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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Guys,

First post here. I am finally in a position to get a new car, and I have been looking at getting a bronco. I do a lot of camping, and the appeal of something that is a little less mainstream and cheaper to work on than a jeep is undeniable.

Anyway, I have been trawling craigslist looking for broncos, and I have a few questions:

1- Are there any particular issues I should look for when purchasing?

2- Any other sites you would recommend besides craigslist?

Thanks for all your help guys! I really look forward to grabbing one and getting my hands dirty getting it off road worthy.
 

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I'd just go by preference (which body style you like, if you're a fan of EFI, etc) all broncos are good, there are no real "bad" parts in any years. of course, there are different parts, and we could go on and on about the pros and cons of all (for example, the c6 three speed automatic transmissions are really strong.. but there is no overdrive) older ones (pre 86ish) have a slightly better rear axle (9" instead of c clip 8.8) but 'm guessing you aren't looking to do any extreme wheeling anyway.

if i were looking to buy another bronco right now, for daily use and street driving, i'd probably try to find 4.9 (300ci v6) powered bronco with a stick shift.. best fuel economy and it's a really good 6 cylinder.. the v8 bronco's aren't fast in stock form anyway. but like i said, it's all a matter of preference. they gained a little horsepower as time went by as well.

what performance characteristics are most important to you? reliability, power, fuel economy, off road capabilities? whats your budget? how good a mechanic are you?
 

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Being a Master mechanic, the condition did not matter.
What I looked/wanted:

4 Sp
302
ZERO rust
Looks
Paint
Budget of $3K

Found my 80 XLT for $2000

Got everything I wanted for my FIRST Bronco


The less of a mechanic, the more you need to spend up front.

Also the more paper trail (maintence history the better)

Good Luck & WELCOME
 

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FSB's Dirty Jersian
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3,578 Posts
I'd look to go with the 5.8 litre w/ the 3 speed non overdrive transmission (c6) if your looking for an automatic, and the only reason I say this is because of pure reliability. If you don't mind driving stick, just like rhauf said, go for the 4.9 litre inline 6. I can't think of a more indestructible ford motor. I'd compare its reliability to the 7.3 litre turbo diesel (which are like cockroaches, they just don't die)

As far as problems go, I would take a look at the back of the motor where it meets the trans. Often times rear main seals (rubber seals at the back of the engine) tend to go bad during the winter when they dry out. If you see oil dripping just from the rear of the motor be weary. Also, a notorious ford f150 and bronco problem is the steering boxes. Look for play in the wheel, usually its only an inch or two side to side that you can move the wheel without the wheels turning, but could be a lot more. Also make sure you check to see if the rear window rolls up and down, the window motors in the back usually crap out before the rest. If the vehicle is equip with auto locking hubs and push button 4x4, check to make sure the hubs are in working order. Find a little bit of mud or sand to play in for a min just to make sure all wheels spin.

Check for rust around all 4 wheel wells and the back tailgate. Those are the areas that get hit the hardest. Another good thing to check is the brake pedal. If the bottom right corner of the rubber cover is all torn away, most likely the owner did a lot of city driving rather than highway. And stay away from all city vehicles. The city is rough on cars.

Other than craigslist you can also try autotrader.com and autoshopper.com. Your local newspaper may have a few, or pick up a "Truck Trader" magazine. If your going with the 5.0 motor and 4speed overdrive trans, pay very close attention to the way the transmission shifts and acts under different throttle depression. The e4od transmissions are one of the shittier transmissions that ford has made (at least as far as their trucks go).

Hope this helps a bit. Best of luck in your purchase. And believe me, this is going to be your new favorite vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the advice guys! I really appreciate.

I have very little mechanical background with regards to cars, so one of the appeals of the Bronco is learning more about cars and working on them.

Mainly, I want a good reliable truck that I can throw my stuff into and go camping- where ever that may be. I love the small amount of off-roading I have done, and it is something I would love to get into. The main priority is to get a slightly different truck which I can tinker with.
 

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yo!
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.

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.
Besides the usual visual, driveability and leak checks, look for:
- 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 undercoat/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 15k miles and less if used for towing ("...For 1995, Ford Motor Company has reduced the mileage interval of automatic transmission fluid changes to 30,000 miles. This applies to all transmissions except the E40D transmission used in Ford trucks. The E40D change interval is 15,000 miles. Ford engineers stated that the intervals were reduced due to fluid degradation especially in humid climates. As you all know, the above-mentioned service intervals are for "normal driving" conditions, severe duty conditions (fleet, city driving, short trips, dusty conditions, hilly areas, towing, snowplowing) require more frequent service. Always change the transmission filter when you change the fluid...")
- 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) ...
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
- ball joints.. costly if not DIY
- Programmable Speedometer Odometer Module (PSOM), 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 . Car Fax is ok, but they did NOT list over $5k in single accident damages on 3 of our past vehicles; & our ex-92 Van had less mileage listed than when we sold it according to a CarFax report 2 years later... they did nothing after we contacted them.

- 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

- For a 96 get it checked for codes free at Parts Stores if you don't diy; For pre 96 do a SELF TEST by my friend here, BroncoJoe19; do the KOEO = Key On Engine Off portion first & Remember to have engine @ Normal Operating Temperature before doing the KEY ON ENGINE RUNNING (KOER) portion
- transfer case operation - electric push button motor/connector is a prob. area; usually usually a broken travel stop or the motor connector is fouled, etc.

GL!

and ask more Qs before you purchase any Bronco you find; before you buy
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Another (dumb) question:

What is the feasibility of getting one, dropping in a new(er) engine. I don't have anywhere near the mechanical expertise, so I would have a shop do that (along with a suspension lift). Is that a good idea? The extra "grunt" of a bigger engine and the added reliability would make me a little happier. Thoughts?
 

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Another (dumb) question:

What is the feasibility of getting one, dropping in a new(er) engine. I don't have anywhere near the mechanical expertise, so I would have a shop do that (along with a suspension lift). Is that a good idea? The extra "grunt" of a bigger engine and the added reliability would make me a little happier. Thoughts?
it's very feasible, if you have the money. (more money since you're paying someone else to do it for you)

IMO you can get more power for the money out of the stock block with a few mods though...

how much power do you want? does it have to pass smog? how much money do you want to spend?



i get pretty good power out of my modded windsor.. cost quite a bit in parts, but definitely less than adapting a new engine.

 
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