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.