1978 Ford Bronco Destined to Get Cummins Diesel Power

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This battered 1978 Ford Bronco needs a lot of work, but one day it will rock a variety of upgrades, including a 5.9-liter diesel I6.

What do you see when you look at the 1978 Ford Bronco in this Central Oregon Shenanigans video? It’s certainly got a patina to it, so maybe you see how time can deteriorate things. Maybe you hear its 351M V8 having trouble turning over and you think it and the vehicle around it is just a lost cause. At some point, host James Rodgers glanced at this Bronco and saw potential.

From the start, he knew it was going to take some troubleshooting and plenty of elbow grease. “Maybe just a valve job, maybe a new head. We’ll see.” He tries to start it, but the 351M proves stubborn at first. Rodgers eventually gets the Bronco fired up, loaded onto a trailer, and inside of his garage.

ford-trucks.com Ford Bronco Project

Even then, it’s not 100 percent clear what he’s going to do under the hood to fix what’s troubling the engine. It depends on the issue. Rodgers says, “If I pull one head and I find out that I can fix it, then I need to pull the other head, do head gaskets.”

What Rodgers does know is what he wants to replace the 351M with. Sorry Ford fans, it’s not going to be a 7.3-liter Power Stroke V8 or International Harvester IDI power plant. According to Rodgers, “It’s gonna be a Cummins-swapped Bronco” running a 5.9-liter 6BT diesel I6.

ford-trucks.com Ford Bronco Project

Rodgers has plenty to do before the motor swap, though. The Bronco is 40 years old and looks it – on the surface and underneath it. Ultimately, Rodgers is going to address the Bronco’s hardware issues and throw in some upgrades while he’s at it. “Lift, tires, wheels. I know it needs ball joints, wheel bearings. We’re gonna go through bumper to bumper on this thing.” And we’re going to wait for updates so we can watch him do it.

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Derek Shiekhi contributes to a variety of Internet Brands’ Auto sites, including J-K Forum , Jaguar Forums, and 5 Series. He's also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association.

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