A Guide To Boosting Your Bronco With The Best Performance Bolt-Ons

Written by Lethal Performance

 

The Blue Oval did its homework before reviving the storied Bronco brand for the roaring ’20s, creating a modern machine that delivers off-road capability with daily utility with 310 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque from the factory. Recognizing the pent-up demand for the sporty SUV, Ford delivered a wide range of trim levels from which to choose, including the Badlands, Big Bend, Black Diamond,  First Edition, Outer Banks, and Wildtrak.

These variations offer differing levels of convenience and capability. For those wanting more off-highway performance, the Sasquatch package ups the ante with 35-inch mud-terrain tires, locking axles, increased clearance, fender flares, and Bilstein shocks.

 

And, for the off-road purists, the Bronco Raptor takes performance to a new level with Bronco Raptor a twin-turbo 3.0-liter EcoBoost delivering 400+ horsepower, which is paired with a more capable suspension and an optimized High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension system fitted with FOX 3.1 Internal Bypass Semi-Active Dampers.

 

 

Only a select few will secure this top-level Bronco. Team Lethal has one on order and will share performance upgrades in the future, but if you own or plan on buying a Bronco with one of the other trim levels, we have the upgrades you need to enhance its performance capabilities. So, let’s take a look at how to get started improving both powertrain and suspension performance.

 

When it comes to performance, most of us think of creating more horsepower and torque. It is only natural, and enhancing these attributes will help your Bronco blast through the high desert or methodically overcome obstacles. As with any engine, the 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine (and the 2.3-liter in the Bronco sport) responds to the age-old trio of intake, exhaust, and tuning upgrades.

 

 

You are undoubtedly familiar with these EcoBoost engines, which have proven robust in the F-150 and Mustang. Pairing turbochargers and direct injection, they allow engines with smaller displacements to deliver outputs comparable with larger naturally aspirated engines. While any engine will respond to freer intake and exhaust flow, those with power adders amplify those gains.

 

 

It is typical to begin at the front of the system by opening up the inlet with a free-breathing air filter or cold air intake, like the replacement high-flow air filter from Whipple and the cold air intake from ROUSH Performance. They reduce inlet restriction and allow more airflow into the engine.

 

>>> CLICK HERE for the ROUSH Intake


 

 

Moving more air and creating more power can also lead to increased inlet temperatures, especially when the driver demands maximum performance for extended periods. In factory form, the Bronco is designed to perform, but working outside of the factory parameters means upgrading some of the hardware to keep pace.

 

 

In turbocharged engines, a more efficient intercooler can not only lower inlet temperatures for higher peak outputs but stabilize those temperatures under extended load. For example, Whipple developed its Mega Cooler for the Bronco with greater core volume and surface area, which delivers 12 percent less restriction and temperature drops of 32 degrees or more in our dyno testing.

 

>>>  CLICK HERE for the Whipple Intercooler


 

 

Another way to tame inlet temperatures is venting unused boost into the atmosphere rather than recirculating it in the inlet path, which turns up the heat. An easy way to add this functionality to your Bronco is by bolting on a blow-off valve AMP/UPR adapter. In just 15 minutes, installing this billet adapter lets the factory valve vent to open air, which also sounds great.

 


>>> CLICK HERE for the AMP/UPR BOV Adapter


 

 

With more and cooler air entering the engine, a Bronco can benefit from a free-flowing exhaust system as well. Not only will these systems improve the sound of the exhaust, but they will reduce back pressure and allow the engine to exhale more easily. Several exhaust options are available, ranging from full cat-back systems with increased diameters to simpler axle-back systems with free-flow mufflers, like the system from ROUSH.

 

>>> CLICK HERE for the ROUSH Exhaust


We also reviewed the AWE cat-back system, which includes the company’s BashGuard, which helps it withstand off-road abuse. This CNC mandrel-bent, stainless steel 3-inch system will also free up a bit of horsepower and torque on its own.

 



 

>>> CLICK HERE for the AWE Exhaust

 

 

 

While improving the induction, intercooling, and exhaust hardware will enhance the capabilities of your Bronco, the secret to making these upgrades shine is performance tuning. Reprogramming the factory engine control module to make use of upgraded hardware along with optimizing the engine’s boost, fuel, timing, and other parameters will truly maximize the combination. For example, the Burger Motorsports JB4 Tuner and Whipple Tomahawk tuner can recalibrate a Bronco and yield huge performance gains.
 

 

Delivered with the company’s proprietary Tomahawk tuner, the Whipple calibration is the first 50-state legal flash available for Ford’s Bronco. So, if yours will still pull double duty on the boulevard and the backroads, it will perform well in both places and keep your ride on the legal side. With just the Whipple calibration flashed into the Lethal First Edition Bronco, its 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine picked up a whopping 50 horsepower and over 80 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels.

 

 

CLICK HERE for more info on the Whipple tuning & Stage 1 package for the 2021 Ford Bronco!

>>> CLICK HERE for Whipple Tuning

 

 

For more flexibility in tuning, Burger Motorsports offers its JB4 tuner with a variety of calibration files that map for variations in fuel octane and even supports E85 and race fuel.

 

 

This tuner can be controlled via a smartphone and its changes are so stealth they won’t raise a red flag when it comes time for service. In our testing on a Bronco with the Sasquatch package, this tuner delivered as much as 61 horsepower and 90 lb-ft of torque at the wheels.

>>> CLICK HERE for JB4 Tuning
 

 

More than just the peak numbers, these calibrations enhance many aspects of the driving experience from the throttle sensitivity to the shift schedules.

 

 

When used alone or in combination with the other bolt-ons outlined here, these performance calibrations can wake up your Bronco whether you are navigating the trails or blasting to the beach.

 


For a complete selection of Bronco upgrades, look no further than right here:

Bronco Upgrades
 

And, of course, be sure to follow along with the Lethal First Edition Bronco build here:

Lethal Performance Bronco Build