The “Finnegan” Snowball Effect

Hello all! It’s been a while! As spring hits our homestead, things get CRAZY with property maintenance… mow, weed, mow, spray, mow… you know how it goes.

As for Finnegan, she’s stuck in winter mode with the “Snowball Effect”.

So we started with a “simple” motor swap, then installed the FiTech EFI. After that, we realized the sending unit in the gas tank and the fuel line were not enough to support the new fuel injection, so we swapped out the sending unit, and put on bigger fuel lines to the fuel pump. Then, we found out something is draining the Optima battery, and that is where we are now. Trying to find the mysterious “hot” that is draining the battery. In the process, Scott took Finnegan for a drive, and coolant suddenly came splashing into the passenger compartment. So, if it’s not one thing, it’s another, and we continue to work out the bugs.

I’m hoping to be driving her again by early summer, but she’s only getting attention between springtime maintenance on the property!

I’m gonna melt her snowball if it kills me! 😀

Green with Envy

Greetings blogsters!

I don’t have a whole lot of progress to report on ANY of my Bronco projects at the moment, but what I can tell you is that we should be getting Finnegan back on the road soon. Finnegan will NOT be 100% complete, but Broncos never are, and will require a bit more “polishing” work in the near future. For now the goal is to get the fuel tank buttoned up, and get the EFI learning Finnegan’s new parts.

The reason I have titled this short blog “Green with Envy” is because I am jealous of those of you who have been able to go on snow runs, trail rides, and just drive your Broncos daily. I know my time will come, and I will be at the helm of Finnegan with a huge grin on my face, but until then, I envy all of you.

The farm has been keeping us quite busy these days, and if you follow me on Facebook, you are well aware of where our energies have been focused lately. Among all of our farming/property projects, poor Finnegan has been put on the side burner… not the back burner… that’s where the Rock Hunter Bronco is. 😥

So, we’ll keep hope alive, and we’ll keep working on things as time (and money) allows, and soon we’ll be joining our Bronco brothers and sisters in these fun adventures.

P.S.-If anyone has the winning lottery ticket and wants to donate to any of these Bronco projects, we will gladly accept any “Green” you’d like to give! HA HA HAAAAA! See what I did there? 😉

Bronco On brothers and sisters, and I will smile with appreciation for your posts, pictures and love.

Bronco vs. Scout

I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve blogged, but as we all know, life’s little idiosyncrasies get in the way sometimes! Between working on trucks, a side project of a friend’s boat, and farm life… we’ve been a little busy!

My friend Todd, who I met through the Offroad Podcast site on Facebook, had suggested that I do a blog about Broncos and Scouts. I admit, I was lost on the whole subject of the Scout. Yes, I knew it was the predecessor to the Bronco, and it was it’s “puffy” cousin, but until I did a little bit of digging, I really had no interest in finding out more. Now, with that being said, the first truck I ever drove at 8 years old was a 1963 International Harvester Pickup. That was a cool truck; granny gears and all! So, this is why this has taken me so long to write. I had to actually “care” about the Scout and know more about it than I though I would ever know! LOL!

So, in my research, I found that these two vehicles are a LOT more similar than I thought. The Scout is said to have come from a beginning of farm vehicles, and then transformed into the off road world as a competitor to the Jeep. It’s run from 1961-1980 had many variations, and was fairly popular with those who didn’t want the Jeep platform. Similar to the Bronco, when the Scout was first produced, it had a 4 cylinder engine and a 3 speed transmission, later transitioning to the V8 version. When I looked at pictures of the “original” Scouts, I was surprised to see just how similar the entire vehicle was to the Bronco. I don’t know why I was surprised, it makes sense that the Bronco would follow the Scout in the world of off road vehicles, and yet be slightly more stylish and less “utility”.

Trying not to be too biased on the Bronco, I was once again surprised at the similarities, and began to understand that BOTH vehicles are pretty much a thing of awesomeness; especially in the era in which they were born. The Bronco came out with a little bit more “elegance” than the Scout, but it’s appeal seemed to be aimed more at city folk who enjoyed the outdoors as opposed to farm folk who needed a utilitarian vehicle. Let’s call it an evolution. The “puffy” Scout certainly inspired the more sleek and stylish look of the Bronco, but when it came to the bits and pieces, these two vehicles had a lot of the same mechanical details that made them amazing trail rigs!

Here’s the funny similarities: both were made with metal that rusts easily (as we all know after we’ve replaced almost every piece of sheet metal on the body!), they both had PTO winches, they both won the Baja 1000 at some point, they both came in half cab and full cab options, and they are both American Icons. When talking to Todd, we also could both agree that we are not a fan of “bastardizing” either one of them with LS engines or Chevy parts. LOL. Granted, my build is not a purist build, but at least I’m sticking with all FORD parts! 😀

I tease Todd a lot about his “marshmallow” Scout, but all in fun. I am more likely to bash a Blazer in the future than I will a Scout, but I still prefer the body lines and beauty of a classic Bronco. 😉 Todd and I can banter back and forth, but no feelings are hurt. We truly just love our classic SUV’s, and we show them the love by constantly “competing” about whose is best.

New Blogs Soon!

Hello All! Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about you!!! You know the story, life happens, and it’s been a little crazy lately. I will be writing an epic blog here soon, but I’m working on some research to make it a good one! In the mean time, we’re continuing work on Finnegan. We are installing a new sending unit in the fuel tank and working out some bugs in the motor, and then we will be putting in a brand new Wilwood proportioning valve to help with the “squishy” brakes! Please stay tuned, and I’ll update again soon!

How does it feel to drive a Bronco?

I was asked to write a blog about how driving a Bronco makes me feel. So, let’s go WAY back to the beginning…

2009: This was a rough year for me. I was going through a nasty divorce from a narcissistic, abusive man. We owned a house, and a 2005 Ford F-150 together. He was in jail for violating a restraining order I had put against him, and I knew that I was going to have to take action to get my life in order before he got out. So, I went in search of a vehicle that I could afford on my own. I searched for a few weeks, and knew that I wanted something 4WD, and one day this beautiful 1995 Bronco popped up on a dealer website. I made a budget and hoped that I could afford this vehicle, and then promptly went down to the dealership with a friend of mine in tow. I haggled with the dealership for hours, and long story short, I got them down $4,000 on price, but they wouldn’t do the monthly terms I could afford, so I left. I went to lunch, talked to my friend, and decided to go back and haggle some more. I ended up walking out with the keys to “Morgan”, and on my terms! My father taught me well how to deal with car salespeople. 😉 So, I brought Morgan home, and shortly there after the idiot got out of jail and we went to court. He was awarded the F-150, and I was awarded the house. So, it worked out in my favor to be proactive. He later defaulted on the payments on the F-150 and it was repossessed. LOL.

So Morgan and I began our Bronco journey. I was so proud to own MY OWN VEHICLE for once in my life, and I was going to love her forever! I drove her around daily, kept up on regular maintenance, and began to take her to wheeling events. She became a part of who I am, and was not only a mode of transportation for me, but genuinely a builder of my confidence and freedom! She has been a great protector; saving me from multiple disasters. She has become part of my Bronco community identity. I felt amazing every time I drove her around town, or to a wheeling event, but she’s become a little old and tired, and needs some major repairs to get her back in tip top shape. She will be great again someday, and she will always be my first Bronco baby!

2011: So, naturally, my love affair with Broncos had begun. After the divorce, I met a man and we started dating. He had an Early Bronco. The first time I got to ride in that Bronco, I had an ear to ear grin! I felt like a homecoming queen in a parade (although I’m sure not that many people were really looking). I felt like we were the coolest people, in the coolest vehicle on the road! I was giddy! I later ended up going on a couple of wheeling trips with him, and then the relationship ended. At that point in my life, all I could do was dream about the concept of owning a Bronco. I could only stand in the shadows and drool over other people’s beautiful Broncos. I felt like I’d never own an Early Bronco in my lifetime. I was single, living alone, working full time, paying for a house, bills, etc., and I barely had $10 to my name every two weeks. How in the hell could I afford a Bronco!?!?!?

2013: God must have felt my pain. He wanted to help me with my dreams, or at least I like to think so. He sent me Scott. Poor Scott had no idea what kind of crazy woman he was getting involved with, but he hasn’t openly complained much in the last 5 years! 😀 😉 We both had a love for Fords, and he lived on Ford Street!!!! This was fate saying, “look you two, this was meant to be!!!”. So, you know most of the story from there, and although I have yet to drive the “Rock Hunter Bronco”, I’m sure it is going to be outrageously thrilling when I do! Or as Eric Lockie might here me say, “WOO HOO… NO NONONOOOO…. WEEEEEEEEEE!”.

2018: Now along comes Finnegan, the 1969 Bronco. As I’m sure you’re well aware from my Cheshire grin, driving Finnegan is a BLAST! When I did the test drive, I was ear to ear grin again… bigger than the previous grin experienced from riding in a Bronco. This time I was hoping to own this Bronco! The day that I brought Finnegan home, I cried. This may seem a bit sappy to some, but others will understand. One of my Bronco dreams had come true, and I was so blessed! Granted, I only got to drive Finnegan for about a week or two before we had to do the motor swap (which then spiraled out of control), but I know that I will have many years of smiling drives and memories once Finnegan is buttoned up from the heart transplant. Just to be able to show Finnegan off to my coworkers (who think I’m an absolute nut with this obsession) was a very meaningful thing to me. Getting the “thumbs up” from passers by as I’m driving down the road, meeting up with fellow Bronco owners in a parking lot just for a photo op, and being able to physically drive an Early Bronco to places I’ve always wanted to go to, all means the world to me. I was no longer just a Bronco “stalker”, I was now a Bronco owner! 😀

Finnegan the 1969 Bronco

To some, the feeling of driving a Bronco may seem immeasurable and ridiculous. How could a pile of rust, parts, and tires bring someone so much joy?!?!? Well, my friends, I’ll say this…. life is short, and you only get one shot, so do what makes your heart happy because you can’t take it with you in the end.

Love yourself, love your Bronco!

The Bronco “Cult” a.k.a Family

Let’s talk about the Bronco family, or as Scott refers to it, the “cult”. This, of course, is a term of utmost endearment, so please don’t mistake it for an insult. 🙂

As I’ve stated before, I basically shoved my way into the Bronco community, and despite my sometimes overbearing personality, they have accepted me with mostly open arms, or they have tolerated my bombardment with the utmost grace and forgiveness!

I started by joining Facebook pages, forums, etc. In the beginning, there was definitely some opposition to the kind of build I wanted to do. I was told numerous times, “that’s not a REAL Bronco”, and that “you shouldn’t be on here with that.” Despite the skeptics, I pushed back. No, not everyone was going to support my build, but by God, I was going to prove that it’s not just about the build, but my love for Broncos in general. So, after weeding out the nay sayers, I found people that wanted to know more about the woman who was so in love with Broncos. I went to the Unevent/Northwest Bronco Roundup, and I met people with knowledge, passion, and compassion for this crazy woman that could think of such an off the wall way to build a Bronco.

Thus began my “newbie” entrance into the Bronco community. I started talking to people all over the country. I created a build page on Facebook to allow people to understand my build, instead of just criticize it. As time went on, these people accepted me, tolerated me, and made me feel like family rather than shunning the odd woman with the odd build! After attending the Unevent/Northwest Bronco Roundup for a few years in a row, I knew these people would become a huge part of my life, and my build, and that is exactly what has happened.

Scott lovingly refers to us all as the Bronco “cult”, but even he knows that it’s a family of people who are willing to help each other out with their Bronco dreams. There are so many opportunities, helpers, and people willing to trade/give parts to help each other reach their “never finished” projects! 😀 I am so thankful for all of those who have been supportive, helpful, and have lent us their knowledge and hands to help us further our build.

As we fast forward to today, let me get a little sappy. I wouldn’t trade my Bronco brothers and sisters for the world! They truly mean the world to me, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without their love and support. From attending meetings, to having Sunday “work party” days, to just being a phone call away when you have a question, my brothers and sisters, I thank you from the bottom of my heart! I hope you can put up with me for many more years to come because this obsession is only going to get worse!

Thank you. I love you. Bronco ON!

Can I shoot you??😁

For those who don’t know, my hobby is not limited to tinkering with Broncos. I enjoy photography in my “spare” 😂😂😂 time. I’m not a professional, and I haven’t spent tens of thousands of Bronco dollars on expensive camera devices, but I can get a few amazing shots here and there. I’m thinking of doing special Bronco shoots for my friends, but is there an interest for that!?? I dont shoot people, pun intended, but I love nature and beautiful things! Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be a free service, but it’d be worth it! 😀 You can check out some of my work through Instagram:

How the Rock Hunter Bronco idea began

Let’s talk about the Rock Hunter Bronco and how this crazy build came about…

When I sold my house in 2013 and moved in with the Love of my Life, I had long been watching episodes of Top Truck Challenge, and I always wanted to be one of the few females that got to participate in it (obviously I didn’t get that opportunity). I also became very interested in the King of the Hammers, watching the variety of amazing rigs that were either garage/shop built, or professionally built, and the camaraderie between everyone that was involved. I’d sit cheering at the TV, and dreaming of being right in the thick of things! I would watch YouTube videos of the Rock Bouncer community, and get a rush of adrenaline! I saw huge horse power, massive tube beasts climbing up impossible hills, and women in the sport! Shannon Fox (may she RIP) was a huge influence on my dreams. Lastly, and more recently, I’ve been watching Mountain Havoc, and again, I watch with envy, dilated pupils, a racing heart, and love for the sport!

The idea of the build was rock bouncer, rock climber, sand rail, and ultra 4 vehicle combined into one. I wanted it to be low and wide, be able to go where I want to go, but have enough speed to keep up with the others.
I came up with the idea, and as I was describing the idea to Scott, I think he thought I was just “talking” and that this was going to fade away. HA HA HA!!! Scott laughed, thinking I was NUTS! He told me you can’t do all of that in one vehicle! I said, “Really? Let’s try!” At the very least, we were on our way to building something super unique and a nightmare in the Bronco purist’s mind!

No sooner did I mention this idea, then suddenly I had a Bronco in my possession. For those of you who remember, I had acquired Tom Hoy’s beaten and battered Bronco frame and tub. In it’s day, it was an amazing rig, but it just couldn’t be salvaged. There was not a straight part on it, and it was barely recognizable as a Bronco anymore. So, I found a local guy selling a tub that he just didn’t have time to finish. The hamsters in my brain started spinning the wheel at smoking speeds! By the next week, I had searched Craig’s List, and I found a pair of Rockwell axles for a decent price in Riley, OR. Now, if you don’t know where Riley, OR is, it’s somewhere near the middle of nowhere and BFE! Next thing I know, we’re on our way to Riley, OR in the middle of winter. It took us 6 hours in snow, ice, and boredom to get there, 2 hours in the freezing temps and a wind chill of -30 to get them dug out of the guy’s property, and the absolute WORST 6 hour drive back because we tried to use common sense and distribute the weight of the axles toward the front of the flatbed trailer for snow traction. (By the way, they had plowed the snow by the time we got back to the pass). For anyone who has ridden in a vehicle with too much tongue weight, you understand that it’s the bumpiest, most nauseating ride ever! Needless to say, we made it home, nerves shot, lots of giggles and delirium, and two axles later. “Let’s get Rockwells”, she said, “It’ll be fun”, she said. 😀

Next came the ORI’s. At the time, these were the newest and hottest things in shock technology, and dammit, I was going to have them! I did some shopping and got 4-16″ purple ORI’s from Wahoo Fab. I had them shipped to my work, and I was carrying one around like a newborn baby when they arrived!

We went to a swap meet in Puyallup, WA, and got more parts. I spoke to Jon and Rhonda Barricklow from JB Fabrication, and got one of the most beautiful shifter kits ever made!

I started joining the Bronco pages on Facebook and searching for deals. It’s extremely hard to find parts for an “unconventional” Bronco!!!

In 2013, our good friends Andrew and Kathren invited us to come to the “Unevent”. Huh? What the hell is an “unevent”??? He explained it was a camping/gathering of some of the most awesome Bronco owners EVER! This was a “no brainer”. If there were Broncos, I was going. So we went. This was one of the most welcoming, knowledgeable, and friendly groups on the planet! Granted, not everyone was enthused with my build, and lots of people found out that the crazy redhead lady was a “hugger”, but I walked around and introduced myself to anyone who looked my way. I hugged a thousand people, and I barged my way into the Bronco Community, and now they’re stuck with me (until they 86 me!). I think I cried when the week was over because I had such a great time and met such great people! We have gone to this event (now referred to as the Northwest Bronco Roundup) almost every year since, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world! Over the years, people have come to know the crazy redhead, Bronco obsessed Julie, and I have become part of a family. I truly love my Bronco brothers and sisters far and near. I have learned so much from them, and they span the entire world!

When we returned home after the our first “unevent”, we were inspired! There were no two Broncos alike, and mine certainly was like nothing anyone had seen before! So Scott and I started building, or in this case tearing down the iconic Hoy Bronco, and started this build from bare frame. We set a goal of 5 years, and as you all are aware, we’ve surpassed that goal and we continue to work toward the “finished” product. A Bronco is never finished, so I’ll be happy when I can finally float along side my Bronco brothers and sisters on the sand with a giant grin on my face!

As for the current state of the build, we have the following:

A Bronco frame (1972), a Bronco tub (1971), a 1995 Ford 460 EFI, a C-6 Transmission, a 205 Transfer Case, 1950 Timken (Rockwell) axles, ORI struts, 46×19.50×20 Mickey Thompson Baja Claw tires, One off Stazworks Double Bead Lock Wheels, JB Fabrication twin stick shifter, and a myriad of custom metal fabrication by Scott Amsbaugh “Master Fabricator”.

I love what this Bronco is becoming, and I want to thank you all for your support and help with the build.

Please check out the links below to see some of the best products we’ve used so far!

Not all girls are truck sluts!

So, this is the first blog of many amazing ideas that my friends have asked me to write, and this one I have had a lot of experience with.

“Oh, you’re just a truck slut who is trying to steal my man.” Yes, I’ve been told this MANY times by many misguided wives and girlfriends of guys that I have wheeled with over the years. Not so much now, but in the past, apparently it was not the norm for a woman to have her own rig to wheel, and spend a week or weekend camping and wheeling with other people, specifically men, and NOT want to sleep with any of them! I once went on a camping trip where I was the only woman, and I slept in my own tent with no one, and it was one of the best trips I’ve been on!

I can recall two specific cases when I was “confronted” by a keyboard warrior wife and girlfriend who thought that because I was the only woman on a wheeling trip, I MUST be out there after someone’s man. One of the women thought because I was talking to her man about Broncos, I was trying to steal her man and his Bronco!!

Now, since more women have been highlighted in motorsports, the stigma of “truck slut” seems to be a bit more contained to half naked girls at mud bog events, but there will always be that group of people who can’t seem to get past their own insecurities, and realize that no one may want their man, maybe they just have a common interest.

It took me years, tons of conversations, and a lot of patience to deal with these situations. I had to avoid talking to certain people whose wives and girlfriends just couldn’t understand, and I had to defend myself constantly. I felt like I was guilty before being proven innocent even though I did nothing wrong.

In the past 5 years, people have come to know me and understand that I am happy being a woman who loves trucks/Broncos, getting my hands dirty, and being social.

So to end this blog, know that I have happily been with Scott for 5+ years, but, God forbid, if he weren’t in the picture, I still wouldn’t want YOUR MAN. I have more class than that. 😉🖕

The Man behind the dreams…

Well, my master fabricator/mechanic was able to get Finnegan running, and the exhaust hooked up, but then Finnegan ran out of gas. Lol. For those of you who don’t know, I’m going to give you a little history of the amazing man behind my Bronco dreams.

I was happily single, and super independent in 2013. I had gone through two horrible divorces in the past few years, and a relationship was absolutely the last thing I wanted. Our mutual friend asked me if I wanted to be back stage at Monster Jam in Portland, so, having nothing else exciting going on in my life, I said “sure”. Unbeknownst to me at the time, he was setting me up on one of the strangest dates I had ever been on.

So, I go to Monster Jam and hang out with ” the guy” and our mutual friend, and had a blast! Long story short, by the end of the weekend, I had cautiously become smitten with Scott. We talked for hours, we had a ton in common, and we were able to just be ourselves without caring if the other person was impressed by who we were. By Monday, we were dating. Lol.

Fast forward to now. Almost 6 years later, and we are still together, still very much ourselves, and stuck together for life! 😂 We aren’t married, but might as well be.

To the point. Scott is the man of my dreams, and the man behind my dreams. He has supported all of my Bronco addictions, “cult” meetings, events, and crazy ideas! He has taken my “thingamajig” idea and turned it into one amazing Bronco build. He pushes me to learn alongside him, to ask questions, and to be hands on. He pushes me to get the impossible done. He challenged me to find a way to own another Bronco, and I said, “Hold my beer…” That’s how we ended up in debt, and the new owners of Finnegan. 😂 so, you see, this man is the love of my life, the teacher, the creator, the fabricator, the mechanic, and the dream builder. I love him to the moon and back.

So now you know.😉😁