2004 Missing and Loose Bolts

I was changing my oil the other day and noticed two holes near the front of the passenger side lower control arm bracket. I checked the driver's side and these holes had bolts in them. It turns out that these hold the bracket onto the extended frame behind the front bumper. I checked and both bolts on the driver's side and they were quite loose so I tightened them up. The bolts are 12x1.75x6.5in and are not available online that I could find. Fortunately a local junk yard had two 2002-05's in their yard and I was able to find front cross member bolts that were the right thread but two inches longer. I cut them off and extended the thread and got them to fit with little trouble. It takes a 15mm socket to fit these bolts and tighten them up.

My car now handles better and I think these have been missing since I bought the car five years ago. The bottom line is the next time you are under your Tbird check these and make sure they are tight.
tbird1.JPG tbird2.JPG
 
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WesTxStoner425

2004 Platinum over Sand interior
Thanks for the heads up; is that blue colored item near the bolt hole the oil pan? perhaps you could zoom out a little to help me visualize the location?
 

eldordobird

Well-Known Member
I was changing my oil the other day and noticed two holes near the front of the passenger side lower control arm bracket. I checked the driver's side and these holes had bolts in them. It turns out that these hold the bracket onto the extended frame behind the front bumper. I checked and both bolts on the driver's side and they were quite loose so I tightened them up. The bolts are 12x1.75x6.5in and are not available online that I could find. Fortunately a local junk yard had two 2002-05's in their yard and I was able to find front cross member bolts that were the right thread but two inches longer. I cut them off and extended the thread and got them to fit with little trouble. It takes a 15mm socket to fit these bolts and tighten them up.

My car now handles better and I think these have been missing since I bought the car five years ago. The bottom line is the next time you are under your Tbird check these and make sure they are tight.
View attachment 12740 View attachment 12741
I am wondering if your bird had some repair work in the past.
That is a critical location, it appears to be part of the lower control arm assembly.
 

Frankie the Fink

Well-Known Member
If your car has been messed with to that extent you may want to get it on a lift somewhere and go over the whole underside....particularly the 12 (or maybe 14?) bolts that hold the "X" crossmembers. they should be torqued to 46 ft-lbs. IIRC.

Even on my original, unmessed-with, 18,000 mile 2002 some were not up to spec; it made a discernible difference in the road feel of the car when I torqued them properly...
 

WesTxStoner425

2004 Platinum over Sand interior
When tightening the bolts on the crossmember, does it need to be done on a flat surface while on jackstands? Should you loosen all bolts and re-torque, and is there a sequence to be followed when torquing them, like on a manifold?
 

Frankie the Fink

Well-Known Member
When tightening the bolts on the crossmember, does it need to be done on a flat surface while on jackstands? Should you loosen all bolts and re-torque, and is there a sequence to be followed when torquing them, like on a manifold?
I have a set of Race Ramps and I drove the T-Bird up on those to torque the crossmember bolts. I don’t think you need to use a cross-cross pattern as that is for rigid parts that aren’t already tightened down to some extent - I didn’t.
 

WesTxStoner425

2004 Platinum over Sand interior
Yeah, I've got 2 ramps, I'll just roll onto them enough to offset my driveway's incline, set the parking brake and chock the other wheels, then tighten them down. I just got my car back after having the valve cover gaskets, COPs, plugs, thermostat and new housing done, and she runs great! I was having intermittent AC temp fluctuations, too, but that seems to be cured. I wanted to do the work myself, but El Paso temps have been pretty high, (17 straight 100+ days, highest was 109; but it's a DRY heat...:D and no garage space).
 

Frankie the Fink

Well-Known Member
You will most likely encounter a plastic splash shield at the front of the foremost crosmember held on by pushpins if I recall correctly; easily dropped down to get to a few of the bolts....that's on an '02, I can't say if later years are different.

My car was never hurt or Bubba-ed, even so, about 10 of the bolts took a 1/2 to 3/4 turn to reach spec and a couple took over a full turn. Torquing to the proper spec did make a "seat of the pants" difference in the firmness of the ride....
 
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