Should I buy a Bronco?

I am looking for a large vehicle to travel with my family this summer. We will be on the road for at least a few months, so I need something reliable and large enough to carry our things; this will be for my wife
and our two toddlers. We will be sleeping in hotels, so a motor home or camper won't be necessary.
I was originally looking for a crew cab pickup, but lately I have been seeing a lot of Broncos show up at the used car lots around my home here near Chicago. These Broncos seem to be in decent shape with the usual body rot around the wheels. I'm guessing that these are coming off the road since they are big, old gas guzzlers. They seem to sit on the lots for a long time before getting moved or auctioned. The Broncos are usually priced very low compared compared to the other SUVs and trucks.
I used google groups to search for Broncos and I was surprised at how few posts came up. Just about every car model has at least one unique problem that plagues it, but I couldn't see any pattern to the reports in the group.
So here's my questions: Would the Bronco be a good choice for traveling in for months on end? What should I look for when shopping for one? What should I expect if I owned one?
Thanks for any help, Matthew
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On 4 Jan 2007 11:24:20 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

My sister owned 3 of them and put well over 100K on all of them back in Rochester. And she pulled a two horse trailer with them regularly. She had very very few problems, never an engine problem and never a transmission problem while she owned them, typically about 5 years and 125K. The downsides to what you want to do are..
- they don't ride all that well due to them being basically a short truck. And expect there to be some vibration/shake that comes and goes at higher speeds. If you do look at any be sure and test drive them at high speed on a typical freeway.
- As you know, gas mileage will be terrible
- since there are only 2 doors, getting your little ones in and out of the back will be a pain in the butt. When my kids were little I had a Big Blazer and one reason for selling it was the hassle of getting the baby seats in it, etc.
- As much as I liked my Blazer and my sister liked her Bronco(S) I don't think either of us would want to go back to them again if we had a lot of long trips in our future.
My suggestion is this, instead of the Bronco, take a look at the older Ford Explorers. The gas mileage won't be great but it will be better, and with 4 doors it's a lot easier to live with. Also, unless you have one with the shakes (be sure and test drive at high speed), they are very quiet and comfortable on long trips. I have a 92 I bought new and it's my preferred long trip vehicle, the seats are comfy, sound system decent, ride and handling good as long as you keep in mind it's a high center of gravity vehicle, and lots of room in the back. The weak points tend to be the radius arm bushings and the transmission is not the longest lasting ford ever made, mine only lasted 127K before needing a rebuild.
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Of course you should buy one. (And I know, the Bronco groups are dead. http://bbs.off-road.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php is BY FAR the best Bronco board in existence.)
I have had two (1987 and current 1980). Yes, they get about 13mpg in the city, maybe 15mpg on the highway. Depends on the year though. If you can get a 3spd with O/D that will significantly improve your mileage. But the C6 tranny in the 3spd is probaby tougher than the EAOD O/D tranny.
My 1987 had a 302 and the 1980 has a 351M. Both have lots of power but I would look for one with fuel injection (1985 and up era).
My 1980 has quad front shocks, extra leafs in the back, a roll bar, two skid plates, 3:50 9" rear, posi, duals, it's one tough truck. It'll tow about 8,500lbs I believe, stock, and has tons and tons of room. I can carry five people in it with two dogs and luggage no problem. It'll haul anything - I know.
Personally, I love this truck and if it goes south, I will get another. The only grip I have is the rear electronic window. They are expensive to replace and the motors and gears seem to go south - make sure yours works well. Rust is standard in these things, but adds character. Past that, put a 4" lift in it, some 35" tires, and go to town. But if you want something more 'civilized' yeah, get an SUV, these are trucks after all - and they drive, ride and work like them.
Brad
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