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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I went to do the usual fluid changes and check-up stuff on my 86 302 efi and found some terrifically exciting brown goopy water in the radiator! As far as I know this means at least new head gasket, maybe a new radiator and water pump. Is there any further info I need to know RIGHT NOW for this exciting adventure of driveway repair I am about to endure? Can I flush the system and save some of it? Do I need to look at other areas of damage I'm not thinking about? Do I need to just replace the engine or set it on fire? Any info/help would be appreciated. Also, first post, hello world
 

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1984, 300 L6, smogless, manual 3speed with overdrive.
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How’s your oil level and post a picture of the water once you drain it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This is what came out. Its got a good gallon of distilled water drained into it as well, and I havent looked in the bottom of the container yet. Oil was maybe a quart low.
 

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Is “milky” or have the viscosity of water/antifreeze? Do you have oil leaks unrelated?
To me, it looks like regular corrosion, especially for an 80s vehicle. I had an 85 Mercury that had a very dirty cooling system as well.
 

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That doesn't look like oil contamination. It looks like rust or someone used the orange colored coolant. When I first read your post I though the bars leaks crap.
Flush it good. Make sure the oil is good (even though that doesn't look like oil in the coolant make sure the dispstick had only oil on it).
So flush, fill, drive, drain. See what comes out the second time. If it runs great otherwise this is a good start.
Also, look in the rad fill hole and see if the cores look rusty or not.

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys, much needed info. It smells clean (no oil or fuel). I drained and checked the oil also, typical used oil smell and look, nothing crazy. I cant find a single oil or otherwise leak on pretty much anything. It has started to run progressively worse over the last few weeks though, almost like a timing or fuel issue. I am worried this is the dragons head of a major issue coming down the road
 

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Running rough could be many other things too. Start off with flushing the cooling system and go from there.
 

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1986 Eddie Bauer 5.0EFI AOD Full length headers Y pipe into single 3" Magnaflow 3" factory exit
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So you are a new member, & this is your first post, so first & foremost Welcome & congrats on the 86 302 efi!! I also have an 86 302EFI.

I'm going to assume the truck is new to you & that looks like someone put coolant flush in it, and didn't drain & flush it out, or its just rusty cuz it was mostly water, or really old coolant that hadn't been changed or flushed in a long time, which if the truck is new to you, that is understandable, whoever owned it previously wasn't up on that maintenence.

Either way, you're due for a good flush, maybe a few flushes till the water comes out clean. Take out the thermostat, (just get a new one while its off) unhook all the hoses to the water pump, radiator, heater core, ect & flush & back flush everything, till clean clear water comes out. Then refill with some fresh new coolant & keep an eye on it. I don't see any signs of oil or exhaust in the coolant, (black sooty crap) so I'd just flush, & refill then keep an eye on it for a little while.

I wouldn't assume you have a head gasket problem at all. No white smoke pouring out of the exhaust. If you want to check your plugs for a wet nasty ones indicating coolant in the cylinders you could, but I wouldn't think you'd see any from what you describe. A very thourough flush, a new thermostat & fresh coolant is all I would do, if there is a bigger problem, it will present itself soon enough.

After the coolant flush, seeing that you are new here, and having a new 86 Bronco that it is starting to run rough, i would say running your codes to see if the computer has any hints for you is a great palce to start. Code readers are available at Autozone $29.99 or at Summit (online) for a bit less if you can wait a day for delivery. They really are a lifesaver & will absolutely save you money because you won't be buying 6 parts that you don't need, cuz the codes tell you which parts have a problem.
174061


Sounds like this truck could have sat a while and the rusty coolant may be a good indicator of that. Which may also mean the tank may have sediment or rust in it & its clogging up your fuel filter, or the sock over the in tank fuel pump, tough to say for sure but it is a possibility.

In general it sounds like the Bronco could use a good going over, new plugs/wires, general tune up, checking your fuel pressure, run codes, cleaning/replacing a few EFI sensors, just get framiliar with it. They are simple to maintain once its figured out, but you gotta give them a good going thru if you dont know the history.

I have a build thread on mine in the builds only section of all the stuff I've done over the last year on my 86 302EFI that was in pretty rough shape when I got it, and runs great now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So you are a new member, & this is your first post, so first & foremost Welcome & congrats on the 86 302 efi!! I also have an 86 302EFI.

I'm going to assume the truck is new to you & that looks like someone put coolant flush in it, and didn't drain & flush it out, or its just rusty cuz it was mostly water, or really old coolant that hadn't been changed or flushed in a long time, which if the truck is new to you, that is understandable, whoever owned it previously wasn't up on that maintenence.

Either way, you're due for a good flush, maybe a few flushes till the water comes out clean. Take out the thermostat, (just get a new one while its off) unhook all the hoses to the water pump, radiator, heater core, ect & flush & back flush everything, till clean clear water comes out. Then refill with some fresh new coolant & keep an eye on it. I don't see any signs of oil or exhaust in the coolant, (black sooty crap) so I'd just flush, & refill then keep an eye on it for a little while.

I wouldn't assume you have a head gasket problem at all. No white smoke pouring out of the exhaust. If you want to check your plugs for a wet nasty ones indicating coolant in the cylinders you could, but I wouldn't think you'd see any from what you describe. A very thourough flush, a new thermostat & fresh coolant is all I would do, if there is a bigger problem, it will present itself soon enough.

After the coolant flush, seeing that you are new here, and having a new 86 Bronco that it is starting to run rough, i would say running your codes to see if the computer has any hints for you is a great palce to start. Code readers are available at Autozone $29.99 or at Summit (online) for a bit less if you can wait a day for delivery. They really are a lifesaver & will absolutely save you money because you won't be buying 6 parts that you don't need, cuz the codes tell you which parts have a problem.
View attachment 174061

Sounds like this truck could have sat a while and the rusty coolant may be a good indicator of that. Which may also mean the tank may have sediment or rust in it & its clogging up your fuel filter, or the sock over the in tank fuel pump, tough to say for sure but it is a possibility.

In general it sounds like the Bronco could use a good going over, new plugs/wires, general tune up, checking your fuel pressure, run codes, cleaning/replacing a few EFI sensors, just get framiliar with it. They are simple to maintain once its figured out, but you gotta give them a good going thru if you dont know the history.

I have a build thread on mine in the builds only section of all the stuff I've done over the last year on my 86 302EFI that was in pretty rough shape when I got it, and runs great now.


Thanks for all the info everyone! I had a few people look at it and everyone is coming to the same conclusion that its some kind of stop leak in the radiator, so I think I am safe on that part. I also went out and got the scan tool but had some questions on hooking it up correctly. The pins on the tool don't seem to match up with the contacts in the connector, is this the correct connector for this? I was reading about the process involved with using this thing and just want to be sure I'm doing it right the first time around. Also another random question, this connector in the glove box, what is it?
 

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87XLT 5.0 C6
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Thanks for all the info everyone! I had a few people look at it and everyone is coming to the same conclusion that its some kind of stop leak in the radiator, so I think I am safe on that part. I also went out and got the scan tool but had some questions on hooking it up correctly. The pins on the tool don't seem to match up with the contacts in the connector, is this the correct connector for this? I was reading about the process involved with using this thing and just want to be sure I'm doing it right the first time around.
That's the correct connector. Spray some contact cleaner in there.


Also another random question, this connector in the glove box, what is it?
That's for your seat belt buzzer.
 
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