1. Please sign in or join the Thunderbird club free to access the search page and many other free site features.
    If you forgot your password click here.

    Click the "X" to the right to dismiss this notice.
    Dismiss Notice

Aftermarket Performance Upgrades 2002 2003 2004 2005 Thunderbird

Discussion in '2002 - 2005 Ford Thunderbird' started by tbird, Nov 19, 2016.

  1. I was wondering the same thing! A 5.0 would be a tight fit, but maybe?
    John Hayman likes this.
  2. Sierra977

    Sierra977 Well-Known Member Lifetime Donor

    Jaguar AJ34 4.2L engine fits. Aston-Martin AJ47 4.7L fits as well but need to convert car to dry-sump. AM engine sits lower in chassis to make room for vertical inlet runners.

    Late production Jaguar 5.0L Gen III AJ133 engines fit but need some electronics matching.

    My 2004
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
    ChuckH262, John Hayman and tbird like this.
  3. Quickdraw

    Quickdraw 2004 Member of the Year Lifetime Donor

    The days of swapping engines is long gone. Everything in todays automobiles is computer controlled - even the gas pedal and steering wheel are not directly mechanically connected to the components they operate. The retro Thunderbirds have at least three computers. Anyone wanting to swap engines will have to build their own computers to control its operation. In 2002 when Ford owned Jaguar they had to devote an entire team of engineers to building a translator computer to adapt the Jaguar supercharger to the Ford-built engines - plans that were later dropped
    Elaineinwa and John Hayman like this.
  4. John Hayman

    John Hayman Well-Known Member Lifetime Donor

    Looks like Sierra knows how.
    Deohge likes this.
  5. Quickdraw

    Quickdraw 2004 Member of the Year Lifetime Donor

    Has he done it? No. Note his statement that it needs some "electronics matching" I defy someone to show me with a non-standard engine installed If Ford needed a team of engineers to build a translator computer JUST FOR THE SUPERCHARGER then imagine the difficulty of building a translating computer for the entire engine.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2018
    Elaineinwa likes this.
  6. I have a CAI on my 2002 and you are right , K&N does not make them.I forgot who made mine, i will take a look.I also put on the Borla cat back.Sounds nice and a good power increase after adding the 2.
    tbird likes this.
  7. Sierra977

    Sierra977 Well-Known Member Lifetime Donor

    What seems like black magic to old people is simple for others. Interfacing electronic engine/transmission control modules is simpler with CANBUS. Many shops do this everyday. Son-in-law works for Vorshlag installing GM LS engines/transmissions in BMWs.


    "Vorshlag Motorsports at its core is a leading manufacturer of high end suspension components such as camber-caster adjustment plates, spherical shock mounts, and other suspension components. These components are designed and manufactured 100% in house at our facility in Plano, Texas. We also make competition motor and transmission mounts, wheel stud conversion kits, brake cooling kits and other performance related products for dozens of modern sports cars. Vorshlag is also a leading developer of LSx V8 engine swap kits for several BMW models and the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ. Visit our services page to learn more!"
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
  8. Quickdraw

    Quickdraw 2004 Member of the Year Lifetime Donor

    Well when you hear of anyone installing a different engine in a Thunderbird you let us know OK? An awful lot of things seem easy until you try to do them. I know of the difficulty Ford had in getting two different electronic systems to talk to each other, with the multitude of sensors, just to add a supercharger to a proposed (but canceled) model.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2018
    Elaineinwa likes this.
  9. JW in Dixie

    JW in Dixie Well-Known Member Lifetime Donor

    Oh, Lord, long may my Bird run!
    Elaineinwa likes this.
  10. Transporter

    Transporter Well-Known Member Lifetime Donor

    Yes but if it isn't your daily driver and the engine dies, all is not lost. As long as something catastrophic hasn't happened like a cracked block or such, the core is still useable. And even then, there is probably a junkyard block or whole motor available someplace. So if one has the time and is doing a rebuild, time to bore 30 over and stoke the motor if the EMC can handle that (anybody know). Both Sierra997 and Quickdraw are probably right which is hard to imagine. I am betting it can be done the issue is is it just a swap and a few extras here or there OR is one better off just buying a different vehicle because the cost is to great?

    I have a 2002 so for me it is easy to go to a 2003-2005 for some quick horsepower. Things are not like what they used to be when my 350 Camaro needed engine work and we found that the block was bad, my dad found a 350 4 bolt main block from a pickup truck, had it bored 60 over and installed new rods and pistons to make it a stroker at 383. Then found a good set of heads, had them shaved, re-decked, and a three angle valve job. Now those were the days of engine swaps!

    Obviously there is a short list of engines that could be shoehorned in-between the fenders, the questions is its a 2002-2005 and not a 1965 so there will be transmission and engine management issues. The market is really to small for anybody to send the money to figure this all out. The 2002-2005 Thunderbird is not a Mazda Miata.

    Lastly a custom NOS kit would be the cheapest route to non-fulltime additional cubic inches.
    JW in Dixie likes this.
  11. Transporter

    Transporter Well-Known Member Lifetime Donor

    I have been looking at the performance upgrades for the 2002. I know they are going to be lower gains then the 2003-2005. My question is do you think they are worth the $1300 investment (exhaust and tuner)?

    When it comes time to replace worn suspension I am going with the performance parts. We have three Fords, can the same Tuner be used on all three of them? The site I looked at seemed to say Yes, but at the same time it said once the unit was "paired" to a vehicle it was with that vehicle. Is it as simple as "unpairing" it and pairing it to the new vehicle until it needs used with the other vehicle again? That would make sense to me (I'm an Engineer so I tend to think that way), but when you don't really know, I have found out that that is NOT how it is 7 out of 10 times because the company didn't do it the logical engineer way. Also one would think they would mention that it could be paired and unpaired then paired to another vehicle as many times as is needed to make sales easier unless of course they want people to think they can't and buy a tuner for each vehicle. If one has different brand cars, it is a given they need more then one unit. We have a 2002 Thunderbird, 2003 Expedition, and 2015 Mustang.
  12. Quickdraw

    Quickdraw 2004 Member of the Year Lifetime Donor

    I paid about $750 for the Borla sound on my 2002... It was a nice sound but a poor investment. I really doubt there was a performance improvement but it sounds faster. Unless you are going to race the car, or put it on a dyno, I don't think it's worth $1300 but your mileage may vary.
  13. I have the Borla on my 03 and I love it. It has a wonderful throaty roar when I accelerate. It is just fun to hear.
    tbird likes this.
  14. PrettyInCashmere

    PrettyInCashmere Custom Cashmere Edition Lifetime Donor

    Yes it is a sweet sound. We did not get Borla for performance, we got it for sound

    and it does put a gentle low frequency thunder in the Thunderbird
    tbird likes this.
  15. tbird

    tbird Forum Moderator Staff Member Lifetime Donor

    No, you must have a SCT tuner for each car, and you can only marry/unmarry the tuner from a car 5 times.
    Elaineinwa and ChuckH262 like this.
  16. tbird

    tbird Forum Moderator Staff Member Lifetime Donor

    @312 who made your CAI?
    Georgia Cat likes this.
  17. I installed all three of these last summer with the exact same brands. I then went on a road trip to most the national parks in Utah and not one day did I have to travel top up! A Trip to remember! The performance of my bird is amazing and what a head turner!
    Elaineinwa, ChuckH262, Deohge and 2 others like this.
  18. tag

    tag Active Member Lifetime Donor

    I installed the K&N system on my 2004 and it fit and work's great.
    ChuckH262 likes this.
  19. tag

    tag Active Member Lifetime Donor

    ChuckH262 likes this.
  20. tag

    tag Active Member Lifetime Donor

    I want to install a Borla exhaust on my 2004 bird however the system recommended does not fit according to Amazon and on the Borla web site they say they don't make one. Anyone have an answer to this?
    John Hayman and ChuckH262 like this.

Help us by sharing/liking this page!

Shop Amazon.comPlease shop Amazon.com using this link to support the forum!