BDS Bronco Pickup Truck

Missed the earlier episodes? Click here to check out Episode 1  |  Episode 2  |  Episode 3

In just 10 weeks, BDS, makers of extreme duty suspension, have completely overhauled a bone stock 2 door Ford Bronco Black Diamond Edition into a mission-ready "half-cab" Bronco pickup. Built with a backwoods fire/rescue theme, the ultra-capable Bronco is designed to help a fire chief or command-lead get on-site quickly. The goal is to assess each situation and build a tactical plan of attack for the team. "Fire Command" as it's been dubbed, is a one-of-a-kind short wheelbase Bronco truck that pays homage to the early Broncos used by many rural fire departments decades ago.

Equipped with the right gear to get the job done, Fire Command is ready for action thanks to suspension upgrades with oversized wheels and tires, dual winches, state-of-the-art comms, emergency lighting, first aid, an assortment of tools, storage, and much much more. Given BDS's reputation and background, it's no surprise this Bronco is outfitted with the latest and greatest BDS and FOX components. Along with the half cab conversion, the "bed" has been fitted with a custom bottom-hinged drop tailgate in place of the swing gate that gains access to a slide-out storage tray. If you missed how Project Fire Command took shape, be sure to check back through the entire build series to see how this Bronco came to be.

Watch Build Episode 1
Intro, Teardown & Fabrication

Watch Build Episode 2
Suspension, Wheels & Tires

Watch Build Episode 3
Bumpers, Lights & Much More

Vehicle:

Ford Bronco 2Dr (Black Diamond Edition)
2.3L Engine | 7-speed manual transmission
Race Red Paint Color

Build Specs:

Performance:
Hypertech React Offroad + Speedo Calibrator (more info)
Ford Performance by Borla Catback Exhaust System

Suspension:
BDS 4” DSC Coilover Lift System (more info)
- FOX 2.5 Performance Elite Series Coilovers w/ DSC
- BDS Uniball Upper Control Arms
BDS Adjustable Rear Upper/Lower Control Arms & Track Bar

Wheels & Tires:
37x12.50x17 Nitto Trail Grapplers (more info)
17x9 Method Series 106 Beadlocks (custom powdercoat) (more info)

Exterior:
Half Top Conversion (modified OE MIC hard top) – painted race red
Lower Half Top Bulkhead
Drop Tailgate Conversion
Crawltek Modular Front Winch Bumper (more info)
Crawltek Rear Winch Bumper (more info)
Dual (Front+Rear) Warn VR Evo 10-S Winches w/ Epic Hooks (more info)
Crawltek Fender Trim Kit (more info)
Fabricated Tonneau Cover
Yakima LoadWarrior basket w/ misc accessory mounts (more info)
ARB Jack w/ custom mounts (more info)
Axe, Shovel, Chainsaw, First Aid, PPE, Emergency Comms
RCV 300M Axle Shafts

Lighting:
Rigid 360-series 6” LED lighting (red backlit) for roof (more info)
Rigid 360-series 4” LED lights on cowl (more info)
Rigid SR-M LED Lights on bed rack (more info)
Rigid A-Series LED underbody lights (more info)
LED Emergency Flashers

Interior:
Katzkin Leather Seats (black & red w/ embroidery) (more info)
Ford OE Upfitter Switches to control lighting
Rescue Siren/PA System
Garmin Overlander GPS Unit and Camera (more info)
Fabricated rollcage to tie into factory rollbar
Ford Performance Door Sill Plates
Ford Performance Floor Mats (more info)
Ford Performance Fire Extinguisher
CargoGlide Trailslide Tray System (more info)
Ford Performance by Warn Recovery Kit (more info)

Thanks again to all our build partners for their support - Ford, FOX, Crawltek, Nitto, Method, RCV, Warn, Rigid, ARB, Katzkin, Yakima, CargoGlide, Hypertech, Garmin and more. #ProjectFireCommand

Missed the earlier episodes? Click here to check out Episode 1 or Episode 2

With the deadline of SEMA looming, the build team is starting to feel that all too familiar SEMA crunch as the kick it into high gear to get this build buttoned up and hit the road for Vegas. After weeks of design, development, fabrication, paint and more, parts have gone one and off this build in preparation for final install. On the docket this week, wiring up lights, winches and other accessories, bolting on winch bumpers, finish closing out the cab, installed the rack and add all the accessories to transform this Bronco into the fire/rescue themed Bronco 2Dr truck it was destined to be.

The team at Crawltek Revolution (sister company of BDS) came in to design a set of one-off prototype winch bumpers for front and back. These bumpers maximize approach and departure angles, add strength, add recovery points and just flat out look amazing on this build. Mounted behind them are a pair of Warn VR Evo 10-S winches for recovery duties from either end of the vehicle. For lighting this Bronco is getting an assortment from the lighting pros at Rigid with 360-series red backlit lights on windshield, SR-M series on the rear and rack, and A-series underneath.

To go along with the custom half-top, the build team showed off their skills fabbing up a lower bulkhead to enclose the cab, built a rear bed enclosure, added a custom tonneau cover for dry storage and (to me) the coolest feature, built a custom drop tailgate to allow access to the CargoGlide rear slide out tray to hold all the gear needed. Up top, a Yakima Load Warrior basket was mounted to the tonneau cover for allowing room for more gear and like the fire extinguisher, ARB jack, chainsaw, axe, shovel and more. Around the outside of the rack are more Rigid lights and LED emergency flashers. These flashers can be found all around the vehicle as part of the emergency package that adds a siren and PA system to alert others to move out of the way of this Bronco. All switches are run through the 6 factory upfitter switches for a clean appearance inside the cab. Also inside, the stock seats are getting upgraded with Katzkin 2-tone leather with embroidered headrests. A Garmin Overlander offroad GPS adds to the factory nav screen to help navigate to and from each mission. Under the hood the stock 2.3L gets a more throttle response from a Hypertech module along with some meatier notes compliments of the Ford Performance cat-back exhaust system.

Stay tuned as the team buttons up this custom Bronco just in time for SEMA. The reveal goes live at 10am EST Tuesday of SEMA so be on the lookout for that! Thanks again to all our build partners in Ford, FOX, Crawltek, Ford Performance, Nitto, Method, RCV, Warn, Rigid, ARB, Katzkin, Yakima, CargoGlide and more.

#ProjectFireCommand

FOX Performance Elite Coilovers

Missed Episode 1? Check it out Here

Missed Episode 1? Check it out Here

We're back with the 2nd installment of the BDS SEMA Bronco build. BDS installs its all-new Bronco coilover suspension system with FOX Performance Elite Series shocks and BDS extreme duty control arms. It's a key goal in transforming a regular old run-of-the-mill 2.3L manual Ford Bronco 2-door into an awe-inspiring Fire/Rescue-themed truck. Following the progress made in Episode 1, the BDS build team dives deep into the conversion as they begin putting the Bronco back together. Components are being fabricated, parts are coming in from build partners and things are starting to take shape. Project Fire Command will no doubt be a truly unique short wheelbase Bronco.

With the idea this Bronco could be used by the fire chief or command lead on their way to rescue missions, this Bronco needs to to be capable of let's call it "spirited" driving on and offroad. With that in mind we turned to our friends at FOX for their soon to be released latest and greatest for new Bronco, the 2.5 Performance Elite Series coilovers with remote DSC adjustment. Now these coilover build on the race winning technology that FOX builds into each and every shock. These new Performance Elite Series feature an aluminum body for more rapid heat dispersion offroad, massive 7/8” hardened chrome shafts, dual speed compression (DSC) adjustment and are dialed for this Bronco. The shocks are paired with the recently released BDS performance series uniball upper control arms to take advantage of the additional travel making this an unbeatable combination for comfort and capability. These BDS 3.5-4.5" (2Dr) and 3-4" (4Dr) DSC coilover systems will begin shipping December 2021, see more here.

Along with the 4-corner FOX coilovers and front BDS upper control arms, this Bronco is featuring a number of pre-production upgrades to include rear HD adjustable upper and lower control arm and an adjustable rear track bar. For wheel and tires this truck needs a rugged setup that won't let us down no matter how extreme the terrain so we opted for the tired and true King of the Hammers conquering 37x12.50x17 Nitto Trail Grappler tires mounted on 17x9 Method Series 106 beadlock wheels finished in a custom gold/black powder coat to really set them off for this build. These things look killer

With that its back to work, we still a long way to go and a short time to get there. SEMA is right around the corner. A big thanks to our build team for their continued hard work and the build partners in Ford, FOX, Crawltek, Ford Performance, Nitto, Method, RCV, Warn, Rigid, Katzkin, Yakima, CargoGlide, and more. Stay tuned for the updates to come as the BDS team outfits this Bronco into Project Fire Command.

#ProjectFireCommand

Well its that time of year again... SEMA is right around the corner and we're kicking off the latest project build, a 2021 Ford Bronco 2Dr to debut in Ford's booth at Central Hall of the show. Anybody that has followed BDS for a few years may recognize a pattern and you'd be right, we're teaming up with Ford Motor Company on another build through their Project Vehicle program. This year marks the 5th consecutive project vehicle we've taken on. In the past this included SD126 in 2017, followed by RangerX in 2018, then Go Beyond in 2019 and Work/Play for the virtual SEMA of 2020. If you haven't checked out those custom project builds use the links below to check out each of the full build threads complete with photos, videos, write ups, action content and more.

Project SD126
#projectSD126

Project RangerX
#projectRangerX

Project GoBeyond
#projectGoBeyond

Work/Play F150
#workplayF150

So what do we have planned for this latest build?! A fire-rescue themed short wheelbase Bronco truck built to ultra capability able to lead the charge as the Fire Command setting up the tactical recovery, rescue, or whatever the mission may be. This off-road ready Bronco took inspiration the multitude of early Broncos that have found there way into rural fire departments for similar duties. This build is coming together down in the BDS R&D shop over the course of about 8 weeks for the team to design, fabricate and ultimate outfit this Bronco with the right gear to get the job done.

Starting with a Black Diamond edition 2021 Ford Bronco 2Dr in race red, the team went to work tearing into the factory fresh Bronco pulling out the hard top, the bumpers, suspension, seats and interior panels. From there measurements were taken, vehicle CAD was obtained and the first of many cuts were made lob off the back half of the roll bar, followed shortly after by the MIC hardtop getting chopped into pieces, all with the intention of building a one-off 1/2-cab Bronco truck reminiscent of the original Bronco 1/2-cab hardtop option. With top cut up and the structure built our with reinforcements, the top made its way over to the pros at Butler Body Shop to take on the body work to fill, shape and finish the top to look as though it rolled off the assembly line with the factory option. While we don't expect to be the only ones wanting to see Ford offer a Bronco truck in the market, we're not holding out breathe for it happening anytime soon. Stay tuned for progress on the top.

Beyond tear down and the mayhem of body mods, the team is ordering the rest of the parts to outfit this Bronco and get it ready for action. This Bronco will sport a number of prototype components from FOX, BDS, Crawltek and Ford Performance. It'll also have its fair share of fabricated parts along with other upgrades from many of the go-to aftermarket companies like Nitto, Method, RCV, Warn, Rigid, Katzkin, Yakima, CargoGlide, and more. Stay tuned for the updates to come as the BDS team outfits this Bronco into Project Fire Command.

#ProjectFireCommand

Continue on to Episode 2

The 2019 Mint 400 was another successful event filled with spectators from all over the country, parades, and plenty of racing.  One of the biggest thrills of the weekend was when Justin Lofton made history with his 3rd BFGoodrich Tires Mint 400 Victory. You can find out more on this historic moment here.

We were fortunate to have had a great location right on the corner of Fremont Street. Our sister company, RT Pro was able to join us at the event where we had some sweet rigs stationed at the booth that caught the eyes of those who passed by. We had the Polaris 170 for the kids, the Can-am X3RS for the adults, Project Ascension showing off one of our coilover conversion systems, our 2019 Ford Ranger SEMA build, known as #ProjectRangerX , and finally we partnered up with Napier Outdoors by allowing them to showcase one of their tents on the back of Project Ascension. This attention-drawing booth was a hit and we enjoyed getting the opportunity to talk to everyone that stopped by.

 

The BDS team arrived in Hammertown a full week before the EMC race at King of the Hammers. A week might seem like a long time, but to prepare for this race takes months, and that last week is when the course maps are finally made public, creating a scramble to pre-run as much of the course as possible, all while tuning the truck for top performance based on the different sections of track that are being used each year. Team 4502, led by driver Kevin Sterns, had yet to finish the worlds hardest off road race, so the strategy this year was just that. Finish the damn thing!

With that in mind, meticulous preparations were made to the 700+ horsepower beast throughout the week. An early morning photo shoot in the rocks showed signs of a problem in the power steering system. After 2 pump changes, 3 servo replacements and a full rebuild of all components offsite (3 hours away) the power steering on car 4502 was performing as designed. Once that was sorted out, it was on to shock tuning.

You might think it is odd to shock tune each year (or even multiple times throughout the year), but the fact is, for top performance you must adjust the truck to the conditions of the desert as they are that week, as well as compensate, or make changes based on improvements or upgrades to the truck. This year, the truck received a new set of lighter axles both front and rear, and that is always going to result in a different tune on the shocks. A few quick passes in the desert was all the team from FOX needed to see what changes needed to be made. Once back in the pit area, the rear bypass shocks were removed from the truck and taken to the onsite FOX support trailer to have the internal adjustments made. In less than 24 hours, the shocks were back on the truck, and we were back in the desert to have the team evaluate the changes. The truck looked fast, and Kevin was pleased with the way it was handling!

Qualifying:

After a morning prep run on the qualifying course, it was time to go through contingency, and finally hit the track. Looking for a top-10 starting position is always important, as traffic in the rock sections always play a factor in the race, and can literally make you or break you come race day. Unfortunately, the power steering system was not done with us yet! As the truck accelerated on the course, the power steering pump locked up ejecting the serpentine belt on the 700+ horsepower Tilden Motorsports prepped Chevy. The end result was a DNF in qualifying, and a 74th starting position. Not ideal…

In the wake of the qualifying disaster, the team regrouped, and tore into the truck. The problem pump was taken to the steering masters at PSC, and in no time a solution was determined and the truck was back together! A few test runs proved that team 4502 was on the right track, and the truck had not been happier!

Race day:

Rolling off the line in 74th was not ideal at all, and probably the hardest part for the crew was watching the 73 other trucks leave the line and knowing, out there in the desert and on the rocks, traffic jams were forming and Kevin would have the push the truck hard in the desert to try and make up ground. Finally, the time came and the truck left the line. Not too soft, not too hard, Kevin was driving it just right. Remember, finishing the race is key. When the serpentine belt decided it had enough at race mile 17, all of that went out the window! The spare belt was installed, and Kevin turned into a monster! The crew was waiting at main pit for the first scheduled pit-stop of the day, with the late start and the belt replacement we figured we had some time to kill. We were wrong. The top 3 trucks came through the pits, as about 40 min after they had left, we heard the call on the radio that team 4502 was about 2 miles out! WOW, how fast did they run that first 91 miles? How many trucks did they pass to get here? All of those were good questions, but they really did not matter, as it was game time for the crew to get fuel in the car, strap a spare belt on the roll cage, and swap co-drivers for the rock section of the race. The pit-stop was flawless, and the truck was back on the track, and the crew was moving on to the 2nd pit location of the day.

Pit 2: We arrived at pit 2 about an hour after the team had left pit one. We figured we were there about ½ hour early, with enough time to set up a pit location and make sure everyone had their assigned tasks for what was going to be the final stop of the day. We waited, and waited, and waited.. still no sign of 4502. The top three came in, and few others came in, and a few dropped out right there. Still, we waited. It seemed like hours went by (in reality it was only about 1-1/2 hour). Then, finally, over the ridge came 4502. As excited as we were just to see the car, we needed to focus on the task at hand. When the truck stopped in the pits, it was clear it had been through hell and back again, and was begging for more. Somewhere along the course the truck had a head on collision with a lost spectator in a very new Toyota 4-runner. The 4-runner lost for sure, but it slowed 4502 down just enough to get caught in a big traffic jam on one of the rock trails, hence the reason for the long delay. None the less, the truck was fueled, we strapped another belt on the roll cage (we really thought belts were going to be an issue, but the spare never failed) gave it a once over and off they went back onto the race course.

The first portion of the last leg of the race was going to be the determining factor. The Outer Limits trail was one of the hardest rock trails on the course this year, and in pre-running, neither the driver or the co-driver really enjoyed or felt they had the absolute best handle on it. With rock crawling master Stephen Watson from Off Road Designs co-driving, we had the best shot of getting through clean as ever. It was about 30-40 min after leaving pit 2 that we heard on the radio that 4502 driver Kevin Sterns and Stephen Watson had cleared the Outer Limits. This was it! We knew he was going to finish, I mean there was still some smaller rock trails, and 30+ miles of desert, but it was going to happen! As we headed to Hammertown, no one really wanted to say anything, as if mentioning our excitement would somehow cause the truck to fail and not complete the course. We made our way through the massive crowd and headed to the main stage. As we watched the live feed, there he was, truck 4502 clipping through the desert, still picking off positions and making his way home. As Kevin crossed the finish line, a massive weight had been lifted off of the truck, the driver and the crew. He finished King of the Hammers!! It just so happens that the BDS sponsored 4502 is pretty fast, as with all the setbacks, and rolling off 74th, he finished in 4th place! Not a single flat Nitto Tire, not one bent Dirty Life wheel, FOX shocks ready for another 100+ miles of abuse, and all the fluids cooled thanks to C&R, the truck was back in Hammer town to one very happy crew!!!

With the big one out of the way, the truck is being cleaned and prepped for the rest of the Ultra 4 season, and will be making a run at the season championship! Stay tuned, as we will be updating the progress and attending the races as often as possible.

 

Photos by Friese Images