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Discussion Starter #1
OK I currently have a 03 F150 Crew cab FX4, and it has 142K on it

I am tired of little hard to track down stuff breaking on it, the truck is great, but it is pretty and fragile, and I am afraid the longer I keep it the longer I risk it breaking permently. And to make it worse I am still paying on it (got it used).

I want to buy a full size bronco from my local craigslist for around $3500 or less. I want a bronco because I have always loved them, as they drip with testosterone. I am just afraid of getting one that requires ALOT of work (since they are older) or doesn't have AC working.

What should I look out for as far as reliablility issues are concerned? What are common problems that is just the "nature of the beast"?

What kinda fuel milage do these things get? What range on a tank?

Which motor is easiest to find cheap parts for and work on?

Does this one look OK?
http://sanantonio.craigslist.org/cto/1816438029.html

Any help would be great.:beer
 

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This is a flame free zone so I will be polite.
You currently have a seven year old truck which requires you to fix small things that keep breaking. You then mention that some of these items are “hard to track down”
The truck is “only” seven years old.
The newest Bronco you will find out there is from 1996. That makes it 14 years old already or, twice as old as your current rig.
MORE stuff, both big and small, is going to break and many things you cannot get from a dealership.
I am not sure what you consider a “permanent” break since around here, unless the truck has burned or been under water for a few months, nothing is destroyed but merely “disabled”.
Now, you are looking for one that does not require a lot of work and has working AC. $3500.00 is reasonable for what you are looking for but again, you are looking at a truck which is already over a decade old.
If you get anything older then a 1996, then the computer is an OBD1 system which is not as easy to mess with as the current OBDII system in your F-150.
As far as reliability goes, all three engines that the truck came with are solid workhorses. The 4.9 six is a mule. Not a ton of horsepower but, it simply never stops working.
The 5.0 is Fords most popular engine and the aftermarket for it is almost on par with the Chevrolet Smallblock.
Then you have the 5.8 which came in over 50% of the Broncos from 1983 to 1996. A good aftermarket.
Common problems are tailgate rust, tailgate window motors, wheel well rust (depending on where you live) and cracked B pillars right behind the drip rails.
You will get anywhere from 12 to 15 MPG combined depending on how your drive.
I get 13.6 MPG in my 1992 with the 5.8 and the E4OD transmission.
Bigger tires obviously will get you worse fuel economy.
I have a 33 gallon tank but, I think some of them came with smaller ones.
The link you sent looks like a pretty nice rig. It was obviously well kept.
The fact that it is not a “stripper” tells me that it has one of the V8 engines in it.
It is absolutely worth looking at.
See if you can get one of the Bronco members from your area to go with you.
 

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penis
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Common issue depend ont he year you are looking at:
Rear leaf spring hangers rust out
frame can crack
rain gutter cracks
rust floors 1/4 tail gate
From the link the top has been off look for missing bolts
look behind the 1/4 for the pillars behind the taillight to be rusted out
upper wheel well rust
T/V cable being out of adjustment AOD AODE electronic shit
2900 is a little high look for hidden damage as well bent frame cracked frame, make sure the transfer case works in 2wd 4hi 4 lo hubs lock manual are prefered vibrations look for a hitch (holes in the rear of the frame.)
 

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DigitalBill said
around here, unless the truck has burned or been under water for a few months, nothing is destroyed but merely “disabled”
and THAT is why I love these forums and my BKO. also +1 on getting a forum member to go with you on your inspection/possible buy.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
This is a flame free zone so I will be polite.
You currently have a seven year old truck which requires you to fix small things that keep breaking. You then mention that some of these items are “hard to track down”
The truck is “only” seven years old.
The newest Bronco you will find out there is from 1996. That makes it 14 years old already or, twice as old as your current rig.
MORE stuff, both big and small, is going to break and many things you cannot get from a dealership.
I am not sure what you consider a “permanent” break since around here, unless the truck has burned or been under water for a few months, nothing is destroyed but merely “disabled”.
Now, you are looking for one that does not require a lot of work and has working AC. $3500.00 is reasonable for what you are looking for but again, you are looking at a truck which is already over a decade old.
If you get anything older then a 1996, then the computer is an OBD1 system which is not as easy to mess with as the current OBDII system in your F-150.
As far as reliability goes, all three engines that the truck came with are solid workhorses. The 4.9 six is a mule. Not a ton of horsepower but, it simply never stops working.
The 5.0 is Fords most popular engine and the aftermarket for it is almost on par with the Chevrolet Smallblock.
Then you have the 5.8 which came in over 50% of the Broncos from 1983 to 1996. A good aftermarket.
Common problems are tailgate rust, tailgate window motors, wheel well rust (depending on where you live) and cracked B pillars right behind the drip rails.
You will get anywhere from 12 to 15 MPG combined depending on how your drive.
I get 13.6 MPG in my 1992 with the 5.8 and the E4OD transmission.
Bigger tires obviously will get you worse fuel economy.
I have a 33 gallon tank but, I think some of them came with smaller ones.
The link you sent looks like a pretty nice rig. It was obviously well kept.
The fact that it is not a “stripper” tells me that it has one of the V8 engines in it.
It is absolutely worth looking at.
See if you can get one of the Bronco members from your area to go with you.
I know getting rid of a 7 yr old truck for a reliable old bronco sounds wierd, but I figgure the bronco i can ACTUALLY work on, my 03 makes everything an excercise in "persuasion" as nothing happens the way it should.

My 03 has "Blown Out" 2 spark plugs out of the head so far! (common prob for the early modular motors) Has an exhaust leak between the cast iron exhaust manifold and the aluminum head because a bolt broke (how the hell do I not destroy the head to remove a broken bolt, aluminum is sooo fragile), I have replaced the $4000 transmission because a sensor went out originally and has alot of collateral damage. Now the ABS light won't stop coming on and I am trying to chase down with sensor isn't working (throwing money out along the way). If I take it "off road", as the sticker it came with on the bed says it can do, when the engine get muddy and the I wash it, the muddy water funnels down to in between the coil pack and spark plug cuasing misfiring. My 03 gets about 12 MPG, so a Bronco wouldn't hurt there. And all this while I am paying $322/month and full coverage insurance!

Point is I could handle a part here and there without a car payment.

Also I am a little jealous how some people has older vehicles and don't have to "care" so much about the cosmetic cleanup of their truck. My 03 is pretty, really pretty, which is why I have to keep it clean, because at the end of the day that is all the truck has. It is slow, gas-guzzleing, terrible at off roading, pretty truck.

OK so broncos only get "disabled" and cost around half of what I owe on my 03, sounds nice.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
also +1 on getting a forum member to go with you on your inspection/possible buy.
I'll bring my dad, he has been a Ford-only "shadetree mechanic" for longer then my 26 yrs on this earth. He'll know what to look for mechanically.

But a local san antonio expert would help if there is any out there???

::hint::
 

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well it all matters what you want from it.. i have a 96 XL with the 5.8L and I love it.. I drive it to and from work about 25 miles each way. Dont get the greatest MPH but if your worried about that then you dont need a bronco... little things are going to break here and there thats why I chose an XL no power windows no cruise no real creature comforts ( less things to break) but you can buy a used manual like chilton and do work yourself here and there and its all great.
 

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Bronco

It all depends on your mechanical skills. I have had my 84 since 86. I love it because I understand how it works and how to repair it. Also, there is no computer OBD 1 or OBD 2. Just my personal preference since I am 62 and retired.
 

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i here yah on your 03 having problems. my parents own an 02 excursion and it is way less reliable and more of a pain to fix than my bronco.
 

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Tailgate rust, usually at the bottom, inside; and the drip rails on the roof, as said, are fairly common areas to look out for ... Unless the vehicle has been well kept in a garage it's whole life. Don't avoid a Bronco because of these common issues, just be aware that they exist ... and can be repaired.

Most would agree that it is best to look for a 5.8 Bronco, although with some aftermarket parts, the 5.0 can be built to perform well.

My advice to you though, is drive a few before you buy one. Even vehicles you don't plan to buy. That just gives you a nice average to compare elements of each one. Wait as long as it takes to find the truck you will be happy with, but if it comes up early in your searching, don't hesitate to jump on it, just make sure you have driven a few first so you have some comparison.

The one you linked looks alright, but a picture can be deceiving, and that one already needs a new bumper ... what sort of owner would not replace that as soon as it happened??? Makes you wonder how frequently they changed the oil?

Look for something stock like that one ... And preferrable one that has been adult owned, they tend to treat them well, maintain them well, and shell out for the better parts and labor. A garaged one from an old grandpa with recently failing eyesight is usually a good score.

Best of Luck in your search, and I hear you about the beauty of new vehicle ownership ... :banghead
 

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green ones make me horny
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Broncos suck, get a jeep
 

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Depending on year, the transmission can be an issue. The last gen broncos came with the e4od transmission. Its a heavy duty tranny but the problem is that they are all old at this point. When you do a test drive be sure the tranny shifts correctly. The e4od can be in the $1000+ range to replace. Not to big of a deal on a C6 equipped bronco as they are cheap price wise in comparison.
On top of everything everyone has mentioned, I would just make sure all of its accessories and components work.
My truck has over 200k miles. It gets wheeled lightly a few times a month. It gets the crap beat out of it a few times a year. It has the original engine and transmission still going strong. The most annoying issue I have had with it was a recent fuel issue. It turned out to be a $17 fuel regulator. Last month I drove it from Houston Texas to Laurel Maryland. My wife thought I was crazy for not waiting for my chebbie to get out of the shop(wrecked). Eight hours into the trip I felt crazy for taking a 200k truck to a 2900 mile trip. The old thing made it there and back problem free so reliable ones are definetly still out there. My truck has a light bar with four KC lights, Ranch hand bumper, 4" lift, 33" tires and a ton of unnecessary junk inside it. With the AC running I averaged 13.5mpgs running mostly at 65mph.
BTW, my bronco is originally from san antonio. It still has a "Grande Ford" sticker in the back.
Good luck on your search.
 

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How does this one look from the crappy pictures?
http://sanantonio.craigslist.org/ctd/1820548879.html
I think the price is WAY to hich.
First of all, the guy is a 'tard for the "350" comment.
I mean, it looks straight and all but, 3 grand for a 27 year old truck?

Just for comparisons sake, I paid $400.00 for mine and put about 25 bucks into it to get it running.
The deals are out there... Just be patient enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I think the price is WAY to hich.
First of all, the guy is a 'tard for the "350" comment.
I mean, it looks straight and all but, 3 grand for a 27 year old truck?

Just for comparisons sake, I paid $400.00 for mine and put about 25 bucks into it to get it running.
The deals are out there... Just be patient enough.
Ok so I went and looked at this Bronco yesterday. Here's what happened:

So we pulled up to this lil' Mom-and-Pops car dealership, not seeing the Bronco right away, it was in the garage area on the side (roof was off and weather was "iffy"). At first walk up, it looked good, the rims are a bit crazier then I would put on a classic like this 83, but on first walk up, I liked it. The sales guy seemed like a tweaker but he was OK and fired up the motor while me and my friend gave the bronco a good walk around. The motor fired with a little persuasion as old carbs do. I saw the back window was about 3" still up, so I asked if it rolled down, and the guy said no. The sales guy kept rambling about how all she needed was a tune-up and he was honest and reiterated about the tune-up 3 or 4 more times. The spare tire holder had the use of zip ties but it worked and swung open, the tail gate wouldn't drop. The interior was OK for its age, but the console was sun-damaged, some cut up the dash to put in what looks like a newer Ford OEM radio. I laid under the truck and saw LOTS of oil, just caked all over everthing. At the same time my friend checked the oil, and it looked obviously fresh, well when I was under the front I found some oil that when I touched it looked like brand new oil, could it be some of that fresh new oil has already leaked out??? Then we started her back up and took a lil spin with the radio off, the steering felt a lil loose (maybe they all do that) but steerable, the motor was a little hesitant and had no balls, I think there may have been a miss in the motor too. The "BRAKE" light in the dash was always on, the tach didn't even try to work, My friend said the oil gauge was pegged out, but I didn't notice it firsthand, and of course the AC didn't work. Once we got back, I immediately popped the hood while it was running. What I found was smoke coming from the passenger side rear part of the motor. The smoke looked to be coming from a bad gasket between the exhaust manifold and the downpipe (or whatever it is) and didn't seem to be anything leaking and getting hot on the exhaust.

All and all, great truck to play with but could not be the replacement to my 03 F150.

And as far as price, the ad said $3250, when I said I didn't like the wheels, the price dropped $800, so $2450 and I would have to find wheels to get her home at that point! When I told him I didn't want the Bronco, he said that his boss would need to talk to make sure he was helpful enough blah blah blah. I know what a "Turn" is, since my last job was a car salesman, haha. So I go in to see the Boss Man. I tell him all the findings I had and the guy said he could tell that I knew my broncos (after 3 days on FSB.com I was a genius, lol) and asked me what I thought he could get out of it. I told him like $1500 with the rims and tires. They didn't like that but they said that is what they have in it and they'd let me have it for that. In retrospect, prolly shoulda said $1000, lol

Well that was my experience sorry if it was long winded just wanted to see if what I saw was common for Broncos 20 years old???

Thanks guys again for all the help.
 

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Well, 1500 is an awful long way from 3500.
A few things to note.
Massive oil leaks are nothing new.
The rear main seals on these things might as well be made of butter.
The smoke was very likely coming from the exhaust manifold.
The tailgate window not coming all the way down will not allow you to open the tailgate.
When the window goes all the way down, it "trips" a release which allows the handle to work properly.
$1500.00 might not be so bad IF you can afford to dump another few hundred per month into it over the next year or so...
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Well, 1500 is an awful long way from 3500.
A few things to note.
Massive oil leaks are nothing new.
The rear main seals on these things might as well be made of butter.
The smoke was very likely coming from the exhaust manifold.
The tailgate window not coming all the way down will not allow you to open the tailgate.
When the window goes all the way down, it "trips" a release which allows the handle to work properly.
$1500.00 might not be so bad IF you can afford to dump another few hundred per month into it over the next year or so...
And I am not dogging that Bronco, but it was not the "one" for me. I am getting rid of a semi-reliable 03 and need something as close as possible to that level of reliability. That one would have been great as a project Bronc but not ready to be my daily driver to take me to work and back (about 50mi round trip), also still really want AC!

So I called on this one and will be looking at it tonight:
http://sanantonio.craigslist.org/ctd/1820719019.html
It seems really clean and nice for its age, and the said $3300 out the door, so we will see what I notice and how good at fanagling I am.:toothless

I will post my findings here:beer
 

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The roll bar is a nice touch for sure.
The back window only being down a little bit is a small cause for concern but, in reality, it is a pretty easy and inexpensive fix... unless you are working on the price and THEN the window is a HUGE deal!!!!
Are you kidding, 1/3 of the windows don't even WORK!!!!!!
And then there is the very inconveniant and potentially danger of being unable to open the tailgate!!!
Hell, all of that should knock at least a grand off the price right there.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The roll bar is a nice touch for sure.
The back window only being down a little bit is a small cause for concern but, in reality, it is a pretty easy and inexpensive fix... unless you are working on the price and THEN the window is a HUGE deal!!!!
Are you kidding, 1/3 of the windows don't even WORK!!!!!!
And then there is the very inconveniant and potentially danger of being unable to open the tailgate!!!
Hell, all of that should knock at least a grand off the price right there.
Yeah the guy on the phone I talked to said it rolls down fine and that is as far as it goes up by itself but can be forced up.

I can't wait to get off and check it out, it looks from the pics and sounds like what I am looking for.
 

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Take your time man, don't buy the first one that comes along. There are five just like this one that pop up every week on craigslist. Get the year, color, and engine you want ...

Broncos are heavy trucks, make sure you get an engine with enough torque to push it and haul a trailer. .02$
 
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