TCCoA Forums banner

1 - 20 of 62 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
410 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
1994 through 1995 4.6L Engines will burn oil, it is in their nature. The valve guide seals were a bad design and will wear out before 100,000 miles. Engines will run fine otherwise.

1996 and 1997 4.6L Cars, Look behind the alternator,if you see black plastic directly behind it, you have the original composite intake manifold. you will need to have this replaced since it is a practically guaranteed failure.

All Years: The under hood light will short out on itself, disconnect if you are having door lock issues and a fuse blown, causing no interior lights.

All Years: The doors will eventually sag, this is a normal issue.

All Years: Avoid sunroof cars on the used market unless they are coming from a state that rarely gets sun. B pillar rot will occur due to bad design calls.

All Years: The upper windshield and upper rear glass molding is a no longer ordered part, you will have to do a DIY fix on any that has the rubber peeling

1989-1993 Automatic cars: You have a kick down cable, check for proper tension of it if you are not getting adequate kickdown.

1994 Through 1995 V8: Clean the EGR passage if you are getting inadequate flow OBD-II Codes. These cars are mostly OBD-II compliant, and most code readers will work.

1989-1995 3.8L Non SC: These engines have a bad design for the headgasket, 1998 mustang ones are the best to grab to make sure it won't leak. 1996 and 1997 do not have as big of a problem.

All Years: If the fuel gauge reads way beyond full, there is nothing you can do about it. The gauge will start to read accurate at about 3/4 of a tank.

All Years: Check for Rocker Panel rot, and lower door rot. These are common body rot locations.

1997: The computer in these has been rumored to break.

1992-1997: The LED bulbs will burn out in the trunk panel, complete replacement is the only option for most people without electrical experience, or time.

1994-1996: The cupholders suck, if you want decent ones convert to a 1997 center console surround.

And remember, no matter what year thunderbird you get, it will still be your baby, even if it may not have all the features you want.

The Haynes Manual will be your friend. the Chilton's Covers the fox body as well as the MN12.

Anyone feel free to add to this, these are just things i've observed from the forum when researching my 1996.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
7,527 Posts
All years: expect a complete suspension rebuild with new ball joints, strut rod bushings, and sway bar links. For the strut rod to subframe bushings, if they are bad, only replace with OEM bushings, which are becoming harder to locate. The aftermarket thermoplastic ones will fail very quickly.

In regards to 89-95 3.8NA head gaskets failing, the gasket is not as much of a problem as the head design itself. If you are taking it that far apart, 3.8 single port heads are cheap enough that it would be worthwhile to swap them out for a set of SC heads or a set of 96+ castings. Also get ARP head studs, or at the very least new head bolts, otherwise you will be doing this job again.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,310 Posts
All Years: The under hood light will short out on itself, disconnect if you are having door lock issues and a fuse blown, causing no interior lights.
97s didn't get the under hood light. Not all 89-96s had them either.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,673 Posts
I would replace the Haynes manual recommendation with the Ford Factory Service Manual and EVTM. Both can be had used for ~$20 on eBay and are FAR more comprehensive than the Haynes/Chilton ones.

-g
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
410 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I would replace the Haynes manual recommendation with the Ford Factory Service Manual and EVTM. Both can be had used for ~$20 on eBay and are FAR more comprehensive than the Haynes/Chilton ones.

-g
True, but the haynes is easy to grab, heck your local library may have it.
 

·
̇
Joined
·
3,701 Posts
The Haynes manual while maybe not the most comprehensive guide for our cars does have its good points..

I have all the manuals/guides available for my 91, and I use them all..

The service manual for example has most of the information you need, but the Haynes manual has better pictures of certain parts of the car..

Instead of a diagram you get an actual picture..Which comes in really handy sometimes..

My advise..Buy the Chiltons,Haynes,The Ford Service Manual & EVTM..

If you like to work on your MN12 these will all be useful at some point..
:thumbsup:






Rayo..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
484 Posts
I love the idea of this thread. It should hopefully help anyone smart enough to find the TCCoA and research a little before they buy. Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't the LED panels TBird only. That should be mentioned or updated.

Also perhaps a ballpark figure as far as milage goes for front end wear would be good. I realize that this will vary somewhat by region. But it's somewhat safe to say that somewhere between 100 and 150k regardless of locale the front ends going to simply wear out.

Not deal breaker but it seems that in northern climates the battery tray hold down bolts instantaneously corrode to the tray upon installation. And are so difficult to remove you snap the bolt. Finding the bolts no issue. Finding a tray that's not got the hold down bolt snapped off or the threads in the tray stripped seems to be bit more challenging. Given that batteries some times leak I'd be surprised if it's totally limited to the northern states.

Oil pan sump rust. Again a northern regional thing and it's not limited to just MN12 cars. But..... Replacing the oil pan is no easy task on these cars. I'm going to guess if someone's looking at the lower price ranges these cars are cropping up at that replacing the pan may equal the price of the car.

Racks. They hold up well but if it's leaking it's probably going to cost around 400.00 minimum to have it replaced. It's not a 89.00 rack and a hour in the driveway Saturday morning repair.

I'd like to this eventually written up as a definitive list at some point with all the debate removed. Which I suppose is the point of this thread.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
410 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
All Years: Do not replace just the ball joints, just replace the entire control arm, it is actually cheaper to do.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
17,044 Posts
I disagree with the sunroof statement, first off because the B pillar is completely unaffected by the sunroof or it's drain tubes, and two anywhere where a sunroof car is rotted out is the same place a non sunroof car is rotted out. The whole sunroof rots the car worse than a car without notion is specious at best.

It's a rather insignificant amount of water, relatively fresh water at that, that gets past the seal, gets split into 4 tubes and drained into the rockers and out. That's nothing compared to the underbody brine splash these cars will see from slush and road salt, and all the areas the sunroof channels drain to are just as exposed from the bottom of the car. The real issue with rocker rot, that the sunroofs get the blame for, is leafs and crap build up at the bottoms of the front fenders, get wet, stay wet, and eat the metal around it, including the fender. The sunroof drains may provide a trickle to that slop, but the tire splash is a monsoon.


Also since this is an MN12 buyers guide, not just a Tbird, I have a few other notes

-The windshield/ rear window trim issue isn't an issue on 93-97 Cougars since they share the all aluminum Mark VIII 2 piece windshield trim. they also use some kind of urethane trim for the rear window that doesn't warp or dryrot(not the case with the 89-92s however).

-The trim to watch out for that is fairly Cougar exclusive is the quarter window trim getting baked. Tbirds seem to hold up better here and the whole glass needs to be replaced to fix it

-The 94-97 reverse light lens fading covered in the tech articles

-The chrome trim on the 96-97s in the bumpers/side cladding often delaminates and ends up looking grey and hazy and there isn't a known suitable replacement for that size that I know of
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
484 Posts
I disagree with the sunroof statement, first off because the B pillar is completely unaffected by the sunroof or it's drain tubes, and two anywhere where a sunroof car is rotted out is the same place a non sunroof car is rotted out. The whole sunroof rots the car worse than a car without notion is specious at best.

It's a rather insignificant amount of water, relatively fresh water at that, that gets past the seal, gets split into 4 tubes and drained into the rockers and out. That's nothing compared to the underbody brine splash these cars will see from slush and road salt, and all the areas the sunroof channels drain to are just as exposed from the bottom of the car. The real issue with rocker rot, that the sunroofs get the blame for, is leafs and crap build up at the bottoms of the front fenders, get wet, stay wet, and eat the metal around it, including the fender. The sunroof drains may provide a trickle to that slop, but the tire splash is a monsoon.


Also since this is an MN12 buyers guide, not just a Tbird, I have a few other notes

-The windshield/ rear window trim issue isn't an issue on 93-97 Cougars since they share the all aluminum Mark VIII 2 piece windshield trim. they also use some kind of urethane trim for the rear window that doesn't warp or dryrot(not the case with the 89-92s however).

-The trim to watch out for that is fairly Cougar exclusive is the quarter window trim getting baked. Tbirds seem to hold up better here and the whole glass needs to be replaced to fix it

-The 94-97 reverse light lens fading covered in the tech articles

-The chrome trim on the 96-97s in the bumpers/side cladding often delaminates and ends up looking grey and hazy and there isn't a known suitable replacement for that size that I know of
Good point on the front fender building up debris. As I recall they also wash down from the cowl area and get lodged there (although I may be thinking of my Ranchero) Pine needles seem to be the worse culprit and they get every where. Lodge exceedingly well and contain a amount of acid that really hastens the rot. This is one area to really keep flushed out.

Trunk leaks?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
410 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Obvious things to replace too.

Do not ride around with the coolant hoses these cars came with, odds are they are as old as the car is, and may not last much longer, i've had a 20 year old coolant hose break, ruining the 3.8L in a 1992 sable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
484 Posts
Obvious things to replace too.

Do not ride around with the coolant hoses these cars came with, odds are they are as old as the car is, and may not last much longer, i've had a 20 year old coolant hose break, ruining the 3.8L in a 1992 sable.
This is probably good advice. But I'm not sure that it's a MN12 specific issue per say but one that should apply to any 20 year old car. I will say that the factory hoses in general last much longer these days then they used too. At least up her in the northern climates. But anyone looking at a 20 year old car should be putting on a hoist and looking for leaks in general. Pan rails. Rear main. Trans lines, PS lines. Brake lines and fuel lines. At least up here in the rust belt I've repaired two brake lines, the trans lines and as I recall the PS return hose on my old daily driver. I assume that the cars in warmer climates deteriorate the coolent hoses at a far faster rate due to higher under hood temps and just more stress in general on the cooling system. Be interesting to hear other peoples experiences here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
484 Posts
1994 through 1995 4.6L Engines will burn oil, it is in their nature. The valve guide seals were a bad design and will wear out before 100,000 miles. Engines will run fine otherwise.

1996 and 1997 4.6L Cars, Look behind the alternator,if you see black plastic directly behind it, you have the original composite intake manifold. you will need to have this replaced since it is a practically guaranteed failure.

All Years: The under hood light will short out on itself, disconnect if you are having door lock issues and a fuse blown, causing no interior lights.

All Years: The doors will eventually sag, this is a normal issue.

All Years: Avoid sunroof cars on the used market unless they are coming from a state that rarely gets sun. B pillar rot will occur due to bad design calls.

All Years: The upper windshield and upper rear glass molding is a no longer ordered part, you will have to do a DIY fix on any that has the rubber peeling

1989-1993 Automatic cars: You have a kick down cable, check for proper tension of it if you are not getting adequate kickdown.

1994 Through 1995 V8: Clean the EGR passage if you are getting inadequate flow OBD-II Codes. These cars are mostly OBD-II compliant, and most code readers will work.

1989-1995 3.8L Non SC: These engines have a bad design for the headgasket, 1998 mustang ones are the best to grab to make sure it won't leak. 1996 and 1997 do not have as big of a problem.

All Years: If the fuel gauge reads way beyond full, there is nothing you can do about it. The gauge will start to read accurate at about 3/4 of a tank.

All Years: Check for Rocker Panel rot, and lower door rot. These are common body rot locations.

1997: The computer in these has been rumored to break.

1992-1997: The LED bulbs will burn out in the trunk panel, complete replacement is the only option for most people without electrical experience, or time.

1994-1996: The cupholders suck, if you want decent ones convert to a 1997 center console surround.

And remember, no matter what year thunderbird you get, it will still be your baby, even if it may not have all the features you want.

The Haynes Manual will be your friend. the Chilton's Covers the fox body as well as the MN12.

Anyone feel free to add to this, these are just things i've observed from the forum when researching my 1996.
Add the the propensity of the 1996-97 cars to break the exterior door handles to the list.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
410 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
One thing that is all cars in general.

What is the proper way to check the cooling system, from the fan to the fluid, to the ability to heat the car or cool the car?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
412 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,412 Posts
Having owned 4 different sunroof MN12 cars with moon roofs I will say that the statement made above is a complete joke. All of my cars come from one of the most intense heat climates you'll find and I've never had an issue with rocker rot or dry rot.
 
1 - 20 of 62 Posts
Top