NOOB here with questions about the dreaded "COP" problem

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tommyc
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Joined
Sep 5, 2017
Thunderbird Year
2004
Moderator Note: 2018 COPS Discussion is here- https://forums.fordthunderbirdforum...-05-ford-thunderbird-ignition-coils-cop.5040/

Hi there, I'm Tom!

Just to get this out of the way . . . I don't own a bird and never have (yet). I did have a '94 Cougar, but that may be sacrilege to mention here. LOL

Anyway, I have been interested in acquiring a convertible--more as a weekend driver--and I always liked the 2002-2005 birds. I've looked at a few options . . . the Saturn Sky is nice and most owners seem to like them, but the first complaint I hear is about the storage space. With the top down the trunk is all but useless. Some of the Audis are nice also, but I'm a union guy and prefer to buy American. My only vehicle now is an '04 F-150 (235K miles).

So my attention has turned to the 02-05 birds, and my first thought went to the COP problem. I had the pleasure (on most days) of owning two Lincoln LS. My ex took the last one six years ago. Both of them had the coils replaced at least twice. This is an ordeal I don't wish to repeat--at least not in the costly way I was forced to before.

I joined here to learn as much as possible about these amazing cars, but also to check for info on improvements to the available COP packs. I thought by now an aftermarket manufacturer might have developed a product that addressed the problems seen with the OEM version.

Since joining I've read several threads devoted to this topic, and see some promising news about a set of packs available on Amazon from Parts Galaxy. I've also seen a lot of helpful hints and advice on better ways to install replacements to prolong their life. If nothing else, the cost of these packs is remarkably lower than what I recall from my LS days. Assuming their quality is better, it would definitely be a win/win.

If anyone has any additional comments or suggestions on this topic I would be grateful for the information. Again, I've seen several very helpful forums about this issue, but it never hurts to ask again. This may be the one determining factor whether I make this investment or not. Likewise, if anyone has suggestions on other issues I might want to consider before making this decision I would welcome your thoughts.

Please accept my compliments on a well-managed forum. I've belonged to several similar forums for other interests, and everyone here seems much more polite and helpful. That's the way it should be. Thanks again!

Tom
 
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Hi Tom,
We're the new owners of a 2002 Tbird purchased in June of this year. We ran into the coil issue shortly after we bought the car with 29K miles on it. It started skipping going up hill, we bought a set of coils from Parts Galaxy for $40 and had a local mechanic install them along with a set of Bosch Platinum 2 spark plugs, total cost was $350 for everything. After extensive research online, I posted a great deal of info on a previous thread, if you search "cops" it'll come up. The car has been running perfect since, the way we see it is, even if we have to do this yearly for a cost of $350, it's no different than owning most other newer vehicles that would go in for service once a year, seems we've alway spent close to that any time the other cars we've owned over the years have gone in to be serviced at the Dealership. The rewards of owning and driving one of these cars far out weigh the cops issue in our opinion. Good luck with whatever you decide!
 
Hi there, I'm Tom!

Just to get this out of the way . . . I don't own a bird and never have (yet). I did have a '94 Cougar, but that may be sacrilege to mention here. LOL

Anyway, I have been interested in acquiring a convertible--more as a weekend driver--and I always liked the 2002-2005 birds. I've looked at a few options . . . the Saturn Sky is nice and most owners seem to like them, but the first complaint I hear is about the storage space. With the top down the trunk is all but useless. Some of the Audis are nice also, but I'm a union guy and prefer to buy American. My only vehicle now is an '04 F-150 (235K miles).

So my attention has turned to the 02-05 birds, and my first thought went to the COP problem. I had the pleasure (on most days) of owning two Lincoln LS. My ex took the last one six years ago. Both of them had the coils replaced at least twice. This is an ordeal I don't wish to repeat--at least not in the costly way I was forced to before.

I joined here to learn as much as possible about these amazing cars, but also to check for info on improvements to the available COP packs. I thought by now an aftermarket manufacturer might have developed a product that addressed the problems seen with the OEM version.

Since joining I've read several threads devoted to this topic, and see some promising news about a set of packs available on Amazon from Parts Galaxy. I've also seen a lot of helpful hints and advice on better ways to install replacements to prolong their life. If nothing else, the cost of these packs is remarkably lower than what I recall from my LS days. Assuming their quality is better, it would definitely be a win/win.

If anyone has any additional comments or suggestions on this topic I would be grateful for the information. Again, I've seen several very helpful forums about this issue, but it never hurts to ask again. This may be the one determining factor whether I make this investment or not. Likewise, if anyone has suggestions on other issues I might want to consider before making this decision I would welcome your thoughts.

Please accept my compliments on a well-managed forum. I've belonged to several similar forums for other interests, and everyone here seems much more polite and helpful. That's the way it should be. Thanks again!

Tom
Hi and welcome
If you are interested in owning a 02 and at the same time owning a rare car, then perhaps you would be interested in mine as I have had 1 total knee replacement and waiting for the other knee to be done so I am having trouble getting in and out of my 02
It is Red with a White hardtop, and a solid black interior
It is 1 of 4 Canadian cars built like this
If you are interested please email me at doeringr@telus.net

Richard
 
COP issue is common and well documented. I just look at it as a normal maintenance thing.
Just plan on buying a new set with new plugs and installing yourself. No big deal. I did mine in an afternoon for ~$100 parts all in. Runs like a top now.
 
I'm a new owner, bought an '02 earlier this year. I almost backed out of the purchase reading mainstream complaint sites about the ignition coil problem. Then I found forums like this and a few others with like minded people who love these cars and realized like Pelagic above ^^ that it's really no big deal. Any 15 year old car is gonna have it's issues, and ignition coils are just the TBirds thing.
 
Hi Tom,
We're the new owners of a 2002 Tbird purchased in June of this year. We ran into the coil issue shortly after we bought the car with 29K miles on it. It started skipping going up hill, we bought a set of coils from Parts Galaxy for $40 and had a local mechanic install them along with a set of Bosch Platinum 2 spark plugs, total cost was $350 for everything. After extensive research online, I posted a great deal of info on a previous thread, if you search "cops" it'll come up. The car has been running perfect since, the way we see it is, even if we have to do this yearly for a cost of $350, it's no different than owning most other newer vehicles that would go in for service once a year, seems we've alway spent close to that any time the other cars we've owned over the years have gone in to be serviced at the Dealership. The rewards of owning and driving one of these cars far out weigh the cops issue in our opinion. Good luck with whatever you decide!

Thanks BBird! Your previous posts were some of the most helpful ones I saw. Very thorough. And very generous of you to take the time and provide so many details. I cant disagree with your logic about the annualized costs. I can remember being quoted over $1500 by the dealer to replace all of the COPs. I ended up paying a local shop over $500 to replace them all with a NAPA set. I just had a feeling that time and ingenuity would take care of this problem.

Cheers!
 
Thanks to everyone for your comments. It sounds like the COP issue has been adequately addressed as commented above.

I have another question (which may belong in another thread), and I confess I haven't researched to any extent here. Both of the Lincoln LS I owned were 02 models, and I had to replace the hydraulic water pump on one of them. I knew even then the 03-06 LS came equipped with an electric pump (with improved alternator), as well as higher HP. For these reasons, as well as cosmetic improvements I began looking more seriously for a time at the later-model LS.

I understand the 02 TBird was essentially the same mechanically as the 02 LS, and the 03-05 birds tracked the changes to the LS of the same model years. This would tend to make me look more seriously toward the 03-05 models, but it also seems the 02 birds came with the widest variety of color options and interior combinations.

Many folks here have the 02 models, which makes perfect sense since this was the highest production year. But does anyone have any comments or thoughts on the difference between the 02 and the later years? Is the difference in HP noticeable--for those who may have owned or driven both? Any other reliability issues that might drive the decision about which year to look at?

I'm sure the 02 owners are quite happy with their cars, and I don't mean to paint that year poorly with this question. I may end up with one. Both of the 02 LS I had were amazing cars, and aside from the few service problems I mentioned I was very happy. I'm just looking for insight on what may be the best model in different folks' experience--for someone like me who doesn't own one yet. Any thoughts or comments are appreciated!
 
Hi Tom,
even if we have to do this yearly for a cost of $350, it's no different than owning most other newer vehicles that would go in for service once a year, seems we've alway spent close to that any time the other cars we've owned over the years have gone in to be serviced at the Dealership. The rewards of owning and driving one of these cars far out weigh the cops issue in our opinion. Good luck with whatever you decide!

I purchased a set at Autozone and they have a lifetime guarantee. Replacing them is rather easy. I can pull them out every year and get new ones. No questions asked.
 
Took the plunge right after the new year, and acquired a very nice '04 retro. 28.5K miles. Really great shape inside and out.

I live near Orlando in Lake County. Interesting story about this car is that it spent most of its life in Leesburg; about 25 miles from where I am now. It was traded, sent to auction, acquired by a dealer in Jacksonville, where it eventually made it to eBay. Had it delivered back to Lake County last week.

The only functional problem I've encountered so far is something I had seen with my former Lincoln LS . . . at times the driver side vent is blowing hot while the passenger side is blowing cold. This is happening when the dual control is on. I seem to recall a diverter-type component sticking on the LS. There's probably a thread here somewhere dealing with this, but if anyone has insight you can share I would be grateful.

Cosmetically, the emblems on the scuff plates (both sides) are damaged. Almost like salt or something corrosive ate into them. No indication the car has ever been out of Florida, and we don't salt the roads here. I've been looking around the web and haven't been able to find an OEM replacement. Lots of stainless, LED, and other custom designs, but I'm inclined to stay with the base type. Picture below. Does anyone have any experience with replacing these?

20180120_131708_resized.jpg

Aside from these minor issues, I'm enjoying the car and exploring this forum. Lots of great info and dedicated members. Glad to be here!
 
Moderator Note: 2018 COPS Discussion is here- https://forums.fordthunderbirdforum...-05-ford-thunderbird-ignition-coils-cop.5040/

Hi there, I'm Tom!

Just to get this out of the way . . . I don't own a bird and never have (yet). I did have a '94 Cougar, but that may be sacrilege to mention here. LOL

Anyway, I have been interested in acquiring a convertible--more as a weekend driver--and I always liked the 2002-2005 birds. I've looked at a few options . . . the Saturn Sky is nice and most owners seem to like them, but the first complaint I hear is about the storage space. With the top down the trunk is all but useless. Some of the Audis are nice also, but I'm a union guy and prefer to buy American. My only vehicle now is an '04 F-150 (235K miles).

So my attention has turned to the 02-05 birds, and my first thought went to the COP problem. I had the pleasure (on most days) of owning two Lincoln LS. My ex took the last one six years ago. Both of them had the coils replaced at least twice. This is an ordeal I don't wish to repeat--at least not in the costly way I was forced to before.

I joined here to learn as much as possible about these amazing cars, but also to check for info on improvements to the available COP packs. I thought by now an aftermarket manufacturer might have developed a product that addressed the problems seen with the OEM version.

Since joining I've read several threads devoted to this topic, and see some promising news about a set of packs available on Amazon from Parts Galaxy. I've also seen a lot of helpful hints and advice on better ways to install replacements to prolong their life. If nothing else, the cost of these packs is remarkably lower than what I recall from my LS days. Assuming their quality is better, it would definitely be a win/win.

If anyone has any additional comments or suggestions on this topic I would be grateful for the information. Again, I've seen several very helpful forums about this issue, but it never hurts to ask again. This may be the one determining factor whether I make this investment or not. Likewise, if anyone has suggestions on other issues I might want to consider before making this decision I would welcome your thoughts.

Please accept my compliments on a well-managed forum. I've belonged to several similar forums for other interests, and everyone here seems much more polite and helpful. That's the way it should be. Thanks again!

Tom
 
I believe the COP problems are mostly limited to the 2002 model. I have had my 2004 for over three years now without any COP issues.
 
I believe the COP problems are mostly limited to the 2002 model. I have had my 2004 for over three years now without any COP issues.
This isn't the case. The flaws that lead to the problem are the same for all model years. Ford issued TSB 05-16-2 (attached here) to address this, and the TSB covered all cars made through 5/1/2004--basically the end of the '04 model year. I know of people with '05s who have reported the same problem.

Ford also issued programs 07M07 and 07N09 to address certain model years. I have a copy of the letter from 2003 attached here, but I believe these were also extended out to the later model years.

My '04 received the 07M07 service and parts according to the warranty history report. (It was done in 2015--the first owner took delivery in 2005 so they just got it in under the wire.) But nonetheless I found my driver's side plugs and coils submerged in water a few months after I bought the car.

If you haven't had to deal with this, consider yourself blessed and keep doing whatever it is you're doing. This is an older thread--there's much better info and lots of advice and pics at this pinned thread:

https://forums.fordthunderbirdforum...-05-ford-thunderbird-ignition-coils-cop.5040/

Good luck!
 

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Took the plunge right after the new year, and acquired a very nice '04 retro. 28.5K miles. Really great shape inside and out.

I live near Orlando in Lake County. Interesting story about this car is that it spent most of its life in Leesburg; about 25 miles from where I am now. It was traded, sent to auction, acquired by a dealer in Jacksonville, where it eventually made it to eBay. Had it delivered back to Lake County last week.

The only functional problem I've encountered so far is something I had seen with my former Lincoln LS . . . at times the driver side vent is blowing hot while the passenger side is blowing cold. This is happening when the dual control is on. I seem to recall a diverter-type component sticking on the LS. There's probably a thread here somewhere dealing with this, but if anyone has insight you can share I would be grateful.

Cosmetically, the emblems on the scuff plates (both sides) are damaged. Almost like salt or something corrosive ate into them. No indication the car has ever been out of Florida, and we don't salt the roads here. I've been looking around the web and haven't been able to find an OEM replacement. Lots of stainless, LED, and other custom designs, but I'm inclined to stay with the base type. Picture below. Does anyone have any experience with replacing these?

View attachment 1449

Aside from these minor issues, I'm enjoying the car and exploring this forum. Lots of great info and dedicated members. Glad to be here!
 
I have a set of door sills that are almost perfect. I pulled them off my 2003 when I put in the custom stainless sills my daughter gave me.
I can send pictures if you are interested
 
And my husband told me that his Taurus had the same issue with the COPs and he replaced them on that car at least 2x
 
I found it easier to change the cops and plugs on my tbird than on my 2003 GMC 4 cyl pickup. In my pickup I had to go into the wheel well to route the wires. The tbird is remove the cover, pull the old ones and pop new ones in. It took about two hours
 
MY COPs went out on my 03 - six months to a year after the 10 year warranty. I had the car in at a Ford Dealer to be diagnosed, because a year before the dealer had replaced the main CPU in the car , and when the COPs went bad it was acting the same. They said it was COP and they wanted $1200 - $1300 to replace them. I changed em myself, but since they diagnosed the problem I purchase the Motorcraft COPs from them - I think they popped me $350 just for the Coils. Then I found this site and seen where people were buying em off ebay for $50!! They are not that hard to change - a 3/8" drive with a couple of extensions, and a swivel . If you don't want to replace em yourself I bet an independent shop could do it for a 1/3 of what a Ford Dealer would want.
 
I have a set of door sills that are almost perfect. I pulled them off my 2003 when I put in the custom stainless sills my daughter gave me.
I can send pictures if you are interested
Thanks for asking about the kick plates. I've already found NOS inserts that worked in my original plates.

I like the way your stainless plates look. I considered them but they look like they would be easy to scratch--especially for guys with big feet like me. ;)
 
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