89 bronco II with a blown engine


USMC5811

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I just recently was gifted an 89 bronco II XLT 4WD automatic transmission with a blown engine. Everything else is in great shape minus a rust spot or two around the fenders. I’m not a great mechanic by no means but do have some experience. I’m just wondering what my options are. I would love to drop a 4.0 engine in and a manual transmission but am not sure how much I would be biting off. My other thought is to just replace the engine with the same 3.0 just to get it up and running. I plan to have it running by this fall.

I do have a good friend who will be helping me on this who is far more knowledgeable in this arena then me. Anyone got any ideas on what I would be getting myself into with a swap to 4.0 and the cost associated with it? I plan on hitting some junkyards that are local to me this week to see what my options are looking like for a donor vehicle. Thanks for any and all advice for this newbie.
 


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Uncle Gump

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Doing any kind of swap... is biting off several mouthfuls at one time. Repairing what you have will be simpler... by at least a couple mouthfuls.

For inspiration... check out BlackBII's build thread for a 4.0L and deathbypsi's build thread for a 5.0L.
 

USMC5811

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That’s kinda my thinking right now. A simple engine swap would be the easiest. After that I will see how she does. If It seems to be good vehicle then maybe I will start changing things out. The bronco has been taking very good care of. I am the third owner including my dad. He bought it for $1300 and two weeks later the engine went south. My wife offered to buy it off him however he signed the title over to me and said to use what I would pay him to fix the engine. Depending on the cost of an engine and small parts I’m hoping to not have a lot in this. The original owner did not off road with it. It was his drive to work and grocery vehicle for the past 30 years.
 

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Bronco II never came with a 3.0.

On an 89 the 4.0 swap is almost plug and play. You need a 4.0 engine harness out of a 90-92 Ranger, and you are just throwing parts in. If you can find a whole donor truck that would be best. Otherwise the 2.9 is a good engine, and I wouldn't shy away from putting another one in.
 

USMC5811

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I’ll be hitting the junkyards Thursday. I’m working nights tonight and then will be off. I have a job interview Thursday morning and after that I will spend the day looking for a good donor vehicle. Hopefully I’ll have a better paying job that’s mon- fri instead of swinging from night to day shifts anymore plus a nice raise. I can hope!!
 

PetroleumJunkie412

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Second on a 2.9, but I'm biased. They can be had for cheap, are a breeze to work on, and as long as you either get the 89tm/aftermarket heads, you have nothing to worry about.
 

IIBRONCOS

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Another yes vote for the 2.9 with a new set of aftermarket heads.
 

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After doing some research it looks like I will be going with the 2.9 since I wasn’t to be up and running by hunting season. Thanks for the input. I will be looking at some aftermarket heads.
 

Bird76Mojo

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Aftermarket heads are a smart choice. I've cracked half a dozen heads on two different 2.9 blocks. On a 1989 and a 1990 model..
 

PetroleumJunkie412

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They built the ones I run. Absolutely fantastic work.
 

Lil Bronco

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I’ve got a 2.9 sitting on a pallet, about 1000 miles on a rebuild, attached to an A4LD with about 10,000 on it.....

I’m in East Texas, don’t know how shipping works.
 

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Are you planning on keeping it forever? Or close to forever? If not sell it for parts because unless you can do the engine replacement or rebuild yourself you are looking at $5,000+ to have a shop do the work for you....just had the engine in my 88 Bronco 2 replaced last fall with a rebuilt Promar engine with a 3 year 36,000 mile warranty. I'd go replacement rebuilt engine over a shop doing a rebuild, with a rebuilt from a engine supplier you usually get a somewhat decent warranty which is why I chose to do so, plus you wouldn't save anything and may pay more for the labor involved in doing a rebuild, by the time you pull the engine rebuild it and put it back in it comes out to pretty much the same cost if not more.

As far as a swap in of a different engine you are asking for more trouble if you aren't mechanically knowledgeable. Don't get me wrong the 4L V6 is fine but its not just throw it in and go you gotta do some wiring harness work, replace the computer, and hope its good. The 2.9L V6 is fine go with the stock engine LOL.

I like my Bronco 2 and other than a bit of paint work that needs done, its in pretty good condition considering the previous owner burned up the transmission and engine in it due to lack of maintenance and improper towing behind a motorhome. My Bronco 2 is completely stock and I use it as a daily driver and I have my amateur radio gear in it as well.
 

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Don't forget that when you're buying a remanufactured engine or transmission, a lot of rebuilders will void their warranty on it if you install it yourself. You have to read the fine print on those warranties very well. A lot of them plainly state "must be installed by a professional, licensed automotive mechanic"
 

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Don't forget that when you're buying a remanufactured engine or transmission, a lot of rebuilders will void their warranty on it if you install it yourself. You have to read the fine print on those warranties very well. A lot of them plainly state "must be installed by a professional, licensed automotive mechanic"
A lot of those are kind of shady too.

Not uncommon to open up a reman and see different bore diameters. Core was sent in with a scored cylinder so they bore that cylinder, poke an oversize piston in it and ship it.

I used a low mile Gopher rebuilt 302 to make a wine rack for our wedding reception. Pistons looked new (all 8 were .030 over) but the #1 main seized and broke the crank.
 

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Nothing wrong with just fixing the 2.9. I'd be real tempted but it does come down to cost... I have scored many complete, running 91-94 Explorers for next to nothing and they are a great 4.0 donor. And with your automatic it's an even easier swap since the vast majority had automatics in them. 89-94 RBVs are like Lego sets, stupid simple to play with.
 


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