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Complete Suspension Needs Replaced

Discussion in '2002 - 2005 Ford Thunderbird' started by Scratch, Nov 2, 2017.

  1. Scratch

    Scratch Well-Known Member Lifetime Donor

    Three months now as a T-Bird owner. Finally got around to taking the car into Bluebonnet Ford for an oil change and complete look-over.

    Technician says the entire suspension is shot. Needs upper/lower control arms, ball joints; basically everything needs to be replaced. Service manager (owns a 2002 and 2003) says approximately $10K to replace.

  2. I just had my entire suspension, etc., replaced. I went to Ford dealership near home. Service manager gave me an estimate of $3K. When done, using almost all Ford parts, it came to just under $3K. Using my Ford extended warrantee, I paid $500 out of pocket. I cannot explain the difference in prices. Maybe try another Ford dealership in your area. Hope you have better luck with second opinion.
    ChuckH262 likes this.
  3. Scratch

    Scratch Well-Known Member Lifetime Donor

    Thank you. I'll get a few more estimates...
  4. Quickdraw

    Quickdraw 2004 Member of the Year Lifetime Donor

    Take the car to a good mechanic and get an estimate for a fraction of the cost. And don't be surprised if the mechanic says you don't need to do anything. There are rubber boots around all these joints and they are prone to drying out and cracking. Most Ford dealers want to replace everything when the rubber boots crack, many (most?) other mechanics will say there isn't a problem until these joints actually wear or become loose. But $10,000 is TOTALLY out of whack unless maybe you have over 200,000 miles on the car. I know many people who have done this work themselves for under $1,000 in parts or paid more like $2,000-$2,500 at a Ford dealer.
    ChuckH262, Elaineinwa and Pelagic like this.
  5. Scratch: What is the mileage & year on your T-bird?
  6. Scratch

    Scratch Well-Known Member Lifetime Donor

    2002; garage kept and lots of TLC, but 130,000 miles...
  7. Scratch

    Scratch Well-Known Member Lifetime Donor

    Yep. He said the rubber grommets were all shot. I can understand that after 15 years & 130,000 miles, but to say the entire front and rear suspension needs replacing is questionable in my opinion...
  8. Quickdraw

    Quickdraw 2004 Member of the Year Lifetime Donor

    I'm on another forum where one owner had about 60,000 miles on his car and had the ESP warranty. The Ford dealer REFUSED to repair the torn rubber boots saying that there had to be a problem with the joints themselves before they would repair them under the warranty. Other Ford dealers use the torn boots as an excuse to replace everything. The boots themselves are not available separately and are only sold as an assembly. Try another Ford, or better still, a LINCOLN dealer to give you an opinion. Dealers often use the oil changes to manufacture items needing repair. The closest Ford dealer to me is famous for BS diagnoses of non-existent problems. I always have Ford do "the works" oil change special for $39 that includes tire rotation and inspection of a bunch of items (40?). The oil change before my last one I was told I needed brakes and the mechanic recorded 2mm of pad left. Although I intended to get the brakes replaced elsewhere I procrastinated and 5,000 miles later I went back for The Works oil change and NOTHING was said about brakes, the mechanic recorded 6mm of pad left on the same wheel that the other mechanic recoded 2mm. Although they never mentioned the brakes they said I needed tires... I'm used to it ALWAYS being something needing repair according to them.
    Elaineinwa and Scratch like this.
  9. David S

    David S Active Member Lifetime Donor

    Way to much. Even if you bought expensive parts 2k for parts would be high. It's roughly 1 day labor - if you're a mechanic with a lift.
    Scratch likes this.
  10. Similar experience with my 2005 under 50k and the Ford dealer said I needed to replace most of my suspension. My family mechanic said to ignore them.
    Scratch likes this.
  11. Scratch

    Scratch Well-Known Member Lifetime Donor

    I have an appointment with a local, well-reputed shop next week. They'll go back over the car and give me their opinion concerning issues that should, or need not be immediately addressed. It may need a little (or a lot of) work, but of all the sporty vehicles I've owned, and there have been many through the years; I enjoy this roadster more than any of its predecessors. The body and interior are in awesome shape and I'll eventually get the oil leaks, suspension, radio etc. back to ship shape. Thanks much for all the comments and advice.
  12. captrick

    captrick Well-Known Member Lifetime Donor

    Try taking it to a good front end shop they are specialists in front ends. If it needs to be replaced they will tell you so and you don’t have to pay extra for a front end alignment. They also align the rear ends. Good Luck Rick
  13. Here is the main issue. The rubber boots once cracked allow road dirt and moisture into the joints with the result being almost immediate damage to the joints. This can become a safety issue. I have an 04 with 32k on it and yup age alone reduced the balljoint, trailing arm and even some of the rubber bushings on the control arms to dust. When I took them apart you could easily see the damage caused by dirt and moisture and I live in sunny so.CA. One other note is that almost all suspension parts are labeled as Jaguar as the cars share many of the same parts. Look for parts from a discount OEM source like Tasca and you will find updated OEM parts for less than aftermarket. The new parts have better quality seals etc... The other point is that this is really easy suspension to work on. Parts for the job should run 1700 total so 10k is WAAAAAY out of line. Once you have picked a mechanic or if you decide to diy make sure you have a service manual. The job is easy but there are very specific tricks before disassembling and final torquing to assure proper ride height and suspension travel. Easy but have to be done to get it right.
    ChuckH262 and Elaineinwa like this.
  14. Scratch

    Scratch Well-Known Member Lifetime Donor

    Update: Yesterday morning, I took the T-Bird to Hillside Auto Repair, a highly reputed auto repair shop near my home. I asked the owner to look the car over top to bottom; then advise the major issues that should be addressed. He called today to say that the oil leak should be addressed first by replacing the valve cover gaskets (I knew this). He said the A/C compressor is also leaking and needs to be replaced (I knew this also). He stopped there. I then asked him about the suspension. He said he looked the entire suspension over, test drove the car, and concluded that there is no problem at all with the suspension, including the rubber gaskets/grommets. Total parts and labor: $1500 + tax, including veteran's discount,to remove & replace the valve cover gaskets ($350) and the A/C compressor ($1200). He's repairing the oil leak now. I'll take 'Rudy' back in the spring to resolve the A/C problem. Lesson learned.
    ChuckH262 likes this.
  15. I have used Blue Bonnet about 4 times since 1995 and have been lied to every time. When I got my 05 I'm 2012 it had been 10 years since I had darkened their doors and I took a chance and let them change the oil and filter. BIG MISTAKE ! They left the cover loose on the coolant bottle and 2 mile from the driveway on I-35 the wrench came on and it went into limp mode.. Finally got it cooled down and when I looked at the "Free Inspection" later that day it had more lies than a politician on it! Live and learn.. That being said, NP Lincoln in SA, owned by the same group has always been spot on the few times I needed them. They did all 8 coils, plugs etc. when only 2 were bad on Fords dime.. Glad you got good service at Hillside, never used them but have heard good things about them..
  16. I have owned my 2002 T-Bird since new and it only has 5,000 miles. Always garaged and never driven in rain or snow. In the process of replacing the fuel pumps and was advised and shown that all my suspension rubber boots around all the different joints are drying out and cracking and should be replaced. Of course with only 5000 miles all the various hardware parts(control arms, ball joints, etc.) are all okay and I just need the rubber boots or seals. Is there someplace where I can just get just the rubber items without purchasing the rest of the hardware? Any help you can give would be much appreciated.
  17. I just had all new brakes put on my 2004 Merlot Bird and noticed that the control arm boots are dried out and cracked. My mechanic told me I should replace them to prevent any dirt and grime from getting into those joints. I've searched high and low but all the Ford sites don't show the boots only its the complete suspension.
    Does anyone know any aftermarket dealer that sells the boots only. Please respond and Thanks.
    ChuckH262 likes this.
  18. Take a look at suspension.com. Universal dust boots.
    I replaced the front toe link boots, upper ball joint boots all around with these polyurethane boots.
    ChuckH262 likes this.
  19. Thank you, that is a useful bit of information.
    ChuckH262 likes this.
  20. I purchased a 2002 bird it has 77,000 miles it was used as a daily driver and the suspension is shot,. Front end cost me $800 in parts (I could have gotten cheaper parts but you get what you pay for) it cost $300 to have my local mechanic install then $72 to have it aligned . I have yet to do the rear.
    ChuckH262 likes this.

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