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1995 Ford Bronco XLT 5.8L
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got back from four days in and around Capitol Reef National Park, Utah.

We towed the 3200 pound popup camper using my 1995 Ford Bronco XLT 5.8L. Recent engine work, including replacing a MAP sensor and cleaning out the distributor cap yielded benefits in towing performance: Between Sandy Utah and Torrey I never had to drop below 60 except where winding roads necessitated doing so. Coming home there was one grade where I dropped to 55. But most of the time I was able to maintain 65-75. I'm equipped for it: weight distribution hitch, brake controller, and dual trailer sway control bars. The power was ample most of the time. Regrettably I still haven't found my vacuum leak, so a portion of the drive was with air conditioning coming out of the defrost vents instead of the console vents. This is less of a factor when I'm not towing. Fuel economy was right about 12MPG towing, sometimes a little better. My OD is pretty steep; at 70MPH I'm still just below 2000 RPMs. The PSOM has been calibrated for my tire size. The drive from my home to the campsite outside of Torrey, UT was about 3h 20m.

Around the area: On-road I was getting about 15MPG as we explored the Fish Lake National Forest, Dixie National Forest, and Escalante / Grand Staircase National Monument areas, as well as on-road within Capitol Reef National Park and along the remote east side near Nottom.

Off road: We did about 20 miles of off-roading; Bown Lake area, Sandcreek Road up into the hills offroad, and within Capitol Reef along the Pleasant Creek offroad trail.

My 31" tires seemed sufficient for every challenge these roads presented. There were some areas where I put things to the test by crawling up technical terrain. There were a number of times where I was surprised at how well the vehicle maintained traction and just crawled up without ever losing grip. I think my vehicle is equipped with a positive traction rear differential. I would like to know how to check this. But really there were no points along the way where I felt power going to the wrong wheels; we always just ambled up whatever came along without slipping.

I had an 89 Bronco Custom 5.0L years ago, and I'm positive it was not as capable off-road. I think it had 32" tires and a 1.5" lift, but its brakes just weren't as good, and also it seemed to slip on rugged terrain more. This '95 XLT 5.8L has excellent brakes, a little more power, 31" tires, probably steeper gearing (which is a negative off-road), and no lift (another negative off-road), but just felt more like it was taking the off-roading in stride.

With that shake-out trip (my fourth 3-5h drive with towing for a camping trip, but first real offroading) I feel like I'm probably ready to book the White Rim Trail in the spring. Of course that would be without a trailer.

I guess I'm pretty satisfied with the 95 Bronco XLT 5.8L as a camping vehicle; it does fine towing the trailer, and is a great vehicle for exploring just about anywhere I would want to drive it, on or off road. YMMV.
 

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1994 Eddie Bauer
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27 Posts
Nice write up. Glad the old girl did well. You can check if you have the Traction Lok by jacking both rear wheels off the ground and rotate one tire, if the other wheel goes the same direction then it’s a Traction Lok, if the other goes the opposite it’s open. My guess it’s a Traction Lok.
 

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1995 Ford Bronco XLT 5.8L
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79 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Tire Sky Cloud Wheel Vehicle


This pic was taken on the (normally submerged, but we're in a low-water year) shoreline of Bown Reservoir in Fishlake National Forest. The route we took had some fun offroad characteristics. I think there must have been an easier way around, too, because when we arrived there were some RVs, but we took the fun path not the well-traveled one. :)

As you can see there's some fender rust (worse on the driver's side) and quarter panel rust near the door. The clear coat is in bad shape too. I guess at some point I'll have the rust work done and get it repainted. I'd probably keep the same color, though I haven't decided if I'll go for a white / beige top to stay cooler inside in the summer.
 

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Charlie don't surf..
'92 Ford Bronco XLT
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16,204 Posts
nice pics..that last one looks like it could have been in a Bronco ad from the 90's..
 

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I did a two week solo back packing trip down in canyon lands. I didn't see a single person for two weeks. This was in June and it was 90 in the day and 40 at night... with biting little gnats everywhere. The day hikes and exploring the cliff Indian ( anasazi ?) dwellings made it a awesome trip.

I really want to one day take the Bronco out into the maze at Canyonlands. That looks epic.


 

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1995 Ford Bronco XLT 5.8L
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79 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I did a two week solo back packing trip down in canyon lands. I didn't see a single person for two weeks. This was in June and it was 90 in the day and 40 at night... with biting little gnats everywhere. The day hikes and exploring the cliff Indian ( anasazi ?) dwellings made it a awesome trip.

I really want to one day take the Bronco out into the maze at Canyonlands. That looks epic.


Yeah, I live in Sandy (a suburb of Salt Lake), so within 5.25 hours of my place I can get to:
  • Zion National Park
  • Bryce National Park
  • Canyonlands National Park
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Capitol Reef National Park
  • Great Basin National Park
  • Arches National Park
Expand to just over six hours and I can get to the Grand Canyon.

...and a dozen National Monuments, and about 75 state parks. Dixie National Forest, Wasatch National Forest, Fishlake National Forest, Uinta National Forest, and probably others I'm forgetting. It's an outdoor playground here for sure.
 
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