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bats 88 Bronco II Build Up

Discussion in 'Bronco II Registry' started by bats, November 2, 2011.

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    1. bats

      bats Active Member

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      Following the rollover of the demon truck, I was on the hunt for a new ride. Went through about 4 different vehicles before finding an add for an 88 Bronco II with 45,xxx original miles. 'A real grandpa car,' was the tag line. Too good to be true? It was in my price range so I decided to check it out.

      It was exactly as advertised, to my surprise. Some rust and faded paint but otherwise car ran and drove great (as good as a BII can). The interior looked barely used, other than the drivers seat. Bought it and the guy delivered it to me the next week.


      The previous owner was the second owner. He had a paper trail as big as a phone book of EVERY thing that was done to the truck. The A4LD was rebuilt less than 5,000 miles ago. I've since taken over record keeping duties and maintaining the trail.

      Cleaned it up, threw some manual hubs on and hit the beach. The Touch Drive worked flawlessly!

      [​IMG]

      I grew to love the little mule. I named him Buddy after the previous owner, a war veteran.


      Then the fun started. I kept losing power and the truck would stall and run like absolute crap. My mechanic replaced the TBPS and that seemed to fix it. Then I felt confident enough to take it on a trip out to Freeland to visit some fellow forum members. The whole way there and back I rode the right lane with flashers due to unpredictable power loss. Made it home alright.

      Some $$ and time later my mechanic figured out it was an upstream 02 sensor. Fixed it like new.

      Fixed some other minor things like the dented drivers fender, rear hatch rattle.

      At this point the paint was 3 different shades of red and the rocker panels were rusted. Cue some bondo and rattle cans.

      Pulled tape and left the next day for Lewistown, PA.

      Halfway through my ride I noticed a wicked front end wiggle. It was too horrible to just be my slightly out of round tires. Possibly a wheel bearing?

      Skunk diagnosed a shot ball joint in the hotel parking lot. Followed him and Spas home where they replaced the ball joint for me. (All this after a long weekend of partying and debauchery. I can't thank you guys enough!)

      I'll find some more pics since my phone ate them all.
       
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    3. bats

      bats Active Member

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      Splitting this in two since I have a tendency to ramble. A few months ago I bought a new in box 5.5 lift kit for the Explorer. Got halfway through then had a change of heart. The Explorer is better off as my DD as I'm burning through money and can't afford yet another bomb. *cough*Volvo 242*cough* And since I'm doing a lot more distance driving, the Ex is way more comfortable than the Bronco.

      Last weekend I busted my ass and put the Ex back together. It's going back to the original 3.73 gears. The gears/diff are going into the BII.

      Right now my battle plan for the BII is as follows:

      Drive train:
      carb'd 302 swap
      Manual t-case from an explorer

      Axles:
      D35 ttb swap with 4.56 pumpkin from Eleanor
      8.8 w/ Powertrax No-Slip from Eleanor

      Suspension:
      5.5" Superlift w/ James Duff extended radius arms
      SOA using superlift SOA brackets

      Tires:
      33's

      Plus whatever goodies I find along the way (CB, beefier spare tire carrier, etc)

      From what I've read, the front stuff should bolt up easy peasy. The rear axle has me a bit concerned. I know I have to reweld the shock mounts due to how the BII is setup. My concerns are:

      What springs should I use? Stock BII? 4 door ex? Sport? Are blocks necesary?
      and
      Will I need to fiddle with it to get the pinion angle lined up right or can I just bolt the axle in and forget it?
       
    4. vroomzoomboom

      vroomzoomboom Elite Canuck STOCK SUCKS! Elite Explorer

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      dan, your building my dream B2. had one of these when i was about 20 (no, i am not telling you how old i am lol).

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      3 inch bodylift, 4 inch suspension, wit 33's, and it went threw ANYTHING! i also wanted to do a 302 in it, but took it back to stock and sold it, and have regretted it since. i think the last year or so B2's had a 8.8 in them, if i am not wrong, but it has been such a long time, cant remember. the lift kit i had was a trail master and it cam with tapered blocks for the back. just bolted them in, and drove it. in the two years it was lifted, it never ate one u joint. i did get a different rear drive shaft (double cardon) and if you can believe it, had to get it shortened with the lift. hope you have this done for next year!
       
    5. broncobra22

      broncobra22 Active Member

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      Looks and sounds as if you have a truck that is in very good condition...not that uncommon in the South but in salt country... What transmission will you be using? Low milage stock tranny should bring in some $$. No doubt all of your choices outlined are excellent ones. On vehicles to be lifted I normally build from the front to back. Of course body lift for ease of V8 installation, couple of inches is usually enough and can be temporary just for the build. I personally leave the lift on. I install engine and transmission, then front drivetran and suspension. This gives me what I need to know, height wise, in order to determine the geometry of the rear drive and suspension. I find that for me it is easier to adjust the rear components than the TTB setup, especially if you are sticking with rear leafs. The 8.8" will need spring perches switched and I always weld the tubes/housing and relocate the shock mounts.
      If your wheeling warrants this is also the time to truss, rather than pull it out latter. I'm running a lot of HP & wheel hop/ axle wrap is a BIG problem. Traction bars were a must for me (even when I had a rather weak 225 Hp stock 302 in her) course the bars can be added latter if wrap turns out to be a problem. Janderson is doing an Explorer/Ranger pack hybred & the Chevy 64" spring pack swap is also popular.
      Lot of things you can do on the back end to match up to the front, blocks, spring arching, shackles...point here is it's difficult to match what I did or someone did and get exactly the same results. So I guess it's back to doing one end or the other first then chose the options you have left to match up the other end. Oh yeah I only have 5" total lift 3" body, 2" suspension and the pinion angle was not a problem with the 8.8"... never gone higher than this.
      I know this is going to be an interesting process so I'm subscribing! Best of everything in all you do. Rick C.
       
      Last edited: November 3, 2011
    6. bats

      bats Active Member

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      Thanks for the advice thus far! Right now it's a lot of reading and searching. C4 transmission seems to be the most common and thus most plentiful.

      I do have some good news, I did a quick search on Craigslist and it doesn't look like I'll have a problem finding an engine to swap. 302's are rather plentiful as well as the oil pan assemblies. Don't want to jinx myself since I said the same thing about parts explorers a few months ago and now there are none.

      I think I will do the engine first also since that's really the big thing. A 2" body lift seems to be just about right.

      I've been rethinking the suspension lift plans though. The truck is squirily as is with the sway bars still attached. 2" body lift plus 5.5 inch suspension with a short wheel base will make it an interesting ride. The superlift kit I have includes 5.5 inch lift springs. I'm thinking maybe 3-4 inches to be on the safe side. The front lift brackets have holes for 4" and 5.5 so worst case I just swap holes and springs.

      Drivability is definitely a concern since there's no where to wheel by me and I often make trips out to PA as car as Carlisle just to get some mud action. I'd rather not make it a trailer rig.
       
    7. broncobra22

      broncobra22 Active Member

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      Right trail

      You've been around long enough to have read a lot & know even more so I'm just offering encouragement because your already pushing good buttons! Lotta ways to go on these B2 builds so 1 certainly doesn't fit all. I chose the C-4, built up by TCI (comp cams family) transmissions and their entry level offering aren't too unreasonable, 302 with small bellhousing & small flexplate makes install easy and the adaptors for the C-4 are readily available. If last ounce of power isn't what you want the cast iron manifold's mount up & are pretty easy to tube up with that 2" body lift. Building motor mounts will allow you to set the engine back a bit for more fan clearance. Just the usual wiggling and banging of metal to make it all fit, adds to the fun really. When you get to certain spots you'll remember a post that you didn't quite understand, suddenly you will. Where it gets tricky is when we attempt something that no one that we know of has ever tried before and that's when I stop and try to study & reason out "why" before proceeding. It just leads to a more harmonious out come!
       
    8. rookieshooter

      rookieshooter Moderator Emeritus

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      Welcome to the Craziness of the B2 side of the Forum.
      Out casts...maybe :dunno: Not afraid to break the mold...for sure.
      Like one of our fine members said, the B2 makes for a good platform to do a build on.
      Don't forget about the spacer plate between the block and bellhousing on the 302.
      Depends on if you got a 157 or 164 tooth flex plate or the starter won't bolt up.
      I took a spacer plate and drilled it out to accept the different starter bolt up styles.
      Both spacer plates do bolt to the block it's the two starter holes that are different.
       
    9. bats

      bats Active Member

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      Much reading has been done. I picked up a copy (literally) of that MRE Ranger/BII V8 swap guide I saw floating around. Then I saw the thing reposted on TRS....for free.

      Starting a list of parts I know I'll need and I think I'm going to find some shorter lift springs though. 2 inch body lift with 4" springs would be ok for me.

      I also picked up a 2nd gen rear to put under the Explorer. I'm thinking of using the springs off that.
       
    10. Glen4X4

      Glen4X4 Explorer Addict

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      Hey Dan, cool to see you make a build thread for your truck! You've got good plans for it for sure!
       
    11. bats

      bats Active Member

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      All things considered...

      The past few days have been particularly windy. Gusts of around 50 mph I'd say.

      So it got me thinking, driving the Bronco on windy days at stock height with sway bars attached is pretty freaking interesting. Tis very VERY squirrelly. The steering isn't that great when driving normal but I usually have to compensate extra when the wind blows.

      I know I can't expect a Cadilac ride with a vehicle with such a short wheel base but something has to be done about the steering/stability if I go through with this.

      Something I also considered is many of the members on here only have to drive short distances to get to somewhere you can wheel. Such is not the case in grand ole suburbia out here on Long Island. It's fast becoming too risky to try and wheel anywhere out here.The closest I have is Jersey but I normally go out to Freeland and as far Carlisle. Tall vehicle + windy mountain roads + wind = :roll: Been there, done that.

      I would rather this not be a trailer rig. Again, I think I'll dial down the lift. Just really wanted to use all the fancy hardware I picked up.
       
    12. Glen4X4

      Glen4X4 Explorer Addict

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      Is all your steering components new? And have good radius arm bushings? To help with the steering issue....or is it the whole sway issue? Plus with such an old vehicle the springs are probably wore which would contribute to wobbly ways in the wind. New springs would stiffen up the ride...
       
    13. bats

      bats Active Member

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      I haven't had time to crawl under the Bronco yet since I was finishing up the Explorer. Night and day difference in rides.

      Anyways, something crossed my mind. I was going through the paperwork for the Bronco and found out that the transmission was rebuilt less than 5,000 miles ago. It shifts like a champ and I've been babying it. The trans cooler helps too.

      So that got me thinking, if I have a perfectly good trans maybe I could just do an engine swap instead of redoing the entire drive line. What's every one's thoughts on swapping in say a 4.0 from a first Gen Explorer? Would the power increase be worth it?
       
    14. Glen4X4

      Glen4X4 Explorer Addict

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      I would say the engine swap would be well worth it really, especially since the trans was rebuilt with new parts it should hold up to the added power well.
       
    15. vroomzoomboom

      vroomzoomboom Elite Canuck STOCK SUCKS! Elite Explorer

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      correct me if i am wrong dan, but that should be a c5 in it correct? (kinda like a c4 but with overdrive). if i remember right (and it has been a long time) the starter is on the passengers side, and a 4L is on the drivers side. im not 100% sure, but take a look. i hope im wrong.
       
    16. broncobra22

      broncobra22 Active Member

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      4.0L starter is located on the drivers side. Some things I would consider on the engine choice. If your B2 is currently an FI model & your state does emissions; it would be improbable the carbed 302 will pass.

      Early 4.0L will show about 20hp & 50 ft. lbs. or torque increase over your base injected 2.9L....2001 & later 4.0L show about 65 hp & 68 ft. lbs. of torque gains over the little 2.9L.

      302 V8 all kinds of numbers,as a common number I'll use the 2bbl. 1972 & that shows 80 hp and 130ft. lbs. increase over the 2.9L (220hp & 300ft. lbs.)

      I like both engines but for dfferent reasons of course. I chose to go V8, but have a 4.0 L ready to install if I ever need it ...my DD still has a low milage 2.9L that still purrs but when the day comes I might upgrade with the 4.0L.
       
    17. bats

      bats Active Member

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      I checked the door codes and looks like an A4LD in there. Hence my questioning a 4.0 a first gen explorer or something. I think I'll scratch that idea. If I'm going to do an engine swap I may as well go all the way.

      In NY state vehicles 26 years and older are exempt from emissions. The truck is 23 this year so by the time I have this all done it might make that cut off.

      I've also been looking into the cut and turn beams for some added track width. 410 fortune seems to be the expert on that but hasn't been on in a while. Reading every post I can by him.
       
    18. vroomzoomboom

      vroomzoomboom Elite Canuck STOCK SUCKS! Elite Explorer

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      and if your going all the way with a 302, they can be stroked to 347! and we both know where one is sitting :D
       
    19. bats

      bats Active Member

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      I also might have a lead on a supercharger too....
       
    20. broncobra22

      broncobra22 Active Member

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      Of course I'm diggin the supercharged/V8 talk & the 35 cut and turn. TRS tech section has a good read "Zimmerman" ...kinda dated but some good basic info on the C&T axle & I agree Fortune410 is an excellent source to follow. Subscribing
       
    21. Glen4X4

      Glen4X4 Explorer Addict

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      Or just make it more flex friendly and SAS it :)
       
    22. broncobra22

      broncobra22 Active Member

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      cut & turn

      I had planned on doing the cut and turn in my shop but BT Fabrication can furnish a completed set for a LOT less than it would cost me to set up an accurate fabrication jig and I operate a machine shop. Photos I've seen show nice quality, but the real accuracy is in their jig & I can't attest to that. For the price I think I'll go the risk. Really a no brainer if all is as claimed.
       
    23. bats

      bats Active Member

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      BT Fabrication is exactly what I was thinking. I bookmarked their thread. They're now offering a whole kit and I happen to have an extra set of beams....
       
    24. broncobra22

      broncobra22 Active Member

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      Needful things

      Funny I just posted up on my broncobra thread, ranting about beams etc. Glad you had already encountered these guys. I am so reluctant to recommend anything to someone else, needs are just so varied. I really like solid axles and have owned many. For major crawling can't be beat period...for the kind of wheeling I do...not even in consideration. Not everyone is me, TTB has inherent limitations as well as possibilities, but when built and set up right they are awesome in the desert, especially at speed, pull out of the dirt and cruise comfortably & safely home.

      Though I haven't ordered yet I am thinking 2 sets, 4" lift; for my two 35's that are currently being rebuilt, re-geared and locked.

      Best of luck
       
    25. bats

      bats Active Member

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      I gave your thread a read, broncobra and I must say you do some mighty fine fab work. (Now I understand your username too.)The TTB seems better suited to your application too. When built right, they are very very capable.

      At this point I think I have a decent bearing on what's needed. I'm going to give those guys a call next week after the holidays settle down. Also, I'm going to start looking for a donor vehicle that is already 4X4. Full size bronco or F150 that has rusted to dust but has a complete drive train. I'd like to hear the engine run and drive (if possible before throwing it in.)
       
    26. broncobra22

      broncobra22 Active Member

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      Bearing check

      Thanks for the compliment I do like to fabricate. I know your taking a true heading before striking out on this build and aquiring a "carcass" or two from which to harvest major assemblies and parts is a major stride along your chosen path. It is so enjoyable to read and see what others are building and how each individual selects, options, creates, changes and progresses with their creations.
      I am so looking forward to watching your progress. Rick C.
       

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