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My next 4x4 project is going to be a full size Bronco. I wanted something that will pull a 6000 lb. trailer, with good off road ability and a removeable top. The last Bronco that had a removeable top was the 1986 model. After that, the rear shoulder belts anchored in the top, so removing it was tougher.

I found an '86 with a tired 351 windsor, C6 transmission and a 9" rear. The transmission slips, but C6's are an easy rebuild, and I just happen to have a 351 Cleveland that will drop in with a few minor mods.

 First step is to freshen the 351C.

This one is an abused crate engine that starved for oil, siezed the center cam bearing, broke the cam and sat in someone's garage for ten years.
old motor

That's a 4V intake on a set of 2V heads. Probably ran bad due to vacuum leaks. Notice the mismatch below.

After dissassembly and measuring everything, I found good cylinder walls and pistons, but the cam bearing metal made short work of the crank journals. I dropped the crank at the machine shop, who machined it .010" undersize on the rod journals and .020" on the mains.

There is a difference between 2 bbl Cleveland heads and 351M heads, in the exhaust port. Notice the bulge in the 'M' head above the exhaust valve guide boss (lower). I don't know what this does to flow, so I used the Cleveland heads.


I spent just a little time in the Cleveland heads, smoothing rough edges and grinding away the thermactor bump in the exhaust port.


I wanted to do a 3 angle grind on the valve seats, but the 2.05" intake valve doesn't fit the seat too well. Notice how low the gray line is in the intake seat. This is from lapping compound.

There's not enough room to do three angles with this valve. A 2.19" intake would work much better.
The exhaust valve and seat worked out fine. The bronze guides were already installed, by the way...

Cleaned the pistons, quick honed it for cross hatch, and installed new rings and ARP rod bolts (most bottom-end failures in Fords are rod bolt failures), and installed the pistons...

I modified the points distributor to Duraspark II by installing a plate, reluctor, pickup, springs and upper shaft from a DSII distributor.

Installing the Edelbrock Performer intake. The Edelbrock actually has smaller ports than the 2V heads. If it were a race motor, I'd port match. Actually, if it were a race motor, I'd scrap the Performer and go with a better intake anyway. The felpro 1240 gasket is the correct one to use (instead of the tray type) with an aluminum intake or if you are building a Windsor with Cleveland heads (note the Windsor water port in the intake face). I glue the gaskets in place with small dabs of trim adhesive.
felpro 1240

Now, here is a critical step in preventing oil leaks in Fords. It has to do with the proper installation of the cork end rail gaskets supplied in the intake set. Watch carefully...

Here is the right way. Use black RTV. I apply a 1/4" bead like so...



Starting to look like an engine...

Adapted a GM R4 A/C compressor. These are cheap, plentiful and short enough to sit in front of the distributor and head...

I added a tang on the power steering bracket for the lower support.

Extended the oil pump pickup for the rear sump 4x4 pan...

The rod cap gets close, but should be fine.

The transmission options were limited to the stock C6, converting to a T18 four-speed or an AOD. The AOD was out of the running quickly, as too many parts would have had to been changed to make it work. The T18 would have been a good swap because of the granny gear, but for the same money, I decided to rebuild the C6 with E4OD parts to get full roller operation and wider ratios.

The Wide Ratio kit from Broader Performance in the foreground, and the C6 components replaced in the back...

The symptoms in the tranny was a slide shift into second and judder in 1st under hard throttle. At first I thought that the dented trans pan was causing it, as the imprint of the filter sump could be seen...

But then I got to the foward clutches, which were smoked, and when dissassembling the valve body I found a broken spring in the 1-2 shift valve.

Misc overhaul shots...

Out with the old, in with the new. Believe it or not, the Cleveland is actually a newer design than the Windsor....

Engine and trans in, engine running. As expected, the Cleveland motor trades a little low end torque for better midrange.

When researching exhaust options, I found Blackjack headers available for the M and 400 engines in '80s Broncos. The problem was the primary tube diameter listed was 1.5 inches. The 2V Cleveland exhaust ports measured 1.75 inches tall. I decided to go with M manifolds and a Y pipe. This created a few problems. The right M manifold will hit the C6 bellhousing ...

...So I ended up using a car manifold on the right and chopping a Y pipe to shorten it for the Cleveland.

A/C line was a mix of Ford and GM components. It's a little loopy, but blows cold.

Found a 9" traclok in the boneyard, it was rebuilt with new clutches and installed in the rear.

Got to try it out recently, up in the mountains after a rain. The road was washed out in spots, but the traclok-equipped Bronco handled it just fine.

This is why I've been waiting to paint it...

Trail pinstriping will usually wipe right off. I've been thinking about just shooting it satin desert tan for this reason.

That's it for now!