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NOOB here with questions about the dreaded "COP" problem

Discussion in '2002 - 2005 Ford Thunderbird' started by tommyc, Oct 2, 2017.

  1. 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!

  2. 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!
  3. 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

  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

  7. 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!
  8. Gus Gutz

    Gus Gutz Active Member Lifetime Donor

    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.
  9. 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?


    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!

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