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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys I’m new here. I’m 14 turnin 15 and am wondering if a 78-79 ford bronco would be a good first truck to wrench/wheel with. I’m looking at a 79 that needs some work. I just need some opinions guys thanks.
 

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With the addition of a crap box car to make sure you can still get to school and work, yes.
Not becuase of it being a 78/79 but because you want to wheel it.

The 78/79's are asy to work on, and the info is out there and easy to find. They are super novice/backyard mechanic freindly due to how simple everything is on them. You will need to learn some things about carbs, but I consider that good to know anyways. Most the issues I see on these trucks are electrical, and just becuase they are older. The duraspark works fairly well but carry an extra module on you, if it still has that system in place.
Also the engine and trans are fairly in-expensive should the worst happen.
 

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It's great that someone your age would even consider something like this to work on and wheel.

Will be a great learning experience for you and knowledge/skills you will learn wrenching on a truck will give you confidence working on other vehicles and any mechanical projects in the future.

In the long run this knowledge will save you money.

Don't be afraid to dive in and figure it out. That's how most here have learned i imagine.

Just do it. And, righty tighty lefty loosey
 

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Thanks for the feedback guys. I have heard that some will have trouble starting in the winter. Witch every old car does. But I live in Utah and winters can be harsh and very cold. So I just don’t know if a old bronco would be good because of the cold. But would there be anything relitively cheap that I could do to it to make sure it will start everyday to get me to school. And not spend money on batteries?
 

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The starting ability will depend on the tune of the carb and making sure everything else in the ignition is in tip top shape. Few years ago at -18 F my 78 was the only thing I could get started, so I do not buy the whole cold start issue thing.
I would search for a stock air cleaner assembly, you know the one that has the whole filter enclosed and a snorkle piece coming off it. This should keep it from running as lean, right at start up in the cold.
Also give your self time to let it warm up a bit and you should be good.
1 other thing, these where new in 78/79, with a carb, its not like it did't get cold then. You will be fine. Will it be just like jumping in a 2015 truck, no... But thats not a bad thing either. Basically it will be as reliable as you make it.

DO make sure your defrost and such is working before you need it though, this is one area that these old trucks kind of suck in, in comparison to newer stuff. Especialy now that they all have several years on the stuff that makes them work.

$2500 dollar beater something will make sure you can get to school and such, just make sure its something reasonable and cheap to maintain. I also feel that makes working on the truck and driving it more enjoyable when it doesnt have to be the thing the moves me on any given day.
 

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Yo UT_Bronco,
Welcome and the 78 worked out very well for our son's first vehicle when he was 17!

Cold weather starting can be enhanced with a block heater and/or a battery pad heater, Amazon.com: Kat's 22400 60 Watt 5.5"x 8.5" Battery Pad Heater: Automotive

Keep all battery posts clean as well as wire strands, clamps and all grounds.

Voltage; "...a normal battery that is fully charged produces 12.6 volts, not just 12.0 V. (Remember, when measuring battery voltage, everything in the car should be off, or the battery should be disconnected. Voltage measurements are always "no load" measurements unless the battery is being tested for it's performance under load)..." by Gordon

Check both battery posts, cables, connectors & major GROUND cables for looseness and corrosion. If you see corrosion on a cables' wires strands between connectors or lugs and leading into the insulation, peel back the insulation to see how far back it reaches.
by El Kabong @
"Cheesy clamp on end. Do not use for a long term repair. Only to get you home when nothing else is available. If you have one of these, suspect it before anything else" El Kabong @ Common Replies to FAQs

Check starter relay for looseness or rust to the inner fender. It's ground is through its body to the inner fender.
Check that starter is mounted securely and connectors are clean and tight

CHECK GROUND CABLES to frame, block etc.
Slow Cranking or a Grinding Noise; "... Problems with the negative battery cable is a major cause of starting problems in Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles. Bad battery cables can cause slow cranking or a grinding noise when trying to start an engine. ..,the wire connection inside the battery terminal connector corrodes easily. This will cause a voltage drop in the cable and result in low voltage being supplied to the starter. You can check for voltage drop in the cable using a digital voltmeter. Connect the negative probe of the voltmeter to the negative battery post (not the battery terminal connector). Then connect the positive probe to the starter case and crank the engine. The voltage reading should be less than .5 volts. A higher reading means there is resistance in the cable or the battery terminal connector. Clean the cable end and the battery terminal connector and test again. If the voltage reading is still higher than .5 volts, replace the cable and the battery terminal connector..."
Source: by genco1.com

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Here are some specific 78/79 pre-purchase checks;
Check Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for Model Year & Engine Type using "Decoding a 1978-1979 Ford Bronco VIN
Howdy! So you wanna decode the VIN number on you're 1978-1979 Bronco, well this thread will help to decode the VIN number. If you want you're whole door tag decoded, please feel free to create a new thread or PM me and I can almost always decode the whole tag.
U15 = 4 Wheel Drive Bronco Wagon
Second letter can be either of these two engine's.
H= 351m 2bbl 5.8L
S= 400 2bbl 6.6L
Assembly Plant
L= Michigan truck
Consecutive Unit Number
AE0,001 to CK9,999= 1978 Model Year Bronco
DC0,001 to FK9,000= 1979 Model Year Bronco
These are the letter's I've seen on a Bronco, if you have a different letter for you're Assembly Plant post up and I'll tell you where it was Assembled." by ~Blue~

Our Navy Federal Credit Union used to suggest Research New & Used Car Prices for finding the "value" of a vehicle.

Order a CARFAX™. Although not all accident info May not be provided, other important info is provided @ CARFAX - Shop, Buy, Own, & Sell Used Cars
However it missed a $5,000+ rear ender to our 96 in 2008 and cited 5.8 instead of our 5.0.

VINCheck® by National Insurance Crime Bureau is a free service provided to the public to assist in determining if a"... vehicle has been reported as stolen, but not recovered, or has been reported as a salvage vehicle by cooperating NICB member insurance companies. To perform a search, a vehicle identification number (VIN) is required. A maximum of five searches can be conducted within a 24-hour period per IP address." @ VINCheck® | National Insurance Crime Bureau

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. ASE is National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, read about it @ About ASE - ASE.
Find an ASE shop @ Shop Locator - ASE
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 steel and paint by Ford
  • try opening and closing tailgate and moving glass with both cab switch and tailgate key.
  • auto tranny, C6, 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, sills, bottom of tailgate and floor pans.
  • 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
  • cracked exhaust manifold/Y, etc.
  • roof/gutter area cracks (mostly appl. to earlier years)
  • 78 is free of catalytic converter, but 79 has it.
  • radiator core supports, lower, it rusts mainly on passenger side, PIA to replace
  • body mount deterioration and frame rust
  • check transfer case operation
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 cashier/certified checks or money orders; 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).

When Richard Rawling, star of TV show Fast N' Loud was growing up in Fort Worth, Texas, his dad, Raymond Rawlings always had a car or a motorcycle lying around. “It wasn’t the nicest or the best, but it was his,” the younger Rawlings says. Ray wasn’t much of a mechanic, more of a detailer and a tinkerer. On weekends, the guys in the neighborhood would come over, mess around with whatever car Ray had at the time and drink beer in the garage.
One of those guys who came around also taught Rawlings a lesson about negotiating that he still carries with him: “I was around 13. He said, ‘Son, you could buy a $10,000 car all day long for five grand if you have it in your pocket. Always carry cash.’ ”


A summary of questions to ask the seller;
"* Do you have all 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?
Enjoy your hunt!
Al
  • Are there any scratches or dents on the vehicle?
  • 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
General Inspection Checklist by Free VIN Check Reports and VIN Check with some changes by me:
"Exterior
Windshield free of cracks
Body panel colors match
Magnet adheres to all steel body panels
Fresh paint job (if yes, it could be to conceal rust)
Seams where the tailgate and hood close are properly aligned
Seams where doors and fenders meet are properly aligned
Windshields wipers and blades fully functional
Headlights and directional lights intact and fully functional
Tires
Tires are all of the same size
Tires are of free of any cuts, bubbles or cracks
Tread worn evenly (uneven wear indicates alignment and suspension problems)
Spare tire, and jack and lug wrench are in place and fully functional
Spare tire inflated
Engine
Free of fluid or oil leaks
Oil filler neck not coated with thick, black deposits
Battery terminals free of corrosion
Oil dip stick free of dark, black oil
Free of odors while engine is running
Exhaust pipe smoke is neither blue (indicates engine burns oil) or black (indicate excessive oil consumption)
Suspension
Vehicle rests levelly
When bouncing the vehicle's corners, no creaking noises are made
All corners respond the same when bouncing
Interior
Seats unworn and free of cracks
Doors open and close freely
Tailgate opens and closes freely
Lacks a heavy scent of air freshener (may indicate something is being concealed)
All gauges work
No dashboard warning lights remain illuminated while driving
Radio works
Heater works
Air conditioner works
Windshield wipers work
Windshield wiper fluid dispenses properly
All seats equipped with functional seat belts
All seats adjust properly
Power windows operate properly
Car alarm works (if applicable)
Tailgate and driver-side door lock and unlock with key
Hazard lights function properly
Headlights, including brights, work properly
Frame
Chassis is neither bent nor cracked
No signs of crumpling or straightening inside the cargo area
Automatic Transmission neither slips nor delays when driving
Manual or Standard Transmission
Each gear shifts smoothly
No grinding noises when in reverse
Brakes
Vehicle steers straight and does not pull to one side when applying brakes
Parking brake engages and disengages freely
No grinding noises when applying
Wheels do not lock when applying brakes
Steering
Vehicle does not drift to one side without prodding
Vehicle is stable; no shaking or vibrating
No resistance in the steering wheel when turning
No clicking or clunking when turning

For any Bronco questions or to chat about it's condition, it's better to post each seperately in Noobie Bronco Tech Questions. Flame free zone. This will get more attention and you can build up your post count to get into other sections such as Bronco and Ford Parts/Accessories (75 posts required to view).

Forum FAQs @:Common Replies to FAQs ...
&
BABA-LOOEYS FAVORITE FSB LINKS @
Baba Looey's Favorite FSB Links (lots and lots of tech links)
Includes Tailgate Tech, etc,

See our Full-Size of the Month (F.O.T.M.) & Full-Size of the Year (F.O.T.Y.) Contests:
See pictures & build info of each Bronco nominated! Month.
You will get ideas by those competing.
See the prizes! They are freaking awesome.
Al
 

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Discussion Starter #8
@miesk5 thanks for all of that man. It will help a lot when I start to go and look in person at them. I will probably get a 2nd vehicle when I can when I start to wheel with it. But for now I just want it to get me too and from school. But is there any bronco trims/features I should look for in one. I’m looking at a custom and I’m pretty sure that’s the lowest trim level but not sure.
 

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@miesk5 thanks for all of that man. It will help a lot when I start to go and look in person at them. I will probably get a 2nd vehicle when I can when I start to wheel with it. But for now I just want it to get me too and from school. But is there any bronco trims/features I should look for in one. I’m looking at a custom and I’m pretty sure that’s the lowest trim level but not sure.
Yo,
Yes, Custom is standard (base) model as we had, however it was equipped with sport steering wheel.
1978 Bronco Dealer Brochure via Indybronco will give you the skinny on trim levels, etc,

Also, 1979 Bronco Brochure (partial) @ Early Bronco HQ is about 1966-77 Ford Broncos -- 1979 Bronco Sales Brochure

GL!
Al
 

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The 78 or 79 is the most desirable years of the older Broncos. They will command the most purchase price but will hold their value. My only caution is the gas mileage. When you get your first vehicle you are going to want to drive the wheels off of it. Right now gas is cheap.... but that is not going stay that way. let's say you want to drive 130 miles a day. That is going to be around 10 gallons of gas per day... or 17$ a day now. If gas goes back up to 2.50 you are going to spend 25$ a day. I would hate to see you get a bad ass ride but struggle to keep gas in it. My suggestion... and it is only my suggestion... is to get a 2008 to 2011 Ford Focus. Right now they are really cheap. You can get one for $2,000 and drive the hell out of it... without having to worry about it breaking down. If you can find a manual 5 speed, they get 35 MPG all day long. You can cut your weekly gas bill in half and use that extra money to by a Project Bronco that can be sported on weekends or to just cruise for chicks.

Being a new driver and spending on average 100$ a week in gas in a Bronco or spending maybe 30$ in a Focus you are saving $70 a week. In a year you pocket 3,500 savings in gas.

Not being a buzz kill, but you asked for advice.

my friend in high school was gifted a 1969 mustang Mach 1. That was one of the sweetest rides in school. The only problem was we all had to donate gas money to just ride in it.
 

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The 78 or 79 is the most desirable years of the older Broncos. They will command the most purchase price but will hold their value. My only caution is the gas mileage. When you get your first vehicle you are going to want to drive the wheels off of it. Right now gas is cheap.... but that is not going stay that way. let's say you want to drive 130 miles a day. That is going to be around 10 gallons of gas per day... or 17$ a day now. If gas goes back up to 2.50 you are going to spend 25$ a day. I would hate to see you get a bad ass ride but struggle to keep gas in it. My suggestion... and it is only my suggestion... is to get a 2008 to 2011 Ford Focus. Right now they are really cheap. You can get one for $2,000 and drive the hell out of it... without having to worry about it breaking down. If you can find a manual 5 speed, they get 35 MPG all day long. You can cut your weekly gas bill in half and use that extra money to by a Project Bronco that can be sported on weekends or to just cruise for chicks.

Being a new driver and spending on average 100$ a week in gas in a Bronco or spending maybe 30$ in a Focus you are saving $70 a week. In a year you pocket 3,500 savings in gas.

Not being a buzz kill, but you asked for advice.

my friend in high school was gifted a 1969 mustang Mach 1. That was one of the sweetest rides in school. The only problem was we all had to donate gas money to just ride in it.

 

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It looks like kind of a mixed bag. Good stuff. Bad stuff. It's got a lot of rust, which is common with all the salt air coming off the lake. At the very least he has it running in the pics as you can see the gauges are on and in good positions (oil pressure and temp centered in the gauges) and in one pic you can see the fan spinning.

I guess it depends on how bad you want a 78/79, how much you care about how it looks, and how much money you have to throw at it. You say you're almost 15, so I'd imagine you probably don't have deep pockets yourself. Are you set on having a Bronco or did you just see this one and think it was awesome? lol
 

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Here's the ad for anyone else wanting a peek at it and perhaps sharing opinions.


 

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Discussion Starter #16
@Doosenberry ya I’m deadset I’m planning on getting a part time job to help on gas. But ya it looks pretty rough but I know a little on how to patch rust and to paint. So I think it would be a good deal.
 

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I will say it has a pretty nice set of tires on it that have a lot of tread, the front bumper, grille, and grille shell all look pretty new and they're chrome, which is nice.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Ya it looks pretty nice. All it needs is a paint job and interior cleaning and it will probably look pretty good
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I am also thinking about getting a 92-96 bronco with the 5.8 my grandpa has one with 32k on it so I think a 96 would be a lot more reliable then a 79?
 
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