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The Deuce

BONES

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1986
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gt40 5L
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Automatic
I started with my wife's old DD, an 86 Eddie Bauer, 2.9L fm145 1350. In 2001 we parked it because it was getting tired and we bought a new car for her DD. It sat for several years in the back yard awaiting some much needed attention.



In 05 I came across a 92 Explorer EB with a blown a4ld. Cheap.



With the Exploder in hand I decided it was time to start the tare down process on the Explorer, Took a couple days but I stripped it completely, gutted it and hauled it to the scrap yard.



Once that was done I started ripping into the Bronco. Figured I was going to swap everything from the Explorer into the BII so I completely ripped the BII apart.

Got deeper and deep into the tare down.




Found when I took the carpets out that the floors had rusted, so I decided to pick up some replacement panels and then wire wheeled and ground the entire floors down to Hippo Line everything.




Everything all lined and looking pretty, I turned my attention to cleaning and painting the Explorer dash and BII interior panels.




Cleaned and sanded the empty engine bay down and readied it for paint.



Then I turned my focus to removing and replacing the diffs and suspension.



Got the d35 TTB installed and the 8.8 in place of the 7.5.



Installed a 3" body lift and cut and welded both drive shafts, got all the brake lines replaced, steering system and suspension from the Exploder installed and puller her out to test drive.




Swapped my 35" TSL's onto the stock EB alloys by hand, figured out I needed to do some fender trimming for this thing to be able to move with them on there.




Rear tires were a different story, Fit just fine but then I tried to flex it a bit in search of clearance issues.




All 4 on and ready for trim job.





Spent the afternoon trimming the fenders and welding things back together, so I figured it was time to actually flex it under it's own power and weight.

Test flexing showed I didn't trim far enough, so it was back to the cutting and welding.

I also found out that the Explorer coils didn't flex much at first.







I DD'ed it for that winter and when a hint of spring was starting to peek out, I slapped the TLS's back on and started beating the piss out of it in search of weak links and fun times.
 


BONES

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Here's a few wheeling pics from the first few years after the build up.





The more I wheeled it the more flex I managed to get from those stiff Explorer front springs.




Friends I wheeled with started calling the Bronco the tricycle because it lifted a front tire every time I hit anything off camber. It was actually hard to climb certain things because of this.





She did pretty good in the mud tho, with the TTB cambering the front tires down into the mud and the rear Lincoln locked it chewed real good.








Winter wheeling wasn't out of the question either, she ran through 2 winters as a DD as well as swapping in the 35's here and there for some SnowX4ing.








Spring 2008 the Bronco needed a complete TTB rebuild as well as a few other mods and repairs so I was at a pivotal moment and really needed to weigh the options. I knew I would be doing an SAS at some point hopefully sooner than later and tossed around the idea for a couple months while the Bronco sat.
 

rngr4x4beast

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sweet build and truck
 

BONES

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Here's some of the 4.0L swap.

2.9L on it's way out.



Pulling it from the Explorer.



4.0L waiting for installation.



4.0l installed.



The 3 years of beating on it destroyed the body bushings as well as the body mounts on the frame, I ended up using 1.4" plate to rebuild every mount and then replaced the rotted bushing with some poly bushings to stiffen things up a lot.



Fuel tank ended up springing a leak from a dent put in it early on after the build up so I replaced the tank with a brand new one, painted and new fuel pump installed. I decided to beef the factory skid while it was apart.





Replaced my stock 92 X 95 amp alt with a 95-up 130 amp alt. simple bolt in, the 130 amp is larger body but fits right in no mods necessary. Replacement alt was a Wilson.




Decided to do a front signal light relocation, since I wanted to delete the lower tin where the front lower signals mounted I needed to figure out a place for them to be relocated to so I dismantled the front grill to see if the lights would fit inside the grill. Turned out to be the perfect place for them to go. Some grinding with a zip cut to make the hole for the backing of the light and then a couple holes drilled for the mounting clips and viola. relocated front signals.










Figured since I had the bumper off I may as well mount the new winch and winch plate.

 

Andres629

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Very nice! Where about in BC are you located?!
 

BONES

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Thanks man!

I'm a few hours north of you up in PG.
 

Andres629

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Bet there's some wicked wheeling up there. How's clearance in the wheel wells? I know you trimmed a lot and are running full-witdth...
 

BONES

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For the most part it doesn't rub, but when I really twist her up the front tires rub on the steel inner fender supports and the rear tires rub on the upper fender lips.

I have a few ideas for that tho.

I'm working on building an engine cage that attaches to the firewall and at least 3-4 spots down each frame rail beside the engine and then replaces or ties into the rad support.

I have been really thinking about removing the inner fender supports all together or at least remove a bunch of it anyways. Maybe attach the fenders to the engine cage with tabs so I can still bolt on a stock-ish fender. I want to remove most of the rad support too and build a tubular structure to hold the stock grill and stuff, something to bolt the rad to and front of the fenders to.

The rear fenders are a whole other project, I want to trim them upwards, but in doing so you would end up cutting into the rear passenger compartment. I want to keep the passenger compartment sealed from the outside as well as keep the stock rear interior panels, so I'm going to try and either completely remove and then tub the rear inner fender wells and trim upwards on the outer fenders but still keep the interior panels intact and in place, or maybe just cut out where the tire rubs and then weld in a strip to reattach the inner and outer fenders back together. Not too sure on that one yet, but as soon as the engine cage is in there I want to turn my attention to the rear fenders.
 

BONES

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1986
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gt40 5L
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Automatic
I spent the better part of 2 months searching for the right solid axle and actually didn't care as long as it was 76-79 full size f150/Bronco. I was unsuccessful so I started purchasing all the parts needed to rebuild the d35TTB.




The day I tore the TTB down to start the rebuild, a buddy showed up while is was elbow deep in dirty grease and rusty TTB parts, to let me know he had came across a guy hauling a few old f150 4x4 to the crushers. I struck up a deal over the phone with the owner and the next weekend he brought the front from a 76 f100 to my place for $100. Unfortunately he just took a torch to the rad arms and pan hard bar as well as the steering drag link to remove the axle. At least I had a place to start now, I was still extremely happy with what he brought me.





I went to my local parts store that I frequent, it's a block from home so I can't help it, and the 2 guys I deal with there are good friends I have been wheeling with for several years. I started talking about my new to me front d44 and he says to me, out of the blue, that he wants me to bring back all the TTB parts I bought and he will swap me for the parts needed to rebuild the d44. I was really stoked now! So I raced home and gathered up all the new TTB junk and back down to my parts guy who had 90% of the d44 parts sitting on the counter by the time I got back there as well as a couple other goodies he figured I could use.

Yukon's Dana/Spicer 28 spline mini spool.






Then before I could even start to do the FW SAS I needed to find a full width rear axle. I posted up on my local forum wanted thread needing a full size 8.8 or 9". A buddy replied the next night saying he had a 91 f150 4x4 sitting in his back yard that he was going to haul to the dump before long, so I went over to check it out. Turns out he bought it for $200 just for the rebuilt front drive shaft it had, he needed it for his full size 89 Bronco on 36's. Since he was just going to junk the f150 and he figured he got his money out of it he said I could just have it, free! So we spent the next half hour installing a battery and making sure it could run and it started right up. I live a couple blocks from his place so I just had him follow me and I drove it home. I had a good running fuel injected 5.0L, m5od and 1356, d44ttb, and limited slip 8.8.




All I needed out of it was the rear diff but figured the 5.0L would be great for the upcoming v8 swap I had planned for the Deuce, so me and the buddy that gave it to me stripped it out and hauled the rest to the scrap yard.





Took us about 4 hours to completely dissect the f150 and 2 trips to the scrap yard. So now I had the rear diff I needed to start on this FW SAS project. I also now have a fuel injected 5.0L waiting for me to gather the parts needed to swap in into the Deuce.

Took me about a half hour to remove the TTB d35, broke a rad arm bolt, shock bolt, and pretty much just molested it out from under the Deuce.






Then said bye bye to that TTB craptacular differential.



Within an hour of ripping out the ttb I had the d44 sitting under there in mock up position trying to decide how far I wanted in moved forward from the stock wheel base.



Figured out the coil mounts top and bottom weren't going to line up at all and tried to decide if I was going with a stock rad arm or build it longer or build my own...Decisions decisions decisions ;)




Once under there I put the stock f150 tire and wheel on to check out tire stick out, man they stuck out pretty far compared to the d35 even.




Went out back and grabbed my old set of 35" GoodYear MT's to slap on the front for clearance checking and well to see what she is going to look like with the wider diff up front.






A buddy of mine was upgrading to a different tread pattern 35" mudder and his one season used 35" Procomp Xterrains he offered to me for $500, they have about 8000kms on them. So I slapped them on a set of stock 5 on 5.5 steel wheels and slapped them on the front diff. She looked a lot better with the new rubber on there, even if it was just on the front diff for now as I hadn't installed the rear diff yet.



About this time I decided to pull out the Explorer 8.8 and slap in the f150 8.8 so I could get a better look at what she was going to look like all full width and shit.




Got the 8.8 just sitting under there with the tires on it to check it all out, look sweet! I could wait to get this thing wheeling again now, I was so pumped.




At first I wanted to use the stock Explorer rear leaf spring hanger to mount to the frame and then use a heim joint attached to the stock radius arm and get the diff installed.





I didn't like how short the stock rad arms were and where it was going to mount to the frame so I decided to make them longer and mount them in a better location further back on the frame, but still use the Exploder spring mount and a Johnny Joint. So I put an order in for a set of Currie's 2.5" JJ's with 1.25" threaded shank. They showed up about a week later and more mock ups took place, trying to figure out where I wanted them and how it would all fit together.







Once I got one rad arm kinda mocked up I found that the stock tranny cross member was going to be in the way. It was the kind that mounted to the outside of the frame rail with another set of rubber bushings. This cross member set-up sucked already because of too many rubber bushings in the system, it already allowed the trans and tcase to move around a lot. So I decided a tummy tuck and trim job of the cross member was in order. I blocked up the cross member and then cut it so I could jack it up against the frame and then drill and bolt it to the bottom of the frame rail. I gained 1.25" more ground clearance under the cross member ans this made the bottom of the tcase flush with the bottom of the frame.





Once the cross member was raised and bolted in place I mocked up the rad arms again with the Explorer spring mounts. I didn't like where the mounts put the joint in relation to the frame as well as how thin the mounts were. But it looked like it was getting closer to what I was after.




So I was tossing around the idea of rad arms still and finally decided to build my own using the clamping portion from the stock set-up at the diff. Basically I decided I wanted to build mine similar to what BCBroncos offered.

Here's a shot of what BCBronco sells.




Bare in mind mine don't exactly end up looking like theirs, lol, but I used the basic idea to build mine. I cut down a set of rad arms so I could use the headpiece or clamping portion of the arms to hold my diff and use the degree or stock C bushings for diff isolation.




Since the stock rad arm head pieces had an I beam shape to them I decided to cut some 1/2" plate to fit in the valley of the I beams sides so my 3/8" thick side plates would clamp straight and flush. I used more cardboard templates to trace onto the plate for cut lines. I also wanted to offset the 2x2x1/4 square tube I was going to use for the length back to the Johnny Joints from the side plates so I used some 3/4" plate of one side of the rad arm head pieces to somewhat offset the square tubing inwards to the frame and away from the tires.








Somewhere along the way I decided the Explorer leaf spring mounts weren't going to be strong enough nor what I was after to mount the rad arms to the frame with so I decided to build my own frame mounts out of 1/4" plate. I had also decided I wanted to eventually link the rear suspension too, so it was time to build my own frame mounts for the rad arms. Since I wanted the rad arms as long as possible I figured I would make both front and rear arms the same length. So that lead to measuring my wheelbase changes and figuring out how long the links would need to be to use one mount on each frame rail. This is what I came up with for the front and rear link mounts.




Positioned and bolted in the frame mounts for the suspension.




Welded the bungs in the 2x2 and slapped the JJ's in for a look see.




With the rad arms pretty much done I turned to building the pan-hard and mount. I used 1/4" plate on the side and bottom of the frame and 2x4x1/4" tube for the bracket portion of the mount. I also used 2 of the 3 steering box bolts to hold the bracket on the frame so I could weld in onto the frame.





Once I was that far I bolted the rad arms in and slapped a pan hard bar together and cycled the suspension to make sure my measurements and prior clearance checks would actually be true, and to my relief they were. Without the bump stops installed I cycled the diff past where it will travel and everything cleared, I had close to a 1/2" of clearances at beyond full stuff so I felt confident components would be all right in the real world wheeling.






Now it was time to install bump stops and get building spring mounts. I was laid off at this point so I was doing everything as cheaply as I could, using what parts and materials I had laying around to try and finish the front suspension.

Bump stops from a late 70's Blazer.



Bump stop pads on the diff.




The goal I had in my head from the beginning was I didn't want it to be lifted very high. I wanted as lower a center of gravity as possible while still allowing some up travel of the front diff. This meant I would need to cut out the stock engine/TTB cross member or at least trim it down a bunch for diff clearance at full bump.

I trimmed a bunch off the cross member and then decided it had to go so I removed most of it. Ended up with the diff being 3" from the oil pan with no bump stop installed and the diff sitting against the bump stop frame mounts. I figured that could work so went with it.






Since I was flat busted broke I scrounged the forums and friends and family for a set of front springs that would work and then remembered my Dad still had his stock 07 Jeep Wrangler JK springs. We had installed a 3" lift on his Heep a year or so ago, so I grabbed those a built some mounts to fit the bill. These jeep springs ended up being very short when compressed under the weight of the front of the Bronco so I had to build some funky mounts to get the ride height I wanted. They don't look great but have been working OK so far. I plan on redoing the mounts and using a longer spring that is weight rated better for this application in the future at some point. Like I said they are working for now so they'll stay put till I get to them later.




About the time I was finishing up the front suspension, a friend of mine offered up a full width 1980 f150 31 spline 9" rear diff. It just so happened to have the same gearing my front diff had so I wouldn't have to beg borrow and plead to buy a set of lower gears for now and could hopefully get away with the stock gears for the time being.

I stripped it down took a wire wheel to it to clean it for paint and went at it. I rebuilt it and slapped a mini spool in there and swapped out the fw 8.8 for it.





 

TS6034

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Just read your whole build so far. Good work! I'd like to have something like that for playing in the mud.
 

MaGiKaLsHoTs

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nice work man.. this summer im going to put a eb d44 and 9" in my 94 ranger should be fun

i like the way you did your rad arms, how much did the eye bushings cost? (dont know what their called lol)
 

BONES

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Thanks guys!

The Johnny Joints ( if that's what your talking about-eye bushings?) cost ,me $48 each I think then 6 bucks each for the weld in threaded bungs if I remember right, shipping to Canada and exchange still cost less than 200 for the joints, bungs and jam nuts.
 

kennykenny

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Man, you are brave using all those logs as jackstands...I'm liking your build though.
 

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