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02 Bird Shaking issue between 60-70mph

Discussion in '2002 - 2005 Ford Thunderbird' started by 02thunderbirdht, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. Hi there,

    I have lurked on this forum for years. My uncle had a 02 Bird (red/red) and when he sold it, he didn't give me the opportunity to buy it. So I've been on the hunt for my own for a while and finally found one about a month ago. It's a Thunderbird Blue with partial accent on the interior with the hardtop. Fun little car and very happy to own one myself.
    One major issue I am having is a serious shaking issue between 60-70 mph. I had the tires rebalanced and the car aligned and if anything, it got slightly worse. Most of my driving is interstate between 60-75 mph, so this is a big issue to me. The shaking occurs all over the vehicle. I feel it in the steering wheel, convertible top shakes, windshield shakes, etc. When they were balancing and aligning the vehicle, I did get a peek underneath it and it looks like it needs sway bar links both front and back. I'm having a hard time believing sway bar links would cause shaking this bad.
    Does anyone have any ideas where I could start? Are there steering rack bushings on these cars? I know I had to replace those on my older Lexus and it made a huge difference. Didn't know if anyone knew of any common suspension components that wear out. I almost don't want to drive the car other than in the city due to the shaking. It's borderline violent and makes me very nervous when it begins.

    Thanks!

    Jason C.
    St. Petersburg, FL
     
    tbird and John Hayman like this.
  2. ohrings

    ohrings Well-Known Member Lifetime Donor VIP Donor

    Had the same problem when I had to change all 4 tires. Come to find out the tire dealer did not have new balancing machine. Went to the Ford dealer and they did the job right. I would suggest that first, but make sure they have newer balancing machines.
     
    John Hayman likes this.
  3. vinnie

    vinnie Aways Learning Lifetime Donor

    I'm with John. Another balance would be my first option. Preferably a shop with the latest edition Road Force Balancing System or equivalent. Make sure to stress that the problem appears at speed.
     
  4. Johnvins

    Johnvins Active Member Lifetime Donor

    I agree and you might also have one tire out of round!
     
  5. Go to a reputable alignment shop. From my experience (I also own an 02 bird) it sounds like your idler arms , ball joints and bushing are bad. Keep me informed. Phil

    I have lurked on this forum for years. My uncle had a 02 Bird (red/red) and when he sold it, he didn't give me the opportunity to buy it. So I've been on the hunt for my own for a while and finally found one about a month ago. It's a Thunderbird Blue with partial accent on the interior with the hardtop. Fun little car and very happy to own one myself.
    One major issue I am having is a serious shaking issue between 60-70 mph. I had the tires rebalanced and the car aligned and if anything, it got slightly worse. Most of my driving is interstate between 60-75 mph, so this is a big issue to me. The shaking occurs all over the vehicle. I feel it in the steering wheel, convertible top shakes, windshield shakes, etc. When they were balancing and aligning the vehicle, I did get a peek underneath it and it looks like it needs sway bar links both front and back. I'm having a hard time believing sway bar links would cause shaking this bad.
    Does anyone have any ideas where I could start? Are there steering rack bushings on these cars? I know I had to replace those on my older Lexus and it made a huge difference. Didn't know if anyone knew of any common suspension components that wear out. I almost don't want to drive the car other than in the city due to the shaking. It's borderline violent and makes me very nervous when it begins.

    Thanks!

    Jason C.
    St. Petersburg, FL[/QUOTE]
    Have your
     
  6. Go to a reputable alignment shop. From my experience (I also own an 02 bird) it sounds like your idler arms , ball joints and bushing are bad. Keep me informed. Phil
     
  7. Get what they call a load balance it will take care of it.
     
  8. HPB

    HPB Fit Right Lifetime Donor

    I experience the problem on my 02 also. Started with tires needed replacing so replace w/same Goodyear Eagles. Problem persisted so rebalanced that helped. Inspection found torn rubber on most of the suspension parts front and rear. Replaced with OEM parts, including brakes (60k miles) and struts. Vibration problem gone! Now oil leak and most likely more coils.

    Howard B
    Minneapolis, Mn
     
  9. couture

    couture Active Member Gold Donor

    If not the tires (when you get all the above done) consider a broken or loose motor mount. Had this experience on a car and it shook the heck out of it until I finally figured it out.
     
  10. Thank you for all your replies. I'm going to get under it this weekend to change to oil and I'll poke around at the suspension. But I am also going to call around for a shop with a road force balancer and a more up to date alignment machine.
    I will report back once I have an update. Thanks!
     
  11. I'm originally from England and I had an old ford capri and had a similar thing for ages, it turned out to be just what you said with the sway except the bolts had loosened slightly. Its usually to do with the steering or suspension for that unlikely the engine mounts. I would start with where you saw a problem and then expand from there to be careful. The only other thing to cause such terrible vibration at speed is a damaged drive shaft but I doubt its that unless its suffered some sort of accident. trust you eyes and keep checking take it slow and easy.
     
  12. captrick

    captrick Well-Known Member Lifetime Donor

    First how many miles on the car and how old are the tires. As the tires get older the rubber becomes harder and tend to wear uneven. Also you might have a bad shock absorber. If you have a bad shock and a flat spot on a tire you can balance the tires all you want it’s not going to solve the problem. The sway bars connect both front or back tires together. So if there is a vibration in one tire it t will transmit to the other tire. I had the same problem and I replaced the rear shocks and put new tires on the car and it solved the problem. I recommend the Continental Pure Contact tires they are so much better than the Michelins that came on the car plus they are all season tires and are excellent in the rain. Good luck Rick
     
  13. Finally dropped the T-Bird off at my trusted mechanic. Bought front upper control arms, outer tie rods, sway bar links for her to replace since the rubber was torn on all of them. She got into it and noticed the right front hub/bearing was loose, had her replace that. Explained to her the shaking issue and they found that 2 of the tires had flat spots in them. Now why the tire shop didn't realize this, I don't know. So looks like I may need a couple new tires to smooth everything out. Will report back once that's been completed!
     
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