TOP FIVE 02-05 T-Bird Problems

If you haven't already, be sure to take a look at this thread on the COP issue. It's probably the most common problem that seems to hit every retro bird eventually.


If you have the opportunity before buying, see if you can get a look under the plug and coil covers--particularly on the driver's side to see if there is any water intrusion into the plug wells. Had I known to do this when I bought my car I may have asked for a lower price. Fortunately, this forum has tons of info on how to address the issue plus links to suggested replacement coils and plugs.

Hope you make a good decision!

Guess it depends on your definition of serious. I’ve known of several cars that have gone 200K with no blown engine or tranny. However any of the various electronic modules can go at any time with little or no warning. Repairs to those can get pricey.
True that. It's rare to find a new electronics module for any of these cars, and lots of problems reported point back to the modules. There are at least three main modules in these cars. Most people end up getting them repaired since new or NOS are hard to find.
 

RDH

Active Member
All original w/92K miles. How many miles are these good for before needing any serious work?
depends on the drive train, my 03 is a Jaguar drive train and at 45 K had head problems to the tune of 5 000. Then the suspension was next everything under was bad and another 3 000, but after all that, she runs like a scolded cat. Garage keep all winter stated up all winter but now she's on the road again with no issues. The engine is a 3.9
 

biddle

Forum Moderator
Staff member
All original w/92K miles. How many miles are these good for before needing any serious work?
No way to know for sure. Common issues are with the Air Conditioning system, FEM, Fuel Pump and COPS.

Check to make sure the dash lights and shift indicator lights work. If not, the FEM is bad.

Also have seen a couple times where people buy the car and the transmission E lights come on shortly afterwards. Always makes me wonder if the dealer reset it.somehow.
 
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Bought a 2004 with 50K from a dealer in VA. (previously owned by elderly woman & garaged for 1 yr) Price was reasonable and had it flat bedded to PA. Gave the car to my mechanic with instruction and a blank check fix anything (in his opinion) that could or would go bad.....Two months later and a 16K bill the car was finished....Runs as it was brand new and looks just as good....Could not ask for more !
 
THANKS for all the replies, but the Seller sent a LIST (I asked) of what he has done over the 11 yrs of ownership. WAY more than I even think about. I've been spoiled w/reliable and inexpensive to fix mostly Asian cars- no way I'd go back to something like this money pit! See attached- it pretty much mirrors what you guys said........but the costs w/cover buying another one!
06/16/20 Replace exhaust manifold gasket, catalytic converter, 4 0xygen sensors, etc. $1,064
05/08/20 Replace radiator, coolant,etc. $610
05/05/20 Replace tie rods, all plugs & coil pack, front brake rotors & pads,

upper control arms both sides front, $2,015
12/16/19 Replace front & rear struts and shock assembly $265
12/10/19 Replace thermostat housing (part was bad – FORD replaced) $133
11/06/19 Replace EGR valve, ABS brake sensors $481
07/22/19 Replace starter $325
??? Replace Cold air actuator in AC in dash $915
06/22/19 Replace hood lift/support, replace Defrost air door actuator $634
12/28/18 Replace serpentine belt $120
04/25/18 Replace right front hub assembly, sway bar links, etc. $508
12/18/18 Replace thermostat housing assembly, rear brake pads $735
11/01/16 Replace AC coolant control valve assembly $849
Replace cold air actuator $915
05/09/16 Remove/replace coolant reservoir $231
02/07/16 Replace heater control $238
12/15/15 Replace thermostat $551
10/27/15 Replace upper radiator hose, coolant, thermostat and housing $438
11/19/15 Replace rear tube assembly by thermostat $322
06/26/15 Replace 4 coils, all spark plugs, ignition coil $746
07/09/14 Replace both front hub assemblies, brake pads, fuel filter $550
 

biddle

Forum Moderator
Staff member
I've been spoiled w/reliable and inexpensive to fix mostly Asian cars

All imported cars cost a ton more to fix on parts. I paid 285 bucks to fix the EVAP Canister on my Mustang. Friend paid 800 on his Toyota truck. Also, as published in many articles in recent years, imported cars like Toyota & Honda are no longer the reliable cars they once were. I've heard of Nissan mufflers rusting out in 6 years in the south.

I heard this same tall tale in the car business & from friends for years. They also have a tendency to forget about repairs done and tell everyone its "never had a problem". Lol
 

Pcrpete

Active Member
Trans,rear,shocks, control arms, engine(heads-valves-Radiator) tires, brakes, alignment, new seats(picture enclosed)Exhaust system, New Radio AVX600ex, Parts of AC, Headers, rear camera, tinted windows, Car shield(3M)
View attachment 16251
Love those seats!

THANKS for all the replies, but the Seller sent a LIST (I asked) of what he has done over the 11 yrs of ownership. WAY more than I even think about. I've been spoiled w/reliable and inexpensive to fix mostly Asian cars- no way I'd go back to something like this money pit! See attached- it pretty much mirrors what you guys said........but the costs w/cover buying another one!
06/16/20 Replace exhaust manifold gasket, catalytic converter, 4 0xygen sensors, etc. $1,064
05/08/20 Replace radiator, coolant,etc. $610
05/05/20 Replace tie rods, all plugs & coil pack, front brake rotors & pads,

upper control arms both sides front, $2,015
12/16/19 Replace front & rear struts and shock assembly $265
12/10/19 Replace thermostat housing (part was bad – FORD replaced) $133
11/06/19 Replace EGR valve, ABS brake sensors $481
07/22/19 Replace starter $325
??? Replace Cold air actuator in AC in dash $915
06/22/19 Replace hood lift/support, replace Defrost air door actuator $634
12/28/18 Replace serpentine belt $120
04/25/18 Replace right front hub assembly, sway bar links, etc. $508
12/18/18 Replace thermostat housing assembly, rear brake pads $735
11/01/16 Replace AC coolant control valve assembly $849
Replace cold air actuator $915
05/09/16 Remove/replace coolant reservoir $231
02/07/16 Replace heater control $238
12/15/15 Replace thermostat $551
10/27/15 Replace upper radiator hose, coolant, thermostat and housing $438
11/19/15 Replace rear tube assembly by thermostat $322
06/26/15 Replace 4 coils, all spark plugs, ignition coil $746
07/09/14 Replace both front hub assemblies, brake pads, fuel filter $550
WOW! That's a LOT of work. I'd say first, never take it to that dealer or wherever previous owner had it maintained...
I've had my 04 for about 14 years, and knock on wood, nothing like that list.
I've had the typical issues, COP, A(C, battery, etc. Have replaced all tires and spare, normal things for a car of that age
Runs great, very fun to drive
Sounds like that one is pretty much an all new car...
 
Well to begin with I was looking at the XK8, but just as I was getting serious the market jumped and the prices almost doubled, so I started looking at the tbird, even though I feel the jag is by far the sexier car. I ended up with a Tuxedo Black on Black 2003 with just under 85k on it, beautiful with the Hard Top, just a few minor blemishes, nothing really stands out, the soft top looks like it has not been up or down much. The top of the engine looks like you could, well, eat off of it, I noticed that the covers over the coil packs were scuffed, I took that as a good sign. After driving for an hour test drive I bought it. Drove it 200 miles home, everything was great. Parked in the spot where my 35 year old F 150 had been parked for years, nice clean dry concrete. Was I surprised the next time I took her out for a drive there were no less than 5 different puddles under the bird and when I came back home, oil smell was present inside the cabin and when I shut her off, smoke bellowed out from under the hood, I opened the hood to find smoke pouring off the Exhaust manifold rear of the drivers side and a wisp of smoke off the passenger side front of the exhaust manifold. Nothing was visable from the top side and I have not gotten it to the shop to look underneath, the temp gauge sits in the normal position. I see many mention of the jaguar years, sorry to tell all, that all of these birds have the Jag engine trans and suspension in common with the jag. Many of the Lincoln Ls Models have the same engine trans and electrical componets as well as interior pieces, the dash parts are the same for example, so don't hunt for bird specific parts when scouring the yards or asking for bird specific parts when there are a million Lincoln Ls's out there. I hope my oil problems are not too hard to fix. I had never seen a flat oil pan, except for on an Indy car before.....
 
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biddle

Forum Moderator
Staff member
so don't hunt for bird specific parts when scouring the yards or asking for bird specific parts when there are a million Lincoln Ls's out there.
*some* of the parts are interchangeable, but not all. Only 262,900 Lincoln LS's were built over 7 years or 37,557 per year average, so production on them was poor as well which likely had a big part with Ford getting rid of both models.
 
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