Bronco Forum - Full Size Ford Bronco Forum banner
1 - 20 of 55 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My name is Brendan I am a 19 year old high school kid who just really wants an old bronco I am hoping to get one and take it on a cross country road trip with some buddies after we graduate. I don't know nearly enough to try a restoration of some kind as well as not having the money. If anybody has any tips on what to look for I know the obvious stuff (no rust, relatively "low" miles, etc) it would be great. Although I love them the 70s are out my budget late 80s early 90s seem to be what I can find in my price range which at the max is about 9 or 10k hopefully less. Also if anybody reading this is from the Boston, New England areas and they know somebody or some place that might be able to point me in the right direction that would be apricated.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,237 Posts
You're going to need a full collection of tools; harbor freight lowes (craftsman) will work. Some ebay speciality tools. Anything you can afford 9-10k is higher end and should get something relatively nice. The 92+ is less problematic; but 87-91 is nice efi trucks also. You will have to modify parts to up date these trucks to daily drive them. Such as the saginaw pump swap; 130 amp 3g alternator swap. Dont forget these trucks 25+ yrs old you're not going to be able to do 75 mph with new vehicles on the road and not have major drivetrain failure from heavy use and high speeds. It's like taking your grandma to the olympics sure she may be able to keep up for a short time but eventually shes going to break her hip.
 

·
Registered
1988 Ford Bronco Custom 5.0 Stock. 33s on American racing rims.
Joined
·
14 Posts
My name is Brendan I am a 19 year old high school kid who just really wants an old bronco I am hoping to get one and take it on a cross country road trip with some buddies after we graduate. I don't know nearly enough to try a restoration of some kind as well as not having the money. If anybody has any tips on what to look for I know the obvious stuff (no rust, relatively "low" miles, etc) it would be great. Although I love them the 70s are out my budget late 80s early 90s seem to be what I can find in my price range which at the max is about 9 or 10k hopefully less. Also if anybody reading this is from the Boston, New England areas and they know somebody or some place that might be able to point me in the right direction that would be apricated.
Should find a nice one for that price range. Just make sure you crawl under it and inspect. Road salt is a killer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You're going to need a full collection of tools; harbor freight lowes (craftsman) will work. Some ebay speciality tools. Anything you can afford 9-10k is higher end and should get something relatively nice. The 92+ is less problematic; but 87-91 is nice efi trucks also. You will have to modify parts to up date these trucks to daily drive them. Such as the saginaw pump swap; 130 amp 3g alternator swap. Dont forget these trucks 25+ yrs old you're not going to be able to do 75 mph with new vehicles on the road and not have major drivetrain failure from heavy use and high speeds. It's like taking your grandma to the olympics sure she may be able to keep up for a short time but eventually shes going to break her hip.
Lol maybe I wasn't 100% clear in my initial post I know zip about cars and parts half of what you sent isn't even in English for me I have no clue what a saginaw pump. I do understand what you're saying about grammy in the olympics but slow down with all the tools and swaps and stuff.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,301 Posts
Lol maybe I wasn't 100% clear in my initial post I know zip about cars and parts half of what you sent isn't even in English for me I have no clue what a saginaw pump. I do understand what you're saying about grammy in the olympics but slow down with all the tools and swaps and stuff.
basically he is saying these older trucks need a lot of maintenance and you will need to learn how to work on them, if not you will spend a fortune in repair bills. Going cross country in one of these trucks is asking a lot especially since its hard on the tranny and cooling system. If you buy one regardless of mileage your looking at a tune up, oil change, transmission fluid change, transfer case fluid change, front and rear differential fluid change, change coolant & replace radiator hoses and thermostat, replace serpentine belt, replace fuel filter, brakes inspection, inspect tires for age and cracking, probably shocks, inspect and possibly replace shocks and a new battery just to be considered for cross country driving.

there can be other things happen out of the blue as well. if your on the road a bad water pump could set you back 2 or 3 days if the bolts break off which they are notorious for. Paying a shop to do ball joints and replace tie rods on the front end could set you back $1000 easy. Just because you pay 8-10k for a truck doesn't mean its ready to go. Most of the time the only benefit generally of buying a more expensive bronco is it is in better shape body wise or has lower miles but doesnt always gurantee it wont need anymore work righ off the bat
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,237 Posts
They are old trucks you will have to work on it often. You will need tools to work on vehicles. I would suggest watching many youtube channels to get ideas of needed tools. Chrisfix is a good channel. After owning a older truck after about 5 years you will be mechanically skilled more than the average adult.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
221 Posts
And your chevy buddies usually get most of the tools and parts you need but they want you to put a bowtie over the oval in return.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,306 Posts
If you want a worry-free cross country trip, I’d look for something newer and more economical. Nineteen, no money, no tools, and limited automotive knowledge? No offense meant - we’ve all been there. There’s a time for Broncos, but I don’t think that time is now for you. Every last Bronco will eat as much money and time as you can throw at it.

You’ve got more sense than I had to come ask. I’d focus on having a great trip and use a vehicle that will most promote that outcome. You’ll know when the time is right to pick one up - you’ll have a garage, a burgeoning collection of tools, reliable primary transportation, and some disposable income you can throw at your Bronco.

Have a great time on your trip.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,353 Posts
If your looking for a long term project … something that you can learn on.... fall in Love with.... and never get rid of... then a Bronco is for you.

If your looking for a daily driver …. dependable... low maintenance.... then any 25 year vehicle is not in your wheel house.

You have a lot of strikes against you from the bat with the Bronco

1) You are looking in the rust belt. Every bolt you remove will be a battle. An easy job like a starter ,or brake change can turn into a fiasco.
2) This will be your first rodeo.. and you are going to have learn everything. 80% of turning wrenches is knowing what tool to use.. and when. Using the wrong tool can cause damage, and end up costing a ton. Throw away any adjustable wrench and vice grips you own. You have to know when to use them … and then only as a last resort. Just research broken/stripped bolts and all the fun they are to deal with.
3) Not for sure about the smog and safety inspection required by Mass.... but I'm sure it is crazy. Trying to get a 25 year old ride to pass emissions can be a joy. Just research what the members in California have to go through.

You can still find some great Broncos. I would look in the southwest or down here in Georgia/ Alabama/Mississippi we don't use salt on the roads and in the southwest it hardly ever rains.

Good luck
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
29,076 Posts
Yo Brendan,
Welcome!

➡➡➡⚠ 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.

Our Navy Federal Credit Union used to suggest using https://www.nadaguides.com for finding the "value" of a vehicle.

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
Auto tranny - E4OD in 90 to 96 had a lot of improvements made by 96 so look for good shifts and see the maintenance records; fluids/filter should have been changed every 30k miles and less if used for towing.
Pull the transmission dipstick out when the engine is running at normal operating temp. The level should read FULL.
For it and C6 or AOD automatics, 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.

The M5OD is a top shift, fully synchronized, five-speed manual transmission (7003), equipped with an overdrive fifth gear ratio. All gear changes including reverse are accomplished with synchronizer sleeves.
Inspect the case for cracks, worn or damaged bores, damaged threads, or any other damage that could affect operation of the transmission. Inspect the machined mating surfaces for burrs, nicks or damage.
The clutch may be hard to depress and/or the clutch slave cylinder may wear out prematurely on some Broncos. This may be due to the clutch slave cylinder allowing hydraulic fluid to leak.
Preventative Measure; You should have the rubber shift cover plugs resealed at your earliest possible convenience. A common occurrence with this model transmission is the rubber plugs shrinking over time and allowing lube oil to leak out of the transmission. This occurs while the vehicle is in operation, so there is less of a tendency for a puddle to develop when the vehicle is sitting parked. The result to the transmission is a lack of lubrication and damage to some very expensive gears and bearings.

Also in non-carbureted Broncos 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.

Same for:
E4OD Transmission Control Indicator Light (TCIL), it is a LED and overdrive on/off switch at end of the Transmission shifter stalk or on dash; flashing OD light is an indication of a transmission related trouble code in the Powertrain Control Module (PCM).

Cash is King!!!
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.’ ”

Good Fortune Brendan!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,329 Posts
I'll be the opposing voice. get an 86 or older, carb. a lot less maint (once it is done) than the 87-96 trucks, and cheaper.

If we exclude the issues I've had with attempting to do the EFI swap, I have yet to have a project that requires more than hand tools and takes more than a couple of hours. In fact, outside of the EFI setup, I've spent less than 200 in 6 months of driving my truck outside of fluids and gas.

last 6 months since I bought it, my '86 has required:
3 u-joints and CV joint, day job
front drive bearings, 2 hour job, rented bearing puller and driver from o'reilly's for free
master cylinder, 20 bucks
fuel level tank float, 2 bucks
new vacuum hoses, new PCV valve (99 cents)
rad cap, 6 bucks.
fuel pump, 20 bucks.
5 feet of fuel line.

There is still work to do, but she has been a solid DD, has only almost let me down once, but managed to get home, if only stuck to 35MPH for the last 10 miles. have put about 5k miles on it so far, mileage does suck though,.

Also, this truck only cost me 4500 to buy it. with brand new tires on it.

These old beasts can be dead simple to work on, all you need is access to youtube, some standard sized sockets and wrenches, and some patience and understanding. Having a backup plan (second vehicle, or a roommate or family member who can run you to the store) is a very good idea however.

word of advice on tools. Start at Harbor Freight for all of your tool needs. When a Harbor Freight tool breaks, go buy a better one somewhere else, it means you use it enough to need a good one.

Edit, you're from Boston, and I would assume without the means to drive to Arizona with a truck and trailer to tow one home.....may not be the vehicle for you at the moment, really suggest getting one from the dry arid dessert regions of the US/Mexico unless you plan on doing a full frame off restoration immediately..
 

·
Registered
1987 Ford Bronco, beefed up 351w, JBG HD rear springs, JBG 4” coil, 10.25 rear posi, Dana 44 posi
Joined
·
424 Posts
If your looking for a long term project … something that you can learn on.... fall in Love with.... and never get rid of... then a Bronco is for you.

If your looking for a daily driver …. dependable... low maintenance.... then any 25 year vehicle is not in your wheel house.

You have a lot of strikes against you from the bat with the Bronco

1) You are looking in the rust belt. Every bolt you remove will be a battle. An easy job like a starter ,or brake change can turn into a fiasco.
2) This will be your first rodeo.. and you are going to have learn everything. 80% of turning wrenches is knowing what tool to use.. and when. Using the wrong tool can cause damage, and end up costing a ton. Throw away any adjustable wrench and vice grips you own. You have to know when to use them … and then only as a last resort. Just research broken/stripped bolts and all the fun they are to deal with.
3) Not for sure about the smog and safety inspection required by Mass.... but I'm sure it is crazy. Trying to get a 25 year old ride to pass emissions can be a joy. Just research what the members in California have to go through.

You can still find some great Broncos. I would look in the southwest or down here in Georgia/ Alabama/Mississippi we don't use salt on the roads and in the southwest it hardly ever rains.

Good luck
You are right that we don’t use salt down here in Georgia. I was driving the day after Christmas when it got very cold for like 2 days and hit a small patch of ice. First time I’ve driven over ice and it’s crazy, it’s like you just lose all control and the truck gets a mind of it’s own.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Blocke

·
Registered
Joined
·
332 Posts
Don't do it. These trucks are too addicting and will consume all your time and money, at least that's how it played out for me, lol!

My name is Brendan I am a 19 year old high school kid who just really wants an old bronco I am hoping to get one and take it on a cross country road trip with some buddies after we graduate. I don't know nearly enough to try a restoration of some kind as well as not having the money. If anybody has any tips on what to look for I know the obvious stuff (no rust, relatively "low" miles, etc) it would be great. Although I love them the 70s are out my budget late 80s early 90s seem to be what I can find in my price range which at the max is about 9 or 10k hopefully less. Also if anybody reading this is from the Boston, New England areas and they know somebody or some place that might be able to point me in the right direction that would be apricated.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jimmy Dean

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,329 Posts
Don't do it. These trucks are too addicting and will consume all your time and money, at least that's how it played out for me, lol!
That's the truth right there. The only cars/trucks better than a bullnose Bronco are mustangs, and maybe EBs as well. I still go all mooneyed when I walk outside and see that '86 that's my DD, and she's far from perfect at the moment.
 

·
Premium Member
If it is not a Bronco, it's just not worth driving.....
Joined
·
1,900 Posts
@Blocke

Have you been scared off yet?

All the information you have been given by the guys is accurate, but, we all own one and love them a ton. Ownership of a Bronco is a real joy if you have the resources to support it. It takes time, effort money and patience to maintain a 20+ year old vehicle.

I bought my 95 Bronco five years ago for $5100 and have put in at least another 16k in to it since buying it. A lot of this money spent was not really necessary to owning it and driving it, stuff like off road bumpers, lockers and such, but some of it was needed, like a new transmission after owning it for 2 years.

They do require a lot, but they are worth it in the end. It just takes a huge commitment.

One of the best things you have going is this forum. I have had nothing but great help from the guys and gals here when it comes to figuring problems out.

We will be glad to help out all we can, but you have been forewarned, it is a huge commitment.
 

·
Eric
Joined
·
2,672 Posts
Knowledge is power. Empower yourself. Start by ordering a Summit Racing and/or Jeg's parts catalog. They are free. Read the thing cover-to-cover and learn about every part in there. Google search vids and old magazine articles for anything you don't understand. Afterwards, get an inexpensive hand tool set and head to a junkyard. Practice taking apart and re-assembling cars/parts that are there while getting a feel for each part in your hands. Now you are making the physical association with everything you read about in the parts catalogs. Try not to damage or break anything.

This is one, simple, process for learning inexpensively and gaining hands-on experience. THEN, you can go and find your dream Bronco and have the confidence you need to make a solid decision on your purchase. Yes... this is an investment of time and effort. That's usually how it works when you're on a limited budget. However, it's entirely in your hands and done at your pace.

Happy wrenching!

Just my $0.02.
 

·
Registered
1984 Bronco, 4.9L, C6, 9", 44 TTB, 3.54 Gears
Joined
·
431 Posts
Well, if you are still reading I will try and echo what Jimmy Dean said, but take it one step further. Get a carbureted inline six. They are about impossible to blow up, run forever, and are dead nuts simple to work on.

In fact most of my truck can be disassembled with a 1/2" or 9/16" wrench!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
573 Posts
I did a Frame-on restoration of a '96 last year.
I live in Burlington, MA if I am close by I can possibly help you with any questions you may have

If you want my personal opinion, one of the major skills you need to learn is removing old rusty stubborn bolts (assuming you do a majority or all of the service work yourself)
90% of the time you heat the offending bolt cherry red with a torch and 'pop' it off with an air impact gun (like they use on lug nuts)

If you get anything with more than 150,000 miles on it realize that the engine and transmission have a taillight warranty on them....could go at any time
I know , I know, I can guarantee somebody is going to post something how they got 200,000+ miles on theirs......good for you!
But in your price range you should find something with reasonably low miles
 

·
Registered
1978 460 c6
Joined
·
178 Posts
Lots of negativity here. I learned most of my mechanical ability on the side of the road a few miles from town yet alone the auto parts store out of necessity. There was nobody else there just me a box of tools and a greasy Haynes manual. The greasy pages are the ones ya look for when troubleshooting. Get a basic set of tools and go drive. I didn't have a cell phone. This kid has a damn smart phone. He can search this forum and YouTube and learn anything. Listen kid go get ya a bronco and have a blast. Pick up a good multimeter and go to harbor freight and get some sockets ratchets wrenches screwdrivers pliers and a repair manual. And of course a box to keep it all in. Search around learn some common problems and have fun.

Bud

Oh and one of the best tricks to play on your friends is wait till your out in the middle of nowhere and goose the throttle a few times then let of the gas but keep your foot on the pedal and watch your friends faces when they think you are breaking down. Priceless. At least back then usually nobody had a cell phone. Oh and get some torque wrenches till you learn how tight bolts are supposed to be. Overtorqueing a bolt can end up being expensive just because you used a half inch drive long handle ratchet to tighten a 1/4" bolt. Ask me how I know
 
1 - 20 of 55 Posts
Top