We heard Alan Schneider’s ’93 Ford Bronco before we saw it. Based on the noise it was making we thought it was a delivery truck, but when we craned our necks to have a look, we saw a Bronco. Yep, Schneider’s rig is Cummins 4BT powered. While 4BT conversions aren’t unusual (we’ve recently featured a Jeep CJ, Chevy S-10, and K5 Blazer with 4BT conversions), this is the first time we’ve seen one transplanted into a Bronco.
Schneider, a farm mechanic/fabricator by trade, is also the current president of the Flat Broke & 4 Wheelin’ four-wheel-drive club in Oregon state. His wife owns a landscape business and she used the Bronco in stock form for six years as a work truck. When she replaced the Bronco with a ¾-ton pickup she gave the Bronco to Schneider. “When I took control of the Bronco it had 243,000 miles. The stock engine died two months later,” he says. This unfortunate development was the catalyst for the diesel swap. “After contemplating the cost of building up the 351 engine and the E4OD transmission versus installing a Cummins diesel with a five-speed overdrive manual transmission, the diesel was cheaper,” Schneider notes. He found a 4BT Cummins engine in a Ford chassis Frito-Lay delivery truck for $2,500 and a ZF five-speed transmission for $500. “Since the Cummins was from a Ford chassis, it had the adapter for a small-block bellhousing and hydraulic clutch. Twenty-five dollars got me a manual clutch and brake pedal assembly. I fashioned some simple frame pads for the Cummins mounts that were already on the engine,” he says.
One of the benefits of the Cummins engine is that if he’s easy on the throttle the rig returns 25 mpg. Schneider also says that even with 3.54:1 gearing and 37-inch tires, the rig can hold high speeds on steep coastal grades.
The rig is currently in the process of being built up, but that hasn’t kept Schneider off the trails. He reports that he recently hammered the Bronco on the infamous Hammer trails. “There was no damping left in the shocks, and one of them pulled out of the mount and bent 90 degrees,” he says.
With the buildup in full swing, Schneider is jazzed to report that he recently scored big at a four-wheel-drive swap meet. He brought home Ballistic Fabrication suspension joints to go with an upcoming Dana 60 front axle swap; a disc brake conversion kit for the rear Dana 60; a set of 17x9 Ultra aluminum wheels; and a new Yukon Grizzly locker for the rear Dana 60.
Sounds like the process won’t take long at all.
At A Glance
Vehicle: 1993 Ford Bronco
Owner: Alan Schneider
Stomping grounds: Silverton, Oregon
Build time: 2 years
Engine: 3.9L Cummins 4BT I-4, HY35 turbocharger
Transmission: ZF wide-ratio 5-spd manual
Transfer case(s): BorgWarner 1356
Low range ratio(s): 2.69:1
Crawl ratio(s): 54.5:1
Front axle/differential: Dana 44/3.54 gears, open
Rear axle/differential: Dana 60/3.54 gears, open
Front: 6-in-lift Superlift coil springs, Les Schwab shocks
Rear: 6-in-lift Deaver leaf springs, Les Schwab shocks
Steering: Stock w/Skyjacker 6-in-drop pitman arm
Tires: LT37x12.50R15 Goodyear MT/R
Wheels: 15x10 aluminum w/TrailReady beadlock (front), 15x10 steel (rear)
Armor: Custom front bumper and nerf bars
Cool stuff: Warn 8274 winch