Week to Wheelin’ Vintage Bronco Build: Day 1 – Wheels, Tires, Suspension, and More!
Before the day began, our Bronco was spread across the shop in a few piles of parts. By the time the sun went back under the horizon, we had a chassis rolling all on its own.
The build started with some prep work on a spankin'-new Bronco body crafted out of sheetmetal from Golden Star Classic Auto Parts (goldenstarauto.com). Classic Truck Supply (classictrucksupply.com), in Plain City, Ohio, painted the body in a sharp two-tone pattern and applied a clearcoat. Our frame was built by Golden Star Classic Auto Parts as a factory replica, true to the first-gen Bronco. And that's how our morning started—a painted body, a frame on jackstands, and a heap of parts.
With the Bronco body safely off in the corner of the shop, our hand-picked team of builders assembled, wrenches in hand. Christian Arriero and Jason Scudellari run the show at the MotorTrend Tech Center, and joining them was none other than Christian Hazel, editor of 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine. John Lehenbauer, Diesel Power tech editor; Jim and Mitch Creel of Wild Horses 4x4; Matt Dinelli of Attitude Performance; and Chris Durham of Chris Durham Motorsports were also in the wrenching ranks.
First, while the frame was bare, came the Bronco's suspension. Radius arms, coils, shocks, leaves, and more were part of the package from Wild Horses 4x4. Jim and Mitch Creel were more than willing to help dial in the suspension components with their bottomless Bronco knowledge.
Under the front of the Bronco went a high-pinion Dana 44 with 4.56 gears from Nitro Gear & Axle, 30-spline axleshafts, and an Eaton Truetrac (eaton.com). The rear Ford 9-inch was built by Wild Horses 4x4 (wildhorses4x4.com) with 31-spline axleshafts, an Eaton Truetrac, 4.56 gears, and a 1310 yoke. Lastly, Duralast (autozone.com) brake calipers, pads, rotors, radiators, and drums were tasked with reining in the Bronco's speed.
Before we could lower the Bronco down to its own hooves, this horse needed shoes. Knobby 265/75R16 Terra Raider M/T tires from Delium (tireget.com) dressed the 16x7 Ultra steel wheels, which had a 5x5.5 bolt pattern and 4 inches of backspacing.
With the Bronco standing on its feet, we moved to its hindquarters and nestled the gas tank between the framerails. LMC Truck (lmctruck.com) took care of corralling the fuel, while Earl's Performance Plumbing (holley.com) fuel lines were run along the Bronco's framerails.
At the heart of the Bronco was a Ford Performance (performanceparts.ford.com) Boss 302, which the team spent time prepping for installation the following day.
By the end of Day 1, the Bronco sat in its new shoes, gazing longingly at the powerplant on the pedestal before it. Come sunup tomorrow, we'll be back in the saddle, wrenches and cameras in hand. Read on for photo highlights of Day 1 of Four Wheeler's 2019 Week to Wheelin'!