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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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What are your goals/plans?

"Best tranny" is subjective, we can't tell you what's best without knowing the application.
 

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From what I've read on the subject (not an expert here). Grab an 01+ 4r70w and either beef it up, or leave it alone. Either way it's better than what's in there now.
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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You'll probably want to have an 03+ trans built to J-spec (03+ had hardened gears).
 

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You'll probably want to have an 03+ trans built to J-spec (03+ had hardened gears).
Yep late 03 build tag or 04+ model year. They require a few internals swapped but come with hardened parts. For example if you don't want to use a speedo cal device you'll need a 96/97 bird output shaft.
 
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