1997 Difficulty removing heads..



Active Member
Last seen
Mar 21, 2020
Thunderbird Year
Has anyone else ever run into this problem…. While disassembling my 4.6L in my .97 thunderbird; I’m having difficulty separating the exhaust pipes from the exhaust header after removing the retaining nuts at the exhaust flange.. I have discovered that the engine does not sit square in the engine bay; it sits a half bubble low to the drivers side as well as the front is sitting a few degrees to the passenger side as opposed to the bell housing … all head bolts have been removed as well….

Thanks in advance for suggestions…
Do you have both sides of the exhaust system loose from the manifolds? It can take a little force to get it loose after over 20 years.
Thanks for the reply…. Yes both sides of the exhaust system are loose from the manifolds….. will keep trying..🤞
It may help if you disconnect a few of the exhaust hangers near the front of the car.
I have a 1989 Thunderbird that belong to my mother in law that passed away. It was garage kept and only has like 46,000 actual miles. Everything is like straight from the factory with the only items changed is a battery, alternator and tires because the others where to old and not because they were wore out. Wanting to sell, know of anyone in the market. Nc. Charlotte Located
It may help if you disconnect a few of the exhaust hangers near the front of the car.
We have success… heads are off… thanks for the advice… any thoughts on the engine not sitting squarely in the engine bay…. My first thought is motor mount issues…
Motor mounts could be worn, but is it leaning or off center? Not all cars have the engine centered in the bay.
Can you post a picture of the issue?
Yes it seems to be leaning as well as off center…. I’ll attempt to post a pic or two…
Level shows half bubble off…
Second pic at as clear but front of oil pan is not equal distance from front sway bar ….


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Equal distance from the sway bar is not necciserily an issue.
Did you measure across the fenders to make sure the car itself was level?
Never thought of measuring fender height…. Then again when the car was sitting on all 4’s I didn’t know the motor might be un-level…. It’s sitting on jack stands as we speak…
Just for reference the engine is probably leaning 2 1/2 degrees to the rear. ( normal) the v-8 is wider than a v-6. It could be that it's moved over for clearance for the brake system or steering.
Good info to have… appreciate all the advice you have provided..👍
So the heads are at the shop getting attention as needed…. As for the engine mounts turns out they are completely different….. drivers side is solid rubber (no steel surrounding it), the passenger side is a hydraulic mount. They are different thickness’s also which explains the leaning to the drivers side…. I have already ordered non-hydraulic OEM mounts, to your knowledge are they interchangeable, I don’t see why they wouldn’t be….. any thoughts????
At some point in it's life it is likely a previous owner had a mount go bad and put in a different one than it should have had. They probably just didn't know. I don't see a problem if you are changing both at the same time. The hydraulic ones probably absorb more vibration and probably cost a lot more.