Common MN12 Problems (A buyers Guide) - Page 2 - TCCoA Forums
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post #31 of 58 (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 01:08 AM
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My '96 4.6L had the coolant crossover failure about 14 years and 140,000 miles ago. The manifold I have now, replaced under the recall/extended warranty at zero cost to me, must have been an early one since it's all black plastic externally. [knocks on various wood and faux-wood objects till knuckles are raw]

I started noticing the rocker rot last year... sad, but inevitable, on a car that was a daily driver including winters first in SD and later ND, with excursions into MN and other neighboring states, for the timeframe of 1998 through 2010.

196k+ miles and I've never touched the fuel pump. I want to get the car past 200k... after that, I'm not sure what I'm doing with it.

1996 Ford Thunderbird 4.6L/auto, 195k miles, semi-retired
2005 Dodge Dakota Club Cab 4x4 4.7L/auto
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Gone but not forgotten: 1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7 351C-2V/FMX - 2010 Dodge Challenger R/T 5.7L/manual
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post #32 of 58 (permalink) Old 09-22-2015, 09:15 AM Thread Starter
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General Thing for new owners

Stock up on random parts, what is easily found today may not be when you need it.
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post #33 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 09:34 AM
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I do think that totally crappy gas may shorten the life. As will letting the car sit. A buddy did his wife's Mustang GTat 3500 miles. But the car is just not driven all that much. Maybe a tank a year.

If there's some consensus on a average it would be good to know.[/QUOTE]

I have a 40th Anniversary Packaged '04 GT Mustang Convertible that I had to replace the fuel pump this past spring with only 23K miles. Car is sometimes driven less than 250 miles during warm weather months for car shows. A co-worker had to change his '04 Mach 1 fuel pump out at 9300 miles. Seems the factory ford fuel pumps don't do well in the tank of rarely driven 'Stangs.

I hope I don't have this issue with the Cougar I just purchased. It has 41k miles and was last registered in '08. Sat in the lady's basement due to health reasons. Still working out some of the lack of usage bugs with one being inoperative wipers, washers pump and door/key chimes. Fixed all the other electrical issues encountered so far but that one. Have checked the combination switch, the relay module, and fuses. Anyone have any input on the ground wire(s) location for this circuit?

Would like to suggest this be considered an issue on low usage cars if not listed already further on in the thread. I've run across several searches listing this issue for T-Birds and Cougars.
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post #34 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-23-2015, 08:58 AM
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Dump a can of Sea Foam in a full tank of gas, to dissolve varnish from all of the fuel system components.

Al

97 T-Bird LX 4.6 - 78k miles
94 Supra TT Auto - street/strip car
04 CVPI- Brenda's car - 71k miles
Previous Fords:
95 T-Bird LX 4.6 - fully optioned, owned 15 years, 220k miles
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88 T-Bird 3.8 - first T-Bird, owned 5 years, 206k miles
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post #35 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-26-2015, 04:00 AM Thread Starter
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According to the guy i got my leather interior off of, the t-bird power seat motors are a flawed design from the start. He worked at Holman Ford until 2001 as a service/parts guy. And he was able to swap my interior for me in about 45 minutes, so i can trust that he would be right about that!
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post #36 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-27-2015, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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This is not a common problem, or a problem at all. This is more like a "good design" feature.


the MN12 does not use struts up front, they do sell quick struts (i have a set) but they are really coilovers. Meaning that you don't have to do much to get them in or out. Break the ball joint loose to get more room to swing the bottom arm out, unbolt the top bolts, unbolt the bottom bolt, it is as easy as doing a regular shock absorber.

Common Issue: New shocks will rarely have the right mounts for the rear, just go with whatever they have for the top mount and follow the directions, it is differnet but....it works 100%.
Don't try and get the sport suspension....nobody really makes it anymore.
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post #37 of 58 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 08:40 PM
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General Thing for new owners

Stock up on random parts, what is easily found today may not be when you need it.
About the smartest thing I've heard so far !!
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post #38 of 58 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 07:57 AM
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You can fix B pillar fade with some matte black plasti dip. Did it to mine and looks great.
Black Bumper paint works too
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post #39 of 58 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 08:46 AM
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According to the guy i got my leather interior off of, the t-bird power seat motors are a flawed design from the start. He worked at Holman Ford until 2001 as a service/parts guy. And he was able to swap my interior for me in about 45 minutes, so i can trust that he would be right about that!
The motors are fine I believe... taken them apart more than once... very simple...rotor, stator..the magnets are actually in the metal tubes that hold the parts... Pretty simple.
The BAD part of the design is the power seat switches. There's a lot of copper parts which I think just wear at the contacts over the years...

I've a post on the seats here somewhere..

Perfect? No but pretty simple to fix

Last edited by Natesriv; 09-19-2017 at 06:38 AM.
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post #40 of 58 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 11:27 AM
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The gearboxes are flawed, steel worm gears in a plastic case makes for a bad time. The switches I've never ever heard of issues with.

-Matt
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post #41 of 58 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 12:17 PM
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Black Bumper paint works too
Krylon flat black looks quite nice too. It's not as flat as it sounds, more like a matte finish. No orange peel at all, very smooth.

Looking inside the door, I was surprised to see how much gloss the original color had. I still like flat - it doesn't jump out at you like a gloss would against slightly faded rubber trim.

Al
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97 T-Bird LX 4.6 - 78k miles
94 Supra TT Auto - street/strip car
04 CVPI- Brenda's car - 71k miles
Previous Fords:
95 T-Bird LX 4.6 - fully optioned, owned 15 years, 220k miles
96 Cougar XR-7 4.6- Brenda's car, owned 11 years, 187k miles
88 T-Bird 3.8 - first T-Bird, owned 5 years, 206k miles
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post #42 of 58 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 02:01 PM
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ODO gears :/

Lots of links on here as to where to find them and how to repair it. Mine went last week at 98K.

96 Thunderbird LX 3.8L
Fishing when I'm not driving
Advice welcomed
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post #43 of 58 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 04:00 PM
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Krylon flat black looks quite nice too. It's not as flat as it sounds, more like a matte finish. No orange peel at all, very smooth.

Looking inside the door, I was surprised to see how much gloss the original color had. I still like flat - it doesn't jump out at you like a gloss would against slightly faded rubber trim.

Al
Agreed, a nice semi matte finish sets it off just fine
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post #44 of 58 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 05:49 PM
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ODO gears :/

Lots of links on here as to where to find them and how to repair it. Mine went last week at 98K.
Dude, that's not a MN12 thing ... those are Chrysler/Ford gears we buy; and there's a REASON why Chrysler is listed first in a lot of the listings!

RwP

Fuelly
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post #45 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 05:56 PM
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Washing it out won't help, I think every MN12 owner should take the time once or twice a year to remove the bottom fender bolts and splash shield and pull the crap built up in there out manually.
Is there any other modifications or tricks to actually extending the life span on a good set of ""Rockers " that are practically unaffected and look like new 20 yrs later.
Anything people have tried and figured out how to get in the inner rocker valleys and maybe oil them or get some kind of coating barrier inside.

I thought I read the foam insert that hides in front of the hinge pillar and hinges is a culprit too..
This is all just curiosity and questions for even further protecting the rocker /unibody area on an already preserved thunderbird that never seen snow and or rain. And is already undercoated since day 1.
I'm really interesting in knowing if anybody as had any luck with going above and beyond in this area of the MN12 because I know this is where the death of these cars start.
I thought about what if you could create a' few small drain plugs at each end under the rockers directly inline with the hollow portion of the rocker drill and clean up paint the drilled edges and place in a good rubber plug to either get oil lubricant in there periodically or flush out anything maybe check with a flush end of each year to see if any debris flows out .... You know from rain or water dirt getting down past the window moldings

I know this won't apply to most people's thunderbirds, but my car particularly is like mint in this general area.

And I thought my 91 sport was same way till I took the ground effects off that helped pack in leafs and filth for 20+ years even though it was a Kentucky car. It had a really nice passenger side rocker and low behold the drivers side had a nice 1"x6" long rot area going on randomly just one side close to the hinge pillars.
Then toward the rear of the rocker some paint bubbles . It Proved to me you never can tell until you get down close start touching looking at the paint It don't start as visible exterior rust it bubbles the paint slightly from inside working out . ...I was pissed . At that point I punched the rust through took a garden hose flushed everything out "Chunks of dirt "few pieces of rusted metal and was just planning on wire mesh job and fiber glassing it in and and smoothing it out it was the only shit part of the car . The whole underside of my 91 looked clean just like this 97 except for that rocker area Any rate I never wanna get there with my 97

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post #46 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 06:35 PM
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Honestly, any prevention from the inside is speculative at best, Ziebart treatments drill holes into the rockers and sills to coat the inner surfaces with a protective coating, yet every Ziebarted car I've ever come across has above average rust damage vs one with nothing at all.

The inherent problem with internal coatings is that there is no possible way to prep the surfaces (and with the foam only a fraction of the surfaces can even get covered), and the prep is the key to adhesion just like any other paint. Otherwise it'll crack, peel, bubble and then trap moisture, and even accelerate rust development. Undercoatings can be the same, often it'll cause rust spots in atypical areas, whilst possibly protecting others marginally better.

Really beyond the foam, the biggest issue is drainage, moisture gets in no matter what you do, and there are many areas inside the rockers, A pillars, quarters where overlapping structural sheetmetal blocks drainage and corrosion develops. The rockers themselves actually have drain holes at each end, and if not for the design flaws and foam, the rocker panels probably wouldn't rust out. I don't know if anyone notices but rocker rot most often starts on the TOP, not the bottom. For this reason I don't particularly dig oil coatings either(I've done it externally, but not internally), since it can gum up like it does in engines and end up blocking what little drainage there is.


Modifications? Nothing that wouldn't be incredibly intrusive to remove the foam, prep and coat areas
with sealers and add some internal drain holes. Only proven effective solution is to drive the car for 3 seasons.

-Matt
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post #47 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 07:32 PM
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Honestly, any prevention from the inside is speculative at best, Ziebart treatments drill holes into the rockers and sills to coat the inner surfaces with a protective coating, yet every Ziebarted car I've ever come across has above average rust damage vs one with nothing at all.

The inherent problem with internal coatings is that there is no possible way to prep the surfaces (and with the foam only a fraction of the surfaces can even get covered), and the prep is the key to adhesion just like any other paint. Otherwise it'll crack, peel, bubble and then trap moisture, and even accelerate rust development. Undercoatings can be the same, often it'll cause rust spots in atypical areas, whilst possibly protecting others marginally better.

Really beyond the foam, the biggest issue is drainage, moisture gets in no matter what you do, and there are many areas inside the rockers, A pillars, quarters where overlapping structural sheetmetal blocks drainage and corrosion develops. The rockers themselves actually have drain holes at each end, and if not for the design flaws and foam, the rocker panels probably wouldn't rust out. I don't know if anyone notices but rocker rot most often starts on the TOP, not the bottom. For this reason I don't particularly dig oil coatings either(I've done it externally, but not internally), since it can gum up like it does in engines and end up blocking what little drainage there is.


Modifications? Nothing that wouldn't be incredibly intrusive to remove the foam, prep and coat areas
with sealers and add some internal drain holes. Only proven effective solution is to drive the car for 3 seasons.
In regards to the foam inserts .. I wonder if anyone has actually paid for a full rocker replacement on a Mn12 professionally welded in and can share the same or better end results from new rockers without the foam inside over the course of multiple years . .and compare degrading from the original to the after market .

I guess your right just drive it when it's sunny warm and dry roads only .
I was just hoping for further prevention by some sort of method/means besides just trusting seasonal driving
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post #48 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 07:46 PM
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You'll have trouble finding anyone who can leave feedback there, as most just opt to cut out the trouble spot and weld in new metal in the trouble area. A full rocker panel replacement is incredibly intrusive since it's tucked underneath the pillars and quarter panels, and aftermarket rockers aren't factory contoured stampings. If the rockers are fully gone then they're just the tip of the iceberg, if the inners are gone the car is a total loss, so there aren't many success stories using full panels.

-Matt
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post #49 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 08:36 PM
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You'll have trouble finding anyone who can leave feedback there, as most just opt to cut out the trouble spot and weld in new metal in the trouble area. A full rocker panel replacement is incredibly intrusive since it's tucked underneath the pillars and quarter panels, and aftermarket rockers aren't factory contoured stampings. If the rockers are fully gone then they're just the tip of the iceberg, if the inners are gone the car is a total loss, so there aren't many success stories using full panels.
One of my rockers has a little hole and arpu d it a bubble. So would it be best to just have a patch welded over it or are the marks the same intrusive process..i just ran into a fellow m8 owner who has somebody to replace his and I was thinking about jumping on the band wagon.
Are the m8 rockers specific or can I use tbird ones? I planned on using these
https://www.ebay.com/i/391913826911?...D1455704014840
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post #50 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 09:05 PM
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Same process, the rockers are the same. you're better off cutting out and welding in if the severity isn't too bad, if you need a whole rocker, scrap the car.

-Matt
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post #51 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 10:01 PM
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I drill 1/16" water drain holes; it helps, as well as ripping out all that foam crap.

spraying a rust preventative like LPS 3 can help.

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
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Black '97 Tbird Limited Edition, '02 4R70W, 255 walbro, PST DS, PBR Brakes&SS lines, Toicko Blues & Springs, GrogTune.


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post #52 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 10:17 PM
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I drill 1/16" water drain holes; it helps, as well as ripping out all that foam crap.

spraying a rust preventative like LPS 3 can help.
Interesting can you even begin to tell me how you find a way in to remove the foam .
Where's the open end rocker entrance if any.
? At the front of the rocker ? I honestly would take a week straight to pick at this to do this if it's of Any help towards preventative rust against my car . I don't see it happening but who knows what' could be found on one sunny day 5 years away.Even with only sunny day driving .
I'm gonna be pissed if I ever see rust come thru. It's like I said this is what it is all about with these cars the one main reason they all went to hell and rott...
Strange Ford could find so many interior exterior redisgns from 89-97 But failed to help the rocker issue that put every one of these cars in the bone yard.
Is it just inevitable tbird rockers rust the cars a waisted investment.. feel like I'm ranting but one I hate rust and two I know these cars don't come up clean often hence why if anything helps I'm all about it.
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post #53 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 11:57 PM
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FYI, there already are drain holes at each end of the rocker panels, make sure they are unblocked. Drilling holes isn't necessarily a bad idea on the surface but there's so much foam in the rockers you'll just be drilling into foam, not draining anything.

There's no way to remove the foam without drilling out spot welds and removing the rocker panels.

-Matt
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post #54 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-03-2018, 09:49 AM
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Acetone works, but it's hard on other stuff.

The front stuff comes out of the front plastic fender liner, or out the doorjamb, I don't remember.

The rear stuff comes out the speaker hole area; I don't remember If I had to take the entire molding out or what.

Is there another piece?

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
Black '96 Cougar XR-7 (Lazarus) 210k mi PI Intake, '02 4R70W, Jmod, PST DS, GrogTune, Konis, Mark LCA+Poly, racecougar Custom Engine Chain, and JL and racecougar Bracing.
Black '97 Tbird Limited Edition, '02 4R70W, 255 walbro, PST DS, PBR Brakes&SS lines, Toicko Blues & Springs, GrogTune.


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post #55 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-03-2018, 10:37 AM
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That's the recycled fabric sound deadener, the foam is the yellow stuff injected inside the structural box sections

-Matt
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post #56 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-03-2018, 01:54 PM
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That's the recycled fabric sound deadener, the foam is the yellow stuff injected inside the structural box sections
Oh. Sorry.

I haven't sectioned one yet.

Yet, lol.

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
Black '96 Cougar XR-7 (Lazarus) 210k mi PI Intake, '02 4R70W, Jmod, PST DS, GrogTune, Konis, Mark LCA+Poly, racecougar Custom Engine Chain, and JL and racecougar Bracing.
Black '97 Tbird Limited Edition, '02 4R70W, 255 walbro, PST DS, PBR Brakes&SS lines, Toicko Blues & Springs, GrogTune.


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post #57 of 58 (permalink) Old 09-19-2018, 09:25 PM
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Knock on wood, no signs of rocker rust on my two..... yet.

A fine pair ... ... and whatever you do, Have a Safe Trip!
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post #58 of 58 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 12:16 PM
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Watch out for shotty welding in the doors, they tend to hold moisture, and will rust inside out. It's a good idea to begin stocking up on parts now. Everything from exterior to interior and engine. These cars just began turning 30, meaning that parts are really becoming quite hard to come by. All sorts of plastic parts are starting to go bad, meaning that windows will stop working, odometers will go out, and whatnot. Copper contacts are also going bad. Take your seats out and clean them once per year. Also, learn how to fabricate parts. Specifically the plastic parts. a 3d printer and scanner will cost you now, but if you plan on keeping your car for the long term... scanning functional parts now to reprint and replace later is definitely a plus.
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