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Thread: '78 Bronco Project

  1. #1

    '78 Bronco Project

    For the last 4 or 5 years, I've tried to get rid of my old 78 Bronco but my youngest son Trevor pitched a fit every time I mentioned it. He loves to play in it and pretend he's on Hells Revenge. So I kept putting it off and putting it off.

    ​The Bronco in better days in Pritchett Canyon...

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    Then, about 2 months ago, Brandon out of the blue asked me what it would take to get it back on the road and so I told him about $10K hoping he'd loose interest and look for a nice older Tacoma or Silverado. Nope, he proceeded to ask me what it would take just to get it running again, so I told him it needed a battery and replace the nasty gas with fresh.

    Didn't deter him at all, with Trevor's help, he stole (borrowed) the battery out of the boat , sucked about 5 gallons of stinky gas out of the tank with my SuckUp and replaced it with 5 gal of fresh gas and waited until I got home from work. They sprayed a shot of starting fluid in the carb, cranked the engine over and danged if it didn't fire right up.


    Trevor and Brandon getting it ready to crank over.


    Attachment 94627

    Fuel started shooting out of the rubber fuel lines so he shut it down and asked me what to do. Sure enough, by the next day, they had replaced the lines and waited for me to get home.

    They fired it up again, let it warm up and everyone hopped in and we took it around the block. We drove it to the church parking lot and Brandon got a crash course in driving a standard trans which he picked up quickly. Trevor got behind the wheel and did pretty good as well (needs to grow a few more inches).

    Over the course of the next few weeks, they licenced it, replaced the mirrors, changed the oil (the threads on the pan stripped so he looked it up and found a rubber stopper at NAPA), replaced some speakers, replaced the wiring to the amp and got the stereo sounding pretty good. I was pretty impressed with the way they had persevered.

    But then a week or so ago, the power steering went out and with the reservoir full, I suspected that the pump went bad so I told them it needed to be replaced. Sure enough, they went to NAPA and picked one up. They then noticed that the pulley needed to be removed so I told them that NAPA would also rent them the tool to do it and went and picked it up. They pretty much did it all themselves with very little help from me. When they finished, they fired it back up, but with the increased pressure, PS fluid blew right past the upper seal on the steering gear.

    I pretty much told them that they had just began to discover problems and that they had better quit while they were behind. But no, they looked up how to fix it on YouTube then searched for the parts on NAPA and since the only store in the valley that had the parts was Orem, they took off to get them. Sure enough, by 7pm, they had the seal replaced and were putting it back together. They did run into a snag with the rag joint flange on the gear as the threads were a little beat up, so I told him to put the tools away for the night and we'd get a new bolt the next day.

    The next day they reassembled the rag joint and fired it up. Completely sealed and no leaks. I was very proud of the way they stuck to it and didn't give up solving problems.

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  3. #2
    Great job Dave...ya got a boy who isn't a pussy, that's for sure.

    Is that a timing light in his hand? If so, he may be ready to move up to pulling the heads and doing a valve job. Some just love to tinker and fix stuff...and being that way is an asset.

    Back in '88, I bought a '76 Toyota FJ40 Landcruiser and spent 6 months stripping it down to the frame and rebuilding it...I did it all myself...brakes, body, electrical, rebuilt the engine, upgraded the steering gear, cleaned and painted the frame, painted the body, put it all back together and it was awesome. I spent about $8000 turning that thing into basically a show truck...it was worth every nickel. It was like putting myself thru a Trade School. I learned how to take things apart and put them back together again. Perfect, invaluable experience. My dad though I was a fool, wasting my money. He was wrong...I've made a fortune for myself because of what I learned.

    I paint houses for a living. I meet men all the time who don't know one end of a screwdriver from another. I regard that as a weakness. I feel sorry for their wives.
    Suddenly my feet are feet of mud
    It all goes slo-mo
    I don't know why I am crying
    Am I suspended in Gaffa?

  4. #3
    Yours kids are learning skills that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.

    FWIW - My kids both got a job at VW while they were going to school. They were lot techs and parts delivery drivers. One of the big reasons they got the job over the two dozen others applying was because they could both drive a manual.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by twotimer View Post
    Is that a timing light in his hand?
    It's actually a DeWalt drill. He drilled a hole in the old seal to put a sheet metal screw in to extract it, but he was able to grab it with needle nose pliers and yanked it right out.

    He has WAY better luck with mechanics that I do... If it were me doing it, that seal would have been welded in.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Sandstone Addiction View Post
    It's actually a DeWalt drill. He drilled a hole in the old seal to put a sheet metal screw in to extract it, but he was able to grab it with needle nose pliers and yanked it right out.

    He has WAY better luck with mechanics that I do... If it were me doing it, that seal would have been welded in.
    I just can't remember the last time I saw a kid working on a car. Remember replacing your fist starter? What were we then, 17, 18? Plugs, points, distributor cap, water pump, drum brakes, trying to trace down electrical issues...ah, the good old days!

    I reckon your boy wants to take that thing to Moab and let'r rip. Let's hope he doesn't break it all to hell, eh?
    Suddenly my feet are feet of mud
    It all goes slo-mo
    I don't know why I am crying
    Am I suspended in Gaffa?

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by twotimer View Post
    I just can't remember the last time I saw a kid working on a car. Remember replacing your fist starter? What were we then, 17, 18? Plugs, points, distributor cap, water pump, drum brakes, trying to trace down electrical issues...ah, the good old days!

    I reckon your boy wants to take that thing to Moab and let'r rip. Let's hope he doesn't break it all to hell, eh?
    Yep, I cut my teeth on an old '68 Chev 4X4 that I bought when I was 16 that had plenty to fix. I ended up replacing the 4 speed tranny with a salvage unit and I got educated on replacing idler gears and bearings in the transfer case.

    My dad warned me about buying it, but I was stubborn and trusted the guy that was selling it. That was a hard lesson.

    The boys have mentioned wheeling in Moab a few times. But, that is a long ways off. if it ever gets to that point. The 351M is very tired and would need to be rebuilt for starters.

    The front and rear Detroit Lockers are still bullet proof though

  8. #7
    My daughter putting brakes on her Firebird and the rear's were drums.

    She sold that car last year and bought a new Mustang GT with a 6 speed manual.


  9. #8
    Nice work. Funny, in the top picture she looks more like her mom than she does you and the bottom pic she looks more like you than her mom.

    I'm the same way...standing between my mom and dad I'm full on 50/50. My mom was beautiful. My dad?...not so much.
    Suddenly my feet are feet of mud
    It all goes slo-mo
    I don't know why I am crying
    Am I suspended in Gaffa?

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  11. #9
    Wow. You must be proud of your daughter.

  12. #10
    Nice project. Any update on your Bronco?

  13. #11
    @rowilly , yes time for an update.

    Shortly after the power steering pump was fixed, Brandon was on his way to work in Sp. Fork and got about a mile from the house and the right rear tire went down. It didn't actually blow out, but lost all the air very rapidly and with in 100' it was on the rim.

    (I've have a pic, but just can't seem to find it)

    The BF Goodrich 35 X 12.50 X 16.5 Mud-Terrains were purchased about 17 years ago and despite having lots of tread, the sun had taken it's toll and in the spot that had direct sun for at least 15 years the cap separated causing the flat. I knew he was taking a risk driving on them, but I didn't realize they were that deteriorated. Glad it wasn't the right front.

    I switched vehicles with him and he left me to find a way to get it back home. The spare was not an option as it was flat and much smaller than the 35's. I could have made it work, but since 16.5 inch rims are now extinct, I didn't see any reason to not just drive it back on the rim. Tire came off about half way and was on the rim the rest of the way.

    The Detroit Locker did not like it very much though and anything over 3 mph resulted in violent jerking and ugly noises, so it was a very slow drive.

    The next couple of weeks were spent deciding what to do about tires. A new set of Toyo mud tires and wheels at Discount Tire were pushing $1800 and that just wasn't in the budget. So once again, I tried to persuade him to look at the sweet Chevy Silverado for sale down the street, but no dice, he was determined to figure out a solution that would work.

    We started to search online for tires and Super Swamper actually still makes tires for 16.5" rims, but they were in the neighborhood of $300+ and Swampers are terrible on the road. He kept looking and found some military surplus Hum Vee 37 X 12.50 tires on Ebay for about $100 each, but the closest set was in Texas and the cost for shipping was just too much.

    The thought of purchasing tires on Amazon NEVER crossed my mind, but Brandon found some very nice 35 X 12.50 X 17 generic mud tires for $168 each and free shipping with Prime. Sure as heck, FedEx dropped the tires off a few days later and he stacked them up in the garage. I couldn't believe how easy it was.



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    Recycling

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    He also looked on Amazon for new wheels, but they were out of stock and so more searching online and he found a set of aluminum mods on Four Wheel Parts for about $100 each and soon had them on their way to the SLC store for easy pick up.

    The only thing left was to have them mounted and balanced. Brandon called Discount and Big O, but they wanted about $40 each...crazy. Rocky's in Sp. Fork told him they'd do it for $25 and he was loading them up. By the time I got home from work he had them already bolted to the Bronco and back on the road.

    (I'll post some more pics soon)

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  15. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Sandstone Addiction View Post
    (can't get these images to orient correctly, not sure why?)


    (I'll post some more pics soon)
    Before you post, hit "preview post" to see if the picture are going to be sideways...if they are, delete them, go into your photos and very slightly crop them. For some reason, that does the trick...I figured it out when all the photos I had taken vertically were doing the sideways thing. Doesn't seem to be a problem with the horizontal shots.
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    Bogley BigShot oldno7's Avatar
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    I like the looks of that tread pattern.
    I'm not Spartacus


    It'll come back.


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  19. #15
    The tires are surprisingly quiet and they balanced up with very little weight.

    Although they do seem pretty soft, so not sure about longevity. But it doesn't get driven far so I doubt it will be an issue.

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  21. #16
    Bogley BigShot oldno7's Avatar
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    Sounds like excellent Moab tires, then.
    I'm not Spartacus


    It'll come back.


    Professional Mangler of Grammar

    Guns don't kill people--Static Ropes Do!!

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  23. #17
    Nice choice of tires.

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