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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Going to check out what i believe to be a very clean 1997 LX 4.6 tomorrow. I was told that it has no heat, the heater core has been bypassed. I don't see that as a huge issue if i can get the car for 1500$. What else should i look for? I am considering this for a back up vehicle and possible autocross fun car for me and the wife to take out just because, Not to be competitive. I did the competitive thing for a year and it's too much stress. LOL Thanks for the help folks!


 

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1994 Thunderbird LX
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Check the front end (suspension) Check shock towers and rear subframe mounting points for rot.

If you do decide to replace the heater core, you'll need to remove the entire dashboard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Check the front end (suspension) Check shock towers and rear subframe mounting points for rot.

If you do decide to replace the heater core, you'll need to remove the entire dashboard.
Yeah i am not looking forward to that process but i will need heat. It's in Freezing temps here right now. Luckily this is going to be a back up vehicle and i can tough it out if i have to. So the girls can use my daily. Thanks for the tips on where to look. I Despise rust.
 

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Looks like the owner somewhat lacked in taste. Who runs whitewall tires these days? Also, they look like 195's, way too small. But he knows where to find the silicone. Surprised it's not all over the radiator hoses and fuse box cover.

Al
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Looks like the owner somewhat lacked in taste. Who runs whitewall tires these days? Also, they look like 195's, way too small. But he knows where to find the silicone. Surprised it's not all over the radiator hoses and fuse box cover.

Al
The wheels/tires will likely be the first thing i look into replacing. But i am not too certain i get the Silicone reference.
 

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97 Thunderbird 4.6, 98 Mark VIII LSC
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The car looks like it's in need of TLC, so I'm skeptical it's worth $1500 unless the market near you is particularly dry/competitive.
  1. RH corner is busted and there's what looks like a chunk missing out of the RH sideview mirror housing - why? Collision?
  2. RF wheel is on backwards (which means one of the L wheels is too) - if the tires are directional it's a bigger issue than just appearance
  3. Steering wheel cover plus the broken radio bezel (where the clock should be) and the broken left passenger dash vent - the interior may have some other hidden uglies.
The common MN12 issues to look out for have been covered many times, and I don't know there's a comprehensive list that would satisfy everybody's thoughts anywhere. However there's a good chunk of it covered in the articles sections.

Again, not being comprehensive, but to start you off:
  1. Engine - it looks like it already has the updated intake manifold with the aluminum crossover. The 4.6 is pretty reliable and unless it was severely overheated and/or starved for oil, it's pretty hard to kill. Check for any signs of coolant leakage/residue at the back on the passenger side and near the spark plug wells. From a cold start, any valve train "ticking" should stop in 1-2 seconds at most as oil pressure builds.
  2. Transmission - check the fluid to be sure it's still bright red and doesn't smell burned. Get on it when you test drive it and test upshifts from 1-2 at high throttle and be sure it doesn't hit the rev limiter. Likewise test kickdowns from stable cruise from 4 to 3, 3 to 2 and 2 to 1. It shouldn't slam into gear. Be sure the electronic O/D lockout (on the shifter handle) works. Check manual 1 and manual 2 - you should have good engine braking when coasting from a cruise.
  3. Suspension - listen for any creaks or rattles as you drive. Pay attention to how the car feels when the rear wheels go over bumps - the car should track straight with the direction of travel and the rear end shouldn't "lurch" to one side when the suspension is disturbed. Check the steering at idle. From lock to lock the engine speed shoudln't drop substantially and there should be minimal steering wheel effort. Power steering fluid should be bright red (like transmission fluid) - if it's black it needs a flush.
  4. Brakes - the 15" standard brakes are crappy and ineffective on a 3800 lb car. However, check to be sure the brakes begin to bite in the first 1" or so of brake pedal travel and that there isn't pulsating or scraping due to warped/scored rotors and/or worn pads. If the car has ABS, find a gravel road and mash the pedal to be sure it works. If the car has traction assist, you should hear the ABS working to try and control rear wheel spin if you try to take off from a slick surface. Test the emergency brake and ensure it can stop the car in a car length or so from a slow off-idle roll.
  5. HVAC - test to be sure all the vent positions work - floor, panel and defrost. Without a heater the fact that you said it's "cold" where you are will be a problem. Replacing the heater core if it leaks can be done in a day if you look up the thread on how to do it. If you flip the selector to A/C or defrost the compressor should turn on unless the temperature outside is 40-45 or less. If it doesn't the A/C also has issues.
  6. Lights, wipers and turn signals - aside from the busted corner light, check the headlights and be sure both low and high beams work as well as flash-to-pass, both turn signals and 4-way hazard flashers. Also check to be sure the wipers work on the delay positions, low and high, as well as the washer spray. Check to see if the trunk decklid lights (with the T-bird logo) work. The LEDs often fail in whole or in part. Be sure the high-mount brake light and reverse lights are good.
  7. Test the power seat and roll it completely forward and back, up and down, to be sure it's not sticking due to 25-year-old grease.
  8. The SES light should stay off after a through test drive. If the owner doesn't let you take the car on an extended 20-25 mile test drive, it may be a red flag that the PCM memory was cleared to mask emissions or other code-throwing powertrain problems.
  9. Check behind the trunk carpet on the left side. If there's a big black box with a small two-prong connector there (next to the fuel cutoff switch), ask the owner to demonstrate the keyless entry functionality. If he doesn't have a fob, it's easy to get one from the web and program it.
  10. The 97s aren't known for breaking odometer gears, but pay attention to be sure that it's racks up miles when you drive it.
  11. Check the cruise control - be sure it holds the desired speed with the dash light on, that coast/accelerate/resume work, and that it deactivates when you press the brake pedal.
  12. Rust is common in the rocker panels ahead of either rear wheel, in the shock towers (front and behind the trunk carpet) and under the fuel filler door. Also check the gas tank heat shield and straps.
Good luck....
 

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1995 Thunderbird LX Missing 4.6 MIssing Trans Red
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Yeah i am not looking forward to that process but i will need heat. It's in Freezing temps here right now. Luckily this is going to be a back up vehicle and i can tough it out if i have to. So the girls can use my daily. Thanks for the tips on where to look. I Despise rust.
You don't have to completely remove the dash to get to the heater core. once you undo everything you can pull the dash forward on the passenger side and make plenty room to replace the heater core. If you are diligent you can do the job in a few hours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The car looks like it's in need of TLC, so I'm skeptical it's worth $1500 unless the market near you is particularly dry/competitive.
  1. RH corner is busted and there's what looks like a chunk missing out of the RH sideview mirror housing - why? Collision?
  2. RF wheel is on backwards (which means one of the L wheels is too) - if the tires are directional it's a bigger issue than just appearance
  3. Steering wheel cover plus the broken radio bezel (where the clock should be) and the broken left passenger dash vent - the interior may have some other hidden uglies.
The common MN12 issues to look out for have been covered many times, and I don't know there's a comprehensive list that would satisfy everybody's thoughts anywhere. However there's a good chunk of it covered in the articles sections.

Again, not being comprehensive, but to start you off:
  1. Engine - it looks like it already has the updated intake manifold with the aluminum crossover. The 4.6 is pretty reliable and unless it was severely overheated and/or starved for oil, it's pretty hard to kill. Check for any signs of coolant leakage/residue at the back on the passenger side and near the spark plug wells. From a cold start, any valve train "ticking" should stop in 1-2 seconds at most as oil pressure builds.
  2. Transmission - check the fluid to be sure it's still bright red and doesn't smell burned. Get on it when you test drive it and test upshifts from 1-2 at high throttle and be sure it doesn't hit the rev limiter. Likewise test kickdowns from stable cruise from 4 to 3, 3 to 2 and 2 to 1. It shouldn't slam into gear. Be sure the electronic O/D lockout (on the shifter handle) works. Check manual 1 and manual 2 - you should have good engine braking when coasting from a cruise.
  3. Suspension - listen for any creaks or rattles as you drive. Pay attention to how the car feels when the rear wheels go over bumps - the car should track straight with the direction of travel and the rear end shouldn't "lurch" to one side when the suspension is disturbed. Check the steering at idle. From lock to lock the engine speed shoudln't drop substantially and there should be minimal steering wheel effort. Power steering fluid should be bright red (like transmission fluid) - if it's black it needs a flush.
  4. Brakes - the 15" standard brakes are crappy and ineffective on a 3800 lb car. However, check to be sure the brakes begin to bite in the first 1" or so of brake pedal travel and that there isn't pulsating or scraping due to warped/scored rotors and/or worn pads. If the car has ABS, find a gravel road and mash the pedal to be sure it works. If the car has traction assist, you should hear the ABS working to try and control rear wheel spin if you try to take off from a slick surface. Test the emergency brake and ensure it can stop the car in a car length or so from a slow off-idle roll.
  5. HVAC - test to be sure all the vent positions work - floor, panel and defrost. Without a heater the fact that you said it's "cold" where you are will be a problem. Replacing the heater core if it leaks can be done in a day if you look up the thread on how to do it. If you flip the selector to A/C or defrost the compressor should turn on unless the temperature outside is 40-45 or less. If it doesn't the A/C also has issues.
  6. Lights, wipers and turn signals - aside from the busted corner light, check the headlights and be sure both low and high beams work as well as flash-to-pass, both turn signals and 4-way hazard flashers. Also check to be sure the wipers work on the delay positions, low and high, as well as the washer spray. Check to see if the trunk decklid lights (with the T-bird logo) work. The LEDs often fail in whole or in part. Be sure the high-mount brake light and reverse lights are good.
  7. Test the power seat and roll it completely forward and back, up and down, to be sure it's not sticking due to 25-year-old grease.
  8. The SES light should stay off after a through test drive. If the owner doesn't let you take the car on an extended 20-25 mile test drive, it may be a red flag that the PCM memory was cleared to mask emissions or other code-throwing powertrain problems.
  9. Check behind the trunk carpet on the left side. If there's a big black box with a small two-prong connector there (next to the fuel cutoff switch), ask the owner to demonstrate the keyless entry functionality. If he doesn't have a fob, it's easy to get one from the web and program it.
  10. The 97s aren't known for breaking odometer gears, but pay attention to be sure that it's racks up miles when you drive it.
  11. Check the cruise control - be sure it holds the desired speed with the dash light on, that coast/accelerate/resume work, and that it deactivates when you press the brake pedal.
  12. Rust is common in the rocker panels ahead of either rear wheel, in the shock towers (front and behind the trunk carpet) and under the fuel filler door. Also check the gas tank heat shield and straps.
Good luck....

That is a very extensive list. Thanks for taking the time to put that together. I just noticed all of the things you pointed out for the first time lol. I will take my scanner to see if it has any pending codes. I think the corner lights are clear not broken, but hard to tell with poor pic quality. My big concerns other than running and shifting well is going to be rust and cruise control. The guy seems to be into cars same as me so i am sure he won't mind us beating on it a little bit for a good stress test before i drive it home. Thanks again for all the info.
 

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97 Thunderbird 4.6, 98 Mark VIII LSC
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Actually...

Ford knew about the issue with the all-composite manifolds and, aside from updating the design with a thicker plastic wall in the crossover, issued a warranty extension notice in in TSB 97M91 (early 1999) which authorized the replacement of a cracked composite manifold with another composite manifold if failure was observed in the first 7 years or 100,000 miles of ownership. The aluminum manifold wasn't a thing until mid-2002 - the only way you'd have a factory aluminum crossover on your intake is if it was a 2003 or newer model year vehicle. In December of 2005, Ford submitted to a class-action lawsuit and quietly updated intakes to the new design in program 05N04, which was initially good through 7 years from the original start date of warranty (regardless of mileage).

The PO may not remember doing it, but if the car has the updated intake it had to have gone in for the replacement at some point after they started making them in 2002.
 

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97 Thunderbird 4.6, 98 Mark VIII LSC
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12,409 Posts
I kind of got that impression based on the "weird" stuff that was wrong in the photos. It's a shame that it's already run into the ground and destined to get crushed soon.

Hope you find a good one someday. These are excellent cruisers.
 

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The replacement intake I bought for Lazarus was all plastic; I bought it from the stealership for $300+. It was starting to crack again, I noticed afer I did the PI intake swap.
How to replace the intake was my first visit to tccoa. I can't seem to find any of the original posts, but I was a noob from hell, lol. Joel put me in line pretty quick, lol. :)
 
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