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1986 XLT 5.0
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey New the the forum. I am looking at buying my aunts 1986 ford bronco. She has owned it since new, always garaged. I believe it has about 130-140K on it. 302 4 speed auto. I have loved this truck since I was a little kid. I am just wondering the things I should look at and check over. Common issues. I haven't seen it in about 5 years. She gets it out of the garage and drives it about 10 times a year to keep it running but it hasn't seen heavy use since about 1998 when she switched to a commuter car as her daily driver. I am hoping to do a minor restoration on it if needed and update some items (keyless entry, stereo, tires).
Thanks
 

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man, a bit jealous. a) if the price is right, I would buy it regardless.

So, some stuff on that truck, it is a speed density EFI, and has an AOD transmission. the SD EFI is not great for modified motors, but it sounds like it is stock. If you are wanting to modify things, or even upgrade the engine to a 351W (which would be my suggestion if the engine ever needs to be rebuilt), then you'll need to change some stuff on the EFI, a conversion to a 351W SD computer, or better yet a Mass Air Flow EFI setup.

the AOD is not a bad transmission, but I've seen some complaints about it being a bit weak, as compared to the C6 and E4OD. As long as you don't make a very hot build on the engine, or go with big lift and tires, it will hold up, even behind a mildly built 351W.

check the rear end, it could be either an 8.8 or 9", not much to do about it at this time anyways, since it is a one owner truck, that you know, you could just go off the letters on the door tag, that'll tell you the axle size, gear ratio, and differential type.

So, things to look for, I don't think you mentioned location, rust is really the only killer on these trucks. under the doors, bottom of the tailgate, and the rear rail of the bed are the most common issues, also the cowl is another problematic location.

Mechanically, these things are very simple, and very cheap to work on, so I would not let any mechanical issues deter from a purchase, as long as you know your way around a shop, have some basic tools, and are willing to get a bit dirty and greasy. If it runs and drives right now without any glaring issues, that is great news.

After getting it home, or since you are getting it from family maybe you could do there:
check all fluids, diffs, t-case, trans, oil, coolant, etc.
do oil change.
check with your aunt on maint history, if trans/diffs/t-case haven't been flushed lately, I would do those as well.
pull all 8 plugs and inspect, look for signs of misses, richness, leanness, etc.
do a compression and leak down test on all 8 cylinders.
change fuel and air filters

test drive time. put some zip ties between the front driveshaft u-joints and the frame, roll both side windows down, drive slowly at first, in 2WD, listening for squeaks and clicking, we are checking front bearings and all u-joints. Drive faster, listening for the same, if you can find a spot on a highway with a hard, concrete wall off to the side, that will make it easier to hear these things.
Get out, make sure the zip ties are still holding. If they are broken, there are issues in either T-case or the hubs.

Now, go find a gravel lot or slightly wet field, but not muddy, we are checking stuff, not pushing limits. once off the road, put it into 4-Hi, you should notice a difference in how it steers and pulls, maybe goose the throttle a bit to verify. then go to 4-low and test that. If you have manual hubs, you'll have to get out and lock them first. If auto then not, but you need to go into reverse for about 15-20 feet after putting it back into 2-Hi.

at this point, it is about fixing other wear and tear items, lights, window motors, radio, seats, etc etc, all minor stuff that you'd have noticed by this point.
 

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1986 XLT 5.0
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
man, a bit jealous. a) if the price is right, I would buy it regardless.

So, some stuff on that truck, it is a speed density EFI, and has an AOD transmission. the SD EFI is not great for modified motors, but it sounds like it is stock. If you are wanting to modify things, or even upgrade the engine to a 351W (which would be my suggestion if the engine ever needs to be rebuilt), then you'll need to change some stuff on the EFI, a conversion to a 351W SD computer, or better yet a Mass Air Flow EFI setup.

the AOD is not a bad transmission, but I've seen some complaints about it being a bit weak, as compared to the C6 and E4OD. As long as you don't make a very hot build on the engine, or go with big lift and tires, it will hold up, even behind a mildly built 351W.

check the rear end, it could be either an 8.8 or 9", not much to do about it at this time anyways, since it is a one owner truck, that you know, you could just go off the letters on the door tag, that'll tell you the axle size, gear ratio, and differential type.

So, things to look for, I don't think you mentioned location, rust is really the only killer on these trucks. under the doors, bottom of the tailgate, and the rear rail of the bed are the most common issues, also the cowl is another problematic location.

Mechanically, these things are very simple, and very cheap to work on, so I would not let any mechanical issues deter from a purchase, as long as you know your way around a shop, have some basic tools, and are willing to get a bit dirty and greasy. If it runs and drives right now without any glaring issues, that is great news.

After getting it home, or since you are getting it from family maybe you could do there:
check all fluids, diffs, t-case, trans, oil, coolant, etc.
do oil change.
check with your aunt on maint history, if trans/diffs/t-case haven't been flushed lately, I would do those as well.
pull all 8 plugs and inspect, look for signs of misses, richness, leanness, etc.
do a compression and leak down test on all 8 cylinders.
change fuel and air filters

test drive time. put some zip ties between the front driveshaft u-joints and the frame, roll both side windows down, drive slowly at first, in 2WD, listening for squeaks and clicking, we are checking front bearings and all u-joints. Drive faster, listening for the same, if you can find a spot on a highway with a hard, concrete wall off to the side, that will make it easier to hear these things.
Get out, make sure the zip ties are still holding. If they are broken, there are issues in either T-case or the hubs.

Now, go find a gravel lot or slightly wet field, but not muddy, we are checking stuff, not pushing limits. once off the road, put it into 4-Hi, you should notice a difference in how it steers and pulls, maybe goose the throttle a bit to verify. then go to 4-low and test that. If you have manual hubs, you'll have to get out and lock them first. If auto then not, but you need to go into reverse for about 15-20 feet after putting it back into 2-Hi.

at this point, it is about fixing other wear and tear items, lights, window motors, radio, seats, etc etc, all minor stuff that you'd have noticed by this point.
Thanks so much for the info the tips. I will do all of that

Yes it is all stock. Only change she did was she bought it plain white and and a cool custom blue put on the bottom half that I really like. I need to find a picture.

Yeah not looking at any changes mechanically. I plan to use it to cruse around in and keep nice. I have a truck for heavy haulling or when I need alot of power.
Rust is my biggest concern Last I saw it it had no rust that I can remember but I didn't look close either. I will hopefully go see it soon and check that out. I plan to do a full fluids change on everything. I will research more into the compression and leak test on that 302.
Thanks
 

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1986 XLT 5.0
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks so much for the info the tips. I will do all of that

Yes it is all stock. Only change she did was she bought it plain white and and a cool custom blue put on the bottom half that I really like. I need to find a picture.

Yeah not looking at any changes mechanically. I plan to use it to cruse around in and keep nice. I have a truck for heavy haulling or when I need alot of power.
Rust is my biggest concern Last I saw it it had no rust that I can remember but I didn't look close either. I will hopefully go see it soon and check that out. I plan to do a full fluids change on everything. I will research more into the compression and leak test on that 302.
Thanks
Also only plan on stepping up to a 32x11.5 tire. Keeping the suspension height stock.
 

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Also only plan on stepping up to a 32x11.5 tire. Keeping the suspension height stock.
that's a good tire size, that is what I have on my 86 (not the avatar, that's my 82 on much bigger tires) here's the 86:

172566
 

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Yo trentthack,
Welcome!
While you take a test drive, have someone stay behind or follow and check for leak puddles, exhaust smoke, tire shimmy, etc.

Besides the usual visual, driveability and leak checks, look for:
Engine Oil level: If the oil level is low, chances are the engine uses oil or leaks. Beware of water in the oil (there is probably a cracked block or bad head gasket), or thin, dirty oil with a distinct gasoline smell (this may indicate internal engine problems).
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
1986 with the 5.0 has the 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. Dark brown or black fluid that has distinct burnt odor, indicates a transmission in need of repair or overhaul.
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.

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 bulb is burnt-out or loose, socket was damaged by PO or shop, etc. or someone removed it.

Here's the 86 Bronco Dealer Brochure at 1983 Ford Bronco 86 Bronco Brochure Photos pictures, videos, and sounds | SuperMotors.net

●1986 Bronco ELECTRICAL & VACUUM TROUBLESHOOTING MANUAL (partial) by Ford via 1986 EVTM - Gary's Garagemahal (the Bullnose bible)

1985-1986 Fuel System Adjustments by Ford via Gary
See more info by Gary.

1986 Bronco Operating Guide @ 1983 Ford Bronco Manuals & Pamphlets (Scanned) picture | SuperMotors.net

1980-86 Pickup Fasteners by Ford via Gary, but mostly for front clip

Good Fortune!
Al
 
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1986 Eddie Bauer 5.0EFI AOD Full length headers Y pipe into single 3" Magnaflow 3" factory exit
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Awesome that you're going to be getting the truck! All of the above advice is great & these are very easy trucks to keep going. Vavuum lines have many hard plastic lines color coded from the factory & they get brittle with age, so be prepared to replace lots of vacuum lines with new silicone hoses. You'll know if your idle has fluctuations or high idle, its probably that. The EFI has many sensors & if one goes bad, all kinds of crazy symptoms happen, but its usually just a sensor gone bad & they are all really inexpensive, so no need to panic.

I would say to go read the :builds only" area of the site, many 80-86 builds/restorations/ modifications have been done & there are a ton of good ideas to read thru & you'll see what kind of things you can do to your truck & what things they fixed. Lots of cool reading there.
 

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1984 Bronco, 4.9L, C6, 9", 44 TTB, 3.54 Gears
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Can’t add much more than to reiterate checking all rubber, all suspension/steering components, all fluid changes, and look over the brakes and bearings.

Rock Auto and the 5% discount from this forum is your friend in restoring these.
 

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1982 Bronco XLT Lariat, 351W, C6; 1989 Bronco XLT, 302, AOD
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Welcome trentthack -

I don't think you can go wrong with that purchase! My family and I have a 1982 XLT Lariat that we bought in August 1986 - had less than 41,000 miles on it at the time - 351w with C6 transmission. At different times it has been our only means of family transportation, grocery getter, going camping / vacation vehicle, daily driver, go to work truck, and all around joy to drive and fun to ride in. It's now on the third engine and second transmission and has a little over 350,000 miles on it. Love that truck. The captain's chairs have been recovered three times and are in need of recovering again. The headliner has been replaced three times and is ready to be replaced again. Originally, the headliner was vinyl. Wish I could get that again, but can't find a shop that will do it in vinyl. When I get the interior dressed up again, I plan to give this truck to my youngest daughter. The truck was built in the same month and year as when she was born - June 1982.

Anyway, sorry about so much about my truck. I hope you can have a long happy life with your new purchase!!

TB
 
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