92 Bronco F250 Chassis and 5.9L Cummins Diesel Engine Swap - Documented build thread

Scottburgesscpa

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Hello everyone. I hope you all enjoy following this thread. I am new to this board and have never done this before so I apologize for any errors or mistakes. Let me say that I am NOT a mechanic but I have been enjoying the automotive hobby since I was 12 years old. I am now 44 years old and have restored several vehicles from the ground up - although never documented in a thread. I only get to work on the truck in the evenings and weekends since I am a practicing accountant "9 to 5". I live in the Katy Texas area and would love any help from my fellow members in the way of advice or coming over to my house to help me wrench on this thing! This whole thing started when my 15-year-old son started shopping for his first vehicle. We are an outdoor family and go camping, hunting, and the beach a lot. He loved the idea of being able to take off the top and enjoy all the versatility it offers. So we found him a 96 Bronco 4x4 with the 351 motor in it. He loves his Bronco. The problem is....I also loved it! So I started shopping for one of my own. I found this 92 Bronco XL 5.0 in College Station, just outside of Houston Texas. It seemed to be in excellent condition inside and out. There was only one small rust spot above the driver's side door. The engine was leaking a little oil and was horribly underpowered. It had 289k miles on it. Here are the pics of the vehicle on the day I bought it...
 

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Scottburgesscpa

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I went through a lot of researching, planning, and shopping before I decided I wanted to make a big investment in time and money to get the truck where I wanted. Several months ago, before the Bronco ever came into my thought process, I was shopping for a diesel for a different project and I came across a 97 Dodge 2500 4x4 with the 5.9L Cummins. It was a total show truck several years ago, but had been in a rollover and totaled. It had lots of "go-fast" goodies on it and a $10,000 Suncoast transmission. Even though it was totaled, the frame was straight and it still ran and drove just fine if you could squat down in the seat (since the roof was crushed) and didn't mind not having a windshield! Anyway, it sat for a while and I ended up selling the other project I was going to use the 5.9 for. So after a few months of sitting, and after I bought the Bronco, it only made sense to use the entire drivetrain from the Dodge for the Bronco conversion. here are some pics of the Dodge in its show truck days and after the rollover...
 

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Scottburgesscpa

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Now for the chassis. I wanted something a little more modern. 4x4 was a must. I wanted 4 wheel disc brakes. I was shopping on Facebook marketplace and came across a complete 2010 F250 4x4 chassis. According to the owner, it had been involved in a rollover and he had disassembled it little by little and parted it out. It still had many parts on it like the PCM, fuel tank, hydraulic brake booster module and lots of other goodies. I paid $800 for it originally, but I was able to sell many of those goodies that were left on it and was actually able to pay for the chassis completely... SO....the chassis was essentially free! It already had been leveled (the front end was lifted 2" to match the rear and level the truck) and had a nice steering stabilizer installed. Here are some pics of the F250 chassis as I was stripping it down and getting rid of all the things I didn't need for the Bronco.
 

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Scottburgesscpa

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The F250 chassis was a crew cab long bed and had a 156+ inch wheelbase. This created a problem because, after a lot of researching and measuring, I finally got the correct wheelbase for the Bronco - 104 11/16". I've been watching every car TV show made anywhere in the world for the past 30+ years so I had a good idea of what needed to be done. However, I refreshed my memory by watching a bunch of YouTube videos and reading articles on sectioning frames. I used blue painters tape, a black sharpie marker, a carpenter's square and a 4-foot level to aid in the layout. I spent over 4 hours measuring and marking out the cut lines. Here are some pics of the layout.....
 

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Scottburgesscpa

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Now it was time to make the cuts....the point of no return. I was about to cut 51+ inches out of a perfectly good chassis! In all my years of tooling around and wrenching, I have never done anything remotely close to this complicated. If you zoom in on the pics, you might see its not perfect...the cuts were made by hand, not a CNC. It only took around an hour to make the cuts with a reciprocating saw and grinder. I used some old scrap 2x4s and angle iron along with some carpenter's clamps to support the frame in the front and back so when the cuts were made, it wouldn't flip up or down on me. I made the cuts and pushed the frame back together. After some minor tweaking, I was able to line up the sides and tack weld it back in one piece. As of today, this is where the frame stands. I will probably get to work on it some more tonight after work. My next steps are to measure, measure, and measure some more and make sure everything checks out before I do the final welds. After I'm satisfied with the dimensions and make the final welds, I will add some "fish plates" over the cuts and also box the inside of the frame to help add strength to the cut areas. So I may not have a lot of pics coming as the next few steps of the process will be relatively slow, but I'll keep everyone posted as me and my son make progress on this beast! I'm super excited for this build and can't wait to share my journey with all you guys! Here are some pics after I made the cuts and slammed the two sides back together!
 

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Skitter302

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When you originally posted the idea of putting a Bronco on a 2010 frame I thought you were forming just the theory of doing it. Well, looks like I'm gunna be take'n to school and get show'n some cool stuff here. CAN'T Wait to see more!!!
 

Scottburgesscpa

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The time had come to set the 2010 F250 frame aside and get started on the next part of the project - pulling the '97 Dodge 2500 into my garage so I could get access to what will eventually be the beating heart of my dream project....the 5.9L Cummins! During my time off for Christmas, my son and I worked on it. The donor '97 was in a rollover but still had lots of good parts on it I plan to sell. However, living in a neighborhood with a small 2 car garage makes it very difficult to work with any kind of efficiency. We actually had to cut the roof off the cab because the truck had an 8" lift on it and it wouldn't fit under the header of the garage door. In addition, I thought by removing the fenders, core support, and hood, it would be easier to pull the 5.9L. Well wasn't I surprised!! It wasn't! It was super hard...not so much the disconnecting part, but the sheer weight. I wanted to pull the motor, transmission and transfer case out all at once but, in hindsight, that may have been a mistake! I had a gantry crane structure I had spent a lot of money on for the various heavy lifting part of this overall project...you know like pulling motors, lifting frames and bodies, replacing them over and over several times.....etc. Not only did I buy the gantry and 2,000lb-rated electric hoist, I had a custom weight distribution plate made and bought a 12ft long I-Beam to replace the 8ft long I-Beam that came with the unit. Anyway....don't ever spend $1,000 on a gantry system where the parts came from Harbor Freight. It certainly was able to support the weight, but there was simply no point in the gantry being on wheels.....it slid all over my garage all weekend and gave me absolutely no leverage....leverage I desperately needed to get this hulk of a motor out of its resting place for the past 22 years. It basically took me and my son the better part of two days to dislodge her using the tools we had at our disposal. Here are some pics of this part of the journey. WE GOT IT!!!! Now the fun begins!!
 

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Shaggy

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Wow! Just wow! So awesome you are posting the build here. Look forward on seeing the updates!
 

Scottburgesscpa

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Well, it’s been a couple of weeks since my last update. Rarely do these big projects go in a “linear” manner. So, I have been working on ironing some things out for down the road. I’ve found a company that will custom build LCD digital gauges for me (TheOneGauge.com) and sent them my old cluster so they can fit the new gauges correctly. I also found a company to custom build my complete air suspension system (NFamus Metal Fab and Air Suspension) and engaged them. I’ve been spending a lot of time researching and searching for parts to integrate these various different vehicles. For instance, the brakes in a 2010 F250 are run through a booster that runs off hydraulic pressure from the power steering pump. How do I make that work? The air conditioning integration and all the different parts needed has been a challenge. Simplifying the charging system (one wire alternator) and making sure I have enough output from the alternator to run the modern electrical features I intend to install (power windows, power seats, high output audio system, etc.). I ordered a new aluminum radiator from Griffin that has cooling capacity for up to 700HP. I intend to run a manual fan instead of electric fans. I had to get a newer small footprint, high torque starter. I had to get a new fuel tank and appropriate sending unit for diesel that will mount behind the rear axle, yet still have enough capacity so I don’t have to stop at the gas station every day! Anyway – so lots and lots of work searching for the right stuff.

Now onto the good stuff….We finally dropped the drivetrain into the chassis. I finished the welding of the z-cut and adding the “fish plates” to the inside of the frame rails for reinforcement and bolted the motor in its final resting place. I used some seriously heavy-duty mounts I got from DeStroked.com. These things were awesome and they fit like a glove! They also have a little over 2” of adjustment front to back so I can better position the engine when I get the body and sheet metal in place. I have not mounted the transmission cross-member yet for a couple of reasons. The suspension I designed is comprised of a 4 link both front and rear. Since the chassis is so short, both the front and rear 4 links will tie into a center bracket - much like you might see on a tube chassis monster truck. When the suspension brackets arrive, I may be able to integrate the tranny cross-member into the center tie-in for the 4 links somehow….anyway. Here are some pics of the engine in the new chassis. To be continued…..!!
 

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Shaggy

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Well, it’s been a couple of weeks since my last update. Rarely do these big projects go in a “linear” manner. So, I have been working on ironing some things out for down the road. I’ve found a company that will custom build LCD digital gauges for me (TheOneGauge.com) and sent them my old cluster so they can fit the new gauges correctly. I also found a company to custom build my complete air suspension system (NFamus Metal Fab and Air Suspension) and engaged them. I’ve been spending a lot of time researching and searching for parts to integrate these various different vehicles. For instance, the brakes in a 2010 F250 are run through a booster that runs off hydraulic pressure from the power steering pump. How do I make that work? The air conditioning integration and all the different parts needed has been a challenge. Simplifying the charging system (one wire alternator) and making sure I have enough output from the alternator to run the modern electrical features I intend to install (power windows, power seats, high output audio system, etc.). I ordered a new aluminum radiator from Griffin that has cooling capacity for up to 700HP. I intend to run a manual fan instead of electric fans. I had to get a newer small footprint, high torque starter. I had to get a new fuel tank and appropriate sending unit for diesel that will mount behind the rear axle, yet still have enough capacity so I don’t have to stop at the gas station every day! Anyway – so lots and lots of work searching for the right stuff.

Now onto the good stuff….We finally dropped the drivetrain into the chassis. I finished the welding of the z-cut and adding the “fish plates” to the inside of the frame rails for reinforcement and bolted the motor in its final resting place. I used some seriously heavy-duty mounts I got from DeStroked.com. These things were awesome and they fit like a glove! They also have a little over 2” of adjustment front to back so I can better position the engine when I get the body and sheet metal in place. I have not mounted the transmission cross-member yet for a couple of reasons. The suspension I designed is comprised of a 4 link both front and rear. Since the chassis is so short, both the front and rear 4 links will tie into a center bracket - much like you might see on a tube chassis monster truck. When the suspension brackets arrive, I may be able to integrate the tranny cross-member into the center tie-in for the 4 links somehow….anyway. Here are some pics of the engine in the new chassis. To be continued…..!!
Nice. So what type of LCD setup are you going with with your odometer?
 

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