Once Again My Delicate Sensibilities Have Been Brutally Assaulted By A Certain Ford Product

In other words, I finally went out and tore into that fucking Bronco today.

I knew there were reasons I didn’t want to do that and I wound up finding several.

So for those who either don’t know why it’s been parked for the last month or two or are like me and can’t remember what the fuck I had for breakfast yesterday anymore, it’s been sitting because I went to jump in it and go to work one day, started to do a 3 point turn in the street to get headed out the other way and noticed a huge trail of coolant all over the ground right where I had just pulled away from.

Further investigation indicated it was coming from the back of the intake manifold on the drivers side.

That has now been confirmed.

After several hours of wrenching on the bastard and much, much cursing.

The further I tried digging into it the harder it got and it finally involved Big Fucking Breaker Bars, Big Fucking Hammers and Big Fucking Pry Bars.

Dirty SONSA, BITCHES that designed that thing, I tell ya.

Let’s start with this little beauty here.

There was already a bunch of parts removal happening when I got to this point but I had mentioned this little bastard before and wanted you to see for yourselves what it was I was bitching about at the time.

If you have never worked on a Ford you can be forgiven a bit of naivete, anyone who has wrenched on one of the bastards will just be nodding their head in sympathetic understanding.

On the 351 Windsor V-8 they made in that generation of Fords, there is  big fucking air intake plenum that curves over the top of the passenger side valve cover.


It’s a real joy to get off and it has to be removed to pretty much do anything to the engine it’s self. Things like valve cover gaskets, head gaskets or the intake manifold gaskets.

As fun as it is to get to the bolts, after you have unhooked several hundred completely unnecessary things like hoses, EGR valve, the throttle body and a shit load of little coolant lines, there are only six of them holding the thing down. Five of the six are reasonably easy enough to get to and take off.

There is one, however, that someone with a mean streak threw into the mix.


Oh wait, you can’t see that?

Yeah, neither can anyone else.

Here, allow me to give you a closer look.



Get your imaginary electronic measuring calipers out gentlemen and measure the distance across that span and compare it to the width of the bolt head and then go measure a typical Torx head bit mounted in a 3/8’s drive socket.

When you get done with that, I’ll show you how that works.


That is what I wound up doing to get to that bolt the first time I ever encountered this particular automotive nightmare some twenty five fucking years ago. As you can see, it got kinda thin there at the end. It was just skinny enough at that point to get down in the hole and break that bolt loose.

I have had that ever since and know exactly where it is at all times because it made such an impression on me way back then.

That was, a Mac Tools Torx Bit Socket that cost me over twenty dollars way back in the mid 90’s.

This was long before I had ever heard of Harbor Freight Tools and that job came in at the beginning of the week. The tool trucks only showed up on Fridays so I was kinda fucked.

Now let me show you what you can use in this more modern age. I very strongly suggest you High Tail it down to Harbor Freight and pick this combination up. It has saved my ass countless times and I can’t recommend this enough for having on hand at all times.


Under twenty five bucks for both.

Their 100 piece Security Bit set and the 1/4 drive flex head ratchet.

Add a couple of different lengths of 1/4 drive extensions and you too, can perform miracles.

That bolt is a Torx # 40. There is one of those bits in this kit. There is also a 1/4 inch socket to put the bit in. Stick it on an extension, play a little  of this


and out the little bastard comes.

Then you fight and struggle but eventually that upper plenum comes out and you can now start in on what you originally wanted to get at in the first place.

After unplugging and moving a bunch of wiring, tubes and other shit, I tried getting the fuel rail off the injectors. Ain’t happening Homey.

This is where I figured I had better check to see if there were any O rings in the gasket kit for those injectors. This is also where I discovered that the kid at the parts store had sold me EXHAUST MANIFOLD GASKETS and I had to run back up to the parts house before they closed.

No, the O rings don’t come with that, yes, for a not so small fee we will sell you some.

Back to the fucking house, fought the damn fuel line connectors for a half an hour, even with the damn disconnect tools and finally got them loose. Now to finally start loosening the bolts holding the intake manifold down.

Guess what?

On the very first one I tried to get to?


You aren’t getting to that bolt.

They want you to take the alternator and the bracket off so you can swing that metal tube back out of the way so you can access that bolt.

Fuck You Ford.

I fucked around for a good half hour with that and tried using seven different tools.

I wound up breaking a cheap 3/8’s to 1/4  socket adapter. I finally got pissed off, turned the damned thing as far as I could until it was jammed up against the valve cover, pounded a deep socket onto the bolt head and then pounded sideways on the socket.

Instant clearance, bitch.


This is where the real fun started. All that other shit was just a warm up.

That fucking bolt ain’t turning.

I worked on it another fifteen or twenty minutes and it finally snapped off.

Even then it wouldn’t come out. It would turn and little piles of rust would start working their way out from under the bolt head.

I had to turn it and pry it up with a pocket screwdriver at the same time.

All of the manifold bolts in the middle were barely tight at all, they came unexpectedly loose as a matter of fact.

Then I had to climb up on top of the engine and get to the ones in the back.

Much rejoicing was heard.

For about two seconds.

The far back one on the left side was just as fucked as the one in the front but it was so awkward to get at that I finally went and got my 1/2 inch breaker bar, reduced it down and then could turn it without torturing myself.

Oh yeah, that fucker broke off too.

Seized up tighter than a Nun’s Nether Regions


Then on to the one that started this whole fiasco.

The back one on the drivers side that had started leaking.

I didn’t even have to turn it.

It was already broke off. That explains the sudden leak.

So now, I have not one, not two but THREE broken off bolts, in the heads, with two of the damn things all the way back at the fire wall.





Praise Jesus.

I knew in my heart that I didn’t want to start in on that job because I figured it would wind up exactly like it has

This was one of those days that really test your will power.



I hosed them all down with a couple of different penetrating oils instead and shut the hood for the night.

There is guaranteed to be more fun and games tomorrow, If it doesn’t rain.

It started in about an hour ago and the thunder storms blowing through have been scaring the shit out of the cats.

Cheap entertainment right there.

The weatherman said it’s supposed to rain. If it does then I will just keep soaking those bolts down and find some other little nightmare to ease into.

It ain’t going to hurt my feelings any if the thing sits for a few more days.


25 thoughts on “Once Again My Delicate Sensibilities Have Been Brutally Assaulted By A Certain Ford Product

  1. Way back when, I had a mid-70s F150 with the 300 inch truck 6. I have come to miss that thing – there was room to stand under the hood, alongside the engine, to work on it. On both sides. Coulda used more HP, but that would have been easy by adding about 30-50 cubic inches wihout ruining the maintenance advantage.

    Giving some thought about looking for another one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My buddy had a 66 Fairlane with a 390 in it.
      Unfortunately it also has headers – they always made short work of the starter.
      Now if anyone has worked on these, you will remember why headers were reserved for the guys who only drove a quarter mile at a time – to change the starter when headers are in, normal procedure was to remove the header bolts at the head (remember the top of es that broke off every time? Keep thinking of that as we go on) remove the three bolts at the rear header flange and pull everything to the side with a prybar. Now on to the starter…..
      I look at all the stupid shit I need to have in my toolbox today, just so I can work on everybody’s shit (two different styles of six-point torx in plain and in security; five-point torx also in plain and security; four-point Mor-torx – whatever the fuck that is; three-point Phillips-looking shit; two-point security bolts for GM/Isuzu duel systems; AND MY OLD HOLLEY CARB CLUTCH DRIVERS are nowhere to be seen.
      Fuck it, I’m going back to the oil patch…. better yet I will start a unicorn ranch and quit AAs.


  2. I’ve had a few old Ford trucks from the 60’s with straight 6’s in them..
    I was so skinny that I could climb over the fender and stand between the engine and the frame to work on them.
    I too have been seriously considering trying to find another one. I think this Bronco needs to go.


    • I’m thinkin’ ya finally came to your senses bud ! … Plus I appreciate your willingness to indulge in my rants here by adding me to your blogroll ,,,

      Just started a new job … And this job , after only a couple of weeks , is shining some optimistic light into the otherwise darkened pessimistic forest that I have bee exist in these past few years …

      Always enjoy poppin’ into catch up with your trials of everyday goings on at the end of the day … Hope ya continue to stop by my place as well …


      • Yup.
        It’s a lot easier now with a wire feed welder.
        Tack a flat washer the same size as the bolt to the broken stud, then use a nut that is no larger than the outside diameter of the washer.
        Tack it to the washer and then weld it to the stud, filling the inside of the nut with molten metal until it will hold no more.
        Let it cool completely and then start putting penetrating fluid on it.
        Letting it soak overnight works best.
        The key is to get that stud as hot as possible so that it shrinks and breaks the rust bond as it cools.
        Carefully screw the welded nut back and forth until it comes out.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Admire your absolute stubborn perseverence. You by any chance an old Marine?

    And now a chance to buy a torch set if ya don’t have one, right?
    Work on old tractors with bolts that have been in since the 40’s and 50’s. Sometimes only heat will work. After heating a bolt cherry red and letting it cool they are WAY more cooperative.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I second that. My job is balancing paper rolls. Those huge ’n heavy rolls used to make paper. Whenever a new coating has been applied or any other surface work has been done one needs to balance these beasts since they’re turning with incredible rpm’s .
      Anyway, some of these have thread protecting metal caps screwed on each side which the balancer gets out and put some balancing weights in.
      These caps are sometimes beyond any hope to come lose. My first step would be heating that fucker to an orange glow with an acetylene burner and half a can of WD-40. If that doesn’t work I drill a hole straight through the thread of the cap and apply WD-40 liberally.
      After letting it soak for ten minutes about 70 percent come lose. The other 30 percent need two or three holes more.
      I guess that hole drilling method doesn’t apply much in Phil’s case but could be a last resort of that bolt breaks right at the thread. Just blow the hole clean of any metal residue before applying WD-40.


  4. I was raised in a Ford family and am still a Ford guy in my heart. But…when we got married in ’74, my wife had a ’68 Cutlass. I never looked back. Forty years of Oldsmobiles ’til the General stopped making them. Now it’s Toyotas except for the ’02 Durango I rescued my son from. $5000 to get the beast stabilized, most of which I could have done myself 20 years ago. I’ve passed the point of working on these things myself.

    P.S. One of my neighbors back in the 80’s had a Bronco. It was brown, appropriately.


  5. Sounds like a riot!
    Got a day off, so after I take the kids fishing I’m going to take out the instrument cluster in my Ford Windstar. From there I get to solder a bunch of connections to keep the needles from “dancing.” Should be entertaining.


  6. G’day Phil, I wonder if it was a pissed-off old mechanic that originally created some of the choicest adjectival swear words that we use so often? You probably worked alongside of him when you were not so old and cranky.


    • I’ve encountered some mechanics that would make a Boatswain’s Mate blush. I just couldn’t write that shit down fast enough to preserve it for posterity.


  7. BTDT, and got the scars to prove it.

    Good job (so far…..), Phil!

    My Dad was a Navy guy, and even he’d blush a bit when he heard me working on cars and I got really pissed…..


  8. Er… Phil… should you have mentioned me in your last will regarding that Bronco…
    Uhh.. nope, thanks. 😄
    I think I will use up my love for old cars on some old Volkswagen Beetle. They’re way easier to maintain I guess.


  9. I have found with old bolts and nuts to use a hammer to hit and cause the threads to let go and for that in a tight spot a pointed chisel straight down on it tends to help come loose. I have also found that tighting the bolts tends to help but only a little then remove. An old mechanic taught me that after I broke a few sockets tryin to get flywheel bolts, I came to borrow one of his sockets for it and he showed me that hitting bolts with a hammer and they came out right easy. The bit set has also saved me a few times.


  10. When it comes to stripped out Allen or Torx fasteners, I go with the Irwin screw
    extractor kit. It’s a 25 piece set so in most cases you don’t need to drill a


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