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I have a 1996 ford bronco xlt with a 5.0L engine. Runs smoothly for the most part except for the fact that everything week or two I have to refill the radiator with fluid because its half empty. Now normally this wouldn't be to big a concern except for the following
1) the radiator isnt even a year old and the issue was present before the new radiator was installed
2) no visible leaks anywhere
3) oil is clean and no smoke or smell coming from the engine or exhaust
If anyone has any suggestions they would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Premium Member
1987 Bronco 351W, C6
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1,444 Posts
Get it nice and hot, and inspect with the engine running- sometimes pinhole leaks are present under pressure. Are you filling the radiator or the overflow can?
 

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I had the same problem, same year, same engine. The leak eventually got big enough that it became visible at the front of my intake manifold. I drove around with it, getting steadily worse, until it was leaving spots wherever I parked. At that point I tried to re-gasket the intake and ended up breaking the two front bolts off in the head, which lead to total engine removal. Hopefully yours doesn't follow the same path.
 

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just a thought because I have the same set up. Have you checked the trans cooler that hooks to the radiator. I finally added an external trans cooler because mine clogged twice and ruined the transmission once. Check your transmission fluid to see if it is pink or watered down. My radiator is only 1.5 years old and I just flushed it last weekend and couldn't believe all the rust and dirt that came outta there.
 

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Charlie don't surf..
'92 Ford Bronco XLT
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15,515 Posts
Not sure how many miles you put on in a week but for the that much coolant to burn off it would have to be a decent sized leak..My $$ is on a leak that's spraying coolant on the exhaust manifold and it's just burning off..either way, best bet would be to get a coolant pressure test kit and find the leak that way.
 

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Yo Rooster74,
Welcome!
Following by Ford in 1996 Bronco Workshop Manual :
"
  • Loss of Coolant
  • Damaged radiator.
  • Damaged water pump.
  • Loose/damaged radiator hoses.
  • Loose/damaged heater water hoses.
  • Damaged heater core.
  • Damaged engine gaskets.
  • Damaged radiator coolant recovery reservoir.
  • Internal engine coolant leak.
PINPOINT TEST A : LOSS OF COOLANT
A1 CHECK COOLANT LEVEL
  • NOTE: If engine is hot, allow engine to cool down before proceeding.


  • Check coolant level at radiator coolant recovery reservoir.
Is coolant level OK?
YesNo
GO to A2.REFILL as outlined. GO to A2.
A2 CHECK FOR VISIBLE LEAKAGE
  • Engine coolant has an added dye color, that makes the coolant an excellent leak detector.
  • Check entire cooling system for visible leakage.
Is there visible leakage?
YesNo
SERVICE as required. RETEST system.GO A3.
A3 PRESSURE TEST COOLING SYSTEM
  • Using Rotunda Radiator/Heater Core Pressure Tester 021-00013 or equivalent, pressurize cooling system as outlined in Pressure Test under Component Tests in this section.
  • NOTE: Check inside vehicle for possible heater core leakage.

Is there leakage?
YesNo
SERVICE as required.GO to A4.
A4 CHECK RADIATOR CAP
  • Using Rotunda Radiator/Heater Core Pressure Tester 021-00013 or equivalent, test pressure relief radiator cap. Refer to Radiator Cap Pressure Test in Component Tests in this section.
Did radiator cap test OK?
YesNo
GO toA5.REPLACE damaged pressure relief cap. RETEST system.
A5 CHECK RADIATOR OVERFLOW HOSE
  • Remove radiator overflow hose.
  • Inspect radiator overflow hose for obstruction, cracks or cuts.
Is radiator overflow hose condition OK?
YesNo
GO to A6.SERVICE hose as required.
A6 CHECK RESERVOIR
  • Replenish coolant to Cold level.
  • Inspect radiator coolant recovery reservoir for leaks.
Is there leakage at radiator coolant recovery reservoir?
YesNo
REPLACE coolant recovery reservoir. RESTORE vehicle.GO to A7.
A7 CHECK COOLANT FOR INTERNAL LEAKAGE
  • Visually inspect coolant in radiator coolant recovery reservoir for signs of transmission or engine oil.
Is oil evident in coolant?
YesNo
If engine oil is evident on vehicles with an engine oil cooler, REMOVE engine oil cooler and INSPECT for damage. REPLACE if damaged.
If engine oil is evident on vehicles without engine oil cooler or if oil cooler checks out OK, REMOVE cylinder head as outlined in Section 03-01A, Section 03-01B, Section 03-01C, or Section 03-01D, depending on engine, and INSPECT for leaking head gasket and head or block cracks.
If transmission oil is evident, replace transmission oil cooler in radiator as outlined in this section and check condition of transmission oil as outlined in this section.
GO to A8.
A8 CHECK ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION FOR COOLANT
  • Remove oil level indicator for engine and transmission.
  • Carefully inspect oil level indicator for evidence of coolant.
Is coolant evident?
YesNo
If coolant is in engine oil on vehicles with an engine oil cooler, REMOVE engine oil cooler and INSPECT for damage. REPLACE if damaged.
If coolant is evident in engine oil on vehicles without oil cooler or if oil cooler checks out OK, REMOVE cylinder head as outlined in Section 03-01A, Section 03-01B, Section 03-01C, or Section 03-01D, depending on engine, and INSPECT for leaking head gasket and head or block cracks.
If coolant is evident in transmission oil, REFER to transmission oil coolant check in Section 07-01A, Section 07-01B, Section 07-01C or Section 03-01D.
Cooling system is OK

See Tests cited @ http://www.diesel-dave.com/vehic/manual/stj/stj33014.htm

Find out if speed control, if equipped, recall work completed by a dealership. Call local dealer or register and view status @ https://owner.ford.com; or @ https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/ ... have VIN ready.
"Summary: ON CERTAIN PICKUP TRUCKS, PASSENGER VEHICLES, SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES, AND MOTOR HOMES CHASSIS, THE SPEED CONTROL DEACTIVATION SWITCH MAY, UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS, LEAK INTERNALLY AND THEN OVERHEAT, SMOKE, OR BURN. THIS COULD RESULT IN AN UNDERHOOD FIRE."
To confirm current status, use this guide by jowens1126 @ https://www.fullsizebronco.com/foru...ruise-control-recalls-repair.html#post6530073
Note that the 93 recall is different than the 94-96 recall.

For any Bronco questions or to chat about it's planned modifications, 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).

Please fill out your Bronco Signature with year, engine size, transmission type, transfer case type (manual or electric shift), locking hub type (automatic or manual), location info & major mods such as a Lift, etc. for better responses.
From the navigation, near the upper right-hand corner, click on your avatar and then select “Account Settings” from the drop
To save you time and for better responses, please fill out your Signature with location, year, engine size, transmission type, transfer case type (manual or electric shift), locking hub type (automatic or manual) info & major mods such as a Lift, etc. .
From the navigation, near the upper right-hand corner, click on your avatar and then select “Account Settings” from the drop down menu.

From your “Account Settings” page you will then see more navigation option of the left side. Select “Signature”.

Now you can simply enter your signature information in the text editor and click save.

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How To Upload Images To Posts & How to Use Search
See more tips!

Baba Looey's Favorite FSB Links (lots and lots of tech links) @ https://www.fullsizebronco.com/foru...-favorite-fsb-links-lots-lots-tech-links.html

96 Bronco-F-Series Workshop Manual (PARTIAL) via 1996 Bronco/F-Series Workshop Manual

96 Bronco Owner's Guide, Maintenance Schedules & Parts and Accessories by Ford @ https://www.fleet.ford.com/partsandservice/owner-manuals/

96 Bronco Dealer Brochure @ https://www.supermotors.net/registry/3549/15947-2 ... scroll down

96 Bronco Quick Tips Brochure Excerpts & some Eddie Bauer options @ http://www.supermotors.net/registry/2742/80431-2

Free registration for some wiring diagrams (partial, 86 through 96) and Technical Service Bulletins, (80 through 96) same as by Ford @ BBB Industries- Premium Alternators, Starters, Power Steering Products | TSB's & Wiring Diagrams

Register to see most Ford dealer maintenance/repairs done @ any dealership nation-wide @ http://owner.ford.com .

➡ Try to take time to Participate & VOTE in our Full-Size of the Month (F.O.T.M.) & Full-Size of the Year (F.O.T.Y.) Contests @ https://www.fullsizebronco.com/forum/27-f-o-t-m-voting/
F.O.T.Y. contest is ongoing now.

F.O.T.M contests will be held in JANUARY, MARCH, MAY, JULY, & SEPTEMBER. Each month in-between will be used for nominating contestants to run in the following Month.
You will get ideas by those competing. Also see the prizes. They are awesome as compared to other sites' "contests"!
Then get ready for the Full-Size of the Year (F.O.T.Y.)⚠

Al
 

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These are the tools I used last week to troubleshoot a similar issue on my Bronco.
The dye was super-cool. It led me to where my issue was coming from.
Everything else just confirmed I had an issue of some sort.

Are you running coolant or just straight water?




 
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ive used these on intake gasket leaks when I didn't want to deal with the intake bolts snapping off in the heads. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Bar-s-leaks-Radiator-Stop-Leak-Tablets/52628136

Worked on my 5.0 daily driver; that was over a year ago. Just crush up two tablets in powder and pour into the radiator neck on the drivers side so it flows into the block. Once I put that in there the coolant level didn't go down at all. It same product gm put in each new engine block on the assembly line in the 80s to early 2000s. If two don't work then you know you need to do the repair.
 
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