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so i have a 78 bronco and its condition and fuel efficiency has made me really consider getting a newer more efficient vehicle, but i just love the bronco to the point were i now want to make it more fuel efficient and get it back to normal working conditions so i can keep using it for as long as possible.

im a bang for my buck kinda guy and im looking for all the cheap and simple things that can be done to increase the life/efficiency of my vehicle, and i do not want to have someone else do the work for me, so if there are instructions on the internet, ill do it myself.

examples would be: replacing spark plugs, filters, oils/liquids/distributor related things, ignition systems, anything in the area of "bolt on".

i have around $1000 to put towards the work id like to do on my bronco, but i know absolutely nothing about the automotive industry ( companies, products etc.) so i dont know whats good and whats not, im sure there are things i could do or get that ive never heard of before. i dont know how effective something is or wether its useful or not.

my top priority is fuel efficiency, so anything related to that is much needed.

the only thing i really know that would be useful are one of those computers you plug into the computer port in the vehicle (forget what the port is called) but i highly doubt a vehicle from 78 even has an onboard computer in the first place so : /

here are the stats. 78 bronco with police package, 400 ci engine. 4x4 and automatic


 

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honestly you're probably lucky that thing doesn't have a computer lol
cars and trucks from that era can be made to get comparable mpg to modern vehicles,the advantage is that they are not choked down by anything, i don't know what the smog rules are where you live but you're gonna want to make sure that equipment is gone if there at all.

but i'd say make sure your carb is clean and tuned correctly (really can't tell you how to do that but just know that's a factor)
fresh plugs, wires, cap + rotor
prolly wouldn't be too bad to throw some MSD crap on there (ignition box + coil)
make sure your timing is up to factory spec at least
try to make intake/exhaust flow better.
but if you can get your carb/ignition/timing, all correct and harmonious with each other then you might have something :thumbup
 

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Discussion Starter #3
k so i read what you said and looked up some some products

in regards to intake all i could find that would work with the old style round intakes was a filter, i remember seeing ads on tv for a little fan or something that can be attached to your intake to increase airflow into the engine (but again, i dont know if it works with the old round intakes). im not sure what all else i can do in regards to that (unless the intake can be entirely replaced and fitted with a new cold-air intake style thing) but i hate modifying it as it ruins the look. (im huge on keeping things looking how they originally were)

in regards to ignition i went to MSD and found a few things
(im not sure if im allowed to link directly to companies products on the forum so i wont)

blaster ignition. part No. 5900
Ford 351W Crank Trigger Distributor. Part No. 8378
blaster 3 coil. Part No. 8223
Red Super Conductor Ford 351W-460, HEI. Part No. 31349

now in regards to that distributor, i saw a few of them that used electronic connects and some that had the gear that connects to the crankshaft, i assume the one with the connectors is for newer vehicles with computers, and that my bronco would use the geared one?

also if you could review the distributor and determine if it is good quality for its price ( most of the ones i saw were $400 + this was $250, and i wouldnt pay more than that for one)

for spark plugs i looked up Denso and Autolite plugs, for autolite i looked at their double platinum ones and for denso it was their Iridium tough VXU series.
 

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all the MSD crap in the world won't help you get better mpg.make sure it's tuned up, and thats about all you can do.you are dealing with 2.5 tons of detroit iron.......it will never get great mpg's, and if you ask me, you are doing good to stay out of the single digit's when it comes to gas mileage.
 

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search for fuel mileage and a few threads should come up. I would look at the 20+mpg possible, but I think that is for newer engines. There is also the ultimate mpg thread which is for every type of engine, but some of the products are for newer engines only
 

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The factory Duraspark ignition is fine. Don't throw away your money on ignition parts other than spark plugs and wires.
Replace the timing set with a 0* timing set. There is a 8* retard built into the stock timing set and it kills the efficiency of these engines. This is the single most bang for the buck improvement you can do.
Depending on the mileage of the engine, a valve job may net you good improvement. A reputable shop could run your motor on an analyzer and give you some good info as far as it's condition.
That should keep you busy for a while.
 

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Your biggest bang for the buck aint going to be found in hot rod parts or gimicks. About the best you can do for that low compression 400 smog motor is to center your attention on a good tune up and an improved exhaust.

Things to consider;
Sixliter tune. (Do a search on the forum).
A true dual exhaust, or at least a bigger "Y" system.
A new "true roller" type timing chain set.
If you can find one, a "high altitude" power valve in your present Motorcraft carb will help.
If your present motor has a lot of miles, there's often gains in power & milage to be found just by doing a good 3-angle valve job and restoring proper valve guide fit.

Good brands of stuff to buy when/as needed;
Autolite copper core plugs.
Low resistance plug wires. Use something with real wire and good boots.
Motorcraft replacement parts. They actualy fit and work right.
Modern high flow cat(s) and/or muffler(s) are much improved over what came on your '78.
Clowes timing-set parts.
Felpro gaskets.
Wix or Motorcraft filters.

Stay away from;
Any brand/type of hot rod ignition parts, coils, distributors, magic-boxes etc.
4-tube headers. They are mostly for high-RPM motors and won't do squat on a DD heavy truck that a better stock-type exhaust won't do.
Bigger/heavier tires and/or "lift kits".
Anything made in china or Tiwan.
Gimick-gizmos like are found in the JC Whitney catalog....or on the various hot rod ignition sites. At best they are a waste of money. At worse they'll cause your truck to leave you stranded.

Thems just a few of my thoughts on the matter. Some folks might disagree with some of it, but there it is.

DGW
 

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For the money you say you have, these guys got it. If you ever save up more money, you might want to try a higher (numerically lower) gear ratio, but sometimes this can have adverse affects because you have your foot in the throttle to get up to speed. You could also try going to a smaller diameter tire. But seriously, the best I've ever gotten out of a 351M/400 4x4 rig was 15mpg's highway. If you can get 10mpg's city and 14 highway, I'd consider yourself lucky.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
k so ive done some searching and looking and heres everything so far that i know i can do

replace timing set and set to 0 degrees.

do the "sixlitre" upgrade

replace exhaust system.

in regards to the timing set i found "Cloyes Original True Roller Timing Sets" at summit racings' website, #9-3121. it said maximum advance/retard at cam 2 degree, maximum advance/retard at crank was 4 degrees, i assume there is a guide on here that shows how to set degree advances and retards on engines

in regards to the sixlitre upgrade ive found an ignition coil at MSD (its an upgraded stock replacement one) and i found a cap/rotor kit from summit. i found spark plug wires at MSD (they cost $100 which seems pricey, is that a normal price?)

in regards to the exhaust system these are the parts ive found

summit racing headers (SUM-G9034) they are the cheapest ones i could find in my price range
dynatech catalytic converter (they have 3 inlet/outlet sizes and i chose the 3" one as upgrading the exhaust tubes to 3" would increase flow)
replacing all tubing with 3" dia tubing

inr egards to the muffler i have absolutely no idea where to start, there re hundreds of different ones and i cant tell what i need, all im concerned about in regards to them is better fuel efficiency (so if ou have any suggestions as to whats best id love to hear it) my bronco has 2 exhaust pipes so id need a duel outlet one.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
in regards to liquids /lubricants, what all can and should be replaced? what types of oil should i be using (synthetic/non synthietic)
 
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