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2002 to 2005 Bird Problems

Discussion in '2002 - 2005 Ford Thunderbird' started by Joe Joe, Jun 22, 2018.

  1. We have had a 2002 when they came out back then with a few issues of overheating and transmission and sold it soon after and just last year bought a 2003 like a dummy for my wife as she loved the looks of the car which I agree is a sharp looking car so why has Ford screwed this car up mechanically when they had the chance to really have a jewel.We had cooling problems,coil problems,transmission problems.electrical,and on and on.Nobody will give you a decent trade value that knows the background.SO..SAD Ford Has anybody replaced the engine and tranny with another brand ,Chevy or even small block Ford 289 or similar?

    MODERATOR NOTE: See this thread for top Ford Thunderbird mechanical issues.
    Elsie and John Hayman like this.
  2. Man,i am sorry to hear all the problems you are having along with all the other posts from others on this forum.I guess i am lucky not to have any issues with my 2002 with 22000 miles on it.I have had other special interest cars in my time and said i would never sell my Bird. I am now having second thoughts. I am afraid my time will come.Its too bad ,cause i love this car. I bought it when it was 3 years old with 7000 miles on it. Again, never a problem.
  3. Gus Gutz

    Gus Gutz Well-Known Member Lifetime Donor

    My 02 has 70k miles on it and I actually drive it. I have had a few issues as any old car would, but nothing like you described. Maybe you got a Monday car. .. a car that was built on Monday when everyone was still hung over from the weekend
    Elaineinwa, Elsie and John Hayman like this.
  4. I've had a bunch of problems with my 03 too. I'm 63 and have owned my own vehicles since age 17. I've spent more money on repairs on my 03 Bird than all the other vehicles combined in the last 45 years. Still I love it. After every issue I swear I'm going to get rid of it, but then I figure what is left to go wrong? LOL

    Yeah, if you asked me Ford screwed up when they built these Birds. Why didn't they use the bullet proof engine from the Mustang instead of this Jaguar piece of crop? Parts would be readily available, simple to fix, plenty of aftermarket parts, etc...

    I guess we'll never see another Thunderbird as Ford announced a few months ago they were going to stop building cars except for the Mustang and build nothing but trucks, SUVs, and Crossovers.
    John Hayman and Gus Gutz like this.

  5. I’m certainly getting a valuable education here. I’m a new owner of an 04 with 38,000 miles-a Florida car, history was good. So far I’m having to replace entire suspension due to rubber just disintegrating .
    Dave Pawlak, John Hayman and Elsie like this.
  6. I replaced the front suspension in my 03 last summer, now I need to do the same for rear. First car I ever had that had independent rear suspension with ball joints. Wish they would have stuck with solid rear axle. How many of us are out pushing the performance "envelope" anyway that we need independent rear suspension?? What I don't understand is how did these rubber joints just disintegrate when the car was kept inside and not ran in the rain or bad weather?
    John Hayman and Pacific-Coast like this.
  7. I was just at my Ford dealer Thursday (not with my bird though) and as I posted last fall after a tranny and radiator flush and fill and oil change before putting it away our 2002
    for the winter, the mechanic and I went through the under carriage when it was on the lift..

    All was good except for the rear control arms (rubber ball joint ends) and as Elsie said, it was the rubber deteriorating.. So I'm going to take a few days and take it down to the dealer and leave it there for a few days.. Have them check which ones need to be done.. I think mine are the uppers.. I can see the uppers trough the wheel spokes and the rubber is splitting . They did a check for parts and they are available with a 1 or two day ship.. Elsie, I have a feeling the Florida heat doesn't help.. I don't know what my excuse is.. I just turned 18K, a garage queen, and never seen the winter.. While it's up on the lift I may have them spray all the rubber with silicone.. Someone once told me, you can never use enough silicone on rubber and door, window, and top seals.. Not sure if I'm going to do fix this summer or wait till fall when I get the oil changed before winter storage..
    John Hayman, Dave Pawlak and Elsie like this.
  9. I just bought a used Whisper White 2003 T-Bird with 127,000 miles on it from the original owner. They said they did not have any issues with this car until a two years ago, and based on the mileage it was well used. In the past couple of years is when things started to need replacing. They provided me the receipts for all that was done, which sounds like all of the things everyone is talking about here. But for a 2003, 14 year old car with over 120,000 miles I consider this typical. Most people today do not have cars this long, and you do not see many people driving 14 years old vehicles. I love this car and it is fun to drive, I drive it back and forth to work every other day or so. I do not have a long drive to work. I do live in Florida and I am keeping it garaged, it was garaged by the previous owner. It does have some dings and scratches, but is in beautiful condition other than that and I only paid $8,500 for it so I feel got a good deal. There are no leaks.
  10. JW in Dixie

    JW in Dixie Well-Known Member Lifetime Donor

    We wouldn't have 'em if we didn't love 'em and can afford 'em. My 04 had 128K two yrs ago when I bought it after a two year search - within 5 mi of home, and the color I wanted. Have enjoyed adding 2K driving it on nice days - smooth as silk, quiet as a mouse. YES, wish Henry had put a tried and true more simple motor and trans in it. Course they were competing with Vetts, LOL, and trying to get $45-50K. No fluffing way, Jose. We own Henry's dream and have to live with the frailties. I've made much worse deals than that, involving a lot more $$. :(

    I think of mine like my 33YO oak tree that died - nothing to do by cut it and recall the 33 yrs that I enjoyed it.
  11. Had my 02 since new, only 12k miles, always garaged. Never had any issues ever, until early this year when
    fuel pump went bad, and ac was leaking. I have not worked on cars in 40 plus years, but decided to fix both
    my self, and was not hard to fix. Checking car further found the rubber boots on all the ball joints cracked,
    and leaking. Ball joints are still ok, but now exposed will go bad fast. So I decided to order all the suspension
    parts needed and replace everything in one job. This next week or two, will replace all suspension components
    and be done with it. It looks like you do not have to remove struts, or springs, just work around them. No rust
    under car, so everything should come off some what easy. T Bird suspension parts.JPG
  12. John Hayman

    John Hayman Well-Known Member Lifetime Donor

    Parts cost? I have cracked rubber too.
  13. I bought all of them on ebay, total cost was right at $700.00
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2018
    John Hayman likes this.
  14. I had about $1200 in entire front end parts with struts purchased at local big box auto retailer. That was a year ago. Probably could have beat that price if I shopped around, but when I got the urge to work on it, they had em in stock so I just went with them.
    John Hayman likes this.
  15. John Hayman

    John Hayman Well-Known Member Lifetime Donor

  16. I sadly decided to sell my 2003 red T-Bird when the fault became electrical. I could no longer trust it to start. Some days the battery was completely dead even though it was brand new. One shop checked the car out but it worked OK for them so they said that it was OK. I phoned a specialist in electrical vehicle troubles and he wouldn't even touch it because the trouble was intermittent. For each of the 5 years that I had the car there would be another new problem. The hideaway top broke, the engine's cooling system broke down [over $1200.00] and the following year water leakage after heavy rains caused a soaking wet floor. It's that intermittent electrical problem that finally made me get rid of it. How do you trace a very intermittent electrical fault in any vehicle?
    Elsie and ChuckH262 like this.
  17. Gus Gutz

    Gus Gutz Well-Known Member Lifetime Donor

    It could be one of the computer modules going bad causing the electrical drain. When the FEM went bad in my car, there was an intermittent power drain at times among other problems. The Ford dealer could not find a problem but i had them replace the FEM. All the strange little problems went away.

    My dual coolant control valve went bad and I have no heat. I understand the coolant issue.
  18. Xssive

    Xssive Active Member Platinum Donor

    How about a parts list of everything you bought.....
  19. I have one of the last 2005s built... June 24th Friday, last date of production was July 1st, Friday. Have had only the COP problem which has been fixed, thanks partly to this forum. Did have faulty AC compressor fixed under extended Ford warranty. Just routine maintenance, and oh, replaced the battery when it was 4 and a half years old. Bought the beautiful Torch Red Bird with all options, used with 34 K in 09. It now has 65K.
  20. biddle

    biddle Forum Moderator Staff Member

    See this thread for top Ford Thunderbird mechanical issues.
    ChuckH262 likes this.

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