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Old 08-12-2010, 08:41   #1 (permalink)
Master of Mechanical Fail
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
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Just bought my new used 1986 5.0 Straight Six Bronco Eddie Bauer!

Hello hello

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
anti-freeze
ATF (as much as needed)
carb/injector cleaner
plugs, wires, dist cap (and rotor?)
compression check
smog
registration

Thoughts? Suggestions? Things to be wary of?

Thanks!
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:17   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Just bought my new used 1986 5.0 Straight Six Bronco Eddie Bauer!

I wouldn't get any sealing oil. Are you going to flush the coolant and change the trans fluid? If the trans fluid looks nice and red, is full with the fluid hot and engine running, I wouldn't worry about it. Plugs and wires would be good if they haven't been done in a long time. As for the oil pressure, it varies depending on engine RPM and temperature. If it's a straght six cylinder, it's a 4.9l (300cu.in.).
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Old 08-13-2010, 08:04   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Just bought my new used 1986 5.0 Straight Six Bronco Eddie Bauer!

Yes, it is a 302 cu 5.0 L V8, not the 5.0 straight 6.

I checked the trans fluid and it looks ok, but not spanking brand new, and I feel it's something I'd want to change to be sure, you know? Coolant looks fine, not milky or viscous at all. Same with P/S fluid. Brake fluid looks okay. The oil was pretty black.

Okay on the super-thick oil. I'll just use it on the scooter for fun.

On another note, the phone number I had for the second previous owner does not seem to be working. The car was very well-priced and so the following is not a rip-off, just inconvenient. I bought it from a Ms Brown, and from her I got a bill of sale, contact info, and notice of an application for registration that had all fees paid but needed the signature of an old lien-holder. Took it to DMV, it's smogged, not stolen, all fees (except I think taxes and one penalty) are paid, but the lien-holder has to be contacted. Turns out the phone number Ms Browve gave me for the lien-holder doesn't work. So now, without a title, I have only a temporary registration in my name and must mail to the lien-holder something for them to sign; if they don't sign it or the mail is returned, I must buy a bond title from a bond company for $150 (yeah, it's a flat rate...what?!). And then...presumably? The DMV will issue a duplicate/new pink slip. This is in CA, btw.

For now, I'm going to go get familiar under the hood of the car. Weeeeee
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Old 08-13-2010, 09:27   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Just bought my new used 1986 5.0 Straight Six Bronco Eddie Bauer!

Sounds like you're going to treat it right. Good luck on the title. Hope it works out right.
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