1996 Thunderbird - 2nd owner - TCCoA Forums

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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-03-2017, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
Gasman1951's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Kansas City, Kansas
Age: 65
Posts: 2
1996 Thunderbird - 2nd owner

I am a new kid on the block. After many years of wedded bliss, raising two kids and retiring after a 28 year career in data processing, I am slowly working my way back to something I have always enjoyed. PROJECT CAR!!!!!

I am the second owner of a no rust, meticulously cared for 1996 Thunderbird LX 3.8l that I purchased, now this is true, from an old lady who drove the snot out of this thing. A long family friend who offered this bird for sale after her husband died. It has 260000 +- a few.

This past weekend as I was going to a grandchild's sports game, it over-heated and apparently blew a head gasket or suffered from a cracked head or block. So, the swap from v6 to v8 4.6l, 8th vin digit X or H, may have been moved up by about a year.

I will no doubt be soliciting help from the forum community as I get into this thing.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-03-2017, 09:51 PM
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Location: Hamilton, New Jersey
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Welcome! I look forward to seeing your progress with the build!

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-04-2017, 04:35 AM
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Location: Franklin, MA
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Welcome Gasman!

Nice to hear you found yourself a project car, sorry to hear about the motor though!

Search is your friend. The V6 to V8 swap has been discussed quite a bit here and what you'll need to change over.


It's not a 97 Sport, it just looks like one!

Mass. TCCoAers, Send me your info!

I buy all my Ford parts from 93 lx.

Member of the TCCoA Damage Control Team.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-04-2017, 05:44 AM
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Welcome to the forum, good to see new people join the community.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-04-2017, 07:27 AM
T6Rocket's Avatar
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Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 1,192
Welcome! Post up some pics.

You could just throw a head gasket in there and keep on going for a while. Those engines are known for head gasket issues.

If it were me, I would just get a low mileage one with a V8 rather than swap. There are a LOT of parts to swap besides the engine. ECU, rear end (if it currently has a 7.5), etc. 260k is a lot of miles to have on everything.


97 T-Bird LX 4.6 - 68k miles
94 Supra TT Auto - street/strip car
04 Crown Vic Police Interceptor - Brenda's car
Previous cars:
95 T-Bird LX 4.6 - fully optioned, owned 15 years
96 Cougar XR-7 4.6- Brenda's car, owned 11 years
88 T-Bird 3.8 - first T-Bird, owned 5 years
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-04-2017, 07:37 AM
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Location: Kansas City
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Ah, another Kansas City member! Me too! Welcome aboard!!!
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-04-2017, 08:52 AM
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Location: Duluth, MN
Age: 42
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The swap is putsy, but not impossible. Here's the short form notes.

You need to swap the harness that goes from the engine bay to the computer, the engine, the transmission, if you have a donor V8 car that's the easiest way to do it. Grab yourself a rusty special and use the parts off that. It wouldn't be bad to swap over a 2002-2005 Ford Explorer 4.6 as they are PI, aluminum block, and drop right in. You'd need to modify your power steering line if you use the Explorer front cover though.

If you get a V8 swap donor, 96 or 97 is what you want. Then you can either PI swap it or put a full PI motor in as the fuel rails work with the PI intake.

You'd need the engine harness out of the 96/97 as well. Everything else is easy. While the engine is out, overhaul the suspension with new bushings all around. LOTS of great tips/notes/what to and not to buy for these cars here.

Welcome and good luck!
CDsDontBurn likes this.

97 Thunderbird LX (The GT Bird)
2003 Explorer WAP block with Modular Head Shop "street ported" heads and Stage 2 PI NA cams, 75mm Accufab throttle body, C&L upper intake plenum, Kooks 1.75" primary/3" collector headers, 2.5" full exhaust with mid mount Magnaflow dual in/out muffler, 24lb/hr injectors, 80mm MAF, Tuning from Don @ www.lasotaracing.com, CAI that feeds from fenderwell. Jmod, 3.73:1 TL in Mark VIII carrier, Mark VIII aluminum LCAs, 93 Mark VIII driveshaft, PBR brakes (soon to be Cobras), 18x9 wheels with 35mm offset, 255/40/ZR18 Tires, Front and Rear strut/shock bracing, GR-2 shocks, Eibach 1.5" springs, 1989 SC front and rear sway bars.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-08-2017, 04:47 AM
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A big hello and Welcome from North Florida..................
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