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Discussion Starter #1
My mother in law wants one as a secondary car (she lives in CO and would probably use this maybe 6 months out of the year). While she has always loved the first gen Tbirds of her youth, she also likes the retro bird.

Personally, I'd feel more safe with her driving the newer car with airbags and whatnot.

IIRC, some of you folks have had this car or one of it's siblings -- the Lincoln LS or Jag S-type. From what I recall, the 11th gen tbird wasn't a particularly reliable car but she won't be using this car much.

Q: Is there a certain year I should avoid specifically (not just the general "don't buy the first year").

From my initial research, the car in general is pretty affordable. Also, there seems to be an engine upgrade from 02 to 03.
AJ30 vs AJ35 Jag V8. Is one particularly better or has cheaper parts?

My mother in law won't notice the extra HP so if I can get a significantly better deal on the 02 model, I'd go that route unless there are other issues I need to be aware of.

Thanks in advance for your advice.
-g
 

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To be honest it's a jag the cars have issues, I want lie
 

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Just the Coil on Plug failures most Fords have, I have a couple buddies who own the Lincoln LS and the misfires can cause issues with the electronics.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Have you looked at the Wiki?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Thunderbird#Eleventh_generation_.282002.E2.80.932005.29

or

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Thunderbird_(eleventh_generation)

I think there's a club website for those models but I don't have time to look it up right now.
Yes, I looked at the WIKI. Nothing in either the main tbird or the offshoot article said anything like "oh, this year of tbird sucks" or "get the second year"

I'm hoping to get feedback like (the 4r70w found in the 96-97 tbird has improvements over the 4r70w found in the 94-95 models) or something to that effect.

-g
 

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I had an 03 and absolutely loved it.

Mine ran great and was just a good driving car.

I wish I would have kept it, but divorces can change things...

The 03-05 had a different gauge cluster and shifter...but that was pretty much the only difference visually.

The 03 jumped about 20 horse from the 02...again not a big difference, but it was just a fun car to drive.

I would love to have mine back...so, good luck.
 

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The transmissions do not have dipstick, and because of that the often are not serviced regularly. Additionally those particular transmissions are known to split the direct drum IIRC which is not a cheap fix.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
The transmissions do not have dipstick, and because of that the often are not serviced regularly. Additionally those particular transmissions are known to split the direct drum IIRC which is not a cheap fix.
Q: What kind of service interval should I look for in buying a used one of these tbirds? 30K? 60K? 100K?
According to this article, the transmission fluid should last for the lifetime of the vehicle (150K mi). By any measure, that's crazy.

http://www.portholeauthority.com/thenewtbird/care/care.html


Thanks for your comments.
I found this enthusiast forum so I'll read up here.
http://www.thunderbirdnest.com/forums/index.php

-g

PS. One clarification I've found -
* The 2003-05 tbirds had an extended warranty for 10yrs/100K mi on the COPs
* Owners of 02 vehicles are on their own when COPs break down.
* Design flaw: Wiper motor cover allows water to seep onto the COPs
* Depending on when the car was first acquired and the current mileage on the vehicle though, this COP warranty extension may be moot.

http://www.thunderbirdnest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20683

Crap that comes with the various model years of retrobird.
http://www.portholeauthority.com/thenewtbird/facts/newcar.html

A comprehensive list of problems with the car
http://www.portholeauthority.com/thenewtbird/care/problems.html
 

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30k with traditional or blend fluid. 45k-60k with synthetic assuming your not driving in extreme conditions or climate. If you do fall into the extreme driver or climate category I would cut those numbers in half. You'd be shocked to see the fluid that comes out of those transmissions when I service them at work, gross! FWIW they aren't sealed either, get the car up to full operating temp, remove the TORX check plug from the "nut" (tube dipstick inside the bottom of the transmission pan) while the car is running in park, fluid should drip or dribble slowly from the removed check plug, no fluid coming out means it's low, excessive fluid comming out means it's overfilled. Also most manufacturers consider stop and go driving and almost all driving severe conditions. Ideal conditions would be fully warmed up and then cruising non-stop at 55-65mph or some such b.s. followed by allowing the vehicle to fully cool before restarting (very unlikely).
 

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Yeah they use Mercon V fluid like our cars should be using. Pain to check the fluid on the 5r55w transmission like mentioned above - need to put the vehicle into service mode and warm it up unil the light blinks indicating the trans is at the proper temperature to check the fluid with the drip method, or use a Scan tool to verify trans temperature. And then only about 3-4 quarts come out of the drain plug - better to put it on a flushing machine and change out fluid that way instead of draining and pumping it back up into the pan. No big deal for the customer, just more work for the mechanic. At least the Tiptronics shifting is fun to play with. :D

Severe driving conditions are a joke, pretty much all "normal" driving is considered severe. :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks guys. Whenever I start shopping for these cars I'll look for a hardtop + the transmission service record.
-g
 
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