Master of Mechanical Fail
Join Date: Aug 2010
Just bought my new used 1986 5.0 Straight Six Bronco Eddie Bauer!
I am not a mechanical person. I can change oil and plugs (if I can see them and all their associated wires) and install a stereo, but beside that and occasional fluid flushing I'm pretty incompetent.
My story: I'm a student who's going abroad in six months and needed a vehicle for that time period, one that I could camp/sleep out of when I want/need to and that was under $3k. I looked for a Cherokee, Sidekick, Trooper, or Bronco. All the Cherokees were ancient in terms of mileage and seemed rather abused, the Sidekicks were too rare, and the Troopers were also rare and have bad histories in terms of oil usage and engine reliability. Enter the Bronco, which is cheaper off the bat and relatively reliable, plus seemed to overall have less owner abuse.
Yesterday I bought a 1986 Ford Bronco Eddie Bauer, with a recently-installed (guy claims 8k miles ago, haven't verified it) 5.0 straight 6. The tranny was also (supposedly) installed recently, and it certainly feels like it was. The entire car inside and out is pretty much unbelievably clean. There is one crack in the dash on the center speaker cover and the carpets have some stains. The original seats and their actual seat covers are still on the thing. Supposedly everything except the engine/tranny are stock. Omfg, right? The guy was moving (yes, this was verified) and so I got it for the low price of $1500. I'm pretty stoked. In my mind, I have approximately that much left to put into it to remain under $3k (though of course the cheaper a job can be done well, the better).
So, my questions are: what should I do to give this a thorough, thorough check-up? My goals are to have a fun, reliable truck for a short commute to school that I maybe camp out of, and that will have as high a resale value as possible in 6 months.
My mechanically-inclined friend did not run a compression test on the Bronco yesterday, but he said he checked the compression...I saw him leaning under the hood and listening intently, or something, for a few minutes, and he said it "seemed good." The car drives great, it feels a bit sluggish but, then again, it is a 5.0 in a giant ass car and I've never been a lead-foot.
Things to note: Oil pressure is on the low side of halfway. On the gauge the needle rests over the O in NORMAL. However, when driving downhill with lower engine speed it rested over the M. Does that mean that the oil pressure will just adjust according to engine speed? Should this concern me?
Also, the steering feels a little loose and there is a slight drift to the right. My assumption is 1), big heavy tall cars tend to have looser steering, based on everything I've driven so far and 2) the alignment and possibly suspension needs to be adjusted (tires seem fine, fair tread, no cracks).
It supposedly hasn't been driven regularly for a few months, and I drove it 100 miles over hilly country around Santa Cruz / San Francisco after I bought it with no problems beside those noted above.
My shopping list for the initial tune-up is:
6 qts synthetic 10W30
1 qt extra-heavy sealing like oil (possibly for this, also for a scooter of mine with bad rings)
wipers and fluid
ATF (as much as needed)
plugs, wires, dist cap (and rotor?)
Thoughts? Suggestions? Things to be wary of?