TOP FIVE 02-05 T-Bird Problems

Joined
Nov 6, 2015
Thunderbird Year
2003
It would be nice to see a 65th Anniversary Edition provided FMC did is right. Maybe the Mustang platform in convertible only with no back seat, big V8, Auto or Multi Speed Stick, lots of bells yet under $45k
I bought my 2003 in 2015 and its a fun car but quality is poor. I feel sorry for people who paid $40000 + for them.

:)MODERATOR NOTE: See this thread for top Ford Thunderbird mechanical issues.
https://forums.fordthunderbirdforum...-05-ford-thunderbird-ignition-coils-cop.5040/
 
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Joined
Nov 6, 2015
Thunderbird Year
2003
I purchased my 2005 50th Anniv Edition New and have not had any quality issues thus far but she only has 7,000 miles on her. What quality issues have you experienced?
I'm glad you haven't had any problems. Buying mine used comes with its problems but the body and interior are excellent. I have 68000 miles and it's a daily driver for me. Ignition coils, air conditioning have been problems. the center part of dash board, radio, top control and seat heater controls keep coming loose.
 

Free as a Bird

Supporting Contributor
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Thunderbird Year
2002
Purchased new(2002).... currently have 74,600 on the clock. For the 1st 40,000 miles, normal wear and tear and routine dealer service items. Since then, A/C replaced, spare tire blew up in the trunk, 3rd set of tires, new brakes, 3rd battery, constant oil leaks, intermittent engine light, currently dash lights do not work, heat and cold at the same time, 2ndset of coils, leather seat attachment on passenger side is constantly coming apart, headlights have that "fogged" look(always garaged), under dash plastic panel on drivers side cracked and fell down while I was driving.... Yes, I still love the car, and has a great CD player!
 

65Thunder

Active Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2008
Thunderbird Year
1965
I bought my 2003 in 2015 and its a fun car but quality is poor. I feel sorry for people who paid $40000 + for them.
I've been taken back with my 2005 because of the number of electrical issues that have developed. (1) tilt steering's up/down gone; (2) steering wheel's radio control switches gone mad; (3) seats heater switches; (4) rear window defogger. I will look at the new one but won't buy it.
 

Bird52

Active Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2017
Thunderbird Year
2004
I would like to ask if everyone would like to make a list of five issues these cars have?
It would be very helpful and interesting to hear what they are.
It would also help the newbies hear what they are in for.
Everyone already knows the positives of the car or we would not have purchased them, THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL.
Here is my list.
COPS, stereo, AC,transmission, suspension.

:)MODERATOR NOTE: See this thread for top Ford Thunderbird mechanical issues.
https://forums.fordthunderbirdforum...-05-ford-thunderbird-ignition-coils-cop.5040/
 
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Joined
Apr 15, 2011
I would like to ask if everyone would like to make a list of five issues these cars have?
It would be very helpful and interesting to hear what they are.
It would also help the newbies hear what they are in for.
Everyone already knows the positives of the car or we would not have purchased them, THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL.
Here is my list.
COPS, stereo, AC,transmission, suspension.
Thanks for listening......
IMHO you have nailed the top five. Yes I have new cops, stereo (due to tape player), AC (new compressor-lines), new tranny (culprit was PCM MODULE), suspension (rotted boots).

Make modules number 6.

darn I liked this car til you brought this up. Thank goodness for Ford ESP, wish it was still in effect.
 
Joined
Apr 15, 2011
Has anyone taken the engine and tranny out of a 2003 and replaced with a different reliable old style Ford or Chevy small block 289 or Chevy 283 or 327 and transmission?Also what would be the big issues with installation?
Just a guess but I’m thinking that marrying those ole tried and true systems to the Bird’s electronics and modules would be a nightmare
 
Joined
May 25, 2017
Thunderbird Year
2002
I think mine would be the suspension.. I spent $1800 this past summer on rear suspension all the rubber components were rotted out on my 2002 with 17k on the clock.. I may have an a/c issue.. will see next summer. When I picked it up after the rear end work. It was sitting in the dealers lot in 95 degree temps.. it took a while to cool to a point where it was warm air blowing from the vents but eventually it started to cool.. on a couple later road trips the a/c seemed to be working fine.. I hsven't had a COP problem yet knock on wood and the engine and tranny seem fine.. I also had the stereo radio issue with CD and error message.. that to me was an excuse to put in my new NAV system with sirius.. My biggest complaint is the finger prints thst are always on the hood and front fender.. Oh darn that's because of me touching the clean wax finish..
 

cdbintexas

Passed away 11/09/2020
Joined
Aug 28, 2017
Thunderbird Year
2004
I am the third owner of my beautiful 176,000 mile Pacific Coast #824. I have no complaints after 3 years of ownership and 26,000 miles of daily driving! Yes I have replaced hoses and thermostat housing and replaced radio to get Bluetooth. Oh yes, .... and new tires and alignment when I bought it.
By the way nost transmission shift problems go away if you simply update the firmware code in the controller. I consider that normal maint.
 
Joined
Jul 20, 2017
Thunderbird Year
2004
How do you replace the transmission firmware? I had the dealer update my software of some kind last year when I bought my 04, did that also cover this trans software? My trans occasionally shifts kinda hard, thanks!

By the way nost transmission shift problems go away if you simply update the firmware code in the controller. I consider that normal maint.
 

Aquarius

Active Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2015
Thunderbird Year
2003
Yes I'm with Chris would like know how replace transmission firmware as well. My problem is when the car sits for a while, usually drive it on weekends, when I put car in gear in really "clunks into gear". Then will be fine the rest of time driven. Would this problem relate to the firmware?
 

cdbintexas

Passed away 11/09/2020
Joined
Aug 28, 2017
Thunderbird Year
2004
How do you replace the transmission firmware? I had the dealer update my software of some kind last year when I bought my 04, did that also cover this trans software? My trans occasionally shifts kinda hard, thanks!

Mine was updated by an automotive electronic specialist recommended by the transmission overhaul shop as an initial first step. You should ask the Ford dealer what he upgraded Who knows how many computers are on this car.

Equipment to upgrade firmware is not found in most shops, if you are near Dallas I can recommend the shop. Otherwise ask around they are out there.
 
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nukem

sold my 1995 bird....got back to 2004 bird
Joined
Jun 30, 2015
Thunderbird Year
2004
2004 problems Coil pac....front control module (light module)...fuel pump...and now the 2nd pump is going out....read only 1/2 when full....love the car ....but...upgraded brakes....cold air system...touch sceen radio...gps...sweet ride...
 
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Joined
Mar 6, 2019
Thunderbird Year
2002
The only good part of the car is the body, I bought my 2002 last November with 144000 miles, I'm the 3rd owner. the second owner gave me receipts for thousands spent including a rebuilt trans. So far, I have trim bubbling, Heat won't turn off, not sure about the a/c, passenger door electric unlock, and interior door handles pealing. The good news is that the car runs good.
 
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