Basic 1978-1996 Bronco History

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Apr 20, 2008
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Houston, Tx
1978: The Bronco was offered with a 351M or 400 V-8 engine. Both engines had a 2 bbl carb, a T-18 granny first gear 4 spd manual was Standard while 3 spd automatic transmission was optional. The transfer case had a 2 Speed w/1.92 low range ratio. Rear axle was the Ford 9" while front was the Dana 44. Front disc brakes were now standard. Round headlights were standard, while square headlights came with the XLT option package.

1979: Square headlights and emissions control equipment, specifically an air pump, vapor canister and a catalytic converter became standard. Also, rear driveshaft changed from 1310 to 1330 (larger) u-joints, and a larger output bearing and seal on the transfer case.

1980: Ford converted the Bronco with the Twin Traction Beam front suspension. This front axle still incorporated the Dana 44 carrier. Ford 9 " was still out back. Transfer case was now the NP 208 w/2.61 low range. Standard motor was the 300 CI inline 6 (w/ manual trans only). Optional motors were the 302 and 351 cid V-8's. 3.00 axle ratio was introduced, 3.5 was optional. Auto locking hubs were now optional also. Bronco dimensions for 1980 were reduced by 2.7 inches in length and 1.1 inches in width. Body was heavily restyled with cleaner lines and new grille.

1981: Changes included a 4 spd overdrive manual trans with a .71 4th gear The 4 spd with granny first was still available. Engine options remained. Auto-locking hubs were made Standard equip. A snow plow package was offered for the first time.

1982 Ford used up their remaining stock of 351M engines before switching over to the 351W in mid-model year 1982. All Ford products, including Bronco, returned to the use of the Ford "Blue Oval". Letters F-O-R-D were removed from the hood and the blue oval was placed in the center of the grille and on the left side of the tailgate.

1983: The I-6 was made avail with the 3 spd auto and the rear seat was now standard. 9" rear dropped in favor of new integral carrier 8.8" rear. Along with that change the stock gear ratio in the rear went from 3.50 to 3.55

1984: the 351 CID V-8, ** motor was offered. This 4bbl motor put out 210 HP at 4000 RPM vs the old 351 CID V-8 which was 156 HP @ 4000 RPM It was basically a 351W with a "Mustang 5.0 **" treatment: higher compression and a Holley 4 barrel carb. 4.10/4.11 gear ratios were also available as an option, but not with limited slip.

1985: had some engine changes. the I-6 now had a serpentine belt. The big change was the 302, multi-port EFI. HP for the 302 was now 190 and torque was up to 285. This motor was avail in California only with a manual trans. The 351 and 351 ** motors were optional. The Eddie Bauer trim package debuts, brought to the full-sized Bronco due to fabulous success with the Bronco II. Also, midside body moulding changed from chrome to black plastic.

1986: saw the 351 CID Standard engine deleted, but the 351 ** was still optional. A new overdrive 4 speed automatic (AOD) was offered with a .667, 4th gear when combined with the MPI 302.

1987 featured another major body restyling for the Bronco. The new aero look was in and the Bronco followed suit. The transfer case was replaced by a Borg-Warner 1356 with a 2.69 low range. 4.10 gearing was optional. Touch drive was first offered this year. The 351 ** V-8 was still optional and the 300 CID I-6 received Multiport fuel injection (MPI). Rear anitlock brakes were made standard.

1988: Two 5spd manuals, M5OD and M5OD-HD(?) were available. The overdrive was .8 and the HD tranny had a 5.72 first gear. The 351 CID V-8 was treated to MPI. HP increased from [email protected]@3800. Torque increased form [email protected]@2800. The entire engine line was now fuel injected and also serpentine belt equipped. Transfer case skid plate was now standard.

1989: Tip/slide front seats were made Standard to ease rear passenger ingress. Floor pan changes. Door changes - windows narrower.

1990: brought the electronic AOD and it was now the Standard auto. 300 CID and 351 CID ** engines now featured EEC-IV engine diagnostic connectors. Ford switches from a double fuel pump system to a single pump system.

1991: was the 25th anniversary of the Bronco and no long-term changes were made. However, Ford did make a Silver Anniversary Edition of the Bronco available to commemorate the occasion. This limited edition Bronco was offered only in Currant Red with gray leather interior. This was the first factory offering of leather seating on the Bronco and was only available on the Silver Anniversary Edition. The Currant Red paint was also exclusive to this edition. The E4OD became the stock automatic transmission.

1992: realized the last major body restyling in the Bronco's lifespan. This change offered much more swept front sheetmetal that curved in at the fenders. Power window/lock controls moved up the doorpanel towards the top to make them more accessible. Power mirrors are now offered for the first time. Rear passengers are restrained via integral shoulder/seat belts. Colored stripe in the tailgate bezel is changed from red to black. Leather seating is now an option on XLT and Eddie Bauer trim levels. Ford also offered the NITE option package, for only this year. The package was all black, including the top. Special graphics were applied.

1993: brought the end of the 300 CID I-6. 4-wheel anitlock brakes were now standard. Transfer case was now a New Process model 200 with low range of 2.69.

1994: brought us a drivers side airbag, side door beams and CFC free A/C. Fake rivets disappear from the optional aluminum wheels. Center hub bezel on steel and aluminum wheels changed from red to black. California V8's went from Speed density to MAF.

1995: Ford reprogrammed the E4OD automatic transmission for smoother shifts. The 351 CID V-8 went to sequential MPI with mass air in California. Lower body side trim color for Eddie Bauer package is changed from the traditional tan to bronze.

1996: last year for the Bronco, debuted OBD-II electronics. Side mirrors with integral signal lights were offered for the first time. 302 CID and 351 CID ** MPI motors were still offered. The axles were still the 8.8 inch out back offered in 1983 and Dana 44 TTB front that started in 1980. All V8's got MAF as well.

1997: Sadly, the Bronco name is laid to rest in favor of the new "Expedition" model that is based on the new F150. Pent up demand has these things currently flying out the door as fast as the dealers can unload them off the trucks. Only offered with 4-doors, the vehicle is aimed squarely at the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban. Dual air bags and 4 wheel ABS are standard. Venerable 302 and 351 Windsor motors are gone in favor of 4.6L and 5.4L variants of the Ford "modular" OHC motors. Front suspension is now double A-arm (a'la Chevy, unfortunately) and 4x4 models are sprung by torsion bars up front. First Ford 2WD offering in this class.

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