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1996 Bronco XLT, 5.8, Auto Everything.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For background, who I am, and why I'm writing this, see my other Flipping Idiot thread.

In short, I have few mechanical skills, and I'm hoping someone might, in the future, be inspired by my suffering.

I purchased one of those Tuffy 12" wide locking consoles. It's heavy steel with a padded top, feels VERY durable. I live in Arizona, my wife and I carry firearms from time to time, and it's helpful to have a place to leave them locked up sometimes.

Utility wise, the big issue with the OEM Bronco console is that it's just kind of a giant bucket,and it eventually gets filled with a giant pile of crap. That issue is the same here, only moreso, as the bucket is now larger... so housekeeping will matter a lot.

Installation instructions are rather well written. I purchased a bunch of options; a gas-strut to lift the lid, an interior light, a 12V power socket, two sets of cup holders, and managed to get everything installed with very little trouble. Any spots I needed to drill out were marked from the factory by small dents in the sheet metal, so I didn't even need to measure for the option installations.

As for installation, after removing the original console I put the OEM screws back to close up the holes. I also test-fit the Tuffy console and poked a sharpie through the 3 bolt-holes to show where to cut away the carpet.
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Once the carpet was removed, I used a scribe tool to mark where to drill through the transmission hump, and drilled the required 3/8" holes. The two rear holes are out-of-round because I drilled a vertical hole into an angled bit of sheet metal. The front bolt hole is much more normal to the surface.
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From the underside, this is where the front bolt ends up. It's VERY hard to reach if you have big manly-man arms as I do. (The vice grip is holding the bolt for the new console. The pointy screw it's wedged against is the OEM console bolt. The wire harness controls the transmission or the transfer case (not sure which), so don't drop a heavy vice grip on that connector.
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The two rear bolts, it turns out, ended up perfectly inside a piece of under-body cross-bracing:
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So, I drilled 3 more holes, about an inch further rearward.
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I filled the original 3 holes with silicon sealant and tightened down the front-most bolt. It holds the console rather securely with just one bolt, and I'm nervous about the two rear bolts... I don't know if that cross brace needs to be free to move relative to the sheet metal floor, so I simply left out the 2 rear bolts. (a solution suggested by @BigBlue 94 ). If it turns out that that cross brace is stable relative to the body of the truck, I may come back and bolt the rear down as well, but for now those holes are full of silicone.

Here's the final piece, installed:
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Future steps involve mounting holsters on the interior, putting a radio of some sort (HAM, CB, or FMRS) in the radio socket, installing the 12V power socket. Also, I have replacement floor covering, a new driver's seat, and I'm debating just pulling the rear bench out, since I've only had a 3rd person in this truck once.

Tools used:
Power drill
high-speed-steel drill bits (Harbor Freight)
a couple pairs of vice grips
a couple small 1/4" drive sockets and wrenches
 

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Registered
1996 Bronco XLT, 5.8, Auto Everything.
Joined
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345 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Forgot to add, the two rear-mounting bolts provided by Tuffy are about an inch and a half longer than I needed, and are not threaded far enough to be useful. I actually cannot figure out where Tuffy imagined those bolts would fit properly. So, if I plan to use these bolts, I'll have to procure new ones anyway...
 

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1996 Bronco XLT, 5.8, Auto Everything.
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345 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sorry, one more thought occurred to me:

For a newbie, the scariest thing about this is you have to drill through the transmission hump. There are some VERY important things under there (the transfer case and the transmission), as well as a bundle of otherwise unprotected wires that are among the most important in the truck for an automatic transmission and electrically-controlled transfer case.

However, your drill bit is short, and there is a good amount of space until you hit anything critical. Also, the transmission hump is surprisingly easy to drill through, much easier than the sheet metal in the engine bay, if you've ever installed a relay or some such. So, as long as you don't go fishing with a spinning drill bit like a maniac, you SHOULD be ok.

Naturally, don't take my word for it. If you are like me, you rarely got down under your truck. Before you start drilling, you should do this... take a look at where you'll be working, and see for yourself.
 

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Addicted to Junk
85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
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15,666 Posts
Looks good BFG! That body crossmember doesnt move so go ahead and bolt the rear down. The tuffy will bounce around if you dont.

A tip for anyone with a drill... Buy yourself a few center drills. Get good ones, NOT El cheapos from amazon. KEO makes good ones. A #4 size will cover 95% of tasks. They are short and wont drill too deep in situations like this. Since they are so short, they excel in drilling on target and not walking around or bending.



Also, as an FYI, depending on console location, the rear cup holder can interfere with the rear seat folding all the way up.
 
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