A Ford Bronco II For The Doomsday Prepper

You may look at this Bronco II and think that it’s just another vehicle someone bought used and turned in to an offroad truck. Fact is, this Bronco II was bought brand new by the original owner, 32 years ago. He did, however, start modifying the Bronco II as soon as he brought it how from the dealership. We’re not going to cover all the changes it has gone through in the past 32 years. Instead we’ll just describe the vehicle as it sits today.

One of the first thing you’re going to notice is all of those leaf springs hanging off of the front bumper. It definitely created a WTF moment the first time I looked at it. The owner describes it as a ‘Live Rib Cage Skid Plate’. Looking at it makes me wonder if the owner was a genius, or just nuts. In my 25 years of working on Ranger’s and Bronco II’s, I never saw anything like it.

As you can see in the photos, these springs run from the front bumper down to the axle. There are also springs that run from the back of the axle to custom crossmember, and then back to another crossmember to protect the transmission.

Once you get past this unusual skid plate, there are other modifications and upgrades that you may not readily notice.

Drivetrain & Axles:

The 1985 Bronco II came ith a 2.8 V6, and 5-speed manual transmission. The stock 7.5-inch rear was replaced by a Ford 9-inch, and the front Dana 28 was replaced with the stronger Dana 35 found in the Ford Explorer. Both axles feature ARB air lockers and 5.14 gears. In addition, the stcok transfer case was replaced with an Atlas 4.3 transfer case. This is a twin stick 4-speed transfer case with 3-separate low range ratios.
The power is transferred to the ground through 35-inch Pro Comp Mud Terrains

Suspension & Steering:

The Bronco II clears the 35-inch tires thanks to a Superlift 5-1/2 inch lift with extended radius arms. The longer radius arms allow for more suspension travel in the front. In addition, the fender openings were cut out larger, and capped with Charley Off Road Fiberglass Fender Flares.

A Superlift Superrunner steering kit replaces the stock steering linkage for an improved steering setup.

A ‘Boulder Roller’, which is basically a steel wheel…..mounts in the rear receiver to act similar to a ‘wheelie bar’, and try to help keep the Bronco II from rolling over backwards.

Recovery Gear:

The Bronco II is equipped with a Warn M8000 winch mounted to a Warn Transformer grill/brush guard. If the Bronco II needs to be winched backwards, the cable can be ran through some pulleys under the truck, and through a snatch block attached to the rear receiver.
If there’s nothing to hook to, the owner created a ‘Mud Hook’ out of 1/2″ steel to serve as a winch anchor.

Miscellaneous Lighting & Electronics:

The Bronco II has lights mounted under the vehicle aimed at the front and rear axles.

It also has video cameras mounted under the vehicle pointed at the front and rear axles.


The Bronco II has a heat exchanger mounted on the engine that heats up water for a shower head. All you need is water from a lake or stream.

A custom tent enclosure was made that attaches to the rear hatch, and uses the hatch as the tents roof. A floor is attached to the rear hitch receiver to allow for more room. A self inflating air mattress is also used.


There are a bunch of photos showing the different features and modifications to this vehicle. Click the photos to enlarge. Click the arrows to load more.

Follow Jim Oaks:

Welcome to the Bronco Corral. As a long time Ford Truck enthusiast, I've been a fan of the Ford Bronco and Bronco II. In fact, I've completely rebuilt a Bronco II of my own. The Bronco Corral originally started as the Bronco II Corral, but in 2020 I decided to expand it to include all Ford Bronco's, and welcome the upcoming 2021 Ford Bronco. Thanks for stopping.

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