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Old 01-30-2004, 13:11   #1 (permalink)
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Complex electrical problems

Hello all, I'm new to this so bear with me. I have a '91 full size bronco 5.0 with 200k+ miles. (I know, a lot.) I have owned it for about a year and a half and have so far been very pleased. I think it was the original owners baby, he still had the original window sticker and it appeared to be extremely well taken care of.
It drives really well but I believe I have a complex electrical problem. It really hasn't been much more than a nuisance unless you want to use any of the accessories, but fear it could get worse. the problem areas are:
the rear window doesn't operate at all; the door windows are very hestitant, esp. when closing; the temp. gauge is sporadic at best; the gas guage is inop; the clock/radio station display on the stock radio is inop, but the lights on the volume control, buttons, etc. on it work, and dim with the dimmer on the headlight switch; the cruise works usually, but sometimes won't let off when I brake, and i have to push the off button; the auto 4wd usually works, but sometimes i have to get under the vehicle to rap on the motor that operates the front diff (not sure of the technical term) with a mallet or pliers; sometimes the hazards work, sometimes not, obviously i don't use them everyday so i can't really monitor; also the heater sometimes blows cold air, esp. when idling. I think thats all. WHEW
I don't know if there is an overall problem, perhaps with the computer, or if its simply that vehicle has 200k+ miles and each problem should be handled separately.
I am in the army stationed in Germany and the Bronco just arrived here from shipment where it was in transit and idle for over a month. before that i was in germany waiting authorization to have it shipped it from the states (never, EVER, join the army) so it was sitting for a few months, but driven 2 or 3 times a week so not completly idle.
Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks...
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Old 01-31-2004, 10:59   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Complex electrical problems

I would say 200,000 miles is not that bad for these vehicles. I have a little over 190,000 miles on mine and have no complaints so far!

Regarding your problems....they all sound to be related to the fact that the vehicle sat for a while. The power window motors get sluggish after a while and most often just need to be replaced. They can run about $40/motor. The rear window not operating is most likely the dash switch but could also be the motor. Check to be sure its the window itself by using the "round" key in the tailgate. Turning it one way or the other will lower the rear window if it's working. If it still doesn't work, be prepared for another motor. Don't worry, it's the same motor as in the front doors.

The temp gauge being unreliable could be a few things......a bad ground, a bad temperature sender, or you're low on coolant. Be sure the radiator is topped off and that there's no air in the system.

The gas gauge not working is fairly common. The float mechanism in the tank does get rusty and sticky after a while. The only solution for this would be to drop the tank and take a look.

The stock Ford radios are not that great when compared to what's out there today. If you're set on keeping the stock look, a replacement Ford unit can be picked up from any wrecking yard and they can also be purchased at Ford for a pretty penny. There are a ton of these stereos out there so don't go to the dealer.

The cruise not letting off is most likely the BOO(brake on off) switch. It's mounted on the brake pedal and is easily replaced.

The motor that engages the 4wd on the transfer case can get sticky if it's not used for extended periods of time. Pulling the motor to clean it up or perhaps replacing it will fix the problem.

The heater blowing cold sometimes is most likely caused by a vacuum leak in one of the lines that opens and closes the heater vent in the dash behind the glove box. They're easy to get to by removing the glove box.

All of the things you mentioned don't hint towards a serious electrical problem at all. It sounds to me like the vehicle has just been sitting too long and the electrical connections have corroded, gotten sticky, and just quit working right. The problems you mention are relatively cheap and easy to fix.

Good luck!

Brian
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