There's a time and place for everything. There's a time for business and there's a time for play. Mixing business with pleasure isn't good, unless pleasure is your business. That's one of the greatest assets of working in the off-road industry. Your work is making tools for playtime. No one knows this better than Don Kerr of Ramona, California. Don runs ECP Powder Coating in El Cajon, California, with his partner Scott Rasmussen by day and fabricates with Todd Arthur, owner of HRT Motorsports in Ramona, by night.
The off-road bug infected Don at a young age. By 12, Don had his first buggy. After that came a couple of street-driven prerunners that seemed to quench his appetite for crop-dusting 'til he eventually bought a Class 7 Ford Ranger. There was something about a full-blown truck, though, that kept Don yearning for more. One day, Don had a run of good luck; he broke his Ranger and had to get a ride from one of his friends in a Trophy Truck. That was it for the little Ranger.
Don picked up a '92 Ford Bronco and started modifying it in his spare time. He pulled out the 351ci Windsor and sent it to Greg at Total Performance in Santee, California. There, the 351ci was punched and stroked to 377ci. The aluminum heads and Victor Jr. intake manifold were ported and polished for better airflow. A solid roller cam and Jesel valvetrain were installed to enhance the balanced rotating assemblies' projected power output. Custom headers built by Warner's Muffler in Oceanside, California, keep the flow number up on the exhaust side. This combination makes a little more than 500 hp on pump gas and equips the Bronco with some much-needed ponies to get the 5,000-pound carcass hauling butt.
A C6 fully built transmission equipped with a deep sump pan and a tranny cooler with a dedicated fan keep the rubber pushing dirt. Chrisman's rear axlehousing has a strange third member with CNC 40-spline axles and 7/8-inch studs. Getting the beast to stop is done by way of a CNC master cylinder, 14-inch rotors on all four corners, billet front hubs, and CNC calipers.
Don completed the suspension work with some help from Arthur at HRT. It took about a year to get the project up to speed. Four-inch-wider I-beams stretch across the front of the Bronco, just behind the 1-3/4-inch chrome-moly crossover steering with rocker boxes. Custom-boxed chrome-moly rear trailing arms and scratch-built chrome-moly radius arms beef up the suspension. Fox 2.5-inch coilovers, 2.5-inch bypass shocks, and air bumps tame the suspension movement. Thanks to John Marking and the crew at Fox shocks, the valving in the shocks dampen the fullsize truck perfectly.
Three Mastercraft Protruck seats and Mastercraft's five-point harnesses with stern straps prevent carcass flailing. Momo's quick-disconnect steering wheel assists in quick driver-side exits if an emergency arises. Keeping track of all the Bronco's vitals is done with an array of Auto Meter gauges. Off-road navigation is essential, and Don didn't skimp on the safety; a Lowrance 4000M GPS system keeps him on track. An ATL fuel cell was installed to keep the fuel from sloshing as well as for other safety reasons.
A set of 17-inch Ultra Trophy Truck wheels with two valve stems, which support an emergency bladder for the tires, allows Don to hit it a little harder with some extra assurance. The 37-inch BFGoodrich Projects sit nicely under the big Ford and are definitely some of the best functional all-terrain tires.