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'88 Bronco II highway speed death wobble / steering upgrades


notforhumans

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1988
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Bronco II
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Hi, y'all! New to the site and to classic cars... but I am learning quite a bit as I go!
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This is my '88, just recently purchased and is running great. Quite a bit of restoration work went into it, even with the interior.
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I've just recently started driving it on the highway: I live in Texas, so highway speeds can get up there.. The steering has quite a bit of play I know isn't at all uncommon and it is totally manageable at speeds lower than 40mph. After that, bump steering, death wobble, particularly on highway going between 55mph to 70mph (around 70mph the whole car is really shaky). I've been driving in the slow lane for right now staying at about 60-65 and it's okay temporarily. Just recently got it checked out by a shop for a detailed inspection for unrelated reasons, and got the tires aligned, so I know shaking isn't alignment. I also know the notorious bronco II steering lore, so that's a factor (hoping that the big tire upgrade and the new suspension would help ease some of that and distribute the weight better). Any tips for how to decrease the *sometimes* horrifying steering at high speeds (especially hitting bumps or rounding even wide corners)? Driving on the highway literally feels like an arcade racing game (but I don't have three lives). I looked into getting a steering stabilizer from rough country, but it looks like you can't install them if you have a sway bar. Any help much appreciated!
 

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Uncle Gump

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1986
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That's a slick looking Bronco II... I like the grill conversion.

Does it still have the twin traction beam or was it solid axle swapped? The hubs say TTB.

These little trucks can get funky when lifted. How much lift? Who made the lift? Does it have a drop pitman arm?

Did the alignment shop print out the specs they set it at?
 

notforhumans

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Thank you! The grill sold me for sure

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Not the best picture but yeah its got twin traction beams and a drop pitman arm it looks like. I wish I knew more about the lift but I bought it from someone that didn't have all the redesign specs cause it had passed through some hands. I'm pretty sure I can get the alignment specs if ya need them
 

R£D*R£APER

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Your B2 is sweet. Ultimately I'd love to get mine looking that nice. If only money just duplicated itself. The interior is really nice and the grill is sick.

I have an 85. The day I picked it up I hopped on the highway and almost died when I tapped the brakes at 75 MPH. My wife and kids driving behind me said their goodbyes by the time I stopped. Whiteknuckled at 45 in the slow lane the rest of the way home. Got home and discovered one of the swaybar bushings was dangling from the swaybar. Fixed that and ever since, the sloppy steering and sketchy high-speed rides don't bother me as much because it's nowhere near as sketchy as that first drive.

In my case I need to replace all of the suspension and steering components for sure. I have heard that the B2 is cursed with sloppy steering though, so I'm not counting on a hell of a lot of improvement with those parts alone.

If you do happen to tighten it up please post. I'm looking to start the fun parts of my B2 now that I've replaced all of the clutch components and it's driving again. You're ride looks about like what I envision mine being in the future so if I can learn anything from your experience it'd be much appreciated.

Take care.
 

notforhumans

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Your B2 is sweet. Ultimately I'd love to get mine looking that nice. If only money just duplicated itself. The interior is really nice and the grill is sick.

I have an 85. The day I picked it up I hopped on the highway and almost died when I tapped the brakes at 75 MPH. My wife and kids driving behind me said their goodbyes by the time I stopped. Whiteknuckled at 45 in the slow lane the rest of the way home. Got home and discovered one of the swaybar bushings was dangling from the swaybar. Fixed that and ever since, the sloppy steering and sketchy high-speed rides don't bother me as much because it's nowhere near as sketchy as that first drive.

In my case I need to replace all of the suspension and steering components for sure. I have heard that the B2 is cursed with sloppy steering though, so I'm not counting on a hell of a lot of improvement with those parts alone.

If you do happen to tighten it up please post. I'm looking to start the fun parts of my B2 now that I've replaced all of the clutch components and it's driving again. You're ride looks about like what I envision mine being in the future so if I can learn anything from your experience it'd be much appreciated.

Take care.
I hear you! I was lucky that it came with the look already done and the interior redesign (with bluetooth and all the modern "necessities"). My mechanic said that everything looks great internally and they tightened the steering play as much as they could when they initially checked it out. Nothing is loose or deteriorating. I feel like my only option might be replacing the steering box with something more modern? Would eliminate play and give more control and less "reactive" steering, maybe? Even though my steering box has no wear, I just don't think I can rely on the original to handle high speeds, considering the ford lawsuits of years past...
 

JerryC

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The number one thing with a lifted BII is caster. You don't have to lift them much before caster is a problem and it drives like a shopping cart.

Also check all of bushing and joints for play. Replacing sway bar bushings and the caster right made a world of difference on mine. Play in the drag link can give you fits as well, mine wore out at about 80k miles.
 

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