1997 Ford Thunderbird LX 3.8 V6 from North America

Summary:

A beautiful, dependable American classic!

Faults:

Replaced air intake regulator.

Replaced driver side door handle (it fell off).

Replaced suspension (all coil springs, tie rods, ball joints, rear stabilizer).

General Comments:

This car has been basically indestructible. Other than regular maintenance (tires, brakes, belts, A/C recharged), I had an air intake regulator go bad and the door handle fell off.

Last summer the suspension was replaced.

All four coil springs were broken, which effected tie rods and ball joints, which were also replaced. I guess this is common with this year. The mechanic told me Ford purchased faulty coil springs from a manufacturer, and rather than throw them away, after they changed manufacturers, they just used the bad ones up. Those were only two times she has been in the shop. All the other stuff I have done myself.

A little rust around the wheel wells, but from what I've seen, that's pretty common in this model.

With over 205K miles, she still starts, runs and handles like the day I bought her. I used her to train both my teenager sons to drive, and she got me back and forth on a 60 mile commute each way to work for almost three years.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th October, 2010

1997 Ford Thunderbird LX 3.8L V6 from North America

Summary:

A tank in disguise as a smooth car

Faults:

So far nothing major :) I had to replace the battery since the (non-original) one in the car was weak, and I would be stranded at times far away from home. New battery in, and it starts up every time.

Other than the battery, I just turn the key, changed the oil, and it runs beautifully.

I have noticed a little tiny wear "hole" (penny size area of thinner fabric) on the driver's seat where your rear-end would be. I don't think a seat should wear that much at 131K km's.

I did have ONE issue. I left the car parked on a hill (slight incline, a drive way), and when I cam back, started it, and went to put it from Park to Drive, it would not go past Reverse... I tried rolling it a bit back in reverse, thinking maybe there was a synchronization issue or something, but in the end I just had to lightly ram the gear in. (Just yank in one fast motion past reverse).

Power steering is a bit noisy, and the A/C is weak (not cold, even though I charged it this year).

General Comments:

The car is your typical American boat. The one thing I like about it, is that it features independent suspension at ALL FOUR corners of the car (like the Merc Cougar), and handles pretty decently... for a tank.

Gas mileage.. well, I average 12.6 L/100km with the V6 in combined city (majority) /highway (occasional) driving. I feather the gas though, and people often pass me because I don't accelerate like some 17 year old driving a Honda.

The car weighs 2.2 tons, so don't expect a zippy civic like reaction when you mash the pedal, especially with the V6. However, if loaded up with premium fuel, and you need it to move, the torque is there and it GOES! (I have had a few instances where I had to merge fast and it got me up to speed pronto).

Steering is a bit over assisted, and I always feel like I can't go too fast through a turn or else it will slide out of control (due to the weight).

Quiet interior, EXTREMELY smooth car to drive. If I chose a car to go on a road trip, it would be this one. Seats are like a sofa, lots of space for the driver (I am 6 feet tall and am very comfortable and have lots of room), not too much tire noise driving, and well dampened interior.

As for the styling... well let's say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I personally wouldn't buy this car for its "sexy" lines haha.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th September, 2010

19th Sep 2010, 13:03

This car does not weigh 2.2 tons. That's 4400 pounds. Come on people, get your facts straight before posting.

20th Sep 2010, 14:11

There is a procedure for parking an automatic on an incline: Step on the brake and put the gear in neutral. Set the parking brake, let the brake pedal go. Now the car rests on the parking brake. Put the gear selector in P and turn off the engine. When you start again put the shifter in a forward gear or reverse before releasing the parking brake.

It's in your manual.

27th Feb 2011, 14:09

Alright, you guys didn't have to be all smartass about it. "jeez get your facts straight" could easily have been "I believe you are wrong, as... " and politely explained.

I could have sworn reading the sticker on the door stating 2200KG... Now after researching Wikipedia, apparently the weight is around 1600kg, so 1.6 tons. Still a beast, and it was still longer than my friends small truck.

As for the parking thing; allow me to rephrase - by incline, I meant something on less of an angle than a typical driveway. I am talking like 15 degree incline, not even. I NEVER had the problem before, just that one time. It was odd.

4th Mar 2011, 19:04

I think I owe you an apology for my nerdy posting of the parking procedure. I read your review again, and now I think it was possibly a stuck valve in the tranny. You will probably never find out.

In general I like these Thunderbirds, and test drove one recently. I agree with you that the steering is over assisted and that the car is kind of heavy. But it is running smooth and sticks to the road in curves. Best of all: it doesn't carry the boy racer image.

Enjoy your t'bird. Spring is around the corner.