Ford Thunderbird Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Ford Thunderbird as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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12
Known Problems

The valve cover gaskets may leak oil into the spark plug wells, shorting out the spark plugs, causing a misfire, and illuminating the Check Engine Light. Commonly the spark plugs and ignition coils or wires will require replacement, along with resealing the valve cover to correct this concern.

Water or oil may enter into the ignition coil cover and the spark plug bore, causing a misfire and illuminating the Check Engine Light. A coil with improved water and oil sealing is available and should be installed.

If you experience difficulty starting the engine when cold, stalling at idle, or hesitations during acceleration, it may be the idle air bypass valve. This valve helps the vehicle idle steady when the accelerator pedal is not pressed.

There may be an extended warranty on the ignition coils - see your  Ford Dealer for more information-Thanks John B for this information!

The composite (plastic) intake manifold may crack near the thermostat housing and cause a coolant leak. Ford released an updated manifold that was reinforced to prevent a recurrence. No recall was issued for this problem but Ford did extend the warranty to seven years on some models from the date of purchase.

The intake and valve cover gaskets may leak oil.

White smoke coming from the exhaust could indicate that a head gasket has blown or there is a cracked cylinder head. Our technicians tell us that removal and inspection of the cylinder heads will be required to confirm a crack is present.

For the 2.3L 4 Cylinder and 5.0L V8 engine, the electrical ignition switch poses a fire hazard. An updated switch is available.

The battery light may illuminate on the instrument panel because the alternator wire harness connector is damaged. A new connector kit is available and should be installed to correct this concern.

This engine may leak oil from the valve cover gasket.

While steering, if you hear a clunk or a rattle, or if you experience premature tire wear, this could indicate the inner tie rod ends are loose or worn and will require replacement.


Engine misfire could be caused by worn or broken motor mounts that raise the motor on one side while the vehicle is accelerating. The stress on the engine control wiring harness can cause breaks in the injector or sensor wires, which then causes drivability concerns such as poor fuel economy and engine misfires.