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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Where to start this adventure. I’ve owned a couple of 1980’s Bronco II’s over the years, several 1988-1990 F-150s, and even an 89 behemoth F350 Quad Cab Diesel. I’ve also owned quite a few Mopar rigs over the years...
From 2011-2019 I DDed a second Gen Ram... then the Jeep bug from my youth but me on the behind... while looking for a clean YJ I found a very clean 2006 TJ. The TJ was sweet... but it had some severe problems that I wasn’t willing to deal with so sold it back to the dealership for what was left on my car note. And I started my search for a square body suburban, because it’s always been a rig I wanted to build out... but in my search I found a 1978 FSB. I went to look at the Bronco mainly because it had a strait body without rust and it was a 1978 (the year I was born).
Looking at the Bronco I realized it needed more work than I was willing to put into it just to get it in the road. So driving back home my wife is cruising Facebook Marketplace and finds a 1989 EB Bronco for under a grand. I’m thinking way too cheap, lots of problems, ect, ect... but taking a quick glance at the picture I knew exactly where it was located and was right on our way back home.
I had my wife call the guy to make sure he was still home. Sure enough he was... so we stopped in to take a look.
The Bronco had a severe noise in the rear end which the owner said was from a U-Joint and he had new u-joints to toss in. The seats were shot, had a broken window, steering column was broken, and several other cosmetic defects... but no dents and no RUST...
...$900.00 later and I bought her home.

first thing I did was attack the u-joint issue... pulled the drive lines but the u-joints were in excellent condition... jacked up the back tires and found the noise coming from my rear left wheel. Thinking breaks I pulled the rear drum off to find that I could move my axle about 3” up and down...
I tore into the 8.8 to find that all the bearings were garbage so I replaced all the bearings, break shoes, Wheel cylinders and brake drums.

First trip out-
April 2019, I took it for a short trip up to a place we call “the water falls” to test out the 4wd and get an idea how she would handle. Going into the first water home my tire sprung a leak (already knew I was going to need new tires). Put the spare on and limped back into town.
I did some tire shopping and found a real good price on some 32x12.5x15 Maxis Bighorn MTs. Got those mounted onto my stock wheels and went cruising again.
Waiting for my buddy to get his 5 kids ready for a day playing in the mountains my alternator died... quick trip into the part store resaulted in 45 minutes of wrench time swapping out the alternator. Finally ready to go.
Almost to the top of the first hill I over heat. Open the hood and I see my upper radiator hose is broken. Back down the hill we go and back to the part store. Where I buy both upper and lower radiator hoses and the thermostat bypass hose.
Two days later and it’s back on the road (I had to actually go to work so I replaced hoses after work) only for the radiator to break. Ordered a new radiator.
my problems seamed to be gone for the rest of the summer...
Labor Day I decide to take my 12’ row boat to one of the local lakes for the weekend. On the way home the air injection pump desires it no longer wants to function and takes a permanent siesta about 20 miles from the closest town and 80 miles from home.
two days sitting on the edge of the road trying every belt imaginable I finally found one that works and was able to drive home under my own power.
The next few months were uneventful... mostly driving around town, took a trip up to Dayton Washington to get a new boat in the middle of February without heat, and a trip on Memorial Day Weekend 2020 to play with my friends where the transfer case refused to engage when I wanted it to. It other than this, not many problems came up.

Then driving back from Kennewick, Washington the Bronco died. Classic ICM failure. I cooled the ICM down and rolled 4 miles into Pendleton, Oregon. But along the way my power steering pump froze up and grenaded the pulley. And the Bronco received her first ride on a tow truck.

After much debate I decided this was the perfect time to drop in a ZF 5 Speed transmission, upgrade to a Saginaw Power Steering Pump, and do a couple of other mods I had lined up for future upgrades. While getting the old AOD out I found about 1/2 a gallon of brand new oil in the wire cleaner and my tail pipe was filled with green coolant... I’ve never seen the amount of coolant in a tail pipe before. I pulled my intake manifold to inspect my heads, and sure enough 4 exhaust chambers were full of coolant, and several ports were full of new oil. A compression test read very low (I forget the numbers) a crossed the whole block.
Time to rebuild the entire drive train. I pulled the transfer case, Transmission, and 5.0 engine out. While pulling the engine out I had an accident and had to stop working on the Bronco for a few months. During this time someone broke out the window I replaced and stole my tools. So the project got out on hold once again.
Now I finally have a few tools and the weather has been nice the past few days so I have started putting it all back together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
What is a build thread without pictures

Shortly after getting it with the Bighorn Tires

Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Sky


Labor Day Camping Trip at the Lake
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playing

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my buddy In Kennewick helping me make a winch mount for my Mile-Marker 18,000 lb hydraulic winch
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A few hours later

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
some more pictures

getting ready to inspect the engine
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Inspection
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Having Fun during break.
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o

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In with the new

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Junkyard 5.0 in for now.
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This is where we are at as of yesterday. I have swapped intake and exhaust manifolds, throttle bodies and fuel rails. And installed the accessory brackets hooked up some of the vacuum lines and electrical wires.

Today I plan on doing the clutch and installing the transmission/transfer case.
 

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1986 Eddie Bauer 5.0EFI AOD Full length headers Y pipe into single 3" Magnaflow 3" factory exit
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Nice job on keeping up the on the Bronco. With all the work you've had to do, you may as well have just got the 78, but I guess hindsight is always 20/20.

I always liked that color combo!
 

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Man 6month in and I’m still getting to know my 89 EB (and all the little projects the prev owner ignored for 30 years) but your rig is really bucking and putting up a fight. Sounds like it found a good home with you, thats some hero patience and dedication 🇺🇸
Seats in my rig were shot too, i got those corbeaus seats and brackets from 4wheel parts for under a grand, that was a big easy win,no regrets there whatsoever.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The Bronco has put up a huge fight and my face has the scar to prove it... but I still love her and she will be on the road again very soon.

Hindsight... I do not regret it getting the 78... I’m worlds ahead with the 89. Besides 89 was a great year for me.
 

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Hey slimpartyWagon in the deepest darkest moments of the battle, always remember -“could be worse, i could be living in California” 😆
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hey slimpartyWagon in the deepest darkest moments of the battle, always remember -“could be worse, i could be living in California” 😆
Oregon is the “New” California... what ever California does, Oregon has to do it better... thank goodness they haven’t implemented mandatory emission testing a crossed the whole state.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A little update. Wether has sucked the past few weeks and yesterday was the first real break I could catch since getting the engine in. Yesterday I finally got the ZF 5 speed bolted to the engine block. It fought me tooth and nail every step of the way. Working on gravel covered plywood made the chore even more interesting. The plywood sheets kept kicking out from under the transmission jack, transmission didn’t want to stay on the jack, and I kept hitting something with the bell housing keeping the transmission from sliding closer than 18” away from the “Y” pipe. Finally as I was crawling out from under the Bronco to get the engine hoist and pull the motor, I kicked the transmission out of frustration and it slid into place. The. Wouldn’t you know it... the bolts I thought went to the bell housing actually go to the transfer case and I couldn’t find the right bolts. Off to the hardware store to buy 12 bolts... I got some a little longer than I thought I would need, and got 6 more that I thought would be the correct length. Nope... my short bolts are 1/4” too long... So I have the bell housing bolted in with 4 bolts, 2 of which are actually holding the transmission flush with the engine block. (More on this to come)

Today I installed the transmission cross member and transmission mount. The cross member and transmission mount when into place very easily. In fact almost too easy... then I realized I have one of two problems. Either I don’t have the upper gram support brackets, or they are sitting in storage with my missing clutch master cylinder and hydraulic line.

Onto the transfer case. This actually went way easier than I anticipated... I just rolled it over onto the front output shaft and tilted it up and surprisingly the input shaft engaged with the transmission output shaft and it all slid together without a fight.
And this is where I realized I had a few more problems to overcome. First I couldn’t find the bolts I had yesterday for the transfer case to transmission flange... after searching frantically I found 4 of the six bolts, 2 are still AWOL. And then I found a bigger problem as I was trying to hook up my ectrickery connections... I saw on me vehicle harness three connectors... one for the transmission, and two for the transfer case. The one connector for the transfer case I assume is the High/Low range (and possibly 4X4) and the other is either a speed sensor or for 4X4 I do t know which and haven’t checked yet... but this second connector is where the mechanical speedometer cable is held... and it’s broken... some time over the winter something fell onto the tarp I had covering it and crushed the connector. And the last problem I realized I had was... I bought a NSS/ and Backup Light Pigtail end with the intentions of cutting off the old plug for the AOD, or splicing in behind the old plug with some Weatherpack Connectors (in case I ever want to go back to an AOD (not happening, but you never know what will happen in a moment of desperation). But I found out I have 5 wires not 4, so I left all the under vehicle wiring for now and moved up top.

moving back to the engine bay I got my alternator installed and started routing my heater hoses when I found out that I am missing 2 hoses... one that comes off the water pump, and the other one that goes between the intake manifold and the “T” fitting for the throttle body.
So finding those hoses two short I decided to install my tensioner pulley... no dice, can’t find it... it’s somewhere inside the Bronco, but not sure where and I’m not ready to dump out the interior looking for parts...
After looking around under the hood for a few minutes I decided to call it a day as I debate what to do about my distributor. The engine is a 1993 so it uses a different SPOUT connector as well as a different ICM, but because the 93 uses a different cam than the ‘89 I was told I needed to get a hardened steel drive gear I order to swap back to my 1989 distributor, or I need a new Dizzy. I’m on the fence because all this work started out from a failed ICM, and I’ve replaced more than my fair share of these grey ICMs on Ford trucks... so I’m not thrilled with the cost I was given to swap gears (I don’t have the tools to do it myself, nor the room to try and do it myself), just to use a prone to failure distributor... and since the JY motor is just to get me by until next spring/summer I’m more keen on getting a distributor that will work both now, and after I build up my 302 this year.

So back to those missing bolts. Did they change the bell housing bolts between 1989 and 1993? I can understand different lengths between the AOD and the ZF5, but I don’t understand how I can be missing 6 bolts when I have six leftover identical bolts that are 12mm instead of 10mm.

anyway that where I’m at today... if everything goes as planned I should be back up and running by the end of next week. I still have a few other things to figure out like Power Steering lines (no one here wants the liability to make me custom crimped lines for my application...figure out the transmission wiring, figure out what the part I broke is called so I can find one... and lastly button up the interior.
Once this is all done, I have some fun projects lined up. Adding an auxiliary battery, wiring up a couple of “Ham” Radios, rebuilding my headliner, and start fabrication of my custom center console and dashboard.
I have until May 27th to get everything done. May 28th I’m heading out for a two week trip through the Oregon Desert and coming home via the Oregon coast...

More to fallow...
 

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Sir you Are truly a dedicated Bronco dad. I bet wild horses put up less of a fight than that rig you got there But it sounds like you’re winning the war 🍻
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I’m down to the nitty gritty.

Im waiting for the Junkyard to get back to me on the last few items needed... a wiring harness, transmission cross member braces, and an adjuster pulley.
Then I need a new belt, vacuum lines, coolant, bolts for the AC Compressor, and oils and I will be ready to start it... ohh and I need to make an end for my starter cable. So if all goes well, I will be running today :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I spent all day searching for the missing parts. I hopefully have all of them now... minus the 8mm bolts for the AC compressor... I should have those tomorrow.

If everything goes as planned I should have the first start in almost 9 months tomorrow night. Then the fun can begin...

...while making my parts rounds today I found several goodies that I have to have... a new dash, leather seats out of a 1996 EB Bronco, and a hood and door panels out of a 1989 F-250. I should have all of those parts next week or the week after.

I still need to head over to the hydraulic shop and get a couple of custom hoses made for the power steering system... but man I’m so close I can taste it. Once I get my mess picked up I’ll take a lot of pictures... really loving the look of the shifter on the floor.
 

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1979 Bronco Ranger XLT, 400m engine, C6 trans, D44 front with Dick Cepek manual hubs
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That sounds like a crazy story, and please don t take an offense (I guess you know this already) saying you may want to organize things before you start working on it. I feel your pain,
like screws and bolts or pulleys and stuff.
Searching kills my ambition at least, and drops engagement - as if you spend more time searching than wrenching, well...

Anyhow, I am pretty sure you take a tremendous job here swapping that all in, diggin for parts the same time and such!!

not an easy one, but did it fire then?
5 days ago you posted "tomorrow night", so that should ve been 22nd or 23rd of April....
where's that running engine :)

Looking forward to an update!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
@simrokkzz i haven’t fired it up yet. I ran into a few problems (mostly weather) and then had a few other in expected family things come up. Yesterday I got the last of my hard parts secured, hooked up the exhaust, fitted the starter, and then realized I have the wrong power steering lines for the Saginaw Power Steering Pump. Here in about an hour I’m heading to the store to get new lines, and 4 bolts for the AC compressor... if all goes as planned it should be running this afternoon.
 

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1979 Bronco Ranger XLT, 400m engine, C6 trans, D44 front with Dick Cepek manual hubs
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Great!
fingers crossed you get it running, that will be great!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So some updates... I got the tick to go away, the grinding noise when starting has also stopped. I JB-Welded patches in the oil pan for now.

I had a bit of an over heating issue, so replaced the water pump, thermostat, and the fan clutch. While replacing the thermostat, the upper house sing bolt head was completely rusted through. As soon as I touched my wrench to it the head fell off onto the ground somewhere never to be seen again. I spent several days trying different methods of removing the stuck bolt before doing the very thing I didn’t want to do.... drill and tap the bolt.
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After cleaning up the repair area really well, I resurfaced both the intake manifold water inlet and the thermostat housing before reinstalling the assembly. But as luck would have it the thermostat slipped and I couldn’t get a good seal. In other words water was pouring out of the seam between the thermostat housing and the intake manifold just as fast as I could pour it in (or so it seamed).
I pulled it all back a part, cleaned off my old gasket and RTV then reinstalled everything and let it sit for the night.
Today I reinstalled the hoses and filled the coolant back up... no more leak. Burped the air out of the system... or as much as I could without starting it up.
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Today’s goals are to take it for a test drive and see if my BFH made the Bronco kick out of low range, or if I need to swap/rebuild my transfer case. If everything shifts smoothly, I’m heading to the salvage yard to pick up some giddies I had pulled a couple weeks ago and will be moving onto the interior of the rig.... if the shifting issue isn’t resolved, I will be working on the transfer case instead.

More to come later tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Kennewick! My hometown!
Where are you located now? I travel all over the Northwest. Heading to Brothers, Oregon for a camping trip on Memorial Day Weekend. 4 nights of off pavement bliss. Then it will be in to tackle the Oregon Coast from Brookings all the way to Astoria. Then coming back to Eastern Oregon through PDX and onto I-84. It’s going to be a hell of 9 day trip and an awesome shakedown for the “Adventure Machine”
 
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