The Saga Continues

I swear this Bronco is going to push me over the edge of insanity.

When we last visited this continuing clusterfuck of biblical proportions, I had ordered a new CPU, installed it, drove it and had it shit the bed right in the driveway.

I then had to go retrieve the original, take the new one back out and give it back to those dumbasses at NAPA and reorder another one, while sticking the original one back in and disconnecting the idle speed solenoid to keep the engine from idling at 2500 rpm.

I was told at NAPA that it would take one week to get here and they would call me to let me know when it got there. That was a week ago last Friday.

This past Friday I was out of town but had plenty of phone service.

I didn’t hear a fucking word out of them and mentally noted that fact. Same thing Saturday, same thing yesterday.

I woke up this morning and called those motherfuckers before I even had a cup of coffee.

Of course, the guy I am talking to knows nothing about all this.

He puts me on hold to go look for it.

Several minutes later he comes back and says he can’t find it.

As you can probably imagine, I am now completely ready to go down there and tear anyone within earshot a new asshole.

Instead, I took a deep breath and asked to speak to the manager.

I was going to make those motherfuckers pay for Next Day Air to get one here.

He tells me the manager is right there and puts me on hold for another minute or so.

During that minute, I am taking very deep breaths and planning what I can say to this guy that is just short of being illegal or getting me hung up on.

Instead, the first guy picks the phone up and tells me that he found it and it had JUST BEEN DELIVERED BY UPS.


Fine, I will be there shortly and you don’t have a clue how lucky you are pal.

I have now had this processor in and out of this Bronco so many fucking times that I literally had the cocksucker out and in my hand in 5 minutes.

I also found out that I was so pissed off last time that when I tightened up the Positive battery cable I actually broke the motherfucker without realizing it so I gotta get a new one of those too.

Off I go.

except this time, as I am seething my way through traffic, I decide FUCK these guys, I am gonna keep my old one for now in case this cocksucker don’t work again and just put the whole thing on my credit card.

$230 in all.

The moron at the counter is yet another clueless imbecile so I had to explain what I came for in short words so he could understand what I was saying.

I get the fucker without issuing any veiled threats and then go get a new screen protector for my phone that finally gave up the ghost over the weekend.

Come home, throw the fucker in, put the new battery cable on and start the bitch up.

Whattayafuckingknow, it works.

So did the last one, for a short while.

So I run it around the block a couple of times, pull in the driveway, shut it off and restart it several times.

So far so good.

I take it on a bit longer drive, pull in the driveway and BIGGER THAN SHIT, it has a hiccup and then the idle goes from 900 to 1200, then 2000, then 2800 rpms.

Jesus Fucking Christ!

I shut the cocksucker off and put my face in my hands.

I can’t fucking win.

Started the fucker back up and it idled fine. Took it on another short drive and floored it for a second.


The Check Engine light came on.

Brought the fucker back, hooked the tester up to it and got codes 23,34 and 41.

I’m not sure if it’s because the calibration isn’t right on the new one or if the old one was so fucked up it wouldn’t spit codes anymore.

Code 23 is the throttle position sensor. I don’t think it has been replaced yet and I have wondered many times if that bastard doesn’t have a glitchy spot in it.

That will be next and they are a fucker to change because they are on the bottom of the throttle assembly. Ya gotta take it off the manifold and turn it over to get at the screws and then it has to be adjusted properly before you reassemble everything.

That’s coming though.

34 is the damn EGR position sensor and I have replaced that cocksucker already.

Code 41 is the engine running lean.

I find that hard to believe because the damn thing has always run so rich it will make your eyes water sitting at a light with the window down.

So, here we go again, down the fucking path chasing this shit.

I already told the old lady that because the original CPU is 30 years old and I know it’s fucked up that I will leave the new one in. If it can’t keep the idle speed down I will disconnect that fucking idle speed solenoid again, drive the piss out of it and ignore the Check Engine Light for now.

So, as usual, Situation Normal, All Fucked Up.

Such is the story of my life.

On a related note to that, one of the reasons I Blog is to vent.

It helps me keep  from blowing my stack to put my thoughts down sometimes.

Blog is short for Web Log, kind of a personal electronic diary of sorts.

Sometimes that is why I write the things I do.

I could keep this all to myself and I’m sure some people wish that I would but sometimes it can be entertaining to read for some folks.

The only thing between keeping it to myself and sharing it with the world is pushing the Publish button, twice.

If you are so inclined, stay tuned because this little episode in my life is apparently far from over and I just don’t see it having a Fairy Tale ending by any stretch of the imagination.

32 thoughts on “The Saga Continues

  1. I’m reading and enjoying this saga. I’ve lived this with a Chev Tahoe that I had to fix to get it registered. I was having nightmares about error codes, there was a NAPA business card covering the check engine light.


  2. Concerning the Bronco I think you have moved to TARFU, (Things are Really Fucked Up). You might find yourself in FUBAR, (Fucked Up Beyond All Repair) in which case you might have to find some optimistic soul to take the Bronco.


      • Those are actually terms we used in the Army to denote the current level of fuckupedness. The lowest was SNAFU (Situation Normal, All Fucked Up), followed by the next higher level, TARFU, and of course the highest was FUBAR (Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition).

        : )


  3. Your mention of the Throttle Position Sensor kinda got me to wondering if there’s not some flaky wiring between the distributor and the CPU where the distributor telling the CPU how fast the engine is running becomes intermittent and the CPU opens the throttle to make up for the missing pulses.

    But from the way you described its location, I think I’d take a hard look at the TPS wiring before I committed to replacing it.


    • Could be the pick up in the distributor too. After all the extra wiring and generally Jackassery that I have taken out of this rig nothing would surprise me anymore.
      The weird part is that the thing runs a lot smoother with that fucking idle solenoid disconnected. They are a giant vacuum leak to begin with that the computer controls.As soon as I unplugged it the thing smoothed right out.


  4. Like I said in an earlier comment, ya gonna have a completely new truck when ya finally get done replacing everything and then the next day you die… life is a bitch, then ya have a Ford too.


    • It won’t be the first time I have dumped way too much money into a piece of shit vehicle. That fucking Sprite being Exhibit A.
      The thing is, I love this damn Bronco and wish I would have bought one years ago now.


  5. Phil, I think you already checked all the wiring, but take a second look at all ground connections related to the TPS and ECU and cold idle solenoid. The gremlin could be a wonky ground trying to conduct through rust.


  6. Had the same problem with my ’98 Dodge Dakota. Found a place in Miami, Florida that will rebuild the ECM. They charged me $125. That was 6 years ago. Dodge has been running great. They told me that a lot of times these problems are caused by cold solder joints. Place is called Solo Electronics. Don’t know if they are still in business.


  7. Why not ditch all the computer shit,and put an Edelbrock carb and manifold on it? Change to a low pressure fuel pump and banish the EFI demons once and for all?


    • In the same vein, does it run hunky-dory with the Idle Solenoid disconnected, and will the Smog Lords draw and quarter you if it’s discovered?


    • Because it would cost more to do that than it would to just fix whatever it turns out to be.
      I would like nothing better than to do just that but it would be pretty close to a thousand bucks before you get done fucking around with that and then
      you would have to change out the distributor also and get rid of that TFI bullshit because it’s all related.


  8. Don’t give up. Have a 91 Chevy PU that I worked with for over a year before I could trust it on the road. Finally had the dealer look at it. Told him to put it in the shop and just dink with it when he had time I was in no hurry. He knew I had been working with it for quite a while, what I’d done, and had a complete list of all the parts I replaced that I left for him. Took him days, but one day while nursing it to run the map sensor readings coming in real time weren’t quite what he thought they should be. Now that’s, where I had started….put in new AC Delco original parts. He finally noticed it was reading everything…and sending the signal just OPPOSITE of what it should have been. Built wrong at the factory and no way to see that otherwise. Doesn’t bother me that I spent money on all the other parts. Anything that PU needs it continues to get. The way I look at it, it ain’t getting older, its getting newer, and more trustworthy. Depreciation on a new one every year would buy one of mine.


    • I have told my wife that exactly on more than one occasion on ALL of my vehicles. She hates every fucking one of them and to her they are all “Pieces Of Shit!”
      I finally got tired of that crap one day and pointed out that the old Caballero quit depreciating years ago and was now climbing in value and was as a matter of fact, now worth more than her precious 2004 Ford Focus.
      That shut her the fuck up for a minute.
      Only a minute though. You know how they are.


      • Wait. She rags on you about your stuff but she dotes on a 2004 F. Focus?

        Beauty IS in the eyes of the beholder!

        As to the STFU with your wife, well, I am deaf on my left side. Which, of course, is the side that is usually towards her. Makes life so much better some days…


  9. Not sure if this will help because I don’t know Ford’s, But look and see if you have an “Idle Air Control Valve” They are prone to getting dirty and need to be flushed out. Found this same issue on my Dodge Ram. Simple spray out with contact cleaner and blow dry with air. Hope this helps, long time reader, first time commenting. Cheers Bob


    • Thanks for reading and for taking the time to leave a comment finally!
      Now that you have broken the ice, don’t be shy.
      Grab a shovel and sling some shit with the rest of us.
      As for the idle solenoid, yeah, it has one. It looks brand new too. Whoever had this thing before me threw a bunch of parts at this thing trying to fix this problem too.
      Right now I have it disconnected and the thing actually runs smoother without it!
      If you have A/C on your rig, the next time you either have it on or your Defroster running, listen for the A/C clutch to engage. You will hear a “Click” noise from the engine compartment. As soon as it engages you will notice the idle speed bump up to compensate for the load on the engine. That is the main purpose of that Idle Speed Solenoid.
      My A/C doesn’t work so I have no need for the idle speed to get kicked up other than sometimes when I come to a stop sign the thing stumbles a little bit trying to get settled. A quick tap on the gas pedal takes care of that.
      I’ll figure this damn thing out eventually. I really don’t spend all that much time on it, yet.


  10. Thought: Vacuum leak when the engine heats up, but is OK when the engine is cold. Idle Air Control tries to compensate for the lean condition, dumps more fuel into the intake.
    Or, as you mentioned, the Throttle Position Sensor could be loose, leaking vacuum, have a bad spot or bad wire?
    Here’s another though: O2 sensor or wire is flakey, misreading the mixture, and feeding back a bad signal into the ECM?
    I once drove an ex-Army deuce-and-a-half from Oshkosh, WI to Tucson, AZ. Every time I went uphill the engine would overheat. But it wasn’t really overheating, the temperature sensor wire was next to the turbo-charger. Going uphill, the turbo would heat up, changing the resistance of the wire next to it, indicating an overheat.


  11. Hey Phil,
    You are probably tired of all kinds of unsolicited advice, but…..
    If that thing has a MAF in it, try cleaning that. You gotta use the special spray cleaner,

    but my 97 Aerostar would give me wonky codes and what not and do all kinds of weird stuff because it couldnt figure out how much air was going into the engine.
    That running lean code was usually the first clue.



    • Actually I appreciate all the help I can get.
      This thing doesn’t have a MAF sensor Thank God. Those things can be nightmares.
      I am going to have to bite the bullet and get out the Ford manual I bought way back when that wasn’t available to the public. It cost me over a hundred bucks back in 98 or 99.
      It is the factory diagnostic book for the Electronic Engine Control system.
      The thing is a major pain in the ass to use because of the way it is set up to use, you have to learn how to use the manual before you can use the manual.
      It’s probably been 20 years since I used it last but the thing is basically priceless at this point.
      The bad part is, the thing is predicated on using a Break Out Box for testing.
      That I don’t have and I would imagine if a guy could even find one it would cost a small fortune.
      At this point I need to break down and do a shit load of testing. Sensors, wiring, resistances voltages basically component and harness testing.
      It’s going to be a massive undertaking.
      First I have to dig out that manual. I have a couple more too and they should all be together in a box out in the garage. Buried deep, I can almost guarantee that.


  12. hiya,former GMwrench here.You get a lean condition readout,but thats not really what the engine see’s,or the O2 sensor.The o2 sensor see’s too much o2 in the exhaust,so it cranks up the fuel pressure,duration,whatever….to make the o2 go away.It increases the fuel as much as the puter will allow,then sets off the engine light.
    My brother had the same issue in his mini van,the code said O2 prob,so he had it replaced,same prob…belched black smoke all the time.He called me,ready to dump it..told him to do a major tune up,plugs,wires,cap,rotor.Problem solved! He had a misfiring cylinder,dumped air and raw fuel into the exhaust,which told the o2 senser to richen the mixture.


  13. Since NAPA makes you wait you might try going to and doing your own lookup. Their catalog is easy to use and the prices for many items are much cheaper.


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