Some 4x4s are modified to achieve a goal, and when that objective is attained the truck is formally done, modification ceases, and the vehicle is put into service. Ray Pikul's '72 Ford Bronco is not one of those trucks. As a matter of fact, this trail truck has been under construction for more than two years, and no end is in sight. Why? Because like all capable trail trucks, it is constantly evolving to suit Pikul's off-highway needs and desires, and new modifications are planned after each off-highway foray.
Under the hood rests a 351ci V-8 engine, a beast that's built to generate an estimated 450 hp. Its features include forged TRW pistons, a Thundermaker camshaft, Crane valve springs and roller rockers, a Melling oil pump, an Edelbrock intake manifold, a 750-cfm Holley carburetor, an MSD coil, homemade headers and a 3-inch-diameter Flowmaster exhaust. Torque is routed through a C6 tranny (cooled by a Hayden tranny cooler) and an NP205 transfer case before being carried to the differentials by homemade driveshafts.
The 42-inch Swamper tires provide a lot of traction, so Pikul beefed the driveline to handle the stress. Up front he installed a Dana 60 with an ARB Air Locker, while in the rear he installed a Dana 70 with disc brakes and a Detroit Locker. Both are geared to 5.13:1-the ratio chosen to offset those huge tires, which are mounted on 16.5x15 steel wheels.
A beefy driveline is an important part of creating a good trail truck, but so is suspension flex. To make sure there's plenty on tap, Pikul installed Wild Horses front coil springs, he extended the front radius arms by 8 1/2 inches so they could provide more travel, and he fabbed a homemade dual-shock setup that positions a pair of Rancho RS 9000 shocks and a pair of Explorer Pro Comp 3000 shocks for maximum efficiency. To ensure that the steering system wouldn't hinder front-end droop, he created a custom bracket on the pitman arm and a new heavy-duty drag link and tie rod with Heim-jointed ends. In the rear of the Bronco he eliminated the leaf-spring suspension and fabbed a custom three-link coil-spring suspension that features Heim-jointed links and four Rancho RS 5000 shocks.
Pikul installed a 3-inch body lift before painting the truck Competition Orange, then he added a slew of homemade components including the rear bumper with D-rings, nerf bars to guard the rockers and a front bumper with winch mount for his Warn HS9500i. Inside the truck it's all business with a pair of Corbeau seats, a Grant steering wheel, an air compressor and Auto Meter gauges.
What's next for the Bronco? Pikul doesn't have a clue. Chances are, he'll let us know after the next trail ride.
|Owner||Ray Pikul, Wright City, Missouri|
|Vehicle model||’72 Ford Bronco|
|Aspiration||Holley 750-cfm carburetor, |
Edelbrock intake, homemade headers,
3-inch exhaust, Flowmaster mufflers
|Front||Wild Horses coils, lengthened |
radius arms, Rancho RS 9000 and Explorer
Pro Comp 3000 shock absorbers
|Rear||Wild Horses coils, custom three-link, |
two Rancho RS 5000 shocks per wheel
|Front||Dana 60, ARB Air Locker|
|Rear||Dana 70, Detroit Locker|