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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
At a 4h picnic a few years ago, I struck up a conversation with some of the older gents, and of course the subject changed to cars after a few short minutes . One of them mentioned they had a bronco sitting in their backyard, with, as he put it “a little more motor than it needs”. At the time I didn’t Know anything about the EB’s, even that ford had made such a thing . Being the young man I am I filed the “big motor” comment away in the back of my mind. At the time I wasn’t interested in 4x4’s, so it was low on my agenda.
However, being bored about a month later, I decided it was high time to go sniffing around for a project. A few calls got me a phone number for the owner, and I gave him a ring. Indeed he was interested in selling the old girl, as she had been sitting under a tree for some time. So my dad and I set off on a, looking at it now, life changing trip.
When we arrived it was apparent it had sat for some time. Thankfully I had the wherewithal to snap a few photos with my camera phone!
To give you an idea of how long she sat forgotten, let me say this first: The previous owner’s grandsons fired it up 7 years before I got to it. The license plate read I ’86 on the small tag in the corner.
The previous owner bought the 1968 bronco in 1972 from someone that was very gung ho with the welder. It had been a part of the bronco busters club of the pacific northwest (although not one of their race broncos), it was seen catching air on all fours in the early 70’s
By the time the previous owner got it, the little 289 had been strung out for much too long, and so he had it replaced with a dealer installed 4bbl 302 in 1974 or thereabouts. He installed a side seat in the back for elk hunting, a pair of hedders and cherry bombs, a tachometer, vacuum gauge and a multitude of other handy devices, and used it to tow his 19 foot travel trailer over Stevens pass on vacations. He used it for a little over 10 years and then parked it because he didn’t go hunting anymore. Only 86,000 miles all in all, and only 30,000 on the new 302!
So after a look over of the bronco, we struck up a buddy deal with the previous owner, and we plopped the tow bar that someone had made just for towing the it behind another car, and dragged it home!
Once I got it home I washed it with a stiff brush, and then dragged it behind our shop to set to work on it. I put in a new starter (the grandsons, and the hedders the PO had put on had burned up the starter years before), bolted the hedders up, sprayed some wd40 down the spark plugs, threw on a tuneup for good measure, dribbled a little gas and tranny fluid down the carb, and tapped the key. Nothing. Hmmmm. Borrowed the battery out of another truck and… sparks! We tightened down the battery cables this time
The moment of truth! “click-clunk” “click-clink” uh oh. “click-clunk” “click-ruh-ruh-ruh” and it started! Let it run for a minute and shut it down. Had two plug wires crossed, but it still ran OK. Needed a water pump, but now I had a good running motor! I swapped on a pump and my dad and I took it for its maiden voyage, smashing brush and small trees of course!
After that I started to clean it up little by little. painting the engine and the inside of the cab, stripping off the broken and aftermarket items, and getting it fixed up. Very little rust, I have had to do very little rust repair, and most of the metal work is working dents out... And even though the engine sat for so long, you would never guess it, 25 years setting and the carb even worked! no smoke nothin!
Stripped off the rotted out hedders and put on stock mani’s and a true duel 2 inch system with reverse flow cherry bomb turbo mufflers and an h-pipe.
I took it to a local auto show under projects, and although I didn’t win anything, I thought it was pretty cool to drive it on the street for the first time!-although it was far, far away from being street legal at that time. Haha!
A local bronco club member came over and helped me replace the rotted out drivetrain gaskets before I got it licensed and insured! On the road!
I traded a 390 I had setting around for a nearly new set of all terrain tires and aluminum rims, so now I was looking good too! later on I sold those and have been running a set of wider tires I got from a friend for free (a little older, but they work ok, and are steel rims instead of aluminum which I don't like on a 4x4 as they can shatter offroad on rocks and the like...)
I gave it a spray paint job to keep it all one color, and have been running that so far. lately I have been doing some body work, but keeping the spray paint as I think I will have more scratches and dents than I would like to see in a more expensive paintjob :D
I just upgraded the steering from the fantastic caddy tilt telescoping (with broken telescoping) and 2wd box with un indexed pitman arm, for a very nice stock set up. At that same time I pulled the front axle and changed the springs, shocks, bushings, and painted everything before reassembling.
It drives so nice now!
I just took the body off, painted the frame and the underside, replaced the inner and outer front fenders (they had lots of mechanical damage, lol) put on a 1 inch body lift, also new fender flares will be going on and other misc things. For upgrades I have a HP 44 front axle that I am slowly assembling for it, and I hope to have a 5 speed trans, lift, tires, ect down the road, but it's always fun to have something planned :)
But as it is the ole girl is a factory ‘L’ rear diff and limited slip Dana 30 front. I don't need to hurry too much as it gets around ok as is (though I need to rebuild the rear limited slip.
I hope I can always remember how it felt to sit in the old thing before I did all the work to it. It had an indescribable feeling of a serious business built ford.
I hope you enjoyed the story folks! I will post updates as they happen. I have saved many photos of before and during here: Image hosting, free photo sharing & video sharing at Photobucket
 

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I envy you my friend, I had a 73 Bronco that I helped a friend build back in the 80's, he moved to Florida and got into corvettes so I bought the Bronco. The body on ours came from K Bar S in Vegas at that time and this beast had a 351W, it looked nice but we off roaded it, put a western plow on it to clean our country drive and in the summer could blow away alot of musclecars stoplight to stoplight. I sold it to build a 68 Chevy 4x4 ( cough ) pickup because I needed something to haul materials for redoing our farmhouse, regretted it ever since, will get another some day. Good luck with yours and keep posting progress ... Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I envy you my friend, I had a 73 Bronco that I helped a friend build back in the 80's, he moved to Florida and got into corvettes so I bought the Bronco. The body on ours came from K Bar S in Vegas at that time and this beast had a 351W, it looked nice but we off roaded it, put a western plow on it to clean our country drive and in the summer could blow away alot of musclecars stoplight to stoplight. I sold it to build a 68 Chevy 4x4 ( cough ) pickup because I needed something to haul materials for redoing our farmhouse, regretted it ever since, will get another some day. Good luck with yours and keep posting progress ... Jim
Nice story! thanks for posting!

Let me know when you are looking to replace, I know a lot of clubs, heck you might even be able to find that same bronco! :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Replaced the rear limited slip with a locker today, Works so much better offroad and has good manners on the street. I think it was a Detroit locker, but I am not 100% sure.
 
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