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1980 ford bronco
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Discussion Starter #1
1980 351m auto c6 2bbl

Anybody know why my bronco stumbles and dies when I turn the steering wheel? The power steering pump sounds like it's binding and also spit a bunch of fluid out of the cap once.

Replacing the pump seems like the obvious answer but I just wanted to see what you all thought about this (I saw on Google someone has a similar issue and a new pump didn't fix it).

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 

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89 Bronco XLT 4spd with OD 5.8L 351 4x4. Stock
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This happened to me a while back. It ended up being the ignition switch. There was BARLEY enough connection for the truck to turn on, but when you turned the wheel it immediately died. When I got the part out it crumbled lol...
 

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89 Bronco XLT 4spd with OD 5.8L 351 4x4. Stock
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Thought it was power steering at first Because of a weird sound but everything checked out
 

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1980 ford bronco
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Discussion Starter #4
This happened to me a while back. It ended up being the ignition switch. There was BARLEY enough connection for the truck to turn on, but when you turned the wheel it immediately died. When I got the part out it crumbled lol...
Thanks for the quick reply, did yours stumble and die (almost like it ran out of gas)? Or did it instantly shut off? I'm thinking an electrical issue like that wouldn't cause the stumbling?
 

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89 Bronco XLT 4spd with OD 5.8L 351 4x4. Stock
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You may be right. It was more of a small jerk and then shut off. Also wouldn’t explain the spitting of fluid
 

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See if you can rev the engine. If that keeps it from dying, it may be load-related. Is it dying when you turn the wheel at a standstill?
 

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Yo Kenny,
Since issue only happens when turning and in some EFI Broncos, Ford installed a Power Steering Pressure Switch (5.0L Only); The Power Steering Pressure Switch signals the EEC Module when power steering pressure exceeds 350 psi ±50. The engine then increases idle speed to compensate for the additional load. It appears the switch was deleted from the '94 model year. It only shows up in the diagrams until '93. the switch is directly above the steering box.
 

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1980 ford bronco
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Discussion Starter #8
See if you can rev the engine. If that keeps it from dying, it may be load-related. Is it dying when you turn the wheel at a standstill?
Yes it dies turning at a standstill and yes revving it keeps it alive. What does a load related issue mean?
 

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1980 ford bronco
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Discussion Starter #9
Yo Kenny,
Since issue only happens when turning and in some EFI Broncos, Ford installed a Power Steering Pressure Switch (5.0L Only); The Power Steering Pressure Switch signals the EEC Module when power steering pressure exceeds 350 psi ±50. The engine then increases idle speed to compensate for the additional load. It appears the switch was deleted from the '94 model year. It only shows up in the diagrams until '93. the switch is directly above the steering box.
Could this still be the case on my 1980 carbureted engine?
 

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1980 ford bronco
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Discussion Starter #10
I also noticed today that if I pump the brakes a few times the engine starts to slow down and sounds uneven like it wants to die
 

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Have you considered removing your power steering pump belt and repeating your test?

The brake issue is probably a vacuum demand issue - potentially indicating some vacuum leak when the booster is in action. You can disconnect the vacuum hose at the booster, plug it, and repeat your brake pedal test. If it doesn’t stumble you have an issue with the booster.
 

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1980 ford bronco
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Discussion Starter #13
Have you considered removing your power steering pump belt and repeating your test?

The brake issue is probably a vacuum demand issue - potentially indicating some vacuum leak when the booster is in action. You can disconnect the vacuum hose at the booster, plug it, and repeat your brake pedal test. If it doesn’t stumble you have an issue with the booster.
Thanks for the help, I finally got back out there for a few today and I pulled off the power steering belt. It's hard to crank the wheel now (obviously) but I don't think it's stumbling while turning anymore. Does that mean the power steering pump is bad? Tomorrow I'll try the brake booster test you recommended.
 

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Could be the pump. I understand the steering box to use some sort of torsional valve for porting fluid into the box - it may be possible that has crapped the bed also. The pump will only produce the pressure the system asks of it, and it appears your system is asking the pump to produce high pressure (which would be proportional to its power requirement). Just keep that in mind in your troubleshooting.

Is your engine in a good state of tune? If it is poorly tuned or at too low an idle speed, it is possible a normal load from the power steering pump could bog it down. My gut tells me that the power steering system load will be highest when trying to turn the wheel with the vehicle stopped.

I'd get the booster issue ironed out, get satisfied the engine tune is good and idle speed good (my sticker says 550 but I feel like my engine just sounds better about 725-750).

Didn't you have the truck that was having shifting issues that we thought may have been engine-related?
 

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Could this still be the case on my 1980 carbureted engine?
Yo Kenny,
Pump could be the cause for your 80 too. Your 80 doesn't have the pressure switch.
 

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1980 ford bronco
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Discussion Starter #16
Didn't you have the truck that was having shifting issues that we thought may have been engine-related?
Ya I guess I missed your last post on that thread, heres something you mentioned.

"If the vacuum is bouncing between 14-17 at idle in Park you have an engine issue. Will have to post a vid or use the Vacuum gauge to narrow down suspects."

I'll try again to figure out how to post a video.
I am definately not confident that my engine is tuned well. Maybe a week before these issues started I "fixed" some of the vacuum hoses that were routed incorrectly. It seemed to run better. I also played with the idle a bit recently, maybe I'll adjust that back to stock and play with it some more.
 

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1980 ford bronco
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Discussion Starter #18
I'm gonna do the vacuum test again tonight now that my loose carb bolts have been tightened down and I fixed my electric choke (so the idle may be different now). I'll repost the video if the results are any different
 

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1980 ford bronco
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Discussion Starter #20
I raised the idle speed today and it still starts to sputter when turning (at a stop) but doesn't quite die. I also plugged the brake booster vacuum line and didn't notice anymore sputtering when pumping the brakes.

I went and pulled my #1 spark plug and noticed the threads are dripping with oil, should I do a compression test?
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