bumper up.
Shortly after I finished my bumper a co-worker offered me two winches in a milk crate for cheap. I didn’t have the cash but couldn’t refuse. I ended up with a Warn 12,000lb and a Ramsey 8,000lb. Unfortunately I wasn’t planning for a winch so when I tried to add it on it just looked goofy. Especially the Warn, it is huge!
Here are the only pics I could find with the winch just boogered to front of the bumper. Pictured with my buddy’s F-150.
I quickly realized I was going to need to bury the winch and started cutting up my just finished bumper!
I had to build a box from plate. Cardboard templates helped.
I’m embarrassed to say the truck was left nearly finished to rust for a while before I got back to grinding and painting.
Here are some pictures of the truck at my high school. I had a friend who drove an old 68 mustang. You can see in the pictures below that we would always park next to each other because we knew that at least one side of our cars would be protected from door dings lol.
We had a parking rule that if you were in the back row, you must 1: drive a car worthy to park there and 2: back in it in. I am pretty sure Colin (my friend who drives the ‘stang) and I created that rule.
Here is a friend that used to drive an old Chevy pickup, he has since traded the keys in for a new WRX
And of course the girls who can appreciate a good looking truck
For our Senior prank day, I decided that it was worth the risk of getting written up to do this:
This is the primary entrance for the student lot, so everyone that went to school that day had to walk past the truck lol. I was called out by our principal and was poliety asked to move it because “the grass wasn’t designed to hold the weight of a car” hmmm. I didn’t argue though, just moved it. We also had over a dozen calls to the local police department because we were charging $5 to get into the student lot, which ironically most kids just turned around and went home for their first class lol. Parents were trying to fight the kids and ended up getting a lot of kids in trouble, luckily I was too occupied getting the truck in front of the doors to get caught
Here are a few pics that show the truck post Herculiner. Some guys think the Herculiner is cool but many find it cheesy. Honestly, I lean more to the latter myself. The decision was made because all the welding of holes had added dozens of small warped areas to the body. I’m not saying they couldn’t be fixed but it was bad enough that it didn’t make sense to put that kind of effort into a truck that was intended for rock crawling.
As significant as the warping looked with wet paint, it was hidden easily with even just the first coat of bedliner. The number 1 question I get is about fading due to the sun. Yes, the Herculiner fades relatively quickly. But, I am also in a top 10 sunniest city and at 7000’ so there isn’t much atmosphere between my poor Bronco and the sun. After about 4 years, I added a second coat. If I end up spending $90 ever 5 years or so I don’t mind.
Here is the Bronco at the landfill…. My favorite place to scavenge for materials! The lady who works the booth at the landfill finally had to ask me about my weekly ritual. She says “you come here every week with 2 bags of trash but you’re in here for 45 minutes, what are you doing in there?” Haha collecting parts for bumpers, silly.
An early date with my now wife:
Since this is a short update and my rear bumper is partially complete in the pictures, I’ll add some detail on that project as well.
The previous owner had already build a simple and clean rear bumper from 2 x 5 x 3/16th tube but I wanted to get the spare off the body.
The guy did a very nice job on the tabs that mounted to the frame but they were 3/16th and had no lateral support. Since a swing out tire carrier was in the works, I welded 2.5” ¼” angle between the tabs.
I’m sure I could have stopped there but I then added ¼” wings to the outside as well.