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Project B2 Marauder 1984 Ford Bronco II XLS


Jim Oaks

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My girlfriend Laura's son Joseph is 17 and got his drivers license this past fall. She was trying to find a vehicle for him to drive while staying under an $8,000 budget. Her daughters had driven a Ford Ranger for their first vehicle, but her son didn't want a truck. One day we were driving and she saw a Bronco II stopped at a traffic light and asked what it was. I told her it was a Bronco II, and that they're basically made up of Ford Ranger components. The made the decision that she wanted her son to have one, so the search was on.

In November I found a 1984 Ford Bronco II XLS for sale on facebook marketplace. I had seen marketing photos of these, but had never actually seen one in person, and I've been into Rangers and Bronco II's since the early 1990's. The owner listed that the starter didn't work and was firm on the price of $4,500.

We drove a good hour to go check it out. The paint was rough but everything seemed to be there. Asside from some surface rust I didn't see any rust holes. I was also surprised that the flares and air dam were still on it. The starter wouldn't engage the flywheel when the owner tried to start it, so he decided to push start it since it was a manual. It was entertaining watching his son pull him around the yard with a side x side trying to start it.

With the Bronco II finally started I took it for a test ride and then returned back to try and make a deal with the owner. After some negotiating, we finally agreed on a price of $3,800.

I drove the Bronco II to my daughter's house and parked it for the night so Joseph wouldn't see it. My daughter doesn't live that far from my girlfriend. The next day I got it and drove it to my house so I could put it in my shop and work on it.

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Jim Oaks

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The Starter

The first thing that I had to deal with was the starter. For some reason the starter wasn't engaging the flywheel. Looking at the flywheel I could see where the edges of the teeth were worn from the starter not fully engaging it, but all the teeth appeared to be there.

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I decided to swap out the starter on the 2.8L V6 for a starter I had from a 4.0L with an automatic transmission. The 4.0L starter is actually a higher torque starter than the 2.8L starter and my hope was that it would have more force to fully engage the starter teeth into the flywheel.

Below is a comparison of the two starters.

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You need the starter from a 4.0L automatic. Doesn't matter if you have a manual trans or not, you need the starter from a 4.0L automatic.

Below you can see the difference between the starter for a 4.0L manual and 4.0L automatic.

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You need to change the wiring as well. The 2.8L starter has one wire, the 4.0L has two. When you do the swap take the wire going to your existing starter and put it on the smallest post of the 4.0L starter. Then run another battery cable between the B+ post at the starter and the B+ post at the starter relay. When you turn the key the relay on the Bronco II opens and sends power down to the starter to start the engine. With the 4.0L starter it has a solenoid mounted to it that receives power when you turn the key, and it then sends power from the battery to the starter. So when you add the 4.0L starter you're using the wire that mounted to the 2.8L starter that started the engine when you turned the key to know activate the solenoid on the 4.0L starter when you turn the key. The new wire going from the battery to the starter provides the power to start the engine when the key is turned.

With the 4.0L starter mounted and the new changes to the wiring, I turned the key and the Bronco II started right up.

The Hood Scoop:

The 2.8L V6 has an open element Edelbrock air cleaner on it, so I thought it would be neat to have a functioning hood scoop that could flow air down to it.

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I found two hood scoops online that I liked and then taped off their dimensions on to the hood of the Bronco II to see which one I liked the best.

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I actually found a hood scoop for a 2010-2012 Ford Mustang GT online at AmericanMuscle.com for $26.99. It's regularly $128.99. I couldn't pass that deal up. At that price I figured that even if I didn't like it I'd save it for a later project.

Here it is sitting on the hood.

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With the location mocked up I measured where the base of the scoop would sit, and then drilled small holes up from the bottom to show me where the hood braces were. Then I took a marker and outlined those holes to have my pattern.

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I then cut out the openings with a jigsaw.

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The hood scoop is held on with bolts and double-sided 3M tape.

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Jim Oaks

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Rear Window Struts:

Another problem with this Bronco II is that the struts that hold the rear window open were worn out. These struts are cheap and easy to replace.

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There is a metal band on the strut where it clips on to its mount. I used a small screwdriver to pry the metal band out so I could pull the strut off.

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Below you can see where the strut has been pulled away and the point it mounts to. You just have to do this to each end of the strut to remove them. The new struts will just snap back on.

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Below you can see the new struts involved.

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Jim Oaks

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The Crappy Paint:

Before I could start working on the paint, all of the window trim, mirrors, emblems, bumpers, lights, mirrors, and decals will need to be removed.

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It appears that at some point the Bronco II was repainted. Below you can see that the paint has heavy deep cracks in it. I've never seen such extreme cracking in paint before. There was also some areas on the roof where the paint was worn off and the primer and bare metal was exposed.

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Below you can see the rust where the roof meets the gutter over the door. All of the rust needs to be removed and then body seam sealer needs to be applied to the area before it can be painted.

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I had two problems with broken bolts in the body of the Bronco II. One of those was for the mirror mounted on the driver's door. The other was one of the mounting bolts for the spare tire carrier shown below. The bolt below was drilled out and a new bolt was installed. The one on the driver's door was removed by removing the inner mounting bracket for the mirror that's inside the door. It was then worked loose by soaking it with PB Blaster and turning it with vice grips.

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Painting It Black / OMG!
The goal in the bodywork was to remove the bad paint, surface rust, and then to coat the body in paint to protect it. I didn't plan to remove every dent and ding (hail damage) since this vehicle was going to be driven by a new unexperienced driver.

Normally I would use true automotive paint to paint a vehicle, but this is a budget build, and there isn't a lot of money for paint. We had made the decision to paint the Bronco II satin black. I had sworn that I would never paint a vehicle black since black shows every flaw in the bodywork. My hope was that since the Bronco II was going to have a satin black paint job and aggressive look, the imperfections in the body would add to the look.

Since this is a low budget paint job and it's going to be satin black, I decided to spray it with Rustoleum.

Yep I said it. Rustoleum.

But not spray cans or rolling it on with a foam brush. I actually bought (2) quarts of satin black, thinned it with acetone, added some hardener, and sprayed it with a paint gun and air compressor.

The Bronco II would get some stripes and graphics added by using some gloss black vinyl.

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Jim Oaks

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Round Headlights:

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I wanted to convert the Bronco II to round headlights to give it more of the original 1966-1977 Ford Bronco look. I've seen other people do this by removing their stock headlight buckets and replace them with round headlight buckets from older Ford's. I wanted to find an easier method.

I found this 7-inch round headlight mounting ring on Amazon for $20.00

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You can see the passenger side headlight removed and the original headlight bucket.

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I used the mounting ring as a template so I knew where to drill mounting holes.

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You can see the holes I drilled below. There's holes to bolt it to the body, and larger holes to allow the alignment springs to recess.

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For headlights I used Xprite 7-inch LED headlights. I installed these on my girlfriends Jeep Wrangler and they work great, so I chose them for the Bronco II.

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Below you can see how the light mounts to the body. You can see where thenut behind the adjustment spring recesses into the body, and the bolt holding the mounting ring to the body.

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Below is what it looks like with both headlights in and the grill installed.

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Uncle Gump

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You kept this one under wraps pretty good. I may do something similar with paint. Don't want to make it too pretty because I want to actually use it off road.

I've went back and fourth in my mind with the round headlights... I like the look... but still love the look of a first Gen. Do you have any plans for a headlamp surrounds?

Looking pretty good... I hope he enjoys it!
 

Uncle Gump

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I'd like to see a couple more pictures of you headlight mods.
 

Jim Oaks

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Restoring The Dash:

The dash on this thing looked horrible. I disassembled it, and then unbolted the black metal top piece from the dash pad.

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I ordered a Coverlay dash pad cover and put Laura in charge of cleaning the dash and applying the new cover.

With it all disassembled I repainted the black metal part of the dash semi-gloss black, and painted the insert above the glove box with Rust-Oleum Painters Touch Satin Nutmeg. In fact, all of the interior panels were painted with this paint and color. This whole vehicle is Rust-Oleum.

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With all of the dash cleaned and repainted, it was reassembled back into the Bronco II.

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Please be sure to check out the video below:
 
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Jim Oaks

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Leather Seats:

The front seats in this Bronco II were pretty worn. They were low back seats without headrests, and I couldn't find any reasonable deals on seat covers.

I kept an eye on Facebook marketplace and came across a set of leather bucket seats from a Ford Fusion for $200.

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For $200 I figured that I better go check them out. The seats were in great shape, were full power adjustable seats, and had the heat and cool options. I ended up buying them both for $160. :icon-bounceblue:

The new seats have a flat strait rail that they mount to, and with them being power seats I wasn't going to be able to try and swap the Bronco II seat rails to them.

I noticed while mocking them up in the cab that a 2x4 raised them enough to clear the hump in the floorboard.
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I decided to buy some 1-1/2 inch square tubing and cut pieces to act as risers to go under the ends of the rails were the mounting holes were, and bolted them in by drilling new holes and using grade 8 hardware.

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I was not able to hook up the seat heaters and cooling fans. Looking at wiring diagrams I believe that there's something missing between the seats and the dash controls to control them. I had bought some aftermarket heated seat switches that would allow me to set them on high or low, but if I don't have all of the right components to regulate the heaters I could burn them up.

I was able to add power to the seats to enable all of the power adjustments.
 

Uncle Gump

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Doesn't even look like the same truck.

I woulda given my left one for that little truck at 16.

Did you give it to him yet?
 

85_Ranger4x4

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Looks sharp!

Inquiring minds want to know, did you repaint the wheels or snag chrome steelies?
 

85_Ranger4x4

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Chrome Cragers.
I bet if you brought the white waggys to the roundup you could find somebody to help take them off your hands...
 

Peter Griffin

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I appreciate @Uncle Gump steering me over here as I work on my own project '88 BII.

Incredibly well done @Jim Oaks! As a lighting nerd I'm copying your round headlight mounting method as it seems like the most straightforward of the 3 or so variations I've seen. I think the look of the round lights is awesome and I'm fairly certain that it shouldn't be any different on my '88 than it was on this '84.

LOVE that it's a handshaker with manual windows too. That is one very lucky young man whose gonna have a seriously legit retro ride and be the envy of his classmates...
 

Jim Oaks

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Rear Passenger / Cargo Area:

Here's a shot from the rear:

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I painted / dyed the carpet on the back of the rear seats with Dupli-color vinyl and fabric coating:

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I also added a fire-extinguisher and a 12-Volt Outlet / USB Charging Station (visible on the right interior panel):

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I also have one of these mounted in my 1996 Ford Ranger (TRS-2). This allows you to USB quick charge things in the rear of the Bronco II or plug in a device that requires a cigarette style 12-volt outlet. The switch turns the charging station on and off and when it's on the digital readout on the USB port shows the battery voltage.
 

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Center Console:

One of my favorite parts of this project was the center console. Since I added some offroad lights and driving lights I needed switches to turn them on and off. I also wanted a USB port for the driver and passenger to be able to charge their phones.

After cleaning and repainting the center console I installed a Nilight 2-gang rocker switch panel with a dual USB port buy cutting out an area at the top front part of the console.

The switches are wired up so that the thin light at the bottom comes on with the headlights so you can find the switch at night. The larger light at the top comes on when the switch is turned on. The USB port is wired separately and only comes on with the key on so it doesn't drain the battery.

Since the Nilight panel is black I painted the console black to match to give it a factory look.

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I wanted to have a point for rear seat passengers to be able to charge their phones as well so I added a USB 3.0 Quick Charging Port to the rear of the center console.

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