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'84 Bronco II Build Thread

'84 Bronco II

El Chingón
Joined
May 19, 2020
Member Number
293
Messages
1,591
Loc
NM
I have been toying with the idea of posting up a build thread for a while, and since there hasn't been a whole lot going on, I figured I would do my part to help build up some content on Irate. This is not exactly a build thread per se, but more of a journal of the evolution of my '84 Bronco II. This was my first vehicle and served as my daily driver for a while, so it got built a little at a time until it has become what it is today. If I were starting fresh, I would go quite a different direction with the build, but hopefully some of the stuff in here helps someone even if it isn't a particularly hardcore build.

The rig started life bone stock early production '84 (built in April of '83) with the 2.8L V6, Toyo Kogyo 4 speed, BW1350, Dana 28 and Ford 7.5" with open diffs and 3.73 gears. I bought it when I was 13 for $1,250 and spent about a year and a half getting it ready to be my high school daily :laughing: It just needed a little TLC; the biggest issue was that half of the emissions controls were removed by the previous owner, so the computer-controlled carb set up ran like shit. I put a Luk clutch in it, converted it to Dura-Spark, rebuilt and swapped on a 1.08 venturi 2100 carb, removed the rest of the emissions hardware, Installed Bushwacker cut-out flares, mounted up some 31x10.50 PepBoys mud tires on some 15x8" steel wagon wheels I picked up from a swap meet and spray-bombed black, and built a shitty 4 point cage that is still in it to this day :shaking: I also re-did the head liner and spent entirely too much time washing, waxing, and Armor-Alling the turd :laughing: I used to drive it around for fun on the empty 2.5 acres on my family's property while I was still waiting to get my driver's license.


From when I first got it home rocking the white walls in the front :barf:
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Screwing around on some nearby hills before I had my license after getting the Bushwacker flares installed, but still rocking the white walls :grinpimp:

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Mounting up the 31" tires with stock suspension. Even with the further offset wheels, they still didn't fill out the wheel wells, but it was the best I could do at 14 since I didn't have money for a lift and bigger tires. The front tires never rubbed with the stock suspension with 31s and the Bushwacker flares, but the rear would rub a fair bit on the inner wheel tub. The spot where it rubbed was nice and smooth though, so the tires didn't catch on it. I later installed a 1" "Zero-rate add-a-leaf" from Offroad Designs, and that almost completely eliminated the rear rub; the tires would just kiss the inner wheel tub at full flex.

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Changing the clutch out in my parent's garage. My first major project I did completely on my own, it was a good learning experience, and I am a bit embarrassed by how long it took me :laughing: That Luk clutch lasted me about 35,000 miles and went out on me while I was leading a trail for Chile Challenge, but I wheeled it with crap gearing for way too long.

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With it stock on 31s, I mostly just raised hell in the desert after class with friends that had pretty stock 4x4s in high school . I did occasionally get it out on some easy trails though. I wanted an early Bronco, but I was too poor and had to settle for a Bronco II :laughing:

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'84 Bronco II

El Chingón
Joined
May 19, 2020
Member Number
293
Messages
1,591
Loc
NM
By the second half of my junior year of high school I had saved up enough money to buy a 4" SkyJacker "Class II" long arm kit with new spring packs, and 5 35/12.50R15 Maxxis Bighorns and 15x8" Procomp 8069 alloy wheels. I got it all installed and thought I was hot shit for a few weeks...
The common consensus was that the only two RBV bolt-on kits that were worth a shit, at least back then, were the James Duff kits and the Skyjacker kits. I went with the Skyjacker because James Duff didn't offer a 4" option, just 3" or 5.5". Since I had an early production '84, there are some differences with the frame and transmission crossmember from later production models. I had to do a bit of grinding and hole drilling that you typically shouldn't have to do, and I was running two transmission crossmembers since the crossmember that came with the kit was integrated with the relocated radius arm mounts, but didn't line up with my tranny. I had to grind down the factory 4 speed crossmember to get it to fit alongside the Skyjacker crossmember. Ironically, the springs were so stiff on my new, expensive long arm kit, that I don't think I had any more flex than stock :homer:

Potato pics from my cutting edge camera flip-phone after finishing the lift and bolting up the 35s :flipoff2:

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Testing my new limits. I couldn't make it up this ledge with the open diffs and crap gearing, but I was by myself and didn't have cell service.

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Of course, right after I mounted 35" tires on the Dana 28 and 7.5", me and my high school buddies decided to see who could do the best burn out with our hoopties in the school parking lot one afternoon. I knew my gutless 2.8L with 3.73 gears would need all the help they could get to spin my fresh 35s, so I put it in low range with the front hubs unlocked and did a high-RPM clutch drop and broke my 7.5" ring and pinion :homer:

Me and a couple of high school buddies went out to a junkyard 70 miles away over spring break and I pulled an 8.8" for $75 out of a '91 Explorer with 3.73s to match my Dana 28. It supposedly had a limited slip, but it must have been completely worn out because it always acted like an open diff. I used a YJ 8.8" swap kit to get it into my Bronco II. I also spent too much money on a Tom Woods driveshaft that was basically the same as my stock driveshaft, but with a 1310 joint on the slip end to mate to the 8.8". This was the first "custom" fab I did on the Bronco II and was a good learning experience. After I got the 8.8" in, I continued to wheel with 3.73s and open diffs for a couple of years. Surprisingly, I never broke the Dana 28.


This run was my wife and I's first date during my senior year

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More high school wheeling action

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You'll notice burning oil smoke in this picture. That is because I started to lose the rings on the number 5 cylinder in March of my senior year of high school and I kept driving it until December of my freshman year of college :laughing: I was going through 15 quarts of oil per tank of gas by the time I parked it, but I couldn't afford to have it out of commission since it was my only transportation :homer:

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'84 Bronco II

El Chingón
Joined
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Member Number
293
Messages
1,591
Loc
NM
So with a bad 2.8L, I wanted to swap in a 4.0L OHV, but I was having trouble sourcing a 4.0L locally. Since I needed it back on the road, I decided to just rebuild the 2.8L. When I pulled the number 5 piston out of the cylinder, the rings just fell out in pieces on the floor :laughing: I had to bore the block .030 over to clean up the cylinder walls and did a complete stock rebuild (new cam, pistons, etc.). After getting it all put back together, the engine didn't seem to have anymore power than it did with a bad cylinder :confused:, but hey, at least it was noticeably quieter and wasn't burning and leaking a prodigious amount of oil :laughing:

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Shortly after getting the engine back together, I blew up the 1210 CV in my Tom Woods rear driveline screwing around out in the desert trying to drive up a small hill :shaking: It put a good dent in the floor and almost ripped out an underbody wiring harness, but I was able to fix it for free using the 1210 CV joint parts off of my original driveshaft that I still had lying around.

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Here I am flexed out on the poser ramp without sway bars and the Skyjacker kit at Chile Challenge. Damn those stiff springs! :laughing: It flexed noticeably better reversing up the ramp than driving up forwards since the front coils were disproportionately stiff.

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Leading some of the easy trails at Chile Challenge

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So, after wheeling on 35s and open diffs for a few years with a 36.6:1 crawl ratio and an anemic 2.8L V6, I knew I needed lower gears and lockers. I didn't want to invest any money in the Dana 28 since I knew it was a weak point despite it having outlasted the 7.5" rear axle and 1210 driveshaft CV with 35s, so I was holding off until I had a Dana 35. I went out to the same junkyard that I got the 8.8" from and pulled a Dana 35 from a '94 Explorer for $125. Originally I was thinking about going with 4.56 or 4.88 gears, but one of the local hardcore guys talked me into 5.13s, and I am glad he did. Since this was my daily driver, I wanted selectable lockers, but the extra expense of ARBs in addition to the necessary compressor was a turn off, so I went with Eaton E-Lockers front and rear with Superior 5.13 gears. This brought my crawl ratio up to 50.4:1. I also installed the Dana 35 Warn "Jeep" hubs (PN 37780) and accompanying spindle nuts (PN 32720), which are supposedly much stronger than the actual Warn TTB application hubs, and definitely much stronger than the factory automatic locking hubs. My goal was to get all of this finished in time for a trip to Moab in July of that year.


During the Dana 35 swap. I had to grind down the flared opening on the back of the driver's side Dana 35 beam to allow the Skyjacker long arm to bolt up. The Dana 35 is normally just a bolt-in swap, but Skyjacker had just changed their long arm design from the tubular arms to the boxed style arms I have when I bought my kit. I had one of the first kits with the boxed-style arms the guys on The Ranger Station had seen, so I assume Skyjacker has since remedied this fitment problem. A lot of people talk about having to get their front driveshaft shortened with the Dana 35 swap, but mine just barely worked at full compression. This may have been because of my 4 speed drivetrain that is in '84 models only. Sorry for the funky pictures; I had to dig these up off my father's Facebook page and I guess he went through a photo filter phase :laughing:

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The boxed-style Skyjacker arm for reference

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I also started working on a custom bumper doing some CAD, but didn't end up getting that finished before Moab.

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Done with the Dana 35 swap and gears and lockers!

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'84 Bronco II

El Chingón
Joined
May 19, 2020
Member Number
293
Messages
1,591
Loc
NM
The Moab trip was a pretty big deal since that was the first time I had taken my Bronco II wheeling outside the immediate local area, and I had just bought my Superduty to use as a tow rig that spring at the end of my junior year of college. We were meeting up with my father's buddy from Idaho and his son.

My father an I on our way to Moab

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On Fins 'N' Things

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Kane Creek Canyon

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Poison Spider Mesa

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Golden Spike

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'84 Bronco II

El Chingón
Joined
May 19, 2020
Member Number
293
Messages
1,591
Loc
NM
Now that I had lockers and sort of had gears, I started running some real trails.

Here I am during Chile Challenge, and you can see the bumper I built. It is built out of 3/16" plate with some 1" shackle tabs I bought from a vendor. The shackle tabs pass through the plate and are welded on both sides as well as along the frame mounting plates. It would have come out a lot better if I had been able to use a large metal brake and build it out of a single sheet of metal instead of welding a bunch of plates together. I designed it for maximum approach, so it doesn't have provisions for a winch. Besides, winches are for bitches who get stuck :flipoff2:

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Here's a view of the backside of the bumper. You can also see what the shackle tabs looked like before I trimmed ~2" from the end of them.

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This was my first significant body damage courtesy of the same trail shown in the first picture. There are two offset boulders that most people had to ride their sliders on, but unfortunately, I didn't have sliders. Fortunately, it didn't get into the door.

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At this point, I realized that a lack of flex and a lack of gears were my major limitations, but I kept wheeling the Bronco II in this configuration for several years. The easiest way to get gearing in an RBV running an RBV drivetrain is a doubler. Unfortunately, this was an underserved market, and continues to be to this day. At the time, Behemoth Drivetrain was fresh on the scene, and despite some negative experiences others had, I decided to roll the dice and order up a doubler from him. It took about two months to get it and I think I paid around $600 at the time. Jacob from Behemoth threw in a free mount to make up for the delay, but I never ended up using it. Some aspects of the doubler were a bit hack, but it was definitely useable and has performed flawlessly to this day. It took me about four years to get around to installing it, in part due to the difficulty I had finding a manual shift BW1354 transfer case. In hindsight, I wish I had put off buying the doubler until closer to when I installed it because Behemoth later came out with their "integrated" BW 1350/1354 doubler that replaces the input shaft on the transfer case and shaves 2.7" from the drive train length. This would have given me a better rear drive shaft length and potentially saved me from having to clearance the floor with a BFH in order to keep the transfer case clocked at the factory height.

The Behemoth doubler from when I received it

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'84 Bronco II

El Chingón
Joined
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Member Number
293
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NM
I also started messing around trying to get more flex out of the front end. The Skyjacker lift springs had sagged noticeably as well, so my front end was sitting low and my camber was too negative. For a 4" lift, the springs should measure 15.25-15.5" at ride height, and mine were measuring 14.5". Based on published spring rates, I had determined that 5.5" Rubicon Express XJ springs (RE1345) should put me where I need to be, and I got a pair off Amazon for ~$75. I decided to make the top of the spring mate to the stock RBV lower coil mount, so I took a torch and bent the pigtail in. I was careful to use wet rags wrapped around the coils to keep the rest of the spring from heating up and losing the spring rate, and I think is was successful since you could touch the area immediately after the bend with your bare hand right after heating it.

Here is the Rubicon Express spring compared to the Skyjacker 4" spring:

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Here is where I bent the pigtail which is the top of the spring in Jeep applications, but I was using to mate to the lower coil mount on the TTB:

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Preliminary flex test with the Jeep spring only in on the driver's side without a shock and a Skyjacker spring and shock still in the Passenger side. Something was off since I ended up with the Jeep spring at 16.5-16.75" at ride height which equates to more like 6" of lift. Despite the added height, I still got better compression than I had ever seen out of my rig on this mild flex test on the ditch bank. I ended up buying a set of Rubicon Express 4.5" XJ springs (RE1310) and those worked out perfectly for a 4" lift, and only had a slightly shorter free length (21-21.5" if I recall correctly).

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After testing out the 5.5" springs and ultimately deciding to go with 4.5" springs, I decided to make new lower coil mounts instead of modifying the springs again. Here are what the mounts I came up with look like. I just used some 3/16" plate with a 1 1/4" hole drilled through the center to fit tight over the radius arm stud hex, and a 2" OD .120 wall HREW tube with a 3/4" washer welded in the end, and Jeep TJ/XJ spring isolators. They just bolt in place of the factory steel cup and plastic/rubber isolators.

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With the new springs, I needed longer shocks. It just so happened that the Bilstein 5100s for a full size TTB Bronco with 6" of lift (24-065283) were nearly a perfect for my application (13.3" compressed, 21.5" extended). I had to do some grinding on the axle window on the passenger beam so that the axle shaft wouldn't rub throughout the suspension travel. The shock mounts on the Skyjacker radius arms are too tight against the arm and the old twin tube shocks were actually dented from binding on the arm. The problem only gets worse with additional droop. The Bilstein monotubes were a bit smaller outer diameter, but with the increased droop they provide, I ground down the upper edge on the radius arms to keep them from damaging the shocks. In hindsight, I wish I had just cut the shock mounts off the Skyjacker arms and welded new ones on that spaced the shocks further out from the arm :shaking: As I mentioned previously, my Skyjacker arms were some of the very first of the newer boxed-design, so hopefully Skyjacker has since improved the shock mounting.

Here I am opening up the axleshaft window on the passenger beam. This would be a lot easier to do if you pull out the axle shaft, but I was too lazy to do that. I ended up grinding more material out about a year later when I had my axle shaft out after breaking a U-joint.

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Here are the results with the new springs and shocks. Currently my shocks limit my droop, but my extended brake lines for a 4" lift are disconcertingly taught, so I would need longer shocks and brake lines to get more droop, but with the 35s and stock upper shock mounts, I'd be giving up compression travel to get more droop.

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Unfortunately, as I expected, I had to take the Jeep springs out and put the Skyjacker springs back in because with the shitty factory steering linkage, I had serious jacking problems and the thing was scary to drive. I left the longer shocks in though while I was waiting to get around to fixing the steering linkage so that I could run the Jeep springs.
 
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SLOWPOKE693

🖕TROUBLES🖕
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I like this build! :smokin:

One question..... Why are you half laying on your back under a rig thats on a LIFT? Makes my back hurt just looking at the picture. :laughing:
 

'84 Bronco II

El Chingón
Joined
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Member Number
293
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Loc
NM
As I was wheeling hard trails, ripping off fender flares started becoming a pretty common occurrence. I kept reattaching them with what material remained, but eventually there wasn't enough material and I lost one of my flares trailering it to Chile Challenge. I didn't realize it until I pulled into the campground, so I pulled the rest of the flares and threw them in the dumpster. I have been much happier since not having to worry about ripping them off constantly.

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Some wheeling pictures from this era:

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In that time I broke a sector shaft on my steering box, killed the rear E-Locker, had to rebuild the 1210 CV again, and put some dings on the old steed.

The broken sector shaft that resulted from getting pulled out of a bad bind where I couldn't move forward or backward or steer at all. I was really lucky that it held together long enough to get off the trail and back on the trailer. Fortunately I had just bought a parts Bronco II the day before I broke the sector shaft and I was able to swap the steering box in from the parts rig to fix it at no additional cost.

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The locking pins and slots on the side gear rounded off despite only engaging and disengaging my locker from a stop. This is because the "ball and ramp" E-Locker design used in the 8.8" unlocks and locks again every time you switch between forward and reverse. This tears the shit out of the locking pins and the slots on the side gear. The "collar locking" style used in Dana axles does the same thing, but it reengages almost immediately significantly reducing wear. I haven't had any issues with my Dana 35 locker to date. I am not sure if I would buy another E-Locker other than perhaps their fancy new "direct locking" style, but I sure as hell will never buy another one of their "ball and ramp" models. However, the repair kit (29308-00S for 31 spline applications) was only ~$160, so cheaper than buying another locker, so that is what I did.

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'84 Bronco II

El Chingón
Joined
May 19, 2020
Member Number
293
Messages
1,591
Loc
NM
I like this build! :smokin:

One question..... Why are you half laying on your back under a rig thats on a LIFT? Makes my back hurt just looking at the picture. :laughing:

Ha, too many years spent working on the ground, I am a creature of habit :flipoff2: :laughing:

Thanks for the compliment.
 

'84 Bronco II

El Chingón
Joined
May 19, 2020
Member Number
293
Messages
1,591
Loc
NM
Last post for today.


So during the 4+ years I spent wheeling on 35s locked front and rear with a 50:1 crawl ratio, I had been collecting some parts. I had a steering kit from Ruff Stuff so I could run the Jeep springs, a 5 speed Toyo Kogyo, and behemoth doubler collecting dust in the garage. As I alluded to earlier, I had picked up a parts Bronco II that had a 4.0L and got my Trump sale 37" Pitbull Rocker Radials at about the same time and figured it was finally about time to put the old Bronc' under the knife and make some much needed upgrades.

Parts rig:

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Some new rubber :smokin:

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Lots of cutting was in my future.

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'84 Bronco II

El Chingón
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293
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NM
Originally, I was planning on swapping in the 4.0L, 5 speed, doubler, and installing the new steering and Jeep springs as well as mounting the 37" tires and stretching the rear axle 6". I was trying to get the Bronco II ready for a trip to Sand Hollow, so I decided to put the 4.0L swap off and skip the rear stretch for the time being in order to make the trip. Even with the scope reduction, I still didn't get it completed in time for Sand Hollow and ended up riding with my father for that trip. I will skip posting the 4.0L work I did for now so that I can post it all that together as one cohesive update since it was put on the back burner and I still haven't finished building the engine as of today. It will however be the next major installment in the Bronco II's evolution.

I'll start with the tranny swap. First off, the tranny, flywheel and starter all have to match, but otherwise the 2.8L, 2.9L, and 4.0L transmissions are all interchangeable. There are long and short pilot input trannies, as well as different flywheels between the 2.8L and 4.0L, and different starters between the automatics and manuals. Clear as mud? Here are some pictures to give you an idea:

2.8L vs. 4.0L flywheel. The 4.0L flywheel has the pilot bearing in it, whereas the 2.8L has the pilot bearing in the crank. Notice the sweet heat marks on the 2.8L flywheel on the left; I started all this work after finishing off the LUK clutch I installed at the beginning of this build thread at the 2017 Chile Challenge. Someone who owned the parts Bronco II I bought had attempted a 4.0L swap on it, but never finished it, so I had a brand-new 4.0L flywheel and clutch that came with it.

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Also the difference in flywheel bolts. 2.8L on on the left and the darker of the two in the picture I believe.
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So remember I had bought a Toyo Kogyo 5 speed before? Well, I got another one that came with the parts Bronco II. You can see the two Toyo Kogyo 5 speeds (clean) lined up with the Toyo Kogyo 4 speed that came out of my Bronco II. Also included in the picture are the BW 1350 transfer cases of of my Bronco II and the parts Bronco II. For those who don't know, the Toyo Kogyo has the lowest 1st gear (3.96:1) out of all of the RBV transmissions and is pretty stout compared to the Mitsubishi transmissions. The Toyo Kogyo transmissions are really early Mazda transmissions before they were referred to as such. The Mazda M5ODs have a slight strength advantage, but worse gearing.

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Here is the difference in overall length between the Toyo Kogyo 4 speed and the Toyo Kogyo 5 speed:

4 Speed
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5 Speed
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Somebody should correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the 2.8Ls use the long pilot tip input shaft and the 2.9L & 4.0L use the short pilot tip input shaft. I had this figured out at the time but have since forgotten. You can however cut down the long pilot tip input trannies to work behind a 2.9L or 4.0L (which is what was done on the E47A-LB tranny out of the parts Bronco II), but you are SOL if you want to use a short pilot input behind a 2.8L unless you also use the 2.9L/4.0L flywheel and pilot bearing. Here are some pictures with the lengths:

Long pilot tip input (4 speed Toyo Kogyo)
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Short pilot tip input. I believe this picture is of the '84 5 speed Toyo Kogyo (2.8L) that had been previously modified, but the dimension was the same as the '86 5 speed Toyo Kogyo (2.9L) that was unmodified.
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Here is a picture of the cut down input shaft on the '84 5 speed Toyo Kogyo
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I chose which of the two Toyo Kogyo 5 speeds to go with based on how tight the input shaft was since I didn't want to tear apart the trannies and rebuild them. The '86 had the tighter of the two inputs and it was unmodified, so I chose to go with it. The problem was that the '86 tranny used the internal slave (:barf:) and the '84 used the external slave setup like what I had with my 4 speed. After some careful examination and measuring the bell housings, I determined that I should be able to swap the external slave cylinder setup onto the '86 tranny which used the internal slave. This involved swapping the front covers and bell housings.

Bell housing measurements identical:
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Comparison between the front covers, external slave cover on the left and internal slave cover mounted on the transmission:
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Tranny without the front cover on:
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The last thing with the 4 speed to 5 speed swap is the tunnel cover and shift boots. The 5 speed shifter sits further back than the 4 speed, and will not work with the factory 4 speed tunnel cover and shift boot.

4 speed tunnel cover on the top and 5 speed tunnel cover on the bottom:
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Now to throw people off :flipoff2: 5 speed shift boot on top and 4 speed shift boot on the bottom:
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Now back to starters... I used the 4.0L starter that was on my parts Bronco II, but little did I know that it was actually an automatic starter which is NOT compatible with a manual transmission. It will start the engine using the manual transmission 4.0L flywheel, but it will not disengage since the snout is longer on the automatic starters.

Here is a picture of the automatic starter that came with my parts Bronco II:
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Here it is next to the correct manual transmission starter. They are pretty easy to visually differentiate by looking at the ribbing that goes to the snout.
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That pretty well covers the tranny swap. Now on to the doubler...


EDIT: I forgot to mention that since I am now running a 5 speed, I could finally mount the transmission to the Skyjacker transmission/radius arm crossmember and get rid of the 4 speed transmission crossmember (which ironically sits further back than the 5 speed transmission crossmember despite the 4 speed being shorter). It is nice only needing one crossmember. Also worth noting even though few people are likely to ever encounter this issue, the 4 speed transmission mount (the metal and rubber bit between the transmission crossmember and transmission itself) is different from the 5 speed mount and they are not interchangeable.
 
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Tech Tim

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Glad to see someone building a BII.

We had one for years, they are nice little rigs that are underrated.
 

'84 Bronco II

El Chingón
Joined
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Member Number
293
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NM
Unfortunately, I am missing a bunch of pictures from the doubler build as well as how I put together the shifters. Maybe if people are interested, I can get some more pictures of the shifter setup in-situ.

Since I hadn't had any luck finding a manual-shift BW 1354 (plenty of electric shift units in the yards) I was just going to build my doubler setup using the BW1350s out of my Bronco II and my parts Bronco II since I already had them. I didn't take any pictures of this, but a buddy and I tore apart the BW 1350 from the parts Bronco II to harvest the planetary, ring gear, and range collar. We were successful getting all those parts out; the only difficult part was removing the ring gear, but we were able to work it out using a sledge and a drift. Now, installing the ring gear into the Behemoth case is where things went sideways. It is a pretty tight press-fit, and I kept my press at my father's shop 250 miles away since it doesn't fit in my attached two car garage, so I thought it would be a good idea to hammer it in with the sledge :homer: It was going alright for a bit; I was hitting the ring gear directly with the sledge and walking it in going around the diameter. By the time I got it most of the way in, I broke a couple of teeth. It turns out hitting hardened gears with a hammer is a bad idea :homer:

So I set out to the junk yard once more in search of the elusive manual shift BW 1354 figuring worst-case, I could settle again for a manual-shift BW 1350. For those of you that aren't in the know, the manual-shift BW 1354 is basically a heavier-duty BW 1350 that was used in the 1st generation explorers, and '90-'95 & '00-'04(No speedo gear hole) Rangers. They also have solid yokes which the earlier BW 1350s like I had do not. After looking through all the RBVs in the yard, they all had electric shift cases, but just when I was about to give up, I happened across a manual-shift BW 1354 just laying on the ground out in the open. I almost walked past it because I saw the cast boss for the electric motor that I didn't realize was also on the manual shift cases. Fortunately my buddy stopped to take a closer look and informed me that I was a dummy and it was indeed the near-mythical manual-shift BW 1354 already pulled and laying at our feet :laughing: It must have been pretty fresh because there didn't appear to be any dirt inside the speedo hole that was left open. It was missing the shift lever, but I was able to shift it through all the ranges using my Leatherman, so in the wheel barrow it went! I also grabbed the front and rear driveshafts out of a 1st-gen Explorer to use for making my new driveshafts.


Here's the haul. I think I got out of the yard for around $80, not too shabby :smokin:

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I opened up the BW 1354 to inspect the inside and make sure there wasn't any dirt inside since I had found it laying in the dirt with an unplugged speedo hole. It looked great inside, so no concerns there, I just needed to figure out what to do about the missing shift lever. I couldn't find any way to buy a new shift lever online, and the BW 1350 shift levers are staked to the shaft that is internal to the case and engages the shift fork. Since I had a torn apart BW 1350 case lying around, I pulled out the integrated shift lever/shaft and tried to swap it out with the BW 1354 shift shaft. It turns out that they are non-interchangeable. I wish I had a picture, but I believe the lengths were different. At this point my options were limited to perusing the junkyards some more and hoping I find another manual-shift BW 1354 to steal a shift lever off of, or make my own. I decided to make my own, but with the tools I own, it would have come out pretty hack. Fortunately, a buddy of mine has an uncle with a mill who was willing to let me make a shift lever on it. I used a short piece of 1 1/4" x 1/4" or 5/16" strap that he had lying around (I don't remember the exact thickness, but it was fairly thick), and machined a slot in it and milled two holes; one of which was at the center of the slot which indexed on the shift shaft and had a nut to retain it. I don't have any good pictures of this, but if anyone is curious I can get some better pictures of it. You can see it in a picture of the shift linkage I will post further down.

Now back to building the doubler. I decided to be more prudent for take two, and went down to my father's shop to do it using a press. The first order of business was removing the broken ring gear that was stuck most of the way in the doubler case. I greased up the aluminum case to protect it from splatter and welded some small scrap pieces of angle iron to the ring gear since there wasn't a way to get a purchase on it from the side you needed to drive it out. I was then able to put it in the press and push it out nice and easy. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of this creative work around.

Next, I tore apart the BW 1350 that was originally in my Bronco II to harvest all the parts for the doubler all over again.
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I used the press to push the ring gear out of the front case half a little at a time while working my way around the ring gear. Pressing it into the doubler case was just the reverse and went much better than using a sledge hammer :laughing:

Here is the ring gear finished getting pressed in:
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And here's the case with the center bearing for the intermediate shaft installed:
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Here is the doubler and transfer case mocked up on the back of the transmission. You can see the index mark I drew with a Sharpie for where I wanted to clock the transfer case. The clocking ring has a ton of positions which makes fine tuning your transfer case position really nice :smokin: What this picture is really showing though is an issue I ran into with bolting the clocking ring to the transfer case. The flanges are too close together on the clocking ring to use factory-length bolts which forces you to use shorter bolts to be able to fit them in between the flanges so you can put them through the holes that mate to the transfer case. This lack of clearance also prevents you from using a torque wrench, so I ended up stripping out one of the holes on the transfer case. Fortunately, ~3 of the 5 holes, if I recall correctly, are threaded through holes, so I just bought some tap bolts that were long enough to pass all the way through from behind so I could get a nut on them between the flanges of the clocking ring.
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Now that I had everything bolted together with the transfer case clocked where I wanted it (roughly the same position as factory), I ran into a clearance issue with the floor. This is where I really wish I had waited to buy the doubler until after Behemoth had come out with the integrated version, because I think the 2.7" shorter length would have save me from having to ruin my floor. However, butchering the floor was the preferred route because I wanted the front output high enough for the driveshaft to clear the unmodified Skyjacker transmission crossmember at full droop, and I wanted to reuse the factory transfer case skid plate and not lose any clearance which also wouldn't allow me to clock the transfer case any lower.

In this picture you can see the electric shift motor boss on the rear half of the case even though this is a manual-shift transfer case. You can also see some of the damage to the floor and wiring harness from when I broke the the rear driveshaft a while back.
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Here it is after I ground down the offending floor pan brace and beat the floor pan out of the way with a BFH. My driver's seat sits a bit wonky now, but at least my transfer case fits :dustin:
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Moving the factory transfer case skid plate back on the frame was as easy as positioning it and drilling four new holes in the bottom flange of the C-channel frame. I decided to build a mount off the skid plate to help support the transfer case and counteract some of the additional torque from the doubler. The four threaded posts that straddle the drain plug on the back of the transfer case are where the factory mounted a plate with a bushing with a big cast weight to help dampen vibrations I suppose. I decided to remove the weight and use the factory plate and bushing to attach to the mount I was building off the skid plate. I bolted it all together and tacked the tabs to the skid plate where they naturally wanted to sit prior to giving them a full weld.
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Here are the mount tabs tacked to the skid plate after fitting everything in place. I just chopped them off of some 3/16" x 4" flat stock I had laying around.
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After giving them the full weld:
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And all assembled:
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I don't have good pictures of what I did for the shifters, but I couldn't think of a clean and easy way to do shifters for both the transfer case and doubler in the factory location on the floor, so I decided to use the factory floor shifter for the transfer case and build a push-pull cable shifter for the doubler in the dash.

For the transfer case I just used some 3/8" B7 grade (Chromoly) all thread and some female heims I bought on eBay to make a linkage between the factory transfer case shifter and the transfer case shift lever. In the factory location, the floor-mounted transfer case shifter operates the lever on the transfer case directly. I was going to weld a plate with a hole drilled through it over the fork on the bottom of the factory transfer case shifter to attach the linkage I made, but just clamping it with washers that I was using for mockup/adjustment purposes has been working so well that I never got around to it. I took this picture more recently to post in another thread about shift linkages, so that is why everything looks dirty, but this is the only picture that shows the shift lever on the transfer case I had to make.

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'84 Bronco II

El Chingón
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293
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Loc
NM
Apparently my previous post was too long, so I had to break the last few paragraphs off, so here they are:

I ordered the cable for my cable shifter from Dayton Clutch. They allow you to spec out a cable pretty much however you want and were about the cheapest place I could find on the net. The cable has been working flawlessly for the last two years, and I would highly recommend anyone else doing a doubler install to go the cable shifter install route. It is a much easier and cleaner installation in my opinion than trying to have twin shifters. I got one of Dayton Clutch's 3" travel 10-32 cables with threaded bulk head fittings on both ends. I don't remember if I bought a custom length or a standard one. I welded a tab to my Skyjacker transmission crossmember to mount the cable and I used a heim to bolt to the doubler shift lever. I then routed the cable into the cab through the speedometer cable pass-through in the firewall, and whittled a bulkhead mount out of a scrap of angle iron that I mounted behind the dash using existing bolts on once of the dash support braces. I drilled a small hole in a pice of plastic trim near the steering column for the end of the cable to pass through, and used the plastic E-brake handle from my parts Bronco II for the push/pull handle. It works pretty well and is somewhat inconspicuous. As I mentioned earlier, I don't have pictures of any of this, so I might try to get some pictures if anyone is interested.



Now on to driveshafts. I was able to use the Explorer front driveshaft I got out of the junkyard just by getting it lengthened by "U-joints" (a local driveshaft shop in Albuquerque), but for some reason that I can't remember now, I chose to use what was left of my Tom Woods rear driveshaft I had been running in my Bronco II to build the rear driveshaft instead of the rear Explorer driveshaft I pulled from the junkyard. It was originally built for a running length of 34" with a yoke-style 1210 CV at the transfer case end and a 1310 flange at the axle end. I now had a flange at the transfer case end and wanted to finally get rid of the weak 1210 CV joint that had been giving me issues. I also needed the driveshaft to be about 9" shorter (2" longer transmission + 7" doubler) for a running length of ~25". "U-joints" basically just chopped the 1210 CV off the driveshaft and welded on a 1310 flange-style CV at the appropriate length. I get a bit of vibration mostly due to the 8.8" pinion being noticeably offset to the passenger side, so now that the driveshaft is shorter, the angle in the single joint end is an issue. Eventually I am going to need to build a dual double cardan driveshaft, or run a longer driveshaft by stretching the wheelbase (although I won't be able to stretch it enough to make up for the 9" I lost). Nothing to tricky going on here, but again, I can get some pictures if people are interested.
 

'84 Bronco II

El Chingón
Joined
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Member Number
293
Messages
1,591
Loc
NM
Glad to see someone building a BII.

We had one for years, they are nice little rigs that are underrated.

They aren't bad, and a lot better than most people give them credit for. Most people just remember the consumer reports rollover controversy and go on about how they were the biggest piece-of-shit death traps ever built :shaking: It is just too bad that Ford never got around to putting the good drivetrain bits in them before ending production (although the '89-'90 models are ugly :flipoff2:). If you don't mind the extra length, width, and weight as well as the worse styling IMO, a 2 door Explorer is a way better starting point. If I were going to do another Bronco II, I would definitely start with an '86-'88 for the better interior and exterior styling as well as starting with a 5 speed and the fuel injected 2.9L. The 2.9L makes a fair bit more power than the 2.8L (25HP & 20 FtLbs) and is a lot easier to swap over to a 4.0L since it is already fuel injected.

I hope you realize how fucking lucky you were to be able to have the facilities to do meaningful work on that as a teenager.

I guess the upside of having your parents get divorced in high school is that you get daddy's garage spot :flipoff2: The pictures with the lift are much more recent. There is about 10 years between when I first got my Bronco II and my father building a 30'x40' shop with a lift that he let me work in, but the catch was that I had to drive over 200 miles to use it.
 

rattle_snake

Fuckwits
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Jun 23, 2020
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Chandler, AZ
Nice story and rig. Quite a few people I knew drove 'deuces' back in the day. My dipshit brother had an 86, we put a Duff lift on it and skinny 32" BFG MTs.
 

'84 Bronco II

El Chingón
Joined
May 19, 2020
Member Number
293
Messages
1,591
Loc
NM
The 37" Pit bulls are some big, heavy tires! The 15x8" Procomp 8069 wheels weigh in right at 20 Lbs. a piece, and with the 35/12.50R15 Big horns mounted on them when they were new, the combo weighed right at 80 Lbs. a piece. The Pitbulls mounted on the same wheels weigh 104 Lbs. each :eek: I forgot how much the old 31/10.50R15 Definity Dakota MTs weighed on the 15x8" steel wagon wheels, but I think it was around 50-ish Lbs. The Pitbulls killed what little bit of power my 2.8L had. I was slow before, but now it basically doesn't accelerate at all :laughing:

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The Pitbulls are true to size too. They measure just a hair over 37" mounted on the wheel, aired up, and off the vehicle. They are also a bit wider than my old Bighorns even though they are both 12.50s.
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Here they are mounted up before I started any of the suspension work or did any additional fender trimming. You can see in the second picture how bad the Skyjacker coils were sagging.

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The first step in making 37s fit on a Bronco II with only 4" of lift is pushing the front axle forward since the 37s will rub pretty badly on the firewall with the axle in the stock position. This may seem a bit hack, but it was quick, cheap, and easy; I moved the factory plastic radius arm bushing spacer from behind the radius arm mount to the front and added a few 7/8" washers in front of the factory cupped washer that the urethane bushing seats against. So far it has been working well and netted me ~1" over stock. I wouldn't have minded going further forward, but there isn't an easy way to do it with TTB without a TON of fab work.

Stock radius arm bushing arrangement:
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How I am running the bushings to get ~1" more wheelbase:
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I finally got around to building a steering system that would work with the Jeep coils. The factory steering geometry Ford used on the TTB was garbage and causes huge, non-symmetric toe changes with relatively little suspension travel. This causes bad suspension jacking and all kinds of squirellyness. People often blame this behavior as being inherent to the TTB design, but it is really due to horrendous steering geometry. All the lift companies use ridiculously stiff coils (500+ Lbs./in) to mask the crap geometry and make the vehicles drivable since the stiff springs minimize travel and can better resist the forces imparted by the toe going all over the place. Rubicon Express advertises 164 Lbs/in on the RE1310 springs I am running, but as best I can figure, they are really right around 240 Lbs/in (why I had initially tried the 1345 springs). With TTB, to get perfect or near perfect steering geometry, you need a pretty complicated steering setup, the best of which is the "swingset" or "crossover" style seen on desert trucks. For a non-high-speed trail truck, there are some simpler options that will get you 90% there but will still have some bump steer and toe change; they are drivable with soft springs however, which the stock steering geometry is not. The leading simple designs for trail use are the "K-link" and "Stonecrusher" (the name was coined on The Ranger Station due to the name of the company that sold this style commercially for a brief period). The "K-link" is the more complicated of the two and uses a horizontal link between the pitman arm and an idler arm with tie rods going from the knuckles to the center of the horizontal link. Super Lift sells a "K-link" system commercially, but it still needs to be modified to optimize geometry and it isn't particularly stout. Here is a picture I pulled off the web of a custom "K-link" for those who aren't familiar:

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Idler arms are too complicated for me, so I decided to go with a "Stonecrusher" style steering :flipoff2: The "Stonecrusher" is basically a traditional "Y-link" steering similar to what has been implemented on solid axles for a while, but you line the pivot on the steering up with pivot of the driver's side beam. It is basically the same thing as the stock steering if Ford had been smart enough to put the driver's side tie rod pivot in the correct spot. It has been quite drivable on the road and the trail, but the bumpsteer might be a bit worse than the factory linkage, but it is totally manageable. Regardless, here is my build, and I would build the steering the exact same way on another TTB trail rig since it is strong, effective, and simple. 4X4Junkie did a pretty good write up on TTB steering over on The Ranger Station for anyone who is interested in TTB steering and why TTB often gets such a bad rap.


I built my steering using a Ruff Stuff 1 ton GM TRE 1.5"OD .25" wall steering kit with a couple of extra parts. I had to buy a 3/4" heim and corresponding tube bung, and a synergy double adjuster tube adapter (it isn't necessary, but it makes alignment a lot easier).

Here is the draglink and some clearance checks I did. At full right lock I had some slight interference issues at full bump and full droop. Offset tie rods at the knuckle would have been a really clean and easy solution, but I needed mirror image versions of the offset GM tie rods, so there wasn't really anything I could do about it short of bending the links. With the bump stops I had to run to clear the 37s though, the interference at full compression went away, and the interference at the beam pivot at full droop and right lock is very slight, so I decided to just live with it.

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Interference at full bump and right lock:
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Interference at full droop and right lock (the bottom of the pivot beam pivot bracket is bent up from rock surfing since Skyjacker uses the same brackets for 4" and 6" lifts and it sticks unnecessarily low if you are using it in the 4" position):
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I built the pivot saddle for the driver's side tie rod using some more of 4" x 3/16" plate left over from my bumper build. I cut the plate to length, drilled the holes, and chamfered the corners. Then I took a scrap piece of the 1.5" tube from the steering, a BFH, and a couple of wood blocks to form the plate around the tube. I also figured 3/16" might be a little thin around the bolt hole, so I welded some 3/4" washers on for reinforcement.

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Testing out clearances near full bump with the driver's side tie rod in place:

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It is a tight fit, and I have noticed some very minor wear marks in the paint where the links have come in contact, so I probably should have made the saddle drop a little lower, but I was worried about it hanging down to far at ride height and droop. I also checked how much toe change I had throughout my travel and it was very minor until the last bit of droop, but I don't recall what the numbers were. I know it toed out a bit, which is preferable since it helps suck the suspension back down.

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This was a good opportunity to clearance the front fenders and build bump stops while the springs were out. The Skyjacker bump stops that came with my lift kit were way too long and ate up too much useable compression travel, so I never ran them. I could get away without running bump stops since the old Skyjacker springs were so stiff, but that wouldn't be the case with the jeep springs, so I got to fabricating some bump stops. The Skyjacker design was easy enough to copy with scrap materials I had lying around so that is what I did so that I could steal the poly tips (just the tip! :laughing:) off the Skyjacker bump stops. I cut out ~2" circles from my 3/16" plate and drilled the centers out for 3/8" hardware. I welded a bolt on one end and a nut on the inside face of the other to thread the poly tip on. I then welded the two circular plates on to a section of 1.5" OD 1/4" wall tube I had left over from the steering. I sized the bump stops to give me as much compression as I could get with the 37s without having to butcher the inner fenders which are pretty important for the structural integrity of the front end.

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I'll throw in a shot of my welder as well since I really like my Miller 211.

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Now for the sheetmetal hackery, I had to take a BFH to the pinch seam on the firewall and the front portion of the inner fender where it dips down near the battery and radiator overflow tank as well as cut back the outer fenders and plastic wheel well liners quite a bit. Heres a shot after the sheet metal cutting. You can see the steering saddle before I formed it sitting on top of the cinder block.

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Test fitting the 37s and posing with the removed bits:

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Here's how I trimmed my previously hacked (from the Bushwacker cut out flare days) plastic wheel well liners even further.

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Testing the clearance in the drainage ditch in front of the house (this is also when I found out I had the wrong starter):

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The rear quarters required a more iterative approach for cutting due to me being too lazy to disassemble the leaf packs and do it the right way :shaking:
 
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'84 Bronco II

El Chingón
Joined
May 19, 2020
Member Number
293
Messages
1,591
Loc
NM

'84 Bronco II

El Chingón
Joined
May 19, 2020
Member Number
293
Messages
1,591
Loc
NM
I did a quick test run on the easy trail next to the house for a quick shake down and then took it down to Las Cruces for a good test of the new capabilities. The difference was night and day, and I honestly have no idea how I ever wheeled before the doubler :laughing: The doubler is one of the best mods I have made and I wish I had done it sooner. I think pretty much any rig I build will be getting a doubler from now on. It is so nice having a standard low range (2.48:1) plus a stupid low range (6.15:1 in double low). On hard, technical trails, I typically leave it in double the entire time, but on easier trails I just use the transfer case low range.

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I decided to build some rock sliders prior to Chile Challenge which was long overdue. Unfortunately I lost all the pictures when I changed phones since I didn't have them backed up on my computer. I cut the sheetmetal rocker off flush with the bottom of the door jamb behind the front fenders. I welded 2"x6" 3/16" wall rectangular A500 tubing directly to the body so that the tubing stuck out past the body a little bit. I chamfered the leading outside corner behind the front fender and angled the bottom corner at the rear to better match the lines of the rear wheel openings. I then capped the openings with 2"x1/8" strap. It is a good thing I got it done before Chile Challenge because I ended up falling into a nasty V-notch, and it saved my driver side fender and door from much worse damage. Being wide definitely helped, and I was the narrowest guy on the trail that day (59" WMS width).

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I wasn't the only guy that fell in :flipoff2:

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Ironically, I broke the center U-joint and took out the slip joint in the Dana 35 the next day on a moderate trail that was supposed to be my "easy" day :rolleyes:

The U-joint was one of the old Spicer 5-297X that I believe to have been original to the axle from 1994, so wear likely contributed to the failure since I wasn't particularly bound up or hard on the throttle. For those that don't know, the center U-joint is a major pain in the ass to replace in a TTB since you have to drop the third member to get the C-clip out, and in my case I also have to remove the driver's side radius arm and completely disassemble the driver side suspension in order to get the 3rd out. I was leading trails for the next two days of Chile Challenge, so I drove back to the trailer at camp and hauled the Bronco II down to Las Cruces to work on it in my father's shop ~50 miles away to try and get it fixed in time. On my way down I called up the crappy junkyards in Las Cruces and one of them had the axle shaft slip yoke I needed, so I drove there directly to pick it up. I also stopped by O'Reilly and picked up 3 new Spicer 5-760X U-joints so I could replace all the U-joints in the front end.


Here it is all torn apart in my father's shop. He was at work when I got there and his Jeep was parked in the lift bay, so I was working on the floor.

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When I finally got the third member out, I found out I had a broken C-Clip. I wasted way too much time going all around town trying to find someone that had C-clips, but I didn't have any luck and resorted to making on out of a washer in desperation. Ideally I would have liked to eliminate the C-clip, but I didn't have the parts or time to do that. The washer C-clip has been holding up fine so far, and frankly I have no motivation to tear it all apart again to get rid of the washer.

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Last edited:

'84 Bronco II

El Chingón
Joined
May 19, 2020
Member Number
293
Messages
1,591
Loc
NM
The page reloaded just as I was finishing up another long post and I lost it all :mad3:

I'll try to post it again when I have time.
 

Tiha

Well-known member
Joined
May 20, 2020
Member Number
711
Messages
599
Great stuff, love the pics and info.

I remember the pre production BII coming out in fourwheeler. In the magazine it showed the rear windows removable. Friend of mine had bought one a couple years later and we spent an hour trying to figure out how they were suppose to come out.
Apparently that mod didn't make the final cut.

I had an 89, 2.9 with manual. Was impressed it was actually a capable stout little truck. Sold it to a guy from work, he drove it and towed his fishing boat until the rust ate too much of it away.
 

'84 Bronco II

El Chingón
Joined
May 19, 2020
Member Number
293
Messages
1,591
Loc
NM
Great stuff, love the pics and info.

I remember the pre production BII coming out in fourwheeler. In the magazine it showed the rear windows removable. Friend of mine had bought one a couple years later and we spent an hour trying to figure out how they were suppose to come out.
Apparently that mod didn't make the final cut.

I had an 89, 2.9 with manual. Was impressed it was actually a capable stout little truck. Sold it to a guy from work, he drove it and towed his fishing boat until the rust ate too much of it away.

Funny you mention the removable windows, I have heard that the owners manuals in the early production models like mine actually have instructions for removing the rear windows even though they don't come out :laughing: Mine unfortunately is missing the owners manual, but I still have the 4WD supplemental manual.
 

'84 Bronco II

El Chingón
Joined
May 19, 2020
Member Number
293
Messages
1,591
Loc
NM
So, minus the 4.0L work that I am waiting to post as one cohesive update, that is pretty much where I am at with the Bronco II today. The next big upgrade will be the 4.0L, but it has been on the back burner for a while since I am lazy, and I worry about having it down for too long. I am also not too sure what the future holds for the Bronco II since I just picked up a pair of early Broncos this year and have been wanting to build a buggy for a while. The problem is that I know I'll take a bath if I ever sell it, and I get pretty attached to my vehicles; I have yet to sell a car besides a parts rig I had very briefly :laughing:

Here are some wheeling highlights from the last couple of years for the meantime:

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Whoops! Didn't see this erosion on the other side of a small hill and slid in:
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By the way, even if it were still a legal route, the Nemesis water fall on Patzcuaro's Revenge looks impassible now.

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Last edited:

Tiha

Well-known member
Joined
May 20, 2020
Member Number
711
Messages
599
Also, it may not seem like much, but I was super excited to have a picture of me and my rig in the August 2020 issue of Four Wheeler.

Awesome you posted that otherwise only you and the 3 other subscribers would have ever seen it. LOL
Just kidding, Bought my share of fourwheeler magazines.
 

rattle_snake

Fuckwits
Joined
Jun 23, 2020
Member Number
2156
Messages
798
Loc
Chandler, AZ
The next big upgrade will be the 4.0L, but it has been on the back burner for a while since I am lazy..

uh, No. given the work you put in on this rig I wouldn't put you in the 'lazy' category. Most of the rest of the population, yes.
Good luck on the EB project, it's just money.
 
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