4Door Bronco build

patl

Adventurer
Haven't been a member on this site for long and my computer skills are struggling, so please bear with me as I try to document the buildup of what I consider to be the ultimate Expedition vehicle- at least built in this country. It seems I got the cart built before the horse (Offroad Trailer build in East Tn), and was nearly finished my trailer before I ever began posting, so this time I'll try try to document as we go.
Over the past decades many different types of vehicles have worked and traveled around the world, but few have been from the US. For my needs 4 doors is necessary for ease of passenger comfort and rear access. Other desirable features include plenty of power (read V8), running gear strong enough to handle terrain and load requirements, able to tow at least 2500 lbs, and preferably have a removable top. In my opinion the early Bronco meets all requirements but one- 4 doors.
Over its 11 year run the early or "Classic" Bronco evolved into arguably the best 4wd platform ever built in this country. V8 power, power steering and power disk brakes up front on the Dana 44, big bearing 9" out back, gear driven 2 speed Transfer case, and more room inside than its contemporaries of the era except for the Scout. All this while still remaining small and nimble for off road situations. Now, if only it had 4 doors!
This is not a new concept. There is at least one open version of a 4 door running around on the West coast, and a nice Bronco showed up at the Bronco Driver event in Townsend, Tn. a few years back complete with 4 doors and a stretched hardtop. Nice job, but just a little long for my needs.
So this past year while talking to a friend, Thomas Kinser, of Krawler's Edge Bronco Restorations, it was revealed to me that not only is my dream shared by others, but a 4D Bronco was already built and sitting on a jig waiting for a stretched half cab top to be built and fitted. Evidently this is a project he and his partner, Rick Craft, had been working on for over 2 years in anticipation of a trip to Alaska. Rick's version allowed extra seating for his kids without compromising rear storage. It also had 4 functioning doors, although the rear doors were shortened both for looks and to make the overall length a little more off road friendly. Conversations over the next few months with Thomas led to an agreement to help me build my vision of the perfect Expedition vehicle. My dream came out of the mental stage and began taking shape in reality.
I found a body and frame locally in fair condition (most Broncos you find these days are pretty rough), and it was blasted and put on a rotisserie to repair all sheet metal and holes from PO. It took 3 of us a week to get the tub back into shape and then the real fun began.
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Rick has a wider custom tube frame, built by Thomas, going under his which makes installing modular motors and 4 link suspension easier due to the narrow Bronco frame. Since I am going with a Windsor motor and lifted stock style suspension, my frame will just be stretched the required amount. The Bronco has a fully boxed frame which should be plenty strong if done correctly.
Next the frame was put on the jig and secured. Then cut - no turning back now! The body was then set back on the frame to undergo dissecting. This requires cutting and separating in many areas until completely cut in two.
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That's where it is for now. I will add more as the build progresses.

Back again- very productive few days despite a small setback. A Bronco supplier sent some stainless lift off door hinges with a mismatched set- 3 driver and 1 passenger. They quickly corrected their mistake, but it took a couple of days to receive the new set. These hinges allow removal of doors to work on the body without having to disturb hinge placement on the post. They can also be bent slightly to help in alignment without doing damage to the hinge.

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The tub has now been completely cut in two, and a new combination hinge/ strike pillar built by Thomas. A new set of A and B pillars were carefully cut and fitted together, and then welded. Since this is his second set, having already done this with Rick's truck, things went well with even a couple of improvements. One good thing about working with a perfectionist- there is never an end to attention to detail. Thomas is always striving to improve and make things better. This attention to detail is what helped get a Krawler's Edge restored Bronco invited up to center stage at last November's SEMA show in Las Vegas, complete with an interview by Barry McGuire of "Car Crazy". There are always new ideas and innovations coming out of his shop.

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By the end of this coming week we will hopefully have at least one set of posts installed with doors swinging. Both would be nice, but the Bronco Driver SuperCelebration will start Thursday in Townsend, Tn. and and Krawler's Edge will have a booth there. So we will see how it goes. If you are local, come out and visit with us. Should be well over 200 old Broncos there this year.
 
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AFBronco235

Crew Chief
Nice to see some Bronco love on here. Toughest 4wd out there. I still can't believe it was discontinued. (I'm still holding out that Ford will surprise the world in 2016, the 20th anniversary of the Bronco production end, with a new line. Stop laughing!) All Broncos, regardless of the year were built far superior to their competitors in power, toughness, reliability and handling.

Anyways, the only concern I have is stretching the frame for the added seats. You'll have to do the welds perfect, with no shortcuts on cooling, to maintain the durability of the original frame. Do it right and it will be flawless, do it wrong and your frame will snap in half. Good luck!
 

patl

Adventurer
The guys I'm working with have plenty of experience. No end of resources to make sure it's done right. The only good thing about Ford's discontinuing the Bronco is the unbelievable way the prices have soared in the last 10 years. My 76 has increased in value over 5 times what I paid for it. Even if Ford does a remake of the Bronco, it will never come close to the ability of these Classics. Thanks for the encouragement.
 

patl

Adventurer
How are things in Canada? Went to Montreal and Quebec several years ago. Loved it. Especially the old city. Can't wait to put this thing on the road this summer.
 

patl

Adventurer
Well, It's Friday morning and we had a short week. Due to engineering and having the pieces made to tie the frame extensions in, we only got the inner rockers tied in and bracing to ensure everything stays in place. Also Thomas had to get ready for the Bronco Driver event, so we're pretty happy where we are now. Four doors are swinging and floor is measured and everything sent to machine shop to be bent. Will be ready for Monday when we get back.

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Plan is by the end of next week to have frame, rockers, and floor welded in and remaining welding on rear doors completed. If we meet this goal, we'll be ahead of schedule and just about ready for paint. Inside tub will be light grey bed liner, under body will be black liner, and right now leaning towards white for body color. Still not 100 % sure. Decision will have to be made soon.
If any Ford and Bronco guys out there local to East Tenn, come out this weekend and hang out at the Bronco Driver Super Celebration in Townsend. Indications are there will be over 300 Broncos attending. Hope to have 100 in the ride through Cades Cove Friday morning. Last year we had 77. Got a lot of attention!
 
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patl

Adventurer
Hey Todd,
Missed a good one . Over 260 Broncos registered plus 30-40 running around. Think we broke the 300 mark.

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Just one row.

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So many Broncos parking became a problem.

Brought my camping trailer just for fun and got a lot of compliments.

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