bats 88 Bronco II Build Up aka Project Second Chance | Page 19 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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bats 88 Bronco II Build Up aka Project Second Chance

3”!!! Ttb should be more
Like 8-16” of travel lol
It's embarrassing how little travel the front has. Haven't found the right springs for this setup. The early bronco(?) springs I had in there were almost fully compressed at idle and gave the truck a rake. Truck sits nice and level with these stiffies but not too friendly on the kidneys.

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How much lift? Skyjacker makes a really nice 2” coil and also a 6” you can no longer get the 8”

How much lift? Skyjacker makes a really nice 2” coil and also a 6” you can no longer get the 8”
Currently has the Skyjacker 134S springs so 4 inches. I throw my weight on the hood and it barely compresses even without shocks.

Interesting! I show those as a rwd ranger coil not sure why they won’t flex well for you on the ttb??? Should be right around 600 psi spring rate

I found this chart on The Ranger Station that has spring rates of common lift springs. The Skyjacker 134's have a rate of 480. Free length of 17" and compressed down to 15" with the weight of the truck.

Looked through my notes and found the I used the Wild Horses Early Bronco 2 1/2 Inch coils which have a 240 first rate and 375 second rate. Wild Horses also has 4 1/2 inch coils with springs rates of 1st rate is 229, second rate is 375. That might be what I need to sit level and get some flex back.

Years ago when I was trying to find the perfect spring rate for my Ranger, I thought that something less than the 400 that my skyjacker? coils had would be ideal.

Ah 480 cool that this info is avail these days

So my calculations were correct....sort of. I ordered the 4 1/2 inch Early Bronco springs which ended up being too tall. The TTB drop bracket does have two sets of holes, 4 inch and 6 inch lift and I'm on the 4 inch option. The rear sits nicely so I don't want to play with things too much.

My solution was to cut two coils off the new springs which made them about 1.5 inches taller than the Skyjacker 134s. I reused the same full size coil seats as last time. Same Bilstein shocks.

The trimmed coils were installed just before Christmas and looks like the truck settled in to it's original ride height. Definitely more flex when I jump on the hood. I'm going to call this good enough, even if I need a small spacer to level things later.

Brakes still need bleeding because I was excited thinking the coils would be an easy swap and got wrapped up in them first.

Well alright alright alright I'm an idiot. Haste makes waste.

Remember how I said the brackets had two sets of holes? I should have just moved the TTB down and used the 6 inch hole instead of cutting. The truck is back on it's tires and the springs settled and it now has a forward rake. Thinking about it the rear technically works out to a six inch lift between the Ranger shackles and the 4 inch leaf springs. It is what it is for now.

Redid all the AN brake lines with standard stuff. For reference, the master cylinder uses a M10x1.0 and M12.0x1.0 fittings. Also swapped out a brand new master cylinder from a 2001 Explorer to match the rear disks. 2001+ master cylinders have a third hole up top for a brake sensor of some sort that likes to catch fire. For simplicity's sake I bought one to plug the hole. Pretty sure I ran the lines correctly and the FRONT brakes go to the fitting closest to the BRAKE BOOSTER.

Had a devil of a time bleeding the brakes because I'm by myself. Gave up and bought a Motive Power bleeder kit this week. (No printed instructions and the Amazon sticker was stuck over the stupid QR code to scan for helpful tips.) Word of advice, the O Rings it comes with are not spares and need to be applied to the fitting BEFORE you start bleeding. Or you'll have a very messy evening. Brakes bled finally and it stops like the dickens.

Haven't road tested it yet because I realized I never did a follow up oil change after doing the heads.

Goes for inspection in a few days which it should pass. As long as it's road safe, I'm calling it a win at this stage. Life gets in the way and so on.

Truck passed inspection. Nice thing about old vehicles is that they only check safety...which I 100% assure you is legit. Heck it even still has it's catalytic converter intact.

Cruised around town a bit and the trans is not happy at all. In addition to the (possible) throw out bearing rattle, the trans itself sounds like a blender full of broken glass. Really regretting cheaping out the no name ebay rebuilt special now. Never felt quite right from the get go and I've driven other manual explorers including another member's manual Explorer with a stock trans and it felt completely different.

My spark with this truck has been dwindling and it kills me to watch it sit in the garage in pieces. The whole 20 minutes on the road today helped rekindle something in me. I was at a light next to an Aston Martin Vantage, sexy little green machine, yet people were staring at my rolling Mad Max reject of a vehicle. I missed seeing those looks of "Nice!" and absolute disgust from some yuppie in a Lexus. My mechanic was happy to see it roll into his shop this week.

Then there's the thrill of driving it. It's slower than I remember. Like whale poop on a cold day slow. But the engine still sounds happy and shifting at 3K RPM brings that satisfaction that you can't quite describe but tickles the happy part in your brain. Chirping the tires leaving every exit makes me giddy. She still got the torque that picks that sagging front end right up. The cabin, while a little cramped, is pretty comfy with the leather seats and bat-wing vent windows. All my efforts of sound deadening paid off well enough that you can still hear the rattles and the cam lope but not annoyingly so. Sure there's misc wires hanging from the ceiling and switches that don't work anymore but it brings a sort of Millennium Falcon charm to it. Except she starts. Every. Single. Time. Them OHV's want to run.

Realistically the plan is to run it til the trans grenades and start accumulating replacement parts. I want to get some enjoyment out of it before it goes back in the garage for another six months. We'll see what comes up on marketplace if I replace the trans completely or have it rebuilt. Investing in a trans jack this time.

Sorry for the tangent. I haven't slept much the past few weeks. Here's some proof of life to let y'all know this isn't just a fever dream. (The grey primer is really growing on me over the rat rod flat black.)

Bronco 2s are the best looking trucks!
Wing windows and ttb forever!!

Nothing I more fun to drive then a bii

Then there's the thrill of driving it. It's slower than I remember. Like whale poop on a cold day slow.

Now that's funny!

I feel the same about driving my '93 Explorer. It has about half the power as our next slowest vehicle and it feels like I'm stepping back in time to a Model T when driving it. 🤣

same thing with evil. over the last few years, havent been able to really drive it (but i have been able to spend a lot on it...). tuning resumes tomorrow. cant wait either. it feels weird driving it.
im glad that every time i get the notification on your tread, its not something like "im throwing the towel in" post

I am defeated, y'all.

Went out to garage to check the trans fluid level, which was good, and noticed a pool of oil under the truck. Looks like rear main seal.

Was poking around and noticed the pass rear cylinder was moist...right where the head meets the block. Pulled the plugs and same as before, rear cylinder was steam cleaned, middle slightly clean, forward most and all drivers side had consistent carbon built up. Antifreeze was topped off yesterday and was already three inches low.

At this point I'm assuming the block was the issue, not the heads.

So most of the drive line needs to come out. The body's a little rough but still savable. It feels like this is the crossroads of going all in or starting something new. I had really hoped this was going to be it for a while but that doesn't seem to be the case. The transmission alone sounds like it's going to go kaboom any shift now.

I need to consult with the voices in my head and my wallet before I make any decisions.




The B@stard has been one of the few consistent things in my life for nearly a decade and a half now. Many times I've sat in that cabin, contemplating what my next move in life is. I guess there's something comforting in it. Plus it's always had comfy seats and seals up surprisingly well from the outside world.

So I think it's time...

That's right folks! It's time to make this truck into what I should have built years ago. It deserves that 8 cylinder goodness.

This is going to be a passion project and I'm going to take my time and continue fixing all the half@ssery and wear from the years of less than gentle driving. So what's the plan?

1.Pull all the OHV stuff and sell what I can to fund this build. Hopefully there's still a market for first gen parts.
2.Body work - Power wash it, rust proof, undercoat it, prime and repaint it, replace and recut the fenders or fiberglass.
3.Engine - 2nd gen 5.0 Explorer drive train swap. WITH AIR CONDITIONING THIS TIME. T-Case tdb.
4.Suspension - As mentioned above I screwed up on the springs so redo with uncut springs and move the TTB down a notch. Maybe get new shocks.

High level it's pretty simple. Already started browsing 410's swap thread. Gather misc parts and find a decent 2nd gen donor. Slap it in there. Win.

As always, the devil will be in the details.

Choose a t case! Np205? Getting harder to find a decent ford one for cheap. Low range is not that low and the gears cannot be changed, but they are gear driven, tough as nails, fit easily, and can be twin sticked

4406? Not sure if they wil fit the ttb ranger or bii I have never tried! Might require a frame notch

Atlas? Big money but worth every penny!

Ranger t case 1354 requires the expensive adapter and trans rebuild to install it. I would not go this route again. My bii is stuck with the 1354 and the custom 4r70w with aa adapter, this means if I blow up my auto trans I cannot easily just drop another in. The adapter was like $600 in 05 and the install was $1800 to refresh the 4r
Bonus is I have a ranger manual case, it fits well and uses stock like drivelines (gen I explorer) I could do a 1354/54 doubler or bahemouth/ monster box… I will
Likely do this in the future unless $5000
Falls from the sky and I can get an atlas

Awd? Hahahahaha that would just be plain weird

The good news:
5.0 into a bii has been done! So much that the recipe for the swap exists in many forms
Swap headers can be cheap!! (Half the price of tmh)

You got this! 5.0 bii for the win. I did mine in 2005…still going. My bii just needs some rust repair and door hinges. A new alternator and battery and she’s back on the road, almost 20 years from a 302 swap with only
Some Small hiccups

That's just the first of a lot of questions. I promise to search the forums first! :D

Weather was too crappy to ride today so I pulled the engine and main harness. Took my time re-labeling the harness because I'm not sure what I'll end up using. My tags from the original engine swap were still on the harness. Probably drop the trans sometime this week and then progress will slow for while. Will do my best to post milestones as we continue down this journey of madness.

My bii was 2.9 with. 5 speed
Then I converted to a 4.0 and 5 speed
Then to automatic
Then finally to 5.0

It’s natural progression the life of a bronco

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