ON BUYING A BRONCO
|As you can see there is nothing to buy here just a lot of
good info to help you make the best decision when looking for or buying a
|A LITTLE BRONCO HISTORY
|Buying yourself an Early Bronco is about the best thing that
you can do. It will give you years of enjoyment, an excellent opportunity to
learn, and a means to meet quality people and forge lasting friendships with
Early Bronco lovers all over the world. This article is intended to address
some of the common things to look for when buying and Early Bronco so that
you will have some knowledge going in exactly what you are getting into.
The History: (from Bronco.com / Bronco Driver.com)
The Ford Bronco was introduced to the public in August of 1965 to compete
against Jeep's CJ-5 and International Harvester's Scout in the burgeoning
recreational four wheel drive vehicle market. The first Broncos were very
spartan without options such as power steering and an automatic
transmission. The first models were available only with a 105 hp 170 cid six
cylinder derived from Ford's Falcon lineup. The only available transmission
was Ford's 3.03 three speed manual with a column mounted shifter.
Transmission ratios behind the six cylinder were: 3.41:1 first, 1.86:1
second, and 1:1 third. When the 289 V8 option was introduced in March 1966,
the three speed manual behind it had ratios of: 2.99:1 first, 1.46 second,
and 1:1 third. The transfer case was a Bronco specific Dana 20 with a low
range ratio of 2.46:1. Unique to the models was a tall shifter with a shift
pattern matching that of the T-handle shifter, but with a J- handle style
ball mounted on top. Most '66s also had rear shock absorbers that angled
forward in front of the axle with stud mounts at the top instead of the
later rear-canted eye mount shocks. The Bronco, with a 92 inch wheelbase was
offered in wagon, half cab, and roadster configurations. The roadster option
was not very popular and was discontinued after 1968. Standard brakes were
11 x 2" front drums and 10 x 2.5" drums on the rear on the small
bearing (2780 lb.) axle and 11 x 1.75" drums on the large bearing(3300 lb.)
axle. All Broncos employed a Ford 9" rear axle and until 1971, a Dana 30
front axle rated at 2,500 lb. Axle ratios were 3.50:1, 4.11:1 and 4.57:1(6 cyl. only). The standard gas tank held 14.5 gallon with an optional 11.5
gallon second tank available. Options for '66(including dealer installed
accessories) included: Warn free wheeling hubs, snow plow kits, winches,
tachometers, Air Lift front auxiliary springs, trailer hitches, tow hooks,
etc. Most of the options and many others were included through the Bronco's
twelve year run. Production for the 1966 year totaled 18,200 units.
The Sport Package was introduced in 1967. This package included bright
finished horn ring, windshield drip, head and tail lamp bezels, side window
frames, instrument panel trim and tailgate handle, cigar lighter,
chrome-plated grille, bumpers and front guards, red die cast F-O-R-D letters
appliquéd to the grille, and 15" wheel covers. A bright trimmed hardboard
headlining and vinyl floor mat were also added to the Sport Wagon. A dual
master cylinder with a split hydraulic system and self-adjusting brakes was
also new. Back-up lights were now standard and an 11.5 gallon auxiliary fuel
tank option was available. 16,100 Broncos were built in 1967.
Bumpers with curved ends and side marker reflectors immediately
distinguished the 1968 models from their predecessors. Locking front hubs,
new inside door handles and "soft" window crank knobs were other new
options. This was also the last year for the 289 V8 and the roadster option.
1968 production was 15,700 trucks.
1969 was a big year for the Bronco with production jumping to 19,200 units.
The 302 V8 replaced the 289 V8. Two speed electric windshield wipers
replaced the vacuum units several months into the production run. Amber
lenses parking lights replaced the previously used white lens. The Sport
models now had aluminum door panel trim, pleated parchment interior, and a
rear floor mat when the rear seat was ordered. Some sources say the
removable top feature was discontinued, although we enthusiasts know better!
The steering stabilizer became a standard feature along with improvements in
Repositioned side marker lights and reflectors were the most obvious change
to the 1970 Broncos. The Sport Bronco became a model rather than an option
package. 1970 also saw the first application of evaporative emissions
recovery systems with gas tanks on models so equipped losing capacity to
12.7 gallons and 10.3 gallons in the main and auxiliary tanks respectively.
18,500 Broncos were built in 1970.
The stout Dana 44 became the standard Bronco front axle early in the 1971
production year, replacing the weaker Dana 30. New options included a remote
control left hand outside mirror, a new headliner for the pickup, and a
heavy duty radiator. The special edition Baja Bronco by Bill Stroppe and
Associates was also introduced this year. Stroppe took a Bronco wagon and
added a roll bar, dual shocks front and rear, Gates Commando tires, fender
flares, larger tires, rubberized steering wheel, bumper braces, power
steering, automatic transmission, special nameplate, and red, white, blue,
and black special order paint. A total of approximately 650 Baja Broncos
were produced between 1971-1974. 18,700 Broncos rolled off the assembly line
1972 was the last full year for the T-handle transfer case shifter and the
'302' emblem disappeared from the front fenders of V8 Broncos. This was also
the last year for the beloved half cab. The Ranger trim package was
introduced at mid-year and consisted of new stripes, argent grille,
color-keyed pile front and rear carpet, deluxe wheel covers, wood-grained
door trim panels, 'Ranger' tire cover, cloth-inserted bucket seats and a
fiberboard headliner. Gas tank size continued to shrink with the auxiliary
tank now holding 7.5 gallons. 1972 Bronco production totaled 18,300.
When the Bronco was introduced in the mid-sixties, its main competition was
the Scout 800 and the Jeep CJ-5, both spartan vehicles to say the least. By
the early seventies, with the introduction of the Chevrolet Blazer and the
Scout II, it became painfully obvious that the Bronco was beginning to fall
behind the competition. In 1973, Ford finally answered the calls for
modernization by introducing the C-4 automatic transmission option and
optional power steering. The C-4 had ratios of 2.46:1 low, 1.46 second, and
1:1 third. The power steering box was a Saginaw unit with 5.3 turns
lock-to-lock. The base engine was bumped from 170 to 200 cubic inches. The
J-handle transfer case shifter was introduced shortly after the model year
began and the low range transfer case ratio became 2.34:1. These changes
helped push early Bronco sales to their second best year ever: 26,300.
By 1974, the 200 c.i.d. six cylinder and 4.11 axles were no longer available
in California. A new emissions package was also introduced for California
Broncos. Some subtle changes were made mid-year to the J-handle shifter
mechanism in response to complaints of tough shifting. The transmission
selector was lighted starting in '74. 21,400 Broncos rolled off the assembly
line in 1974.
Unleaded fuel engines and catalytic converters were the new items added to
the Bronco in 1975 in the face of increasingly strict emissions
requirements. Some sources also say that the cam timing on '75 engines was
retarded to help with emissions as well. Sport and Ranger models received
the F-Series steering wheel for the year. GVWs and ride heights were
revised. Among the new options was an 800 watt engine block heater for folks
in cold climates. Bronco production shrunk to its lowest ever in 1975 with
just 13,200 trucks produced.
The bicentennial year brought several key improvements to Ford's sport
utility, most notably the addition of long overdue power assisted front disc
brakes. The rear brakes were upgraded to 11 x 2.25" drums. The steering box
ratio was shortened to 3.8 turns lock-to-lock. The dreaded Y steering
linkage was also introduced in 1976 along with a front anti-sway bar. A
Special Decor Group comprised of a flat black-finished grille, tape stripe,
bright windshield molding, and side window frames and wheel covers was
introduced mid-year. 14,500 Broncos rolled off the line in 1976.
Everyone knew the early Bronco's days were numbered in the face of stiff
competition from the Blazer and Chrysler Corporation's Ramcharger and Trail
Duster trucks. The 1977 Bronco in many ways represented the best of the
breed. There were very few changes from the previous year; the most
important one for enthusiasts being the introduction of the heavy duty 9"
rear end housing. The most obvious exterior change was the introduction of
gas tank doors replacing the previous exterior mounted caps, in line with
the introduction of doors on the F-Series and Econoline vans. The rear
marker lights were mounted vertically to give clearance for the doors. Some
previously standard items, such as a passenger's side seat and padded
instrument panel, were made optional this year. Unique to the '77s is a 14.4
plastic gas tank and an 8 gallon auxiliary tank. In its final year of
production, 30,700 Broncos rolled off the assembly line before the large
Bronco took over in 1978.
The early Bronco today enjoys a cult-like status among four wheel drive and
collector car enthusiasts alike. Its simple, sturdy construction, V8 power,
and excellent maneuverability ensure good off road performance and provide a
platform on which many modifications can easily be made. The popularity of
the classic 1966-1977 Ford Bronco will no doubt continue to soar in the
years to come.
There were four trim packages for the Bronco. There was the base Bronco,
Bronco Explorer, Bronco Sport, and Bronco Ranger.
One of the major factors when buying an Early Bronco is deciding what you
are going to do with it. If you want a project to restore to original
condition, then any year would be a good choice. If you are planning on
making it into an sturdy off-road vehicle, then there are several other
factors to consider. Ford phased in the Dana 44 from axle in the middle of
the 1971 model year. The Dana 44 is considerably stronger than the Dana 30
that used to come standard. Other options that make off-roading easier is
power steering (1973) and disc brakes (1976). There were two different
styles of Dana 20 transfer cases available in the Bronco, identified by
their shifter patter. From 1966 to 1972, the Bronco came with the t-shifter
style transfer case which had a more robust shifting mechanism and lower low
range (2.46:1). From 1973 - 1977, Ford used the j-shifter style transfer
case with a 2.34:1 low range ratio.
The Rust: SEE THE PICTURES BELOW
Since Broncos are a minimum of 23 years old and made from metal, chances are
that they are going to have some rust. The main problem spots on the body of
a Bronco are the rocker panels, door posts, floor pans, inner fenders just
in front of the firewall, windshield frame, hard top gutters, and tailgate.
The nice thing about owning a Bronco is that all of these pieces are
available for replacement, but that will require ability, time, and money on
the part of the buyer.
The later model Broncos came with additions like power steering, power disc
brakes, and an automatic transmission and tend to fetch a higher price. The
trim packages like the Sport and Ranger version also have a lot of chrome
which, if in good shape, is quite valuable. Sometime in the late 60's
models, electric wipers replaced the vacuum controlled wipers.
Upgrades are the best part about buying a Bronco for hard-core off-road use.
There are many upgrade options. Regardless of what you buy, you can
determine what type of transmission you would like. Bronco enthusiasts will
always debate whether an automatic or manual transmission is better
off-road, but it really comes down to personal preference and use. The most
common upgrade for a manual transmission is the NP435, which is readily
available from heavy-duty Ford trucks. The auto crowd has the option of the
Ford C6, AOD, and AODE transmissions. Engine upgrades are also quite
popular. Many people choose to swap in a 1989-1993 Ford HO 5.0 engine to
take advantage of the benefits of fuel injection. Others stick with
carburetors and build some incredible 302 and 351 engines. Suspension
modifications are also widely varied. There are a lot of aftermarket kits
available to lift and maximize the amount of articulation that you can get
under the Bronco. You can also swap in four wheel discs, power brakes, power
steering, larger axles, larger engine, etc.
Ordinarily you wouldn't consider other owners when buying a car, but Bronco
owners seem to be a rare bunch. There is a large, nearly fanatical following
for the Bronco. Clubs all over the country get together and take their rigs
to the limits. You can join the Early Bronco Mailing List (EBML)
bronco.com, classicbroncos.com or broncofix.com and instantly be in touch with over
1000 other Bronco owners
around the country. It isn't rare to hear stories of people letting other
Bronco owners use their houses, garages, spare parts, and skills to help
them out. It's an elite club and the owners are very high quality people.
There are many Early Bronco sites available on the internet, and that is a
great place to see what can be done to the Early Bronco. Just on this site,
there is a wide array of possibilities displayed. The sites are also a
valuable source of information on how-to for most projects you decide to
Good luck on your Bronco search!
|LOOK OUT FOR RUST! WHERE TO LOOK
| When we talk about rust we are not talking about the surface rust that is on a
brake rotor after setting for a week of on a new sheet of steel left out in
the rain but the rust that has been there for years and pits the metal. There
are a few areas in a Bronco that are known for rust, places that hold dust and
water. Like the hood cowl- windshield frame area, the L & R floor boards and
inner fenders also the rocker panels and door posts.
When we bought this Bronco the only rust we found was a few spots in the
floor but after we sand blasted the Bronco inside, outside and underneath we
found about 10 places that had very small rust spots that didn't even show
through the paint. They sand blasted off 3 coats of paint to get down to the metal.
After we inspected the Bronco we also found some small stress cracks.
This is the driver side front inner fender apron near the
This is the passenger inner fender apron near the fire wall.
This is the lower passenger corner of the windshield frame as you can see
their is a rust hole in the up and down part but there is also a bigger hole
on the inside.
These are the driver and passenger floor boards from
underneath sometimes covered in undercoating so watch out for cover up work
around these areas lift up the carpet or floor mats to look for rust sometimes
the floor looks great but it looks a little different usually people glue or
screw a flat sheet of metal over the bad section so if the floor pan doesn't
have grooves in it, it's most likely a cover, not a deal breaker but if one
thing is covered up you will want to look for other poor quality work.
The rocker panels.
The lower part of the tail gate.
|BROKEN OR CRACKED BODY PARTS
This is the back side of where the emergency brake peddle bolts to the
firewall this is caused by incorrect mounting or weakened or rusty metal.
cracks are usually caused by not bolting the battery tray down correctly or it
dull paint, dirt and grime and a battery in the way it was hard to see the
damage caused by a car accident.
If you don't look closely you could miss this
35 years cracks will develop not a dig deal but easy to fix if caught early.
MORE COMING SOON