It started easily enough — just a conversation with a buddy who had a 1972 Ford Bronco that had been sitting in his mom’s driveway for 10 years. “Why not do something with it?” I asked.
With the Bronco being idle for so long, he explained, he struggled to get it running even with a fresh battery. The starter was turning, and even when it would fire, it sputtered out unless given heavy throttle. “Rebuild or replace the carburetor,” I told him. With new carb in place and a few spins around the block, the next question was inevitable. “What else should I do to it?” he asked. That’s when it got interesting.
Brothers 4x4 in Montclair, California, is a full-service 4x4 shop that can and will complete just about any type of repair, installation, or restoration service. I’ve spotted a wide range of vehicles in the service bays, including lowrider Impalas, minivans, hot rods, and even ice-cream trucks. But the steady flow of built 4x4s at Brothers 4x4 is what drew me in.
In business for more than 10 years, Brothers 4x4 owners Gaspar and Haik Galfayan, earned their stripes in the Jeep and 4x4 world stripping and building axles at their local 4x4 salvage yard. Eventually establishing their own business, the brothers added to their axle-rebuilding skills by expanding to 4x4 repair, parts installation, and fabrication. Though Jeep builds are their specialty, per the usual, the crew at Brothers 4x4 was eager to tackle something different, particularly a 1972 Ford Bronco.
You don’t’ start tearing in to a 4x4 that has been sitting idle for 10-plus-years without cleaning things up a bit, and the crew at Brothers 4x4 went full tilt in this respect. After a complete power washing of the Bronco’s underbelly, the Brothers 4x4 crew dropped both axles and all suspension components and further blasted the frame with the power washer. With most grime removed the crew then got busy with the sanding wheel and polished up the frame, removing all surface rust, and then applied fresh paint.
With the axles on stands the crew again hit them with the power washer before systematically tearing them down. All the parts to be re-used then went to the high-temperature washer, which removed all remaining grime and prepared the factory Dana 44 front and 9-inch rear axles for the rebuilding process.
The goal for this build was to add a suspension lift to clear 35-inch tires and add gears and lockers to the front and rear axles. With the wealth of available aftermarket products offered for early Broncos, which were produced from 1966 to 1977, parts selection was plentiful but not endless. We decided on some tried and true suppliers that could help us achieve the performance and look that we desired.
Yukon Gear & Axle offers a full supply of early Bronco axle components as well as parts to fit any 4x4’s needs. Along with a set of axle shafts for the rear 9-inch we opted to use some of Yukon’s quality lockers and gears for the front and rear assemblies. The air-operated Yukon Zip locker offers selectable traction at the push of a button making it ideal for the front Dana 44. For the rear 9-inch we wanted full time traction for the mechanical Yukon Grizzly Locker.
You can’t own an early Bronco without knowing about Tom’s Bronco Parts. In operation since the 1980s, Tom’s offers scads parts for 1966 to 1977 Broncos, as well as 1948 to 1996 Ford trucks and classic to late model Ford Mustangs. We’ve admired Tom’s series of Bronco suspension kits for some time and were eager to try one out. With our goal of running 35-inch tires we opted to use a Stage 9 3.5-inch lift system along with front and rear dual shock kits. While we could have retained the factory radius arms we found that the arm’s frame ends were too damaged to use. As a result we went with a set of Tom’s extended curve radius arms to complement the Stage 9 3.5-inch lift system.
Rounding out this early Bronco resto is a set of 35x12.50R15 Pit Bull Rocker LT Radials and a set of 15x8 Black Rock Wheels with 3.5 inches back spacing. The bias-ply version of the Pit Bull Rocker tackles trails efficiently and the radial version should handle just as much while offering better highway manners. The matte black Black Rock Lobo wheels are a simple slot design that offers an updated look while not being too flashy.
Check back in coming months as we finalize this project and outfit the Bronco with driveshafts from Reel Drivelines and an onboard compressor from Viair. We’ll then get the Bronco in the dirt for the first time in many years to test out the new equipment.