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How to Decode the VIN Codes on a Ford Bronco

by Richard Asmus

Ford manufactured the Bronco from 1966 to 1996 in various sizes and models. Until 1980, the truck had an 11-character VIN (vehicle identification number) that only identified the body model, the engine and the manufacturing plant, with a "build number" forming a serial number based on the date of manufacture. From 1981 on, the 17-character VIN information included country, make, model, year, body and engine information, manufacturing plant and a serial number. On early models, decode the VIN from a chart. From 1981 on, decode the VIN with free online services.

Compare the 11 characters of a 1980 or earlier Bronco to a VIN chart to decode them. The first three characters represent the series, the fourth character represents the engine, the fifth character represents the manufacturing plant and the remaining characters are the "build number." For an example of a chart, go to the Westcoastbroncos website.

Copy the 17 characters of a post-1981 Bronco VIN into an online VIN decoder and click "Decode." The following screen includes basic information on the vehicle, depending on the style of the decoder and the year of the Bronco. Decodethis, DMV and VINquery all offer free basic VIN information.

Scroll down to the tabs at the Decodethis or a similar website and click on various tabs for decoded information on engine type, body style, options and special information for that year and mode. VIN reports for later models include more information than earlier models.

Purchase a VIN report at the VINquery website. After entering the VIN, select a price level from the "Report Type" drop down menu. Prices range from 50 cents to $1.90.

About the Author

Richard Asmus was a writer and producer of television commercials in Phoenix, Arizona, and now is retired in Peru. After founding a small telecommunications engineering corporation and visiting 37 countries, Asmus studied broadcasting at Arizona State University and earned his Master of Fine Arts at Brooklyn College in New York.

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