The Ford Bronco is a great off-road vehicle that has been around for generations. It was first released in 1966 and has since become an iconic symbol of style, durability, and adventure. The Bronco has seen several redesigns throughout its history, but it still remains a popular choice among off-roading enthusiasts.
Finally, having returned after 25 years in 2020, the Bronco is now positioned as an SUV for weekend warriors, adventurers, and outdoor enthusiasts. With its wide range of options and specialty packages, it offers much more than your typical off-road vehicle.
Unfortunately, like many vehicles on the road today, Ford Broncos can suffer from common issues that could eventually lead to costly repairs if ignored. To ensure you are making an informed decision and to avoid paying a small fortune, here are some common Ford Bronco problems you should know before you buy.
1 – Faulty Turbo
The 2.3L EcoBoost turbo wastegate can be faulty in some of the new Ford Broncos, causing a lack of power and acceleration, as well as increased fuel consumption. This can be quite bad, especially with gas prices higher than they’ve been in recent years.
There are a few telltale symptoms to watch for, including the check engine light coming on, errors from the powertrain and service engine, reduced boost, low performance, and trouble codes for the wastegate.
This issue primarily affects model years from 2021 to 2022 (sixth generation Bronco), and it’s recommended to get a full diagnostic test done before committing to your purchase. This issue is quite disappointing if you’re the owner, considering that you should be driving what is essentially still a new Bronco.
How to Fix
You’ll likely need to replace the wastegate to resolve this issue. However, that’s easier said than done, as the turbocharger must be removed in order to access it. Usually, dealerships will recommend replacing the turbo and should still be under warranty. Just in case you’ve already driven your Bronco past the warranty, it’s possible to just have the waste gate repaired but this is a job best left to an experienced mechanic.
2 – Engine Valve Issues
The 2.7L V6 EcoBoost engine can experience valvetrain failures resulting in poor fuel efficiency and reduced performance. The telltale signs are decreased engine power and even engine refusal to restart. This is worrying since when engine valves can fail, the engine can seize up at highway speeds.
Model years 2021 and 2022 are most likely to be affected, as this issue is prevalent on engines with build dates from October 2021 onward. So while older model years are out, this means your new Ford Bronco is susceptible to this issue.
How to Fix
Unfortunately, you have to play the waiting game for the time being, as Ford hasn’t issued a recall for this widespread – and major – problem. If the five digits immediately following the first five digits on your engine’s QR code say it was made between July and October 2021, it’s likely that you have a faulty engine from a bad batch.
From there, you can wait and see if a recall or service bulletin is issued. But for now, the best bet for affected owners is to take the vehicle in for immediate service and get it checked out by a qualified Ford technician.
3 – Ignition Module Malfunction
The ignition module can malfunction on older model year Bronco’s, leading to a potential fire hazard. This issue affects model years 1990 and 1991 and can be easily diagnosed by a qualified technician.
How to Fix
The ignition module needs to be replaced with an updated part from the dealership. The repair is relatively straightforward and doesn’t take long, but it’s important to have it done as soon as possible to avoid further complications and potential fire. If you suspect your Bronco may have a faulty ignition module, take it in for service right away.
4 – Intake Manifold Gasket Failure
Yet another common problem with Ford Bronco is intake manifold gasket failure. This can cause oil and coolant to mix or leak, which will often be indicated by the presence of white smoke coming from the tailpipe.
Some of the other symptoms of this failure aside from smoke include reduced power output when accelerating, engine overheating, decreased fuel efficiency, engine misfiring, or gunk buildup in your coolant reservoir or underneath the oil fill tube or cap.
This is caused by a faulty seal between the manifold and cylinder head, most likely due to old age or an improper installation. This problem typically affects Bronco models from 1993. Ignoring this can lead to engine failures.
How to Fix
To fix this problem, you’ll need to replace the manifold gasket as well as any other parts that may have been damaged due to the leak. It’s important to also check for any signs of rust or corrosion on your Bronco before replacing the gasket.
5 – Rough Shifting
If your Ford Bronco from 1991 is having difficulty shifting gears, it could be due to a faulty shift cable, worn synchros, or low levels of transmission fluid. The most common symptom of this issue is the vehicle stalling when you try to change gears or the engine revving but not engaging with the next gear.
How to Fix
To repair this, you’ll need to have the vehicle serviced and inspected by a professional mechanic as soon as possible. They will be able to diagnose the issue and recommend the best course of action for fixing it. Depending on the severity of the problem, this could involve replacing faulty parts or flushing out the transmission and replacing the fluid.
6 – Vibrations and Noises
Finally, Ford Bronco owners should be aware of vibrations and noises coming from their vehicles. This is typically caused by worn out suspension components such as struts, shocks, tie rods, or ball joints. Additionally, faulty brakes or tires can also cause vibrations in the cabin or shakiness in the steering wheel.
Some of the common symptoms to look out for include vibrations when accelerating or braking, a rattling or clunking noise from underneath the vehicle, and an overall feeling of instability when driving. This problem is most likely to occur in Bronco models from 1993 onwards.
How to Fix
To resolve this issue, take your Bronco to a professional mechanic for an inspection. Depending on the cause of the problem, they may suggest replacing faulty parts or just topping up your brake fluid.
It’s important to always ensure that all of your suspension components are in good condition and properly maintained to prevent further issues from arising. Replacement parts are widely available especially for older Bronco models.
Is the Ford Bronco Worth Buying?
It’s true that there are some of the most common problems associated with the Ford Bronco, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not worth buying. It all depends on how serious you are about maintaining and repairing the vehicle over time. If you’re willing to invest in quality care and you know what to watch out for on the used (and new) market, you can find a great ride in the Ford Bronco.
For more information about customer complaints and recall announcements, you can check with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and check your specific Ford Bronco model year. Ford should also release a technical service bulletin for each issue they deem valid.