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bats 88 Bronco II Build Up



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bats

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I know, I know. Finally manning up. So let's say I have a C6 and an NP205 sitting on the parts pile out back. Let's also say I sold off a bunch of car parts for projects that weren't happening any time soon. Now I got a few dollars I can throw at this project.

The C6 will get rebuilt because it's been sitting outside for a while and I don't trust the 'super low mileage' supposedly has. Fluid smelled fine and the t-case did have fluid so I pickled them for a rainy day. I did read the the C6 sucks about 50 HP from the engine vs a typical 25 HP from other transmissions that could be used. Fine with me since the V8 power jump should be plenty coming from the OHV. Sway bars may also be in order.

Now I am faced with finding a 302. I see them on craigslist all day, every day. Carb'd, EFI, built, stock, bunch of pieces in a box. Some guy was selling the engine and trans from an 80's Mustang for $600. Hear it run in the car and then he'd pull it for you so he could go bigger.

What should I be looking for? The goal of this build is simplicity and reliability, not concerned with mad power. The carb + bolt on EFI setups seem pretty good but then so does an EFI engine with the Painless wiring harness.

Thoughts, concerns, donations?
 


vroomzoomboom

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my 2 cents.
find a late 80's or early 90's LTD, crown vic, or merc grand maruis. and i mean the entire car. i wouldnt dout that you can pic one of them up for 300. if i also remember correctly, they have the same style of oil pan as a fox (i used a pan from one of them years ago when i slid a 351w into my capri, and that was before this innternet thing was around, yes dan, i am that old). that way you know gramps wasnt drag racing it. once you get what you want from it, you can crush it and get a good part of your money back.
 


bats

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Grandpa mobiles are closer to 700 but should be able to recoup some of that back, even if the remains just go to the scrap yard. My biggest concern is engine management. Can I run the ecu from the donor car with a different transmission than it's expecting?
 


vroomzoomboom

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Grandpa mobiles are closer to 700 but should be able to recoup some of that back, even if the remains just go to the scrap yard. My biggest concern is engine management. Can I run the ecu from the donor car with a different transmission than it's expecting?
didnt think of that, so probably no
 


gmanpaint

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Pretty sure for about $75 or so, you can have the auto trans deleted from any ECM. People do this when they do a manual conversion, and re-use the same ECM. Where they send or whom they use, got me. Would have to dig for that info.
 


bats

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Wish I had some V8 news but I've been traveling and the few people I responded to on Craigslist either had sh!t or were idiots. I hate dealing with the public.

Took er out for a joy ride today.Top speed of...not sure because the speedo stopped but it'll light up the tires off the line but runs out of gears real fast. Still a goddang joy to drive. Even though it'll leak half the radiator out the rear head by the time I get home, it still refuses to die.

Little bit of bad news though. I got a crack in the frame behind the rear passenger shock mount. A fistful of dirt built up in there and rotted it from the inside out. Same thing happened to my Expedition which I miss dearly. Should be saveable though. For now blasted all that out and liberally applied rustoleum. Other side seems okay and other than some body rot still seems structurally sound. The front footwells need some metalwork. Seems like the corners of the windshield leak and that area rots out.

So many moons ago, a younger more naive me read on a Honda forum that you can use sticky roof flashing (Not sure of the actual name) as a poor man's sound deadener. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT DO THIS! It did no such thing but it did give my ride a nice chemical smell for a few weeks. I Herculinered over it a few years back because it was still holding on. Fast forward a few years of heat and sand working it's way in and it's finally starting to peel. Going to pull all that out, plate the holes (dang thing had like 8 of those oval block plates which rusted out...) and vigorously Rustoleum/Herculin/whatever before putting real sound deadner in. I have a bunch of sheets leftover from the Heep that worked wonders.
 


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the shiny aluminum tape with roofing tar on the back? that stuff? LOL okay I wont use it for deadener .... Im glad you said this as I was gonna try that next time I had my BII interior down to metal
 


bats

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Yep, that's the stuff. Just because it's black and sticky doesn't mean it works. The cheap stuff off Amazon worked excellent.
 


bats

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One last addendum on sound deadener. Tried warming it up by grazing with a propane torch. Sort of worked. Sort of caught the underside of the carpet on fire. That's why you should always have a few beers handy while working on the car... Apparently the secret is dry ice and rubbing alcohol. Freeze it off and then snap it off. Thank you Finnegan's Garage for that one.

Turned my V8 hunt to junk yards. Locally all I could find on craigslist were either engines taken apart and put in storage in 1970 or big dollar strokers. I'm a little nervous as is about a plain ole 302. I'm sure a blown 331 is somewhat more manageable.

So that lead me to the junkyard. Picked up a complete 1990 Mustang 302. Nothing special. Brought it home, tore it down to the short block aaaaand there's like a quarter inch of carbon build-up on the intake valley. Looks like someone had a BBQ in there. However, the cylinder walls still have some cross hatching and only some carbon on two of the cylinder heads. Should have done a compression test but I was too excited.

Where does that leave us... Any motor that was going in was going to get some level of tear down. And the 302 might even be easier than the OHV to work with. Deleting all the EGR crap which eliminates an excessive amount of vacuum plumbing. Plan to run one of those fancy standalone engine harnesses with the A9L computer, stuff that's readily available. Stock-ish refresh of the engine. Already has the correct double sump pan setup so I call that a win.

.
 


bats

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Remember that rust problem from waaaaay back when I did the original engine swap? It got worse. How worse?


The cowl drainage was blocked with a good 4 inches of debris which held in the moisture and rotted it at the seams from the inside out. This is what caused both foot well leaks. For now I'm just going to rustoleum the heck out of what's left and address when I have the motor out. That Rustolem metal primer is good stuff. I did a poor job the first time around and am surprised it's not worse.

Passenger side is still mostly solid. Flapped everything as best I could and laid on two thick coats.

(Before pic, obviously.)

Patched some of the holes in the floor where I lost the rubber stoppers.

So this iteration has gone from junk yard build to a very expensive one. Dropped the engine off at a shop for a rebuild. I don't want to put everything back together and it fail 100 miles down the road. I'll probably have someone rebuild the C6 too. Still not 100% if I'm going that way because overdrive would be nice.

At the end of the day, I want this to be the truck I wanted to build years ago. It's going to take time and money to get there...and to fix all the stupid stuff I did while learning, but it'll happen.
 


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Hang in there!! BII challenge will pay off in the end
 


bats

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I'd like to apologize to everyone in this thread for being a tease but....the 302 is off the table.

Took the Bastard for a VERY spirited joy ride today and realized a few things. It hooks like a mother in first and second. I swear I'm gonna break the rear (if I haven't already because it's still popping and banging unrelated to locker operation.) It does alright at highway speed. It's squirelly as fcku though when you gun it, even with the 'crazy HP' the OHV puts down.

Truth is, as much as I'd love the claim to fame of being V8 I don't think it's a good idea. For my setup at least. (Your mileage will vary of course.) Instead, I think it's best to go with a nice cam and headers on the OHV and call it a day. It's pretty damn fun as is and the M5Od really really suits the setup. I miss driving it and the V8 swap would take it out of service for longer than I want. There's also a good chance of life getting in the way next year which would further delay the swap for an unkown amount of time.

That being said, the engine is coming out again. Eventually. The drivers side of the firewall probably should be replaced entirely. Passenger side I can get away with some small patches and Rustoleum.
 


410Fortune

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You don't have to apologize! The V8 conversion is not for everyone AND it is alot of work and $$$ invested so it must be the right "fit"
The OHV and 5 speed is the PERFECT motivation for the BII, they are so much fun to drive!
I like to build our old Ranger based trucks two ways:
4.0 pushrod with a 5 speed
5.0 pushrod with an auto

Of course we get into all sorts of combos but those are the two basics. I have always said the 4.0 is perfect for the BII
I remember when I let the clutch out for the first time on my BII after removing the hopped up 2.9L and converted to a 4.0....I was like "DAMN now that is where it is at!" HUGE smile on my face after spending much time and money trying to squeeae power from the cologne 2.9...you realize the high reving 2.9 belongs in cars, the ohv with all its torque down low is motivation for a truck like the BII. I was addicted from that moment on.

Years later (12 years I drove BII with 4.0 and 5 speed, then 4.0 and auto) I converted to the v8 simply because I knew the v6 auto trans would not hold up to my plans (3ea, a4ld's in my BII before I had a bomb proof one). For 4x4ing and daily driving, a little towing (my only vehicle) I had to have the auto mostly for trails so I made a choice....and took the plunge and never looked back. 302 with auto for me!
I have since convinced MANY people to stick with their pushrod 4.0 and the 5 speed, it is perfectly suited for your truck. They come to me wanting a v8 but by the time we go over their intended use, budget, and trans/t case choices we end up sticking with the 4.0

I have also seen many people convert to the V8 using a F150 or Mustang base engine and trans only to realize it moves the truck about the same as the old 4.0 did, only now with a ton of time and money invested.
Without power adders the stockish 5.0 makes similar HP and torque as the mighty pushrod 4.0, It is all about what works for YOU and your trucks use!
Now if it was a 4 door explorer I would say GO V8, but for the small Rangers or a BII nothing wrong with sticking with the V6

These are not easy decisions to make
You are wise to know ahead of time what you are getting into and why = you have done your research and make the smart choice!!
Having fun is what driving a BII is all about, plenty of that to be had with the 4.0 and 5 speed!!
I have been considering putting a manual back in my BII, after driving my 97 F350 for a few years now with the Zf5 behind the turbo 7.3 I really enjoy shifting again.
Its rock crawling and stop and go traffic where the auto is the bees knees, otherwise the 5 speed is more fun, lighter, less plumbing, less heat and it really puts you in control of putting the power to the ground!
 
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bats

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I was feeling ballsy this weekend and took the Bastard out in the rain. Also, the DD was down waiting on parts.

Locker on a wet day = fun. Hole-y firewall, not so much. Even with the heat blasting, there was enough draft to freeze my toes. All that aside, truck did good and still gets me giddy every time. Have some additional things to address.

The clutch doesn't feel like it consistently disengages and it chatters. Plan to replace the hydraulics on that when the engine is out.
 


410Fortune

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BII so much fun to drive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That's what this is all about, isn't it?
 


bats

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Since the new year, I got some seat time in the Bronco. Blacktop mostly since most of my local spots are now condos. Interior is noticeably quieter after all the extra padding. Figured out that the heater control valve was stuck with the heat off so replaced that and I got heat again. It's a pretty cozy ride! Drove it to work a few times even. Got stuck in traffic on the way home, put it in first and just crept along. Fast or slow, it just wants to go.

I still plan on doing the head gasket as well as addressing the marbling noise. Around 2600 RPM it sounds like there's marbles rattling around in the engine. Used a rubber hose and it sounds like it's coming from the top end drivers side middle or rear cylinders. Could be worn lifter/rocker arm/pushrod form what I've read. Will investigate once everything's apart.

Still toying with the idea of the 422 cam. My stock heads were compression checked and they were OK. I should be able to re-use my existing valves but with the dual springs, correct? Does it make sense to replace the timing chain while I have everything apart?

Tear down is probably going to start sooner rather than later.
 


bats

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Drove the little bastard HARD for about 300 miles. I'm calling it, the OHV is done. Pulled the dipstick and there is definitely coolant in there now. Saw a video where you pour some oil in a can and put a lighter underneath it. If it sizzles, there's moisture. Sizzled like bacon.

Was browsing the Youtubes and there was a guy with a first gen Explorer built for desert running...with a SOHC swap. That got me thinking and some research later I think I've found the most viable replacement option: SOHC running with the OHV ECU.

Apparently, it drops right in place and just needs some simple (isn't everything?) rewiring of the first gen harness. Having the manual trans makes it even easier and enough people have done it that it shouldn't be that much of a struggle.
 



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410Fortune

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drops right in LOL
It hits a few things along the way
My friend Brett did this years ago, he put a 04 SOHC engine into his 94 Explorer sport using the 94 ex computer and a 04 5 speed
trucks hauls the mail
He was never happy with the fit of the SOHC in the TTB truck, there are several places where the clearance is less then desirable
Now with that said it can be done, has been done, and is being done again. If you look on youtube you will find a black bronco II from Mexico with a supercharged SOHC under the hood.....that thing is a monster
Can your trans handle the power of the SOHC?

The difference between a early sohc (97-03) and the OBD 1 OHV 4.0 (89-95) is one sensor as far as the computer is concerned you can install a sohc and keep your ohv PCM it will run!
You will need to notch the heater box just like a v8 conversion.
Good mod for sure, some people love it, some people wish they would have just gone v8....it is about the same amount of work :)
 


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