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Parts For That Bucking Bronc’: Ford Bronco Parts Buyers Guide

Posted in Features on October 19, 2016
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Just a few years after the inception and huge success of the Ford Mustang in 1964, Ford created its first off-road icon, the Ford Bronco. With the obvious and growing popularity of several models of Jeep, International’s Scout, and Toyota’s FJ40, Ford quickly realized its gap in an expanding vehicular niche. With that, Ford entered four-wheeling, where buyers looked for nimble size, durability, capability, and power. The Bronco brought lots of new technology to the table in the form of radius arm and coil-sprung front suspension (as compared to all of the other competitor’s leaf springs), simple body work, flat glass and a rigid boxed ladder frame. The Bronco made an impression early on with its torquey I-6 and lightweight, yet powerful, optional 289ci and later 302ci V-8 engines. An off-road Icon was born.

In 1978, the Bronco grew up to fullsize dimensions to better compete with the truck-based Chevy Blazer. This “new” Bronco clearly shared some of the DNA from the early Bronco mixed with a healthy dose of Ford’s experience with fullsize trucks. The wheelbase and track width of the Bronco grew by 12 and 10 inches respectively, as did the weight. To accompany this size change, larger engines also found their way into the Bronco, including Ford’s 351ci and 400ci V-8s. In 1980, Ford’s revolutionary TTB front suspension was added to the Bronco along with the reintroduction of the 300ci I-6 engine. Gone was the 400ci V-8, but the 351ci remained and was accompanied by Fords 302ci V-8.

From ’80-on, minor changes continued up until 1996 when the Bronco line was killed by Ford. Rumors of a new Bronco in the near future have abounded since 2004, and with the unbelievable success of the four-door Jeep Wrangler, Ford would be foolish to not make an attempt at reentering the market. Until that day, we have what’s left of the Bronco on the used market. Luckily, with the iconic status and solid platform provided by almost all years of Bronco since 1966, parts for restoration and modification abound. Here are some of our favorite sources and parts for the Bronco, even the Bronco II.

So … Many … Parts

The name LMC is widely known in any and all truck restoration circles. If you need a reproduction part including soft rubber parts and weld-in sheetmetal for your truck restoration, chances are LMC makes it. This vast inventory also spreads to any and all Broncos. LMC Truck has a wide variety of parts and accessories to fit early Broncos, ’84-’90 Bronco II’s, and fullsize ’78-’96 Broncos. A large in-stock inventory includes body steel, door components, seals, rubber, bumpers, interior, gauges, gas tanks and fuel sending units, suspension, steering, lighting, grilles, exterior trim, mirrors, wheels, accessories, brakes, wheel bearings, exhaust, heating, cooling, electrical, and much more. You can shop the online catalog or request a printed version as well.

Info: LMC Truck, 800/562-8782, www.lmctruck.com

New Or Used

Bronco owners rejoice. Whether you are undertaking a full factory restoration, restomod, or just maintaining your favorite 4x4, lots of new parts are available for any and all years of Bronco. Having said that, sometimes reproductions don’t fit quite right or may not be up to the same standards as OEM parts, and some parts just are not available new. When you need that special something, new or used, chances are Randy at Driven Auto Parts has what you need or knows where to get it. With hundreds of Broncos on site and years of experience restoring and restomodding Broncos, you need Driven Auto Parts on your side. The company has a massive inventory of used parts and carries lots of new parts from reliable Bronco parts manufacturers like Advance Adapters, Scott Drake, Tom’s Bronco Parts, ProtoFab, Wild Horses Four Wheel Drive, Jeff’s Bronco Graveyard, and more. They also know what reproduction parts are worth using with a crew performing on-site restorations and modifications.

Info: Driven Auto Parts, 800/269-3969, drivenautoparts.com

Keep It Cool

Drake Off Road is the off-road branch of Scott Drake, a company that cut their teeth manufacturing OEM-quality reproduction parts for the Ford Mustang. Since then things have changed and now Scott Drake makes quality parts for way more than just Mustangs. The company currently dabbles in making non-Ford parts, as well as OEM-quality reproduction and aftermarket parts for Bronco. The list of what the company offers is long, but one new product that caught our eye was this new heavy-duty aluminum radiator from Drake Off Road. It fits all early ’66-’77 Broncos with V-8 engines and features two extra-large 1-inch tubes that provide four-row efficiency without the added bulk and weight. The aluminum construction affords superior thermal efficiency and larger fluid capacity over stock parts. These radiators are perfect for high-horsepower Bronco applications. Each radiator can be used with an auto or manual transmission and is equipped with an integrated automatic transmission cooler and a brass drain.

Info: Drake Off Road, 800/999-0289, drakeoffroad.com

All Ends, Protected

The front and rear bumpers of Broncos of all years and sizes leave something to be desired if you plan on taking that pony off the road. Stamped steel dipped in chrome looks good but can bend like noodles in the dirt when Broncos get pushed hard. Cross Enterprises manufactures front and rear bumpers for early Broncos and rear bumpers for all years of Broncos including fullsize models. The company’s rear bumpers (Trail Mate I and Trail Mate II) are part of a heavy-duty modular system, meaning that you can buy them piecemeal as your wallet (or significant other) allows, adding on tire racks, baskets, and more storage options (for jacks and jerrycans). Alternatively, you can fill your cart with these goodies all at once. Cross’ front bumpers for early Broncos also allow lots of modularity with the Trail Mate, a heavy-duty bumper replacement offering optional tow points, light tabs, receivers, winch mounts, hoops, and more. Also available is the Pre-Runner Front Bumper that fits over the factory chrome bumper adding durability and light tabs to your ’66-’77 Bronco without losing that factory flavor.

Info: Cross Enterprises, 805/376-9200, crossenterprises.com

Modern Telemetry

One of the downsides to driving an older classic 4x4 is that the original gauges, while top notch when they were new, are now old and using antiquated technology. One way to make driving that old hunk of off-road iron much more modern is with newer gauges and the more precise information that accompanies them. Dakota Digital has just the solution for Broncos in the form of their VHX Instrument Systems (shown) and Digital Instrument Systems for early and ’78-’79 Broncos. These instrument systems fit in the factory bezel and/or dash and use modern technology built right here in the good ol’ US of A,--South Dakota to be precise. Both systems provide a slew of information, including all the usual’s like speedometer, tachometer, oil pressure, water temp, fuel level, voltmeter, and so on, but these systems also include a million-mile odometer, A/B trip meters, performance meters (including 0-60 mph timer, quarter-mile timer, quarter-mile speed, high-speed recall, and high rpm recall). Built-in indicators tell you about turn signals, high beam, check engine, parking brake, cruise control on (when equipped), gear position (with optional sensor), 4WD, and wait-to-start (when equipped). Both the Digital systems and VHX systems are supported by an unrivaled limited lifetime warranty from Dakota Digital and come in a variety of finishes and lighting colors.

Info: Dakota Digital, 800/852-3223, dakotadigital.com

Woah Nellie!

Bringing that old Bronco to a stop may be harder than it seems. Add the passage of time, bigger tires, and a rowdy Ford engine and getting the old girl’s forward velocity reigned in may be harder than you’d expect. That’s dangerous (you already know that), but what to do about it? Well, one of our favorite braking companies, Wilwood, has just the solution for ’66-’77 Broncos. The company’s new Ford Bronco Front Disc Brake Kit features D8-4 and Superlite forged-aluminum four-piston calipers. These calipers replace the OE cast-iron single-piston calipers, and along with 12.19-inch to 12.88-inch-diameter two-piece directional vane rotor assemblies, the kit increases brake leverage, adds cooling capacity, and reduces overall weight. ProMatrix brake pads provide increased response and high fade resistance under heavy load for all types of highway and off-road driving. The kits are complete with new wheel studs, braided stainless steel flexlines, and all the necessary mounting brackets and hardware.

Info: Wilwood, 805/388-1188, wilwood.com

See The Light

With 90 years of combined experience in the Bronco restoration and modification world the folks at Tom’s Bronco Parts (TBP) will guide you through your project from start to finish with expert advice and foresight. TBP has parts for just about every Bronco ever built ranging from the classic early ’66-’77 to the ’78-’96 fullsize Broncos. With restoration parts and parts to modernize that restomod Bronco, TBP is proud to announce its new Black Finish LED Headlights for ’66-’77 Ford Broncos. These lights fit perfectly in the original grille and headlight buckets and outperform the competition with cutting edge LED technology while making factory-style incandescent headlights look silly. The headlights use a die-cast housing with corrosion-resistant coating, are DOT and SAE approved, offer easy plug-and-play installation, and also contain DRL side lights that can also be wired as turn signals. The lights are IP67 rated, meaning they are water and dust resistant, and have an expected lifespan of 50,000 hours—that’s a lot of night wheeling.

Info: Tom’s Bronco Parts, 800/749-5028, tomsbroncoparts.com

Windsor? I Hardly Know Her!

Many a Bronco owner knows the iconic Ford Windsor (289ci, 302ci, and 351ci) is a small-block that can be built to pack a punch. Bronco Hut manufactures lots of parts for the Windsor V-8 (as well as the rest of the Bronco) and recognized the need for a Bronco-specific shorty header. They are a block hugger header design and will fit the aforementioned engines, including Windsor engines fit with the “P” (GT-40) heads. These headers come either as bare steel, stainless steel, or ceramic coated, with collector bolts and gaskets included, and it will work with the stock three-speed, NP435, C4, AOD, 4R70, NV3550, and NV4500 transmissions. With Bronco Hut headers there is no need to relocate the brake proportioning valve or fuel lines for clearance. These headers also bolt right up to Bronco Hut’s modular exhaust system, completing a head-to-tailpipe exhaust system.

Info: Bronco Hut, 303/663-1455, broncohut.com

Bronco vs Coyote

We are not sure if any Ford Broncos or four-legged broncos made an appearance with Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, but you can be sure both should have. Ford’s modular engine had big shoes to fill when it replaced the Windsor platform in 1996. Since then, strides have been made and the modern modular 5.0L or Coyote engine from Ford has quite a reputation nowadays. Over the past year or so, we’ve seen more and more Broncos with modular Ford V-8s shoehorned between those boxy inner fenderwells. If your project is in need of a Ford modular engine, what better place to go than right to the source and get a crate engine from Ford Performance. There are also other crate engines available from Ford Performance, ranging from street-ready 302s and 351s up to full race engines that are reported to make 540 hp. That’s a ton of power from a lightweight small-block.

Info: Ford Performance, 800/367-3788, performanceparts.ford.com

Better Than A Rubber Ducky

For any early Bronco that is going to be driven on- and off-road after a restoration or restomod we recommend replacing worn rubber suspension parts with Daystar polyurethane parts. Daystar’s Super Kits (for ’66-’77 early Bronco shown here) includes just about everything needed to upgrade a vehicle’s suspension and body mounts with polyurethane except the labor. If there was once rubber, chances are there’s probably a Daystar polyurethane replacement that improves suspension performance and handling characteristics, is resistant to all vehicle fluids and road grime, and made right here in the USA. Super Kits include suspension and body mount bushings as well as hardware.

Info: Daystar, 800/595-7659, daystarweb.com

That’s Totally Tubular Dude

Here’s something different in the tube door arena for your early Bronco. Instead of the traditional one-dimensional flat tube door, Wild Horses Four Wheel Drive wanted something with more form and lines to complement the curvy Bronco body. The front portion of the door is formed to the shape of the back of the front fenders, complementing the factory’s lines. This makes for a nice transition, especially when painting these doors the same color as the body of your Bronco. The tubes also bend out and away from the door line to add some protection. The built-in armrest adds more style and utility to the doors. These tube doors are constructed from 0.095-inch-wall tubing to keep the weight down while still retaining strength. Included are rotary latch mechanisms that utilize heat-treated internal components. This allows the door to open and close effortlessly with just the pull of the latch handle, operating like a normal latch. Striker plates are also included with the doors, and they easily bolt to your stock or aftermarket hinges. Your existing door strap will attach to the new doors just as if they were stock.

Info: Wild Horses Four Wheel Drive, 209/400-7200, wildhorses4x4.com

Bumpin’ Bronco

James Duff should be a name that just about any Bronco enthusiast recognizes. This company, named for its founder, has been selling parts since 1967—that’s one year after the introduction of the first Bronco and just after James started building parts for his very own ’66 Bronco. New to the Duff lineup of products are two new plate bumpers: a Smooth Non-Winch-style bumper for street rigs and a trick Smoothie Hidden Winch version for those who want a clean look but still want the capabilities of up to a 12,000-pound winch with no visible mounting bolts. These plate bumpers feature three frame mounting points per framerail, reinforced jacking points, 3/16-inch-thick plate steel body construction with 1/4-inch-thick end plates, frame mounts, gussets, and winch plates. The endcaps are etched with the JD logo, optional shackle mounts and jacking points can be added to either of the new designs, and an optional hoop can be added to either of these bumpers. The optional hoop has two light tabs for a pair of standard round lights or up to a 13-inch LED lightbar. The hidden winch plate bumper requires a minimum 1-inch body lift to clear the foot-forward mounted winch. JD also recommends using synthetic rope with the hidden winch bumper, although steel cable will work. We love the idea of keeping the look of the Bronco grille clean and unobstructed.

Info: James Duff Incorporated, 865/938-6696, dufftuff.com

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