After being forced to sell my old '88 and fall into the shadows for a bit, I have regained my footing and hopped back in the saddle. I found a pretty clean, rust-free, '96 Bronco XL near my new home in SE Michigan. It is a former Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency fleet truck and spent all but the last couple years of its life in TN. Knowing it was a state gov't truck, I feel pretty confident in its maintenance schedule for most of its life. I am the third owner, and the guy I bought it from only put about 6000 miles on the clock. He put a lot of work into it, and did a pretty good job at most of it, from what I can tell. Here are the stats of it when I purchased it:
1996 XL model
5.8 L with E4OD/BW1356 t.c.
8.8 limited slip and TTB Detroit-locked D44 with 4.56 gear ratios
15x10 black wheels (unknown brand)
35" GoodYear Wrangler MT/R Kevlar
Rear disc brake conversion
Stainless braided brake lines
Front and rear custom fabbed off-road bumpers with swing-out spare carrier
recessed off road lights in front and rear bumpers (not wired yet)
Custom fabbed rock sliders with step bars
Mastercraft suspension racing seats
5.5" JBG SuperFlex suspension lift with extended radius arms with Deaver prog coils and
Pioneer head unit with wireless remote
New door and panel speakers of unknown brand
New stainless 3" exhaust from the stock Y-pipe back, new high-flow cat, and Flomaster
muffler with exit behind the wheel
It runs well, and a fellow FSB member came by my house the other day and helped me reset the PSOM, so it should run even better on the road next time i take it out.
So one of the first things I want to do is clean up the interior and make it look nicer. It’s an XL with no frills (hand-crank windows, manual locks, no center console, no speed control, no tilt column, etc.), but it does have A/C that blows cold, a strong blower motor, rear window that rolls up and down beautifully, rear window defrost, and a working windshield washer and strong wiper motor.
The bedside panels in the back seats/cargo area, at some point, were discarded - maybe got wet and soggy, were damaged, who knows? Anyway I thought about and thought that maybe I would source some XLT or EB rear panels from a JY somewhere. Then I thought to myself, “self, you’re pretty good with your hands and were a Boy Scout many moons ago - make your own!”
So I cleaned out the back cargo area, vacuumed it out with the help of one of my boys, wiped all the sides and floor down with Simple Green.
Then the process to make new bedside panels started. After several trial and error fits, a cardboard template was make for a new passenger side panel.
I then went to the local JoAnn fabric store and picked up some leather-grained beige and green vinyl. I started designing the bedside panel covering material. The measurements:
...and the design:
I get some free time and start in on it (borrowing my wife’s sewing machine!).
Now to pick up some thin board to wrap this around. Stay tuned.
Wow I want picture of the furnature the piece behind the table looks like quarter sawn veneer nice! The side panels look great too, I need to make some myself as everyone ends up getting hacked for crappy speakers.
I'm not sure how I could forget to add this, but I had to replace the right front wheel bearings before the shop would align it, so aided by fellow FSBer Sackman9975, we did it. The bearings were toast, and come to find out the Warn lockout was falling apart when we removed it - luckily I had a spare! Additional note: due to the bad bearing, the ABS tone ring was rubbing the ABS sensor, and jacked that up too - so my ABS light stays on (at least that's what I think is causing that - could be the VSS too, not sure yet). Here's the spindle after removing the wheel and hub (and pieces of bearings).
We also found out that the PO had tried to use a one-piece grease seal on this 96, which should have been a two piece seal - I only had a one-piece seal in my parts box to do the swap. Since sackman had a spare spindle shaft and rotor from a 95, he graciously let me have it to install, and I gave him my old rotor and spindle, to go to the scrap yard. We discovered this discrepancy after we went for a test drive and the hub was scorching hot after a 15 minute drive. We returned and pulled everything off again to discover the new one piece seal we installed (the wrong one) was destroyed. We had to get a little creative to pull the hub back out, since it was tighter than it should have been going in.
...I wanted to install a roof rack. I like the way it looks and it adds some extra cargo capacity if needed (and a cool place to add some aux lights in the future). I knew from the old rig that a 2000-2006 Suburban rack can be trimmed to fit, but I thought there may be a better option. I went to the yard to look around and see what I could find, and then...voila! A 2005 Chevy Avalanche with a roof rack was spotted. Took some measurements, and it seemed to be a perfect fit, with no trimming needed. I removed it and paid $25 at the checkout counter and went home. When I got home, I laid it on top and it fit perfectly! Now, to figure out the best way to secure it to the fiberglass top...bolts, yes, but what else? I asked around a little, and finally decided on something rubber on the interior to help absorb shock. AHA! I ordered some rubber feet that go on the bottom of a guitar amp, and I trimmed the edge off of them to meet the contour on the interior of the topper.
So later, the day came when I installed it:
And then, just like the 88, I installed the basket. (same basket, I kept it)
I also sent in my ripped (or cut maybe) right rear seat belt to have the webbing replaced. I got it back in a week or so.
I'll have to look for a pic of it installed...here it is:
Since I got this rig, it's had a bit of a vibration at around 70 mph. I figured it was wheel balance, and I still think that the balance isn't perfect, but then one day, it developed a loud knocking sound. It was speed-related, not RPM related, so I figured it was something in the drivetrain - u joint, CV ball, but hopefully not the t-case, tranny, or rear end. I thought it would be a good time to rebuild the driveshaft. So I picked up a CV ball rebuild kit and three u joints.
Then I started taking it all apart.
I had a helluva time getting the ball collar out - ended up figuring out that JBG had a new CV ball yoke ready to install with three Spicer u joints for $100, so I returned the other stuff I bought and saved $25 on the deal.
Put it all back together, easy peasy, and lubed the slip joint while it was apart - I had a clunk before that was likely this.
All back together and installed:
Test drive confirmed the knocking was the driveshaft joints, so it was a successful job.
Next, I decided to do a little cosmetic work. So I refreshed the sliders/side steps with a wire wheel and scotch-brite, cleaned it off with some green stuff, and repainted it with satin black engine enamel.
MS88Bronc's new build the "Tennessee Warden" (96)
Then - a fellow member here put up for sale a "kit" to upgrade the steering with a 4-bolt gear and Saginaw pump and bracket. So...I bought it. Thanks Dash! Here it is:
But I needed to order a few supplies before I did this, as well as find some time to do it....
So, later, I get an email from Harbor Freight about a sale - the 12000# winch was on sale for $299, and I just so happened to have $200 in Visa gift cards! So I could get this winch on the super cheap! So next, I went to install it, but found that the way it is set up, it wouldn't just go on easy due the cables coming out of the back of the relay box getting in the way of the grille.
I also knew I would have to relocate the mounting holes forward about an inch - the PO's winch much have been configured differently.
I also installed an intake duct from a 300 I-6 and did away with the accordion snorkel. Thanks Big Blue!
Then came the day!
(apparently I need to re-orient the photos, as they are all sideways).
MS88Bronc's new build the "Tennessee Warden" (96)
OK......Got the pics re-uploaded so they don't show up sideways......
So, here goes the Saginaw and 4-bolt gear swap ---
First - remove everything. I rented a pitman arm puller from Auto Zone (yeah, I know). I recommend inspecting the tools you rent before you walk out of the store - I opened the box and it looked like this:
OK - then I dig through my tools to see if I have anything I could use. I find my old 2-jaw puller - it needed a little 3 in 1 oil on the bolts lol.
I got it on....got it as tight as I could before the long bolt got hung up on the front diff housing. I gave the side of the pitman arm a nice whack with the BFH and it popped off!
So then I pumped out the fluid in the stock pump and placed a drain pan beneath to catch any drips (or at least I thought it would catch them!). I then removed the lines from the gear.
I removed the MAF intake duct from the box to the TB, unbolted the A/C compressor and moved it back atop the engine temporarily, and then unbolted the old PS bracket and pump.
Then out with the gear.
Well, it ended up that the AN fittings I had bought, only one fit and the other was too small. So I had to order the second one, but the gear went in anyway and I put the old stock fitting in this gear for the time being. Side note: holding a heavy gear with your left hand and inserting and threading bolts with your right is not easy!
The correct fitting came in and I picked up some 3/8 oil lines and an auxiliary cooler and a magnetic oil filter. I took one end of the oil line to the cooler and hand-pumped fluid into the line to fill the cooler as much as possible before hooking it all up. Next was to bleed the system and expel any air in the lines and pump. I filled the pump overfull with Type F and since I already had the front wheels off the ground, I went to the driver’s seat and turned on the key. I then turned the steering wheel back and forth, not all the way to the stops, but close. After about 6 cycles, I checked the fluid and filled it again. A few more iterations of this process and the fluid stopped going down in the pump. I then removed the coil wire and bumped the ignition a couple times to try and move some more fluid around. I checked the pump once more and it was good. I replaced the coil wire and cranked the engine for about 30 seconds. I checked the fluid again and it looked good - also had to make a small adjustment to the PS pump pulley to line it up better as the belt was off the crank pulley by one rib. I cranked it again and cycled the steering wheel a few times and checked the pump again and everything looked good. Dropped the front end back to the ground and done!
As I mentioned previously, the winch would not just bolt up as it looks in the ad, with the relay box clamped to the top of the winch brake - the grille was too close to the bumper for this to work. Plus, I had to move the winch more forward regardless so that the brake bracket wouldn't rub the valance panel under the grille. So new mount holes were drilled:
Then, the reworking of the relay system began. Disassembly:
Drill and tap new relay mounting location:
Wire up the winch and mount the (former) relay box over it for at least a little protection from the elements. I ended up waterproofing this box after the fact to protect the ground connection for the remote plug, which is now inside the box.
Hooked up the cables to the double battery setup - had to use a little creative wrenching here to get around this gaudy breaker:
INSTALLED AND WORKING
And, a handy dandy cover to protect my $100 investment! lol