yo, I had a 78 Custom w/351M, 4 speed and Rancho 4"
And now the 96, bought new
for a DD, the 96 is great!
we "over-maintain" it...meaning 3k mile oil/filter changes & lube, all filters changed, etc.. using Ford's severe duty schedule; see a Link at end of reply
One of the most reliable daily drivers and beach run/light off road vehicles we've have ever had (incl the ex 78).
Still, we had minor problems that we addressed quickly.
Besides the usual visual, driveability and leak checks, look for:
- oil pan rust - our's formed spots @ 62k miles - sand it down and prime/paint it w/Rust Bullet® Automotive or RustOleum Professional Rusty Metal Enamel Primer 7769402 brush on or spray) & high temp. paint - too time-consuming replacement for such a basic thing as not having better gauge and undercoat/paint by Ford
- radiator plastic side seam leaks, esp. during engine cool-down period/overnight - our's leaked @ 50k miles & again just recently - look for leaks after engine has cooled down, esp overnight
- auto tranny - E4OD had a lot of improvements made by 96 so look for good shifts and see the maintenance records; fluids/filter should have been changed every 30k miles and less if used for towing
- rust in inner rear fender lips, bottom of B pillars and bottom of tailgate (fender lips are rusting due to Ford's flawed spot weld process on the inner (tub) and 1/4 panel that lets moisture & debris in the seam) - bought patch panels from MILL SUPPLY
they are primed and of 18 gauge steel - exact fit and packaged very well for shipping; #52 LH Upper wheel arch area 16"H x 40"L 87-98 about $32.00 each
.from the horizontal crease below camper top down to wheel arches and around the arches.
exact fit = Will be able to weld w/no adjustments to it or the 1/4...Another brand didn't fit well enough to fit the arch reasonably good enough to weld, let alone use body adhesive
check tg drains for clogs/rust..check weather seals, esp the outer ws on glass
- radius arm bushing deterioration (I coated em w/pure silicone, from day 1) but replaced at 80k miles w/Daystar polyurethane bushings
- ball joints.. costly if not DIY
- Programmable Speedometer Odometer Module (PSOM in 92-96), make sure it works; look for a waver in the needle at highway speeds; most get yard units for DIY
- look for some maint records or contact a dealer to see what maint was done to it a Ford dealership in the past (need VIN)
or on-line dealer service record summaries (Ford is adding entries now), etc. at Ford myford.fordvehicles.com (need VIN) & must register if you haven't already for your other Fords.
If no maint records are avail; check and replace if needed all filters and fluids.
Esp if it is an Auto tranny; fluid level; when at norm op temp; after running thru all gears & reverse; no burnt toast or whitish (water) deposits on dip stick.
Car Fax is ok, but they did NOT list over $5k in single accident damages on 3 of our past vehicles; & our ex-92 Van had less mileage listed than when we sold it according to a CarFax report 2 years later... they did nothing after we contacted them.
- cracked exhaust manifold/Y, etc.
- roof/gutter area cracks (mostly appl. to earlier years)
- emissions air check valve & cat. converter (AIR) tubes tend to rust early; as does the AIR tube; buy locally or from pciinc.com
- radiator core supports, lower, it rusts mainly on passenger side, PIA to replace
- body mounts and frame rust
For a 96 get it checked for codes free at Parts Stores if you don't diy
- transfer case operation - electric push button motor/connector is a prob. area; usually usually a broken travel stop or the motor connector is fouled, etc.
Also the Check Engine Light (CEL) comes on when the electronic engine control system is not working properly. The check engine warning indicator comes on briefly when the ignition switch lock cylinder is turned to ON, and should turn off when the engine starts. If the check engine warning indicator does not come on when the ignition switch lock cylinder is turned to ON or if it comes on while the vehicle is moving, the system is malfunctioning
If the CEL does not light up at all when starting it; then suspect that someone removed it.
Same for Amber ABS lamp in Instr Panel.. The 4-wheel anti-lock brake system is self monitoring. When the ignition switch is placed in the RUN position, the anti-lock brake electronic control module will perform a preliminary self check on the anti-lock electrical system indicated by a momentary illumination of the amber ABS warning light in the instrument cluster. During vehicle operation, including normal and anti-lock braking, the anti-lock brake electronic control module monitors all electrical anti-lock functions and some hydraulic operations.
In most malfunctions of the anti-lock brake system, the amber ABS warning light will be illuminated. However, most malfunctions are recorded as a coded number in the anti-lock brake electronic control module memory and assist in pinpointing the component needing service. Our module blew the micropprcessors two years ago and two yard modules were bad..No returns so I'm running without 4WABS, just like the old days.
Suggest you buy the official FORD EVTM, Service manual CD from E bay or Steve83 (use the search here for him and use the e mail function to contact him); it is the BEST under $15.00 or so thAng you can get to service and repair your Bronco!
Owners Guide (Manual) for 96 Bronco/Ford truck & other Ford vehicles, get a free download for 96; includes Scheduled Maintenance Guide
Source: by Ford via https://www.fleet.ford.com/maintenan...ls/default.asp