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Fixing up my 1970 Bronco, where do I start?

Squinge

New Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2022
Messages
4
Hey Folks,

I'm new to the Forum and also new to Broncos. My brother and I, who is also on this forum and told me about it, recently inherited two Broncos from my father who passed away last year due to Cancer.

While his is getting fixed up at a body shop, we've been pondering what to do about mine.

My Bronco is a 1970 Bronco Sport. It's been sitting around in my father's garage for about 20 years now. It's in pretty decent condition with the body being pretty solid will little rust.

We were wondering what we should look for when it comes to refurbishing the car in order to get it running again, and what is a good estimate on the cost of fixing it ourselves vs. taking it to a professional to fix. If you guys like, I can even provide some photos if you want more specifics.

Thanks in advance for the help!

Squinge
 

BPerry

Contributor
Newbie
Joined
Dec 7, 2021
Messages
168
First things first, go speak to your banker. Make sure you have plenty of equity in your home for refinance.

Second, off to your financial advisor and scrap the kids college fund.

Third, get on the Vendor websites and order one of everything!

Last but not least, pick a spot and dig in!!! Have a little fun along tha way of course!! 😁

Bp
 

NickMcAFP

Newbie
Joined
Aug 8, 2021
Messages
70
Loc.
Sturbridge
The body and frame are solid enough. Not perfect, but road worthy. The goal, and please correct me if I'm wrong Squinge, it to get it running. From there he can figure out what needs to be changed/upgraded/etc.
 

Broncobowsher

Contributor
Total hack
Joined
Jun 4, 2002
Messages
33,587
Start? Pick your ending point. Do you want to just drive it as is? Keep it original, just fix what needs fixing? Do you want to do a custom build? Full restoration? Those are 3 very different directions you can go. Current condition + what you want it to turn out as will point a direction.

A strange thing, the more you spend on it often results in driving it less. Full restoration or full custom build will often leave people with a garage queen that don't want to take out much for fear of scratching the perfect paint, getting a door ding, or just having to clean it. If you are happy with how it is now, other than needing to get it back on the road, that will probably result in the least expensive and most useful route to go.
Change fluids, change rubber parts, address fuel system (tank is often too rusty inside to salvage), address cooling system (radiator is often too rotten in the core)
Rubber parts gets pretty extensive. Fuel hose, radiator hose are often first thoughts. Brake lines are also important. Master cylinder and wheel cylinders are also known for failing very soon after being returned to service, rubber parts inside. Fuel tank selector valve, fuel pump. And tires, those old ones will fail inside of 100 miles and can do a lot of damage if they go at speed.
 

EB70

Sr. Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2006
Messages
678
The last bronco I did I changed directions on the fly. Not good for anyone. It was supposed to end up a really low dollar crawler, rattle can almost. Ended up somewhere in between, became too nice to really bash for me at least, but no where near nice enough to show etc. Not doing that again.

Current daily Bronco is rough enough to use at will-staying away from dents though- but has all the cool patina. A door ding wouldn't hurt me horribly because it is not restored, but it is nice enough to enjoy.

If it were me again, starting over, I would get it safe as Broncobowsher says. I would drive it alot first. Alot of driving and then things will become clear to you most likely.
 

NickMcAFP

Newbie
Joined
Aug 8, 2021
Messages
70
Loc.
Sturbridge
The last bronco I did I changed directions on the fly. Not good for anyone. It was supposed to end up a really low dollar crawler, rattle can almost. Ended up somewhere in between, became too nice to really bash for me at least, but no where near nice enough to show etc. Not doing that again.

Current daily Bronco is rough enough to use at will-staying away from dents though- but has all the cool patina. A door ding wouldn't hurt me horribly because it is not restored, but it is nice enough to enjoy.

If it were me again, starting over, I would get it safe as Broncobowsher says. I would drive it alot first. Alot of driving and then things will become clear to you most likely.
I think this is the goal. We started making a list of things; fluids, hoses, brakes, plugs.. but I'm very sure we are going to forget something so I encouraged him to reach out here for some additional guidance. My truck was too far gone to do it this way but his is pretty solid. It's just been sitting since 2002.
 

NickMcAFP

Newbie
Joined
Aug 8, 2021
Messages
70
Loc.
Sturbridge
Start? Pick your ending point. Do you want to just drive it as is? Keep it original, just fix what needs fixing? Do you want to do a custom build? Full restoration? Those are 3 very different directions you can go. Current condition + what you want it to turn out as will point a direction.

A strange thing, the more you spend on it often results in driving it less. Full restoration or full custom build will often leave people with a garage queen that don't want to take out much for fear of scratching the perfect paint, getting a door ding, or just having to clean it. If you are happy with how it is now, other than needing to get it back on the road, that will probably result in the least expensive and most useful route to go.
Change fluids, change rubber parts, address fuel system (tank is often too rusty inside to salvage), address cooling system (radiator is often too rotten in the core)
Rubber parts gets pretty extensive. Fuel hose, radiator hose are often first thoughts. Brake lines are also important. Master cylinder and wheel cylinders are also known for failing very soon after being returned to service, rubber parts inside. Fuel tank selector valve, fuel pump. And tires, those old ones will fail inside of 100 miles and can do a lot of damage if they go at speed.
The current endpoint is to take what is there and make it safe/functional.

Right now he's running the factory 302, Edelbrock 4 barrel, factory 3 speed manual converted to a floor shift. Already has 33s and 4:10 gears. It was built up pretty well when our father got the thing. I've suggested swapping in a disc brake setup in the front since the brakes need to be overhauled anyway.

The gas tank didn't occur to me. These are the things we are worried about. Obvious stuff like oil, plugs, belts, tires were on our list but we're bound to miss something. We're hoping the community can flesh out the list a bit more.

He's trying to keep the total cost below 20,000.. which is why we are exploring doing this ourselves.
 

67sport

Contributor
Jr. Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2010
Messages
201
Loc.
Shawnigan Lake, BC, Canada
$20k with your stated goals and starting point should be more than achievable. If body, frame and drive train are serviceable, then fluids through out but not much more needed there. Check driveshaft u joints and cv's, and rebuild/replace if needed.
Replace the rear fuel tank, sender, fuel line and mechanical pump. Bypass the front tank and selector valve for now, if it has an auxiliary tank. Power disc front brakes are nice and increase safety and driveablilty, re-build the rears, keep them drums.
A power steering kit if not already equipped will mean you will enjoy driving it much more.
New rad, hoses, and probably a water pump while you're in there. Depending on location, replace or bypass the heater core.
New tires are necessary.
Determine what it has for a distributor/ignition system, and rebuild/upgrade depending on what you want and what you have. Ask for opinions here, there are lots of options and lots of opinions.
All the vendors are great, so buy from where ever shipping is best, and shipping a bunch at once will save you money.
All the above can be done cheaper if you go step by step, system by system and only replace what is needed after testing, but it seems you guys want to go at it like a project, with a hit list of stuff to do.
Take your time and enjoy the build, sounds like a great way honour your dad, I have 2 Broncos and each of my kids will get one some day. They already go back and forth with which one they each want.
 
OP
OP
S

Squinge

New Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2022
Messages
4
$20k with your stated goals and starting point should be more than achievable. If body, frame and drive train are serviceable, then fluids through out but not much more needed there. Check driveshaft u joints and cv's, and rebuild/replace if needed.
Replace the rear fuel tank, sender, fuel line and mechanical pump. Bypass the front tank and selector valve for now, if it has an auxiliary tank. Power disc front brakes are nice and increase safety and driveablilty, re-build the rears, keep them drums.
A power steering kit if not already equipped will mean you will enjoy driving it much more.
New rad, hoses, and probably a water pump while you're in there. Depending on location, replace or bypass the heater core.
New tires are necessary.
Determine what it has for a distributor/ignition system, and rebuild/upgrade depending on what you want and what you have. Ask for opinions here, there are lots of options and lots of opinions.
All the vendors are great, so buy from where ever shipping is best, and shipping a bunch at once will save you money.
All the above can be done cheaper if you go step by step, system by system and only replace what is needed after testing, but it seems you guys want to go at it like a project, with a hit list of stuff to do.
Take your time and enjoy the build, sounds like a great way honour your dad, I have 2 Broncos and each of my kids will get one some day. They already go back and forth with which one they each want.
It’s like my brother said, right now we just want the bronco to actually function and that it’s safe to actually drive. I probably should have been a little more specific in the OP. Cost was also something we were wondering.

I for one wish to try and fix as much as we can without having to go to a professional.

I understand that will probably happen sooner or later. Hopefully we can get the easier stuff fixed ourselves
 

m_m70

Contributor
Sr. Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2001
Messages
1,062
Loc.
Pacifica, CA
Right now he's running the factory 302, Edelbrock 4 barrel, factory 3 speed manual converted to a floor shift. Already has 33s and 4:10 gears. It was built up pretty well when our father got the thing.
So has this just been sitting for 20 years?? Like not moved/touched/motor turned over etc.????
 

jerry

Contributor
Sr. Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2002
Messages
656
Loc.
Bakersfield, CA
I guess a little bit of insight I can provide. Mine was parked for about 15 years. (bought it in the early 2000's then had to park it for a while - my kids were young and money was tight.) Here are some things I ran into over the last few years as I got it running again.

Take the appropriate safety precautions. A useful addition while you're testing might be a battery disconnect: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001N729FS/?tag=cbama-20

You can pull the plugs and, see if the engine will turn. Check / replace oil and filter as necessary.

At some point, plan on replacing all of the radiator and heater hoses and belts.

Likewise, check hoses to distributor and brake booster (if retrofitted).

Plan on draining the gas tank(s). Inspect all of the fuel lines, replacing as necessary.

The "gotcha" on fuel system for me was when I went to refill my main tank... The filler hose failed and I dumped gas all over. You may want to plan on replacing these as well (or at least keep an eye on 'em.) Clean / rebuild the carb - kits are readily available.

Take a quick look at the electrical to make sure there's nothing chewed / going to short out and burn your truck to the ground.

Block the wheels, and make sure the transmission is in neutral and parking brake engaged. It will crank in gear, and the clutch does not need to be pressed.

See if it'll fire up. :) Check timing.

Once you do that this should motivate you to go through and more thoughly inspect / lubricate everything else. Don't drive it unless you're 100% sure it's safe, get someone to check things if you need to - no shame in doing so.

The first time you drive it - go slow. Stock 70's did not have power brakes or front discs, nor power steering.

Most importantly - have fun. Don't sweat the small stuff and the troubles you will inevitable run into!
 
Last edited:

m_m70

Contributor
Sr. Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2001
Messages
1,062
Loc.
Pacifica, CA
OK so I had some time this morning and put together a list of what "I" would be looking at doing and the cost of the parts. This list is rather extensive but I think it covers most items for a rig that's been sitting for 20+ years. Note, this may be overkill and not all things may need replacing. So kind of look at it as a worst case scenario that all of these parts would need replacing eg. fuel tanks, radiator etc.. Some may be fine with just a flush/good cleaning.
I use Wild Horses because they're local to me. Our Bronco vendors carry mostly the same parts and prices don't vary much between the vendors so you may want to use the vendor closest to you to save on shipping cost. I didn't include any shipping cost on the list and that's going to be a big factor in some of the items.
I've also included item numbers from Wild Horses. Some may not be correct as there are some variables that you would need to clarify such as - front and rear axle size.
I've also assumed that you would be doing this work yourself so no labor is included in (varies so much by region it would be a waste of time anyway to try and estimate).
There may be more and I'm sure others will chime in on things I've missed.


ActionParts $W/H Part #Part Source
Engine
BatteryReplace
$120.00​
Local
PlugsReplace
$30.00​
Local
Plug WiresReplace
$40.00​
Local
Distributor Cap/RotorReplace
$30.00​
Local
Pertronix upgradeReplace
$87.00​
8080​
Wild Horses
Oil/FilterChange
$45.00​
Local
BeltsChange
$30.00​
Local
Cooling
HosesReplace
$35.00​
5023​
Wild Horses
ThermostatReplace
$27.00​
5058​
Wild Horses
RadiatorService
$380.00​
5013​
Wild Horses
Heater CoreReplace
$50.00​
5218​
Wild Horses
Heater Core HoseReplace
$40.00​
5203​
Wild Horses
Anti FreezeReplace
$30.00​
Local
Fuel
Tank-mainService/Replace
$160.00​
9707​
Wild Horses
Tank-auxService/Replace
$190.00​
9797​
Wild Horses
Sending Unit-mainReplace
$60.00​
9711​
Wild Horses
Sending Unit-auxReplace
$60.00​
9711​
Wild Horses
Tank-Filler Tube mainCheck/Replace
$35.00​
9706​
Wild Horses
Tank-Filler Tube auxCheck/Replace
$40.00​
9746​
Wild Horses
Carburetor/Edelbrock 1406Rebuild
$22.00​
Amazon
Air CleanerReplace
$20.00​
Local
Fuel FiltersReplace
$25.00​
Local
Soft LinesReplace
$40.00​
Local
Fuel PumpReplace
$38.00​
8023​
Wild Horses
Brakes
Front Drum-Full Rebuild KitService/Replace
$310.00​
3070​
Wild Horses
Rear Drum-Full Rebuild Kit LGService/Replace
$290.00​
3070​
Wild Horses
Master CylinderReplace
$80.00​
3089​
Wild Horses
Soft Lines - MCReplace
$70.00​
3199​
Wild Horses
Soft Lines - FrontReplace
$64.00​
3177​
Wild Horses
Soft Lines - RearReplace
$64.00​
3189​
Wild Horses
Misc
Wheel Bearings front D-30Service/Replace
$85.00​
8856​
Wild Horses
Wheel Bearings rear Lg BearingReplace
$80.00​
8625​
Wild Horses
Rear Axle Seals Lg BearingReplace
$18.00​
8634​
Wild Horses
TiresReplace
$1,250.00​
Local
U-Joints - GreaseService
$20.00​
Local
Differential Front GasketReplace
$6.00​
8960​
Wild Horses
Differential Rear GasketReplace
$10.00​
8677​
Wild Horses
Transfer Case GasketReplace
$10.00​
8594​
Wild Horses
Differential OilReplace
$55.00​
Local
Transfer Case OilReplace
$24.00​
Local
Manual Transmission OilReplace
$12.00​
Local
Total Parts $
$4,082.00​
Tax @ 10%
$408.20​
Good Upgrades
Front Disc BrakesReplace
$745.00​
3005​
Wild Horses
Front Drum Kit CreditCredit
-$310.00​
Front Wheel Bearing CreditCredit
-$85.00​
Tax
$35.00​
Total Disc Upgrade
$385.00​
Project Total w/disc upgrade
$4,875.20​
Project Total w/o disc upgrade
$4,490.20​
 

NickMcAFP

Newbie
Joined
Aug 8, 2021
Messages
70
Loc.
Sturbridge
OK so I had some time this morning and put together a list of what "I" would be looking at doing and the cost of the parts. This list is rather extensive but I think it covers most items for a rig that's been sitting for 20+ years. Note, this may be overkill and not all things may need replacing. So kind of look at it as a worst case scenario that all of these parts would need replacing eg. fuel tanks, radiator etc.. Some may be fine with just a flush/good cleaning.
I use Wild Horses because they're local to me. Our Bronco vendors carry mostly the same parts and prices don't vary much between the vendors so you may want to use the vendor closest to you to save on shipping cost. I didn't include any shipping cost on the list and that's going to be a big factor in some of the items.
I've also included item numbers from Wild Horses. Some may not be correct as there are some variables that you would need to clarify such as - front and rear axle size.
I've also assumed that you would be doing this work yourself so no labor is included in (varies so much by region it would be a waste of time anyway to try and estimate).
There may be more and I'm sure others will chime in on things I've missed.


ActionParts $W/H Part #Part Source
Engine
BatteryReplace
$120.00​
Local
PlugsReplace
$30.00​
Local
Plug WiresReplace
$40.00​
Local
Distributor Cap/RotorReplace
$30.00​
Local
Pertronix upgradeReplace
$87.00​
8080​
Wild Horses
Oil/FilterChange
$45.00​
Local
BeltsChange
$30.00​
Local
Cooling
HosesReplace
$35.00​
5023​
Wild Horses
ThermostatReplace
$27.00​
5058​
Wild Horses
RadiatorService
$380.00​
5013​
Wild Horses
Heater CoreReplace
$50.00​
5218​
Wild Horses
Heater Core HoseReplace
$40.00​
5203​
Wild Horses
Anti FreezeReplace
$30.00​
Local
Fuel
Tank-mainService/Replace
$160.00​
9707​
Wild Horses
Tank-auxService/Replace
$190.00​
9797​
Wild Horses
Sending Unit-mainReplace
$60.00​
9711​
Wild Horses
Sending Unit-auxReplace
$60.00​
9711​
Wild Horses
Tank-Filler Tube mainCheck/Replace
$35.00​
9706​
Wild Horses
Tank-Filler Tube auxCheck/Replace
$40.00​
9746​
Wild Horses
Carburetor/Edelbrock 1406Rebuild
$22.00​
Amazon
Air CleanerReplace
$20.00​
Local
Fuel FiltersReplace
$25.00​
Local
Soft LinesReplace
$40.00​
Local
Fuel PumpReplace
$38.00​
8023​
Wild Horses
Brakes
Front Drum-Full Rebuild KitService/Replace
$310.00​
3070​
Wild Horses
Rear Drum-Full Rebuild Kit LGService/Replace
$290.00​
3070​
Wild Horses
Master CylinderReplace
$80.00​
3089​
Wild Horses
Soft Lines - MCReplace
$70.00​
3199​
Wild Horses
Soft Lines - FrontReplace
$64.00​
3177​
Wild Horses
Soft Lines - RearReplace
$64.00​
3189​
Wild Horses
Misc
Wheel Bearings front D-30Service/Replace
$85.00​
8856​
Wild Horses
Wheel Bearings rear Lg BearingReplace
$80.00​
8625​
Wild Horses
Rear Axle Seals Lg BearingReplace
$18.00​
8634​
Wild Horses
TiresReplace
$1,250.00​
Local
U-Joints - GreaseService
$20.00​
Local
Differential Front GasketReplace
$6.00​
8960​
Wild Horses
Differential Rear GasketReplace
$10.00​
8677​
Wild Horses
Transfer Case GasketReplace
$10.00​
8594​
Wild Horses
Differential OilReplace
$55.00​
Local
Transfer Case OilReplace
$24.00​
Local
Manual Transmission OilReplace
$12.00​
Local
Total Parts $
$4,082.00​
Tax @ 10%
$408.20​
Good Upgrades
Front Disc BrakesReplace
$745.00​
3005​
Wild Horses
Front Drum Kit CreditCredit
-$310.00​
Front Wheel Bearing CreditCredit
-$85.00​
Tax
$35.00​
Total Disc Upgrade
$385.00​
Project Total w/disc upgrade
$4,875.20​
Project Total w/o disc upgrade
$4,490.20​
This is absolutely fantastic! I can't thank you enough!
 

Broncobowsher

Contributor
Total hack
Joined
Jun 4, 2002
Messages
33,587
Really is amazing how much the nickle and dime stuff adds up.

I did an engine refresh a few years back, pull engine, never took the heads off as I knew I would get into a full rebuild if I did. Gaskets, aluminum high rise intake, cam, lifters, timing set, oil pump, and rolled in some fresh bearings. Few more odds and ends. It was $1k, and that was before the prices went nuts. This was a get it running without drooling all the fluids all over the ground. Intake was a big chunk of that, but still all that little stuff adds up.
 
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