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Discussion Starter #1
Good evening all,

I’ve got a trip coming up that I’d like to take in the Bronco instead of my wife’s much more comfortable f150. I want to do this for two reasons, so I’ll have 4wd in our finals destination, and because... I like driving my bronco!

It’s a 1993 EB daily driver with 198k miles on a 351w with e4od (only about 16k of those are mine.)

Since purchase I’ve replaced all the front end suspension parts except for ball joints that were OK. Also new redhead steering box, Borgeson shaft, radiator, throttle body, thermostat and housing, serpentine, AC clutch (though I have a leak in the system somewhere and I’m suspecting it’s the compressor itself), shocks, brakes, radius arm bushings, tires, I’m sure I’m missing something...

Anyway with that out of the way, can some folks give me a couple of things I need to check on prior to embarking on a “long” trip? I’ve made the trek from home to Dallas and home to Austin (both around 1.5 or 2 hr) many times in the vehicle and don’t hesitate there but the trip I’m thinking of is 11 hours each way and up into the cold and higher altitudes.

One thing I for sure want to verify is my front bearings. I have no current reason to believe they have issues, just want to make sure. What else for peace of mind?


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'92 Custom w/ '95 MAF 5.0 M/T, 33's, 4.10 LSD
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Check that all your fluids are clean and topped off, and maybe swing by one of the parts stores to have your battery and alternator tested. Beyond that, I'd say you've done enough preventative maintenance to justify heading out worry-free. If anything goes wrong, it's not for lack of preparation.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I knew I forgot something... new battery!

Good call on the alternator though that I haven’t checked. Thx


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Yo D,
Wheel Bearing Test by Ford;
"Raise the vehicle until the tire clears the floor.
Grasp each front tire at the top and bottom and push the wheel (1007) inward and outward while lifting the weight of the tire off the front wheel bearings.
170758


Make sure the wheel rotates freely and the brake pads are retracted sufficiently to allow movement of the wheel assembly.

If the wheel/hub-rotor is loose on the front wheel spindle (3105) or does not rotate freely, adjust the front wheel bearings as described in the appropriate section in Group 04." Adjustment is @ 1996 Bronco/F-Series


Steering "VISUAL INSPECTION CHART:
  • Tire pressure, loose wheels
  • Loose tie rod ends
  • Loose suspension ball joints
  • Loose connecting bolts on column intermediate shaft
  • Loose steering gear assembly
  • Improper drive belt tension
  • Binding or misaligned steering column
  • Power steering pump, fluid level, hose leak or line restrictions

Try this vacuum leak test at 1996 Bronco/F-Series
"When vacuum leaks are indicated, search out and correct the condition. Excess air leaking into the system will upset the fuel mixture and cause conditions such as rough idle, missing on acceleration, or burned valves. If the leak exists in an accessory unit, such as the power brake, the unit will not function correctly. Or Air Conditioning when in MAX mode may switch to Defrost.

E4OD:
Aside from leaks;
E4OD Transmission Control Indicator Light (TCIL) is a LED with an overdrive on/off switch at end of the Transmission shifter stalk; flashing OD light is an indication of a transmission related trouble code in the Powertrain Control Module (PCM).
If it flashing while driving, try a Self Test for Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC)s by my pal, BroncoJoe19 @ Code Reader

Have a great trip!
 

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85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
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Up to the mountains? 11 hrs would be about Colorado id say?

Extra fluids of all types. Enough for a full change of coolant. Extra radiator cap and some form of hose repair. Extra belt and tensioner, extra coil, couple long spark plug wires. Jumper cables.

Heavy blankets, gloves, food, drinking water, flashlight, tools. Ive slept at 9000 ft in an ice storm in the bronco with a 40° sleeping bag and two wool blankets. Comfortably warm.

Chains are required in some mountainous areas.

Otherwise, it sounds like the bronco itself is ready to go
 
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As far as trips, one thing I religiously check along the trip is how hot my hubs get. Every stop, I feel the hubs. Been doing this ever since I welded a wheel bearing to the spindle. They should be cool to slightly warm. If they're HOT to where you can't keep your hand on them, you have issues..
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Big blue:. Yep Colorado Springs (or so I've been told by the boss)

Good call on the blankets and stuff I have a few things in what can only be called a "get home" bag but... Given the Texas weather I never thought about getting stuck in a snow storm. Thx for the tips. Will work on getting the emergency repair kit built as well. Sounds like something that's a good call no matter what. I do have spare serpentine in the truck already. Plug wires I'd have never thought of.

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Discussion Starter #9
Sackman, will check the hubs starting now in drives around town. If they are getting hot, but the ford bearing check miesk posted "passes" what would you do? Re-pack or something?

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You just need a couple plug wires long enough to reach the farthest plug. And a coil wire. Spare heater hose doesnt hurt either. And always, bailing wire, wd40, and duct tape.

I personally carry a gallon of coolant, and a gallon of water to mix with, a gallon of ATF for Trans, TC, and power steering, quart of brake fluid, couple quarts of oil, and a jug of washer fluid. Dont forget a medium sized funnel. I have all that in my DD too.

Colo Sp. is on the edge of the mtns, so you shouldnt have too many troubles. Another 50 miles west is a bit harrier though! My night in the back of the bronco was in Central City. Woke up to a 1/4" of ice covering the bronco and more coming down! Depending on your drive, Western Kansas and Eastern CO can go into whiteout conditions where all the roads close. Literally you cant see ten feet in front of you while standing still.
 

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Sackman, will check the hubs starting now in drives around town. If they are getting hot, but the ford bearing check miesk posted "passes" what would you do? Re-pack or something?

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Around town they'll get hotter than expressway driving. If you can keep your hand on the hub without pulling it away, you'll be ok. I recently had a Bronco that pulled into my driveway, and I did this check. Hubs were blazing hot. I went in and found whoever services them before didn't know what the heck they were doing. Only one spindle nut and it was too tight. Luckily I had spare parts and fixed it for her.

Personally myself, I tighten the inner nut down then back it off almost to the point there's play with the rotor in and out. I make sure there's no play, put the space washer in and the outer nut I tighten down as tight as I can get it. Never had an issue with my method.

If you can't hold your hand on the hub, then something's too tight or the bearings aren't packed correctly.
 

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My 1980 workshop manual calls out a 0.001” to 0.006” axial play in the wheel bearing set. My finding was that I’d lose about 0.002” as I tightened up the outer nut (presume the washer tab clearance relative to spindle key slot as the culprit). Tapered rollers achieve best life at zero preload and there will be some growth at temperature. Life falls off quickly with preload, but I’ve not seen info regarding how much axial preload our bearings can take and what penalty we incur. I chose to set mine at about 0.002” axial float.

All that said, if you aren’t having known wheel bearing issues now, I would leave them alone till after your trip. No guarantees, but unlikely IMO that they punk out catastrophically over the next 1500 miles.

Enjoy your trip!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Had a 30min drive today and thought that was long enough for them to heat up pretty good if they were going to. They were barely warm so I’m guessing no issues there.

@BigBlue, think there is any reason to get some chains for col springs? I wouldn’t mind having some just to have them. Any suggestions on brand etc?

I’ll work on getting the rest of those fluids etc into a kit. Good to have even day-to-day on 30 yo truck.


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I've never had plug wires suddenly fail so carrying extras to me seems overkill. If they're suspect just change them anyway.

Make sure all the fluids are good, check your wheel bearings.

A spare tensioner is also overkill in my opinion, sorry. They just don't fail that often.

I carry a quart of oil and trans fluid, a bit of coolant for a top off, spare serpentine is good unless you just plain put a new one on before you leave. And a basic tool kit. Wintertime I also carry the blanket/water stuff just in case. Tire chains in there too during winter.

If you have to carry a ton of stuff 'in case of failure' then you should consider not taking it. It's not like you're going off on a 4wd excursion to Moab. It's a road trip for cripes sake.

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The guys have brought up a lot of good ideas for you to consider. One item that has been mentioned is the tensioner. Yes I carry a spare with me at all times. And a idler pully bearing. Not that I am extremely worried but they are small enough to carry and might not be a stocking item is a parts store along the road. Other choice is to check all of the pully bearings before hitting the road. Also a great time to check the water pump.
One item that I didn't pay too much attention to was the fan clutch. I thought it was working good enough and wasn't going out. But I was starting to hear a 'dry' or 'bad' bearing noise when cold starting the engine. Remove the belt and the noise would go away. One of the others mentioned that the fan clutch could be the issue. Replaced it and the noise went away. Mine was original with 250K miles on it. .
Just want to warn you about having water left in the Bronco if the outside temperatures are below freezing, bring the water in so it doesn't freeze. Frozen water doesn't make a mess, it's when it thaws that it gets messy.
Colorado will allow you to pass when chains are required if you have 3PMSF rated tires installed.
Winter Tech Information - What is the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake Symbol? (tirerack.com)
Enjoy Colorado Springs!
 

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Is it overkill to carry a spare t-stat? All this coolant and water pump talk reminded me that I carry a spare stock t-stat.

check all your lights. Turn signal, emergency signal, brake lights, headlamp,high beams.
 

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I've never had plug wires suddenly fail so carrying extras to me seems overkill. If they're suspect just change them anyway.

Make sure all the fluids are good, check your wheel bearings.

A spare tensioner is also overkill in my opinion, sorry. They just don't fail that often.

I carry a quart of oil and trans fluid, a bit of coolant for a top off, spare serpentine is good unless you just plain put a new one on before you leave. And a basic tool kit. Wintertime I also carry the blanket/water stuff just in case. Tire chains in there too during winter.

If you have to carry a ton of stuff 'in case of failure' then you should consider not taking it. It's not like you're going off on a 4wd excursion to Moab. It's a road trip for cripes sake.

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Its not for a failed plug wire, but incase one gets damaged by a belt that breaks or something else. And the tensioners break when you least expect it.

Im not sure why you have to argue with good advice. There is a reason I suggested all the things I did. Ive seen them all be needed.

What happens to that brand new belt you put on when your AC compressor decides to lock up? Belt is toast. And if it snaps and takes out a plug wire then what are you gonna do? The few items you say are overkill cost 20 bucks and take up virtually no room.

If he were going offroading, the list would have been much longer... Notice I didnt mention axle shafts, drive shafts, or special tools like slide hammer and BJ Press...
 

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Had a 30min drive today and thought that was long enough for them to heat up pretty good if they were going to. They were barely warm so I’m guessing no issues there.

@BigBlue, think there is any reason to get some chains for col springs? I wouldn’t mind having some just to have them. Any suggestions on brand etc?

I’ll work on getting the rest of those fluids etc into a kit. Good to have even day-to-day on 30 yo truck.


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If you have good snow rated tires, then no, chains are not necessary. By law, 18wheelers will be forced to use them in inclement weather, but passenger vehicles are not. There will be signs, ignore them as they are for truckers only.

I cannot comment on brands. I have a set that came with my bronco from Colorado springs, but they are unbranded. Ive never needed em here in NE KS.
 

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Im not sure why you have to argue with good advice. There is a reason I suggested all the things I did. Ive seen them all be needed.
I think the point was likelihood. I've seen people have more than one blowout, so should everyone be carrying a second spare tire at all times? (Most people don't even check whether their spare is inflated!) To a point, I agree with preparing for the worst, but how much is too much?
 

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I think the point was likelihood. I've seen people have more than one blowout, so should everyone be carrying a second spare tire at all times? (Most people don't even check whether their spare is inflated!) To a point, I agree with preparing for the worst, but how much is too much?
That's what I was getting at. I get being prepared, and that is to a different degree for everyone. In my opinion, old vehicle or not, if you have so many spare parts you can't pack your luggage, well, time to think about it. If that's how you want to travel, go for it. No judgement. Sometimes it is good to have a differing or varying opinion listed so one can make their own decisions.
Feel free to bring all you want. I am just saying if you perform good preventive maintenance the chance of failure is much reduced. We're talking a couple hundred miles is all. With huge cities on either end with lots and lots of parts store options.
I guess that's why Harley gangs have follow vehicles. The Bronco isn't a Harley. Thank goodness!

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