Maximum Bronco!'s September Feature Vehicle

Sep. 01, 1999 By ORC STAFF

Lead? Follow? Get the hell out of the way? I'll take "Option #3" for a Hundred Chris!

Maximum Bronco is a veritable "who's who" of performance parts, utilizing the best of the best in off-road hardware.

But all the parts in the world are useless if they won't work together. Fortunately Chris did his research, assembled a winning combination, and as a result, the big Ford will crawl with the best of'em.

With locked axles, big suspension and 35in. BFGs, "Max" sticks like glue to the slickrock of Moab. Jeep? Wee don' need no steenkin "Jeep"!

While not the rockcrawlers first choice in front axle design, the TTB has proven a more than capable performer in the rough. As the saying goes, "It's how you use it".

Rancho extended radius arms are a big part of the Bronco's big wheel travel.

Superlift 4.5in. leaf springs balance the front suspension, and far surpass a block lift's capabilities.

45 Gallon fuel tank feeds the thirsty 406CI engine, and provides extended range in the outback.

The Bronco From Hell!

I'll let you in on a little secret. Being a Ford man myself, I'm pretty partial to the Blue Oval beasts of burden. So like many Ford fans out there, I rue the lack of trailworthy Fords in our virtual pages. Oh, their out there alright, and every so often we've even featured an Explorer here, a mud bogger there. and even a 140 MPH F-150 Trophy Truck for those who need the speed. Broncos however aren't exactly frequent visitors to the Feature Vehicles section.

Chris Parrett took issue with that, and fixated our attentions on his ultimate creation, the "Maximum Bronco". A quick look at the specs will tell you why.


Beginning with the factory 351Windsor EFI, Chris bored & stroked the mid displacement mill to a beefy 406 cubic inches with help from a Eagle Specialty Products Forged 4340 Steel Crank and JE Forged pistons. An Edelbrock intake with twin 61mm throttle bodies feed the air/fuel cocktail to a pair of Edelbrock Performer aluminum heads, with help from an SVO camshaft and aluminum roller rockers. Keeping the 406's Michigan 77 bearings well oiled and out of trouble is the job of a  Melling Hi Volume Oil Pump, and Chris chose MSD and Jacobs to provide all the spark the big Ford could ever need. Spent gasses are quickly expelled via JBA "Shorty" headers, and a custom 3in. cat back exhaust featuring Flowmaster high flow mufflers.

Suspension / Drivetrain

American Racing 15x10 Black Rock Crawler wheels and BF Goodrich 35x12.5x15 All Terrains mounted to a Dana 44 TTB front and Ford 8.8in. rear axle would make for a formidable combination on their own, but Chris wanted more than "formidable". "Bulletproof" was more to his way of thinking, and a stock suspension and open diffs weren't the way to achieving indestructible bliss.

In what has become a time honored rockcrawler ritual, Chris started with a 4.10 gear swap, and then sacrificed his stock diffs to the gods of ARB. Fully equipped with compressor, braided steel lines, independent switching, and an air pressure gauge, the big Bronc's traction could easily overwhelm the capabilities of the stock suspension, leading to the next phase of Maximum Bronco's evolution.

The TTB front axle is "The" preferred setup among 4wd inclined desert racers, prerunners, and chase trucks, but has seen infrequent use in a purely rockcrawling environment. While giving up pure articulation to solid axles, it leaves them all in the dust when it comes to vertical wheel travel - something the Bronco has in abundance, thanks to a Rancho 4 in lift kit complete with extended radius arms, and remote controlled RS9000 shock absorbers.

In the rear, remote controlled RS9000's provide the variable dampening chores for the air locked, Moser Axle equipped 8.8in. rear axle. Chris chose to forgo the harsh ride and wheelwrap problems associated with outdated block / add-a-leaf set ups, and do the Bronco right the first time. Superlift 4.5in. leaf spring packs counter the 4in. Rancho front lift, and provide Maximum Bronco with a level stance - something the stock version never had. His reward came in the form of vastly improved rear axle articulation, a smoother ride, and more vertical wheel travel.

Electrical System

While the Bronco's engine may seem a monument to excess, baby, you ain't seen nothin' yet! Chris based Max Bronco's electrical system around a Mechanical Man 175 amp alternator and dual (Optima Red) battery Power Management System, and if that "seems" like a lot to you, you may want to think again.

Chris wired the Bronco with Dual Flexilite fans, Hella Dual Horns, 6 Warn 6" Round Flood Lights, Warn SDB-120HB Fog lights, Warn SDB-210HB Dual Beam Driving Lights, Pro-Comp 6" 130 watt spotlights, and a Warn M12000 Winch - just in case things get interesting....or dark....or both!

1'st Bronco Armored Division

As you can see, Chris has quite a lot invested in the Maximum Bronco, but as rugged as it is, there's always room for improvement. This holds especially true when you consider that this rockcrawler is a "Full Size" truck. 'Crawlin' will tale it's toll on the bodies of far smaller vehicles, and because of it's size, there's just no easy way to "slip through" an obstacle unscathed. Ya' gotta' use brute force - perhaps more often than you'd like.

The solution? Body Armor. Lots and lots of the stuff. Chris began with a set of urethane Bushwacker Fender Flares, and quickly stepped up into more heavy duty hardware.

A KWS Custom Front Bumper, Custom gauge panel, Custom rear bumper w/4, 5 gallon jerry cans, Custom Rock Guard bars and Roof Rack add both protection and functionality to the Maximum Bronco. While the rock guards and massive steel bumpers stand ready to protect the Bronco's sheetmetal, the roof rack mounts several lights to add visibility and avoid impacts before they occur.

Expanded Ford coverage? Sure sounds like a good idea to us here at! The only problem is that with Chris Parrett's "Maximum Bronco" leading the way, it's sure gonna be a tough act to follow. Any takers? Come on......All you're friends are doin'' it!

Want to learn more about the "Maximum Bronco"? Visit Chris' homepage at and tell'em sent ya'! Newsletter
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