Back in September of 2015 I was surfing the for sale by owner vehicle ads on Craigslist. As I paged through the thumbnails, I came across a 1990 Ford Bronco Eddie Bauer. I took a look at the photos that were included in the posting and decided to make contact with the owner. I asked the owner the current condition of the vehicle. The owner stated those were old photos of the vehicle and it was currently sitting on the back lot of a local Ford dealership with a blown transfer case. I let him know I was still interested and we set up a time to meet later that evening.
After our conversation ended, I immediately contacted my buddy, Mat, and asked if he wanted to tag along with me to look at the Bronco. Mat said sure. Jokingly, I said that he should drive his pickup truck and bring a tow strap just in case I made a deal.
Later that evening, Mat and I met up with the owner of the Bronco at the Ford dealership. The Bronco had been placed on what I call “death row,” the back row of the lot where all of the vehicles go to die. As soon as I saw it, I knew it had potential. Mat and I carefully went over it with a fine-tooth comb and felt it needed a lot more work than the owner was letting on. Besides having a bad transfer case, it had some rust issues on the rear quarters and the typical tailgate rust. We opened the hood to inspect the engine bay and immediately observed a huge rat’s nest on the top of the engine, along with a cracked exhaust manifold. Upon further inspection, the power windows and door locks were not functioning and the interior was extremely dirty and missing some pieces along the hardtop. However, the vehicle did start and run.
After a short period of negotiation, the owner and I settled on a price and the deal was done. I had a title in my hand and a tow strap hooked up to the front of the Bronco as Mat towed me home. I was able to drive the Bronco under its own power into my garage and immediately began to assess the damage.
I started with the transfer case. I removed it and installed a new pump and pressed in new bearings in the case. As I slowly went through the suspension I realized it still had the original shocks and springs on the vehicle. I replaced all of the suspension components and installed a set of lock-out hubs.
Once the Bronco was roadworthy, I began to tackle the engine bay. First I removed the rats’ nest and repaired the obvious chewed-up wires on the harness. With each test ride, the run ability got better and better but something was still amiss. After a compression test I discovered I had no compression on the number eight cylinder. I removed the valve cover and found the spring to be very loose. I removed the cylinder head and discovered it was cracked between the intake and exhaust valve on the number eight cylinder. I ordered a refurbished cylinder head and installed it. To my surprise, my run ability issues were solved.
Next order on my agenda was to tackle the body and interior. I purchased new repair panels for the rear quarters, a new tailgate, wheel arch molding, and weatherstripping from LMC Truck. I removed the entire interior, including the carpet, and gave it a thorough scrub down. After several months of scrubbing, fixing and tinkering I was finally ready for body work and paint.
Thanks to my brother, Tim, who did a fabulous job with the body and paint work at a family owned shop, Quality Collision, located in Ironwood, Michigan. Thanks to Nadine of Nadine Ward’s Signworks, Park City, Kansas for the outstanding job hand painting the pinstripe as it was from the factory. My Bronco gets looks wherever I go.