RepairPal is your advocate for car care advice and guidance

Q: Intermittent electrical issues - windows, headlights, high beams, dash lights on 2004 Ford Thunderbird

Rookie cbe0621eac06868b3efe0d8d1d3611e23c60d3114864ea2ec19a68cfbd3eebab
Car has only 49k miles on her. Just had a tranny job! Got her back and nothing but problems. Having intermittent electrical issues with doors... I can't shut them. Figured out it has to do with windows. If they stop operating in the up position they can't do the auto down/up thing that happens when the door shuts normally and prevents closing. If I leave the window slightly down then door will shut even if electrical is acting up and windows won't move but at least I can drive it. Problem is weather for that trick. Also when windows are acting up, the trunk release on the door won't work, the window switch is useless, the headlights and high beams won't work but the side and back lights do. Definitely a problem with days getting shorter. Sometimes when this is happening my oil light comes on the dash and sometimes it doesn't. When the door won't close sometimes the open door light comes on and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes flipping the door lock switch back and forth several times and ending in the locked position will allow me to get the door to close when the window is all the way up but sometimes this trick doesn't work. Sometimes turning the car on and off several times will reset things temporarily so everything works but sometimes this trick fails. And when the car is the worst I'll try to bring it to the shop the next morning and when I start it up everything works perfectly!!! I'm going crazy. The mechanic who did the transmission work says he checked everything including the ground wires and couldn't find a problem. When I picked it up from him everything worked perfectly for a few weeks and I thought he must've tightened whatever was loose while looking for the problem, but then suddenly the problems started again. I'm terrified that this will be a lengthy expensive diagnosis and repair with another shop. Could this be an alternator/ battery issue? Could it be the electronic module is loose or corroded? Yes, I've been reading... I love my car and want to keep it but the problems started a month after the extended warranty expired and haven't stopped. I'm getting soaked with all the repairs. Does anyone have any advice or suggestions and an idea of what this should all cost to remedy? Thanks so much!
~Exasperated in Van Nuys
Thank you for your input. Could these problems have been the result of the transmission work? Do you know what I should expect this to cost to repair? Will the shop be able to diagnose and repair if the problem isn't happening at the moment or do I need to wait until it's happening to bring it in? Many thanks!
Thanks so much. Will the mechanic be able to find the problem even if the electrical is having a good day or should I wait for a bad day so he can tell if he's fixed it? Appreciate the feedback!
Your problems are caused because you (like myself) have purchased a lemon. Check out the states lemon law, you qualify. Or you can notify the dealer that this is a possibility and make him make it right without compensation, after all it started after a transmission repair was done, I hope, by them! If they don't comply hire an attorney and claim it as a lemon!
I had the opportunity once and passed it up now every 9K miles I have to take it in for new ign. coils which in my case are covered for 100k miles. My coil problems started at just about your mileage and have recurred every 9K miles since.
Hi. Thanks for your input. I just had the car repaired. it turned out that it had nothing to do with the transmission. It was a coincidence that it had a problem a few weeks after the transmission work. It ended up not being the bell housing or ground wires, but rather the front electric module (FEM). To make it all the more dramatic, Ford is not making that part right now. They lost the company that was manufacturing for them and are in the process of finding another company to manufacture again. This is leaving approx 15 people on a waiting list for the part that controls all the front end electronics including the headlights! I searched high and low and finally found a 2004 T-bird at a salvage yard about an hour away and was able to harvest the part. Of course the risk is that the part is as old as my car so it may not last forever but for a $150 part, my car is back on the road and operating perfectly. Hopefully the part will hold out until Ford has a new FEM manufacturer. New the part costs $650. At that price, fingers crossed that the used one holds out for the life of the car. It does seem more than odd that within a month of my extended warranty expiring all these problems have ensued. I'm trying to stuff down conspiracy theory thoughts. Aside from the coils in year 5 under the extended warranty, I haven't had major problems until now in year 9. I'm kicking myself for not purchasing another extension on the warranty. Out of warranty, Ford wanted $4500 to do the transmission so I took it to an independent for less than half. So no chance of any love from Ford. I'm not sure if it would actually qualify as a lemon, but having to make all these repairs at 49k miles definitely leaves a sour taste in my mouth... pun intended.
Thank God for my warr. of 100,000 miles,
My ign coils have been the major problen with my T-Bird every 9K Miles and I'm due again, missing has already started, it will be lighting dash indicating lights very soon. Then the missing will start then the engine will stop altogether lighting the dash light and I will have to pull the care over on the shoulder of the road which isn't wide enough for a bicycle and cycle the key to resume travel, what a nightmare when traffic is going by in excess of 60mph. The mechanic that first diagnosed my problem told me about the lemon law, I should have taken advantage of it rather than living through these problems. The last time I blew a spark plug apart destroying a coil but that was differant. You would think that Ford with it's understanding of it's product would be willing to pay for this repair since the Fo-Mo-Co Spark Plug had less than 6K miles on it and was installed by a Ford Dealer. But no, no refund or discount for running a manufactures part, refund from Ford Warr. for premature Sparg Plug failure and damage, Ha Ha!!!
Qualified Local Ford Shops
Qualified Ford Shops For This Repair
Didn't find what you were looking for?