Early Bronco Suspension Systems (1966-1977 Ford Broncos)

As revered as classic Broncos are, their age means that their original components, particularly the suspension systems, are usually in need of some modern upgrades to be something you’d want to drive every day.

Let’s take a look at Early Bronco suspension systems and how you can upgrade them to get a better ride! Trust us, it’s worth it.

Early Bronco Suspension Systems for 1966 1977 First Gen Ford Broncos

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What is a suspension system?

Suspension in a vehicle refers to the system of springs, shock absorbers, and linkages that connect a vehicle to its wheels, allowing relative motion between the two. 

The primary function of a suspension system is to provide both comfortable riding conditions and safe driving performance by ensuring that the wheels remain in contact with the road surface as much as possible. It makes such a difference in how you feel after a long drive. You can either get out of your Bronco feeling like you’ve just gotten off a bucking horse or you can have a nice and relaxing modern drive.

The Original Suspension of the Early Bronco

The Ford Bronco, first introduced in 1966, had a stock suspension designed with a utilitarian focus. The suspension system of these early Broncos was relatively simple but effective for the time. It consisted of:

Front Suspension: Coil Springs for Comfort and Flexibility

  • Coil Spring System: The front suspension of the Early Bronco utilized coil springs. This was a significant choice, as coil springs offer better shock absorption and a smoother ride compared to the more commonly used leaf springs in vehicles of that era.
  • Benefits: The use of coil springs in the stock suspension allowed for better handling and a more comfortable ride on a paved street, while also providing the flexibility and wheel articulation needed for off-road adventures.

Rear Suspension: Leaf Springs for Durability and Load Capacity

  • Leaf Spring System: The rear suspension was equipped with leaf springs. This choice was driven by the need for durability and the ability to carry heavy loads, characteristics essential for utility vehicles.
  • Ruggedness and Simplicity: Leaf springs, while not as comfortable as coil springs, offered a simple and rugged solution, making them ideal for the rough conditions the Bronco was designed to tackle.

Over the years, from 1966 to 1977, the basic design of the Bronco’s suspension remained consistent. However, there were minor tweaks and improvements, mostly in terms of the quality of materials used and slight adjustments in the suspension to get the correct geometry to improve ride quality and handling.

Evolution and Modern Upgrades for Classic Bronco Suspensions

Evolution and Modern Upgrades

Today, there are numerous options for upgrading the suspension of an Early Bronco. These upgrades aim to enhance the vehicle’s off-road capability, ride comfort, and handling.

The team at Kincer Chassis loves our KRide suspension upgrades, which include:

  • KRide Suspension Upgrades by Tractive: These state-of-the-art shocks are designed to significantly improve the performance and comfort of 4×4 vehicles, including the Early Bronco. 
  • Compatibility with Kincer Chassis: These shocks are designed to be compatible with our Chassis, ensuring a seamless integration for those looking to overhaul their Bronco’s underpinnings.
  • Ease of Installation: The kits are typically designed for ease of installation, catering to both professional mechanics and people comfortable with DIY projects.

Pre-Installed Suspension Options with New Chassis

  • Chassis with Pre-Installed Suspension: For those looking for a more comprehensive upgrade, Kincer Chassis also offers the option of purchasing a chassis with the suspension system already installed, simplifying the upgrade process and ensuring professional-level integration.

Benefits of Upgrading the Suspension on an Early Bronco

Upgrading the suspension of an Early Bronco brings several tangible benefits, enhancing not only the vehicle’s performance but also the overall driving experience. 

Here’s a look at the key advantages:

Improved Ride Comfort

Smoother Ride on Varied Terrains:

Modern suspension systems are designed to better absorb bumps and irregularities, providing a smoother ride on both city roads and rugged trails.

Reduced Vibration and Noise:

Upgraded components can also reduce the amount of vibration and noise transmitted to the cabin, contributing to a more comfortable driving experience.

Enhanced Off-Road Capability

Increased Wheel Articulation:

An upgraded suspension system allows for greater wheel travel, which is crucial for maintaining traction in off-road conditions.

Improved Ground Clearance:

Some suspension upgrades can raise the ride height of the vehicle, providing better ground clearance to navigate obstacles.

Safety and Handling Improvements

Stability and Handling:

Modern suspension components can improve the stability of the vehicle, especially at higher speeds or during cornering. With the engine upgrades (like the 5.0 Coyote engine) that are being done in many Bronco restorations, you’ll want to make sure your suspension is upgraded. Please be cautious, no matter how good the suspension is you need to be careful and smart!

Modern suspension components can improve the stability of Your Bronco With A 5L Coyote Engine Upgrade

Braking Performance:

A well-designed suspension system can also enhance braking performance, contributing to overall vehicle safety.

Longevity and Value

Reduced Wear and Tear:

A robust suspension system can reduce wear on other vehicle components, potentially prolonging the vehicle’s life.

Increased Resale Value:

Upgrading the suspension can also be a selling point, potentially increasing the vehicle’s resale value. When someone hops in and realizes your old Bronco drives better than some new vehicles, they’ll be shocked!

Customization and Personalization

Tailored to Your Needs:

Suspension upgrades offer the opportunity to customize the vehicle to suit specific needs, whether it’s for daily driving comfort or rigorous off-road use. A lot of Bronco restorations like the idea of the truck being set up for the best of both worlds in case they want to hit the dirt or just go grab a cup of coffee or impress someone at a business meeting.

Aesthetic Appeal:

Apart from functional benefits, a suspension upgrade can also enhance the aesthetic appeal of the vehicle, particularly with lift kits that give a more commanding presence.

TracTive Suspension Upgrade for Early Bronco 4x4

After-Installation Considerations

  • Alignment and Adjustment: After installing a new suspension system, it’s important to have the vehicle’s alignment checked and adjusted if necessary to ensure optimal performance and tire wear.
  • Break-In Period: There may be a break-in period for the new suspension components during which the vehicle’s handling characteristics may continue to evolve.

Additional Components and Considerations in Suspension Upgrades

When upgrading an Early Bronco suspension, there are additional components and considerations to be aware of. This section will explore some common questions and important aspects related to suspension upgrades.

Will I Need to Buy New Shocks with the Suspension Kit?

  • Depends on the Kit: Most suspension upgrade kits include new shocks, which is extremely important to the overall performance of the suspension system.

Is a Suspension Kit the Same as a Lift Kit?

  • Different Purposes: While there is some overlap, suspension kits and lift kits serve different purposes. A suspension kit primarily focuses on improving the overall performance and comfort of the vehicle’s suspension system. A lift kit, on the other hand, is designed to raise the vehicle, increasing ground clearance, often for aesthetic reasons or enhanced off-road capability.
  • Combination Kits: Some kits combine elements of both, offering suspension improvements along with increased ride height.

How Much Does a Lift Kit Cost for a Bronco?

  • Lift Kit Costs Vary Widely: The prices of lift kits for a Bronco is based on the type of kit, the height of the lift, and the quality of the parts. Do your research and choose a kit that balances quality with your budget considerations.

What Does a Leveling Kit Do for a Bronco?

  • Balances Vehicle Stance: A leveling kit is designed to even out the vehicle’s stance. Broncos often have a higher rear end compared to the front. A leveling kit raises the front end to match the rear, improving the vehicle’s appearance and sometimes improving its handling.

What are Sway Bars?

  • Role in Vehicle Stability: Sway bars, also known as stabilizer bars, help reduce the vehicle’s body roll during cornering. They are especially important in taller vehicles, like those with lift kits, as they help maintain stability and improve handling.

FAQs about Bronco Suspension Systems

Q1: Can I upgrade the suspension of my Early Bronco without altering its classic look?

  • A: Absolutely. Many modern suspension upgrades are designed to improve performance and comfort while keeping the classic look of the Early Bronco. These upgrades are often hidden under the vehicle, preserving its original appearance.

Q2: How does upgrading the suspension affect the off-road capabilities of my Bronco?

  • A: Upgrading the suspension can significantly enhance your Bronco’s off-road capabilities. Improvements such as increased wheel articulation, better shock absorption, and potentially higher ground clearance make it more adept at handling rough terrain.

Q3: Is it necessary to upgrade other parts of my Bronco when installing a new suspension system?

  • A: It depends on the extent of the upgrade. In some cases, additional modifications may be necessary to accommodate the new suspension kit, such as adjusting the steering geometry or upgrading the brakes. It’s important to consult the upgrade kit instructions or a professional for specific advice.

Q4: How long does it take to install a suspension kit on an Early Bronco?

  • A: The time required depends on the complexity of the upgrade and the installer’s experience (especially if you’re doing it yourself). A basic suspension upgrade can take a weekend for a DIY enthusiast, while more complex installations might require several days, especially if done by a professional.

Q5: Will a suspension upgrade affect the towing capacity of my Bronco?

Q6: Are there any special maintenance requirements for upgraded suspension systems?

  • A: Yes, upgraded suspension systems may have different maintenance needs compared to the original setup. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance to ensure longevity and optimal performance.

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