1988 Ford Thunderbird Reviews - Page 2 of 16

1988 Ford Thunderbird LX 5.0 liter V8 from North America

Model year1988
Year of manufacture1988
First year of ownership2008
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission 5.0 liter V8 Automatic
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired60500 miles
Most recent distance71000 miles
Previous carOldsmobile Alero

Summary:

Damn good

Faults:

Front struts rattle.

Front wheel bearings needed replacing.

Seats are not the best.

General Comments:

This is the fourth Thunderbird I have owned, and quite possibly the best. It is the LX model, so as far as options it is pretty bare bones.

The saving grace for me, of course, is the V8. it has a good amount of torque, but at 150hp it could use a little help in the get up and go. However, with plenty of aftermarket resources to choose from, this is only a temporary problem.

If you are considering a T-Bird with a V8, get the Sport model. You get much better seats, a quad shock set-up and a better rear end gear set. But by all means STAY AWAY FROM THE 3.8L V6 MODEL. Believe me, your wallet will thank you and you won't have to worry about the head gaskets going to hell.

Cheers.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd January, 2009

1988 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe 2.3 turbo from North America

Model year1988
Year of manufacture1988
First year of ownership2005
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 2.3 turbo Automatic
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 6 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.0 / 10
Distance when acquired86000 miles
Most recent distance92000 miles
Previous carEagle Talon

Summary:

I loved to hate it

Faults:

Woah. Don't know if I have the time. Ha. OK

Power steering rack.

Brake problem (common), ABS problem.

Fuel leak.

Quit running for some odd reason.

Tranny went out.

Tie rod.

General Comments:

As a long time car guy, being pretty good with a wrench, I picked up my first 1988 Turbocoupe. 1200 bucks, and it had just a fuel leak. Well, I fixed that.

BAM power steering goes. Fix that.

BAM car quits running. It ended up running on its own power LOL.

BAM tie rod goes out. Fix that with a wheel alignment.

Well I put a full tank of gas in her, BAM tranny goes out. I have had it with this car I decided. Sold. I cannot afford to keep this crap up.

Total invested - 4500

Total sold for - 500

Yeah, so you may understand how angry I could be.

But, all of this aside, I sure do miss that car. I loved it to death. I put a K&N on it, and did much restoration work to it. It was actually a darn good car, except for the trans and brake thing. The brakes got hard as a rock (not the booster...) and that was it. I paid 500 to get the parts to fix it. But I really liked it.

It performed well, and handled amazing for a car of its size. For a heavier car, it is stunning how well it handled.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 19th May, 2008

1988 Ford Thunderbird from North America

Model year1988
Year of manufacture1988
First year of ownership1989
Most recent year of ownership1995
Engine and transmission Automatic
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 0 / 10
Comfort marks 4 / 10
Dealer Service marks 0 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 4 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
2.6 / 10
Distance when acquired2500 miles
Most recent distance97000 miles
Previous carFord Toyota Tacoma

Summary:

An electronic fire hazard nightmare of a car at best

Faults:

Everything.. Too many to list. Here are only a few.. I was glad to get rid of this car. It was the first and last Ford product I will ever buy. Wire cluster in trunk shorted out and caused a fire. The alternator caught fire. Turn signal would turn on and off when ever it wanted. Interior lights turned off and on or just stayed on. Windshield wipers stopped working. Head Gasket blew at about 65,000 miles. The electronic dash quit working. Took it to the Ford dealer for the electric short and they kept it for a month and they said they could not figure out what was wrong with it.. PIECE OF CRAP!

General Comments:

The car had OK power and was comfortable when it was not on fire and smoking. This car should have been banned for safety hazards.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 13th October, 2007

13th Oct 2007, 08:57

You have discovered why FORD = Found On Road, Dead.

1988 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe 2.3 turbo from North America

Model year1988
Year of manufacture1987
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2001
Engine and transmission 2.3 turbo Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 6 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired120000 miles
Most recent distance150000 miles

Summary:

This car is great! If only Ford made something like this today.. : (

Faults:

Fuel pressure regulator went out; easily and cheaply replaced.

General Comments:

This is a great car. It is very sleek looking and has a great aerodynamic profile.

The suspension is well designed; with the Programmable Ride Control (PRC), it *glides* over the bumpiest roads when cruising, and is nice and firm (but not harsh) during maneuvers and performance driving.

The seats are very comfortable with well designed headrests and bolsters. With 8-way adjustment, anyone can find the adjust the seat to suit himself perfectly.

The car is very tight and the interior is quiet. You'd never guess that this car is built on the same chassis as the creaky POS Mustangs of this era. It is very stable even at high (100+ MPH) speed. The (four wheel anti-lock) brakes will stop this car on a dime, and the anti-lock feature works well despite being a first-generation design. They are just well balanced and great driving cars all around; drive one, and you'll see what I mean.

The premium sound system isn't much by today's standards, but it is outstanding by 1988 standards; most importantly, all the speakers are in the right positions so you can easily upgrade the whole system with modern components and have great sound.

The engine is the good ole 2.3 which is a tried and true, bulletproof design. It has good power in stock form and a few easy and cheap mods can beef it up significantly. These cars are rated to run 16's in the 1/4 in stock form, but it's trivial to get one into the 14s, and 13s are not tough either. It doesn't take much work to get one to run with (and beat) 5.0s. While some of the electronics and gadgets may give you problems, the base engine is sound and will easily go 300,000+ miles (no joke) without major work.

The turbos are not problematic as some may lead you to believe; they work fine forever as long as long as you follow the cooldown procedures and oil change intervals described in the owner's manual. Simply put, after a hard drive, allow the engine to idle for a couple minutes to cool the oil down so it doesn't coke and clog up the turbo oil supply line, and change the oil at regular intervals using only high quality oil.

The manual transmission is the venerable T5, which won't give you any problems. The plastic hydraulic clutch line can be problematic and leaky; luckily parts are readily available to swap this over to a cable linkage. The automatic transmission can be problematic. If yours is in good shape, my advice is to install a shift kit to firm up the shifts a bit and increase transmission life.

These cars have a lot of gadgets. When well maintained, they are wonderful cars. When poorly maintained, they can be a nightmare. Be conscious of this when purchasing one. Avoid TCs with mechanical problems, especially ABS as the parts for this old system are very difficult to find and expensive. Spend the extra cash to get a super clean, well taken care of car--you won't regret it. On the flip side, this is one of those rare cars where it's actually worth fixing if you run into a high dollar repair, because it's just such a wonderful car.

In summary, these are great cars, especially if you are mechanically inclined and can fix the little oddities that come with owning a 25 year old car that has more gadgets than the space shuttle.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st August, 2007

12th Nov 2007, 18:54

I have owned numerous Ford automobiles in my day. I will stand up and say that the 1987 and 1988 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe are the BEST modern cars Ford has ever produced! Even 20 years after the last Turbo Coupe drove off the lot, this is still to the day an awesome car.

The Turbo Coupe was way ahead of its time. Ford put the engine from the - can you believe? - Tempo under the hood and dropped in a turbo charger. Most like to say the engine was from the SVO Mustang. In reality - it was a Tempo engine before it was a Mustang engine. These engines are referred to as "I-4's" and are reliable, durable AND high mileage engines. If maintained properly, they will run for 300K plus!

I recently read an article relating to Us Automakers sales decline to below 50% of total market sales in the history of "modern" automobile sales. Should ever Ford decide to drag this Bird off the roost again, it will be able to be accomplished with minimal upgrades to the overall car. This car is definitly a legend!

Not to offend or leave anyone out....The Mustang is an awesome car. I own a 07 GT. However, given the choice I would have bought a

2007 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe any day over the Mustang!

Average review marks: 7.5 / 10, based on 60 reviews