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cynicalrider

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Starting this to keep track of my thoughts, projects and adventures.

A little history, I got into wheeling back in 2012 with my Tacoma. Eventually ended up with 35's on it (tubbed the firewall to accomplish that), double locked, with ADS shocks all around. It's taken me everywhere, from Moab, to VT/NH/MA, to NM and a bunch of places in between. I love this truck and have spent many hours modifying it (custom fabrication and all) to suit all the needs I had. The one thing I could not modify it for is comfort for our family which has grown.

This led me to search for a new DD that can also double as the family roadtrip and camp vehicle. I also wanted it to be something my wife feels comfortable driving/using so that we can take both rigs out on local camp trips and she can drive home while my son and I camp. Her requests when looking for this vehicle is that it can't be what my Tacoma is, another project. So I set out to find a vehicle that was built comparable to my Tacoma that will be brand new or close to brand new, capable and have a warranty. It came down to a 5th gen 4runner and the Bronco. The things that put the Bronco on top was being able to get it with 35's, F/R lockers, and aggressive suspension to make going fast offroad more comfortable, while still having a factory warranty. For the 4runner even if I got the top of the line TRD offroad I would be getting 33's and a rear locker only. So I would need to do the cab mount relocate for 35's, regear and lock the front, etc. AKA work I do not have the time to or want to do.

Enter my Wildtrak. Basically a '23 Wildtrak with added skids, modular front bumper, dual tops, tow, and roof rack. The goal was to spec it as best as I possibly could so that I don't need to add anything, or at least get me by until I can buy the preferred items. Things I knew I would need off the jump would be sliders and a winch.

Here is how it looked when it arrived at the dealer:

53044765793_6d4f018b0f_4k.jpg
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

And home next to the real beater rig.

53045366080_26b2f02d3b_4k.jpg
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr
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cynicalrider

cynicalrider

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cynicalrider

cynicalrider

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There are a couple hobbies I have in my life that occupy a lot of my time. Most of it is wheeling, adventure travel, hiking with the fam, riding dual sports, and snowboarding. The Tacoma has slowly evolved over the years to accomplish all of those things very well and I wanted the Bronco to be an additional tool in the chest for similar experiences. I had a dual sport in August I wanted to use the Bronco for to camp in so the first thing I did the night I brought it home was test the bike on the hitch hauler.

I found that the OEM tow hitch will not work with the hitch hauler I have, and I needed extra space to clear the 35" tire on the back.


Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

After scratching the brand new wheels on the back of the Bronco with the bike's foot pegs literally hours after I brought it home, I found a solution for more clearance.


The drawtite 76527 is longer and gives me more space without needing to add an extension that will add more wobble into the setup.

Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

The downside is I need to be more careful with shin placement, but otherwise it looks good.

Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

It will also negatively impact departure angle, but that's future me's problem. For now it solves the problem very well.

Bonus points for the bike having a place to rest while I prep the straps.

Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

With that I was able to load the bike up and take it 2.5 hours away the next week to test how it felt having this weight hanging off the back. Honestly aside from it being a little nose high, I barely felt like the back was there at all.

Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

So now I knew the bike part can be done, the next part was figuring out how to setup my sleep situation and fridge. Also I was concerned about ventilation being that it would be the middle of August in the north east, aka sticky humid nights.

I got the idea for vents from this thread:


https://www.bronco6g.com/forum/threads/cheap-diy-5-window-vent-option-for-in-vehicle-camping.32555/

But put my own spin on it.

I changed mine a bit by taking another one, cutting it, and gluing actual window screen on it which netted me smaller holes. Not bad for $30 in stuff.


Ford Bronco IM A HORSE - Definitely not a build. 53059383265_b75688e999_4k
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr
Ford Bronco IM A HORSE - Definitely not a build. 53059383265_b75688e999_4k
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr
Ford Bronco IM A HORSE - Definitely not a build. 53059383265_b75688e999_4k
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

By doubling the vinyl material it makes the entire piece more rigid. I might also line the edges with fender trim for extra rigidity and durability.

Here is a comparison of the screen that came on it vs the window screen from home depot.


Ford Bronco IM A HORSE - Definitely not a build. 53059383265_b75688e999_4k
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr


Then all that was left was to figure out how to pack the truck. I got the @deepsleep Overland mat to sleep on so that was the other thing I was basing the setup around.


Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr


I put the fridge behind me because I noticed once the bike is loaded up I can't access the fridge so now I can get it from the drivers side rear.

Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

One case was my riding gear, another my camp kitchen that came from the Tacoma setup.


Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

I added 2 12v fans that I also already had to push air through the cabin.

Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

Overall the setup worked awesome and the event was one of the best one's I have done so far.

Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr
 
Last edited:
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cynicalrider

cynicalrider

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The current modifications are mostly just the basic shit. Husky mats all around, seatback covers, etc. The one thing I did add that I am stoked about was the Course Motorsports phone mount setup I got. I got their Vin plate mount, got their 1" ball, a ram connection and a 1" ball quad lock mount. Combined all those with the quad lock wireless charger, and it's a great setup for me.

Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr
Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr
Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

The other thing I also added was the MABETT rear table.

Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr
 
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cynicalrider

cynicalrider

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Took it wheeling for the first time with my son out in the pines to learn the equipment and put it through it's paces. The things I wanted to learn was how the suspension feels and the types of hits it can take, how it feels and how fast I can get tippy, and learning what modes activate what lockers etc.

On the way out we came across a 4runner stuck in some water.

Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}


The other 4runners with him only had regular tow straps and had no solid way to mount a snatch strap to his rig (the rig that was trying to get him out had a shackle receiver but the stuck guy didn't have one). Thankfully I brought my snatch strap with me, so I put the hitch receiver shackle on the stuck rig and hooked up my snatch strap to the rear hook on the Bronco. One good yank and I got him right out. They were actually going to the same spot I was taking my son so they followed me to the spot, they were a really friendly group of guys.

Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr
Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr
Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

We hung out a bit before heading back out, I almost got us stuck in a puddle that didn't look bad at all. Locking the front and working the steering wheel I managed to back us out but it made me put prioritizing the winch much higher on the list, especially since we go solo a lot. I need to get a fresh high lift for this truck too since that can recovery a buried truck with enough time and digging in a worst case scenario.

When we finally ended the trip at the pit I tried to test it's tippyness. Def goes up way faster than the Tacoma with the shorter wheelbase and non disconnected sway bars.

Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr
Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr
Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr
 

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cynicalrider

cynicalrider

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Took both rigs out 2 weeks ago to do some local camping and hanging by a creek. I drove the Taco while my wife drove the Bronco. The plan was to have my wife hang out by the creek with us, then come to camp with us, hang for dinner and smores and head home around his bed time. She gets a quiet house to herself and I get a quiet campfire to enjoy beer and a cigar.

At the creek:

Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr
Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

And then to camp.

Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr
Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

This was her first time on actual trails and she killed it navigating them.


Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

This place is one of my favorite places in NJ and the first time I took her to see it.

Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

My pup has been my ride or die camp buddy since we got her.

Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr
Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

Stoked to now carry that on with my son too.

Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr
Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr
Ford Bronco {thread} {filename}
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr
 

rguest3

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Great stuff!

Creating great memories!
 

ManSquatch

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Great pics! I too put my dirtbike on a hitch carrier and had the same issue. I just used a receiver extension and it worked great. It also works with my bicycle carrier as well and when not in use it doesn't bang up my shin.
 

pandapaul

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This pic is terrifying.
Ford Bronco IM A HORSE - Definitely not a build. 1694810286514
 

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drvahe

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Stunning pictures and cherished memories captured!!! 💪
 

35tires

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This forum needs more of this stuff - that Tacoma looks super fun.
 

redone17

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Great thread! I’m in a similar situation where my wife doesn’t drive my Bronco and I just got her a Ranger (33” Falkens going on it Thursday). I’m currently recovering from shoulder surgery, so I can’t drive stick). We still have our favorite season to enjoy some camping and the outdoors. Just no fishing for me. Womp Womp.

I’m gonna ask - where’s that spot in NJ?

They also make those bolt on hitch stabilizers that bolt on with a U-clamp. Solid option after a few shin blasters.

Cheers!

ps, I don’t drink anymore, but nothing beats a Blanton’s next to a campfire. Certain moments like that I pine for.
 

STONEWALKER

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The current modifications are mostly just the basic shit. Husky mats all around, seatback covers, etc. The one thing I did add that I am stoked about was the Course Motorsports phone mount setup I got. I got their Vin plate mount, got their 1" ball, a ram connection and a 1" ball quad lock mount. Combined all those with the quad lock wireless charger, and it's a great setup for me.

Ford Bronco IM A HORSE - Definitely not a build. 1694810286514
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr
Ford Bronco IM A HORSE - Definitely not a build. 1694810286514
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr
Ford Bronco IM A HORSE - Definitely not a build. 1694810286514
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr

The other thing I also added was the MABETT rear table.

Ford Bronco IM A HORSE - Definitely not a build. 1694810286514
Untitled by Michael Halat, on Flickr
Nice touch with the Blanton!
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