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1988 bronco 2 engine conversion

I just acquired a 1988 Bronco 2 (manual trans)in really nice condition. I also own a 1994 Explorer w 4.0 (auto trans) which has low miles of 75k. I hate this vehicle and would like to replace the 2.9 engine in the Bronco with the 4.0 from the Explorer. My online research seems to indicate that a bronco later than 87 and an Explorer 94 or earlier should be nearly bolt in. Problem is I cannot find anyone willing to do the job.

Does anyone: first have any info to the contrary, am I on the right track and secondly does anyone know of a reasonable and competent mechanic in the Metro Denver, CO area who may accomplish this.

The 2.9 was the little brother to the 4.0 and shouldn’t be too much difference when trading over all the related parts including the computer ( pcm ).
A spot check shows even the motor mounts are the same.

Don’t be fooled by the Explorer’s handling difference when switching to the Bronco II ( unless your Explorer is now a 2 door ). The shorter Bronco II is bad when swerving at speed. The solution for that is to re-train your subconcious gut reaction to …don’t swerve ! hit the dog or the pot hole, but whatever you do …don’t swerve.

If you are subject to emissions testing, there might be a problem…The Emissions Gods KNOW your Bronco came with a 2.9L engine…That’s what they expect to find …When they find something else, they get confused and sometimes disturbed…Disturbed enough to make your life miserable…

The only thing I can add is that the reason someone may not be willing to do this job is because something like this often leads to a problem. That problem would be the expectation of the car owner as to what they want to spend on this job as compared to the reality.
The engine itself may drop in without much of a hassle but it’s the modification of the peripherals that will be time consuming; exhaust work, various hoses and cables, the fact that each motor uses different ignition systems and wire mods will be needed, and so on.

No sane shop should commit to a price quote on something like this and it leads to the main question; are you prepared to foot the bill for whatever it takes?

i do truly appreciate your comments, all of these may be things to watch for, however again according to my research it has been done,and I am looking for someone with the experience. Does anyone know of a shop? i do not expect to get an exact quote but I am looking for someone with enough expereince to say, on the down side this is going to cost you 4000.00 or so or again somone to say this is no big deal, couple thousand dollars. I would give no one carte blanche.

I am looking for a shoppe.

BTW, I owned a Bronco 2 form 2000 through 2010. I drove it over 80k miles. To and from Denver to the mountains and to Lake Powell pulling a 3500 lb boat. Pulled the boat couple times a year for over five of those years. I loved the bronco 2. Even stock it was a hell of a rock crawler. Frankly anywhere this vehicle won’t go even stock ,walking is faster. The Explorer cannot even hold the light for the bronco 2. yes, I am aware you probably shouldn’t take curves at the speed of the Explores (simple Physics}but I don’t need to go arojund any curve in excess of 70. Look closer at the statistics that gave the bronco 2 a bad name and ultimately lead to its demise and you will find the numbers are not what the reporters reported. The Feds dropped their investigation because the claims were mostly unfounded, by this time the damage was done to the bronco 2.

So my point, I know the bronco 2 pretty well, I need a shop that at least has the experince to advise me for or against due to experience. We can talk hypothesis til we are all blue in the face I WANT THE NAME OF A SHOP.

I’m not sure how many of our regulars live in the Denver area, or if any of them do (I’m 1100 miles away), but one thing I can tell you is that you will have difficulty finding a professional shop that is willing to do this. If any shop will do it, it will be a shop that specializes in older Fords, since they may have done something like this before. If you can’t find a Ford specialty shop willing to do it, try to find a gearhead who wants to tackle the job in his garage and pay him to do it. In fact, this may be your only hope to get this done, save for doing it yourself.


Looks like yelling didn’t work maybe stomping your feet or holding your breath will. Fact is, you asked TWO questions in your OP. People have attempted to help answer the first. Good luck in your quest.

Try this site "Ford 4.0V6 intoBronco 2-Kevin

thanks for this. I did try copying and pasting but due to how this came through I am not sure what the actual address is. Is it " " , I tried that and didn’t work. thanks for your help.

These type of switches too often grow to five times the expected labor and three times the anticipated modifications. The only way you’re going to get someone to do this is with an unlimited budget. And even then, the results may not be what you expect. The change in weight distribution, the change in drivetrain, etc., etc., etc., all add up to make the project expand in order to get a good vehicle. No regular shop trying to maintain cash flow sufficient to pay the bills wants to get tied up in a project like this.

Do you yourself feel like a good learning experience?

If by this question, would I be up for making the change myself, that is an unequivocable NO! I’d kill both of them. It is however beginning to look as if perhaps I should just consider buying a rebuilt 2.9 engine and selling the explorer. The engine in it smokes and water drips from the exhaust. I don’t trust it to go way off road.

Try a web search, thats how I found it,couldn’t paste it either.But what I read on the site makes it seem worthwhile and from what I gather it doesn’t seem that hard either.What I would like, would be a new Pentastar 3.6 V-6 to drop in my Dakota pickup in place of the the 3.7(which in its self is a pretty good little mill)lets face it,I’m a Hot Rodder at heart,never have seen very many devices,that I thought couldn’t be improved,love new technology-Kevin PS make sure your valve seals are good and the drainback holes are open(the old FE V-8s were bad about stopped up drainback holes in the heads-with subsequesent oil burning)

Hey,BK, will get you to the Ranger site,just tried it-Kevin

Denver has STRICT emissions laws…Engine swapping makes passing the emissions test virtually impossible…

Check with the Emissions people before you embark on this adventure…

Bronco II’s are not stable so don’t go onto a soft shoulder to pass a left turning car because it could flip end over end. Just a warning.