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Discussion Starter #1
Alright forum friendlies, I have no idea if this thread is in the right place your forum is soooo huge compared to my home forum. (ACNA) and I'm even a mod over there :rolleyes: Anyways, I just picked up my 96 thunderbird and am in a rather odd mood. Tomorrow marks my first day of legally being able to drive her (new tags and registration) But before doing that I am looking to do some preventative maintenance on the ole gal. Attached is a picture of the car, anyways, the owner before me purchased one of those oh so lovely ebay intakes with the 2 inch wanna be cone filter. Talk about starving the engine. My first order of business is replacing that cone with my current 8 inch spectre cone, I plan on prepping the front bumper and hood scoops for paint tomorrow. Including sanding, primer, and first coat. I have come to the conclusion that my color is indeed the laser red one. My third order of business is getting down and dirty underneath. I am by no means an experienced mechanic, but when it comes to changing oil etc..etc.. I am pretty good. I am considering dropping the tranny pan but why do I have a feeling that is going to be extremely tedious? I am by no means shy with a wrench but I have no plans on getting in over my head. The antifreeze is bright green so I do not feel the need to do a flush. Keep in mind this car is on its second transmission and at 200k miles. Do I/Should I, add anything to this list? This is my weekend project...since the weekend is over and I have tomorrow off it shall also be my *mondays off* project.

I have toyed with the idea of using a headlight restore kit because much like my first T-bird the headlights have quite a haze. Not yellow yet, but getting there. Any and all ideas are welcome. Also I have a spare can of seafoam laying around and I have done a few searches and results look favorable. Do you all suggest using it? I used it faithfully with the grand am.

 

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Discussion Starter #3
phenomenal to be honest. No noises, vibrations, still pulls extremely hard. I need a new rotor for sure but steering is tight and ride is smooth. I wanna say I hear almost a ticking noise when revving the motor, but its not a tick. It's more like a click. A good way to describe it is like putting a baseball card into the spokes of a bike. But not as loud. I can not hear it in the motor either. I hear it in the passenger compartment and when a friend revs the 4.6 I can hear it from the passenger side. Almost sounds like it is in the exhaust somewhere. Oil is clean so I'm not quite sure what the issue is.
 

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phenomenal to be honest. No noises, vibrations, still pulls extremely hard. I need a new rotor for sure but steering is tight and ride is smooth. I wanna say I hear almost a ticking noise when revving the motor, but its not a tick. It's more like a click. A good way to describe it is like putting a baseball card into the spokes of a bike. But not as loud. I can not hear it in the motor either. I hear it in the passenger compartment and when a friend revs the 4.6 I can hear it from the passenger side. Almost sounds like it is in the exhaust somewhere. Oil is clean so I'm not quite sure what the issue is.
I've had that ticking since forever and never figured out what it is. Just like you say, kind of in the passenger compartment. Others have mentioned it here before and I think most have resigned to accept that it doesn't seem to cause any harm.

I've read mixed things here regarding Seafoam. My suggestion is that if it's running good, don't bother. You can do a search on Seafoam and get plenty of opinions.

I have and continue to use PlastX by Meguiar's on my headlights. It cleans them up pretty well, but doesn't last very long. Of course I've never used the full-blown fancy-pants applicator pads so I'm probably not getting the best benefit. A friend of mine has seen those restore kits in action and claims they work great.

Congratulations on your car and welcome to the forum! She looks great!

PS: What's your intake manifold status?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
ummm I'm not sure what you are asking lol? It's not the PI intake you all speak of...atleast I dont think it is.

And thank you for the compliment, she will be looking better eventually. This bumper has got to be finished.
 

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ummm I'm not sure what you are asking lol? It's not the PI intake you all speak of...atleast I dont think it is.
Has it been replaced recently? Does it have the revised (aluminum) crossover? I mean... if you were looking for work to do and all... ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
ummmmm....there are no receipts for it. And I have the service records of the vehicle dating back to 1995 when the car was fisrt purchased. So I doubt it is an updated intake..which does not sound reassuring
 

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ummmmm....there are no receipts for it. And I have the service records of the vehicle dating back to 1995 when the car was fisrt purchased. So I doubt it is an updated intake..which does not sound reassuring
Does the intake have an aluminum crossover on the front of it or is it all plastic? If it's all plastic might as well start looking for a used intake.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
nope, no alluminum. What kind of tool time is involved in replacing the intake on one of these? I had to just dish out almost 800 for intake work on my old grand am.
 

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The stealership told me 4-5 hours so you can adjust that up or down based on your experience level. I'll be doing mine within the next week myself.

Lots of threads here about doing the swap.

If this thing has lasted 200k miles then it might never go.
 

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If it runs as good as you say, don't mess with it. You can shop for another intake just to have it if/when yours cracks. Read about the PI intake swap here, I don't have any good links, sorry. BTW, a nice trick to look for on the intake manifold to see if it is a PI or NPI is look at the front runner, if it goes to the driver's side, it's PI, if it goes to passenger side, NPI.

Good buy, good 'Bird!
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
for 1200 bucks I am not complaingin about the buy. That is a helpful hint. I will have to check out the front of the intake in the morning to know for sure. Why hasn't for had a recall on these intakes if they are that prone on going? That brings me to another point, the car has had a recent suspension over haul but im wanting to get a bit better performance out of the setup. Is there a certain front stabilizer bar that would fit on these cars? I know theres not much room with the hood and all...
 

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They ran a recall campaign on many, many vehicles using the 4.6L engine from the 1996 year up. The recall expired 7 years after the original purchase date.

Intakes and transmissions are probably the two weakest spots on these cars. Engine is great though.
 

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They ran a recall campaign on many, many vehicles using the 4.6L engine from the 1996 year up. The recall expired 7 years after the original purchase date.

Intakes and transmissions are probably the two weakest spots on these cars. Engine is great though.

I may be wrong, but doesn't a car company HAVE to honor a recall no matter what? I know thats how it was on my aurora when the fuel rail burst into flames...the recall was 11 years old but GM still had to honor it.
 

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Not sure about recalls, but as far as changing the tranny fluid...

1) Obviously, raise car and place on jack stands.
2) Remove the rubber plug at the bottom of the bell housing to expose the torque converter.
3) Rotate the crank by hand until you can see the drain plug. Remove and allow the torque converter to drain; this will take about 15 minutes.
4) Start to unbolt the transmission oil pan. To minimize the likelihood of a "mercon bath" I suggest loosening all the bolts first then removing the bolts on just one side. Then loosen the bolts in an increasing fashion along the edges, kind of to let the pan hang on a tilt to let the fluid drip off of one side. After it stops dripping you can drop the pan entirely.
5) It might not be a bad idea to J-mod the tranny at this point while you're there. Plenty of info out there on the topic to be found with a quick search.
6) Be sure to replace the filter and clean the magnet before bolting the pan back on prior to refill.

As far as headlights go, any mild or light abrasive rubbing compound will clear them up; no need to spend a fortune on a kit. Personally I use Kit Scratch Out, it's only a few dollars at Wal Mart and it gets the job done.

Other things I'd look at would be the plugs and wires, check out/clean the MAF sensor, coolant flush, power steering fluid flush, and perhaps a brake line flush if those haven't been done within the last several years.

As far as the intake, I agree that you should try to find one with the aluminum crossover before it cracks, I'm surprised it hasn't done so already with so many miles. The swap will only take a few hours to do.
 

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I may be wrong, but doesn't a car company HAVE to honor a recall no matter what? I know thats how it was on my aurora when the fuel rail burst into flames...the recall was 11 years old but GM still had to honor it.
I think that's only if it's a safety recall.

In fact, Ford didn't replace any intakes unless they actually cracked and only at the crossover.

Just snoop around for a good, used OEM non-PI intake (or PI if you want to go that route -- but it's not a bolt-on solution) and have it on standby in case something happens. Most people here frown upon the aftermarket Dorman brand, which is ubiquitous, because some claim it robs a bit of power.

I blew an intake years ago at the crossover and it was covered under the recall. They put the same all-plastic version on and now it has cracked in the back near the heater hose connection (another common place for cracks).
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I know the symptoms for a cracked intake or blown intake gasket in the grand am was consistent use of coolant. It never showed up in the oil but it used a gallon every 10k miles or so. What are the symptoms on these cars? It's not stumbling or anything like that, there is alot of moisture in the exhaust but the car has also been sitting a few days and oak island is an extremely moist climate. I guess I might as well start the hunt now. Anybody know of any good part stores to go this route? I imagine a pick and pull isn't the best idea for something as important as an intake. As far as the J mod goes, I think I might have to bribe a NC member to perform that one for me. Tranny's are not my strong point.

Has anyone else noticed the awqward shift point of these cars? I mean I know it stays in its low torque band but I feel it shifts way too soon. Both of my thunderbirds have been to quick to shift. Is there a remedy for that? More of a free revving engine before shifting?
 

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The only way to adjust the shift points is with a tune.
 

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I know the symptoms for a cracked intake or blown intake gasket in the grand am was consistent use of coolant. It never showed up in the oil but it used a gallon every 10k miles or so. What are the symptoms on these cars? It's not stumbling or anything like that, there is alot of moisture in the exhaust but the car has also been sitting a few days and oak island is an extremely moist climate. I guess I might as well start the hunt now. Anybody know of any good part stores to go this route? I imagine a pick and pull isn't the best idea for something as important as an intake.
Generally if you have a small crack in the intake you'll see some of it on the pavement or your level will go down enough to trigger a light after a week or two. Keep checking on the reservoir bottle until you know for sure.

Of course you can also blow a big hole into the thing under heavy throttle. That's how I took care of my first one. It wasn't a slow leak, it just blew all of a sudden.

Places to look for dampness or leaks are the crossover behind the alternator, the thermostat housing to the driver side of the alternator where the radiator hose connects, and in the back of the intake on the passenger side where it connects to the heater hose right next to cylinder #4. If there's wetness there or signs of leakage, clean it up and check again later. You can also have the stealership do a pressure test for you.

Honestly, it sounds like you don't have any problems at this point.

To pick up a new one, you have a few options. You can get a new OEM one from the dealership ($500+ for the whole kit in some cases) or, if you're fortunate, from someone who has a new one they're willing to sell. Or you can get a Dorman brand from the parts store or online for about $200-$300. But that's a Dorman.

If you want to go used OEM, just keep an eye out on the "For Sale" forum here or over on the Mustang sites, or on eBay, and pull the trigger when you find a deal you like. You will need to get a new alternator bracket to do the switch and of course a new set of gaskets and a new thermostat o-ring. A lot of the Mustang guys swap out their stock non-PI intakes for PI intakes and put the non-PI's up for sale. They're becoming increasingly rare, though. I don't think Ford has this intake in a production vehicle anymore (since 2001?) and the ones with the aluminum crossover were fairly limited to begin with (it being a revised part and all).
 
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