There May Just Be Hope For This POS Bronco Yet.

My fingers are crossed.

Ever since the day I bought this miserable nightmare of a rig, as soon as the engine got good and warmed up to operating temperature. the oil pressure would fall off a cliff when it idled in gear at stops. Sometimes it would drop to zero and the Red Engine light on the dash would come on.

I have heard the rocker arms rattling before because the oil pressure fell off when I gunned it and it shifted gears.

After this latest round of wrenching on the bastard and finding all the gunk built up inside the engine, I filled it with whatever remnants of oil jugs I had laying around and a couple of quarts of ATF. I also left the old oil filter on it because I know I had knocked some serious chunks of crap down into the pan when I was scraping all of the built up gunk out of the valley between the heads where the lifters are.

Then after I finally got it started I just let it sit and idle for a while during which time I went around it checking for leaks. It ran for some time before I shut it off.

Later on I went out and drained the oil pan, left the plug out for a half an hour and changed the filter. I figured I would give it time to drain out real good and give any chunks a chance to work their way to the drain. What came out was in a word, nasty.

Then I put the drain plug in and filled it with 20/50 Wt oil plus a bottle of STP oil treatment because that stuff is the shit. I have been using it since the late 70’s in every rig I have ever owned.

Since then I have only driven it for round trips to the store and a trip to my Buddy’s house yesterday. A couple of miles round trip each time but enough that I can feel heat coming from the floor with the heater on. Even if it has been close to seventy five degrees around here.

I have been watching that oil pressure gauge like a hawk too.

I have been waiting for the pressure to drop off at idle after it gets warmed up but I never did see it. I figured maybe I just hadn’t run it hard enough yet.

Well I just got back from a lengthier trip up close to by where I work. I had some business to take care of. It’s pretty damn warm outside and this was in light to light traffic, about seven miles one way. Plenty of opportunity for the thing to get up to operating temp.

One time, when I was almost there, I had to stop at a light and I saw the oil pressure gauge start to fluctuate but it never did drop below the “N” in Normal on the gauge.

The same thing on the way home when I had to stop and the idle dropped down to about 700 RPM. Usually that’s when it would have dropped clear to zero and the Red Engine Light would have come on. One again it fluttered for a second but never dropped below that “N”.

Other than that, the oil pressure read up where it is supposed to, even at idle, without any fluctuation all the way there and all the way back..

I also noticed the thing seems to run smoother and the idle quality is definitely much better and smoother. As a matter of fact, it has never run this good since I bought it.

Cleaning all the carbon build up off of the fuel injectors and inside the intake manifold couldn’t have hurt.

I’m thinking the screen on the oil pump pick up tube was probably clogged up with all the gunk that was all over inside the rest of the engine and that ATF must have acted like a solvent and cleaned it out.

All the more impetus for me to drive it a bit more and change the oil again.

I won’t know for absolute certain until I take it for a nice long drive on the freeway on a hot day but so far I am certainly encouraged that just maybe that major issue might have been taken care of.

Because I was really starting to run out of this stuff,


Sorry Notwende, not quite yet it appears.

23 thoughts on “There May Just Be Hope For This POS Bronco Yet.

  1. Cars are like humans sometimes aren’t they? Digestive issues, throwing up gunk and sometimes even serious cases of arteriosclerosis accompanied by heavy smoking and consumption of burnable liquids 😂
    I am happy for you Phil!!
    These awesome old SOB‘s tend to open up another can of worms the moment you‘ve managed putting the lid on the first can. Maybe you should check for rust in strange places?

    What you really should provide your readers with now would be a short video showing Phil driving this Bronco while smiling happily.


  2. Would it be worth it to drop the pan and look? Or would that entail seriously major surgery? I’d worry about “loose gunk floating around” that might find its way to the oil pump pickup screen and block it.


  3. One of my Uncles ran a school district vehicle maintenance facility. They found that exchanging a quart of oil for two of the STP Oil Treatments dramatically increased gas mileage and horsepower and drained much cleaner. It is indeed the shit :^). Marvel Mystery Oil has reputedly the same characteristics, but I have no 1st hand knowledge of that.

    Glad to hear your ride is behaving itself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I inherited my father-in-law’s ’69 Cutlass (310HP, 4bbl, twin exhaust, TH350, the thing was a hotrod but my mother-in-law liked the color) I did an engine flush. I don’t remember the details but it included filling the engine with 10w and Marvel Mystery Oil, running it for a while then draining and refilling with 20-40 or 30 w. I don’t know if it did any good, but it smelled like wintergreen for months.
      My Uncle Paul, the Ford mechanic used Marvel so it was good enough for me.


  4. Phil, I always thought that mechanics would have a head start over blokes like me when it came to buying used cars. But reading your experiences of different makes, it almost reads as if you’re figuratively into self-flagellation with that old Phoard Bronchial.
    Unclezip is right about the good old Slant-Six. My first car was a VC series ’67 Valiant Wayfarer ute with a Slant-Six 225c.i. motor, wish I still had it.
    Chrysler Australia used to let you specify your own gearbox and differential specs, so you’d get a stump-puller or a street racer, or standard. They even sold the 265c.i. Hemi straight-six donk as a Six-Pack setup in the Aussie version Charger, a slightly shorter overall car than the US one.
    Ah, those were the days, when Australia had five independent vehicle manufacturers and exporters. Now, after guvmint interference, we have none. Funny that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have literally lost count of how many vehicles I have had over the years. I do remember that I went through 29 of them in one 10 year span back in the 80’s.
      I’m guessing it’s gotta be at least 60 by now. Out of all of them, maybe four or five were actually clean, decent, straight and nice cars. All of the rest were just like this fucking Bronco. Miserable junkers with multiple problems that I was constantly wrenching on and throwing money at.
      There is definitely something wrong with me but for the life of me, I hate the newer computer controlled cars with a passion and WILL NOT spend the kind of money they want for the fucking things.
      I had a Dodge station wagon with a Slant 6 in it and loved that rig but I felt sorry for some lady I knew who had a bunch of kids and no money so I sold it to her cheap. She wound up selling it shortly afterwards and it broke my heart when I found out about it. My Grandmother and Grandfather had several of the old Dodge Darts with that engine. The old Push Button Automatics. They were hard to kill.
      Some of the old Ford straight 6’s were like that too.


      • My dad bought a used ’51(??) Packard that had a straight 8. The odometer went completely around twice before the odometer cable broke. He eventually parked it for a while, then sold it to a guy in Kansas City – who had a buddy drive him up, so he could drive the Packard back to KC.


      • Notwende, they were just mainly localised versions of US or Jap makers; GMH/ General Motors Holden, Chrysler Australia, Ford Australia: all had Aussie versions of US vehicles or Euro-cars, mainly with suspension upgrades and different panels and name plates/badges, and of course RHD; because following Commonwealth practice, we drive on the left. Many of these went to South Africa, very suitable there as well as other African countries like Rhodesia etcetera. I loved the big sixes in Valiants, their 245c.i. and 265c.i. Hemi motors, or as the 4.0L and 4.3L ELB engines. If the 273, 318 or 360c.i. V8 donks weren’t big enough, you had to buy a fully imported Chrysler.
        Toyota and Nissan both had plants too, selling localised rice-burners, that went to various Asian and African markets. When Mitsubishi bought out Chrysler here, their head honcho took a Valiant Regal sedan with a 360c.i. V8 back to Japan. Apparently he loved scaring the locals there, but the prohibitive rego cost for the V8 engine, and the fact he had to buy a garage to house it, costing the same as a small family house, meant that he eventually ditched it.
        The Poms also made cars here; BMC/British Motors Corp made their little Mini Minor here, also their cheap Mini Moke (a 2wd bush car, that was so light you could pick it up out of a boghole) and assembled Land Rovers too. British Leyland made their 4cyl. Marina and Kimberley, and the honking great (for the Poms) Leyland P76. What is now a cult car was a big, but light, sedan with aluminium (not aluminum) panels and a 4.4L aluminium V8 motor. The ’boutique’ small-shop car makers or modifiers are beyond mention here.


  5. That’s a pretty cool trick with using ATF being high detergent Phil. Never heard of it done before around these parts.
    What do you think about if I ran some thru a 71 Beetle Bug engine? Has around 40,000 miles, bone stock, valves have 4% leak-down, (still pulls pretty well, though I can feel powers dropped off some this summer, got to get the revs up a tad higher for these darn hills here in WV, engine warm, mystery oil sprayed in the plug holes to better seal the rings, be replacing guides, cutting a 5 angle seat, new valves).
    The reason for asking your advice has to do with the VW factory mechanic shop manual tells you to run non-detergent straight 30 weight oil in these type 1 aircooled engines. Which I do. Actually use low ash piston engine aviation oil. But it don’t take long before its the color of india ink, like 500 miles. When I adjust the valves, which you have to do before you set the dwell, timing, and reset carb on it, everything is coated with black varnish under the valve covers. It is very thin, not built up, just it is black. Always kind of bothered me, because I change the oil at or before 1000 miles, because they are aircooled, no filter, they barely hold 4 quarts, like 3.4 liters, (3.8 liters is a gallon I think).
    Got one of those 89mm big bore kits, stock is 87mm, any larger you got to bore the cases for the larger cyl skirts that insert into the engine cases, so I’m not planning on splitting the block, but it would be preferable to start out with nice clean internals.

    Not for nothing using ATF strikes me as a fascinating trick, makes sense. Just being VW says not to use detergent engine oil, makes me wonder if there is a vital reason, or has to do with long term effects is all.
    Appreciate your opinion or advice.


    • I only ever had one Volkswagen in all my years, it was a van and I actually Loved that stupid thing. I wound up flipping it on its side hanging a hard left at a light, racing a buddy home from a bar
      I got a ticket for unsafe speed. Going an estimated 25 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone. Needless to say I took it to court and I actually beat it. Other than that I have no experience with them
      The 30 weight oil I would imagine is because it doesn’t thin out as much when it gets hot. I can’t see where running some ATF in it for a short while would do any actual harm . Just don’t put a whole bunch of miles on it and then drain it out and see what comes out with it.


      • Thanks, that is good common sense.
        Those VW bus’s go for a pretty penny these days, the pick-up version are pretty high dollar. My gramps bought a 64 bus off the docks in Boston, VW was running a buy it with cash deal, I think it was a grand even. He gave it to me, was 14, rebuilt the engine in shop class, it was stolen down in Massachusetts, get a call 11 years later from the Rockville llI. PD saying they got it on an inspection sticker check.

        I picked this Bettle Bug for a work vehicle. The coal mines are all accessed down 10 or mile dirt haul roads, same ones the big CAT and Komatsu rock haulers and off road tandem coal trucks use. Beats the ever living shit out of your vehicle cause they are pretty awful rough, they have to put #7 rock or larger down because of the tire weight of those 100 and up ton rack trucks.
        Made it into a semi Baja bug, little fuckers are tough if you change a few suspension parts and crank the torsion bars up a couple splines, put real performance shocks on it. Saved me $120 a week in fuel, cost only 32 a month for insurance, 34 for plates a year, 30 minutes less travel time because I could boot it down the haul roads, and $36 a week for gasoline, plus in 3 years it never busted down on the road. I learned my lesson, gave it a hidden kill wire/switch, battery shut-off, somebody tried to hot wire it twice while I was on Hoot Owl underground maintenance shift.
        They got zero creature comforts. In the winter ran 20lb propane tank from under the front lid to a Mr. Buddy heater to defrost the windows.

        Ol’ Fernadad Porche built those Beetles with 4130 chrome moly stampings for all the key unibody sections. Practically everything unbolts on them. Parts are dirt cheap if you don’t mind Mexican made. I always try to get OEM, shit is top shelf quality and engineering.
        You know them Krauts how they built stuff back then.

        Little kids go bonkers when they see it, the old lady and me LOAO.


  6. if you ever do pop the motor up to look in the pan, consider a high volume oil pump. you got one of two problems related to the term “pressure is resistance to flow”, either the bearings are really opened up and the oil is just blowing by them or the oil pump internal clearances are shot and it’s flow is low.
    rislone additive is what I used to use on old engines. I always put a fresh filter on though. the bypass in the full flow filters just allows the crud to pass into the lube system. ATF may be cheaper but the rislone worked for me. as for oil, what ever keeps the hydraulic lifters quiet and the bearing lubed. some eurotrash cars use 0W20 engine oil in the summer. hilarious.


    • Kind of putting off dropping the sump. Dont want to find out it’s time to go for a total rebuild. Have a spare engine thats waiting on my lazy butt for a full rebuild. Cleaned out the one running originally got it, wasnt too awful bad, same dark shellac as under the valve covers.
      Just doing a top end job on it, with high milage oil residue in the bottom end, it is kind of like taking a shower and putting your dirty hashmark undies back on.
      Oil pressure is excellent. These WV mountains are hard on an old aircooled. One mine worked at, the road changed elevation over 1000ft 11 times in 30 miles, the last change was a 1900ft climb in 3 miles up a one lane goat path. I think the oil was getting used up hard, always into the pedal trying to keep it in the best torque rpm. 4th gear is actually overdrive in the sedan trannies, .89 ratio, 1 gear is granny gear, so you got to keep your road speed up with 2nd & 3rd or you end up lugging them too much.
      I picked up some aftermarket cylinder cooling tins, they have a fairly small outlet so the cooling air has more time to transfer heat from the cylinder fins. They made an incredible difference in power under those afore mentioned circumstances.
      Yeah, that bypass thing with an oil pump/filter aftermarket upgrade is something I want to avoid as you point out.
      I hear there is a way to not have that large bypass but you have to split the cases.


  7. I would absolutely love to. I can’t as I rent and they don’t allow working on cars in the garage. That would include building an engine. I would also have to do it out in the street and that wouldn’t go over well either.


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