One of the big features of the upcoming 2021 SEMA Show is this solid-axle conversion for a brand new Bronco. Is this progress? It depends on whether you’re seriously going to go off-roading or not. If you’re looking for some hardcore weekend excursions and you need something to handle rock crawling, then this Bronco solid axle setup from DelFab is what you’ll want.
A stock Bronco has a lot of sensors for the suspension-will this work?
But it defeats a lot of what makes a Bronco a Bronco, including that independent suspension. And we’re not sure about how it affects the ECU that controls pretty much everything. That’s because there are sensors that send signals back and forth between the ECU and different components.
Live valve shocks, accelerometers, and any number of other sensors like steering input; all need to be incorporated into the solid axle suspension or defeated. So this conversion takes away a lot of Bronco features. What it gives back is 9.5-inches of travel.
The Bronco got simulated air bump placements
For comparison, DelFab used a forklift to simulate air bump placements. It also found a stock Bronco to graphically show the difference between solid and independent travel. The huge gain has a purpose for DelFab owner Kyle Delfel.
In a discourse on Instagram, he explains why this type of setup makes sense for him. He lives near the base of the North Cascades mountains in upper Washington state. Once off of paved roads, the terrain gets extreme real fast.
“Big jagged rocks, deep ruts, slippery muddy surfaces, and snow” all combine to create compromising conditions for an independently sprung vehicle. “Independent front suspension and short tires do not do well here,” he says. “We don’t play in sand or slate rock-type terrain like a large majority of the rest of you.”
The builder opted for a Bronco instead of a Jeep for a reason
Being a Ford enthusiast, he opted for converting a Bronco rather than buying a new Jeep. And he also gives reasons why he’s bringing it to SEMA later this year. “Keep in mind that SEMA isn’t always vanity-built rigs,” he says. “It’s also for the purpose of pushing the envelope on vehicles new and old while showing off all the great products available by aftermarket companies.”
His explanations come for a reason. He has caught a certain amount of grief from the keyboard warriors offended by his Bronco. Why it would matter to other Bronco enthusiasts is beyond us. We all have our preferences, but a cool build is always a sight to behold. Even if it isn’t your cup of tea.
So while some consider what DelFab has done desecrating a shrine, most should find it interesting to check out. And to explore what was done and why. Even Jeep fans can learn a few tricks from a solid axle new Bronco.