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1988 Eddie Bauer - 5.8. C6, 33's but no significant engine mods.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Bronco Fam -
Overview:
I am looking for logical upgrades to a 1988 Bronco Eddie Bauer, 351W, C6 transmission.

I have done a lot of work to the rig recently and it is now running extremely well. Now that I have sorted the majority of the mechanical errors I was facing I am reaching out to the community to help me determine what is the most logical upgrade path to take for future improvements.

I am mostly interested in reliability, preventative maintenance, quality of life improvements, performance, then off road capability. I don't live in an area with a lot of access to off road trails, that's the only reason it is lower on my list.

Requirements:
These need to be projects that 1 reasonably skilled person can accomplish with basic tools. I don't mind getting new equipment if I have to, but the upgrades will be performed in parking lot. I don't have welding equipment or air tools. I do have a friend with a shop who will let me use his lift and borrow some tools, but I can't leave the truck there overnight. I need to plan on 1-2 day projects. I would also like to keep the budget in the $1K or less range per project. I'm trying to do these upgrades in little digestible chunks.

Things that have already been done:
  1. Engine has been rebuilt
  2. Transmission has been rebuilt
  3. Transfer case has been rebuilt
  4. New brakes
  5. New tires (33 inches)
  6. Ignition has been mostly replaced
  7. Air intake has been upgraded
  8. Headers installed
  9. Truck has been painted
  10. Body work has been done
  11. All door locks and windows (including rear winder) are functional
  12. Plugs and wires are upgraded
  13. AC has been repaired/restored
  14. Vacuum lines have been replaced with silicone lines
  15. It already has a small lift (I think its 2 inches)
  16. IAC, TPS, and many of the gremlins that raise their heads with age have been addressed
Initial thoughts on upgrades from me:
  1. Install ported and polished upper and lower intake and throttle body
  2. Replace injectors with Ford Explorer "4 hole" injectors
  3. Install new valve covers and gaskets
  4. Convert from MAP to MAF electronics
  5. Convert to electric fan
  6. Repair/Upgrade wiring
  7. Inspect and replaced bushings and mounts
  8. Install carpet (currently bare floors that have been coated with bedliner)
  9. Install stereo
  10. Repair exhaust leak (not sure where it is, but I can hear it)
  11. Swap NSS - it currently has a 4 pin one, I need a 6 pin one, will have to be installed before April to pass Virginia safety inspection
Questions for the community:
  1. What am I missing?
  2. Are these logical improvements, if not, what would be?
  3. What have you done to your vehicle that made a significant improvement that should be added to the list?
  4. What parts are prone to failure that I have not included that should be?
Thank you everyone, I'm looking forward to hearing your feedback.
 

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1986 Bronco Eddie Bauer 5.0 mostly stock
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2,641 Posts
  1. Install ported and polished upper and lower intake and throttle body
  2. Replace injectors with Ford Explorer "4 hole" injectors
  3. Install new valve covers and gaskets
You can do all of these in a weekend pretty easily, and it should cost you around 300 bucks. Do NOT get the amazon 50 dollar injectors, get properly rebuilt (or new) bosch injectors...they cost about 250 for a set.
TO do this you will need to remove the upper intake, so you can clean this up and do some light port matching while you're at it. You will also have access to the passenger valve cover so you can replace the gaskets. Go ahead and get a valve cover stud kit instead of using the original bolts...it makes life much much easier when re-installing the gaskets.
If you plan on removing the lower intake to port it, be careful removing the bolts as they have been known to break off in the head, don't force anything, use hand tools, and work them back and forth if necessary.
If you have stock heads, you're not going to get a LOT out of porting the intake, you don't have to polish intake runners, only the exhaust. Polishing the intake can hurt swirl. The best bang for the buck here is to port match, but to get that benefit, you need to do the same thing to your cylinder heads and they need to be off the truck to do that, but if you wanted to go ahead and do the intake, it's not going to hurt anything and its easy to do by yourself with an air drill and a couple of different burrs.
 

· Registered
1988 Eddie Bauer - 5.8. C6, 33's but no significant engine mods.
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237 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
  1. Install ported and polished upper and lower intake and throttle body
  2. Replace injectors with Ford Explorer "4 hole" injectors
  3. Install new valve covers and gaskets
You can do all of these in a weekend pretty easily, and it should cost you around 300 bucks. Do NOT get the amazon 50 dollar injectors, get properly rebuilt (or new) bosch injectors...they cost about 250 for a set.
TO do this you will need to remove the upper intake, so you can clean this up and do some light port matching while you're at it. You will also have access to the passenger valve cover so you can replace the gaskets. Go ahead and get a valve cover stud kit instead of using the original bolts...it makes life much much easier when re-installing the gaskets.
If you plan on removing the lower intake to port it, be careful removing the bolts as they have been known to break off in the head, don't force anything, use hand tools, and work them back and forth if necessary.
If you have stock heads, you're not going to get a LOT out of porting the intake, you don't have to polish intake runners, only the exhaust. Polishing the intake can hurt swirl. The best bang for the buck here is to port match, but to get that benefit, you need to do the same thing to your cylinder heads and they need to be off the truck to do that, but if you wanted to go ahead and do the intake, it's not going to hurt anything and its easy to do by yourself with an air drill and a couple of different burrs.
Huge thank you @robbz28

I was looking at sending the intakes off to Big Dogs porting. The going rate to port/polish and flow test is around $400 I believe. I have a spare upper and lower. I was going to send those in and do the install whenever they get done with them. The local speed shop wants around $1K to do the install for me, or I can brave it and do it alone.

I was aware the injectors were not accessible until the manifold came off. I was planning on doing them at the same time. Good advice on the rebuilt ones. Do you have a source you suggest for rebuilt Bosch's?

I do have stock heads on it right now. I was considering grabbing a set of AFR heads at some point, but I need to do more research to figure out what swapping them is going to entail. That will likely be further down the road, but it is on my mind. In general I like to do a small upgrade, drive it, see what ends up breaking, fix that, then pick another upgrade.
 

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1986 Bronco Eddie Bauer 5.0 mostly stock
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2,641 Posts
Huge thank you @robbz28

I was looking at sending the intakes off to Big Dogs porting. The going rate to port/polish and flow test is around $400 I believe. I have a spare upper and lower. I was going to send those in and do the install whenever they get done with them. The local speed shop wants around $1K to do the install for me, or I can brave it and do it alone.

I was aware the injectors were not accessible until the manifold came off. I was planning on doing them at the same time. Good advice on the rebuilt ones. Do you have a source you suggest for rebuilt Bosch's?

I do have stock heads on it right now. I was considering grabbing a set of AFR heads at some point, but I need to do more research to figure out what swapping them is going to entail. That will likely be further down the road, but it is on my mind. In general I like to do a small upgrade, drive it, see what ends up breaking, fix that, then pick another upgrade.
If you're planning for the future, then you can go ahead and hog out your intake....but you can do a port match yourself pretty easily and it will definitely help...but as mentioned i don't think you're going to get any real benefit until you match them to your cylinder heads. In fact, you MAY have WORSE performance if you fully port your intake then stick it on stock heads because your flow will be vastly disrupted when it hits those small intake ports...like water hitting a dam, your airflow is going to be really crazy at that spot.

I got my injectors from CS Injectors:
He has an ebay store too

Removing the upper intake and replacing the injectors is a cake walk. I can do it by myself in an hour (but ive done it a couple of times). I recommend doing this and the valve covers and while youre at it get a new fuel pressure regulator. The injectors really woke my stock 5.0 up.
 

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1988 Eddie Bauer - 5.8. C6, 33's but no significant engine mods.
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237 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you're planning for the future, then you can go ahead and hog out your intake....but you can do a port match yourself pretty easily and it will definitely help...but as mentioned i don't think you're going to get any real benefit until you match them to your cylinder heads. In fact, you MAY have WORSE performance if you fully port your intake then stick it on stock heads because your flow will be vastly disrupted when it hits those small intake ports...like water hitting a dam, your airflow is going to be really crazy at that spot.

I got my injectors from CS Injectors:
He has an ebay store too

Removing the upper intake and replacing the injectors is a cake walk. I can do it by myself in an hour (but ive done it a couple of times). I recommend doing this and the valve covers and while youre at it get a new fuel pressure regulator. The injectors really woke my stock 5.0 up.
Hmm...maybe I'll hold on the port job until I can afford the heads then. No sense in bogging the engine down or crippling the performance, especially if I may have to wait a few months to get the heads. I'm going to look into those injectors though. If the upper is that easy to take off I may knock that out.
 

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1986 Bronco Eddie Bauer 5.0 mostly stock
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2,641 Posts
Hmm...maybe I'll hold on the port job until I can afford the heads then. No sense in bogging the engine down or crippling the performance, especially if I may have to wait a few months to get the heads. I'm going to look into those injectors though. If the upper is that easy to take off I may knock that out.
It really is fairly simple, and theres a 50/50 chance you won't need a new upper intake gasket, but have one anyway..and a throttle body gasket. There are 6 bolts that hold the upper in place, and one is a booger but if you have the right tool its no problem, theres one in the middle UNDER the upper intake that you have to have a 1/4 drive ratchet and a LONG extension and i THINK a #40 (may be 45) torx to get out. I have seen where these were not put back in place so...you may or may not have one there depending on who rebuilt your engine!
The fuel rails are held in place by 4 small bolts and you'll probably need a pick set to get all the old rubber orings out of the lower intake and out of the rail when you remove the old injectors. Got to make sure you bleed the pressure off of the fuel line before you do this (ask me how i know). Then its just a matter of carefully unplugging the injectors and pushing the new ones in place (lubed) and going back together with everything.
 

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Dont see anything wrong with your plan.
Just adding the thought that, since your running a C6, You could also convert to any number of aftermarket intakes and run something like a Holley Sniper, holley terminator-x, edelbrock Pro-flo, etc... Especially if you are going to do the AFR heads and a MAF swap. Likely a wash money wise by the time you have everything.
 
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1986 Bronco Eddie Bauer 5.0 mostly stock
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2,641 Posts
Dont see anything wrong with your plan.
Just adding the thought that, since your running a C6, You could also convert to any number of aftermarket intakes and run something like a Holley Sniper, holley terminator-x, edelbrock Pro-flo, etc... Especially if you are going to do the AFR heads and a MAF swap. Likely a wash money wise by the time you have everything.
THIS is a great point...if you are even considering an aftermarket EFI you'd be dumping money in a hole working on the factory stuff....if you're planning on doing all those upgrades I personally think you're better off with the aftermarket, and you can bolt it all on yourself. Gives you flexibility if you do more mods in the future as well with their tunability..at least from what i've read.

MAF swaps aren't as cheap as they used to be.
 

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1988 Eddie Bauer - 5.8. C6, 33's but no significant engine mods.
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237 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
THIS is a great point...if you are even considering an aftermarket EFI you'd be dumping money in a hole working on the factory stuff....if you're planning on doing all those upgrades I personally think you're better off with the aftermarket, and you can bolt it all on yourself. Gives you flexibility if you do more mods in the future as well with their tunability..at least from what i've read.

MAF swaps aren't as cheap as they used to be.
@robbz28 and @CrazyBRONCOguy
I want to make sure I'm tracking -
My rig is already fuel injected, are the options outlined plug and play aftermarket injection upgrades? Are you suggesting buying bolt on upper and lower intakes instead of porting the factory ones?

Part of the reason I looked at porting was because I have a spare set and the aftermarket parts have gotten crazy expensive and hard to find. I did look at the Holley hi-ram, but I would need a different throttle body and it looks like it will have some serious mission creep on what else I will need to repair.

The MAF swap was mostly due to MPG savings and maximizing the benefits of opening up the intake. If that's not necessary or accurate I'll reevaluate.

Thanks y'all!
 

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82 XLT Lariat 351w, Edelbrock 1406 4bbl ,C6 auto, auto locking hubs ,33x10.5x15
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Since the engine and transmission have already been rebuilt and running well... What have you done suspension wise? Steering gear box, Saginaw steering pump swap to make those larger tires easier to move, all new bushings for the front end, steering shaft upgrade (the borgeson swap), new springs or leafs, shocks all around.

Or looking at high wear often neglected items like new brake lines, brake upgrades to better pads or rotors, or rebuild rears, new fuel lines, tranny lines (not sure where you are but in PA road salt kills these quick), maybe new gas tank, filler hose, and fuel pump(s), or the cargo area trap door project to make changing the pump easier in the future (would this apply to the bricks?)...

I dunno just to me seems the next logical progression path now that she's running well and reliably...
 

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1988 Eddie Bauer - 5.8. C6, 33's but no significant engine mods.
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Since the engine and transmission have already been rebuilt and running well... What have you done suspension wise? Steering gear box, Saginaw steering pump swap to make those larger tires easier to move, all new bushings for the front end, steering shaft upgrade (the borgeson swap), new springs or leafs, shocks all around.

Or looking at high wear often neglected items like new brake lines, new fuel lines, tranny lines (not sure where you are but in PA road salt kills these quick), maybe new gas tank, filler hose, and fuel pump(s), or the cargo area trap door project to make changing the pump easier in the future (would this apply to the bricks?)

I dunno just to me seems the next logical progression path now that she's running well and reliably...
Good call!
The suspension is Rancho, and getting long in the tooth. I need to post some picture and see if I can identify it. I'm honestly not sure what it is. It likely could use and upgrade or replacement.

I like the idea of upgrading the steering pump and shaft. I'll dig around and see what that project will run me.

The tank, pumps (both of em) are new. Some of the lines are new as well. You're right though, might be worth digging into them and seeing what looks rough. Since the carpet is out I could always chop an access hole. I had to do that with my old Land Rover. That made life significantly easier.
 

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82 XLT Lariat 351w, Edelbrock 1406 4bbl ,C6 auto, auto locking hubs ,33x10.5x15
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I like the idea of upgrading the steering pump and shaft. I'll dig around and see what that project will run me
I recently did the borgeson shaft with damper and the redhead gear box swap the shaft was like 225 iirc but looking like anywhere from 180ish-280ish depending on if you go straight shaft or with damper

The redhead box was close to like 275 but here's for the 88...295 with a 175 core charge

For the Saginaw pump there's a fella who regularly posts rebuilt set ups here in the classifieds for the life of me I can never remember his name but they're complete sets (pump, hoses, bracket etc) for like 375ish iirc... Check out the classifieds im sure you'll find it... Or plenty of places carry the new or rebuilt.
 

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82 XLT Lariat 351w, Edelbrock 1406 4bbl ,C6 auto, auto locking hubs ,33x10.5x15
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The suspension is Rancho, and getting long in the tooth. I need to post some picture and see if I can identify it. I'm honestly not sure what it is. It likely could use and upgrade or replacement
I think @BigBlue 94 is familiar with the rancho set ups. I've seen him talk about them a few times. Maybe posting some pix he could id it 🤷 or for sure someone else likely could. These guys are pretty brilliant...
 

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1988 Eddie Bauer - 5.8. C6, 33's but no significant engine mods.
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I recently did the borgeson shaft with damper and the redhead gear box swap the shaft was like 225 iirc but looking like anywhere from 180ish-280ish depending on if you go straight shaft or with damper

The redhead box was close to like 275 but here's for the 88...295 with a 175 core charge

For the Saginaw pump there's a fella who regularly posts rebuilt set ups here in the classifieds for the life of me I can never remember his name but they're complete sets (pump, hoses, bracket etc) for like 375ish iirc... Check out the classifieds im sure you'll find it... Or plenty of places carry the new or rebuilt.
Outstanding. Thank you! I'll add them to the shopping list.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I think @BigBlue 94 is familiar with the rancho set ups. I've seen him talk about them a few times. Maybe posting some pix he could id it 🤷 or for sure someone else likely could. These guys are pretty brilliant...
Problem with mine is they guy who did my body work and undercoating sprayed the suspension...so it's pitch black. I'll need to do some scraping to get any info off them. I can always post a pic and see if anyone can tell what they are by shape/style.
 

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82 XLT Lariat 351w, Edelbrock 1406 4bbl ,C6 auto, auto locking hubs ,33x10.5x15
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Problem with mine is they guy who did my body work and undercoating sprayed the suspension...so it's pitch black. I'll need to do some scraping to get any info off them. I can always post a pic and see if anyone can tell what they are by shape/style.
What kinda undercoat did he use? Any idea? If something like RustAvery pb blaster will take that off... Something like por15 I'd try acetone (or nail polish remover) 1st, maybe it won't take the label colors (thinking shocks here) with it if you do it light enough and in thin layers... Or possibly a scotch Brite pad and a light wet sand (I find it more forgiving than dry sanding)... 🤷 Just thinking out loud here ..
 

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1986 Bronco Eddie Bauer 5.0 mostly stock
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@robbz28 and @CrazyBRONCOguy
I want to make sure I'm tracking -
My rig is already fuel injected, are the options outlined plug and play aftermarket injection upgrades? Are you suggesting buying bolt on upper and lower intakes instead of porting the factory ones?

Part of the reason I looked at porting was because I have a spare set and the aftermarket parts have gotten crazy expensive and hard to find. I did look at the Holley hi-ram, but I would need a different throttle body and it looks like it will have some serious mission creep on what else I will need to repair.

The MAF swap was mostly due to MPG savings and maximizing the benefits of opening up the intake. If that's not necessary or accurate I'll reevaluate.

Thanks y'all!
The factory speed density unit can only offer so much, and it can only handle so much change, there are options to keep the factory injection and MAF swap is one of those, but there are also aftermarket ECM's like PimpXS and Megasquirt that allows you to make whatever changes you want and keep the stock EFI.

A holley sniper you ditch the entire current intake and fuel injection system and replace it with all aftermarket. All it needs is a 12v switch, 12v constant, and a ground as far as additional wiring goes. You get any good 4 barrel carb intake and bolt on, then bolt the new injection on like a carburetor and it comes with a harness you have to route and make those three connections i mentioned earlier. Then you can ditch all the smog related goodies under the hood too (assuming youre not in california). I have read that you can use your factory EFI fuel pumps with the Sniper, but i think that is a question for Holley...if not you have to wire in a pump that comes with the kit anyway.
 

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1988 Eddie Bauer - 5.8. C6, 33's but no significant engine mods.
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
What kinda undercoat did he use? Any idea? If something like RustAvery pb blaster will take that off... Something like por15 I'd try acetone (or nail polish remover) 1st, maybe it won't take the label colors with it if you do it light enough and in thin layers... Or possibly a scotch Brite pad and a light wet sand (I find it more forgiving than dry sanding)... 🤷 Just thinking out loud here ..
Pretty sure it's Rhinoliner.
 

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1988 Eddie Bauer - 5.8. C6, 33's but no significant engine mods.
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The factory speed density unit can only offer so much, and it can only handle so much change, there are options to keep the factory injection and MAF swap is one of those, but there are also aftermarket ECM's like PimpXS and Megasquirt that allows you to make whatever changes you want and keep the stock EFI.

A holley sniper you ditch the entire current intake and fuel injection system and replace it with all aftermarket. All it needs is a 12v switch, 12v constant, and a ground as far as additional wiring goes. You get any good 4 barrel carb intake and bolt on, then bolt the new injection on like a carburetor and it comes with a harness you have to route and make those three connections i mentioned earlier. Then you can ditch all the smog related goodies under the hood too (assuming youre not in california). I have read that you can use your factory EFI fuel pumps with the Sniper, but i think that is a question for Holley...if not you have to wire in a pump that comes with the kit anyway.
That is certainly a route I had not looked at taking. Good food for thought.

My plan was to do the port/polish, eventually do heads, and the MAF swap. I a did a little looking around and getting my hands on a MAF computer might be more challenging than I anticipated. The sniper system looks like it would be around $1300 or so, and the MAF computers are pushing $1K pretty easily. None of my local pull-a-parts have one in stock. You might be on to something there. I'm going to do a little more homework and see what the going rate on carb uppers are, and if I have to mate it to a carb lower (unless you know off the top of your head).
 
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