1996 tbird: what is wrong with my car? - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
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1996 tbird: what is wrong with my car?

1996 tbirdm V8, 110k. Car has been fine. Riding well. Here in Cincy it has been cold, low 10'ish high;s around 20 to 25, snow yesterday. Today I get in car, driving along notice a very bouncy rear end. Get out and look at it today on lunch and note the rear end is sitting low. Got a bad bouncy ride on any bad surface. This car as far as I know is not a air bad suspension. Did both back shocks or struts, what ever it has both go at the same time???? Seems kinda odd to me!

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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 01:28 PM
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Sounds like that the very cold air there busted the seals in the shocks Just a guess

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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 01:40 PM
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Take a closer look and see if the springs are broken; a bunch if people in the north seem to break springs.

The seals would definitely do that, but I've personally never seen that happen without a pothole or ditch being involved.

I'd crawl under there and look closely; if the seals died recently, there should be oil everywhere down the shock. I've split a shock all the way down the side, but not on one of these cars, thankfully.

The springs should be obvious if they're broken...

Also check the upper inner control arm bushing; I found those bad suddenly in my black Cougar.

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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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the damn thing was fine last night. Got in today and immediately noticed it was done, dead feeling in rear, bouncy over any crack in the road, like a frigging low rider. Seems like it is on both sides in back.

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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 01:52 PM
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Probably broken springs. Shocks shouldn't affect ride height at all, unless they were seized, in which case the rear would be higher, not lower.

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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
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looks like both sides of back are sitting at the same low point. Both springs would go at the same time? Seeeeeems so unlikely. Next. do I hurt the car riding it this way, what ever is broke. I know when I push down on rear end it is bouncy, much more then front.

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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 02:05 PM
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Only one way to find out .. get under the car and take a look. My money is on the springs.
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 02:17 PM
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Well the cold does make them more brittle, and once one goes it puts more stress on the other, so it could be. Really the springs are the only thing that could affect ride height like that.

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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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ha ha ha. Never heard of this one. I have owned DOZENS of cars, 20, 30, 40 years old that were all orig and did not do this. ha ha ha ha.
How much will this set me back?

Tim

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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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And I just dropped 500 on a snow blower. GO FIGURE! ha ha ha

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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
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How much will this set me back?
depends on what it is.
did you take a look and see what the problem might be?
If its rear shocks, I'm sure you could get some cheap replacements for around 50 60 bucks....if its springs, I bet you could get some used ones shipped cheap from someone on here.

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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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i have not had a chance to look at it. work now, got to get a jack back from bro to get it up so I CAN see, ha ha ha.

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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 03:01 PM
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Well if you do it yourself, it will be cheap. You can usually pick up SC/sport springs for around $100 shipped for all 4, or find someone who already upgraded and has some stockers and pick them up even cheaper. To replace the rear springs, just unbolt the spindle from both control arms, unbolt the bottom end of the shock from the lower control arm, then pry the lower arm down until you can get the spring out. For going back, reverse the process except that you will probably need to get a jack under the LCA to compress the spring and get everything back together.

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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 06:55 PM
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Wow never heard of that either ?? Pretty scary!

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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-10-2010, 02:37 PM
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I noticed a lot of broken springs up north in the past here in these threads.

I'm 56 this month, have owned a lot of coil spring cars and some trucks, and went through 14 assigned police cars over 31 years of police career ...
... and I never saw or suffered a broken spring except a few broken truck springs on large tractor trailers in wrecks or during inspections.

I think it's the cold coupled with the potholes and hard ice with cracks, etc in the roadways.

A fine pair ... ... and whatever you do, Have a Safe Trip!
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post #16 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-10-2010, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
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The car was fine the night before when I parked it in the garage. Next worning I notices about 5 min into drive the harsh ride from rear end. At lunch noticed the back end was sitting low, tires up further in wheel wells then typical.
Well today the car seems to be riding better. rear end is back up, tires riding normal height it seems. The rear end does not have that GO CART ride feel to it nearly as bad as it was.
Coudl the shocks have been FROZEN? This is really odd.

Tim

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post #17 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-10-2010, 05:18 PM
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Yea broken springs are fairly common in older vehicles at least around here (Maine). IDK if its the cold, rust, or crappy roads; probably all three. My T-bird had 2 broken front springs when I bought it:


Also I think my old Ford ranger had a broken front spring before I took it off the road, I just kept driving it like that lol. Was leaning to one side near the end.

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post #18 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-10-2010, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David_viny View Post
Yea broken springs are fairly common in older vehicles at least around here (Maine). IDK if its the cold, rust, or crappy roads; probably all three. My T-bird had 2 broken front springs when I bought it:


Also I think my old Ford ranger had a broken front spring before I took it off the road, I just kept driving it like that lol. Was leaning to one side near the end.
I've seen that same issue on 3 birds. Has to be the salt and potholes.

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post #19 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-12-2010, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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Update:

Well the rear end has went back up to normal height and the harsh low rider/gocart bouncy ride is gone. I looked at the springs, appeared not to be broken and the shocks showed no sign of a recent leak, nothing on the floor under the car in the garage. VERY ODD!!!! Funny thing is that the temps have not changed all that much.

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post #20 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-12-2010, 12:31 PM
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very strange

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post #21 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-12-2010, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
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Sun is out, it's about 30 today. Car is back to riding as it has been since I got it two years ago. Very odd in deed. 3 days ago, the rear was down, like you see on Linc versions with the bagged system, bouncing around like a go cart, if I pushed on the trunk the rear end would bound up and down several times, where as front just went down then back up. Well today the darn thing is all back to normal. Something must have been messed up from the cold.

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post #22 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-12-2010, 05:19 PM
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So your car just fixed itself ???

The springs hold your car up, the shocks make it so it doesnt bounce.
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post #23 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-12-2010, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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I am telling you, the other day (the 8th) the rear end was squatting down, left side more then the right, but both wheels were up in the wheel well more then the 2 years ownership before I noticed that day. It looked similar to those cars with the air bag susp that has went dead, and the car is sitting low and had a ride like a freakin yard cart GO CART, those cheapie kind. Big thuds over bumps like the rear end was dead. Then I pushed on the trunk hard and it was bouce 3 or 4 times a little where as the front when I did the same it went down once and came back up to a resting position. Then over the last two days the ride has got better to a point that today it is riding normal again and is sitting correctly also. Call me crazy but this is what happened.

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post #24 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-12-2010, 05:59 PM
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Weeeeeeird.

But yes, when I started fixing up my car one of the first things I did was replace both front shock/spring assemblies; they were both broken just like in David's picture above.

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post #25 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-12-2010, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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I did a visual last night and did not see anything. Perhaps the break in the spring (if that was even it) is sitting back in place and making the car look fixed????

Tim

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post #26 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-12-2010, 06:10 PM Thread Starter
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But that pic of the broken spring here. I do not see any of my rear ones that look like that. They are pretty clean.

Tim

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post #27 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-14-2010, 02:07 AM
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Only thing I can imagine that would possibly do what you say ...
... is the intense cold really congealed the fluid in the rear shocks and the valving simply stiffened up and somewhere you hit a dip and they held the rear down.

Normally shocks will not support more than a few pounds weight until they move, but as you know ... rebound is usually at least as stiff, and in some shocks, stiffer than compression on road shocks. A 50/50 shock is the same either way. A 90/10 drag front shock will let a front end rise real easy with low rebound damping, and holds it up longer with stronger compression damping.

When hitting a bump, you have the weight of the car acting like a hammer to compress them against stuck / frozen / clogged valving, it can even burst a shock's seals or mounts.

But you don't get that hammer effect to stretch them back out, only the weight of the outer suspension maybe as you get light over a rise ... or the "push" of the springs themselves trying to push the car back up after that bump I mentioned.

Yeah, it's possible, I just haven't seen it yet.

But it has been really cold!

A fine pair ... ... and whatever you do, Have a Safe Trip!
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post #28 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-14-2010, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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At the time this took place we were on our 18th day straight of highs only 23ish, lows down to 10. I know when I drove it the day before it was fine. The next day I noticed it on the HWY. I DO have railroad tracks about 150 yards from me that are smooth but then the car goes down hill, then at my sons school there are some speed bumps there? Maybe one of those things made the rear get stupid. But as of today, the car is riding perfectly normal.

Tim

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post #29 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-03-2010, 10:48 PM
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since this is somewhat recent... did you happen to see your tire leaning in? i'm having the same type of issues but my tire on the left side is leaning, neg. camber. not sure, the whole left side of my car is LOW! it's like i'm fat or something! haha anywhoo not sure just a shot in the dark

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post #30 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-03-2010, 11:23 PM
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I bought my car with 2 broken front springs as well. Seems to be a common problem in the nothern birds.

And I just have to ask. Are you sure you didn't do any illegal hallucinogens the day you noticed your cars rear sitting really low and then you just came off the hallucinogens and your car was fine?
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