Advice on '94-'96 Bronco 5.8 4x4 auto purchase? - Ford Bronco Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2018, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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Advice on '94-'96 Bronco 5.8 4x4 auto purchase?

The point of my thread is just this.
What should I look out for in a '94-'96 Bronco 5.8L auto 4x4 when searching for something in the $7k range in half decent condition?.
What are the known-gotchas?
I care about a nice straight body without any rust.
Functioning 4x4 stuffs.
Don't care about interior condition.


If you want to hear me babble about nothing important then keep reading below.

-------------

I found some threads for people asking questions prior to an 80's Bronco purchase but didn't find anything for '94-'96.
Despite being in my 40's, I've never had a 4x4 before and don't know the first thing about tech on them.
I am however an accomplished DIY'er and have worked a lot of mechanical/electrical automotive issues, so hopefully I can learn quickly.

I want a Bronco so my two big dogs can hang out in the back and take advantage of the power roll-down back window.
They loved my old '99 4Runner 2WD. Heck, I loved it too.
But this time around I want the ability to play with my cousin with he goes Jeeping.
And I want to go back to the Ferd brand!
I've always been kinda of a Ford guy.

Anyhow, I'm wanting something I'll keep for 20+ years.
Something I can slowly mod here and there and really enjoy to its fullest.
I only drive ~7k miles a year thanks to mostly working from home.
And it's all suburbs paved roads.
But like I said, I want to jeep with my Cousin on the occasional weekend.
And want to be capable out there on the trails/rocks but not kill having a decent ride on the street.

Man, I started blabbing. Sorry.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2018, 10:06 PM
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96, 96, 96, 96.....can't say it enough. If you mod it, the OBD-II will certainly come in handy and it will have all of the "newest" updates Ford ever produced for the Bronco. Especially if you're looking to keep it for 20 years. We could tell you a million little things to look for but honestly, any issue is pretty damn easy to repair on these things with the help and info on this board. With your budget, you should should be able to find a decent 96. If you can score one with a rebuilt E4OD(largest repair expense...transmission), buy it and never look back!
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2018, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Hahah, yeah I know about the MAF.
I still painfully remember trying to convert an '85 Mustang GT with CFI to MAF.
MAF only in the '96 Bronco or '95/'96 California models.
I did see a rumor that '95 Eddie Bauer 49 state models might have it too?
Anyhow, with guides as good as they are today and the availability of pre-made wiring harness', I'm not scared of converting from Speed Density to MAF if/when the need should arise!

That was a heck of a great tip for other newbs though!!
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2018, 10:27 PM Thread Starter
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Automatic tranny is one thing I'd never try to rebuild myself.
Does the A40D (?) have reliability issues?
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2018, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
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One thing that worries me about the '96 is availability of parts for the sensors.
I read that some forum members had problems finding parts for the '96 model.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2018, 11:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CZ Eddie View Post
Hahah, yeah I know about the MAF.
I still painfully remember trying to convert an '85 Mustang GT with CFI to MAF.
MAF only in the '96 Bronco or '95/'96 California models.
I did see a rumor that '95 Eddie Bauer 49 state models might have it too?
Anyhow, with guides as good as they are today and the availability of pre-made wiring harness', I'm not scared of converting from Speed Density to MAF if/when the need should arise!

That was a heck of a great tip for other newbs though!!
MAF was available in 94 with the 5.0 engine. You stated you wanted a 5.8. If you want a 5.8 with MAF and OBD-II, 96 is your only choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CZ Eddie View Post
Automatic tranny is one thing I'd never try to rebuild myself.
Does the A40D (?) have reliability issues?
They're as reliable as any mid-90's electronic automatic trans. As with anything mechanical, if properly maintained it should last ~200k miles. Most fail between 150-200k miles. A typical rebuild is somewhere between $1500-$3k.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CZ Eddie View Post
One thing that worries me about the '96 is availability of parts for the sensors.
I read that some forum members had problems finding parts for the '96 model.
Poppycock. Only thing hard to find is the magnetic pickup thats pressed onto the harmonic balancer. But since it comes with one, boom you already have one. Don't lose it!
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2018, 11:03 PM
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Just picked up a 96 today with the 5.8 with 272k and recently rebuilt trans for $1650
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-22-2018, 07:25 AM
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If you don't care about MAF then you should open your search to 92-96. Same body style and basically the same 5.8 engine/transmission for those years except for MAF. Then 96 carries a little bit of a premium price and desire due to the MAF.
I didn't care and landed a 92, with 114K miles, no rust, in excellent condition for under 7K. Been doing the same thing over the last 3-4 years, slowly updating and modifying it.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-22-2018, 09:35 AM
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Yo Eddie,
We have a 96, bought it new in May 96 and basically, we "over-maintain" it; meaning 3k mile oil/filter changes & lube, all filters changed, etc, using Ford's severe duty schedule.
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.

Check Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for Model Year & Engine Type (for example; 5.0, 5.8, 4.9 or 351W CID 5.8 4 BBL Carb, etc.).
VIN Decoder; for 81-86 & 87-96 Bronco & Ford Truck @ Truck Parts and Truck Accessories

Order a CarFax. Although not all accident info is provided other important info is provided @ https://www.carfax.com

While you take a test drive, have someone stay behind or follow and check for leak puddles, exhaust smoke, tire shimmy, etc.
Member dash_cam offers very good advice on having an independent inspection done at sellers location! If you cant inspect it yourself, post Location in the noobie section and ask members for their help or seek out an ASE certified shop in area to inspect it for you. Google each for reviews especially in Yelp, Facebook, BBB.

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) & high temp. paint - too time-consuming replacement for such a basic thing as not having better gauge and paint by Ford
- try opening and closing tailgate and moving glass
- 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 in 90 to 96 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.
For it and C6 or AOD, look for leaks around pan from (front) Pump seal. Observe color and odor of the fluid. It should be red, not brown or black. Odor may indicate overheating condition, clutch disc or band failure. Use an absorbent white facial tissue and wipe the fluid level indicator. Examine the stain for evidence of solid particles and for engine coolant signs (gum or varnish on fluid level indicator).
If particles are present in the fluid or there is evidence of engine coolant or water, the transmission pan must be removed for further inspection.
- engine rear main/timing chain cover seals, etc.
- 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) - A Bronco may need extensive $ patch or full panel replacements at a body shop, but some diy.
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
- Programmable Speedometer Odometer Module (PSOM in 92-96, aka speedometer/odometer), make sure it works; look for a slight waver in the needle at highway speeds.
- 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 mount deterioration and frame rust
-transfer case operation - electric push button motor/connector is a prob. area; usually a broken travel stop and/or the motor connector is fouled, etc.

Also in non-carbureted Broncos 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 bulb is burnt-out or loose, socket was damaged by PO or shop, etc. or someone removed it.

Same for:
E4OD Transmission Control Indicator Light (TCIL), it is a LED and overdrive on/off switch at end of the Transmission shifter stalk; flashing OD light is an indication of a transmission related trouble code in the Powertrain Control Module (PCM).
Is it flashing while driving?

For him to and including 95 with EFI do a SELF TEST for diagnostic trouble codes (DTC)s by my pal BroncoJoe

For a 96 get a free code scan @ Parts Stores if you don't diy with a scanner.

For 93 through 96, Ask seller if the cruise control, if equipped recall work completed by dealership? Call dealer & have VIN ready to confirm.
Use this guide by jowens1126 @ http://www.fullsizebronco.com/forum/...ml#post6530073

The 4-wheel anti-lock brake system (4WABS) in 93-96 is self monitoring. When the key 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 it's microprocessors a few 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 Powertrain Controls and Emission Diagnosis (PCED), Electrical and Vacuum Troubleshooting Manual (EVTM) on DVD.. be sure your pc, etc will be able to read the DVD, or buy a paper version.

Cash is King.
As craigslist advises, "Do not extend payment to anyone you have not met in person.
Beware offers involving shipping - deal with locals you can meet in person.
Never wire funds (e.g. Western Union) - anyone who asks you to is a scammer.
Don't accept checks; banks cash fakes, then hold you responsible. ..
Sometimes a seller may "promise" to return a certain amount of money during negotiations..
Transactions are between users only, no third party provides a "guarantee".
Never give out financial info (bank account, social security #, paypal account, etc).

A summary of questions to ask the seller;
"* Do you have the maintenance records?
* Do you have the title in hand and is there a lien on the Bronco?
* How do I get the title?
* Has the vehicle been in any accidents?
* How much tread is left on the tires?
* Are there any scratches or dents on the vehicle?
* Did this car belong to a smoker?
* Was this car used by pet owners?
* Can I receive close-up pictures of a specific area (miesk5 note, such as on 1/4 panels, tailgate, etc)?
* Are there any document or preparation fees?"
* Courtesy of ebay
Post pics here. See http://www.fullsizebronco.com/forum/...-pictures.html
GL Eddie!
Al
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-22-2018, 11:26 AM
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It took me a while to find my Bronco, be patient, and choose the right combo for yourself.

Parts haven't been an issue for my '96.

Good Luck.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-22-2018, 12:49 PM
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A majority of Interior parts are hard to find if not impossible to buy
This puts you in the realm of interior / upholstery work which is expen$ive
Unless you are a scab and you just leave it, thats another option
I would not underestimate a clean interior that does not need alot of work
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-22-2018, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by red011862 View Post
A majority of Interior parts are hard to find if not impossible to buy
This puts you in the realm of interior / upholstery work which is expen$ive
Unless you are a scab and you just leave it, thats another option
I would not underestimate a clean interior that does not need alot of work
Interior parts are easy to find. "CLEAN" interior parts are another thing. But I would argue its hard to find clean interior parts from most 22yr old vehicles.

OP, if you can't find a clean, rust-free, issue-less 96 Bronco, PM me. I dont have any in your price range right now but 96's always find a way to my driveway.
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1996 Wht Sport-MAF/OBD II 466, tons,38s
1996 Wht EB-KR'd 351, 4",33s
1976 Ranger-351 EFI,C4,Twin'd D20, 5.5",37s
SOLD 34 others....
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-22-2018, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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You guys are pretty amazing!
Thank you all so much for the advice.'
miesk5, you might consider copy/pasting your post into a new faq!
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CZ Eddie View Post
Automatic tranny is one thing I'd never try to rebuild myself.
Does the A40D (?) have reliability issues?
Mine has just over 195k miles on it and have zero issues with it.
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