Maybe someone can help

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Good morning and Happy Easter to everybody. Happy Passover to my Jewish friends.

I am having a bit of a problem with my Thunderbird and I hope that everyone here realizes that what I am about to say is not meant to "rag" on the T-Bird---rather, I want to point out a few things that I am disappointed with.

Yesterday turned out to be a pretty nice day here in the Northeast. the high temp. where I live turned out to be 75 under bright sunshine so naturally, having taken the top off my car last week, it was cruising time. Down came the top, and away I went.

Thisi is a good place to make my first point. If Ford doesn't do something about that HORRIBLE boot, they ought to be shot. WHAT A CHORE!!! And this was even after going through the trouble of letting it warm up.

Anyway, I have noticed, sadly, that the car has lost a TON of structural rigidity without it's top. It's amazing what that 83 pounds of plastic actually does. Might be time for an even thicker X-brace on future models.

I decided to go get a friend and take off for the New York Auto Show. 90-minute ride, good chance to stretch the 'Bird's legs on a highway jaunt. This is when I became totally, completely embarrassed. I posted 2 months ago that there was a horible noise coming from the top of my dash. Well, yesterday, it was out in full song. I couldn't make it stop and it was SO annoying. UGH!!!! Now it has been joined by some creaking noises in the center stack area. I was so embarrassed in front of my friend I couldn't stand it. I didn't know what to say---I had to listen to these noises all the way up and back from New York.

Also, there is now a rattling noise which is getting worse and louder somewhere in the top well area behind the driver seat. Every time the car was set off balance by a bump in the road and the body was forced to flex, there was the rattle---loud and obnoxious. More embarrassment. By the way, this noise occurs with top up or down.

All in all, I was disappointed with my first long distance trip. It made me wish that I had taken my Honda on the trip, and that's not right. I can't help but already feel agitated that all I have in front of me this week is aggravation in trying to explain my problems to the Ford dealer. Why does it always seem to be the case that America can't get a car right in its first year? Why should I even have these problems. Sigh.

If anyone has had similar problems and has managed to repair them successfully, please let me know. PLease don't use this thread to get on a soapbox and tell me how sorry you are and that your car is perfect, because quite frankly, I don't feel like hearing it--I only want to get my car fixed. I love looking at my car--I think it's the best looking car I've ever owned. I just can't honestly say that I look forward to driving it again until these problems are fixed.

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I too share some of your concerns and issues.
My car "seems" quieter (less creaks and squeeks) with the top OFF.

The only consistent noises are a vibrating noise in the dash and the rattling noise you described behind the driver's seat. The other squeeks and rattles are intermittent, but you can surely bet they will be there.

I doubt (fear) these are not easy fixes.

No doubt this is a great car, but these things combined with the less than best in class paint job makes me "like" the car, not "love" it.

This is not exactly a popular opinion on this board, but I think there are open mided people that feel it is ok to post honest opinions. I doubt my car, or yours, is much different than most all of the other new Birds, I think we are less tolerant of where Ford missed the boat.

I know you asked for solutions, I don't have any. Just wanted you to know there is a least one other that shares your frustration.
My center stack also has a very loud noise, I found if I smack it between the air vents and the CD, it goes away for awhile.

Also, the snaps on the top cover are very tight and easy to break off when trying to remove it if you are not very careful. I've broken one already.
I don't know about your noises but throwing my 2 cents in, I drove all over on Saturday with my top down, fast and slow and did not hear any of the things you describe. Sure the boot is a bit troublesome but again mine goes on with out much trouble. Maybe I didn't notice as I drive my '57 bird a lot and have gotten used noises and cowl shakes

2002 Black/Black/Full Red
1957 Starmist Blue
1981 Shay ('55 Reproduction)(just sold it)
With all due respect, 57 bluebird, I didn't ask for people to tell me that their car is perfect. I only want this thread to be about people with cars that have similar problems and maybe if we all put our heads together we can fix them. I see that I am not alone---maybe we can all figure out what to do and get these issues straightened out.

Also, the boot is the least of my problems--I can deal with that. These other isues though, are the problems that are giving me nightmares.
Thanks for posting your candid experience with your first topless ride. I am still waiting for delivery but am very interested in determining if these noises are a common flaw in the T-Bird. Importantly also, can they be easily corrected? I would appreciate you and others posting what you find out from your dealer.

I have had no experience with noises. The car is plastic, temperature changes effect plastic and that could be one cause for these noises.
If something is loose, it should make noise all the time and at any temperature, top on or off.

The 2002 Bird is less rigid that the 55-57s but the noises are much less.

There is a post about a CD that has the Service Manual and you might get one of those for a reference before talking to the dealers.

'56 Fiesta Red Bird
'02 Neiman Marcus Bird
Can't find a better way to Fly!
I have had a slight "creek" from the dashboard where it meets the windshield, but I've learned to live with it. I only hear it when I'm going VERY slow and the radio is off. One of these days, when/if I ever take it in for service I'll have them look at it. I just put on the boot today and it took me less than a minute. I did put a drop of white lithium grease on the clasps to make them easier to separate, but otherwise, it's very easy to do. The trick is to make sure the sides are tucked under not sitting on ON top of the car.
The one concern I have is the marks left on the paintwork after I removed the hardtop. I think, once I see the strip that was designed for the '03s, I might retrofit mine with them. It was unforutnate that your first drive was hampered, but I'm sure it will get straightened out and you'll love the car. One thing I've said before that may deserve a second mention is that this IS a mass produced automobile. There are bound to be some that have problems and others that are near perfect. That's what warranties are for. Take the problems to the dealer and let them fix them.
Sorry, Waiting
I didn't mean it the way it sounded. I was just pointing out that it may not be a general problem with all the birds. I was not knocking your car and I was not bragging about mine. I would like to see all the birds perfect. Sometimes in an effort to get an answer out, they come across in the wrong way. I hope someone comes up with the right solution.

2002 Black/Black/Full Red
1957 Starmist Blue
1981 Shay ('55 Reproduction)(just sold it)
Well, I took the 'Bird into the dealer today. I'll keep everyone posted on the progress, if there is any. After talking with the dealer personnel, I'm not optimistic.

Stay tuned.
I too am less than pleased with the lack of structural rigidity with the top off. I expected some cowl shake but not as much as it seems to have. I'm concerned about how much more this will loosen up over time. I figure the car is as tight now as it is ever going to be. When I go into the dealer I'm going to check to make sure all of the bracing seems to be attached well.

I have some kind of rattle down in the boot well that I hear with the soft top up. Almost sounds like a snap rattle. It seems to me to be behind the passenge seat.


#3739 Premium
Torch Red w/matching top
Standard Interior
My Bird is pretty rattle-free, except for something gurgling faintly in one of the AC vents when the blower runs on high.

However, I did have a faint clicking when turning the steering wheel that turned out to be something pretty significant, apparently. The clicking got worse, and you could feel a little jolt through the wheel. The dealer called Ford, and Ford said to replace the entire steering column--not something I really wanted to have done to a car with only 850 miles on it, but I guess it has to be done. With my luck, it will probably come back with the wheel mounted 17 degrees off center and a gash in the seat where a rivet on the mechanic's jeans snagged the leather.

(I mean, the entire steering column? Come on, Ford, you oughta be able to do better than this!)
I too noticed a marked reduction in structural rigidity with the top off, which surprised me. Rattles and buzzes I have are:
- The center stack chatters with the top removed, but not with it on. I'm pretty sure there isn't a cure for that one short of disassembling the whole thing and coating all the meeting surfaces with some sort of lubricant.
- The glove box lid buzzes. I'm going to rub some silicon on the rubber bumper, and I expect that to alleviate the problem.
- The plastic cover on the passenger side visor vanity mirror buzzes against the plastic frame of the hardtop. Usually reseating it once makes it go away.

But, I'm not complaining.
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