Looking at a 97 TBird. How is 3.8 reliability? - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-01-2017, 02:23 AM Thread Starter
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Looking at a 97 TBird. How is 3.8 reliability?

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-01-2017, 04:58 AM
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Knock on wood, I've had no problems so far!

If the car has been taken care of and properly maintained during it's life, you should be good to go. Check to see if the seller has maintenance records for you. The headgasket issue was improved over earlier years but really wasn't taken care of until the 1999 split port.


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

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-02-2017, 08:41 AM
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Location: Raleigh, NC
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Personally, I would find one with the 4.6. The motor is better suited for the weight of the car, and the gas mileage is not that much different.

The V6 does have the head gasket issue, and struggles to climb hills on the hwy.


97 T-Bird LX 4.6 - 80k miles
94 Supra TT Auto - street/strip car
04 CVPI- Brenda's car - 76k 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 #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-02-2017, 08:55 PM
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If you are buying one to supercharge an/or do the 4.2 swap it can be interesting. Otherwise I can't think of any reason to buy a non supercharged 3.8, especially with the amount of V8 models still around. The 4.6 or 5.0 wins in every way.

96 Cougar Sport - T45 Swapped
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-05-2017, 07:50 PM
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96+ are fine with reliability, power no.

If all else fails get a bigger hammer!

93 SC Tbird
MPII w/ Plenum,90mm MAF, 85mm TB, 40# Injectors, 255 lph FP, Double IC w/fan, SCT Chip (Tuned by Jerry),3/4" Raised Top, F52-TT TC, SilverFox AOD 550, SPT-R VB
96 1/2 XR7 Sold and Salvaged
93 5.0 Tbird
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