The Beginning is the End is the Beginning (The continuing journey of the “Adventure Machine”)

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M Rose

US Northwest Region Director
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Pathfinder II

4,861
La Grande, Oregon, USA
First Name
Michael
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Rose
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The Beginning is the End is the Beginning (The continuing journey of the “Adventure Machine”)

It’s funny how things come full circle in so many ways.

In 1993 I was 13 years old dreaming of my first daily driver. I had a 1963 Ford F-150 that I was restoring that summer. One night when I got home from working on it out in the summer heat behind my dad’s automotive shop I plopped down in the recliner and opened up the cover to a hunting magazine. On the inside cover was a tri-page brochure for the “All New Dodge Ram” 2500 Cumins Diesel.
Ohh boy my heart started racing. I loved the lines, the interior ergonomic layout was perfect, the stance said I’m tough, but I can play well too. I must have read and reread that page a million times before flipping the pages and reading the articles.
Somewhere in the middle of the magazine was a picture of a 1993 Eddie Bauer Bronco sitting in a field with a pheasant hunter letting the dogs out the back tail gate. My heart started thumping again. I loved the look, but the cab was all business and no play.
Over the next few hours I remember flipping back and forth between the two advertisements and comparing my likes and dislikes...In the end, the Ram did it for me. When my dad got home that night I told my dad that when I was old enough to drive I would have a “New Ram”. I told him all the options I would want, what upgrades I would do, the whole 9 yards. My dad laughed at me and said “Son, you keep dreaming big like that, but you won’t ever be able to afford “The New Ram”.

Several years later I got a 85 Bronco II on a$10.00 Raffle ticket. While not a 93 Full Sized Bronco, or an Eddie Bouer Edition, it was Bronco like and gave me a lot of enjoyment on the trails and even two trips to the coast with two of my closest friends. Unfortunately the Bronco II ended up with a burnt out ignition coil, that I could never trace down the problem.

Several more years pass, several Jeeps, a Cadillac, 2 Muscle Cars, an ex wife with 2 kids, and a Ford Van, I married into my second Bronco II. This time a 1989 Green and Tan EB. My (now ex) wife and I had a lot of adventures in that Bronco as well, but it still wasn’t a “New Ram”, or a 5th Gen Bronco.
I thought I was a Jeep guy, so I kept searching for the perfect Jeep. 2 more XJ’s and then while looking for the “diamond in the rough” YJ, my (ex) wife found a “New 1995 Ram 1500”. It was Red and Silver, and full of cancer, but at only $1500, With less than 90k miles it was a “must” look at rig. I was in Afghanistan finishing up my second tour when she found the rig. I told her to look for rust along the frame, and in important places like the floor boards. When she went to look at it, the guy started it it for her, and it started so easily she handed him the cash along with an extra 50 to deliver it.
The next week she took it to the shop to get a look over and the oil changes... they did a few minor repairs and when she left the parking lot the gas tank fell out on the ground. Then a few months later I came home and found a broken spring pack... I ended up driving the pickup from Syracuse, New York to Joseph, Oregon. 3/4s of the truck is somewhere between the two points. I lost the muffler in Nebraska, rear brake line broke near Grand Junction, Colorado, and Inwas flies toning it by the time I made it to Utah.
The Army gave me a nice severance package when I got discharged. So when the money hit my bank account, I started looking up parts to fix Ol’ Red when a Blue and chrome “New Ram 2500” showed up on a car lot down the street from me. With a price tag of $6k, it was kind of hard for me to look away. Several test drives later I had a sound idea of a price that I felt the truck was worth... I shot them an offer of $4K. They laughed at me and I walked away. Two weeks later they called me up and wanted my $4K... I told them that now it was 3k because they waited so long. They immediately shot back a counter offer over the phone which I accepted... now I had 2 “New Dodge Rams” I built “Old” Blue into the perfect Overlanding truck and drove it every day until summer of 2019.
Spring of 2018 I wanted a trail rig, so I started looking at Jeeps again... I really wanted a YJ, but found a screening deal in a TJ. Well, that screening deal wasn’t so screaming... There was a factory TSB Recall that hadn’t been dealt with. The distributor drive gear was made out of bronze while the mating gear on the cam shaft was brass, which cause the cam shaft sensor to skip a beat and through a code. The code would trigger the limp home mode temporarily causing the Jeep to buck... I took the Jeep back to the dealership numerous times to get fixed, and each time they said their wasn’t a problem... just a problem with the way I drove. Well the last time I took it to the dealership in the way home I hit that limp home mode on a patch of black ice and ended up smashing all 4 corners of the Jeep. So back to the dealership I drove and I made them keep it until they fixed it. 4 months later they found the problem, and then off to the body shop to get paint and new wheels... after the new paint on the Jeep, I called the finance company and told them to come get it because it was a piece of junk and I could never trust it again.
So back to the hunt for a trail rig... I started looking at Suburbans and Excursions, when I found a basket case 1978 (the year I was born) Bronco. After looking at it I decided it was too much work, so I drove home empty handed. On the way home my wife (@KRose) found a 1989 Bronco EB for sale just 2 blocks from our house. I had her call the guy and we scheduled a meeting just a few minutes later.
The Bronco Was rough around the edges, but had great bones... the driver window was missing, the front seats were broken, and the rear end made a hellacious screaming sound. I offered $1000 and he took it... I limped it home and put it up on jack stands....

....to be continued...
 

M Rose

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Cool story. But, it appears some pictures are missing.
Thanks, the pictures aren’t missing. The story is about the Bronco and how it came into the family. The pictures start in my next chapter.
 

M Rose

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The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
....Continued From Post 1...
I was told by the PO that the noise in the back end was caused by the U-Joints. So I pulled the driveline apart to service the cv joint, but didn’t find a problem there. So next I tore into the breaks expecting all to be worn out, but it had brand new beaks...spinning the rear driver tire you could hear what sounded like breaks dragging. So I tore it a part again and didn’t see anything wrong until I put the tire back on. While putting the tire on, the drum moved about 2” up...wow, that’s a lot of play in my wheel bearings I thought. So a trip into town for wheel bearings. On a Ford 8.8” axle, the rear axle is held in by a c clip inside the spider assembly... so I drained the fluid which was in desperate need of changing any ways.
I got the axle pulled and didn’t find a week bearing or a seal...
While trying to install the new bearing I found out that the bearing race was barely there. Not enough material left to grab with my slide hammer, I carefully cut the race into 2 pieces and removed it. Then put my bearings in and finally the seal.
All back together, time for my first actual drive.

(I thought I had pictures, guess not)

well in the drive, the alternator stopped working so a quick trip to the parts store and put the alternator in.
Well, here is where all the Ugly comes in.
The story goes that a man and his wife got into a fight some where a long a stream or river. During the argument one or the other takes the keys out of the Bronco and throws them in to the water and locks the doors. Several days go by while they search for the keys and they can’t find them, so they brake the drivers window to gain access. These people obviously don’t know much about 80-90s Ford Trucks, because to get the rig started they broke the steering column trying to wrench on the steering wheel in order to break out the ignition key cylinder... I’m not going to go into details here, but these trucks are easy to bypass the key to start and unlock the steering wheel...
Also in this fiasco, they destroyed the door locking mechanisms on both doors and even the tailgate.
The Interior was a mess, the seats were shot, carpet has holes in it, and the more I dig around the more I felt like I was going to puke.

(notice the center console, it’s part of a later story)
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Broken tail gate and back glass won’t r
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(Broken passenger seat)
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(Seat out and ready for new seat in)
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New seats out of a 2000 F-250 Lariat
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The next part I don’t have any pictures of because I’m not proud of my work...

to get the F150 seats in I had to chop and modify and weld up the seat frames to accommodate the different shape of the floor plan. And while the are more solid than the original broken seats, they aren’t quite good enough for me so I will be revisiting the seats in the somewhat near future.

So I have talked about the Bad and the Ugly, now onto the good.

Th body is relatively straight. The frame is in great shape, and it’s 99% factory complete. There are a few cosmetic issues that need addressed, but over all the bones are very good.
 

M Rose

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La Grande, Oregon, USA
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So now I have a driver. After several months as my DD and no more breakdowns I take a trip with my kids and their SOs to the lake towing my boat for a weekend of fishing. This is the first big camping trip using the Bronco, so it was kind of my test run to see what I need to do to make it work for me.

The kids wanted a snack before putting the boat in. Also note the brand new Maxis Bighorn M/Ts
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Morning view o
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My son’s last camping trip. :(
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My daughter strolling up to camp
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Got-cha


the kids


a good picture of my son and his girlfriend before breaking up camp... notice t
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So on the way home from the trip, the air pump decides that it’s bearings are no longer functional and welds itself up. Stranded 60 miles from home and 12 miles from the closest parts store, I find this picture on the internet and have my wife pick up a belt to get us back on the road. Unfortunately this picture is incorrect and the 73” belt was way to short, so we had to leave the Bronco along side the road and return the fallowing day with six belts to try. (We will come back to this as it haunts me a year later)
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M Rose

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Pathfinder II

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Michael
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Rose
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When I get the Bronco back home I notice it’s overheating a bit and leaking coolant from the upper radiator hose. I pull the hose and the radiator nipple came off inside the hose. So I buy a new radiator and new radiator hoses. I also buy 2 of the 4 bypass hoses and a new thermostat.
Replaced all of that and decided to also put new plugs and wires in at the same time... (this maintenance all becomes relevant here in current time)
 

M Rose

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So 4 months in and no breakdowns: Time for upgrades!

December Sucks for me... I’m a December Baby, so I either get a Christmas, or a birthday, but seldom both... last year though I got one of those rare both in the same year. My wife @KRose bought me a set of KC Apollo Lights for my birthday and for Christmas she bought me the parts to install the lights.

Remember back a couple of posts to the camping trip shakedown, I mentioned I had no idea how the load out was going to work. Well 90% of my gear ended up in the boat. I didn’t like this, so I needed a solution.
Roof Rack!
Now being that the Bronco is a 1989, and didn’t come with a factory roof rack, I had to become creative. (Yes some had roof rails from the factory or dealer installed options, but these are rare, and even harder to find at a decent price used). Searching DIY roof racks here on the forums and on Google, I found some people using Harbor a freight ATV Ramps as roof racks. As luck would have it I sold my ATVs three years a go, and traded my ATV trailer this spring for a new boat, so I had a set of racks laying around.

For some reason I didn’t take pictures of my switch panel... but here is how my switches work... I decided to try using CAT6 cable because I have a lot of it from various home network installs. And I figured since the switches are a low amp draw the small gauges wire bundled in pairs would suffice for a clean and easy install. 07667E43-7B9E-4434-8696-9B4E796E5759.jpeg5B688E30-A878-49E9-8BEA-9DB6C4C051DD.jpeg14B33834-4261-4A27-B617-0CE442E7BAAC.jpegE7502696-8186-4332-BD67-9E2B5DF1CA25.jpeg
 

M Rose

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Almost caught up (sorry no pictures yet)

So with the roof rack and lights mounted, I decided I wanted an overhead console to house my radio, CB, and rearrange my dash board a bit getting ready for a Ham Radio. I took down the headliner and prototyped a overhead shelf with a coms console in the middle out of Dollar Tree Foam Board. I then covered the foam board with some material I bought for making a head liner in my 1:10 scale RC Crawler Truck. The final prototype is functional, but going to be revisited soon as I made two flaws... first the radio and the CB point strait back so I can’t read the face plates from either the driver or passenger seats. The second flaw is the CB itself... I used a Cobra 25 Classic that I had laying a round, but since was given a Galaxy 959 which will look and sound better in my new interior upgrades. Also I’m going to move my Ham radio up to the overhead console as where I have it mounted now will be in the way when I drop in my 5 speed.

9D303352-1447-496E-B261-B113D0E703AB.jpeg
47FFEBBD-35C2-4905-BD1C-EE782C6E0890.jpeg
 
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M Rose

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Getting close (Winch plate install)

So my last Overlanding build I had my brother build me a very heavy duty winch bumper to mount my Mile-Marker H18000 2-Speed hydraulic winch. I decided I wanted this winch in my current project, so I enlisted the help of @PNW EXPLR to fab up a winch tray. I ran into a few hurdles with the original design as it was for a 1992-1996 Bronco which had a different frame than the pre 1992 Broncos and f-150s. My original plan was to just weld the winch tray to the frame and make spacers to keep the factory bumper... what we came up with was both better and stronger than welding directly to the frame.

87FCADD9-34DF-440E-8BD9-782E2C73667D.jpeg6C2D75ED-DF26-4652-8C4F-B268A1D83851.jpeg

Measuring for side plates (I was originally going to just well the tray to the frame where the tape measure is.
BE9071B2-E65B-4F16-844D-C0FBC01959C2.jpeg94DF4C23-2B4C-4F8E-8821-58E191840451.jpeg

Stock bumper mounts
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Mike D (@PNW EXPLR) prepping to burn everything in
EF823060-FC5C-4F38-9B54-DE123ACDB1BB.jpeg03081C3C-5400-4186-B1EA-6C69D9A884E5.jpeg
 

M Rose

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Pathfinder II

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La Grande, Oregon, USA
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Rose
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832D1A63-A8FB-4D2F-9979-A2AC4C2F9108.jpegC00239DA-CA28-470D-939E-F422DE27E331.jpeg
Coming Back from @PNW EXPLR place in Kennewick I got exactly half way home when the power steering pump failed. Mike and I had just been talking about the sketchy looking pulley as I was pulling out of his drive. I told him I was already planning on a power steering pump upgrade to power the winch and it was actually what prompted the winch plate in the first place.
 

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....The End....
So I was so upset with the Bronco I let it sit broken down for about a week before I even opened up the hood. So Sunday (August 9, 2020) I started the power steering pump swap. I ran into a huge problem (that turned into a small problem); the winch return line to the steering gear box has the wrong fitting. To over come this problem I have a few ideas, but I found a huge other problem. The engine has some severe issues that need addressed right now.
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This brings us up to date. In the morning I’m heading to the part store to pick up a compression gauge and a head gasket set. Then I’m going to decide what to do... An engine rebuild was already on the table, just not scheduled until early next year. I have already started talking to shops and the junk yard to figure out which way would be the best way to go... but for right now I am still very undecided on what I want to do. I have a ZF5 Speed and all the parts (minus the drive shafts) to do the swap from the original AOD. So I am thinking that this will be the perfect time to do the transmission swap.
 

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M Rose

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I got a little more progress done today, and probably as far as I will tear into the motor... I have a 5.0 out of a 1993 F-150 lined up to drop in, so I’m not too worried about pulling the engine apart at this time.

Tomorrow I’m going to work on getting everything worked over for the manual transmission swap, so that all the shop has to do is stab the transmission and engine in and give the Bronco back to me

Pictures of today’s progress
B41C8D93-861B-43C0-B1EC-9EC549C1D4AE.jpegFF51052D-90FD-4D85-85D7-AFC65683DD60.jpegE863AD87-B069-475C-8900-BE9399E12B62.jpeg32EDFD24-042C-48D1-B9D9-0BC37EC7C048.jpeg
 

M Rose

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Got a 5.0L engine line up out of a 1993 Ford F-150, compression reads good, but still a little week... if I can squeeze by until next winter I will be golden.
 
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TahoePPV

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Got a 5.0L engine line up out of a 1993 Ford F-150, compression reads good, but still a little week... if I can squeeze by until next winter I will be golden.
Are you still planning the 5 speed transmission swap too?
 

M Rose

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Are you still planning the 5 speed transmission swap too?
yup still doing the 5 speed swap. Still adding the Hudraulic Winch, getting more lights, more communication equipment, lockers will come before the snow flies (I hope).

Over the winter I plan on buying some of the other restoration parts I need (like the tailgate glass hardware and motor), and start getting ideas for a 2008-2010 King Ranch interior with Tahoe third seat covered in brown KR leather.

Tomorrow I’m going to start pulling the radiator, then cleaning out the back of the Bronco to start filling up with parts. During the cleanup stage, I’m going to work installing the pedal tree for the 5 speed swap, fix a broken bolt on the passenger seat, install my Lido Mounts, and finally work on a solution to bolt down my center console.
 
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M Rose

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Got the transfercase skid all prepped for paint

FC09F012-C653-46FE-B569-B36F3FEF915F.jpeg
growing pile of parts.

33C469B0-2287-45BE-AE32-795C0D589818.jpeg
I have the driveshafts, and radiator pulled, also disconnected the transmission and transfer case linkages from the body. I’m ready to drop the transfer case tomorrow, and waiting on the first to rent an air compressor and cherry picker to pull the engine/transmission out. In the mean time going to work on cleaning out the cab so I can remove the front seats and carpet to access the transmission tunnel and pedal tree.
 

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Well I have the engine/transmission almost ready to pull... the exhaust manifold bolts and the transmission mount and it’s ready to eject from the truck... in the mean time I have been cleaning parts up and doing a little bit of touch up paint on them to make them last another 30 years.

Engine ready to pull
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I like how much room I gained by deleting the smog pump.
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vacuum Canister scrubbed down to bare metal and covered in Zinc Oxide and awaiting primer, then color.
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Pile of parts for the scrap heap is growing (don’t worry the tools
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Wow my keep pile is very small.
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Well that’s it for today folks. Tomorrow I’m finishing up the prep work, heading to the machine shop to pick up the intake manifold that I dropped off on Friday for a deep clean, and picking up the engine hoist and air compressor so I can get the engine out.
 

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So I figure this is a good place to post this as it pertains to where I’m currently at, and what I’ve been doing all weekend.

My engine swap goals are as fallows:

Im under a time crunch so hence the Junkyard 5.0.

my current short block is going to the machine shop in October to get cleaned and inspected so we can determine exactly what I need to order for the bottom end of the engine. Once I know what machining (if any) I will order the pistons, rings, connecting rods and lower bearings along with a full engine gasket set.

Heads are going to be stock cast iron GT40 heads out of a 5.0 Explorer. New valves, guides, and springs will be installed. The GT40 heads have factory Roller-rocker Arms, so the heart of the build will be a mild roller cam shaft.

For exhaust, I’m going with Bassani Shorty headers, y-pipe, and a Magnaflow Cat Back exhaust.

Intake I’m staying stock with the exception of moving the actual intake into the driver side fender to keep water and a dust to a minimum.

Electronics... since I deleted the air pump, I need to get rid of a couple of air injection solenoid valves but at the same time keep from throwing a CEL. The truck for this is a couple of resistors (I will be doing a full write up on this over the next few days). I was told since I’m going this far I should get rid of the speed density system and upgrade to MAF, in other words go from OBD 1 to the more user friendly and reliable OBD2. Again I’m still researching this and will do a complete write up when it becomes available.
So far my options are:
1) make my own stand alone EFI system by using the ECM And MAF sensor out of the donor truck Pulling all the pins out of my current ECM and repinning for the OBD II ECM. $
2) again use my wiring harness and get an aftermarket ECM with the connector to match my existing harnessAnd add the additional wires for a MAF sensor. $$
3) get a aftermarket wiring harness and use a A9L ECU out of a fox body mustang $
4) get a whole stand alone system $$$
At this point in time, I’m leaning toward options 1 and later down the road (While building the engine) get an aftermarket standalone ECM. This will get me going right now, keep me from getting Emssions related engine codes, and allows me to upgrade to a fully programmable ECM when I drop the rebuilt engine in.

That concludes the engine.

Transmission... simple, swapping in a ZF5 as mentioned earlier.

Transfer case:
I’m on the fence here with this one; since durability and reliability have come into the equation and this is going from a trails truck to a Resto-Mod project, plans changed. I was going to do a NP 203/205 doubler with a twin sticked 205. But doublers complicate things and are anything but reliable over long periods of time. I could go with an Atlass 4 but again that’s not as reliable as what I already have.
Use the BW 1536 I already have. Upgrade the week parts (oil pump), slap some new bearings, seals and chain on it and call it good.... get a reman with all the work done already... probably go reman with the upgrades for the warranty along with reliability.

Axles:
Front Axle is a TTB Dana 44. Lots of upgrades available for it, still researching the options here... I do know it’s getting selectable lockers one Chrome Molly shafts...
Rear Axle is the under appreciated Ford 8.8” rear differential... here I have a solid idea since I’ve already torn into it once and addressed its issues... it’s getting new gears. New bearings and seals, c clip eliminators, and chrom molly shafts. It too is getting a selectable locker.

Suspension is going to stay stock, but new springs and bushings in all 4 corners... I might try my hand at adding long arms but place the hangers further back to allow the ride height to stay unchanged.

Steering System:
The steering gear box is getting replaced by a RedHead gear box, Borgeson steering shaft, and then dump that all into a rebuilt steering column. New ball joints, and tie rod ends will also be done.

What have I missed mechanically? Breaks... yes I missed the brake system... it’s getting overhauled too, but it’s going to be addressed with the axles... rear disk brake conversion? Me thinks it’s a possibility.

Would love to hear your guys input on my projected plans.
 
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Pathfinder II

4,861
La Grande, Oregon, USA
First Name
Michael
Last Name
Rose
Member #

20990

Ham Callsign
KJ7MFV
Got some stuff painted, other stuff cleaned up just getting ready for the big day1EBF4B89-B60A-4325-BD59-FE80A1CE4F91.jpegA0EAFDFA-2E78-42F2-A45C-6EF5D15434CE.jpegEAEBFBB4-BCBB-4619-A818-C2FFEE8E0210.jpeg6C134CD1-BFD2-44EE-A49E-46ECC7D7C49F.jpeg9AE7C377-156C-4408-9CFA-58DCF5A0CB54.jpegB42F1E21-89A4-43E0-96F8-0271DE04DB77.jpegC5413055-FD52-4B61-88E6-E7945F8578FD.jpegA7C2E916-3418-4706-9F42-985613FCDECA.jpegF40E1BBC-3EB3-4A89-B7DE-4B4EA8B31F00.jpeg59138D17-F229-4A49-8F2C-777C6E1FD3A6.jpeg373B0588-95CF-4D93-BDFC-791BFF9B2B19.jpeg
 
Last edited:

M Rose

US Northwest Region Director
Benefactor
Member

Pathfinder II

4,861
La Grande, Oregon, USA
First Name
Michael
Last Name
Rose
Member #

20990

Ham Callsign
KJ7MFV
Well progress was slow last week. I had an old pickup I needed to detail out, repair a few minor problems all to sell for more funds for the Bronco... now that the cash problem is slightly fixed, I’m going to be back full speed on this Tuesday.