Parting with my 97 Sport - TCCoA Forums

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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-22-2014, 07:12 AM Thread Starter
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soundman502's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Indiana
Age: 35
Posts: 212
Parting with my 97 Sport

So the day has come that I think I've resolved to let my bird go. It's the fifth one I've owned and while I think it's still in great shape, it needs some attention that I can't give it. That said, I know what it's like to let go of these and realize later that I would have rather taken a shot to the nads, so I'll bounce some things off you guys and see what you say.

It has 218,000 miles on it, bone stock engine and trans, never rebuilt. Engine runs strong, but has started to show smoke after it's warmed up and idling. Seems to go away while cruising, but it's there none the less. I also think that the 2-3 accumulator is sticking, as I still have strong gears, just a lazy transition between the two gears. Beyond that, it's just suspension noises. I've already replaced all front control arms and rear sway bar links, but a new rattle has come up to tackle; but I know that's the curse of the birds.

She still looks pretty good despite a few fades in the paint on the roof, but otherwise it's in great shape. My main concern is the engine right now. With its mileage and the smoke that doesn't smell completely like oil, I'm wondering if I should let the next bird lover take it on and fix it up, or hang on to it.

What would you do?

1996 Thunderbird LX 4.6L 147,000 mi.
Mods: Stock

1979 Ford Bronco Custom 5.8L Modified 188,000 mi.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-22-2014, 10:14 AM
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I'd either do a low mileage explorer engine swap and complete suspension rebuild, or just keep driving it until it completely gives up the ghost. As it sits with the issues it has, you will probably only get about $1000 for it, and then you need to go buy something to replace it, which will either cost you about $3000 for anything decent, or will just as many issues as your bird. If you are going to drive a beater until it dies, it might as well be the high mileage car you already have that you know and are comfortable in, and if you are going to drop another $2000 anyway, you aren't far from the cost of an engine swap and suspension rebuild.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-22-2014, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Indiana
Age: 35
Posts: 212
I agree MadMikeyL, I've been hitting the forum today and found that it's probably the valve guide seals, so I'll milk it along and keep the leakage to a minimum. I like most of us here, I love these cars a little too much and they don't get any newer than this, and the Sport is what I've wanted, so we'll probably just see how long it lasts. If I had a shop to work in, an engine swap might be in the cards, I just don't have the resources yet. Can't ask much more of a car I only paid $1200 for.

1996 Thunderbird LX 4.6L 147,000 mi.
Mods: Stock

1979 Ford Bronco Custom 5.8L Modified 188,000 mi.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-22-2014, 07:02 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Kansas
Posts: 1,148
IMHO thee key factor that causes a tipping point as to whether, or not, to keep such a car is the amount of rust.

Mechanical/electrical problems, for example, may be overcome, however, the amount of rust may reach a point where it becomes time to cut bait, and start over.

I realize that money is a factor, yet I will write that if I indeed had a 97 Sport with no rust, or very little rust, I would make an effort to invest in making the car at least a sound car, if not a bonafide attention getter.

1995 Thunderbird LX 4.6l 97 Headlamps/Hood All Red Tails Muffler/Resonator Delete
2004 Tahoe 5.3 4x4
2008 Acadia Limited AWD

...still looking for a clean, low mileage, rust free 96/97 Thunderbird 4.6
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-22-2014, 07:48 PM
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Location: Greenville, FL.
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IMO, if it was'nt for the mileage, the next owner would have some options other than a new bullet soon. with that said I'd probably keep it and just run her.....
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