1989 Ford Thunderbird Reviews

1989 Ford Thunderbird LX 3.8 Liter V6 from North America

Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership1991
Most recent year of ownership2007
Engine and transmission 3.8 Liter V6 Automatic
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.3 / 10
Distance when acquired18000 miles
Most recent distance158000 miles
Previous carPontiac Firebird

Summary:

Given the degree of my neglect and abuse of this car, I have to say that it has been one great car!

Faults:

The largest expense occurred about five years ago when my neighbor stole my car and blew the transmission trying to outrun the cops. Other non-routine problems which occurred over the years were:

Air conditioner compressor blew about ten years ago. I never got it fixed.

Wiper motor failed in 2006-years of corrosion placed a big load on the wiper motor causing the failure.

Several alternators failed over the years. The last one blew in 2005.

The automatic high beam dimmer and automatic rear-view mirror dimmer mechanisms no longer work. I thought they were silly fluff items anyway, and so, I never bothered to get them fixed and just opted to operate them manually.

About two years ago, first the passenger side-, and then, the driver side power windows failed. The plastic gears used to move the very heavy windows disintegrated over the years. The fix was not expensive.

The automatic headlight shut off timer switch no longer works. No big deal. Fortunately, most of these unnecessary automatic goodies come with manual backups.

During a very severe winter a few years ago, the front speakers quit working so, I now only have the rear speakers and they, too, are on their last legs. I just live with it.

There are some small rust spots forming on the rocker panels and on the bottom of the driver's side door. The paint is now dull and faded. I have NEVER washed or waxed this car.

The car has only stranded me once, that I can recall. Last year I took it to a local store. When I returned to the car, it would not start. Nothing electrical would operate. My dog and I had to walk twelve miles back home on pitch-black country roads. It may have been the only time that I actually hated that car. Years of corrosion on wires located under the hood caused this failure. The repair was inexpensive.

Other than these, the remainder of repairs have been the routine things like brakes, mufflers, tires, batteries etc.

General Comments:

I guess from what I've stated above, it seems there were a lot of failures and, there may have been other things which failed which I just cannot remember. But, this car is nineteen years old and I have never given it the preventive maintenance it should have had. Oil changes were done about once a year, regardless of mileage. Things would be replaced only after they failed, if they were replaced at all. This car has never even been near a garage, let alone in one. Year after year, this car has baked in the hot summer sun and endured our bitter winters. And yet, despite all of my abuse, it still runs well today. I still drive it every day. I have never had the dreaded head-gasket failure, although from what I've been reading here, it is sure to happen eventually. When it does, this Bird will go to the graveyard.

Actually, I was so impressed with the durability of my 1989 Bird, that two years ago, I bought a 1994 Bird with a V-8 for a mere $800. What a steal! Not a single mechanical problem yet, but the paint is badly faded. I also bought a beautiful 1997 Bird with a V-8 which has every single option which was available for it in 1997. This one I keep in my garage. Like so many others on this site, I have fallen hopelessly in love with the Mn-12 Birds and want to always have one for as long as possible.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th December, 2007

23rd Jun 2009, 20:27

I just sold my 89 LX with 130000 miles on it for $1200...I kept very good care of it and now I regret it... I got a toyota corolla...reliable...but no comparison to my Bird... I guess I will buy another one, maybe a 96 or 97.

1989 Ford Thunderbird LX 3.8L V6 from North America

Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership1999
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 3.8L V6 Automatic
Performance marks 4 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.2 / 10
Distance when acquired139000 miles
Most recent distance195000 miles

Summary:

Great car

Faults:

An alternator fire.

Passenger-side power-window stopped working.

Factory radio died.

Bad upper-ball joints in front end at time of sale (still the original ones).

General Comments:

I got this car FOR FREE from my parents (theyw ere downsizing) when my piece-o-junk 1986 Dodge Daytona was on its'last legs. The T-Bird had 139K miles on the clock when I got it.

When I got it, I knew it needed brakes and rear shocks - did the work myself. Did my own oil changes and tire rotations. I also replaced the front struts.

I had VERY few surprises with this car. It was quiet, roomy and reliable. Not very powerful, but quiet and got pretty good mileage either in the city or on the highway. Most $ I spent on it was routine maintenance over the 6 years I owned it - tune-ups; transmission servicing, cooling flushes, etc. the interior and paint were still in great shape, even though it was an outdoor (non-garage-kept) car.

When I sold it in March 2006, it had 195K on the original engine and transmission and was 17 model years old. And it still ran and looked great. The buyer was another T-Bird enthusiast, and while the car had a few bugs, I was up-front as to everything I knew about the car, and turned over the car's entire service record at the time of sale.

The buyer was happy to know the car was in as good shape as it could be for a car that was 17 years old, and I was happy in knowing it went to a good owner.

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

Review Date: 5th April, 2007

Average review marks: 8.1 / 10, based on 16 reviews