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Discussion Starter #1
I am having a bit of a problem with my bird. This has been going on for sometime, and I always thought it was the brakes. Now that I have replaced the brakes, I realize that it must be something else. My car never shakes, unless I am going down the highway and I hit the brakes going 50mph or more. What do you think this could mean? I'm thinking its time for new struts and an alignment. I know it needs both.
 

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When you say you replaced the brakes, you just mean capliers/pads, right? That's a sure sign of some effed up rotors.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The rotors look great to me. They are shiny and smooth. I will check them out though. I haven't really touched them to feel the texture. Thanks guys!
 

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most definately rotors like everyone already said
 

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you cant see warped rotors, you feel them replace those bad boys
^What he said.

And when you replace the rotors replace the brake pads too because they'll be worn unevenly and/or damaged.
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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A couple tips for rotors: do NOT cheap out on them! I went the cheap route and blew the money I would have spent on a single good pair of rotors on two sets of cheap ones before I realized my mistake. You'll also want to properly bed in the new brakes to maximize their effectiveness and to help prevent possible warping later.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If I do it myself, how much does it usually cost to replace both rotors and brake pads? I can feel a few lines on the rotors when I touch them.
 

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I have had good luck with Autozone Duralast Gold rotors DGR54010 $48 each
 

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I chased that problem with mine ended up the upper ball joints were causing it. Changed them and no more shake also stopped it from pulling during braking. Rotors are usually the main cause for this but no stability in the front end due to worn parts causes all kinds of problems as well.
 

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I found rust on my front hubs where the center hole of the rotor sits on the hub flange. I had the same shake when the brakes were applied. I had a friend turn and check the rotors, he said they were fine. When I nutted them to the hubs and spun the assembly they wobbled. A closer exam found the scaley rust that was enought to keep the rotor from seating flat against the hub flange. 30 minutes with a chisel, sand paper and metal prep cleaned them up so the rotors now sit flat and run true. I'm using napa premium rotors, pbr calipers and carbon met pads. I've stood on the brakes from 80 down to 0 several times and they still run perfect without any shake or wobble.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I found out what was causing the problem. My suspension is completely shot. It shakes all the time now, and when I took it to the mechanic, he said I needed new sway bars, tire rods, struts and more. So I am parking it, until I can get enough money to fix it all. I wish it was the brakes haha. Oh well, I love my bird and I am going to get it fixed, regardless of all its major defects.
 

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I seriously doubt you need new sway bars unless yours are completely rotted through. More likely you need sway bar endlinks. Along with bushings, ball joints, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
That's possible, I didn't get to write everything down and he was hard to understand. I am going to get a second opinion from my regular mechanic.
 

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When I bought my '97 T-Bird last year with 143,000 miles on it, it was making the WORST knocking sound from the front-end when going over bumps that I ever heard and I thought something was about to fall off! It turned out to just be worn sway-bar end-links. I replaced them and ended-up, for peace-of-mind, just replacing the ENTIRE rest of the front suspension (springs, shocks, UCA's, LCA's strut-rod bushings, inner & outer tie-rod ends) - now, the car rides so nice I think it's better than when it was new! Gets your worn parts replaced - it'll make a world of difference!

My wife says the T-Bird rides better than her 2007 Pontiac G6!

Dennis
 

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I can agree completely with the above post. I spent the weekend under my 97 Thunderbird replacing the UCA's, inner and outer tie rods, oil, pads and rotors. The passenger side UCA was the hardest, and I was shocked to see that my 1992 Mazda Protege has bigger pads on it than the Thunderbird. I think a mustang brake conversion is in my near future. She sure does ride straight and true now (after an alignment), and feel much more stable on the road. I do need to replace the sway bar end links on the passenger side (should probably do both actually) as the bushings are torn to heck, they look fairly simple, two bolts per side. Anyone know of any complications with that?
 

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Getting the old one out seems to be the problem. Search is your friend.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
So, do you think this is something I could take care of myself? I have a few relatives that help me with my car all the time. If I could figure out what needs to be replaced. Sway bar endlinks, tire rod ends and struts I know for sure. I heard that you needed some sort of spring compressor to replace the struts on this car. The mechanic said that the front wheels are vibrating all the time. I haven't driven it since I brought it home from the mechanic, because I don't want to mess anything else up. The prices I am being quoted to fix this problem are just out of my reach at the moment. Thanks in advanced! -Kevin
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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You only "need" a spring compressor for installing the rear springs (and there are even ways to get the job done without one), no compressor will be necessary for replacing the front coilover shock assemblies. After you release the tension on the upper control arm by removing it from the spindle (and after unhooking the sway bar endlink), the shock will fully expand and the entire assembly will just slide right out.
 
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