1986 Ford Thunderbird 3.8 V6 from North America
A beautiful lawn ornament in hibernation
The car began to have problems with heating as soon as we drove it home. The temperature gauge almost hit the high mark and it blew a freeze plug. We bought an expansion plug and it blew it as well. So far it has blown the freeze plug 4 times.
It has a tendency to cut off during slow speeds which causes me to drive with one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake.
We had the exhaust tested and it showed that we had either a cracked head or a head gasket leak.
We have only had the car for three days. The first day it did well. The second day we began fixing the car. The third day it broke down and smoked really bad. It now sits in my front yard and we are steadily tearing the engine down to locate the problem areas.
Needs a new water pump.
The body is in great shape except from one rust hole above the trunk.
I bought my 1986 Thunderbird to replace my 1987 Ford Aero-star Van since the transmission went out. The body is in great shape and looks sharp. It is sporty, and with my personal touches it will soon look even tougher.
Besides having to park the car right after I bought it, the car seems to have won me over already. I hope that the car will win my trust after we breathe life back into it.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 5th August, 2001
23rd Aug 2001, 12:19
OK, I wrote the previous comments on this car. We replaced the heads and it still heats bad so I assume it is the radiator because that is all that is really left.
The car still cuts off on me. I am praying FORD recalls the ignition system in the car. If I bump the steering wheel, tilt it too hard, or turn too sharp, it cuts off. I am afraid I will die in this car.
Today, water spat back into the floorboard of my seat and went all over my foot. Acid reflux in a car?
Either way, if anyone has any info on the recalls FORD has or about this car, PLEASE respond.
I think I got the rotten apple of the bunch...
13th Jan 2002, 03:26
My 86 Bird does the same thing. It's the heater core. It's an expensive repair, but it'll save you from buying new shoes!
12th May 2008, 23:47
To anyone reading this review.
If your car does what is described in OPs previous comment, disconnect the battery immediately or your car may catch on fire!
Replace your ignition switch post haste; it's well documented on various Ford based forums.
21st Jan 2009, 22:46
January 21, 2009 I just bought an '86 Ford Elan Thunder-bird for my son. It drove really well. It has had only 2 owners. My friend who I bought it from has kept it very nice, the only rust is above the trunk... all else is nice. Please tell me this was a good purchase for $600. It has 51K miles on it, very clean good tires and rides like a cruiser... we loved the comfort of the car.
If you have any advice please let me know. I thought it was a great deal for a good work car... He's 18 and want him safe.
8th Feb 2011, 19:47
I own a 1986 Ford Thunderbird, and it's running great. I rebuilt the engine at 145,000 miles due to a blown head gasket. The heater works fine. A/C needed freon around 150k miles.
Good car in my opinion.