Thinking of buying a 2003 or 04 TBIRd

I am considering the purchase of a 03 or 04 TBIRD. I joined your site today and after reading the numerous posts about ignition issues I am very concerned. Both cars I am looking at have under 25k miles.

One of the cars has the original tires.

What about colors, does that effect the value? I saw a blue 03 and a green 04.

Any help is appreciated.
 
I've never bought a car the first year of a model change. Let me explain, 02 to 03 was a major engine swap for the Bird. But they kept the same Drivetrain from 02 until the end. That's why I have bought 2 different 04's. A Pacific Coast Roster and now a Silver Bird. I had to sell the PCR when we moved across country from California to Tennessee. In October while visiting relatives in MI I ran across a sweet one owner 04 Silver Bird with only 18k miles. Good luck
 

Almonte

Active Member
sit in it, and get the feel for the one you like. colour is a personal choice. i have a 2003 whisper white and love it. suggest you change all the tires, all the fluids, and check the suspension rubbers (probably need changing too), and check the spare tire (probably deflated, and you may need a new one). enjoy!
 
Engine change from 02 to 03 was minor. They went to variable valve timing and drive by wire acceleration. The expensive to repair hydraulic cooling system is also gone after 2002. I prefer the dash looks in 03 and up as the passenger side airbag is not visible.
 
Don't forget the old Maxim spire tire. You don't want it to blowing up in the trunk because of it's age. Like Bond007 said Tires may be a problem. It all depends on their age. If the tires are the Original they are too old and old tires are DANGEROUS. I when through thak with both of my t-Birds.
 

BillM

Active Member
Before you buy check the suspension boots, like Almonte said they are probably bad if they have not been changed by now. This can get expensive so price the car accordingly. I have an 03 and drive it most everyday and enjoy it, I had to change out all the boots in the suspension, also ask if they have done any thing with the thermostat housing or hoses. If not you will want to look into having that replaced as these cars are not getting some age on them.
 
Get any year you choose, the 2002 T Bird is simply the engine and drive train from 2000 to 2002 Lincoln LS, and
Jaguar S Type. All years are equally dependable. The plastic thermostat housing, cops, fuel pump, etc, is the same
on all T Birds. Also the ball joint boots rotting is an issue on all T Birds. Many more 2002 T Birds were made
than any other year, that is why more are for sale.

Both of my T Birds have the hydraulic fan, and both are original, and trouble free. It is easy to get parts to
replace any bad part, and not expensive. Since I have two T Birds, I went ahead and bought spare hydraulic
fan parts, so when they do ever go bad, I have them.

I have two 2002 T Birds and both have been great. Go by price, color, and mileage, do not worry about the year.
 
You can see the front top ball joints by looking in between the top of the tire, and below the fender. You
will see the top ball joint, see if the rubber boot is cracked, or parts of the boot is missing. This is a good
indicator of the rest of the rubber parts. You can also drive the car, go over some humps in the road and
see it the rear end makes any squeaking noise, or knocking sounds.. That is a good indicator of how the
bushings are.

You really can not just replace the boots. Generally when the boots are bad, many other parts of the
suspension are bad also. When I replaced the bad parts on both of my T Birds, I found that many of
the bushings were bad, and most all the boots were bad.

All the parts which are easily available, many times in packages or groups. I did the labor myself, not
hard, but took 9 hours for all four corners. The parts ran in the mid $700s.

Have to remember these cars are 17 years old, they need a little loving. My cars drove like new after
replacing all the suspension parts. Glad I did them.

I could have just replaced about half the parts, but why not replace everything, and be done with it
for 17 more years, maybe more.
 

BillM

Active Member
I did the same as edward03 said replaced all the bad parts in the suspension, only hard part at first were the stabilizer bars in the rear but NAPA had them available. Also under the hood if the plastic on thermostat housing or radiator hoses is bad do yourself a favor and replace all of it at once and while I was down that far replaced water pump and belt so won't have do that job hopefully again. good luck
 
Good luck with your T bird- Its doubtful they will appreciate much in our lifetime and they are Super expensive to repair, However........
There is no better feeling than driving down I 95 at night with the top down, ( after just taking your legal medical marijuana med) a cold beer in hand, and you might just add a little LOUD Metallica!!!!!!!!!! These cars were so cool from day 1 and so, like Harleys, the design could never be changed.
Also- if you smack it up you will need a miracle to find body parts, as there are no aftermarket companies because only 68,000 were ever made.
In the end, I think mine will end up in my living room as a conversation piece. ENJOY it- Drive the hell out of it and dont worry about it- Were gonna be dead a
L O N G time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
One of the FIRST things to check is to turn on the lights and see if the shifter console PRNDL letters light up, if they do NOT then you have an FEM (Front Electronics Module) issue - this is very common on these cars and a whole cottage industry is alive and well on repairing them...
 
Frankie- my Ford dealer here in Vero Beach Floriduh always paints a bleak expensive picture when it comes to repairing my 2002. Maybe just maybe you are in Floridaze or could give me the name of someone who could repair replace my fem and radiator without a bill of over $3000????

Thanks in advance,
Brock
 
I think the way retro bird owners are treated by the dealers is pretty bad...

I'm in Winter Garden, FL a pretty good hike from you but there are only two people that work on my cars for serious repairs (and that includes a 1963 Corvette):

CRM Automotive - you can talk to Chris at 407 877-2886 in Winter Garden to see if he would tackle it and you want to drive that far,.they give veterans discounts too.

Next is Jason Swoope (a mobile mechanic) - great young guy and I don't know if he would drive down to Vero, maybe if the travel is covered. 808 344-1209.

In either case it would be best if you already have the parts....the radiators are available, working FEMs are not unless you've had yours repaired and in hand. You can't get those off-the-shelf. If you buy a used, repaired FEM it HAS to be for 2002 as 2003-2005 are different. No re-programming is required to replace one. Having one sent off, repaired and returned runs about $250...

The radiator will take some work, plugging in an FEM is removing a kick panel, loosen a few bolts, and plug in some electrical connectors (6 or 8 or them, I don't remember precisely)..

Either way, the bill would be a helluva lot less than $3,000.
 
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