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Sept 2022 FOTM

  • gokullm

  • KyleQ

  • snowman429

  • BroncoJoe96

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85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Alright, its time for the September FOTM! Time to see pur fellow members duke it out for the title of Fullsize of the Month!

Here are your contestants-

@gokullm
@KyleQ
@snowman429
@BroncoJoe96

We want to see ALL the pics and hear ALL the stories about it. Winner will get a one year premium membership to FSB and a self written article in BroncoDriver Magazine. Winner also gets the chance to run in November for Fullsize of the Year.

So lets get this party STARTED!
 

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Hey Guys, how’s it going and thank you for the nomination to run for Bronco of the month! It’s a long month, and I’ve got a lot to share about my 1996 Bronco, but to start I thought I’d give a little overview about my rig and it’s story. Then, as the month goes on, I thought I’d dive a little deeper into everything. I’ll do my best to cover everything, but if anything comes up you’d like more info on, please feel free to ask. Now for some Bronco info! Here’s how she sits today:



This is my 1996 Bronco XLT Sport that I bought for my first car at 15. I rebuilt it with my dad and ran it with a 6 inch lift, 35s, and a 302 all through highschool, going to college 3 hours away in frozen upstate NY, and then the beginning of my career. During this time the rig served me extremely well, and my friends and I have made many great memories in it, but more on that later. I not only daily drove it, but also wheeled it on local trails and attended the MEB Bronco Roundup Events in PA.





The truck did it all, from highways to dirt roads to rocky trails, I couldn’t have asked for a better first vehicle. However, like most of us, I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I wished I had a little more power, a little better fuel economy, a higher lift, bigger tires, a solid axle, etc.

As I drove the truck, I slowly made a list of everything I’d want to adjust or improve, and the end result is my Bronco as you see it today. Those pictures were taken 2 weekends back at AOAA Off-road park in Shamokin PA for an event, and the truck is basically all done mechanically finally. I have some tunes I want to adjust, and then after that it’s just small mods. The last couple days I’ve been riding it to work and on the weekends, and she’s a real cruiser other than being loud. But now for the info everyone’s been waiting for!

The Bronco is powered by a 7.3 Powerstroke out of a 95 F-250. I swapped to a bigger turbo, larger injectors, moved to an electronic fuel pump instead of a mechanical one, and I also added an intercooler and 5 inch exhaust. It’s riding on a set of one ton axles, composed of a Dana 60 in the front, and Sterling 10.25 in the rear. Both I regeared to 5.38s and have ARB air lockers. The tires are 43” Super Swampers on recentered military beadlocks. It’s a relatively simple build, and most of the parts I scourged off of Facebook market place and Craigslist back in the day, but I spent a lot of time trying to get everything to work together properly and for it to be a clean swap.

I’ll leave you guys with this for today, below is some video from the event at AOAA a few weeks back. The middle of the video has some build info, but the beginning and end show the truck in it’s latest form (I just added the rear locker, so this is the only time I’ve had it out with that so far)


Anything specific you guys want to see so far? If not, I think I’m going to cover the diesel build up and then hop back to the history of the rig.
 

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JULY '16 F.O.T.M.
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@BroncoJoe96 Way to set the bar for how to run for FOTM...

You know I love your rig, and I can't wait to hear all about it this month!
 

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1996 Bronco 5.0/E4OD/BW1356
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@BroncoJoe96 very nice, I'm looking forward to seeing the adventure of your build this month. I'm tempted to do something very similar to one of my Broncos as well...

This particular project of mine is very different from most and I'll explain and detail why I did what I did this month... I fell in love with the platform in highschool when I got my 95' RCSB F150 and once I grew (literly) out of that vehicle I switched to FullSize Broncos and never looked back. I'll detail the story of Bronco #6 and why I chose the path I'm taking. I currently own 7 Broncos and have another on order for a new DD, I'm no stranger to the platform and have zero intentions of going anywhere any time soon.
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I've had builds where I can drive it on the street, wheel all weekend long and drive home. I've had my 74' Bronco on 43's and tons for 12 years now and done everything under the sun to that build and frankly it lost some of the fun. I went back to a smaller build (my 96') that I could street drive and found that I had more fun on 32's than I did on 43's... but I can see the writing on the wall and that Bronco will probably end up on 05+ tons, 38's start that cycle all over again.

I wanted to change directions and get more time doing what I love, simply driving these trucks. I use my crawlers a handful of times a year and for the rest of the year they just sit and that needs to change. I'm smack dab in the rust belt, everything here of this generation is rotten or beyond repair. For example, my 96 FSB.
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I knew there were still some nice examples out there and I started searching. I had plans to do some questionable modifications so I wanted to find something that was either already blown up or flat out missing the drivetrain so I had a clean canvas to work with but it had to be free and clear of the typical cancer we find here in MN.

Interestingly enough I was just finishing up the body work on the above 96' when I found, to me, the holy grail of what I was after. I came across a FB Marketplace ad for a 94 EB from Georgia and interestingly enough it was located in Michigan. It had been partically parted out and had no drivetrain or interior. Long story short, a long drive through the night, a cold sleep in the back of my pickup and some money transferring hands I was the proud owner of my very rust free 1994 Bronco. Holy crap, look at the price of gas!
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I've never set eyes on a FSB this clean short of a show on TV and was giddy with excitement. Having something this clean was a game changer.
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More to come!
 

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1996 Bronco 5.0/E4OD/BW1356
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For those who havn't caught on with the chaing of direction and wanting more seat time, I'm building a street truck. I wanted a rust free base that I could fulfill some life long goals: I wanted a turbo charged street build that I could tune myself. I also want this build to retain four wheel drive and have a stretch goal of the posibility of cracking off a 10.99 quarter mile. I want to show people how easy it can be to do this on your own - how it can be fun and rewarding.

It took a decade of research, ribbing, an honest cost analysis, more ribbing from my bowtie friends and a little soul seaching to make the decision to switch to the dark side... a LS powerplant. It even pains me to type it, but it is what it is. I wanted a single pane of glass with my engine and transmission tuning program, this basically tossed out everything besdies Holley Terminator X Max as this build was going to be automatic (I want my wife to be able to drive it). What really sent the point home was spending over 5k on a 351W build to not even crack the 500HP mark, pathetic. I've been walking the U-Pull lots around here for years and the 5.8L Windsor engines went from very hard to find to basically gone about 5 years ago - I've only got a few in cold storage and the main benefit to the LS platform, to me, is that I have ZERO mechanical sympathy of them 😈

Another factor that helped the desciscion was that my friends part out 30+ 3/4 ton GM trucks a year, giving me access to plentiful and cheap engines and transmissions. I started collecting parts: An 03' 6.0 Burb for free from my sister in law. I scored a $100 intake to oil pan 6.0 from a local shop that had exhasut manifold bolt drilled into a water jacket and I bought a 6.0/4L80E from my friend for ~$500 and a case of beer. Hopefully that will last a season... haha.

Enough talk, lets look at some disposable horsepower!
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Engine 1 from the shop: tore it down to find a broken piston, typical. Toss that in the corner and tear another one down.
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Engine two: looks like we may have a winner here.
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Keep going, just toss the crap on a workbench, it's just LS trash anyway... 😋
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I dida bunch of research and followed Matt Happel of Sloppy Mechanics for some time, so I knew a recipe for success and how care-free this building expirence can be. I decided that I wanted to replace some key components while I was in here knowing that I could use them on additional engines going forward, so it seemed like a good idea.

I slapped a Sloppy Stage 2 camshaft into the engine without looking at the probably total crap cam bearings and finished it up with a shockingly cheap replacment timing setup.
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I wanted all of the oil pressure so I bought an oil pump out of those lifter destroying displacement on demand engines to net more volume and pressure. Simple tip here, use shim stock on two sides of the pump to allign it before tightening it down. The gear should easily float in and out once it's tight.
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I gave the oil pan a nice shower of holy water (brake clean) and re-used the o-ring oil pan gasket because... who cares! The engine probably won't even last an oil change.
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Soak the lifters, slap them in with new trays and let's start prepping this engine to see multiple atmospheres of induction pressure with cheap LS9 seven layer MLS headgaskets.
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Cylinder heads, I was gifted with not one, not two, but three engines with the boat anchor of LS heads, the 317 casting. Apparently these are ok for boost builds, it's what I had, so here we go. The camshaft required some stiffer springs so I ordered up a cheap set and also grabbed some valve seals and lapping compound.

Electrical wiring Metalworking hand tool Wire stripper Hand tool Audio equipment


Next I lapped the valves with zero ducks given by chucking the valve in my cordless drill and sending it against the valve seat with some compound. A quick flashlight check later and I think I accomplished something, meh.
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JULY '16 F.O.T.M.
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@KyleQ Way to step up as well!

LS- oh that's going to generate some chatter! I can't wait.

I hear you on overbuilding a Bronco and turning it into something that only gets used a couple times a year use.

Glad to hear this one is going to see some seat time, I can't wait to read more!

This is shaping up to be a good month!
 

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1996 Bronco 5.0/E4OD/BW1356
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The first re-useable sensless bling on the motor was the Cleetus valley cover. I've followed his channel from the start and want to support his endavers but I don't allow ads on my viewing expirence so I balance that by purchasing mech, lots of it too.
To keep the theme of trying to keep boost inside the cylinders I picked up a cheap set of ARP head bolts and used a torque wrench for the first time on the build.
Tire Wheel Automotive tire Hood Tread


I knew I needed good steam port control so I grabbed some parts from an older engine, sand blasted and painted it before tossing it on. It's the first and only part on this engine that I painted, lol.
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I needed an intake and my research showed me that a cheap Dorman replamcent of a Trail Blazer SS intake provided the most costaffective power upgrade so another order from the Amazon speed shop later I had something to cover up the engine with. I ordered an eBay special way-too big-throttle body and fuel rails to keep the cheap power theme going.
Car Vehicle Wheel Automotive tire Hood


With the engine out of the way I switched gears to the transfer case. I found a NP261HD for $100 on FB Marketplace, it's a hard to find unit that is tough and I've seen others push the boundries with. Let's rip it apart and see what's wrong with it.
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I found a loose bearing and tossed a new chain just for maintenance and slapped it back together. Not much different looking than a BW 1356.
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Last piece of the puzzle is the transmission, which are always nasty from leaking valve covers and oil pressure senders. It cleaned up well-
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The fluid though... oof!
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The trans already had the shift kit installed in it that I had already bought to install in it.. odd, but the poorly installed reverse overpressure relieft valve caused reverse pressure to be low and probably the dark fluid. I fixed it with a bolt with the aid of a pro trans builder I know.
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I threw a new harness (because they all leak at the connector) filter and gasket inside before sealing it up.
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Now that I had the engine, trans and t-case "ready" I could start on the Bronco work. I got my son involved with the cleaning phase, he had a blast!
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1996 Bronco 5.0/E4OD/BW1356
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@KyleQ Way to step up as well!

LS- oh that's going to generate some chatter! I can't wait.

I hear you on overbuilding a Bronco and turning it into something that only gets used a couple times a year use.

Glad to hear this one is going to see some seat time, I can't wait to read more!

This is shaping up to be a good month!
Yeah, I don't even really like the idea of the LS engine either but it's cheap, plentiful and easy to work on. I hope people stick around, give it a chance and see how much reckless fun it can be when you don't care about anything between the gas pedal and the drive shafts :D
 

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82 XLT Lariat 351w, Edelbrock 1406 4bbl ,C6 auto, auto locking hubs ,33x10.5x15
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This is going to be interesting... @KyleQ my head is spinning after reading your posts....and subsequently googling half of it just to know what you were talking about 🤔

I can see I'm gonna get a real education with this fotm if the other 2 competitors are as stellar as these 2...
 

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1996 Bronco 5.0/E4OD/BW1356
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This is going to be interesting... @KyleQ my head is spinning after reading your posts....and subsequently googling half of it just to know what you were talking about 🤔

I can see I'm gonna get a real education with this fotm if the other 2 competitors are as stellar as these 2...
If you want me to explain anything in any more detail just ask! ..I thought I was taking it easy, you should see what I'm planning on posting later during the build! If anything, I'd like this to be educational and maybe spark some innovation. Engines are just air pumps after all, everything I'm doing can be applied to any platform or engine family.
 

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82 XLT Lariat 351w, Edelbrock 1406 4bbl ,C6 auto, auto locking hubs ,33x10.5x15
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If you want me to explain anything in any more detail just ask
Lol we'd need to start an entirely new section in the discuss the sept fotm competition thread... Just use small words for those of us in the back of the bus 😂 I'm all about making them pretty, not making them run (much past the very basic things anyway) 😏
 

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I got a little ahead of myself with the power washing, we had to tear it down first. I had it stashed next to the house so I pulled it around and cleaned out the inside and it was the first time I got a real close look at the inside. It was crazy to see paint on the bottom of the door jambs, everything up here is hammered.
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Here is the clean slate to work with. The dash is trash, somehow the glove box latch was busted and the solution was to send a wood screw through the front and into the dash to hold it on :mad:
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A friend came over and we started tearing the front end off the truck to make fitting the drivetrain easier. I can't believe how much crap was stuck in the cowl drains!
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With everything apart without a single broken or stubbon bolt (I can't believe how nice things can be when they are not subjudicated to rust for 20+ years) we were down to a bare frame.
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It was nearing time to see how this engine was going to fit - I wanted to modify things as little as possible as this is such as clean truck to work with. I had a set of Wild Horses extreme motor mounts that I bought years ago for my 74' but they raised the engine too much so I never used them. They were the perfect part to help mate the custom mounts to the factory frame.

I started by cutting out some tabs, making some plates and test fitting everything.
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In she goes!
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I got the truck as level as I could on jack stands and then got the engine as level as I could in the horns to see what I was working with.
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Here is how the simple motor mounts looked.
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Everything looked good, I had miles of room everywhere, it kinda seemed like it fit better than the factory stuff 🤐
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Everything was good until I went to toss on my intake manifold and it hit the firewall. Crap!
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If this was anything different I would have probably just taken a big hammer to the firewall and made it clear but this project is different. This meant I had to lower the engine even more to get things to clear.
 

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Okay guys, the holiday weekend definitely was a bit busier than I earlier anticipated and I apologize I didn’t have a chance to post. Now to make up for it with some diesel swap info!

This whole diesel build was the result of a “little bit” of snow balling. It all started with an exhaust leak on the previous gasser setup of my Bronco. The dual exhaust was old and rotted out, and ended up being patched together repeatedly. Finally, I was tired of it, and was going to replace the entire thing with stainless. However, the headers a previous owner swapped on were crusty too, and if I’m doing the whole system, I might as well replace those too, right? Can you see where this is going?


I believe this picture is taken at almost the exact time I first busted that exhaust loose.​

Thinking it through, I had a feeling I was going to break a lot of the exhaust manifold bolts off in the heads when I went and pulled them, and that’d be a pain to deal with in the truck. Maybe I should just pull the heads and reseal the top end while I’m at it? Seems like a good idea for an engine with 200k miles, but a lot of work for just a 302, and a lot of down time for my daily. The solution? Find a donor motor to build and swap in complete, and that I did. I picked up a 96 Bronco with a 351W, and the plan was to stroke it to a 393 and rebuild a E40D to throw in behind it. That’s a heck of a snow ball, and that’s just the beginning…


My donor 351 pulled.


Disposing of my picked clean donor truck.​

Once I collected basically all the parts for this build up, I got a call from my dad. “Hey Joe, my coworker has a 95 F-250 Powerstroke with a blown rear end” he said. It came with a spare rear, was already SASed with a Dana 60, and had a bunch of other odds and ends. Best part? It was $1,500. We picked it up that weekend, I liquidated my stash of gasser motor parts, and the plan to build a diesel Bronco was born. Another interesting thing to note, I still ended up replacing the exhaust system on my gasser Bronco while the diesel build was in progress. That build took a lot longer to complete than anticipated.





These were the actual pictures I was sent of the donor before I went to buy it.


And this was dragging it home with some help from my dad.​

Once I got the donor truck, we re-evaluated things, and the install wasn’t realistic to get done in a weekend. Luckily, I had a parts truck with a clean frame that ended up being the perfect base for a frame up build up, but more on that later. First we had to “evaluate” the diesel drivetrain and get the donor stripped.


First step of evaluating any good drivetrain is finding a set of cheap 40’s on Craigslist.

Second step is making them fit, adding a bucket for weight, and rerouting your exhaust into a stack. A touch of spray paint, and you’re ready for testing at your local county fair.

I was content with my testing and able to move forward.


And while we were "testing", it seemed wrong to not include the Bronco. I ended up running it, and it took 3rd in it’s class of about 20.

To this day that was the sloppiest mud I’ve ever been in.​

Now back to the build. Want to know the best part of the whole diesel build? The whole thing was done while my Bronco still was able to serve as my daily driver, completely uninterrupted, which was good, because I put it to work.


Here's it disposing of everything I didn’t need after my “testing”.​

At this point I had my main parts, so my next post will cover the beginning of my assembly. Thanks for reading!
 

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Now to start on assembly! First things first, I needed to get my hands on my donor frame for a base. It’s not as clean as what @KyleQ found (that Bronco is one of the cleanest examples I’ve seen as a base for a build) but it was pretty good for NY.


My $400 parts truck

After a quick strip down, the body was ready to come off.

There we are!

And after a little elbow grease and some help from the torch.

Next up, sand blasting!

I honestly can’t tell you what I dislike more, rust or sandblasting…​

Following this, it was time for me to make some decisions about the build. I was a senior in highschool going into college, and two of my big concerns were simplicity and cost. I wanted this thing to be rugged out on the trails and on the roads, easy to work on and source parts for, and cheap to construct. Sure, down the line I’d need to spend some money on it if I wanted to go to ARBs and big injectors and such, but what I had readily available to me during that part of my life was time. I had some money because I’d always work summer jobs/winter jobs/part-time/be flipping parts, but a lot of this build was done on a budget and also with second hand parts. Then, my thought was that down the line I could lay out the money for upgrades once I worked full time. This worked out pretty well, but I was going away for school so a majority of my work was done either during the summer or my winter break. While at school I’d look up and research what I’d want to do next time I was home, game plan my time, and most importantly wheel and deal for parts! Below are two of my favorite deals:



I found these recentered H1 double beadlocks for $325 for the set. They fit my one tons, but I did repowder coat them down the line. Here they are mocked up in front of my gasser setup.

The donor truck came with a Dana 60 up front, but the rear spare axle was a semi float 10.25 instead of a full float. Both were geared with 3.55s and had open diffs. I was able to do some horse trading to secure this full float 10.25 with factory 4.10s and a limited slip, the aftermarket cover, a new set of drums, and some heavy duty u-bolts to mount it. This was the last piece of the puzzle to start putting it together.

Let’s get this frame back to being a roller! Or at the least mocked up as one. Sticking with the idea of simplicity (and being on a budget) I went with leaf springs all around. I did splurge for the Sky Manufacturing kit up front, and that was good value for the money. Also, I have no regrets on going this route. I don’t know if it’s because of the weight of the truck, but the thing flexes insanely well for no good reason.



My dad helping with some trimming.

Mocking up the front.

And the rear. Front hanger needed to be relocated due to the shackle flip.

Might as well fix the rotted body mounts while we’re at it.







Quick coat of paint for the rear, a peak inside and reseal, and new brakes.

And then time to slap the axles in so we have a roller!

And next time I came home the front came back out for a refresh and a regear to 4.10s.

She got new seals, bearing, ball joints, and u joints all the way through. Also, can't forget a coat of POR 15.

Repurposed some DOM and joints I got second hand. Also, was able to pick up a Ruffstuff cover on sale.

And we’re nearly ready for a mock up! Just need to get that diesel to bolt up, and cover the rebuild on it!
 

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The engine mounting was easier than anticipated. I cut off the small block mounting brackets, and the passenger side 7.3 motor mount directly bolted to the Bronco crossmember. The holes were there and everything. The driver side had 2 holes, but the others were supposed to be where the engine oil filter hole was. A little bit of CAD (cardboard aided design) and I had that issue fixed.






Tada!​

Next up, I’ll show the 7.3 build for you guys, and then it’s time for mock up of this rig and final assembly!
 

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I knew I was going to need interior parts so I was on the lookout for people parting and selling Broncos and ended up aquiring a few more Broncos along the way... you don't end up with eight Broncos on accident.

I drove a couple hours to a junkyard and scored this smelly jem - a 92' EB that had a bunch of the little interior stuff I was after. I think it had been sitting for over a decade according to the tabs on it.
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We checked fluids, pumped some real NASTY fuel out of the tank, poured some fresh gas in it, pumped more out and added some more before we were willing to try and fire it. It sat for so long the intake manifold corroded so much that the butterflies in the throttle body were wedged and it took 5+ minutes of working it back and forether WITH A HAMMER to get them to operate smoothly.

I tossed a battery in it, saw 145K on the odometer and it fired up after a few seconds of cranking and idled down just fine. We were fairly amazed how well it ran and tried fixing the brake lines enough to do the vehicle test but couldn't get anything to hold. My vehicle test is anything sitting on my property aught to be able to do at least a 10 second burnout, keeps out the rif raf!
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I took it out back in the field and started doing some doughnuts to see how the trans would shift and I got it to shift into OD while sitting on the floor holding on for deal life :ROFLMAO:

I then thought if I could do that in the dirt I should at least try it on the tar... It was going fine until the tires heated up, bit and I slid off the seat and the truck went heading for the ditch and the cattail swap before my front yard. All I could do is stand on it, smash the 4WD button and pray! I blasted through a sign post, bogged through the swap and ended up in the front yard without a scratch. My old man was laughing so hard he had tears rolling down his face, it was priceless. I must have just missed the deep stuff because we both thought I was done for.
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This truck has been consumed by mice and even after cleaning out the inside it's still way too gross to sit in. I'll end up grabbing some of the plastics I need, some drivetain bits and I'm sure it'll eventually turn into a trail truck for off roading.

I still had room and somehow my wife hasn't said no yet, so I bought another one!
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This one had even better interior bits including the overhead stuff and the hard to find plastics too. This is my first 351W Bronco and it feels real powerful, well, it does great burnouts anyway. At this point I just needed to clean up what I have and figure out what I need when I need it. It sure is fun blasting around in so many vehicles though.

With the snow on the way and snowmobiling creeping into my thoughts I needed to get this project where I wanted it before Winter took hold.
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I was going to start with the fuel system to try and get the tough bottom side stuff done first. I had quite the pile of parts, some stuff I had so long I forgot I even bought it.
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While I was moving stuff around I found the"fun boxes" andjust had to see how these things fit on the engine. I ordered these Holley manifolds months before I would need them just in case I didn't get stuck waiting on parts due to the pandemic. I couldn't resist it anymore-
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They are a little close on this side and I've got miles of room on the other side but it looks like I'll be able to sneak a 4" exhaust pipe down into the frame rail and out the back.

I got my Tampa Performance torque converter which meant the transmission could go in. This is a US made billet 3600RPM stall with a single lockup clutch. This is one bad unit, easily the highest stall I've ever bought and had me slightly concerned on how it was going to drive and handle.
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I slapped the trans in, the x-over pipe on and it started giving me the motivation I was going to need to see this project through.
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With the engine and trans installed I needed to start on the fuel system. I knew from the start that I wanted to enjoy the benefits of E85 as it allowed me to push a stock setup further, the fuel was actualy cheaper than normal gas and I can find it all over the place in MN. Planning the fuel system is a big part of the build and I knew I didn't want it to fall short down the line, so overkill was the name of the game.

I needed a sending unit to chop up to make this work and I didn't exactly want to buy a new one just to destroy it. It was cold and snowy but I needed a sender from a parts truck, this was going to be fun... not. It came out ok, the fuel inside of it was nothing short of impressive.
Snow Freezing Gas Winter Wood


How is it even that green?
Liquid Fluid Dishware Water Circle


With the sender out it was time to chop it up and make it work. This thing STUNK!
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As you can see above I went a bit nuts and picked up a bunch of automotive grade TXL wiring from DelCity. This was the project where I was stepping up wherever I could and wiring was the main area of expanding my skills. More on that later.


A Dodge Hellcat runs a TiAutomotive 525LPH fuel pump, I'm installing two of them for a total of 1050LPH. This should feed anything and it also gives me the benefit of a quick fix if the primary pump should fail I can quickly swap to the secondary within minutes and be on my way. As you can see, I didn't use much of the original sender.
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There wasn't a ton of room on the top of the sender with each pump having it's own -6AN outlet, factory fuel lines, a new bulkhead fitting to feed each pump in addition to the stock plug to retain the fuel level gauge. That meant that the return needed to go into the tank with a bulkhead fitting in the front positioning returned fuel towards the pumps to help prevent starting them under harsh G loads; this also lets me pull all of the fuel out of the tank.
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This was a tricky deal to figure out, the nylon hoses that come with the pumps needed to be heated up with a heat gun and forced over the barb as fast as possible to get these to seat as far up as you can. As you can see they have to stretch quite a bit to fit, don't forget to heat up and lube the fittings to give you that extra work time before things cool and shrink.
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This is the point where the snow started to pile up and I knew the Bronco had to go into storage. I mounted the tank, covered up the lines and pulled it down to the barn for storage.

Bonus content: my son's birthday is in January and all he wanted was a big, mean, nasty, STINKY burnout in his favorite truck of the week, the beige Bronco that we loving call Beiasia after the old Celebrity Jeopardy SNL skits. Naturally I couldn't refuse as I had done it for him the previous year, so here it is. Parts trucks are great!
 

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Alright, now for what differentiates this build the most in my eyes, the 7.3 Powerstroke diesel which is going under the hood! Not going to lie, for a multipurpose rig that sees a lot of time offroad, a heavy diesel probably isn’t the most practical choice for an engine, but I’m okay with that. It’s a head turner and a ton of fun to drive, and does a pretty good job under there. It’s also fun to be rolling through a parking lot at an offroad park with it. In any normal setting, any lifted truck will typically turn heads, especially one this tall. However, that all changes at an offroad park. Now you’re surrounded by big lifted vehicles, and it becomes much less of a rarity, except for this thing. You’ll see it, and it’s clearly there to hit the trails, but it sounds like a tow rig and perplexes people for a second. I’ve consistently gotten a lot of double takes and thumbs up, and that is always fun. My goal wasn’t to build the best wheeler ever, because if that was the case I would have done a buggy. Instead, I wanted to do something different, and this definitely checks that box. Now to get it together:

Initially pulling the engine. The donor had 220k on it.

We needed a way to lift it, so we built this gantry crane out of scrap I beams.

We’ve got lift off!

Onto the stand!

Slowly getting stripped down.

Injectors coming out.

Down to the rotating assembly. The thing was dirty, but surprisingly mechanically sound! Even had the original cross hatching in the cylinders. With that being said, I decided to just clean the engine up, reseal it, and replace any consumables/wear parts. Then post mock up the plan was to add some performance parts on the top end.

During the cleaning process

And all cleaned up and painted, now time to clean everything else. On a side note, I can’t even guess on how many cans of brake clean I huffed while cleaning the block, plus all the parts that followed.

Cleaning the heads.


Heads all done up including new valve stem seals.

Tins cleaned and painted. I did have to order a new oil pan because the one that came with the engine was pretty badly rotted.

More cleaning. I ended up getting a new oil pump for when I assembled the engine.

Painted and a new water pump installed. Now we’re ready to start installing everything on the block!​
 

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At this point I thought the hard work on the engine was over. Usually the prep work is 90% of any job, but as you'll see, one of the hardest tasks was sourcing halfway decent hardware... We'll get to that along our assembly journey.


And the beginning of assembly!

This is where I ran into issues with two sets of headbolts from Felpro. I regret not studding the engine right out of the gate, but at some point I’ll go back and do it.


Over torqueing wasn’t the issue, we were actually able to back the broken piece out just by pushing on it with a pencil eraser and spinning the pencil.



Then the replacement box I waited for came with specialty hardware. Now to wait for ANOTHER box to come in.


I still get a bit annoyed with the amount of time I wasted replacing not one, but two sets of bolts during this part of the build. Each time they had to be shipped from another store location, so I probably wasted like 3 nights, but that’s part of the game I guess.

And the final product (minus my new oil pump)


Now the engine is more or less complete, and we can move on to mocking this whole thing up!
 
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