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Hello all. While I haven't found my Bronco yet, I figured I'd better make an introductory thread so my first post isn't the one where I'm begging for help. Currently selling (hopefully this evening!) my '12 Mustang GT garage queen as the family has outgrown it, and our new goal is to find a 78-86 Bronco that everyone can fit in and enjoy (even the dogs). The preliminary search is proving difficult, especially with some of the sellers asking for quite a bit of money, but I'm sure something will pop up eventually. I've been given strict orders not to spend more on the Bronco than I make on the Mustang, and I enjoy being married so I should probably listen! I'm open to just about any kind of work it might need if the price is right, except for rust so I'm excited to really get serious about looking. If it's mostly restored and the work is already done, great. If it needs work and there's money left to do it ourselves, that's great too. I have no prior experience with FSB's, so while I know it all comes down to personal preference, I'm open to any and all feedback when it comes to these two Gens. I've been catching up on many of the threads here on the site and there's lots of great knowledge out there. I look forward to being a part of the community! I'm sure I'll be asking for thoughts along the way in the Noobie section as well.
 

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Yo Jason,

Welcome and good fortune on finding a very good Big Bronco⚠

Here are some specific 78/79 pre-purchase checks, but most apply to yiur year range:
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).

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?
  • 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
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.

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.’ ”
Al
 

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Addicted to Junk
85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
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Welcome! Good luck in the search. It can be a tough one to choose! I'm partial to the 80-86 myself.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thx BigBlue! I do love the look. Maybe a bit easier to find as well? Finding something within driving distance is going to be a real challenge it looks like.
 
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