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'81 351w, 3+Od
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good Evening.
I've been hunting for a 80-81 Bronco for a few years, and finally found this one in 2020.

It spent 1981 to ?? in Ridgecrest, CA before before moving to San Bernardino in 2010.
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It has (had) a weird custom rack. The nice couple who sold it to me said it was used for a glide plane. To me, it looks like a setup for a hang glider or kayak. If anyone recalls seeing this yellow '81 in Ridgecrest between 1981 and 2010, I'd really be curious to hear the story. And a picture is always worth a thousand words.
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Or any idea who was "Gentle Giant?
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Or who may have sold, or bought it at "Siler's Motor Center in Ridgecrest?
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It has a 351w with full California emissions including that wonderful VVT carb. Getting that carb unstuck was a pain in the ass. Before you say it: I have a junkyard Carb/Dizzy/Ignition box to get rid of the VVT/emissions. But it became a lockdown challenge during 2020 to try and make it run the way it came from the factory. Amazingly, it runs pretty well.
The Ford 3sp+OD manual transmission makes it interesting. "2006" is written in sharpie on the back of the firewall. I don't know if the engine was replaced or rebuilt during 2006 or if a previous owner just had a thing for 2006.
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This summer is about getting the interior cleaned up. And finding the missing pieces.
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My plan is to keep putting it back together and put miles on it. It's scratched and dinged and scares the neighbor kids. So it's a perfect daily driver. It's life in the desert heat kept rust to a minimum, but roached the crap out of anything plastic or rubber. One hose at a time. One junkyard scavenge. Still on the hunt for the underhood light and a bug deflector (with six brackets) among other things. Still a ways to go.

But it's been a hell of a lot of (frustrating) fun. And I'm pretty sure I'm the first owner in 40 years to pop the top off this Bronco.


181007
 

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Super Moderator
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29,116 Posts
Yo BroncOh_no,
Welcome to our Big Bronco site with your GREAT LOOKING 81!
Here's some info for you :
1981 Bronco Brochure - Gary's Garagemahal (the Bullnose bible) by Gary

1980-1986 Bronco/F Series Fasteners by Gary

1980-1986 Bronco/F Series Carburetors, Chokes & EFI by Gary

1980-1986 Bronco/F Series Specifications by Gary @ Axle Ratios - Gary's Garagemahal (the Bullnose bible)

Differences in 1980-1986 Bronco/F Series by Gary

➡ 1981 Bronco/F Series Electrical & Vacuum Troubleshooting Manual (EVTM), partial via Gary @ 1981 EVTM - Gary's Garagemahal (the Bullnose bible)

EEC III Testing, if not removed or disabled by a previous owner or shop via Wayback Machine by Tommy

Haynes Red Manual for 80-95 Bronco & F Series @ Hanes guide 80-96 bko f series.pdf via our BroncMom

Partial Chilton Manual for 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981 Bronco. Scanned by broncocity.com @ Bronco City

1981 Bronco Advertisement @ Ads0002.jpg

Baba Looey's Favorite FSB Links (lots and lots of tech links)
Includes good stuff such as Tailgate Tech!

For any Bronco questions or to chat about it's planned modifications or build, it's better to post each seperately in Noobie Bronco Tech Questions. Flame free zone. This will get more attention and you can build up your post count to get into other sections such as Bronco and Ford Parts/Accessories that requires 50 non- padded posts to buy or sell due to scammers who preyed on our members.

See How to add your Signature @ Bronco Forum - Full Size Ford Bronco Forum by BigBlue 94

Our Forum FAQs includes for example, How to:Use Search, Post pics and more tips!

Find some time to participate and VOTE in our Full-Size of the Quarter & Full-Size of the Year Contests @ Voting
You will get ideas by those competing.
Prizes are awarded to the winner!; a full spread in Bronco Driver Magazine is the top prize, in addition to a years subscription, once the article is submitted. Also, a years worth of premium FSB membership.

Al
 
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Premium Member
1981 Bronco, 4.9L, ZF5, NP208, Detroit Truetracs, 3.55 gears, 31" Wranglers front and rear
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2,164 Posts
Welcome to FSB and congrats on the very nice 81! That's a great year if I do say so myself.:cool:
 

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Registered
'81 351w, 3+Od
Joined
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34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yo BroncOh_no,
Welcome to our Big Bronco site with your GREAT LOOKING 81!
Here's some info for you :
1981 Bronco Brochure - Gary's Garagemahal (the Bullnose bible) by Gary

1980-1986 Bronco/F Series Fasteners by Gary

1980-1986 Bronco/F Series Carburetors, Chokes & EFI by Gary

1980-1986 Bronco/F Series Specifications by Gary @ Axle Ratios - Gary's Garagemahal (the Bullnose bible)

Differences in 1980-1986 Bronco/F Series by Gary

➡ 1981 Bronco/F Series Electrical & Vacuum Troubleshooting Manual (EVTM), partial via Gary @ 1981 EVTM - Gary's Garagemahal (the Bullnose bible)

EEC III Testing, if not removed or disabled by a previous owner or shop via Wayback Machine by Tommy

Haynes Red Manual for 80-95 Bronco & F Series @ Hanes guide 80-96 bko f series.pdf via our BroncMom

Partial Chilton Manual for 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981 Bronco. Scanned by broncocity.com @ Bronco City

1981 Bronco Advertisement @ Ads0002.jpg

Baba Looey's Favorite FSB Links (lots and lots of tech links)
Includes good stuff such as Tailgate Tech!

For any Bronco questions or to chat about it's planned modifications or build, it's better to post each seperately in Noobie Bronco Tech Questions. Flame free zone. This will get more attention and you can build up your post count to get into other sections such as Bronco and Ford Parts/Accessories that requires 50 non- padded posts to buy or sell due to scammers who preyed on our members.

See How to add your Signature @ Bronco Forum - Full Size Ford Bronco Forum by BigBlue 94

Our Forum FAQs includes for example, How to:Use Search, Post pics and more tips!

Find some time to participate and VOTE in our Full-Size of the Quarter & Full-Size of the Year Contests @ Voting
You will get ideas by those competing.
Prizes are awarded to the winner!; a full spread in Bronco Driver Magazine is the top prize, in addition to a years subscription, once the article is submitted. Also, a years worth of premium FSB membership.

Al
Thanks for all the reference material. I've used a ton to get it this far.
If anyone need specific 1981 material, I have a 1981 shop manual. It's amazing what it took to diagnose early 80's cars as "computers" started entering the mix. I doubt anyone (else) is crazy enough to keep all the VV stuff.
181053
 

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'81 351w, 3+Od
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34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Welcome to FSB and congrats on the very nice 81! That's a great year if I do say so myself.:cool:
Hey! It's great to see another '81 on the road. All fenders should have the bucking horse emblem. I may hit you up if I run into something '81 specific.
 

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'81 351w, 3+Od
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34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Truly is one great looking Bronco! Congrats on the find!
Thank You. I was lucky to find it. The VV probably saved it's life. The nice couple didn't have time or $ to get it to pass CA emissions, so it sat most of a decade. Aside from the roof rack and bull guard, it was pretty much untouched.
181055
 

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Registered
'81 351w, 3+Od
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34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Dude I love the freshened up look. Nice find on this Bronco.
Thank You.
And nice job tackling a Bronco with a snow plow! I found quite a few old Broncos and F150's used (for their intended purpose) for winter work. Snow and salt ate them up.
I wasn't brave enough to take one of those on and then got lucky finding this one. Good Luck!
 

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huh
1995 Bronco, Slightly Modified
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7,220 Posts
What was the reason for the 80-81 year preference. I was born in 80 but got a 95 cause 92-96 made my mind go nuts. Just curious. Beautiful bronco btw.
 

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1994 XL, E40D, 5.0, rear lsd, front auto hubs
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324 Posts
Thank You.
And nice job tackling a Bronco with a snow plow! I found quite a few old Broncos and F150's used (for their intended purpose) for winter work. Snow and salt ate them up.
I wasn't brave enough to take one of those on and then got lucky finding this one. Good Luck!
Hehe well I took a $1000 risk when buying it. I had already aet my mind to be ready to be disappointed. Sold the plow for $400 and the seller of the Bronco gave me $50 back "to get a battery", so at that point it was only a $550 risk...
When I got it running for the first time Bruiser was showing potential so I kept him :)
 

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'81 351w, 3+Od
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34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
What was the reason for the 80-81 year preference. I was born in 80 but got a 95 cause 92-96 made my mind go nuts. Just curious. Beautiful bronco btw.
Wow. Way to make me feel old. I was 12 in 1980! I was a teenager during the 80's but do not recall ever noticing the Bronco. The only Bronco I rode in before this one was a 70 something Bronco on a hunting camp in Alabama. It was a working beater. Probably now worth a fortune if it ever made it out of the woods.

I like the squared off 80-86. And who cannot appreciate the cheesy 80 paint schemes?

I hunted for an 80-81 specifically because I like the F O R D on the hood, and the bucking bronco emblem on the fender. They also had weird options like the indash CB (someday I'll locate one) plus the underhood toolbox (which mine allegedly had at one time). Yup. I'm weird too. So this Bronco fits me perfectly.

182087


182088
 

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'81 351w, 3+Od
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34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hehe well I took a $1000 risk when buying it. I had already aet my mind to be ready to be disappointed. Sold the plow for $400 and the seller of the Bronco gave me $50 back "to get a battery", so at that point it was only a $550 risk...
When I got it running for the first time Bruiser was showing potential so I kept him :)
$550 is one helluva good starting point. It's fun when it coughs, rattles, grumbles and finally runs for the first time in who knows how long. At that point, you gotta keep it. Good Luck !
 

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huh
1995 Bronco, Slightly Modified
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7,220 Posts
I had no idea about the bronco logo, cb and underhood toolbox. Very cool. The first bronco I fell in love with was an 80ish that I parked my Eclipse next to in high school for a few weeks. I couldn't get it out of my head and a few years later I came across Dustin Siebert's Yellow 88 Bronco and was hooked. 1988 Ford Bronco MyBigBronco.com Members Broncos picture | SuperMotors.net I loved that thing. I was lucky enough to be invited by him to Minnesota to go offroading in the snow one year. Ill never forget it. Im from Los Angeles and had never seen snow and he made sure I remembered it. Bronco folks are an awesome group of people.
 

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1994 XL, E40D, 5.0, rear lsd, front auto hubs
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324 Posts
$550 is one helluva good starting point. It's fun when it coughs, rattles, grumbles and finally runs for the first time in who knows how long. At that point, you gotta keep it. Good Luck !
Yesterday for the first time I attempted a wide open throttle.
Took it well. Even scared a lady who pulled over, as a sign of respect, or fear, probably the latter, given the decibels coming out of my exhaust flange-exhaust leaking 302 at wide open throttle. Needless to say, the drug took effect and I've been driving this like a regular old Mustang.
Slowing it down though, is now the challenge I'm facing.
 

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'81 351w, 3+Od
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34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yesterday for the first time I attempted a wide open throttle.
Took it well. Even scared a lady who pulled over, as a sign of respect, or fear, probably the latter, given the decibels coming out of my exhaust flange-exhaust leaking 302 at wide open throttle. Needless to say, the drug took effect and I've been driving this like a regular old Mustang.
Slowing it down though, is now the challenge I'm facing.
Scaring nice old ladies! It's a hell of a lot bigger than a Mustang, but that doesn't mean you can't drive it like an old 5.0.

Does the '94 have rear disc brakes? The rear drums on mine are need to go away at some point. They're good for parking! And I hate all the springs in drum brakes.
 
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