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Discussion Starter #1
The Thunderbird was parked 4 years ago. Now my son wants to drive it, and I am wondering what I should check/replace before putting it back on the road. Already replaced the radiator hoses, water pump, new battery, new tires, new serpentine belt. Going to replace fuel filter tomorrow, run sea-foam through it. The engine sounds fantastic, transmission shifts smooth, brakes look good. What else should I check/replace. Only problem found so far is the power windows, power antenna, radio work intermittently.
 

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PostWhore, The AFDB is on a lil tight.
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check for an extensively rusted frame. I cant help myself saying that since its an 89 in the rust belt.
 

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When I first bought my 1995, it had been sitting several years. The first thing that quit working after a couple of weeks were the power windows.

So I'm saying, put a little lithium grease on those window motor gears if you don't want them to quit working shortly...
 

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Take a good look at the front suspension, the boots on all your ball joints and control arms are probably rotted out.

Joe
 

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Take a good look at the front suspension, the boots on all your ball joints and control arms are probably rotted out.

Joe
+1

Basically anything that is supposed to move that hasn't been moving for years will most likely have issues! :zdunno:
 

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All the rubber will be hard or cracked due to age if not recently replaced.

The boots on all the suspension components will be cracked.

Vacuum lines will have gone bad, if they're not new.

Seats won't move; Lithium Grease works well there. Before you blow the fuse, and burn the wires, preferably. :)

Windows need lubed.

All grease fittings need lube.

If nothing has grease fittings, I'd replace the front upper and lower ball joints.

The sway bar endlinks are probably bad.

The "toe compensators" on the rear lower control arms are probably bad. (age)

The rear upper and lower control arm bushings are probably bad. (front AND rear)

You need to replace the Mercon V in the transmission.

You need to replace the differential oil.

Shocks are probably on the way out, if they've never been replaced.


Anything I've missed, guys?

:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Somehow, I JUST PASSED EMISSIONS!! Car drove like it had never been off the road. Drove on freeway before emissions, started at 50, then 60, then 70 and was smooootttthhh. Thanks for the list, keep ideas coming. I am going back out to drive it again!!
 

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How do you grease the window motors? Is it fairly easy?
 

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How do you grease the window motors? Is it fairly easy?
Well, depends on how you define "easy". You take your door panels off, then unbolt the motors with three screws while reaching into the door, unplug the electric wire and pull out the motor where you can work on it.

Take the cover off (another 3 screws), put the new teflon balls in (about $3 from Napa or just use nuts is what a lot of people do), squirt some lithium grease all over everything, and reassemble.

I personally used the teflon balls made for the job, so I don't know how well the nuts work.
 

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PostWhore, The AFDB is on a lil tight.
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Ok Ill be the one who says it... dont use Mercon V in your trans thats for newer transmissions.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Only problem found so far is the power windows, power antenna, and radio work only when the ignition is accessory, but when you start the car none of them work. Anyone got any ideas why?
 

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Only problem found so far is the power windows, power antenna, and radio work only when the ignition is accessory, but when you start the car none of them work. Anyone got any ideas why?
Ignition switch. Not the lock cylinder, the switch under the dash on the steering column.

Looks like this:
 

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yes, most definitely check the whole suspension, especially the front balljoints. make sure they have no play and the boots are in good shape.

if not change em now before you join the club of neglected ball-joints... where many a Tbird owner has spent his time replacing fenders, swaylinks, brake lines, balljoints and whatever else gets in the way of that wheel trying too leave the fender with the spindle still attached.

and anything made of rubber. ANYTHING. hoses, vacuum lines, dust boots, bushings, etc. they will all be ruined from the last 24 years of hard life.

grease everything you can. tierods, balljoints, ujoints, swaylinks.

change all the fluids. oil in the trans, motor, diff, brake fluid, power steering, coolant, washer fluid :D.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
check for an extensively rusted frame. I cant help myself saying that since its an 89 in the rust belt.
In Washington, if you live on the east side of the state, rust is not as big of an issue as living on the west side of the state. If you live by the Pacific Ocean,......
 

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The way the ignition works is when you turn the lock cylinder, a rod is pushed down along the side of the ignition column. That rod has a hook on the end that slips into that ignition switch I pictured above.

You said you changed the lock cylinder - is that when your problems started with the key or was the problem already there and you are trying to fix it?

Here is a diagram to go along with pic above:


Now here is a video (on a Ranger, but it's the same idea on your Thunderbird) to show what you're in for:
<iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/j3I2oye8OpQ?feature=player_detailpage" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
 
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