Return of the Bronco Beast
Remember the Hulk's ripping shirt, red-veined eyes, and bulging muscles? Think of this month's cover truck as the Bronco that's afflicted with the tendency to change into a powerful green monster. What makes the '80-'96 Bronco so unique is the Ford-designed Twin Traction Beam front Dana 44. In 1980, the third generation of Broncos went from Gen II's solid axle to the quasi-independent front suspension. Ford argued for better suspension travel and off-roadability.
The coolness of this '82 Bronco is that owner Mark Lind built it on a strict budget, and of course, that Mark loves to launch it. Built for desert play, the truck took four years to complete and less than $3,500. That's correct, $3,500. He claims that it took a bit of ingenuity and lots of work rather than green stuff. He started off dirt cheap when he paid a measly $200 for the stock truck. He then carefully selected off-road products and used parts that fit into his plan, aka budget restrictions. It just goes to show one and all that an off-road truck is not characterized by mega-buck sponsors or high-dollar parts, but simply by understanding mechanical relationships and a willingness to apply your ideas to your truck.
A Tiny Bit of Twinstory
Twin Traction Beam Suspension History
In 1980, the Bronco went from a straight Dana 44 front axle to what Ford calls the Twin Traction Beam front suspension. The TTB system is Ford's '80-'96 version of an independent 4WD front suspension. Mechanically, the TTB axle is similar to a straight axle, however, it uses a hinge in the middle. Think of a totally open pair of scissors and you have the idea. The inboard ends of the housings are attached to a frame crossmember, while the outboard ends support the steering knuckle and are attached to the frame through the springs and radius arms. The TTB Dana 44 is similar to its straight sibling and some parts are interchangeable--like the axle stub shafts and locking hubs (except for '87-'88 vehicles with manual hubs). However, the knuckles and spindles are not. Ring-and-pinions will also interchange with other reverse-rotation Dana 44s.