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20 Best Upgrades for Your Classic Ford Bronco for the Streets and Off-Road

There aren’t many four-wheel-drive classics that we love more than the Ford Bronco.  We are especially fond of the first generation Broncos that were produced from 1966-1977.  The 2nd – 5th generation models (1978-1996) are gaining a lot of popularity as well lately.  We think the surge in desire of classic Ford Broncos is due to the release of the all-new 6th generation Ford Bronco lineup that is fueling the fire for a resurgence of this legendary off-road vehicle.

These classic SUVs have a ton of aftermarket capabilities.  There are a ton of websites like CARiD, 4WP, LMC Truck and AutoAccessoriesGarage that are packed full of upgrade goodies for your classic Ford Bronco.  It really depends on how you plan to use yours.  Do you want to make it showroom shine and all original or do you plan on taking it out to stampede on the trails?  Maybe a little of both?  Either way, we have some great upgrade ideas for your Ford Bronco.

Here are upgrades for your Ford Bronco for the streets and off-road.

Convenience and Comfort on the Streets

Bucket Seats – The first thing we would upgrade on any Ford Bronco are the seats.  While vintage 50-year-old seats might seem cool to keep around for the sake of originality, we bet most owners would like a new seat for better comfort and appearance.  Get rid of the bench seat and get yourself some sweet buckets installed

Center Console – With the bench set gone and the new buckets installed, you are going to have plenty of room to add in a new center console in between.  Now you will have some cup holders and extra storage along with a place to lay your elbow as you cruise your Bronco out on the streets.

Insulation and Carpet – Interior insulation like Thermo-Tec or HushMat are an excellent upgrade to have.  Combined with carpet, it helps insulate from the sound and heat from the undercarriage and road noise caused by the tires.

Stereo System – A nice stereo is always a fun thing to have when rolling around town in your Ford Bronco or any vehicle for that matter.  Tunes are an essential part of the experience on or off the road.  When looking for stereo equipment for a Ford Bronco, we turn to Crutchfield.

Power Windows – This is more of a luxury upgrade and many might argue that it is unnecessary and only takes away from the originality, but we think power windows finishes off the interior upgrade nicely and gives you that modern-day convenience at the flip of a switch.

Install A/C – First generation Ford Broncos did not come with air conditioning.  It wasn’t introduced to the vehicle until 1978.  If you live in a southern state, then there is a good chance that rolling down the windows isn’t going to cut it in the dead of summer.  Get an A’C installed, roll up those power windows and enjoy the cool climate. 

Upgrades for the Street and the Trails

Suspension – With many of the creature comforts out of the way, it is time for some performance upgrades.  Newer shocks, coils springs, leaf springs and lift kits are all designed for better ride quality both on the streets and off-roading.

Tires and Wheels – We can’t make any suggestions on what wheels and tires you need until we know how you plan to use your Ford Bronco.  No need to put big off-road tires and wheels under a lift kit if you are just going to cruise your Bronco on the streets.  You would likely be fine with a more stock wheel and tire setup if that is the case.  If you are hitting the trails however, you should certainly seek out a wheel and tire specialist so they can get your rig setup with the right wheel & tire combination.

Power Steering – Other than a few Baja Broncos, power steering wasn’t introduced until the 1973 model.  Anyone that has driven a classic truck or vintage SUV without power steering knows the struggle.  It can give you arms like Popeye if you do enough driving without it.

Power Brakes – Another upgrade that delivers a massive amount of comfortability is power brakes.  It makes it much easier stop with a lot less effort and the reaction time of the brakes will be increased significantly.  Much like the benefits of power steering, power brakes make for a much better and safer driving experience.  Depending on your price range you can go with a vacuum boost or a more expensive hydro boost system.

Disc Brakes– Drum brakes just don’t work as good as disc brakes.  Spend the extra money and do a full disc brake conversion.  You will be glad you di when you need to stop!

Fuel Injection – For overall performance, more accurate temp readings, and better MPG, switch from a carburetor system to Fuel Injection.  You don’t want to stall out in front of a bunch of Jeep guys out on the trail because your carburetor on your Ford Bronco decides to take the day off.  Don’t worry about elevation or the pitch of your Bronco by upgrading to fuel injection.

LED Light Bars – You certainly want to be able to see where you are going when driving in the dark off-road.  It can get super dark out on the trails and you better be prepared to light up your surroundings. There are tons of off-road lighting available.  Here are just a few.

Safety and Performance for Off-Road

Roll Bar – Safety first!  If you plan on going off-road, then it is better to have one and not need it than need it and not have it.  There have been plenty of Bronco owners and other off-road vehicle owners that have rolled 4x4s out on the trail.

Seatbelts – We are taking about a harness seat belt if possible or at least 3-point seat belt to provide some extra protection.  Rear seatbelts were not added to the Ford Bronco until the fifth generation came out in 1992.   It is a good idea to have seatbelts installed for all passenger seats.

Rocker Rails – Adding an extra ¼” of steel will make a huge difference should you decide to hit the trails.  It will help the body of your Ford Bronco from getting a lot of damage from slamming around when off-roading through the parts of the trail where your clearance doesn’t cut it.

New bumpers – Another way to protect your Bronco is with a beefier bumper.  A stock bumper will not do much to protect your 4×4.  You should upgrade to one that is much more durable.  We think they look better.  Plus, you will need an aftermarket bumper should you want to invest in a winch.

Winch – This is super handy to have when off-roading should you or a buddy get their Bronco stuck, and chances are that is going to happen from time to time.  It also adds to the aesthetics of a Ford Bronco as well by making your Bronco look burly.

Extreme Motor Mounts – This will eliminate all the worry of a loose engine.  You don’t want your motor bouncing around allowing your fan to chew into your radiator.  Just about any avid 4×4 enthusiast will tell you this is a mandatory upgrade for your Ford Bronco if you are off-roading heavily.

Gas Tank Skid Plate – Last on our upgrade list is a safety upgrade for you and your Ford Bronco.  A gas tank skid plate can make the difference between having a great day of off-roading or walking back to civilization.  You don’t want a rock or stump tearing a hole in your gas tank.  With a skid plate, you have nothing to worry about.

There are plenty more upgrades you can make to a Ford Bronco.  Especially when you start talking about off-road performance and abilities.  If you are looking for more upgrades, check out this great video that has a lot of suggestions for more technical upgrades to go off-roading in your classic Ford Bronco.


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