Bronco Forum - Full Size Ford Bronco Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

First time posting here. I'm the proud new owner of a 1978 Grey and Black Two Tone that is set up for fairly intense off roading. I just bought it and (partially due to noob-ness) did not notice how horrible the shocks are until after I got it home. The problem I noticed is that on each of the shocks, the shaft that articulates in and out of the actual shock is very rusted. I'm concerned that when I cause the shocks to compress enough that the rusty part goes into the shock, the rust will grind out the o-ring seal that exists between the shaft on the shock.

Is there a way to fix the rust via sanding or scrubbing with steel mesh or should I just buy new shocks?

Pictures of the Bronco and the shocks up-close can be seen here.

Thanks in advance for any help or suggestions!

steiney
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Go with new shocks. Those bushings are so worn the shocks are probably toast anyway. Nice rig though.
I would put some new shocks in and also a set of boots on the shocks.
Thank you both!

Quick follow up question: If I was feeling exceedingly cheap and wanted to squeeze a little extra life out of the shocks, could I get by for a little while by sanding down the shocks or will they just blow out and make for a really rough ride getting back home?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Well, if shocks blow out, it's not going to hurt your car, yourself, or anyone else, so, there's that. If there is a lot of rust on the shaft, it's probably already blown out the seal, though. Shocks aren't too expensive, either.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,428 Posts
nice looking rig

the shock will only leak oil, that will be your warning that the seal is toast

agree time to change not any way to clean the shaft successfully

cheap and easy to replace for the most part
should be a part number near the bottom mounting too for future replacement
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
78 Posts
Very envious of that rig! I would personally drive it like that for a while until you decide what you want to upgrade replace etc
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Well, if shocks blow out, it's not going to hurt your car, yourself, or anyone else, so, there's that. If there is a lot of rust on the shaft, it's probably already blown out the seal, though. Shocks aren't too expensive, either.
Good point. Thanks for the info. I was looking at prices for stock Bronco shocks and was surprised at how inexpensive they are so hopefully beefier ones for off-roading won't be too much more.

nice looking rig

the shock will only leak oil, that will be your warning that the seal is toast

agree time to change not any way to clean the shaft successfully

cheap and easy to replace for the most part
should be a part number near the bottom mounting too for future replacement
Thanks. I'll see if I can locate the part number. If not, do I just get shocks that are the same length and built for heavy off-roading?

I am guessing the stock shocks won't fit because the Bronco has a 6" Skyjacker suspension lift.

Very envious of that rig! I would personally drive it like that for a while until you decide what you want to upgrade replace etc
Well thank you! It stood out to me out of about 10 off-roading trucks I looked at online, and that classic look of the Bronco with that two tone paint job really pushed it over the edge for me.

I'm taking it out with my buddy this coming Saturday and Monday, so I'll definitely get some riding in on the current shocks as there is not enough time to get something shipped to me and installed before then, unless I pay through the nose for two day shipping. But I'm not sure my buddy has the necessary tools to install shocks, anyway.

If I have to have them installed by a mechanic, then like you said, I should definitely wait until I know what I want to replace/upgrade so I can get everything that I'm incapable of doing myself done by the mechanic all at once.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
26,089 Posts
yo S,
Before replacing a shock absorber, check the action of the shock absorbers as follows.

Vehicle Inspection
1.Check all tires for proper inflation pressure.
2.Check tire condition to confirm proper front end alignment, tire balance and overall tire condition such as separation or bulges.
3.Check the vehicle for optional suspension equipment such as heavy-duty handling or trailer tow suspensions. These suspensions will have a firmer ride feeling than standard suspensions.
4.Check the vehicle attitude for evidence of possible overload or sagging.
Many times front springs and front shock absorbers are replaced in an effort to solve a vehicle sag concern. Shock absorbers are, by design, hydraulic damping units only, and unlike suspension springs, do not support any suspension loads. Therefore, replacing a shock absorber will not correct a vehicle sag concern.
5.Road test vehicle to confirm customer concern.
6.Make sure the shock absorber is securely and properly installed.
7.Check the shock absorber insulators for damage and wear.
8.Replace any worn or damaged insulators and tighten attachments to the specified torque (on a shock absorber which incorporates internal insulators, replace the shock absorbers).
10.Inspect the shock absorber for evidence of fluid leakage.
A light film of oil (weepage) on the upper portion of the front shock absorber is permissible and is a result of proper shock lubrication. Weepage is a condition in which a thin film of oil may be deposited on the shock outer tube (body) and is normally noticed due to the collection of dust in this area. Front shock absorbers which exhibit this weepage condition are functional units and should not be replaced. Leakage is a condition in which the entire shock body is covered with oil and the oil will drip from the shock onto the pavement.
11.If leakage exists:
a.Make sure the fluid observed is not from sources other than the front shock absorber.
b.Replace the worn or damaged front shock absorber.
12.Disconnect the lower end of the shock absorber.
13.Extend and compress the shock absorber as fast as possible, using as much travel as possible. Action should be smooth and uniform throughout each stroke.
•Higher resistance on extension than on compression is a normal condition.
•Faint swish noises are also normal.
•Make sure the part number of the replacement is the same as that of the original shock absorber.


Hoist Check
1.Noise: Noise can be caused by loose suspension or shock attachments. Verify that all attachments or the suspension components and front springs and front shock absorbers are tight. Replace any worn or damaged upper stud insulators. Check front springs and front shock absorbers for external damage.
2.Bottom/Hopping: Check condition of the rubber suspension travel stops (front suspension bumpers (3020)). Replace if worn or missing. Examine for evidence of previous overload or damaged components.
3.Force-Check: Support axle and remove lower front shock attachment. Stroke front shock body using as much travel as possible. The action should be smooth and uniform throughout each stroke. Damping forces should be equivalent on both sides of the vehicle.
4.Replace only the worn or damaged front shock absorber.
In the past it was recommended that front shock absorbers be replaced in pairs if one unit became unserviceable. Improved sealing, new materials, design and improved rod machining and hardening techniques have added to the reliability of shock absorbers. Therefore, front shock absorbers no longer need to be replaced in pairs when only one unit is not serviceable.

Bench Test
The front shock absorbers are gas-pressurized, which results in their being fully extended when not restrained. If a front shock absorber does not fully extend, it is damaged and should be replaced. Check length overall (LOA). If the front shock absorber does not meet the length overall requirement, it is a good indication something internal is not to specification and the front shock absorber should be replaced.

With the front shock absorber in the normal upright position, compress it and allow it to extend three times to purge the pressure chamber of any gas that may have been introduced during handling.

Place the front shock absorber right side up in a vise. Hand-stroke the front shock absorber as fast as possible using as much travel as possible. Action should be smooth and uniform throughout each stroke. Higher resistance on extension than on compression is normal.

The following conditions are abnormal:
•A lag or skip at reversal of travel near mid-stroke when front shock absorber is properly primed and in the installed position
•Seizing
•Noise, other than a faint swish, such as a clicking upon fast stroke reversal
•Excessive fluid leakage
•With rod fully extended, any lateral motion of rod in relation to outer cylinder

If front shock absorber action remains erratic after purging air, install a front shock absorber, replacing only the damaged front shock absorber. Front shock absorbers do not need to be replaced as sets.

Suspension, Rear
1.Check for leaks on shock absorbers
2 Check shock absorber operation for stiff, rough or spongy operation.
3.Check condition or rear suspension bushings and rear suspension springs.
If the above checks reveal evidence of excessive wear, deterioration, or improper operation, replace damaged components.

Vehicle Lean
Side-to-side vehicle lean should be verified by measuring the fender lip-to-ground dimension before beginning diagnosis and service actions. .

I THINK: Codes identifying the front and rear spring options and springs are printed on the Safety Standard Certification Label (aka Door Jamb Label (Certification Label, also referred to as the Patent Plate, Data Plate & the Warranty Plate) Depiction with Legend in a 79 @ http://broncohq.com/pdf/80-96/body/idchart.pdf


Replace springs in pairs if one is found to be damaged or worn. If a spring should require replacement because it is damaged, worn or due to a leaning condition, replace only with the same part specified on the label. In rare instances, the spring codes will not reflect the springs as installed due to a DSO option or assembly plant substitution. If a DSO option number is shown on the certification label, the District Office can establish whether springs are affected. If the factory-installed springs do not agree with the code printed on the Safety Standard Certification Label (right and left spring part number should match), replace the damaged or worn spring with a new spring of the same part number as the damaged or worn spring. It will not be necessary to replace the matching, non-worn or undamaged spring.

1.Place the vehicle on a flat, smooth surface.
2.Inspect vehicle for any heavy add-ons that may cause excessive weight on any corner of the vehicle.
•In cases where the excess weight is a snow plow, a rear tailgate lift, etc., the vehicle must be diagnosed with the equipment in place.
•Vehicle should be empty, fuel tanks full, no cargo such as tools, equipment or debris in the pickup box or rear body section.
•Vehicle must be sitting on the wheels and tires and not a hoist, jack or jack stands.
3.Check all wheels and tires:
•Wheels must be same size and design, right and left side on each axle.
•Wheels size and design, tire size and tire design should be as indicated on the Vehicle Certification Label.
•Check air pressure of all tires; inflate to specifications indicated on the Vehicle Certification Label.
4.Check front and rear suspension. Make sure the same spring is on the left/right front and left/right rear. The front springs have I.D. tags indicating the part number. The rear springs (5560) have the part number stamped on the bottom just behind the U-bolt attachment.
5.Jounce the vehicle's front and rear suspension to normalize the vehicle static ride height.
6.Measure the height of the right and left fender lip openings for both front and rear
7. Check the side-to-side differences for each dimension. If these differences are between left or right front and/or between left and right rear, adjustment can be performed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
yo S,
Before replacing a shock absorber, check the action of the shock absorbers as follows.
Wow! Thank you for all that info. I will have to give it a read through when I've got more time, but thank you very much.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Well fellas, I managed to break the front passenger side axle yesterday at the point where it connects to the u joint. I was bringing the Bronco into my buddy's garage, and was making a three point turn to get the Bronco facing the right way. As I was backing up with the wheel turned fairly sharp, the Bronco started getting "jumpy" (best way I can describe it) and then there was a loud pop and the axle broke.

I've added three pics of it to the folder I put up previously (here) so people can see what I'm referencing.

The first pic is the piece that broke off. The second pic is the spot it broke off from. The third pic is the other side (intact) for reference.

I'm not sure if it was just time for that axle to break or if I turned the wheel too far while backing up? I don't know a whole lot about older vehicles. The tires on the Bronco are 39.5", so I'm wondering if that has something to do with it.

Any ideas on how I can prevent this in the future are greatly appreciated!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,700 Posts
thats a big 4x4 set up. things will break. In this case it just looks like the PO beat the shit out of the truck and knew it was going to break soon and sold it. Not a huge deal, but will cost a bit to fix it.

All your front end is so rusted from neglect, I would pull the entire front end assembly. Take it completely apart, then take a close look at all the parts and deicde what to replace and what to clean and paint. Its pretty cheap to take parts like that to a powder coating place and have them blast them clean. Then you can evaluate them and decide if they are worth saving. All of those parts are available online, Bronco Graveyard, LMC Truck, NPD Parts are good sources and of course, junk yard, car-parts.com. It looks like it needed to be done anyway since the PO obviously never cleaned anything very good after burying it in the mud.
.
On a rig with those big of tires, you are going to have issues over time. Thats why many on here swap to 8 Lug on a rig like that. D60 front, Sterling in the back
 

·
Premium 4 Lyfe - Way Back Staff
'95 XLT: 5.8, MAF, E4OD, 4.56's, 6" on 33's
Joined
·
36,692 Posts
:stupid all good info there!

Had a similar break on my '73 F250 and replaced the inner shafts with chromoly shafts. Turned my D44 up to D60 strength (or so they claim). Wasn't that hard to do... but you should probably follow jownes advice, depending on how you plan to use and or abuse it.


Search the site and learn some things about your rig. :thumbup
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
thats a big 4x4 set up. things will break. In this case it just looks like the PO beat the shit out of the truck and knew it was going to break soon and sold it. Not a huge deal, but will cost a bit to fix it.

All your front end is so rusted from neglect, I would pull the entire front end assembly. Take it completely apart, then take a close look at all the parts and deicde what to replace and what to clean and paint. Its pretty cheap to take parts like that to a powder coating place and have them blast them clean. Then you can evaluate them and decide if they are worth saving. All of those parts are available online, Bronco Graveyard, LMC Truck, NPD Parts are good sources and of course, junk yard, car-parts.com. It looks like it needed to be done anyway since the PO obviously never cleaned anything very good after burying it in the mud.
.
On a rig with those big of tires, you are going to have issues over time. Thats why many on here swap to 8 Lug on a rig like that. D60 front, Sterling in the back
:stupid all good info there!

Had a similar break on my '73 F250 and replaced the inner shafts with chromoly shafts. Turned my D44 up to D60 strength (or so they claim). Wasn't that hard to do... but you should probably follow jownes advice, depending on how you plan to use and or abuse it.


Search the site and learn some things about your rig. :thumbup
Well, it turns out that the reason the axle broke is because I had the front differential locked while trying to turn sharply on concrete. Noob mistake. I didn't even know what a differential locker was at the time or that it was engaged. Lesson learned.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top