My son's summer "project"


Darel

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Mountain Top, PA
Vehicle Year
1986
Make / Model
Ford Bronco II
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
Stock
Total Drop
Stock
Tire Size
235/75R15
So I'm a huge car nut, with a 16-year-old son. I had been planning all along to teach him to drive on my '76 Triumph TR6, because 1. the boy will learn to drive a stick and 2. I can't afford to insure him on my Audi S5. I've had him out in the garage with me working on the TR6, but it was always kind of "dad's" car, and he wouldn't be able to drive it in the rain, or in the winter, or anything. So when a buddy offered me a free '86 BII Eddie Bauer, I jumped at it. Now, this truck is pretty much emblematic of a free truck - the exhaust has fallen off, needs tires, lots of rust, interior not horrible but needs a good cleaning and all the vinyl needs painting. But, it's a 4x4 and a 5-speed with a new clutch. Runs and drives great, just loud. The body is rotten, however, oddly, the floors and rockers are solid. If we ever get to the point we want to do bodywork on it, it'll only need a RF fender, RR quarter panel, and the handful of lower-body patch panels on the left side. The body is actually not as bad as it looks.

So next weekend we're driving down to Joisey to pick the free Bronco up. The boy can then write the best "how I spent my summer vacation" story ever. Since parts for these trucks are so cheap (sorry, I'm used to European stuff) I already have a cart built on Amazon and Rockauto with every part that could ever wear out. I work 4am-noon, so each day the boy will get a homework list, that he can start on in the morning, then I'll be home around lunch to get some real work done with him.

I'm waiting until I physically have the truck in my possession to start buying parts, but one deal I had to jump on. It needs tires, so I have been watching CL for some used deals, or I figured I'd get some cheap knockoff all-terrains. But, after getting frustrated with the prices of pretty much all 15" tires, even the cheap junk, I checked Amazon and the following ad popped up in my "suggestions for you":

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01DJXJ8HU/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

BFG Mud-Terrains for $117! That's the same price, or less, than what a set of cheap no-name knockoffs would be. I thought it had to be a mistake or something. So, I ordered four and they actually showed shipped! Supposed to be delivered today - we'll see what happens. I told the boy he's going to have tires that are worth more than the truck. Everywhere else I'm seeing $150-$160, in some cases $200 for BFG ATs and MTs so I was pretty excited about that.

I'll probably update this thread periodically to show you guys the boy's progress throughout the summer, and hopefully he'll be driving it by the fall.

Darel

27094

27095
 


Rock Auto 5% Discount Code: 57CD9601BD5AB4 Expires: July 1, 2019

Darel

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Location
Mountain Top, PA
Vehicle Year
1986
Make / Model
Ford Bronco II
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
Stock
Total Drop
Stock
Tire Size
235/75R15
Oh yeah, had to get this for the boy, too. I thought it was too appropriate for the truck:

27096
 

ericbphoto

Old Redneck just wingin' it.
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Vehicle Year
1993
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Size
3.0L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
6"
Tire Size
35"
My credo
In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are different.
Lucky boy. A truck and an education all in one. Good luck with it.
 

Darel

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1986
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Ford Bronco II
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2.9 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
Stock
Total Drop
Stock
Tire Size
235/75R15
Well, I guess that tire deal was the real thing...I suggest anyone who needs tires jump on it!
27105
 

ecgreen

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Nice score on the BFGs! Keep us updated on your progress
 

Darel

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Vehicle Year
1986
Make / Model
Ford Bronco II
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
Stock
Total Drop
Stock
Tire Size
235/75R15
So, the boy and I drove down 3 hours to South Jersey on Saturday to retrieve project BroncOhNo. Or Project Bronco Number 2. AKA Droppin' a Deuce. Anyway, made it home with no issues.
27550

He went down the inlaws' for a cookout Monday while I stayed home and finalized my parts list for it. I spent the day going through everything and I have to say, as horrific as this truck looks on the outside, the interior is in pretty good shape, the seats and carpet are fantastic, and as near as I can tell this truck has every single option available on an Eddie Bauer except the reclining rear seats (yeah good luck finding a set of those) and EVERYTHING WORKS. The only thing I didn't get to try was the cruise. Rear defrost, rear wiper, rear washer all work. Power windows and locks work. Power inflatable lumbar works (driver's side blew a fuse, but they had a 20A in a 30A slot, so as soon as I get 30A fuses I think that issue might be solved). I jumped out the low pressure switch and the A/C worked as it should, so I think a set of R134 o-rings, which I have laying around, and a charge will cover the A/C. For some reason, the blower fan wasn't working. I could hear it turn on, and change speeds, but no air from the vents. So I figured the motor and resistor were good, maybe the squirrel cage came apart. Look up through the passenger's footwell, no, I can see the fan and it's fine. Hmmm. The pine needles covering the truck gave me another idea, so I pulled the fan out and the resistor and yup, the evaporator case was completely packed solid with leaves and pine needles. I managed to clear it out with some solid-core 12ga wire (so I don't damage the fins) and a shop vac, and with a huge puff of dust all over my nice interior, the fan worked again. Remove that from my Rockauto cart!
27551


So between Amazon and Rockauto (and one item from JBG) I placed an order for almost $900 to replace anything that could ever reasonably wear out under the truck. I am leaving the engine alone for now because it runs fantastic, with the exception of basic tuneup stuff. Seriously, if I were so inclined I would slap an exhaust on this thing and just drive it. However, both because it's going to be the boy's, and because I want him to spend his summer working on it and learning about it, and building an appreciation and a sense of pride in it, he's going replace:
- the entire brake system, including a stainless brake line set from JBG (steel lines don't last long in PA, and there are already a couple of "patches"), MC, calipers, drums, rotors, everything.
- every bushing, everywhere. New springs are not in the budget, but the originals are getting new bushings and shocks, including new pivot arm & control arm bushings
- The entire steering system. Stuff is so cheap I just bought the whole shebang, including the connecting sleeves and all. Not even worth messing with to save $8. Ball joints too.
- the exhaust, which is pretty much completely gone. I am just hoping I can salvage the cat. I think there's enough metal left in the cat that I can weld it in place if needed.
- Basic tuneup stuff. The only exception is a $57 complete new distributor from Amazon, which comes with a new cap, rotor and module. Because for that price, by the time I bought the cap & rotor, why wouldn't I spend a couple extra bucks for a new module and no worn out bushings and all? And then I put the intact original on the shelf as a spare.
- Wheel & axle seals. Bearings seem OK and should just need a repack.
- Picked up a new rear bumper for $40 from a CL guy on the way down to get the truck.
- Headliner
- Painting the dash pad. Not thrilled about this but it's kind of my only option. Still haven't figured out what I'm doing with the steering wheel, even a used one on eBay is $120.
- Unfortunately none of this includes any body parts. I am selling my Triumph TR6 to both make room for and somewhat pay for the boy's project, so bodywork will be entirely dependent upon how much I get for that. I am not planning on getting much, so unfortunately I think the boy will have to live with The Deuce's appearance for a while. He did get a job as a karate instructor (just got his black belt) so depending on how much work he gets, his mother told him some of those funds could be diverted to a paint job. I, for one, think it's important to teach your kids humility and would rather see him save the money for college, but what do I know?

I'll probably keep this thread updated as the summer progresses.

Darel
 

ericbphoto

Old Redneck just wingin' it.
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4WD
Total Lift
6"
Tire Size
35"
My credo
In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are different.
Awesome! That all sounds exciting.
 

sam-ranger22

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Can't wait to see updates love a good project truck(y)
 

Bird76Mojo

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Good enough
If you're wanting coil springs, I've got a set on here for sale.

Sounds like you've got your work cut out for you.
 

Rang3rz

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Hope you'll update us about the progress. Good luck!
 

Darel

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Location
Mountain Top, PA
Vehicle Year
1986
Make / Model
Ford Bronco II
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
Stock
Total Drop
Stock
Tire Size
235/75R15
Bird76, I'd take you up on that if I had a good feeling the truck wouldn't be sitting nose-high with the new springs. I'm not seeing a listing for those springs for any stock BII, I think that Moog number was 836. That's a slippery slope because then I'm in it for new rear leaves, too, and I'm not about to find those for $30!
 

Bird76Mojo

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4.0 - 5.0
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Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
4" Superlift
Tire Size
33"
My credo
Good enough
Yeah, the springs I have listed might be a little too heavy duty for your BII. They're listed as being for 1323lbs load, while both options for an 86 BII are listed at 1075lb load and 1200lb load. Mine were purchased for an extended cab Ranger with the 2.9 V6 to raise the front a tiny bit, but it made no noticable difference in ride height. The spring free height for them all is listed as being the same though. They'd probably work fine I'm sure.

Anyway, it was just a thought.
 

ecgreen

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Ah yes...the process of replacing worn out stuff. I am going through this with an 89 and I am just about at the finish line. WIth trucks this age, things break when your trying to fix other things lol. Keep us posted.
 

Darel

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Mountain Top, PA
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1986
Make / Model
Ford Bronco II
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
Stock
Total Drop
Stock
Tire Size
235/75R15
Weekend update, #1. Unfortunately no pictures, though.

Have the dash taken apart to work on the cracked, faded dash pad. This will be a multi-day project that I'll deal with over the next few weeks or so. The boy spent about 2 hours scrubbing the crap out of it with lacquer thinner, then I went to work with the only compound I could find labeled as "sandable, paintable, flexible". I think it's for wall patches but I couldn't find anything else that met all 3 of those criteria. How are you all patching up cracks in dash pads? I am planning on painting it with vinyl paint, because the $1,050 Just Dashes quoted me to re-cover it is about $1,037 outside of the budget. In fact even those $120 plastic caps are outside of the budget, and if it's going to look like crap anyway I might as well make it look like crap for $15 vs. $120.

Replaced the burned out bulb in the radio.

The boy replaced the rear bumper with the one we snagged on CL. This was a bigger project than I anticipated, because of course rust, and the bolts are not the easiest to get to even with the filler panel removed. Of course the cage that binds the two bolts together broke on one side, leaving them spinning free. Eventually I got it. Made the boy polish the new-old bumper and Black Magic the rubber and filler panel, which is laughable given the appearance of the rest of the truck.

Finally got the tailgate aligned after trying twice previously - the driver's side was so far out of alignment the gate would only close on one side. This was also a bigger pain than imagined, because of the weight of the gate. It took me a while to figure out that you have to disconnect the strut on that side, then with the boy supporting the weight I could make the adjustments. The force of the strut pushing the gate away from the body was keeping me from adjusting it.

Over the next few days I plan on just chipping away at that dash pad. Since he's still in school and I have my drill weekend this weekend, I don't anticipate much progress for a week or two.

D
 

Darel

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Location
Mountain Top, PA
Vehicle Year
1986
Make / Model
Ford Bronco II
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
Stock
Total Drop
Stock
Tire Size
235/75R15
FYI if you're wondering why I'm worried about inconsequential stuff like radio lightbulbs vs. the growing pile of suspension and steering parts I have in my garage, it's because the TR6 will be residing in the garage until it's sold, and then I can pull Project BroncOh Shit in the garge for a full teardown. For now we're busying ourselves with smaller stuff that keeps it mobile. Hopefully Bring A Trailer gets back to me this week about the ad I submitted for the TR.
 


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