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Discussion Starter #1
so i'm looking to buy a bronco. i had an 81 about 15 yrs ago. i want another. i'm looking for a 94-96 (for 4wabs & air bag), preferably a 96 (for obd2 & mass air). i found two trucks that are essentially equal in price, but have different positives.

i would appreciate any input in comparing the two. both are 351s, EB, electric windows/locks, electric 4wd selector, and advertised as & look to be rust free, a/c & heat both work, basically they're comparable.

option 1: 95, 192k, bone stock. claims not to have been driven off-road.
option 2: 96, 223k, has the role cage pictured below, and a slow rear main seal leak. owner says he drove it off-road some, but got the cage for his kids.

i can fix the rear main seal.

i want a roll cage so i can carry my family with the top off. i have had full intentions to buy a roll cage as soon as i could free up another $1000 to spend. but that could easily take a year.

so the question is, do you think the negative of the rear main and extra mileage outweighs the positive of having a 2" 120 wall professionally welded and custom made roll cage.

you can see it only covers the back seat area, it does not extend into the cab. however, i'm only interested in covering the back, really. i don't plan to do any off-roading that would end with me upside down. i'm thinking more along the lines of packing up my family of 4 and going camping with the top off.

thanks!






 

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Roll cage and OBDII are big positives. But hard to pass up a bone stock Bronco in the 95. Seems like you're leaning towards the 96 anyway. Try to play up the rear main seal to use as a negotiating tactic.

Out of curiosity, what are they asking?
 

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Get the one with the cage. Realistically your looking at a 30k difference in mileage, which is nothing really. It just happens to have already crossed the mileage threshold that people tend to fear. Even if you got the lower mileage one your still gonna roll 200k in 10k miles anyway and you'll be stuck without a cage.
 

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yo dash cam;
We have a 96, bought it new in May 96 and basically, we "over-maintain" it...meaning 3k mile oil/filter changes & lube, all filters changed, etc.. using Ford's severe duty schedule;
Maintenance Schedule

One of the most reliable daily drivers and beach run/light off road vehicles we've have ever had (incl the ex 78).
Still, we had minor problems that we addressed quickly.
(btw, you prob know all this)
Besides the usual visual, driveability and leak checks, look for:
While you take a test drive, have someone to stay behind or follow and check for exhaust smoke- cracked exhaust manifold/Y, etc.
- 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
- 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 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 - look for leaks around pan from (front) Pump seal as well as engine rear main/timing chain cover seals, etc.
- rust in inner rear fender lips, bottom of B pillars and bottom of tailgate (fender lips are rusting due to Ford's flawed spot weld process on the inner (tub) and 1/4 panel that lets moisture & debris in the seam) - A Bronco may need extensive & $$$ patch or full panel replacements...
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
- Programmable Speedometer Odometer Module (PSOM in 92-96), make sure it works; look for a waver in the needle at highway speeds; most get yard units for DIY
- look for some maint records or contact a dealer to see what maint was done to it a Ford dealership in the past (need VIN)
or on-line dealer service record summaries (Ford is adding entries now), etc. at Ford myford.fordvehicles.com (need VIN) & must register if you haven't already for your other Fords.

If no maint records are avail; check and replace if needed all filters and fluids.
Esp if it is an Auto tranny; fluid level; when at norm op temp; after running thru all gears & reverse; no burnt toast or whitish (water) deposits on dip stick.
- cracked exhaust manifold/Y, etc.
- roof/gutter area cracks (mostly appl. to earlier years)
- emissions air check valve & cat. converter (AIR) tubes tend to rust early; as does the AIR tube; buy locally or from pciinc.com
- radiator core supports, lower, it rusts mainly on passenger side, PIA to replace
- body mounts and frame rust
For a 96 get it checked for codes free at Parts Stores if you don't diy w/Scan Tool that shows PIDs

transfer case operation - electric push button motor/connector is a prob. area; usually a broken travel stop or the motor connector is fouled, etc.

Also 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 Amber ABS lamp in Instr Panel..
The anti-lock brake electronic control module monitors the electromechanical components of the system. Malfunction of the anti-lock brake system will cause the Anti-lock brake electronic control module to shut off or inhibit the system. However, normal power assisted braking remains. Malfunctions are indicated by the amber ABS warning light inside the vehicle.

The 4-wheel anti-lock brake system is self monitoring. When the key is placed in the RUN position, the anti-lock brake electronic control module will perform a preliminary self check on the anti-lock electrical system indicated by a momentary illumination of the amber ABS warning light in the instrument cluster. During vehicle operation, including normal and anti-lock braking, the anti-lock brake electronic control module monitors all electrical anti-lock functions and some hydraulic operations.

In most malfunctions of the anti-lock brake system, the amber ABS warning light will be illuminated. However, most malfunctions are recorded as a coded number in the anti-lock brake electronic control module memory and assist in pinpointing the component needing service. If system is OK, Code 16 will be present.
Our module blew the microprocessors a few years ago and two yard modules were bad. No returns so I'm running without 4WABS, just like the old days.
Check all role cage welds, esp @ floor pan.

Suggest you buy the official FORD Powertrain Controls and Emission Diagnosis (PCED), Electrical and Vacuum Troubleshooting Manual (EVTM) on DVD (ensure it will operate on your pc, etc. WIN8 and 8.1 can not read any CDs or DVDs under 64 Bit)
96 Owners Guide by Hiller Ford http://www.hillerford.com/resource_library/owner_manuals_pdf/1996_owner_manuals_ford/96bronco.pdf
96 Bronco-F-Series Workshop Manual (PARTIAL) by dieseldave http://www.diesel-dave.com/vehic/manual/stj/stjleft.htm
__________________
For pre 96 with EFI do a SELF TEST - my pal BroncoJoe at http://broncozone.com/topic/14269-co...mode__threaded
Remember to have engine @ Normal Operating Temperature before doing the do the KOEO = Key On Engine Off portion first & KEY ON ENGINE RUNNING (KOER) portion
 

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Discussion Starter #7
thanks for the feedback, guys. i guess i'll have to see what i can do about getting the 96.

i was thinking exactly what has been said, but figured it would be good to get a second opinion. i come up with ideas sometimes that others think are a little off, but make sense to me. so, thanks again.

if it works out i'll post up pics. if not, i guess i'll just carry on with the hunt...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
i bought the 96 Friday and drove it 17 hours to get it home over two days. i got 15, 17, 13, & 15 mpg per tank. honestly, the interior was a little rougher than i expected. however, it's heavily optioned. and I'm pleased with the purchase after a couple days. i reserve the right to change my mind. I'll post an ownership thread with pics in a day or two.

1996 eddie Bauer
351
towing package
premium radio w cd player (which will be replaced)
the side mirror signals
228,000 miles, burned no oil on the way back that i could tell. i did add a qt before i headed out.
so...yea.

I'd really like to get up to 75 posts so i could peep a look at that fs section
 

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Congrats on the purchase, I would've gone with the '96 also. That's a good first step....making a 17 hour drive with no issues is +1 for having bought a good one.
 

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Discussion Starter #12

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Discussion Starter #14
Looks like a jeep cage
it was custom made

I highly recommend stripping the interior, washing everything, and repairing/upgrading as you put it back in. The rear carpet looks DA FUNK.

BTW
That's not a roll cage - it's just cosmetic, and pretty ugly with the tape wrap. It'll collapse like it's not even there because it's mounted to the wrong places on the floor. The wheel arches have no strength. I'd toss it & repair the body where it was attached.

the guy did not clean the interior, at all. ever. it's filthy and gross.
 
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