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1988 Bronco II Virginia Trail Build

RumPunch

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Location
Walkerton Va 23177
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
Ford Bronco II
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
I recently purchased this 1988 Bronco II XLT, automatic, 4x4 electric BW1350 and manual locking hubs($1000). Can't remember the mileage at this point.. 4wd does not work, it runs and drives had an oil pressure light on and a low end knock in the engine, and trans doesn't feel the best. I want to make a road worthy but capable little weekend ride for trips to local trails or the Blue Ridge mountain Jeep trails; Pott's Creek, Flagpole, Union Springs, the list goes on. Just need to get rid of my boat (Baja Outlaw) to free up some garage space for this project. So far I have found it to have minor rust (RR 1/4 panel mainly) and a few small spots. Just want to stop this not restore it. Checked oil pressure (in spec), but the engine still has what sounds like a rod knock. Trans still feels to be slipping. No lift factory 235's. Appears to have been sprayed probably 10 years ago but back to the factory silver color, or at least close. I have cleaned it up and got some good wax on it to protect what finish is there. In the future...
PLANS:
-Find a donor 2.9(Looking for an 89, for the updated heads), want a nicer harness than what is in mine as well
-Rebuild said donor engine, port/polish/shave/gasket match heads, larger injectors, full rebuild
-Convert to a Manual BW 1350(Picking up one w/ linkages etc Sat. for $150) Still need to find the Automatic Trans/Manual T-Case Floor plate/molding and boot
-Change to U-Joint Driveshafts
-Swap in a Dana 35/8.8 and install 4.56/4.88's not convinced yet, full axle rebuilds w/ lockers front/rear
-Undecided on lift... Skyjacker 4" System/James Duff 3" System or get the RC with new leaf packs, 3rd party drop brackets and buy some Duff arms at a later date... (Open to suggestions)
-265 tires on 16x8's (Can't spill the beans on W/T package yet, that would ruin the fun :))
-Fabricate front/rear bumpers, rock sliders and rear cargo area tool storage, roof rack, tire carrier
-Replace the rotted 1/4 panel as well as address other minimal body issues
-Also looking for a factory working radio/ connector

Any contact or questions can be on here or 8042393214

I purchased one of these as my first vehicle, years before I had my drivers license. Always wanted one as a trail rig and finally decided to do it. I will post pics/progress but it will be with good time as free time is hard to come by. Here are a few pics when i got it home and after I got it cleaned up a little. More to come w/ process..

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Got it home Washed/Waxed(Paint isn't good just wanted to protect the patina)

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Before cleaning After cleaning


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Before vacuuming/shampooing Still before cleaning but back seats are immaculate
 
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RumPunch

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410
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Location
Walkerton Va 23177
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
Ford Bronco II
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Also going to be having the trans gone through at time of the engine swap w/ rebuilt any suggestions on good upgrades for it? (Other than swapping, manual, etc...)
 

mnewman

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Location
Ohio
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Transmission
Manual
I am having the lift kit debate as well. I think I've settle on the Duff 3" stage II but I also feel like I should do the Dana 35 swap in the front but I don't plan on running anything bigger than a ~31" tire at the moment. I'd love to run 265/75/16 but I'm not sure it'll fit, even with the lift. So I don't know. I'm thinking if I feel the need to go bigger I'd SAS it or find a dedicated trail rig.

Anyway. Looks like a good place to start. Looking forward to seeing your progress.
 

ecgreen

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Location
Dunbarton NH
Vehicle Year
1989
Make / Model
Ford Bronco II
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
3"
Tire Size
33
Looking forward to the build!
 

RumPunch

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Location
Walkerton Va 23177
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
Ford Bronco II
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
I am having the lift kit debate as well. I think I've settle on the Duff 3" stage II but I also feel like I should do the Dana 35 swap in the front but I don't plan on running anything bigger than a ~31" tire at the moment. I'd love to run 265/75/16 but I'm not sure it'll fit, even with the lift. So I don't know. I'm thinking if I feel the need to go bigger I'd SAS it or find a dedicated trail rig.

Anyway. Looks like a good place to start. Looking forward to seeing your progress.
Thanks @mnewman I am fully dedicating this to trail but it will remain street legal so i can commute between the Virginia trail systems. I like the Duff lift system more than Skyjacker due to it having Heim jointed radius arms which will give a lot more articulation than the bushing style from Skyjacker it's just unfortunate it's only a 3" kit and the 265's I plan to run measure out to 31.89(32") so I know i will need at minimum a 4" lift. I don't mind cutting/trimming but i don't plan to hack the body to pieces either. I can get the Skyjacker kit at cost which is roughly 1500 so I may still opt for a Rough Country and just purchase the Duff radius arms and use the drop brackets from Ebay to prevent axle contact. The link for them is below they don't look as sturdy as the forged ones in either of the other kits but can be reinforced fairly easily. I am going to swap out for an 8.8/35 TTB no doubt just looking for a donor to get parts from prior to building the axles (gears/lockers) Anyone running 32's on any specific gear with an automatic? 4.56/4.88's? Any recommendations?

 
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RumPunch

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Location
Walkerton Va 23177
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
Ford Bronco II
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
As far as progress goes I have determined I need a block and am looking for an 89-90 long block to rebuild as a donor, trans is slipping and will be going to Mountain Road Transmission for a rebuild and updates, looking at the kit Oregon Performance offers if anyone has any input on them? I have heard that the BB style servo's are stronger? But yet they are the cheapest, and that theory does not make sense in this day and age..?

 

RumPunch

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Location
Walkerton Va 23177
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
Ford Bronco II
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
I have also picked up a BW 13-50 Manual shift and will be installing that for now, open to finding a manual shift 13-54, hoping to pick that up w/ the donor axles as an all in one.
54427
 

RumPunch

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Location
Walkerton Va 23177
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
Ford Bronco II
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Finally got the garage (partially) straight, this is the first time I have had my tools at home in my own garage, used to be in a service truck in the driveway... But got a little time last night to finally start the tear down of this truck. First steps will be engine and trans rebuilds, engine has a lower end knock at idle, not under load and trans slips between gears. All of the AC system was removed(was not functioning, nor had any freon) but I will post it up for parts if anyone wants to pick it up in the RVA area. All removed, cooling package removed and majority of harness and accessories on engine removed, hope to snatch the block out this weekend and get it on the stand. I will definitely be in need of some engine harness connectors/terminals prior to reassembly if anyone has any suggestions on where to buy...
IMG_20210225_060340493.jpg
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IMG_20210225_213726846.jpg
 

Uncle Gump

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Location
Ottawa IL
Vehicle Year
2006/1986
Make / Model
Ranger/BroncoII
Engine Size
4.0L SOHC/2.9L
2WD / 4WD
4WD
My credo
Lead, Follow or get out of my way
That was a pretty good deal on the Bronco... the price has just gone out of control on anything Bronco.

I've built one of these as a trail rig in my head for a couple years... once i get moved and IF the right Bronco II comes along I'm afraid I'm probably just going to buy it.

I'm gonna follow along as you go... looking forward to the progress.
 

RumPunch

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Location
Walkerton Va 23177
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
Ford Bronco II
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Only had about an hour over the weekend to mess with this thing so didn't get far but hopefully later this week the next post will be engine on the stand...
56331
 

dvdswan

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Location
Seattle, WA
Vehicle Year
1991
Make / Model
Ranger XLT 2WD
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
My credo
Keep your mind like an umbrella, it only works if its open... Continually learning.
Sharp looking little BII
 

RumPunch

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Location
Walkerton Va 23177
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
Ford Bronco II
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Took the day yesterday and got a little progress towards the project. Engines out on the stand will strip it down and hot tank this week if all goes correctly. Also need to set the trans out and get it dropped off at Mountain Road hopefully this week as well. But cheers to a little more progress!!! Crank had about 1/16" + end play not convinced that was my only issue as that lower end knock at idle was pretty significant(not ruling out an injector but not convinced) either way this is getting the works as well as 89+ heads. As soon as I find valve covers....


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56953



56954
56955
 

RumPunch

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Location
Walkerton Va 23177
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
Ford Bronco II
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Just waiting to go to the machine shop now. Looks like the crank will need to be cut at least .010 and probably going to bore the block .020. I'll order a set of the 89 heads and my valve cover hunt continues...
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57289
 
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RumPunch

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Location
Walkerton Va 23177
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
Ford Bronco II
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
It's been a little while but not much progress other than $ spent. Engine got dropped off at Competition Engine Service's, transmission is still at Mountain Road, and bumpers are in but are at the powder coaters. So time to start gathering wiring up and replumbing most fluid systems. Still REALLY want a heat only box but that's apparently not going to happen... Anyone have one willing to pay $$ and pay shipping. As far as the rest of the truck just need to get myself in gear and make progress.. here's a few photos of where I am now.
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gaz

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Location
Wa, Bremerton 98310
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
Ranger 2.9l, BII 4.0l
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
Ranger 6", BII 4"
Total Drop
Ranger 5sp, BII A4LD
Tire Size
Ranger 32", BII 28.5"
RumPunch,

If you haven't had the machine work done yet, find a machinist that can port and polish based on flow bench results. The end result will be more efficient.

For the engine, my heads were milled .035", 2.8L flat top pistons and flow benched port work with a performance valve job on a little more lift will make that 2.9 HAPPi!

Balancing the bottom end is money well spent. You can expect a 10% improvement in efficiency; this equals more hp, tq and fuel economy.

Oh yeah, loose the crankshaft driven fan/clutch, you will never regret it ..)
 
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