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Choose your favorite Fullsize Bronco of 2019!!!

  • HCodi

    Votes: 8 14.8%
  • antonio

    Votes: 5 9.3%
  • AbandonedBronco

    Votes: 9 16.7%
  • d_rock

    Votes: 15 27.8%
  • MS88Bronc

    Votes: 17 31.5%

  • Total voters
    54
  • Poll closed .
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The Tennessee Warden
96 XL, 5.8L, E4OD, BW1356, 4.56 gears
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2,817 Posts
After some time spent with this rig, I realized the ole' girl needed a name. The history behind this Bronco lies in the mountains of Tennessee as a fleet vehicle with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency - there was no console in this truck, but you could see some bolt holes in the space between the seats, holes under the dash for a radio, and an A-pillar police-style spot light. The state put around 160K on the clock and the guy I bought it from was the second owner who put around 6K on it. So, the name just kinda came to me...."The Tennessee Warden." I pondered other names, but I ended up sticking with this one.:cool:

So, like many Broncos, there was some play in the steering and some wandering when driving straight. The radius arm bushings were new with the install of the extended radius arms, so logically, the axle pivot bushings were next.

deep breath Here we go...

Ordered OEM-style Moog bushings:




They original ones looked a little torn up:




Dropped the passenger side beam lift bracket:



Had to tear it apart to get it out:



New one in:



Pulled the other one out:







And got it in:
PRO TIP Getting these things in is no easy task, even with a ball joint press. I found that carefully beveling the leading edge of the metal outer sleeve with an angle grinder (sort of "sharpening" it) and applying a little Dawn dish soap to the leading edge made it lots easier to press the new OEM style bushing in. (y)









Lift bracket reinstalled and all buttoned up:




So after all this, she drove better - not perfect, but better. Hey, every little bit helps.
 

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Premium Member
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416 Posts
Here comes the painful part...
Early in 2017, my girlfriend and I were on our way to go snowboarding at Whistler. The highway had been plowed, and looked good to go. Close to our destination, we hit some black ice, and started to fishtail... getting away from oncoming traffic, the Bronco stuffed its nose into a snow drift on the right side of the road, rolled onto the driver side, and continued to spin. Fortunately we were practically unscathed: my girlfriend had a concussion from her stainless water bottle (half full) and I bounced my face off the steering wheel, putting a pretty good cut in my top lip. Lots of awesome people stopped to help us, and we spent the day at the emergency center. It was a long wait, as skiers with broken legs took priority.
Once we got out, we caught a cab to meet the tow truck driver who recovered my Bronco. There was quite a bit of body damage, broken glass, and the rear top was obliterated, but it started right up, and we drove it home. Whe windshield and passenger door glass were still intact. Stopped for a warm meal on our way home:
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I was too dedicated (some might say stubborn) to stop now, so stay tuned for more.
 

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The Tennessee Warden
96 XL, 5.8L, E4OD, BW1356, 4.56 gears
Joined
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2,817 Posts
So you remember a couple posts ago when I installed the custom bedside panels, right? Well, the trim pieces I had were still that "medium mocha" color, and they were scratched up a good bit. So I scuffed them up with a red scotch-brite pad and painted them up with satin beige Krylon Fusion.







Installed the trim pieces, but I'm still missing something:




The rear belts were in the parts box from the PO, as he recently had the softopper on it (that he sold separately! dammit). The left rear belt was fine but the right rear one appeared to have been cut near the floor bracket, so I sent it to "My Safety Belts" for a webbing replacement. Here's the link to them in case any of you guys need new webbing - they did a great job for about $75. https://www.mysafetybelts.com/services/Seat-Belt-Webbing-Replacement-p102264021

New belt arrived:



Installed:




Also picked up some generic 6x9 speaker grilles and "Christmas tree" push pins from Amazon:




Installed:







When I bought the rig, there was a cracked windshield on the passenger side and one crack had creeped all the way across to the drivers side, right in my line of sight. So I called my auto insurance company and told them I needed a new windshield. @sackman9975 recommended a windshield shop that wouldn't charge me a deductible since they are basically a wholesaler AND installer - score a free windshield!





And now, a nice new windshield!





I ended up removing the wiper arms later and cleaned them up and painted them.





Next, the side window's wipes were brittle and cracked, you know, where it scratches your arm when you rest it on the open window sill? Yeah, so I put on new ones - nice and soft. (y)





~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Later, when one day I was just looking around under the hood, I noticed that one of the vacuum line repairs that were made in the past did not look good - the hose was collapsed and could not have been working right, so I put in a better repair line.













And the new line:




More to come! .................... :cool:
 

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Super Moderator
Joined
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4,464 Posts
Yikes!! I didn't even know this was going on!!

Time to play a little catch up.
 

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The Tennessee Warden
96 XL, 5.8L, E4OD, BW1356, 4.56 gears
Joined
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2,817 Posts

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Super Moderator
Joined
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4,464 Posts
In 2017, my first Bronco was rear ended and totaled. It was an '81, and I had had it for about 13 years. Over the years, I had learned a ton about mechanics, automotive work, how engine's worked, etc. and had done a lot of work to it. The year prior, I had just finished building an engine for it.

Even though it didn't look like much, the damage was severe. Being on the corner, it involved the tailgate, gas tank, side panel, and rear floor board. I'd have basically had to have cut off the rear end of another Bronco and weld it on to fix it.





I didn't want to let it go to waste, so I decided to buy another Bronco and start fresh. Having funds from my insurance claim helped, as well as buying back the '81 and being able to pull all of the parts off of it.

When I hauled it away, it was an empty husk.



I bought my "new" Bronco two months later in October of 2017. A fully loaded 1985 Eddie Bauer with a 302 / AOD. The '81 was a Custom badge, so it was completely bare bones. Going from that to fully loaded was quite the nice switch. It had some body rust which needed to be dealt with, but overall was extremely solid, and well cared for.





My future plans (at the time) were:
  • Fix the rust
  • Clean up the interior (someone had left the top off and it had a bit of sun fade)
  • Pull out the 302 and swap in my 300
  • Pull out the AOD and swap in my manual transmission
  • Fix the air conditioning
  • Miscellaneous swaps from my '81, such as the Saginaw, Redhead steering box, etc.
 

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Super Moderator
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4,464 Posts
Hey! There he is! Lol. You still got a month to go, brother!
I've been looking forward to this! :D
Just completely missed the starting line pistol.
 

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Super Moderator
Joined
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4,464 Posts
My very first "get to know you" project was fixing the fuel sender. It was dead, so I didn't know how much gas I had in the tank. I'm glad I did, because I quickly found out that the gas tank was nearly toast!





When I slid it out from under the Bronco, it ripped off enough chunks of rust that it started leaking onto the driveway.



I ordered up a new gas tank, as well as a new skid plate from BroncoGraveyard.



Added some rubber strips from Lowe's and then installed with a new sender and fuel pump.










At this point, I still had the '81 and was driving it around, so I used this time to have the body work done on the '85. It took some time, but I finally found a shop that would deal with steel panel body work.

I bought as many new panels as I could, as well as some fenders I had found in a junk yard. Loaded it all up and took it to the shop.

















 

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Super Moderator
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4,464 Posts
The body shop was a bit of a love/hate relationship. They started right in on the Bronco, but then work stalled for nearly 4 months when their main bodywork guy quit. It was "I'll work on it next week" for about 12 weeks straight. Very aggravating. However, it was really nice to get it back and see it cleaned up.





























Finally home!





One of my favorite little touches. I kept the emblems off of my '81

 

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Premium Member
Joined
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416 Posts
After the accident, I got busy looking for parts. I found a "new" top and rear window surprisingly fast... about a week or so after driving the Bronco back to my parents' place. I also scored a factory roll bar in that deal, and found some good front fenders at a scrap yard in the area. Eventually, I came across a really nasty rotted-out Bronco with no motor and a lot of good parts, so I bought it and started tearing it down:
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Most of the sheet metal was complete junk... the hood had over an inch of body filler in some places. Everything was caked with enough paint, including the floor, that it could be mistaken for solid metal... until you jab it with a screwdriver and it goes right through. Some parts I kept:
  • The doors, plus an immaculate spare passenger door that came with it
  • The roof, so I could finally get rid of the aftermarket sunroof on mine
  • Rear top, rear window, and tailgate internals
  • Complete matching lock set: doors, ignition, tailgate, glovebox
  • Front axle and steering parts: contains a chewed-up TrueTrac and good looking 4.09 gears
  • Gears from the rear axle: 4.11
  • Shock towers and brackets, and radius arms
  • Warn 8274 winch
  • Dash parts
  • NP435 transmission and NP205 transfer case
Some things I sold from it:
  • Rear seat
  • 7" suspension lift
  • Steering column
  • 9" rear axle housing and Detroit Locker
  • Chromed factory roll bar
  • Wheels and tires
  • Fenders
Most everything else was hacked up, and I salvaged things where I could.
78 Bronco, donor Bronco teardown (24).jpg
78 Bronco, donor Bronco teardown (26).jpg


The cab on my Bronco had been tweaked in the crash, but that was remedied using a farm jack and a come-along in opposite diagonal directions inside the cab. It took a lot of adjustment to get everything to end up straight, and there was a lot of spring-back to contend with. After that, I started to swap parts onto my Bronco, and worked on pulling out the dents in the driver side quarter panel and B-pillar.
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I took the whole panel down to bare metal and put a this coat of primer on to prevent rust. There's no filler on here yet. Not perfect, but pretty decent considering I had no prior bodywork experience:
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Super Moderator
Joined
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4,464 Posts
When I first got my '81 Bronco back in 2004, I knew nothing about them, and knew nothing about the engines.
I was initially disappointed to find out it had "just a 6 cylinder".

Little did I know that it was one of the best engines Ford ever made, and that I'd become an aficionado over the years. :D

In 2016, I had recently graduated with my second degree, and after a couple years of hard work I rewarded myself with a fully built 300. I worked closely with an company that specializes in performance racing engines. My goal was a nice daily driver that put out over 200hp.

I had a spare 300 in the garage that I'd been meaning to rebuild for a while, and brought it down to get cleaned up.









I was pleased to find out it'd never been rebuilt, so it only needed 30 over for a rebuild.





I wanted to go higher compression, and found a good way to do it was to use pistons from a 351w v8 .
From 1965 to 1968, the 300 used the same wrist pin size, so I tracked down a set of connecting rods. They're a bit sought after, so it took a while to find.



19cc 351w pistons.



There aren't any aftermarket performance heads, and the 300's head is its biggest bottleneck, so I wanted to open it up. I bought a set of S.I. enlarged valves and had the valves ground out, and the head professionally ported and polished to match.

Old valves on the right, new on the left:









All of the internals were balanced and blue printed





Lastly, I had the rocker arm studs pulled and then ground and threaded for screw in studs (much stronger).






The block was (near) zero decked. The final compression came out to about 9.1:1.

Erson 270321 camshaft with 0.504" lift and 284 advertised duration, for a nice performance camshaft to wrap it all up.
 

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Super Moderator
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4,464 Posts
Once I got all of the parts home, I painted and assembled it myself.




















I went with ARP head studs for added clamping force, and a high performance Fel-Pro gasket.









Ready to go in!



And at a later date, I added roller rocker arms:

 

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The Tennessee Warden
96 XL, 5.8L, E4OD, BW1356, 4.56 gears
Joined
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2,817 Posts
I need to back up a little bit and talk about one of the first things I did. One of the first things you should do with a new-to-you Bronco is change (or check) the fluids - the life blood of your truck. So, the transmission fluid was checked - nice and red and smelled good - no issues there. The oil was dark, and I had no idea how old it was or how many miles it had on it, so oil and filter was changed. Diff oil in front and rear was fine - no problems there. The coolant, however, was disgusting and dirty - flush time.

I picked up a couple gallons of Prestone concentrate, some Blue Devil flush additive, and a few gallons of distilled water. Then I grabbed a tote from the garage and drained everything out.





It was pretty bad. After draining and refilling with water and additive and about 30 minutes of flushing with the additive and the engine running, I drained the everything out and ran it while draining and filling with water until the water draining out was clear. Near the finish, I dumped in about a gallon of distilled water to flush out the tap water and then closed the petcock. I mixed up the concentrate with distilled water in a 5-gal bucket and started filling the radiator. Ran it, burped it, refilled it .....ad nauseum until the level stayed constant.





So now my coolant was a nice pretty green and not a muddy mess. (y)

On another topic, my dash wasn't very pretty. It looked, well, a little cracked, a little stained, and faded.





So I ordered a CoverKing dash mat as a band aid and it fit perfectly and made it look a little cleaner. These pics are from the moment I installed it - it has since been velcro'd down to stay in place and it has settled.










So soon after this, it was approaching winter, and with this 99% rust free Bronco, I didn’t want to expose it to road salt if at all possible. I did, however, need to use it for work purposes for a few days at a former auto plant that had been demolished and was now being used to store thousands of brand new GM pickup trucks. I was out there to develop some groundwater monitoring wells so that the sampling team could come out the next week and get water samples for a routine monitoring program. The Bronco did great driving around this overgrown area – I just had to watch out for sinkholes!












Driving home on the last day, there was some snow melt on the roads, so she got a little dirty, so a good wash was in order before she went into hibernation.




There was NOT much room in my garage for this behemoth!








Sleeping….




For those of you that remember my old '88 from a while back, I had installed a custom roof rack that I had to sort of cobble together. I wanted to put one on this Bronco also - that's coming up!

Now......back to my :coffee:
 

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Super Moderator
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4,464 Posts
Hello everyone! Hope you're having a great Sunday.

For my project, I knew I wanted to go with a manual transmission. I had the NP-435 out of my '81 (which is a beast of a transmission), but one day in the junk yard, I stumbled upon a 1994 F-350.

While in the engine bay, I noticed that it had a hydraulic slave on the firewall (which meant it had a manual transmission).

I then noticed the F-350 had hubs up front (4x4).

Next, I saw it was a gas V8! Since I personally don't know the visual difference between a 351w from a 460, I threw the VIN into my phone on a free online checker, and it came up as a 5.8L.

It had all the ingredients, so several hours later I walked out with this:



A small block gas, 4x4 S5-42 (ZF5) transmission! Not the easiest job since they don't allow jacks in the yard, but a friend of mine and I figured out how to drop it down using ratchet straps.
I also grabbed the crossmember, floor pan, and BW-1356 transfer case.
Total cost came to a little less than $300.

Home.









I was hoping it was in good shape so I could just use it as is, so I took off the case to inspect it.









I fully broke the transmission down and inspected everything.



Unfortunately, nearly every set of synchros was worn out. I thought about rebuilding it myself, but when the cost of all the tools and rebuild parts came close to how much a professional rebuild with a warranty did, I opted for the latter.

Off to the shop it went, in pieces.
 

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Super Moderator
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4,464 Posts
Meanwhile, I decided to rebuild the 1356, which I knew I could do.



It took some ingenuity getting the yoke bolts loose, like bolting it to my NP-435 to hold it still, but I finally got them to break free.



Some other creative means of keeping things from spinning:





The pump was near failure and the arm and case were both almost fully worn through:





Next was to fully break it all down and replace all the bearings, seals, and the chain.







Tapping in fresh bearings





Fresh seals





Broke down the main shaft to replace the pump



I welded an arm onto the end of the pump shaft to give it more surface area and keep it from wearing through again.





Fresh bearings, seals, pump, and chain.



Rebuild and ready to go in with the ZF5

 

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Premium Member
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416 Posts
Having addressed the quarter panel, I moved on to re-skinning my Bronco's roof. I found this video from Eastwood to be helpful, and I watched a few other similar swaps as well to understand the process:

Reasons to lose the sunroof, and to re-skin rather than patch:
  • Aftermarket sunroof was old and leaky, and did not match the curve of the roof, so it could never be sealed properly
  • Condensation would build up on the sunroof and then drip into my seat, or onto my lap while driving
  • Structural member across the cab roof had been cut, allowing the roof skin to warp, even before the accident
  • The rear top comes off... its like a gigantic sunroof, so I don't need this one
  • Patching the hole without causing further distortion to the roof would be very difficult
  • Already deep into body repairs, so its as good a time as I'll get
First things first, I had to section out the panel I wanted from the donor Bronco, taking it very carefully apart at the seams. I left the brace attached to the skin. A spot weld cutter and die grinder with a cutoff wheel were my best friends here.
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Then everything was sanded down to bare metal so that I could find and address any rust or dents. There was one dent on the driver side with filler as thick as a half inch wrench, and one rust hole that I cut out and replaced with a fabricated patch. The patch looks pretty gross, but the weld is recessed thanks to some panel flanging pliers I purchased.
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Next came disassembly of my existing roof. Out with the old sunroof and cracked windshield:
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78 Bronco, body repair (122).jpg


Got a bit creative removing the windshield gasket, using blocks of wood to apply pressure and work my way around.
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A nasty surprise along the top edge... not sure whether to blame the sunroof or the cab markers for this one:
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Premium Member
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416 Posts
Gloss gone, and ready to turn attention to the roof skin. I made short work of removing the skin using a pneumatic chisel with a shearing tip. A wire wheel around the perimeter revealed the spot welds, so that they could be cut, and the leftover strip of metal peeled up. Not kidding, this whole deal was a bit scary, leaving the cab a lot airier than usual.
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Once everything was cleaned up, I clamped the "new" skin in place, using the collection of Vise Grips I'd been building in anticipation of the roof swap. The TIG welder was my weapon of choice to replace the spot welds. The structure beneath absorbed a lot of heat, increasing resistance to burn through. I was able to stick my filler to the bottom layer right in the middle of the hole, burn or snip it off about 3/4-1" up, and melt it down so that it would just fill the spot weld hole in the top layer of metal.
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Aside from the roof, took the entire body down to bare metal and dealt with a few other areas of concern:
  • Repaired a seat belt mounting point by welding in a new nut
  • Hammer and dolly' d the hood corners back into shape (got over-aggressive on this, having to dent them back in a bit and use reinforced filler)
  • Replaced portion of lower outer skin on "new" driver side door
  • Discovered and removed old mounting points for a rear tire carrier (plans to put one on my bumper)
  • Replaced pin-holed rear lower corners of quarter panels
  • Replaced the lower portion of the passenger side door jamb (rust due to that damn sunroof! and poor drainage)
  • Fabricated portion of rear bedside top on passenger side, where the raised edge ends
The hood corners:
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The door:
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Tire carrier: damage at both points, and the different color inside my tailgate suggest that someone back into something pretty hard at one point. The upper region (not shown) was definitely patched already, and poorly.
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The Tennessee Warden
96 XL, 5.8L, E4OD, BW1356, 4.56 gears
Joined
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2,817 Posts
OK, so I left off with the idea of installing a roof rack system on the topper. So, the Bronco's hibernation was now over and I bought a house so that we could get out of the rental house we were in since we moved to Michigan. I was stoked that is was again time to drive the Bronco!

Some of you may remember my old white ’88 Bronco that I bought back in 2016 (A contestant in the Sept '17 FOTM) – I ended up selling that one as I had some unexpected things come up and had a few hefty hospital bills. But, not long before I sold it, I had installed a roof rail system and a cargo basket on the top. When I sold it, I removed the basket but left the rails and crossbars on. Fast-forward a while to when I bought this ’96……I wanted to do the same. On my first one, I had bought a set of Chevy Suburban roof rails from a local guy and trimmed them to fit and it looked pretty good. So one day, I went to the local pick and pull to look for another set – while I was walking around the yard, I spotted a 2005 (I think) white Chevy Avalanche with roof rails. The thought occurred to me that it might be the right length as it sits and might not need trimming. I measured it and it was the PERFECT length! So I removed it and carried it to the checkout and bought it for $25 and brought it home. Some fresh paint and they looked like new.

















So now that they were all pretty and new-looking, I needed to figure out a good mounting method. I wasn’t planning on using a hoist to lift the topper off with the rails, so I didn’t need a ton of reinforcement on the underside of the top, but I did want a secure mount that wouldn’t tear up the fiberglass. I thought that some rubber washers combined with fender washers might be good, and then an “a-ha moment” made me think of those rubber feet that are on the bottom of guitar amps (and other things like PA speakers and such). They are thick rubber and have an integrated washer inside them. Cue the Amazon order:





So I set the assembled rails on top to line it up and then mark the hole locations and then drilled them. I then looked underneath and noticed that the holes were near the edge where a small ledge ran lengthwise, so I took a razor blade and re-shaped the rubber on the washer.









Then I liberally applied some marine silicone sealant around each hole in the top and carefully set the rails on and lined up the holes. I squeezed some more sealant in the bolt holes and put the bolts in the hole from the top. The forward-most and aft-most holes were secured with self-tapping screws, as their job is mostly to keep the “feet” straight and they wouldn't protrude into the interior since that area is hollow.




The rails and crossbars add a nice look that might even look stock to the non-trained eye.




Then I climbed in and installed the rubber washers and nuts – the back ones were easy to tighten with one hand inside and one hand outside. The front ones were a little trickier – good thing I have long arms!









Then the basket got clamped on to the crossbars, and done!








I do like the way it looks - some may not, but I do and that's what matters! <insert :goodfinge smiley here> lol

Back when I had my old '88, I had pulled a E-van PS pump and bought all the supplies to do a Saginaw upgrade. However, when it became apparent that I would be selling that Bronco, I did not install it and thought I would save it for the next Bronco (I had a feeling I'd be getting another!). Well, before I moved to MI, money was tight and I had to sell the setup - so I did.

BUT.......when I got this rig, it had the stock setup - it was working perfectly with no noise or problems, but I knew I still wanted to do the upgrade. Then, one day I saw on the FSB For Sale section a Sag pump/4-bolt upgrade "kit" for sale. So I jumped on it, sent @dash_cam a few bucks, and after a few USPS shipping issues, finally received it. This was my next project....Stay tuned....


 
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