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totalbeginner

Can I have this? Modernized, Reliable Early Bronco

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Saw an early model yellow bronco on I-95 and it looked amazing. Saw an early model yellow bronco being restored on some car show on cable and it looked amazing. I now want an early model yellow bronco, but a classic one - not a rock crawler with a lift kit. BUT I'd like some updates like fuel injection, rear-window defroster, and maybe even a newer, more fuel efficient engine. I'm not a car guy and don't want to spend my weekends for the next decade working on a it. I want to get to solid running condition and then perform only basic maintenance. So my question is can this be done? Oh, were early models full time 4x4? Thanks.

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First off, welcome to the board. To answer your questions, no Broncos were never "full time 4x4" you gotta get out and lock the hubs in to get 4wd. Next, yes you can have a more modern Bronco with most the amenities that newer cars have.... to an extent. The thing you need to remember is that an Early Bronco (1966-1977, EB) is a 30+ year old vehicle, at the youngest. Anytime you have something that old, unless it has either A) been completely gone through and every bad spot has been taken out, or B) you got a single owner who kept it garaged except on sundays, you are going to have something happen. The other thing is how much money do you want to spend on something? A fuel injected 302 (5.0 in late model cars) is going to run you anywhere from $1500 on up, just to give you an idea. You can go with an Explorer engine that is smaller (the V6 or so) and it has a little better mileage, but then you gotta basically do the rest of the driveline. What it boils down to is how much time and money do you want to throw at this thing right off the bat? If you have $20k laying around, you can have it done pretty quick, if you are like the rest of us, it is going to take you a while. Look at my signature line, that is just some of the things that I have done to mine, most of it really isn't EB anymore and it has taken almost 15 years and between 15-20k to get it done. Just depends on exactly what you want to do and how good of a starter EB you find.

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S_bolt19, thanks for your answer. I really am a newbie and my car vocabulary is limited at best. I suspected a newer engine would spawn additional upgrades. Cost is only one category of ignorance for me and your response definitely helps. No, I don't have 20K sitting around, but if I did, do you include a whole makeover (like bodywork and paint) in that estimate? I hadn't thought about A/C, but I live in N. Virginia - summers here are warm to say the least and this would be my work car - can't afford a separate weekend vehicle, so A/C is a must. I need to take a moment and tap out ALL the modern tweaks I would want. Do you know of anyone in N. VA who specialized in EBs? Thanks again!

Edited by totalbeginner

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S_bolt19, thanks for your answer. I really am a newbie and my car vocabulary is limited at best. I suspected a newer engine would spawn additional upgrades. Cost is only one category of ignorance for me and your response definitely helps. No, I don't have 20K sitting around, but if I did, do you include a whole makeover (like bodywork and paint) in that estimate? I hadn't thought about A/C, but I live in N. Virginia - summers here are warm to say the least and this would be my work car - can't afford a separate weekend vehicle, so A/C is a must. I need to take a moment and tap out ALL the modern tweaks I would want. Do you know of anyone in N. VA who specialized in EBs? Thanks again!

 

It's funny you are talking about doing something like this because I have kicked the idea around for a couple of years about having a completely stock "looking" EB. From the outside, this thing would look like it rolled off the showroom floor, but crack the hood and she would be a whole different animal. Not to mention, it would have a ton of nice new amenities. I figure that if you can pick up an EB for around $2,000-3,000, you will have a good base to get started. It would probably have minor to medium rust, so I will plan on patching and/or replacing those spots. So, here is what I would do, with costs, if I had the money to build one for a regular driver, but didn't intend on wheeling it. Which is what it sounds like you want.

 

Decent shape vehicle - $2,500

Patch/repair rust (L& R inner fender aprons, rocker panels, floor pans & tailgate) - $299

Body work (prep & paint) - $4,000

Fuel Injected (EFI) 5.0 (Mass Air System, 89-93 Mustang, rebuilt engine) - $2500

Transmission with adapter kit (NV4500 - 5 speed) - $3,000

Disc brakes front & rear (Blazer front/Cadillac rear) - $1,000

Hydroboost Power Brakes (Astro Van Unit, junkyard) - $200

Power Steering Conversion with upgraded dual return pump(73-75 Bronco) - $950

New Complete Wiring Harness (Includes vehicle & EFI harness) - $1,200

G3 Alternator (better electrical charging system) - $180

Air Conditioning Kit - $839

New Stock Suspension - $850

New Steering Linkage & Trac Bar (Heim joint system) - $425

=======================

Total Cost ~ $17,943

 

That is just SOME of the major or big ticket items that I would do. Now, this is with me doing ALL of the work except for the paint & minor body work. You can probably add about 15-20% more for labor costs if you have it done. Now, granted there are some things that aren't necessary (G3, steering linkage, A/C kit, maybe even the suspension replacement) but the engine, brake system & transmission are an absolute must in my opinion with the body work and everything else coming after. Man, I really haven't ever sat down and added things up like that, but now that I have, I just realized that I have more than that tied up in my current EB...lol...But that gives you an idea. It also doesn't include ANYthing on the interior of the rig. New seats, dash, guages, stereo, etc. Add another $3-5,000 on to that price and that is where you can end up. But then you look at what you have and what you can buy for that same amount. The resale value of an Early Bronco over something in the same price range in 5, 10 or even 15 years is going to be astronomically higher than anything you could buy for a $20-25k price tag in the same time frame.

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Unless you are looking to spend alot of money, there really isn't anyway to get what you want. Nothing is impossible when it comes to adding some of the newer creature-comforts to an older vehicle, but it takes alot of work, effort and time. But like I said i the beginning, if you have the money you can probably find someone out there that has already done the work and is looking to sell.

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Guys, thanks. Kind of what I expected to hear. Considering that it would be my commuter and weekend vehicle, I could probably find a way to justify the cost in my head. Still, it's a lot money. Well, I know more now then I did before. Thanks again.

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Here is an easy way to justify those costs vs. buying a new vehicle at comparable price...give it 10 years and what do you think is going to be more valuable? For the roughly $17k-$25k price I mentioned, you will be getting from Ford, an Escape, Dodge Nitro, Honda CRV & Element, Chevy Equonox, Hyundai has the Santa Fe & Tuscon, Jeep offers Compass, Liberty, Patriot & Wrangler. Nissan has Xterra, Toyota has the FJ-Cruiser, Highlander & RAV-4. So with that in mind, what do you honestly think is going to be worth more in 10 years? Your Bronco will. Right now, a 1997 Jeep Wrangler, fully loaded would only bring about $6500. Most average to above average EBs right now are going in the $4-6k range. And those are for completely stock vehicles, add in the options I listed above and you push yourself over the 10k real fast and easy.

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I agree with S_Bolt, the only bad news is you have to have a surplus of cash, because while banks will finance you into any of those new cars they aren't going to loan a dime on an EB. Not because it isn't worth it, but because they just don't take the time to understand the market. I would get an EB, get the critical stuff done so I could get back and forth in comfort. Then like the rest of us work on it during weekends for the next few years. Look at it this way, it's something to keep you occupied when it's not football (Redskins) season.

 

Gotta work on this signature thing.....

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Saw an early model yellow bronco on I-95 and it looked amazing. Saw an early model yellow bronco being restored on some car show on cable and it looked amazing. I now want an early model yellow bronco, but a classic one - not a rock crawler with a lift kit. BUT I'd like some updates like fuel injection, rear-window defroster, and maybe even a newer, more fuel efficient engine. I'm not a car guy and don't want to spend my weekends for the next decade working on a it. I want to get to solid running condition and then perform only basic maintenance. So my question is can this be done? Oh, were early models full time 4x4? Thanks.

 

 

It can be done, but not like you may be thinking. Sure, maybe if you literally can drop $100,000, you might get there. I know a guy who has over $100k in his and it's pretty good. The thing is, it just isn't going to cruise like a Navigator. I thought I could spend $20k and get there....nope. I have TV/DVD/GPS, Air Conditioning, Modern Seats, Modern Dash and interior, 351w, and suspension upgrades. It's great, a lot of fun and turns heads; but, not the same as a modern SUV. Not even close.

 

If you want to make it somewhat modern and reliable, you should budget $10k - $15k for a rig (anything less and you likely will have a basket case with rust, and everything else just about to break.). THEN, you should plan on budgeting another $15k for some other upgrades such as suspension, engine, transmission, seats, air conditioning and sound deadening. Oh yea, that's another thing. The overall sound level inside a bronco, with the top on, is really, really bad. I am currently in the process of laying down TONS of dynamat under the carpet, inside the doors and even between the outer top shell and the headliner. This is mandatory if you want to ever have a conversation in the truck or use your cell phone.

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