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Discussion Starter #1
Well to update you on my "project" car my 96 Bird....the car is currently in the transmission shop getting a total rebuild with all new parts, new torque converter, shift kit as well as a new core plug for the back of the drivers side head. Quote from the shop is 1500-2000. Before the car went to the shop I was getting a cyl#3 miss and it would turn the engine light on every so often. It has brand new plugs wires(motorcraft). I have yet to replace the fuel filter, coil packs, and clean the maf. When removing the cyl #3 plug the plug was covered in oil, so I installed an oil fouler into the cyl that helped keep the plug out of the chamber. What Im getting at is what could make this misfire occur between 600-1200rpm? It doesnt misfire above that and there doesnt seem to be any loss in power during the rpm spand, its just when at idle at a traffic light(in drive which you can really notice it) or in park which it doesnt seem as bad. Just after you start it you can smell the burning of oil out the pipe but after a little while it seems to go totally away or just about all the way. Any ideas to what this might be? I thought maybe a valve stem seal since these cars were known for them going bad in earlier years but it was supposed to be fixed for the 96-97 model years, but from what i have heard was that they can still go out on occasion. But someone said it could be a bad valve guide? What are the symptoms of this? It seems to be getting progressively worse(just added another half quart of oil which means its burning about a quart every 1000 miles) Does the oil leaking in the chamber do anything to it? Does it ruin the cats? Im hoping its just the valve seal but who knows....I will keep everyone updated on progress on the car. also I forgot to add that the car pings alot when put under a load but when you floor it, it goes away and thats with 87 or 89 gas.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
126k, I have the compression tester, and can do that but honestly I didnt do it when i changed the plugs because there didnt seem to be any loss in power at all which I thought meant no compression lost, the only thing is the miss between 600-1200rpm. I have recentley removed the plug and fouler to look at it and the fouler itself is wet/black on the part in the in the chamber like the old plug was but the new plug itself was still clean so it is doing the job of keeping the plug clean. P.S. all other plugs were burning fine and still are. All codes i have gotten have been the cyl #3 miss and I have gotten an occasional driver side rear 02 sensor code but that was only 2 in the last 5 months, where as the miss I have had about 6 or 7 times in 5 months, and it was also the same code that was on when I bought the car. Another thing is that this non-fouler makes the spark plug wire stick up about an inch higher and it goes right against the fuel rail and it is bent(the wire is) where it touches with it...is it possible the spark is somehow going through the fuel rail to ground? They are brand new wires which leads me to believe its not doing it but i had someone tell me that the wire had come off but whenever I check it(when the code comes up) it seems to be on fine. oh by the way if it had compression loss and was only running on 7 cyl instead of 8 this car can freakin move for what it is and i would love to see it run on 8.
 

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I just thought of a couple other things that are kind of weird...The first thing is that if you watch the voltage gauge when at a traffic light sitting still the voltage every now and then goes below half down to i would say around 12v or so but when you step on the gas it goes right back up to about 14 or so. The previous owner told be the alternator was replaced along with the battery about a year ago so I checked the alternator wires and all seems to be good and I checked the ones on the battery and they were a little corroded on the terminals so I cleaned them up but it still happens every so often. The other is really no big deal but when you put the turn signal on the voltage gauge goes up and down just a tiny bit with the speed of the flashing light on the dash. There is an aftermarket cd player in it and he said he installed it...is it possible something is wrong there? He said he did most of the work himself to the car over the time he had it, but when I would ask him some things about it he would say that he didnt understand much about cars but he did what he could to it....which is the reason the trans is getting rebuilt after never getting the trans fluid replaced for 4 years and it being pitch black, plus there was no oil on the dip stick either lol I had to add about a 1.5+ quarts just to show up on the stick lol. On the voltage thing though I havent been able to catch it where I can check it with my meter.
 

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I think what you are seeing with the volt meter is the radiator fan comeing on and your sseing the voltage drop. With your oil problem if it was me I would pull the heads at this point and have them rebuilt or get some PI heads. When you get a cel light you need to repair or replace given parts. Bad o2 will fry your cats and make the engine run lean or rich. Front are more important but the work hand in hand. As far a shift kit the J mod is hands down the best way to go. Hope you get it all figured out.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
MIsfire/Ping:
should I replace them all(o2) or just the one with the po156(Bank 2 sensor 2 malfunction) code? Can one 02 make all the cyl ping or just the side of the one thats bad? I have not gotten this code for over a month...can the 02 still be bad though?

Volt Meter:
If this was true then why does it do it sometimes when I change from reverse to drive or vice versa? As I said though all I have to do is touch the gas and it goes back up to normal but as soon as I stop again it goes back down? This is only a intermitant problem but I have had it do it right after I started and put it in gear on a cold morning so wouldnt that rule out the fan?

Oil Leak:
Would it be better for me to try and replace the valve seal first? and if it doesnt help then get new or rebuilt heads? If i have no loss in power does this mean I have a good bottom end(good rings and such) or can I still have compression lost from a bad valve seal or guide? The guy doing my trans said that if he had to replace a valve seal that at that point it robably isnt a bad idea to get the heads redone or put new ones on....your takes on this?

Trans: I dont know the name of the current one being put in(shift kit) but I just got back from looking at my trans at the shop and he let me look at the manual for it and it looked like a ford shift kit and I read a little into it and it said it corrects the bad 4-2 downshift or something and the foreward clutch and band problem....(I am not total sure this is what it said becasue I am going by memory). He let me look at some of the old parts and the foreward clutch had absolutely no material left on it and the band was totally shot. He was in the process of doing the shift kit while I was there and he was drilling some sort of holes in what looked to be the valve body gasket or something as well as putting different springs in and a few other things the kit calls for.
 

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MIsfire/Ping, If you can go the money replace all the o2`s as they will give out soon anyway and the performance gain is worth it. The rears are not actualy o2`s but they work with the fronts and tell the cpu how much fuel to add.

Volt Meter, I would not worry about this as its normal that you have voltage drop with RPM drop. You might even have under drive pullys and they turn the alt slower.

Oil fouling the plug in that cylinder is most likely due to bad oil ring on the piston or scored cylinder walls. It is possable that the Valve stem seal is bad but this usaly shows up as smoke on start up but if enough gets in past the seal it could foul the plug. These engines can last for over 200k but most fail from head gaskets first. You could try the seal but it involves removing the valve spring and the tool is not cheap + they sell the valve stem seals in sets of 16. Once you have torn down that far its worth it to just pull the heads if you can do it. You need to make the call here.

Trans, He was drilling out the seprator plate which is what the j mod is all about. It should be fine as long as the guy knows what he is doing.

Hope some of this helps you out, Mark.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
MIss/Ping: I will do what I can, but if I cant replace them all at once I will replace the ones that need it.

Volt Meter: Sounds good, I will still keep watch of it though

Oil: Is there any way possible to check if its a bad oil ring or something before it gets torn apart? It only smells of oil when you first start it and after a couple minutes it almost all goes away if not totally. Just say it is the oil ring on the piston, can you tell me what kind of damage is being done to the combustion chamber and the cats if anything. How much am I looking at for a total rebuild? About the same as the trans(1.5-2000)? I have said it many times and I will say it again....I totally love this car, I feel bad for it in some ways the way it was mistreated by the previous owner, and with it being a no rust arizona car I think it has some big time potential, I mean sure it has dings dents creases and yes the paint feels like sand in it, but unless you get up close and feel it you would never know it and it actually shines nicely yet and I love to drive it and get the looks on peoples faces when I step on it lol I think thats the best, I would like to keep this car a while and after all this crap is done( transmssion(said to have it back either tomorrow or wednesday), engine(I may just run it into the ground before I replace that), I would love to get a Trak Lock 3.27 instead of my normal 3.27, Maybe some performance things, but that may wait until the engine goes so hopefully it will last a while yet, maybe an exhaust and lastly I would like to get all the body work done and have a fresh repaint. Thanks for all the info scbird, I really do appreciate it and I will let you as well as everyone know how everthing is going with it and I think it is starting to actually since the trans will be done soon, aw I can't wait to get it back I havent driven it in over a week!!!! P.S. Is there any break in period with this rebuilt trans? Thanks Again
 

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I know how you feel about the car, hence the reson I have had 14 of them. My last black one was one of my most faverite and it was a CA- arizona car with no rust. The underside was like brand new but a drunk, illegal,no driver license, no insurance *** ****Took out my baby may she rest in peices. Its hard to tell just wats going on inside you engine but sometimes the oil rings seize onto the pistons but it should not cause any dammage other than let oil into the combustion chamber and foul your plug and cause a miss. Price for a rebuild is a location thing as some parts of the country charge more for rebuilds. If you can do the work youself its going to much cheaper and to start out with a rebuilt long block would put you way ahead of the game. Follow the reasembly instuctions to the letter. A lot of poeple miss the boat on even things like installing the balancer if you dont use sealer in the key way a oil leak will develop and it sucks to do things twice.

Ask your trans guy about the break in. I always do break ins on all drive train items. At least a couple hundred miles or so. Make sure he uses meconV trans fluid with the rebuild. Its the best for that trans. Keep in mind I dont have all the answers and im not a certified mechanic but I know these cars forward and back and have rebuilt about 40 engines and 15 transmissions. Mostly Ford produts.
Just about everyone on the site has a passion for these cars. I will soon have # 15. Most of my cars were in need of work when I bought them. Some were ready for the bone yard and I saved them. Im still not sure what it is about these cars but I will never buy new one. My wife will only drive a Tbird. Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the info Mark, I am very excited because as soon as I get done typing this I am going to pick up my bird at the trans shop. The total bill is 1852.15 with tax and all including the replacement of the frost plugs in the back that were leaking coolant. He said its not a bad idea to take it easy for the first 1000-1500 miles so the trans can be broken in properly.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I got to drive the bird about 40 miles today and I cant believe how well it drives with the rebuilt trans, it shifts quicker than it use too. I am going to take it easy for a while and I want to see what kind of mpg's I can get now since im not going on it so hard to skip the 3rd gear torque converter lockup shudder problem. I just filled up at sunoco and put some 93 in it and I calculated my mileage from the last time and I got 16 but that was driving it somewhat hard(pretty many full throttle 0-60 runs) so we will see what I get. I also washed it today, but hopefully tomorrow I can do the interior. I am so happy I finally have it back...I just love this thing!!
 

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Hey guys, I was able to get some work done on the bird both friday and yesterday. On Friday after work I decided I was going to go and check all cylinder compression since I didnt when I put the new spark plugs and wires on. I dont remember all the numbers off hand but they were all between 150-160psi. With the 150psi one going to the #3 cylinder that I wasa getting a misfire out of. So as I was going cylinder to cylinder I was checking to make sure the gaps were correct and that each plug was ok, and it turns out that when I got to cylinder #3 which had the oil fouler in it as well(from burning oil), the inside of the spark plug could freely turn inside the threaded part that screws in the head and Im thinking ground the plug as well? Anyways I checked the older plugs and none are like this so I figured I had a bad plug...ok no problem I have another one on hand so I put it in without the oil fouler. Then I double checked that all the wires were attached correctly and all the screws for the air intake tube were tight etc etc. Then I turned the car on and I left it run for a while and all be dang if the thing doesnt even shows sign of a misfire anymore, not at all....not at idle at the traffic light or in park, NOT AT ALL!!!!!!!!!! It just so happens that the same misfire I was getting from that oil wetted plug in cyl #3 when I first got the car was the same cylinder that got the bad new plug!!!!! I am so happy now that it runs really smooth......I just keep adding to the love I have for this car...its awesome.........ok that was friday what I did so, Saturday I was able to go to the junkyard and my luck just kept getting better when we came acrosss a 30th ann. cougar....I thought aw **** you got to be kidding me this thing hasnt even been hardly touched by anyone, so I looked inside and found out that it only 96k on the the thing....**** I cant believe this.....so I looked under the hood.....aw man its a 6 cylinder....Oh well, I can still get some interior parts for mine, so I was able to get the visors that are lighted, the center arm rest that get this...isnt peeling up along the side you open it from, I also got some really good weather stripping since mine is ripped pretty bad, I also got the 97 cupholder rubber insert since the one I found before didnt have it, plus I was able to get the cig lighter/ash tray out of the 97 to replace the little holder under the radio....I was going to take the leather/cloth seats but the drivers was worn somewhat and the 30th ann logo was missing from it plus the back was missing. I was able to get some hood struts as well, so I now have about 5 extra incease the other let go. This thing had the rear disc setup in it and I checked the code for the axle but I dont remember it except for it being a letter and a number with the number being 5 but I dont remember the letter...is this a possible trac lock? So anyways not bad for a junkyard run. When I got home I put the cupholder thing in it which looks alot better than the holes that use to be there, I also put the arm rest on. When I went to put the cig ligter/ash tray in I found out that I wasnt going to have enough cable in its current position to get the wires up to the slot below the radio, so I took the connecter off and moved it up close to the shifter and I was able to have the wire from the old center piece where the 97 cupholders are now taken off and I was able to route the wire up to the right of the shifter up under the piece of metal there and up to where the new cig lighter was going, so I hooked it up to see if the cig lighter would work and pushed it in....and boom it pops out glowing orange....awesome so now I have a cig ligther again...not that I smoke because I dont but so I can hook a gps or cell phone charger in it or something....awesome, so today I am going to work on the visors and weatherstripping and if I get around to it I need to do the front brakes on my ranger.

Have a Good One
 

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sounds like you really enjoy your car. let me suggest one thing. go and get yourself a Haynes repair maual for our vehicle type. i got one the other day for my tranny swap and it litterly explains every single detail of the car from ass to nose.

so next time you need something replaced you can just go and do it yourself and save lots of mechanic fee's.
 

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sounds like you really enjoy your car. let me suggest one thing. go and get yourself a Haynes repair maual for our vehicle type. i got one the other day for my tranny swap and it litterly explains every single detail of the car from ass to nose.

so next time you need something replaced you can just go and do it yourself and save lots of mechanic fee's.
I'd recommend the Ford Service Manual if you're going to invest in any repair literature for your car. It's SO much better than my old Haynes manual. I was lucky enough to find one for my car on ebay for under twenty bucks total - about what one of those Haynes manuals costs, and it looks brand new! They retail for like $70, and it would be worth every penny even at that cost. It's probably eight times longer (2 1/2" thick and very thin pages vs. 3/4" thick with thick pages) than those Haynes manuals and gives you troubleshooting guides, part numbers, part descriptions, and of course unparalleled repair and replacement guides. It's what the factory techs use, so you know it doesn't get any better.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
sounds like you really enjoy your car. let me suggest one thing. go and get yourself a Haynes repair maual for our vehicle type. i got one the other day for my tranny swap and it litterly explains every single detail of the car from ass to nose.

so next time you need something replaced you can just go and do it yourself and save lots of mechanic fee's.
I have a chiltons

I'd recommend the Ford Service Manual if you're going to invest in any repair literature for your car. It's SO much better than my old Haynes manual. I was lucky enough to find one for my car on ebay for under twenty bucks total - about what one of those Haynes manuals costs, and it looks brand new! They retail for like $70, and it would be worth every penny even at that cost. It's probably eight times longer (2 1/2" thick and very thin pages vs. 3/4" thick with thick pages) than those Haynes manuals and gives you troubleshooting guides, part numbers, part descriptions, and of course unparalleled repair and replacement guides. It's what the factory techs use, so you know it doesn't get any better.
I might actually buy one at a dealer since I dont buy off ebay, I have been looking at swap meets and gathering for car flea market type things and I havent seen any so far but I just bought an actual 1996 Brochure for the ford thunderbird off a guy that was in imaculate shape at a local swap meet, he had it in an old post office envelope and he had it since new, when I opened it the pages were still alittle sticky becuase it had not been never opened or at least not for a long time, I was able to pick it up for $4. and I learned about all the options that were available in 96 including a special package that mine has that included a power seat, leather wrapped steering wheel and the 4.6 V8. You said those books retail for about $70 and thats not to bad I actually might get one if they have them available.


To give everyone another update, I was able to put the weather stripping around the two doors this morning as well as test fit the visors but the visors dont fit in the little hook where you can detach it and swival it over to the side because in that year they must have moved them over a little so they wont work which is no big deal, I did notice though that the wiring for the lighted visors and auto dimming rearview mirror are not there if you have one without the lighted visors. I was able to drive it around today and the wind noise I was hearing was totally gone now, so it must have been the ripped weatherstripping that was making me hear the wind. Oh by the way I filled the car up at sunoco and checked the gas mileage, and I got 20!!!!!!

Thanks for your replies and have a good one
 

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Discussion Starter #18
hey everyone, I just wanted to give an update and say that since I did my plugs and stuff again and have driven it for a couple days not only has the misfire disappeared but from being so excited about it I forgot about the ping I had as well, and guess what.....that is GONE TOO!!!! So all I have to really worry about now is the oil leak problem which I will check sometime mid-week, I will most likely keep running it like that until she blows, even if I have to ad a quart of oil every so often and replace that one plug from being oil fouled. I have been doing some research every now and then and I am actually considering doing a PI head swap, the only thing though is trying to find someone in my area who knows how to do it. I would totally help out all that I can and I would find all the parts needed to do it, I just need some help with getting it done because I really dont know what I would be doing and rather than me screwing it up I figured it would be better to find someone close to me who has already done it before. I would pay for the gas for them as well like I said I just would need some help doing it:D
 

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Discussion Starter #19
actually now that I say about doing some sort of engine work, I might not actually do that, what I might do if the engine goes is strip the car and find one with a bad trans and put my good trans in it
 

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hey everyone, just wanted to give you an update, I just checked the oil again and it is still top full, the misfire is still gone, and the trans is doing great. I am in the process of looking for a set od mufflers for the old girl and to top that I am looking for another car to fool around with. So far I have found a 96 corolla, 91 Ranger, and a few others, all for under 500. I just wanted to mess with now since the bird is pretty close to being done mechanically, plus I just want something to beat around in lol, I will keep everyone up to date as I do things an such.

Have a Good One Everyone!!
 
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