Pat Gremillion is well-known throughout our sport and industry as the owner of Pull-Pal and Premier Power Welder. A certified welder by trade, Pat designed the Pull-Pal winch anchor and the rest is history. The Pull-Pal has saved us a number of times in the des-ert when there hasn't been anywhere else to hang a winch hook. It has served many others in the field for over a decade, civilian and military users alike. Shortly after the Pull-Pal's success, Pat took his welding knowledge and started Premier Power Welder, supplying mobile high-frequency welding units for all mobile applications. Soon after Premier Power Welder's inception, Harry Robinson of Link Arc, who had already been offering similar units, merged with Premier, making the business the "premier" builder and supplier of mobile welding units.
Pat's own backcountry rig needed to be competent and something that would show off the abilities of the Premier Power Welder, Ready Welder mobile MIG unit, and Pull-Pal. He also wanted something that stood out and wasn't the same as everyone else's vehicle. To this end, he found a clean '71 Ford Bronco Sport with a 302 V8, C4 automatic, and no rust. He painted the Bronco his trademark orange, installed a Premier Power Welder, and immediately started taking it on the trail, happily repairing everything that needed welding on the trail. As is typical, the trail started taking its toll on Pat's early Bronco. After unintentionally narrowing the body on the Hammers, Montrose, and Farmington trails, Pat pulled the Ford into the shop and started some bodywork.
The body was narrowed 8 inches and boat-tailed front and rear for good approach and departure side angles. The front suspension uses reinforced Bronco radius arms, reworked with a Johnny Joint wrist on the passenger-side arm. Jeep TJ Wrangler coils are used up front, as are generic hydraulic shocks Pat painted black. The rear leaf packs were replaced with a four-link suspension using TJ coils and long control arms with Nth Degree joints. Generic shocks are used back here too. The wheelbase is stretched to 110 inches. The front and rear Dana 60s feature Superior axles, 4.88 gears, and ARB Air Lockers.
Sixteen-and-a-half-inch H1 Hummer wheels have 39.5 Super Swamper TSL tires mounted on them. To steer his Bronco, Pat installed an AGR Rockram hydraulic ram assist with AGR steering gearbox. Steering brakes also help the Bronco turn much tighter than most.
A late Ford-truck 302 MPI V8 found its way into the engine compartment and feeds its horsepower and torque through the original C4 automatic that was warmed over and beefed up by Pat. A 4.3:1 two-speed Atlas transfer case from Advance Adapters is very strong and allows Pat to run in front-wheel drive when needed for pivoting and turning.
Two winches, a Warn XD9000i up front and a small winch mounted in the Tuffy box in back, keep the Bronco moving. The XD9000i works in the usual way by getting Pat unstuck and up and over obstacles, and the small winch keeps the rearend from overextending in steep situations.
We asked Pat what his favorite modifications were and he said, "I love everything about my Bronco."When asked if he had to build it again, how he would do it, he replied, "I'd do almost everything the same, except I wouldn't build it so extreme because I can't take it on the highway."
Pat's Pull-Pal Bronco isn't fancy or flashy. It's built to work, and work it does. Wherever you see Pat on the trail, he's driving over obstacles or helping others. Pat and his Bronco are definitely everyone's backcountry pals.