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I've been slacking hardcore. Ever since I started my new position at work about 1 1/2 years ago I've been wiped out during most of my time off when I'm at home during the day. 12-13 hour graveyard shifts suck bad. Anyway, I made some recent purchases for my Bronco to help motivate me to finish some plans. It's nothing impressive like I see a lot of guys doing on here with lots of bodywork and engine swaps, but my rig needs some things done here and there, so I'm going to use this as a way to document what I do as I go along. I'm also wanting to go to Moab in April/May with the others on here, so that'll be some extra motivation to get the Bronco in good enough shape where I feel it'd make the... roughly 450 mile trip there.

When I got the Bronco the rear window was non-functional. The previous owner had the glass propped up with two lengths of pvc pipe. Pretty ghetto, but it does manage to keep the glass nice and tight in the top. I think it'd be a much cooler ride, in more than one way, if I could get the window working again. For now it's a manual affair by removing the pvc pieces and slowly lowering it down by hand.

It took a while, mostly because I've never seen the inside of a Bronco tailgate and there aren't too many around in the JYs here for me to compare to, but I did manage to figure out what all was missing and what I need to do. Everything seems to be there in the tailgate, except for the window regulator and the tracks that attach to the window that the regulator uses to lift and lower it. Last year I managed to find another 78 Bronco in one of our local JYs, so I lucked out and was able to obtain those parts from that rig. They've been sitting in my back room with my stockpile of parts for my Bronco and my 77 F100. If I ever manage to stay awake, I'll get my backlog done.

Another thing that I noticed about the Bronco, and I"m just assuming here from observation, is that the tailgate is from a different rig. My Bronco is red, but this tailgate, under the access panel, is black. It's also got some black in spots where the red is chipped. Another thing I noticed, which just tickled me silly, is that the wiring for the tailgate that goes through the left side quarter panel has been cut. I'm just guessing that they cut it there to swap tailgates, because nothing else makes sense. So, that's where I decided to tackle this job today. I spent a couple hours before I left for work getting things set up and soldering those wires back together for the tailgate.

I am a 100% amateur solderer. I'm pretty embarrassed by the look of my soldered joints, but they always seem to hold and by god I'm gonna make it work.

I'll give an overview of what I did and then let the pictures speak for themselves.

I checked to make sure the wires still had power from the battery. My test light confirmed that one wire always had constant power regardless of key position. The other two did not, but I'm fairly sure that's because they're used for up/down on the switch which completes the circuit depending on which way you push the switch or turn the key in the gate. Then I disconnected the battery negative, so I didn't become a parable. I then stripped back the insulation on both sides of the wires, cleaned them with what I had available, attempted to tin them (lol), bent both ends into hooks and hooked them together, soldered the ends together, shrank the heat shrink tubing I put on the wires, wrapped each wire individually with black electrical tape, wrapped all three wires together with more electrical tape, cut the grommet that the wires go through into the tailgate and fitted it over the newly soldered wires. I would have kept the grommet on the wires before I soldered them, but there wasn't enough room with all the heat shrink and I think it'll function well enough for the job it's required to do with the way I put it on. Blah!























Next step will be bolting in the regulator and pop riveting on the tracks to the glass. I did check to make sure the wiring is functioning properly. I had about 10 minutes to spare before heading out to work, so I pulled out the regulator and rigged up the wiring real quick then hit the buttons for the window on the inside of the tailgate, the ones that move it when you turn the key in the gate. The regulator started moving, so I think it's a shoe in from here provided I don't crack the glass putting the rivets in. I think my regulator/motor might be OEM from 78. The Bronco I pulled it from was a 78 and the markings on the regulator motor indicate a 1977 manufacture. At least that's what I'm getting from it. Pretty neat that it all still works. I need to either find a matching connector to the one in my tailgate for my regulator or come up with two new ones of my own.
















Here are some more items I'll be addressing later on this week/next week. Some weather stripping for the top of the tailgate and the anti-rattlers for the doors. The rest seem to be pretty decent if not really good. I have a relay kit for the head lights. Metal "finger cups" for the door panels. New fuel filler hose since mine is cracked out and leaking when I fill it up. Some other tailgate innards. I have some new door panels on the way since mine were toast and some new LED headlights as well. I still need to get my fuel tank dropped, so I can add a fuel return line for EFI and I need to get my headers installed. I have a nice list of things I need to do that I haven't mentioned that's on my fridge. One thing at a time.






 

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Ya buddy, get after it.

The feeling of accomplishing a repair an installing new parts is satisfying.
 

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Your tailgate could also be an aftermarket piece. They are typically black primer to start.

Whoever swapped it could have been lazy and just chopped the wires instead of taking the tail light out, but it would have been a pain to get the glass back up even just once. I've seen wires for the door harness that look like that in my '87 that just got old and cracked in half after being flexed countless times.
 

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Keep attacking the little stuff as you can, and before long you will be able to set aside time for the big stuff!
 

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Thanks guys! I'm glad I got the wiring soldered before I started work this weekend. I got home this morning and fell asleep on my bed with all my clothes on. I don't think I'll be hitting the next step in my plan until Monday or Tuesday.

It could be that the wires broke on their own rather than being cut, but they were really pliable and didn't feel brittle at all other than the plastic covering over them. I think the previous owner was just comfortable with not fixing anything. There were several things wrong with it when I got it.
 

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Made some progress yesterday and today. Didn't get as far as I wanted due to a lot of running around to gather parts/supplies.

I decided to wire wheel the brackets that go onto the rear glass and paint them black. I was tempted to just throw everything together, but I figured it was better to at least clean up these brackets since they'll have the regulator wheels rolling through them. The regulator itself is a different story. I didn't bother with cleaning it up. I managed to snap a picture before I got too far into things, so you can get a before an after, though for some reason I forgot to take a picture of the brackets painted black, so for now use your imagination. They look good though. lol




 

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During my running around yesterday I was able to stop by a nearby JY and look for some connectors for my window regulator. I had been driving my F100 and it has the gauge cluster bezel currently removed, so I can see underneath the cluster. I noticed the same green connector that my Bronco has in the tailgate within the dash of my F100, so I figured I'd look in a dash in the JY since most of them are all tore up. The first thing I came across was the '78 Bronco I had previously raided and it's dash was completely barren, so I dug around and found a couple of usable items. I didn't have anything to cut them out with, so I just muscled them out. A couple of nice pop sounds and the wires gave. I'm gonna hold onto the brown connectors I found in case I need to use them for something else, but I did get a matching green connector for the regulator. The wires that were in the connector were significantly smaller than the regulator wires so I decided to crudely, like everything else I do, "un-crimped" the wires within the connector and solder on the regulator wires. Then I popped them back into the connector and we're golden.











 

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I've hit a couple snags at this point with my tailgate repair though. I hooked up the regulator and it's not functioning. The key in the gate doesn't get it to move nor the switch in the dash. I double checked the regulator itself by hooking it up to my jump starter pack and operating it that way, so it's still good. I pulled out the left tail light and unhooked the tailgate harness to see if power was still coming to the tailgate and I am still getting power to the tailgate harness. SO... I'm assuming it's either the switch in the gate for the key or that little button thing by the latch release. I'll have to investigate some more. I hope it's not a bad tailgate switch because it's hardwired into the entire harness which would negate my amazing solder job. I'll have to see if that '78 Bronco in the JY still has the harness. I'm not sure it did when I pulled the regulator from it last year. We'll see.

On some more exciting news, I got my headlights in as well as my door panels. I would have gone ahead and worked on the headlights and the headlight relay kit, but I'm really wanting to get this tailgate squared away before anything else. It's a matter of principle at this point, I'm not gonna let the bass turd beat me.

I got the panels from dennis carpenter. I bought the second quality off colored panels, the ones that are created when they go from one color to the next and they obviously don't have the desired look people are after. I plan to have them wrapped in vinyl or something like that when I get the interior done, so it makes no difference to me. I was going to just get a couple mismatched panels from the JY, but it was pretty impossible to find even one still intact. I really wish I had an orange Bronco and had received matching orange door panels. I think the orange marble look of the one door panel looks pretty cool. My wife saw me pull them out of the box and was like wtf are you buying. lol






 

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My Bronco is missing some fasteners in the top. Not the usual ones people are looking for though. They hold the metal channel that holds the upper weather stripping for the rear window to the fiberglass top. My metal channel kinda flops around as it is. I pulled the weather stripping from that JY '78 Bronco since it was nice and soft still and mine is hard and cracked out. That's when I noticed how that channel was attached to the top. I removed one in hopes of finding replacements, but quickly found out that no one seems to make them. The closest thing I was able to find the other day were some fasteners that are meant to hold side molding on cars/trucks. I'm gonna try to cut them with a grinder and they should be pretty dang close to what I need. Gotta be resourceful right?









 

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Got the rear window operable on Sunday. I got a donor harness for the tailgate. Turned out my window switch in the tailgate was bad, so I got it swapped out. Got a bit ahead of myself and had to drill out the rivets I put in the window tracks 2 times. Yeah. First I put the tracks on the glass before sliding the glass into the tailgate. Then I put the tracks on upside down. It's like I don't know what I'm doing. lol. I need to quit watching videos from newer Broncos. On Broncos newer than mine the tracks that the regulator wheels roll in can unbolt from the rest of the bracket on the glass. Mine aren't like that, they're one piece, but I guess I skipped that part of a video I took a quick look at before my attempt. But it's done minus some little tweaking I'll need to do as well as routing the wiring a little better than I currently have it, so it doesn't end up getting eaten in the regulator gears.
 

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Yeah, I popped out the weatherstripping in the tailgate and the opening looked big enough to slide everything through. It was about 1" wide and the glass with the tracks on with the rivets and spacers was about 1 1/4" wide. If you can unbolt the tracks from the bracket it'd slide right in even with them riveted on. I can see why they changed them for later years if my tracks are in fact an OEM set for 78/79. I think the scariest part of the whole rear window ordeal was putting the rivets on. Man those things require quite a bit of force and make a LOUD snap, I thought I was gonna break the glass every time I put one on. All 12 of them. lmao.
 

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I'm getting my exhaust done this week, so hopefully I can start moving on my Holley Sniper install. Better late than never I guess. It's been sitting in my house for a looooong time. The only other thing I need to do, other than the exhaust (for the O2 bung), is drop my gas tank and get to work installing a fuel return line.

Now that I'm a bit more motivated to get things done the weather is starting to fudge with me. Right after I got my rear window fixed it poured rain for a couple days, then snowed a few inches. Yesterday it dropped about 4 inches of snow again, so I'm gonna have to be strategic about getting outside and dropping the tank before I get another good rain storm or snow dropped on me again. It's fortunately been warm/sunny enough to clear the roads off (which is where I work on this thing) within a day after the snow stops.

Anyone have advice on how to drop a tank? I've never dropped one before. I plan on running the tank out as much as I can before dropping it. I'm hoping it's as simple and unhooking the hoses/lines, unbolting it, then lowering it down with a floor jack.

While I wait to get the Bronco back from the exhaust shop I'm gonna work on those fasteners for the Bronco top. I have a super cheap Harbor Freight rotary tool, similar to a Dremel, that I'll put a cutoff wheel on and trim them up.
 

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If you haven’t finished putting the tailgate window assembly back together yet, (hoping), check out the thread here today about repairing a window motor. I think it is the same thing and you should do that before buttoning it all up. Also in the technical threads list there are discussions about improving the wiring and troubleshooting that rear window setup. Hope this helps. I admire your dedication and workmanship and am looking forward to more of your interesting and well written posts. Use white lithium grease on those rollers and rails.
 

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I'm getting my exhaust done this week, so hopefully I can start moving on my Holley Sniper install. Better late than never I guess. It's been sitting in my house for a looooong time. The only other thing I need to do, other than the exhaust (for the O2 bung), is drop my gas tank and get to work installing a fuel return line.

Now that I'm a bit more motivated to get things done the weather is starting to fudge with me. Right after I got my rear window fixed it poured rain for a couple days, then snowed a few inches. Yesterday it dropped about 4 inches of snow again, so I'm gonna have to be strategic about getting outside and dropping the tank before I get another good rain storm or snow dropped on me again. It's fortunately been warm/sunny enough to clear the roads off (which is where I work on this thing) within a day after the snow stops.

Anyone have advice on how to drop a tank? I've never dropped one before. I plan on running the tank out as much as I can before dropping it. I'm hoping it's as simple and unhooking the hoses/lines, unbolting it, then lowering it down with a floor jack.

While I wait to get the Bronco back from the exhaust shop I'm gonna work on those fasteners for the Bronco top. I have a super cheap Harbor Freight rotary tool, similar to a Dremel, that I'll put a cutoff wheel on and trim them up.
If you are not replacing or painting the tank, and only are dropping it to work on the fuel delivery/return system, consider cutting an access panel and accessing the fuel module from there.
Here's the write up by Steve83, it should be applicable to your truck, Good Luck
1983 Ford Bronco Bronco Fuel Pump Access Hole pictures, videos, and sounds | SuperMotors.net
 

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If you haven’t finished putting the tailgate window assembly back together yet, (hoping), check out the thread here today about repairing a window motor. I think it is the same thing and you should do that before buttoning it all up. Also in the technical threads list there are discussions about improving the wiring and troubleshooting that rear window setup. Hope this helps. I admire your dedication and workmanship and am looking forward to more of your interesting and well written posts. Use white lithium grease on those rollers and rails.
Thanks. I'm really using this Bronco as a learning experience and it's in the right shape that if I were to mess something up I wouldn't be upset about it.

No, it's not all buttoned up yet. I got it functioning, rolled it up, then let it sit once the rain hit hard. I still need to vacuum out the crud on the bottom of the gate, route the wires better, install the new bumpers for the window that go into the bottom of the gate, weatherstripping on the top of the gate, etc before I put the access panel on it. I may consider going through the motor before I call everything good and that's a great idea. It runs really well though, which makes me not want to touch it. That whole "don't fix it if it ain't broken" mantra.

Here's the motor in action after I had soldered the connectors onto the bare wires and before I had put it back into the regulator. I wish I had recorded it going in the other direction, because when I'd give it power in that direction the motor actually had enough torque that it'd make one end hop off the table once it was given power and it'd plop back down. I was like no wonder those EV's can go so fast with those giant electric motors.



 

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If you are not replacing or painting the tank, and only are dropping it to work on the fuel delivery/return system, consider cutting an access panel and accessing the fuel module from there.
Here's the write up by Steve83, it should be applicable to your truck, Good Luck
1983 Ford Bronco Bronco Fuel Pump Access Hole pictures, videos, and sounds | SuperMotors.net
You know, I saw someone else's thread on here that had that. I think it may have been from the one Holley Sniper install thread I read a while back. That's a really good idea, but I hadn't thought about simply starting off doing only that rather than adding it in after going through the tank. Hmmm. That's a definite possibility on making things simpler. I'll be replacing the fuel filler hose as well since it's cracked out and leaking whenever I put gas in the Bronco. I wasn't planning on replacing the tank or painting it unless once I dropped it I found out it was in bad shape. Man, I'll be thinking about this a lot tonight. lol
 

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On the Forum right now there is a discussion about putting relays in and making the flawed factory setup better. The factory wiring is too small so the voltage drops over one volt from front to back. Again I want say I admire your attitude and your work, just thinking if you are like me once you put it back together you might not be there again for a long time!😆. Replace all the gaskets and seals and rubber stuff or water will get in and trash it all quickly. I repaired the rear window on my neighbor’s hunting bronco six months ago and now it doesn’t work again and now I OWN that bronco so I’m gonna fix it RIGHT this time, thanks to the wonderful Full Size Bronco Forum! (Yeah, Team!)
 

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So, I got home this morning after working my three 12 hour graveyards this weekend and got a surprise. I had dropped my Bronco off at the exhaust shop mid last week when the weather was super crap and snowing, knowing I wouldn't be able to do anything with it in that weather and knowing I would be working fri-sun. I had them install my headers for me since I already had everything I needed for them and simply didn't have the time or the weather to get them on myself and I need a boost if I'm gonna meet my timeline for being done with everything by late April.

I'm kinda glad I didn't do it myself in the end, because it took them like half a day and that's in a fully equipped shop with the guy putting them on having a helper which I have neither of those. I guess they had to jack up the motor, remove the starter, and remove all of the clutch linkage in order to get them in. I didn't realize it was going to be that labor intensive considering I removed those headers from a JY Bronco by myself, however, that Bronco was an auto and not a manual and... I really beat the crap out of that engine compartment getting them out and it took forever (had to make two trips over two days) while having no regard for the headers as I was banging them against things as I moved them around. ANYWAY!

HO. LEE. SWEAR WORD. I have never run open headers before. I told them to not hook the stock exhaust back up to it since I was going to have it all replaced later once I made a final decision on the exhaust setup after I saw how the headers looked under the Bronco and chose a muffler with a sound I liked (watched a lot of youtube vids this weekend). I couldn't stop laughing out loud to myself once I turned the key and started it up when I picked it up this morning. Whoever actually runs open headers for anything other than racing or maybe a demolition derby is completely nuts. I'll have to record it running. It sounds like a pro stock dragster at idle and I haven't even taken it over like... maybe 2k rpm yet since I live about 2 blocks away from the shop and went nice and slow. Man, my '75 F150 has a mildly built 460 that was bumped up to 427hp and, before I killed it, it was pretty dang loud with dual exhaust and a couple glasspacks, but it's nothing to this. I can't get over how loud open headers are. It's wild.

I have to make two adjustments, because of the headers now. I need a new, longer positive battery cable for the starter, so I can reroute it away from the headers since the current cable is about 1/4" from the header primaries. No beuno. Second adjustment is that I need to figure out a new way to attach the dipstick tube to one of the header bolts. The tube was originally attached to the closest manifold bolt, but the little strip of metal attached to the tube doesn't reach that same bolt anymore due to the header primaries. Small issues, but they are there. Those headers look pretty decent though, we'll see how well this "high temp" powder coat holds up once I get a chance to run the engine for a bit.

Oh yeah, here's a before and after of my headers that I yanked from the JY since they're not on this thread for you to enjoy. I had them blasted and powder coated. Super sexy, no? I'll get a shot of them installed sometime later. Have a great Monday, guys!











 
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