2002 2003 2004 2005 Ford Thunderbird Thermostat Housing Water Pumps


Forum Moderator
Staff member
If you are having trouble with your cooling system on your 2002, 2003, 2004 or 2005 Ford Thunderbird here are some useful parts used in the repairs. Note, a 2002 Thunderbird has a different thermostat housing than 2003-2004-2005. The water pump & thermostat are the same. You can upgrade the thermostat in a 2002 Thunderbird to aluminum. I believe only plastic is available for 2003-2005 Thunderbirds. The plastic thermostat housings often need to be replaced every 5 - 7 years.
Several people have reported issues with the paper gaskets on the aftermarket water pumps. The water pump itself is okay, but you need the upgraded gasket sold separately.

2002-2005 Thermostat-
Purchase Link- https://amzn.to/2Y7ccEl


2002 Thermostat Housing Kit Assembly Aluminum Upgrade Kit-
Purchase link click here
Please note, this is an "unofficial upgrade" from the cheap plastic bell housing that member @Wfg3 discovered. The seller does not show the part as compatible, but it works as noted in his post here- https://forums.fordthunderbirdforum...work-in-2002-2005-thunderbird.8852/post-56177


2002 Thermostat Housing Kit Assembly (Plastic)
Purchase Link- https://amzn.to/2MZYKMp


2003-2004-2005 Dorman 902-903 Thermostat Housing Kit Assembly- (aluminum upgrade is not available to our knowledge)
Purchase Link- https://amzn.to/2YElNBR

OEM Motorcraft Part 3W4Z8548AD (Recommended when available)- Purchase Link

All available thermostat housings, some include coolant reservoir- Purchase Link

Housing Gasket (If Need) Amazon Purchase Link - Ebay Purchase Link
See this page for more gasket details


Coolant Overflow Tank for 5W4Z8A080AA
Purchase Link

The Motorcraft factory tank is over 200.00! Purchase link

The water pump and the gasket is the same on 2002-2005, but the thermostat housing is not!

2002-2005 Pro Gasket- This is better than the paper gaskets included with the water pumps
Purchase Link


Motorcraft PW448 2002 2003 2004 2005 Water Pump OEM-
eBay purchase Link or Amazon purchase link

Aftermarket 2002-2003-2004-2005 Water Pump (don't use the paper gasket)
Purchase Link Amazon- https://amzn.to/2N0h3ks or eBay purchase link


2003-2005 Water Pump + Plastic Thermostat Housing (Housing won't fit 2002)
Purchase Link


2002 Ford Thunderbird Radiator - Ebay Link
Hydraulic Cooling fan which was only in 2002- Ebay Link
2003-2004-2005 Ford Thunderbird Radiator- Ebay Link
Last edited:


Forum Moderator
Staff member
2005 Thunderbird there, does the amazon kit contain all the necessary gaskets?

Edit: sorry I didn't specify which part I was referring to.
The Dorman 902-903 Thermostat Housing Kit
I updated that section a moment ago with some new links. (Reload/Refresh page) Some people have said they had problems with the Dorman, you might want to get the OEM since it's available right now. If you cannot reuse the gasket ring, the housing Gasket (If Needed) Amazon Purchase Link - Ebay Purchase Link
Last edited:
In the ongoing effort to stop overheating we replaced the plastic thermostat housing with the Jaguar aluminum. In the process we discovered a chip in the extension just under the hose clamp. It's holding for now but would like to replace it. We purchased the Ford Manual DVD and searched everywhere online and can't find a part number. The number stamped on the part itself is related to the radiator. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!! IMG_1284.jpeg
I search every Blog, troubleshooter page, info, manual, etc. I could find to try to fix the overheating problem that seems inherent with these birds. The solution I've come up with involves a lot of other people's ideas conglomerated into one. I take no credit here.

Here's what I decided to do:

Flush cooling system. Mine was totally clean. Not a drop of rust or corrosion.

Fill with 50/50 coolant, distilled water while car is off. Filling as much as possible in Radiator and overflow container.

Reinstall cap on radiator.

Start car.

Turn on heater, full blast, high heat.

Idle car.

Watch level in overflow. When it goes down add more coolant and try to keep minimum 50% antifreeze. The higher proportion of antifreeze the higher the boiling point of coolant. Read directions on coolant container. My opinion is to increase to 75/25 coolant to water since these cars run hot. It should raise boiling temp. to 265. READ DIRECTIONS ON CONTAINER.

When coolant level in overflow stops going down, put on a glove and squeeze the hose to the left of the radiator. Continue doing so. You should see bubbles coming up in OFC and you should see level of coolant go down in OFC. You are purging the air from the system. Put in more coolant. Keep the level where you can see it even though it's above MAX fill line. You have to see if the air is being purged.

When bubbles stop, run idle up to 2k for a few minutes.

Check coolant level.

Squeeze hose to see if air will come out.

Run car for 15 minutes with OFC cap off.

Turn off car.


Put cap on, let engine cool.

After engine completely cools check coolant level in OFC. If it is below MAX line add more.

With cap on OFC squeeze hose. If bubbles show up repeat steps.

It worked for me after struggling for a month and having the 'Bird overheat and get me stuck three times trying all different solutions. This finally worked. No more "bubbling" in OFC that looks like the coolant is boiling. No more overheating.

I hope it works for you.


Forum Moderator
Staff member
Here's a video with some coolant system burping / bleeding tips on the "cousin car' Lincoln LS. Would be great for a member to make a Thunderbird specific video and send to us to add to our YouTube channel!