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Discussion Starter #1
Found this at http://www.autosafety.org/article.php?did=86&scid=51

Most of the things are known here but perhaps something is new...

Is it possible to get all the info on this from Ford??
Guess it's going to be hard, but perhaps someone on the inside?
But then again that's probably not legal so...



Ford Thunderbird
November 1999
Dear Ford Owner:

Thank you for contacting the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) about your 1985-97 Ford Thunderbird, Mercury Cougar or Lincoln Mark which are built on the same platform and share common features. After 1997 Ford killed off the T-bird/Mark and replaced the Cougar with a car built on the same platform as the Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique. The T-bird in its dying days little resembled the legendary '55 T-bird and may come back in 2001. CAS has received many complaints from consumers concerning fires, brakes, paint, stalling, transmissions, and unintended acceleration in the Mark, T-bird and Cougar.

Although among Ford's most reliable cars, these models still have their share of problems. Consumer Reports rates the electrical system and brakes as the most trouble-prone areas on 1988-93 models with worse than average frequency of repair ratings. CAS has been flooded with brake complaints on these cars, particularly premature brake wear. Some owners have reported replacing brakes as often as every 2-3,000 miles. There have been four safety recalls for various brake defects on many 1988-97 models. Although not as dangerous as brake defects, Ford has also issued numerous service bulletins about engine and transmission problems.

A common and expensive defect is peeling paint on 1985-92 models. Ford attempted to cover up paint problems by buying off aggressive consumers under a secret warranty and ignoring consumers who don't complain loudly. CAS petitioned the Federal Trade Commission and every state attorney general in 1994 to take action on Ford's peeling paint secret warranty. In 1987, Ford recalled 3.6 million 1986-87 vehicles for faulty fuel line couplings that caused engine compartment fires. In 1996, Ford recalled 1988-93 Cougars and T-birds for defective ignition switches that started dash fires but refused to recall earlier 1983-1987 models with the same ignition switch.

Another dangerous defect in full-size Fords is sudden or unintended acceleration. CAS pressured DOT to investigate sudden acceleration in 1983-86 Fords with 3.8 and 5.0 liter engines, but DOT failed to order a recall despite almost 500 complaints and 136 reported injuries. NHTSA also investigated 1991-93 models with 3.8 liter V6 engines for high idle speed but again closed it without a recall. Although Ford recalled 1.1 million 1984-85 cars with 1.6L and 2.3L engines for stalling at highway speeds when ignition modules mounted on the distributor overheated, Ford failed to recall any larger engine T-birds, Cougars or Marks with similar modules. Ford continued this design through 1988 on T-birds and Cougars and 1992 on Marks.

You'll find information on these and other T-bird class defects below and what you can do about them plus a complaint box. Your information will help us build a strong case against Ford on the defects we know about and help us spot new ones.

We need you to support the Center for Auto Safety in our fight for consumer rights and against poorly designed and unsafe cars. Your contribution is tax-deductible and entitles your to our quarterly newsletter, Lemon Times. Please submit the membership form along with your contribution and complaint. If you contribute $35 or more, we will send you the current edition of The Ultimate Car Book, by Jack Gillis. Every home should have this invaluable consumer guide.

Sincerely,

Clarence M. Ditlow
Executive Director


FORD THUNDERBIRD- MERCURY COUGAR - LINCOLN MARK FACT SHEET
Ford technical service bulletin numbers are in parentheses. (Only post-1984 models are covered.)
Cougar=Cougar Mark VII=M7 Mark VIII=M8 Thunderbird=T-bird

Brakes: ABS cycling on rough roads,'93-94 M8, '93-96 Cougar/T-bird (95-20-2, 98-5A-6); Roughness during brake application, '93-95 All (95-6-2); Front disc "thumping" or "clacking", '94-95 Cougar/T-bird (94-23-5); Brake pedal pulsation from rear drum roughness, '92-95 Cougar/T-bird (95-6-2); Distorted rear brake drum '94-97 Cougar/T-bird (98-5A-18).

Driveability/Engine: Thrust bearing & crankshaft failure, '82-88 Cougar/T-bird, '82-90 M7 (91-4-10); Intermittent high idle, '88-90 M7 (90-21-5); Engine knock, '85-87 Cougar/M7/T-bird (87-6-9); No start/dead battery, '83-90 all except M8 (90-18-3); Hesitation or stall during acceleration or deceleration, rough idle, coolant does not reach normal temperature, '92-94 Cougar/T-bird (93-24-8); "Moan" or "hooting" from engine compartment, '93-94 Cougar/T-bird (94-22-4); "Squeal" from FEAD during cold start below 20F, '93-96 Cougar/M8/T-bird (96-14-8, 96-14-9); Silicone contamination of exhaust gas oxygen sensors, '92-94 Cougar/T-bird, '93-94 M8 (93-23-6); No crank, '92-96 Cougar/T-bird (94-26-3); Moan or vibration from exhaust, '92-95 Cougar/T-bird (95-3-8); Low pitched "squeak," "chirp," or "knock" noise from rocker arm, '92-95 Cougar/T-bird (95-24-3); Long crank/sticking idle air control valve, '95-96 M8 (96-19-4); Hard start due to low reserve battery capacity below 32F, '93-94 M8 (95-16-7); Metallic "rapping"during cold start-up, '93-94 M8 (95-7-3).

Electrical/Instruments: Electronic cluster shows higher than actual fuel level, '89-90 Cougar/M7/T-bird (90-7-11); Driver's seat sensor switch causes doors to lock when driver exits, '93-94 Cougar/M8/T-bird (94-10-2); Erratic distance-to-empty & fuel gauge readings, '92-94 M8, '93-94 Cougar/T-bird (95-2-3); Temperature gauge reads low, '92-95 Cougar/T-bird, '93-95 M8 (95-13-2); Heater output & thermostat stuck open, '92-94 Cougar/T-bird (93-24-8); Cluster panel loose at corners, '92-93 Cougar/T-bird (94-2-4); Temperature gauge fluctuating &/or inaccurate high readings, '92-93 Cougar/T-bird (95-18-5); Inaccurate fuel indication, '93-94 M8 (93-26-10); Fuel gauge inoperative, '93-95 M8 (95-17-6): Fuel pump buzz thru radio, '94-97 Cougar/T-bird (98-7-3).

Paint: Paint peeling & contamination, all '85-92 models (91-18-1); Exterior clearcoat "microchecking," "hazing," or peeling, '92-93 Cougar/T-bird (93-8-4); Rough texture, ferrous metal contamination, & acid rain discoloration or etching, '92-97 Cougar/T-bird, '93-97 M8 (95-6-1); Lower body side paint abrasion, '93-96 M8 (96-5-2).

Steering/Suspension: Steering column "clunk" & "looseness", '87-88 Cougar/T-bird (88-4-9); "Chatter" during tight turns or turns after highway driving, '92-96 Cougar/T-bird (96-12-9); "Growl" from steering column while turning, '93-96 Cougar/M8/T-bird (96-12-2); Intermittent increase in steering effort at low speeds, '94-96 Cougar/T-bird (96-4-2); Lack of center feel, shudder during deceleration or braking, premature tire wear, & wander, '92-93 Cougar/T-bird (93-13-2); "Clunk" from rear end during turns, '92-94 Cougar/T-bird (94-10-11); Pull or drift to right & vibration or shake above 45 mph, '93-94 M8 (94-12-2); "Grunt" after steering wheel released from full lock position during low speed or parking maneuvers, '93-94 M8 (93-22-3).

Transmission: Intermittent loss of torque during or after 3-4 upshift, '94-95 Cougar/T-bird (95-5-15); Water intrusion into MLP/TR Sensor causing shift &/or engagement problems, '94-95 Cougar/T-bird (95-3-13); Vibration or shudder under light acceleration above 35 mph in 3rd or 4th gear, '94-97 Cougar/T-bird (95-23-4, 97-10-6, 98-8-7); Lubricant leakage through cover & vent hose, '92-94 Cougar/T-bird (94-11-12); No 3-4 upshift or slipping 4th gear, '92-93 Cougar/T-bird (93-23-18); Reverse shudder when backing up incline or under load, '92-93 Cougar/T-bird (93-19-7); Erratic 1-2 shift, '94-97 Cougar/T-bird (97-11-11).

Other: W/S film, '93-97 All(96-22-1); Loose catalyst/muffler heat shields, '92-97 Cougar/T-bird (94-7-10, 98-6-4); Fuel spit-back when filling tank, '93-94 M8 (93-26-7); Hole worn in evaporator core tube by carbon canister purge hose, '92-93 Cougar/T-bird (93-25-2); Chirp or squeak from blower motor, '94-97 Cougar/T-bird (97-25-5); Rear axle whine or howl, '94-96 Cougar/T-bird (97-8-11).


MAJOR RECALLS
Copies of recalls may be obtained by calling NHTSA's Technical Reference Division at 202-366-2768.

Brakes: 3,508 '85 Cougar/T-bird - Master cylinder (85V-025); 16,000 '86 M7 - Fluid indicator light (86V-023); 38,000 '85-86 M7 - Pump motor fails (86V-109); 113,200 '89 Cougar/T-bird - Increased brake pedal travel (89V-081).

Electrical Fire: 19,200 '85 M7 - Air suspension control module (85V-040); 72 '90 Cougar/T-bird - Battery-to-starter cable short (90V-026); 500,000+ '88-93 Cougar/T-bird - Ignition switch short (96V-071).

Fuel Fire: 250,000+ '86-87 all models - Fuel line coupling disengages (87V-139); 124 '88 Cougar/T-bird - Rollover valve leaks (88V-165): 125,000 '92-93 Cougar/T-bird - Fuel line rubs against floor pan & leaks (97V-159).

Seat Belt/Airbag: 2,890 '93 M8 - Damaged retractor (92V-166).

Steering/Suspension: 10,600 '89 Cougar/T-bird - Rear suspension knuckle fracture (89V-080); 57,000 '91-94 Cougar - Frame mounting bracket fractures, loss of steering control (95V-194).

Transmission: 5,000+ '91 Cougar/T-bird - Park does not engage (91V-048).

Other: 100+ '86 M7 - Throttle sticks (85V-115); 20,000 '86 M7 - Ignition key fails to return to on (86V-108); 682 T-bird Turbo Coupe - Rear wheel separation (88V-033); 125,000 '90-91 Cougar/T-bird - W/S wipers malfunction (91V-076); 10,000+ '96 Cougar/T-bird - Defroster blower malfunctions (96V-007); 5,000+ '96 Cougar/T-bird - Driver door latch opens (96V-070); 45,000 '93-94 M8 - Lights short out (98V-009).
 

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Thyg0d said:
Found this at http://www.autosafety.org/article.php?did=86&scid=51

Thank you for contacting the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) about your 1985-97 Ford Thunderbird, Mercury Cougar or Lincoln Mark which are built on the same platform and share common features. After 1997 Ford killed off the T-bird/Mark and replaced the Cougar with a car built on the same platform as the Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique.
well, i was unaware that 85s were built on the same platform as the 97s :rolleyes: ... and also that the mark was killed in 97...

i for one have not noticed any tbirds with peeling paint. ive seen cracked clearcoats on 10+ year old cars with original paint, but thats normal for a car that isnt parked in a garage or waxed often... gm seems to have the paint peeling problem.. hmm, i dunno about this, seems like there is a lot of misinformation. -greg
 

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Ford made just over 2.5 million Thunderbirds and cougars 89-97 (no mark 8s included in that number). Your bound to have a good list of problems now that they are 7 to 15 years old.
 

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If you really think about it, most thunderbirds have held up pretty well. Especially considering when you compare them with cars from the same era.

I can atest to the fact that GM has a pelling paint problem. I had a `91 S-10 Blazer and the paint peeled off and we had it repainted under warrenty, and then the paint started to fade and peel agine. But considering that was the only problem we ever had with it I consider it pretty good.
 

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Most of it sounds like crap...about the only thing i can agree with is the brake problems, but id say mine were related to just needing regular maintenance, ive only replaced the pads and discs once since i had the car, that was over 2 years ago and they are still just fine now. I also had the rattling of the brakes i guess...but since i bled the brake system last monday its been running awesome! Bottom line, most of this stuff sounds like horse hockey. Ive never heard of most of these problems, and i think its just poeple expecting their car to be beaten on every single day and never giving it proper maintenance...trying to get a free ride paid for by ford. Thats just my 2/100 of a dollar tho :)

Greg
 

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That website is kind of a crock. They go after everyone they possibly can... someone seems to not realize that no car is going to be absolutely flawless and that's what they're asking for.

If you take that link and change the number in "did=xx" to basically any number between 21 and 159, you'll get a similar form letter talking about how lousy some kind of car is. So basically they've taken about 130 different makes and models and made a really big deal of their inherent problems (or what this website deemed were inherent problems.) The thing is, some of the cars they talk about really DO have problems that should be addressed, but rather than focus on those particular models, they've decided to just broaden their focus to the point where I doubt they have much influence.
 

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you should see my paint then...

i had my car waxed and placed in a garage for six months and i came back to find the clear coat gone to ****! Its all discolored and rough.

Now it looks like major ***, first the top of the car, then the hood, now the trunk...
 

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RobinCali said:
you should see my paint then...

i had my car waxed and placed in a garage for six months and i came back to find the clear coat gone to ****! Its all discolored and rough.

Now it looks like major ***, first the top of the car, then the hood, now the trunk...

really? cause the clear coat only cracked and and was gone on my car in certain spots cause i got it from my parents, and it sat outside for almost 4 years before it wasnt reallt driven more than 5 miles every 6 monthd before i got my drivers permit.... and the car was 11 years old when i got it, and when it died, it was 13.. i want another tbird though.. hopefully soon ill have one again. ive loved tbirds since the day my parents bought that '90 base... -greg
 

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The paint on my roof is flaking off along the trim right above the driver's side door, down to the metal and is starting in other places on the roof. And the clearcoat is flaking off on the hood. Anyone know if Ford had any paint recalls for the '97 birds?

Kenny
 

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I saw pics of my 95 LX before I bought it, and the whole roof and trunk lid had serious paint issues. The dealer obviously had it repainted ... Color match was good, but it was clearly a rush job...

I see other "birds and Cougars around that have paint issues. I'm in the NW where it rains endlessly for months, so that is a factor. But it is not unheard of, as some of you make it sound.
 

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Your 15 year old car has paint issues. Wow, I'm shocked. No, really.

*Ahem* my 15 year old car has peeling paint from a bad repair job only about 4 years ago...the factory paint is perfect, except for the passenger side door.
 

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My car has drips and runs in random spots in the paint...a few areas where it looks like chips where painted over, areas where the paint is starting to crack on the roof...and it's a respray...overall it's not bad, but I have come to the conclusion that it's not easy to get a "perfect" paint job...but then again, do you really want a flawless show quality paint job that you are afraid to take out of the garage? I for one, don't...
 

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So, let's look at these:


FORD THUNDERBIRD- MERCURY COUGAR - LINCOLN MARK FACT SHEET
Ford technical service bulletin numbers are in parentheses. (Only post-1984 models are covered.)
Cougar=Cougar Mark VII=M7 Mark VIII=M8 Thunderbird=T-bird

Brakes: ABS cycling on rough roads,'93-94 M8, '93-96 Cougar/T-bird (95-20-2, 98-5A-6); Roughness during brake application, '93-95 All (95-6-2); Front disc "thumping" or "clacking", '94-95 Cougar/T-bird (94-23-5); Brake pedal pulsation from rear drum roughness, '92-95 Cougar/T-bird (95-6-2); Distorted rear brake drum '94-97 Cougar/T-bird (98-5A-18).

Brakes are too small for this weight vehicle: Solution=Brake upgrades. PBR's work well with stock wheels.

Driveability/Engine: '92-94 Cougar/T-bird (93-24-8); "Moan" or "hooting" from engine compartment, New IAC needed

'93-94 Cougar/T-bird (94-22-4); "Squeal" from FEAD during cold start below 20F,
I think this means the idler pully: Replace.

'93-96 Cougar/M8/T-bird (96-14-8, 96-14-9); Silicone contamination of exhaust gas oxygen sensors, Never heard of this one; sounds like a bad repair job.

'92-94 Cougar/T-bird, '93-94 M8 (93-23-6); No crank, MLPS Bad, replace.

'92-96 Cougar/T-bird (94-26-3); Moan or vibration from exhaust, Tighten bolts or correct grounding condition

'92-95 Cougar/T-bird (95-3-8); Low pitched "squeak," "chirp," or "knock" noise from rocker arm, Never saw this one, but any pre96 engine needs a pi swap, lol.

'92-95 Cougar/T-bird (95-24-3); Long crank/sticking idle air control valve, More likely a sticking fuel pressure regulator or weak pump

'95-96 M8 (96-19-4); Hard start due to low reserve battery capacity below 32F, My 96 battery lasted till 09


'93-94 M8 (95-16-7); Metallic "rapping"during cold start-up, DON"T USE A FRAM FILTER!!

'93-94 M8 (95-7-3).Electrical/Instruments: Electronic cluster shows higher than actual fuel level, Remember where "empty" is

'89-90 Cougar/M7/T-bird (90-7-11); Driver's seat sensor switch causes doors to lock when driver exits, Never seen this; short or disconnect sensor

'93-94 Cougar/M8/T-bird (94-10-2); Erratic distance-to-empty & fuel gauge readings, Yeah, the gas tank is shaped like a horseshoe; there are some problems, lol.

'92-94 M8, '93-94 Cougar/T-bird (95-2-3); Temperature gauge reads low, If you expect accurate readings, buy real gauges

'92-95 Cougar/T-bird, '93-95 M8 (95-13-2); Heater output & thermostat stuck open, Replace thermostat, repair blend door

'92-94 Cougar/T-bird (93-24-8); Cluster panel loose at corners, A screwdriver/nutdriver is your friend

'92-93 Cougar/T-bird (94-2-4); Temperature gauge fluctuating &/or inaccurate high readings, Does a 5.0 get a bubble in the top of the engine like the 4.6?

'92-93 Cougar/T-bird (95-18-5); Inaccurate fuel indication, See above comment on gauges...

'93-94 M8 (93-26-10); Fuel gauge inoperative, See above comment on gauges...

'93-95 M8 (95-17-6): Fuel pump buzz thru radio, Reground the radio or fuel pump; one came loose

'94-97 Cougar/T-bird (98-7-3).Paint: Paint peeling & contamination, all Block out the sun; it's really bad for paint

'85-92 models (91-18-1); Exterior clearcoat "microchecking," "hazing," or peeling,
Block out the sun; it's really bad for paint

'92-93 Cougar/T-bird (93-8-4); Rough texture, ferrous metal contamination, & acid rain discoloration or etching, That was an 80s thing with Chevy, IIRC

'92-97 Cougar/T-bird, '93-97 M8 (95-6-1); Lower body side paint abrasion, Don't drive over stuff that will abrade your paint, lol.

'93-96 M8 (96-5-2).Steering/Suspension: Steering column "clunk" & "looseness", Bad 'rag joints'; you can recrimp the rivets; I just replace.


'87-88 Cougar/T-bird (88-4-9); "Chatter" during tight turns or turns after highway driving, Same as the later cars; replace the lube/friction modifier in the diff. The trak loc diffs do this after ~100k miles...

'92-96 Cougar/T-bird (96-12-9); "Growl" from steering column while turning, Steering rack is bad, replace

'93-96 Cougar/M8/T-bird (96-12-2); Intermittent increase in steering effort at low speeds, bad steering pump or rack, underdrive pulleys, or a stuck valve on the pump.

'94-96 Cougar/T-bird (96-4-2); Lack of center feel, shudder during deceleration or braking, premature tire wear, & wander, Worn front end parts, or not torquing the front end parts with the wheels on the ground

'92-93 Cougar/T-bird (93-13-2); "Clunk" from rear end during turns, Wasted toe correctors or upper control arm bushings

'92-94 Cougar/T-bird (94-10-11); Pull or drift to right & vibration or shake above 45 mph, Bad wheel bearings, or a bad tire

'93-94 M8 (94-12-2); "Grunt" after steering wheel released from full lock position during low speed or parking maneuvers, Never seen

'93-94 M8 (93-22-3).Transmission: Intermittent loss of torque during or after 3-4 upshift, The eec rolls off torque during the shift, bad fluid can lead to TC slippage after


'94-95 Cougar/T-bird (95-5-15); Water intrusion into MLP/TR Sensor causing shift &/or engagement problems, Redesigned, install new one

'94-95 Cougar/T-bird (95-3-13); Vibration or shudder under light acceleration above 35 mph in 3rd or 4th gear, JMOD, Mercon V

'94-97 Cougar/T-bird (95-23-4, 97-10-6, 98-8-7); Lubricant leakage through cover & vent hose, Fix gasket; There's a vent hose!?

'92-94 Cougar/T-bird (94-11-12); No 3-4 upshift or slipping 4th gear, JMOD if early, DirtyDog if late. :)

'92-93 Cougar/T-bird (93-23-18); Reverse shudder when backing up incline or under load, JMOD (there's a hole for that)

'92-93 Cougar/T-bird (93-19-7); Erratic 1-2 shift, JMOD, replace 1-2 accumulator


Other: W/S film, '93-97 All(96-22-1); Loose catalyst/muffler heat shields, Yank Cats

'92-97 Cougar/T-bird (94-7-10, 98-6-4); Fuel spit-back when filling tank, Never Seen

'93-94 M8 (93-26-7); Hole worn in evaporator core tube by carbon canister purge hose, Replace

'92-93 Cougar/T-bird (93-25-2); Chirp or squeak from blower motor, Replace

'94-97 Cougar/T-bird (97-25-5); Rear axle whine or howl, '94-96 Cougar/T-bird (97-8-11). Never seen on stock; get someone better to rebuild your diff... I've never heard a rear axle on these cars.



'92-93 Cougar/T-bird - Fuel line rubs against floor pan & leaks (97V-159). This happens after a bunch of miles; I've never seen it (yet)

Seat Belt/Airbag: 2,890 '93 M8 - Damaged retractor (92V-166).
'96 Cougar/T-bird - Defroster blower malfunctions (96V-007); 5,000+
'96 Cougar/T-bird - Driver door latch opens (96V-070);
45,000 '93-94 M8 - Lights short out (98V-009).
Never seen any of these.




The ones I marked "Never Seen"; anyone have that problem?
 

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all of that means nothing to me, my non-SC tbirds have been the most reliable cars i have ever owned, needing little to no un scheduled maintenance.

the only "common" problems between the 6 tbirds ive owned are:

window motors (replace the nylon bushings and they work great)

automatic seatbelt retractors stop working (big deal, buckle yourself in manually)

door hinges (door sags and sometimes causes it not to latch without flipping the latch bye hand before you close the door)

leaking windsheilds (on the cars that i experienced this with it was ALWAYS in the upper passenger side corner, sometimes the driver side also, if anyone knows how to fix this lmk lol)

yes they all have their own problems but nothing that would stop me from depending on them to get me to work everyday
 

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window motors (replace the nylon bushings and they work great) Relubricate the window track, and replace the felt on the guides. The kit: http://supercoupeperformance.com/partBrowser.aspx?partId=492

automatic seatbelt retractors stop working (big deal, buckle yourself in manually) Relubricate the retractor, clean the belts.

door hinges (door sags and sometimes causes it not to latch without flipping the latch bye hand before you close the door) SuperCoupe performance: http://supercoupeperformance.com/partBrowser.aspx?partId=284

leaking windsheilds (on the cars that i experienced this with it was ALWAYS in the upper passenger side corner, sometimes the driver side also, if anyone knows how to fix this lmk lol)

I've never kept a windshield long enough for it to leak; but the two side windows in the rear did, silicone rtv injected into the leak area fixed it. I used black RTV and a big syringe.

:D
 

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window motors (replace the nylon bushings and they work great) Relubricate the window track, and replace the felt on the guides. The kit: http://supercoupeperformance.com/partBrowser.aspx?partId=492


leaking windsheilds (on the cars that i experienced this with it was ALWAYS in the upper passenger side corner, sometimes the driver side also, if anyone knows how to fix this lmk lol)

I've never kept a windshield long enough for it to leak; but the two side windows in the rear did, silicone rtv injected into the leak area fixed it. I used black RTV and a big syringe.
:D
32 bucks is kind of expensive for a couple bushings and a gear, idk if youve been on corral forums before but i got a tip from there that really helped:

the little plastic nozzles on most spray cans just happen to be the same size as those bushings, if they are too tall trim them up a little bit,(re-use the gear because ive never seen a broken gear in any of mine), i did that to all of mine and theyve worked great ever since.

and it looks like someone has already put black silicone over the general area of the leak on the inside, im thinking about taking off the outside trim peices around the windsheild and applying silicone all around it, because id really rather not have to try to get the windsheild out without breaking it just to reseal it.
 
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