The Internet Fixed My Bronco!

Praise Jesus, I think I finally got that dirty motherfucker whipped.

That thing has had a bizarre idle problem since before I got it, witnessed by a whole slew of new parts that were on it I saw the first time I opened the hood.

I personally have been fucking with it off and on since I got the damn thing.

I know the EGR valve was fucked up and so was the position sensor for it because the Check Engine light kept coming on but I finally got that issue resolved. Ever since then the idle would randomly jump up anywhere from 1200 to 2500 RPM without warning

. This could be very exciting when you are sitting at a light behind someone daydreaming and not paying any attention when all of a sudden the engine roars and the whole rig lurches forward like a pissed off Lion on a leash.

Much puckering of asshole ensues, every fucking time.

The thing is, there is no more Check Engine light on and no fucking codes.

Just really vicious Gremlins playing fucky fuck games.

From long ago past experience I remembered that these things have an Intake Air temperature sensor on them and when they go bad, what happens is that they think it is -40 degrees outside. They don’t kick a code either if my faulty memory is correct. The computer just looks at it, says OK and richens the fuel mixture up like a motherfucker like the choke on a carburetor is stuck closed because it thinks the engine is somewhere near the North Pole and it wants to make sure it is getting enough fuel.

This is obviously not a good thing.

So off to Youtube Land I went, looking for videos and information on those dirty little bastards. They tend to get carboned up on the business end which is inside the intake manifold.

I really didn’t find too much but after one video got done playing, one of the Suggested videos over on the side bar caught my attention. Something about High Idle Problems on an F-150 about the same vintage as the bronco.

The Bronco is basically a really short F-150 with a factory installed canopy anyway so I dove in to see what that one was all about.

It wasn’t too long before the little light came on.

The guy had the exact same problems I was experiencing but he finally found the root cause and was nice enough to share his findings.

God Bless You Sir!

And what was the exact cause of all of this shared misery?

This cocksucker.


The guy I bought it from mentioned that the computer might be fucked up but he is no mechanic and back in the day when I was still working on those fuckers for a living, the odds of a CPU shitting the bed were something like 1,000 to 1.

99% of the time it was something else.

Well, that was thirty years ago and apparently they haven’t aged well since then.

What the YouTube guy found when he opened the damn thing up was several burned up capacitors.

Then there were a few more videos from other guys and they had run into the same thing after pulling their hair out and throwing very expensive ,hard to get to, parts at their trucks. It didn’t matter what engine it was either. Just that they were in Ford trucks of that era.

So I rolled the dice and ordered one up today. NAPA offered several reman units at varying prices, depending on what you wanted to spend, on their website. They actually showed several being in stock at my local NAPA store.

It was lying.

When I called with a part number I got a zero available ANYWHERE answer even though the website showed them having one on hand. I started down the list, them getting more expensive as I went.

I finally hit a winner at $99 with a $98 Core Charge.

That is not a typo.

The website also stated that they needed the VIN number and the OE number off the CPU.

Guess what that means?


Follow the little red wire down the hose on the right until you get to the first Zip Tie and you can see the head of the bolt you have to get at to take the huge fucking wire connection plug off.

You have to pull it out to see the numbers on it.

All the instructions I found kept saying you had to take the front wheel off and then the inner fender had to come loose to get the thing out.



That rusty thing is part of the foot operated E brake assembly.


It’s inside, up in the Kick Panel hidey hole, BEHIND the fucking E Brake assembly.

I obviously got it out but it was LOTS of fun as you can imagine.

I went and got the new one, stuffed the bastard back in there, put everything back together inside, put the big connector back on and hooked the battery up.

I sat and had a smoke and said a couple silent prayers, then reached in and cranked it over.

I’ll be damned if it didn’t start.

So I informed Wifely Unit to keep the phone handy and took it for a spin.

Night and Day.

No more high idle, a nice sedate 7-800 RPM. As a matter of fact, after I put gas in it, it didn’t want to start until I pushed the gas pedal down a bit. The engine then started surging trying to establish an idle speed. It has done that several times now so I unplugged the Idle Speed Air Bypass Solenoid and the engine died completely. I see the little bastard of a Hard Stop idle speed screw has been chewed up by Bubba and his Vise Grips so I am going to have to fuck with that now. You unplug the solenoid, and set the idle speed to a default setting without computer assist so you have a base RPM, then you plug it back in and the computer adjusts the idle speed as it deems necessary from there.

That is obviously not where it needs to be.

It also takes time for the computer to learn my driving habits because they do actually do that and adjust things accordingly.

One of the first things I did after I got out on the road was to mash the gas pedal to the floor and hold it there until I hit 50 miles an hour..

Learn quickly and remember that throttle position you fucker, you will be seeing it often.

I’m just fucking tickled to have this issue resolved finally, I hope.

We shall see but it is already way the fuck better. It didn’t even try to kick the idle up over where it is supposed to be.

I needed to get this issue fixed before the snow and ice started flying this Winter.

I can vividly imagine what would happen if I was trying to get up and down these hills around here in slippery conditions and that fucker all of a sudden deciding 2500 RPM’s was in order when I was wanting to crawl at a slow idle, behind someone else.

No Thanks.

On to the next issue, that fucking ABS light.

9 thoughts on “The Internet Fixed My Bronco!

    • Make it a Dually and you got a deal.
      Thanks for thinking of me my man. I don’t think I would even be able to drive something like that anyway, too many Bells and Whistles!
      Best gargle anyways just in case, I’m guessing there is going to be a LOT more growling in our future.


  1. I hate to bring this up now, but I’ve been driving Toyotas since I first discovered them in 1974. I have never had any problems of the weirdness and complexity you have described in this blog. I should mention that I am not a car tinkerer. I am the type of guy that likes to get in his car, turn the key, the motor starts up, and the car takes me from point A to point B and back again. Repeatedly. Anything less and it’s a big problem for me. 99.9 percent of the time, my Toyotas have done this, usually with no more maintenance than a simple oil change. The previous one I owned lasted me 21 years before it started wearing out. The last Ford I owned was a 1957 Custom 300, and yeah, it had some issues, but nothing like you describe, because it was a simple machine with no computer BS like today.

    Now I’m not saying you should buy a Toyota or any other foreign car, though, because (a.) reading your blog has convinced me that you secretly enjoy going through all this hell trying to keep your cars running, and (b.) your descriptions of all your automotive trials and tribulations make for such entertaining reading that I don’t ever want you to stop posting about them. Seriously.

    So – best of luck with the lemons, and don’t forget to keep us informed.

    ; )


    • Dammit, my secret is out.
      As a matter of fact, I do secretly enjoy going through this hell fixing these rotten bastards..
      It’s a challenge and feeds my need to tinker on shit.
      Sometimes it’s pretty inconvenient though.
      I lost count years ago but it has to be over fifty rigs I have owned over the years, probably closer to sixty actually. Out of all of those cars and trucks, there were probably FIVE that I could point to that I didn’t have to go through this shit with.
      A few literally should have been impounded and immediately scrapped as a public safety hazard.There are a couple of them that stand out enough, that I had so much trouble with and got into, so much trouble with, that I could probably write a book on and dedicate the whole thing to each rig.
      One in particular, a 1963 Ford Econoline window van, was so notorious that is actually legendary and is still talked about in my family thirty years after I got rid of it.
      Then there is The Sprite.
      The bane of my existence and my earthly penance for everything rotten I have ever done or even thought about doing.
      That thing will not be done the day I die.


  2. Phil, you really must have been a rotten sum-gum in your youth to be getting all of this ‘fun’ dropped on your head with regularity.


  3. Interested to see if your fuel mileage improves with the new cpu. As I mentioned in my email back in the spring, Fords seem notorious for having the cpu kill the fuel mileage while seeming to function correctly. Bad mileage and dead catalytic convertors are a hallmark of this in the 80’s and 90’s for them.

    Wow, Ford really screwed up with that location for it. I don’t recall my ’86 being buried like that. The Rangers were better, mostly, although the location changed with each generation, IIRC.

    What I do know is that the cpu never throws a code if it has internal problems. Supposedly it can, but they don’t do it. It has been my experience that the only way to determine if the cpu has problems is to swap in another one, preferably a known good one. This goes for all vehicles, not just Ford. Even motorcycles do the same thing.


  4. There’s a local auto parts place where every guy who works there is an idiot. However, if you want to get the right stuff, look for any one of the women who work there. Everyone local knows this. The ladies try harder and aren’t afraid to research stuff if they don’t know it. The guys just BS you.


    • Unfortunately, this has not been my experience with several wimmin folk that I have encountered.
      A couple stand out vividly such as the poor girl who must have been right out of High School who struggled for over a half an hour to find me the correct single barrel carb for a 61 F-100 I had for a long time when it still had the straight six in it. She kept bringing out things that looked like they belonged on a Fork Lift and then started dragging two barrel Chevy carbs out.
      I really tried to help her but she was determined that she knew what she was doing.
      When she finally looked up at me from the catalog with those innocent little blue eyes and asked me if I was sure it wasn’t a two volt or a four volt carburetor I finally had to tell her she couldn’t help me and turned around and walked out to the cheers of about eight guys behind me who had been waiting their turn.
      Then there was the obvious bull dyke at this same NAPA store who couldn’t even look up bulk spark plug wires and separate boots for it.
      She actually refused to help me a couple of times and it finally got to the point that if she saw me coming she would run in the back and hide.
      I have nothing against females in the automotive industry and actually trained a 90 pound 18 year old girl to work on them and when I was done with her she could pull a dashboard out of a 1998 Lincoln Town Car by herself and swap out the heater core. It’s the jack asses that turn them loose behind a parts counter with zero training that I really want to choke.


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