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Purchasing 1st B2. Need advice

gstuartw

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Hello.

I’m new to the Bronco 2niverse and need some input.

I am in the hunt for a B2 as it’s predecessor has appreciated out of my price range. I currently have an ‘87 and an ‘89 in my sights. I have only what I see in their respective online ads to go on as far as appearance and obvious hints to mechanical issues. Both are stated to be in great mechanical shape. But as I better define my direction on which vehicle to pursue I’ll investigate that more personally.

The ‘87 is in good shape, no rust, really good shape interior and still being driven. It has 140k on the odometer and is a manual. White and red exterior with red interior. Good VIN check.

The ‘89 has 155k on the clock, a nicer paint job though the interior is not really in significantly better shape than the ‘87. This one is an automatic. White and red exterior with red interior. Good VIN check.

Though I am currently in the DFW area of Texas my wife and I will be relocating to a town in the mountains of Mexico situated at 6300 ft elevation. The B2 would be nationalized and moved with us.

Our intended use for this vehicle will be the occasional weekend trip to wineries or a music venue with trips typically not farther than 20 miles round trip. Most would be a 5-6 mile trip for a Sunday breakfast on a patio.

With that said, my initial questions are these:

What are the most inherent flaws in the design of these vehicles in respect to mechanical and/or electrical systems? (I am aware of the comparative ease at which these vehicles can end up on their roof but with only on-road driving planned and at speeds typically at 40 mph tops I’m willing to accept that flaw).

What are the parts most difficult to get and what donor vehicles other than another B2 are the best sources? (Shipping from the states gets easier each year, Amazon ships from the US as well as their Mexico operations.)

Are there significant improvements in the ‘89 over the ‘87 that make this decision a no-brainer?

Thanks I’m advance for you attention and helpful response.

Stuart
 
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RobbieD

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Welcome to TRS.

My own personal opinions and preferences here.

Right off the bat I would choose the manual over the auto. More dependable, less problems, less expensive to repair (and more fun). On the manual, make sure that the 5th gear isn't noisy.

Beyond the basics when inspecting any potential vehicle purchase, on a B2 check closely for evidence of overheating or cracked heads (a weak point with the 2.9, especially the earlier models). Look for milky sludge under the oil fill cap, and look for a healthy-looking coolant system (color of coolant, stains from leaks, etc.).

Good luck on getting yourself a good B2; they're a blast to drive, and you've found the best place right here, for information and support.
 

duffy

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Typically the later the year the better the vehicle (most problems got "fixed"). That being said the 90' would be the best year. I have an 89' and there were significant engine head improvements over the 87' (beefier heads mean less cracking if overheated). If you opt for the 89' start looking for an 86'/87' throttle body. It is 8mm larger than the 89' and althought it probably doesn't increase HP it surely does improve throttle response. The auto's used in B2's (A4LD's) are pretty weak to say the least. I had mine re-built to 93' Explorer specs within a year and it seems to be working fine. Enjoy which ever one you get.....they are a blast to drive.
 

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4x4prepper

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> I will be relocating to a town in the mountains of Mexico situated at 6300 ft elevation

I would go with the manual transmission, especially if you do not plan on an over 40 mph drive, if you both know how to drive a standard transmission.
 

Uncle Gump

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Here is a good break down of the Bronco II... it's posted at the sister site to TRS.


There is other information there for you to also look over.

The 90 MY would really be the best of the bunch as already stated. Aside from some engine mods... the biggest bonus is the front axle. The 89 and 90 also received the styling changes we refer to as Second Generation.

Many parts are interchangeable with the Ranger.

I like automatics... I like the 100k on the odo... also the improvements that had happened getting to the 89 MY. I prefer the looks of the first Gen trucks... but given the current choices... I would personally lean to the 89.

Welcome to TRS...
 

dvdswan

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Welcome to the site.
 

RumPunch

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Personal opinion here as well…

If styling does not matter to you (being 87 is a first gen/89 being a second gen) then the 89 factory vehicle options are generally better. Like mentioned above the front axle and cylinder heads. I have an 88 and newer model heads can be had for $500-600 so not an extreme concern. I prefer manual controls for windows doors etc as these get harder to find parts do too. Concerned about window motors etc more so harness/connectors going to them. I have had to outsource engine and dash harnesses from junkyards.
 

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Auto transmission is definitely a weak point, that said, regular fluid/filter changes, additional cooling for it, and a shift kit (and valve body mods) make a huge improvement on performance and reliability. Also the bands should adjusted ever 30-40k.

83-88 often had rust problems in the cowl because the slots were big enough to collect leaves and debris.

Most parts interchange with similar year Rangers and most suspension parts are compatible with early Explorers. Unless someone has done something about it, only ‘90 B2s had the stronger D-35 front, but it’s a straightforward swap from an early Explorer or a Ranger with one. Probably also worth using Ranger or Explorer leaf springs since stock B2 was pretty squishy.

Parts are relatively plentiful and relatively cheap since they share a lot of the same parts the Ranger used up until the 97/98 changeover.

If the 2.9 is running good and doesn’t have a bunch of snot on the oil cap after a test drive, I wouldn’t be particularly worried about it. If it’s ticking, I wouldn’t worry too much, it’s a top end oiling issue. If you can keep the engine and trans cool enough, they are awesome little vehicles
 

Uncle Gump

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Personal opinion here as well…

If styling does not matter to you (being 87 is a first gen/89 being a second gen) then the 89 factory vehicle options are generally better. Like mentioned above the front axle and cylinder heads. I have an 88 and newer model heads can be had for $500-600 so not an extreme concern. I prefer manual controls for windows doors etc as these get harder to find parts do too. Concerned about window motors etc more so harness/connectors going to them. I have had to outsource engine and dash harnesses from junkyards.
Having looked into my power window system a bit... I fear I may be in a slightly similar situation. Makes my purchase of new door panels with full power options before fully investigating issues seem like not such a brilliant move at this point.

If you haven't thrown away all that stuff you removed I might be looking for a dodad or two soon.
 

RumPunch

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Having looked into my power window system a bit... I fear I may be in a slightly similar situation. Makes my purchase of new door panels with full power options before fully investigating issues seem like not such a brilliant move at this point.

If you haven't thrown away all that stuff you removed I might be looking for a dodad or two soon.
Got full electric doors sitting. Let me know what you need just hit me up
 

Uncle Gump

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You da man!
 

gstuartw

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Thanks to all for the replies. I made a significant typo in my original post. The '89 has 155K on the odometer, not 100K. At this point I'm leaning toward the '87. The '89 is across the country from me while the '87 is an hour away. While my wife doesn't know how to drive a manual, this might be a good time to teach her! Shipping the '89 will cost between $1400-2200. Thinking that if I can negotiate a bit on the price I can get the '87 into a shop and get some preemptive work done before we head south. Body and paint work as well as interiors are dirt cheap in Mexico so once I get it down there I can really spruce it up.
 

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Change all the fluids including the brake fluid and add a filter to the brake booster hose. I would buy spare fuel pumps (hi and low) and a 4.0L clutch set up with spare alternator and starter. Maybe a spare FoMoCo starter relay. A spare CPu woudl not hurt, that way you have the vitals to get going.
 

gstuartw

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The saga continues. Just found an '89 XL with less than 90K. Looks in great shape. I'm beginning to appreciate that the simpler equipped XL means fewer items to fail which is critical given that trim level associated parts might not be as available in central Mexico. Power train is one thing but like it has been suggested, power window parts etc might be an issue. Thoughts?

@4x4prepper, I appreciate your prepper suggestions as far as packing extra parts. I'm not up on all things wrench wise, can you explain the 4.0L clutch set up suggestion?
 

4x4prepper

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Ford 2.9 Converted To 4.0 Clutch


I try to get my SHTF vehicles with manual locks, manual windows, standard transmission, manual transfer case, manual hubs aka XL.

I go a step further and convert to points/carbs and then once running correctly, to a Duraspark, for my Fords.
 

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