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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
‘96 Bronco, Eddie Bauer, 5.8L

So, I’ve read countless posts, articles, etc. I’ve fallen into so many rabbit holes I can’t begin to count them. I’ve decided to post a detailed description and see if anyone else has experienced this rather unique power system problem:

1. New alternator, problem persisted, I returned and swapped. Problem persists.
2. Same with battery.
3. Cabling all appears to be in good condition, from what I can tell.
4. Previous owner put an aftermarket stereo and aftermarket tow brake controller, so, there’s that.
5. Lastly, my transmission is failing (more on that in a moment).

Here’s the problem I’m experiencing:

Bronco will fire up, and run great.

About 45 minutes into a drive (gently driving because I’ve yet to replace the transmission), something trips and my OD light on the shifter starts to flash. As I said, I’m aware that the transmission is failing, so generally, this is redundant for me.

As soon as this happens, my blinkers stop working, my voltmeter goes hella low (like, close to 8 or 9), and very, very slowly, I start to lose electrical power. Clearly, the alternator is unable to charge the battery at this point.

Here’s what’s super strange: when I stop, of course she won’t fire back up. All the symptoms of “dead battery”. But...if I leave her sit for a few hours, she fires right up, voltmeter shows normal voltage, and everything really works normally. Except for my sad, sad transmission, of course.

One more note: my speedometer has wobbled for a long time, and I’ve just neglected to troubleshoot. I assumed it had something to do with the failing transmission, since my understanding is that sensor is on the transfer case.

When this thing happens, eventually, my speedometer just stops working. Not sure if that’s related or not.

And that’s it. As long as I keep it to short drives (which I normally do because of the impending drivetrain failure), everything’s great. But I do periodically have to very carefully take her on a 1.5 hour commute, and that of course brings this problem back to the forefront.

Any ideas? I’ll wrench on my bronco whenever possible, but I’m NOT a mechanic. I’m not even sure if the voltage regulator is external on a ‘96? Or is the alternator diode external?

Anyway, any thoughts would be helpful. Especially if you’ve experienced something like this before.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow...y’all are seriously fantastic.

Sounds like I got some troubleshooting steps to go through, this has provided so much clarity for that process!
 
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