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really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
55,570 miles
Total Complaints:
3 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replaced cooling system overflow tank (1 reports)
  2. replaced fan assembly, thermostat assembly, coolant (1 reports)
  3. replaced radiator fan motor (1 reports)
2002 Ford Thunderbird cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2002 Ford Thunderbird Owner Comments

problem #3

Feb 152016

Thunderbird 8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles


Car would occasionally indicate "HOT" . Turn off car and temp goes back to normal. Only happened once in a while. Then problem became more frequent. Dealership said hydraulic fan assembly need replacing plus thermostat assembly, coolant at cost of over 1000.00. Car ran less than 4 miles when problem started again. Dealership said must not have gotten all the air out of lines. Bled the lines and gave car back to me. Car ran almost 1 whole day before overheating started again. This time dealership said I needed new radiator. 800.00 to replace radiator w/parts and labor. Car ran fine for 1510 miles. Now car towed to AutoNation Ford in Memphis. This dealership said I had cracked thermostat housing and lost all the fluid. Replaced thermostat housing and fluid, bled system, picked car up on june 15,2016 at a cost of 590.00. Car ran for less than 10minutes before overheating problems started again. Car towed back to dealership. This morning, june 16,2016, dealership says problem was known to exist even before car was on the market. Scheduled to come out in 1999, held off production until 2002 trying to fix problem when Ford marketed it away knowing that the car was known to overheat or at least indicate overheating. AutoNation today says, yes they are aware of problem with the cars, have always known about the problem and are not sure how it can be fixed. Currently I am out almost 2400.00 just on this problem not to mention 3 a/c repairs to ac control valves (600.00) each and I have been through 3 sets (24) injector coils on a car that only has 64000 on it.

- , Memphis, TN, USA

problem #2

Feb 022011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

Who knew this car had a hydraulic radiator fan motor. Especially when the following years went back to electrical. Everywhere I checked was going to charge me an additional 600 dollars because it took a special tool. Did this help??? No. They changed the thermostat but did not help. I still see antifreeze on the floor also. They said quite possibly a defective radiator fan replacement. The car dials go nuts and show overheat. Then the cylinders start to shut down and we have to pull over. Five minutes later, we can take off. It may do this daily or once in a year. Still an issue. Why can't they replace the HYDRAULIC radiator fan motor with an electric one...same principle.

- , Paducah, KY, USA

problem #1

Apr 142010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,710 miles

My car began overheating and the thermostat light came on. Then the engine power went down by half, then the check engine light came on.

The dealer told me they had to replace the cooling system overflow tank $700. (parts & labor). Got the car back and went on a short road trip (400 kms) and going up a hill the thermostat gauge went up again and the light came on, then the engine lost power again. Apparently this is a safety feature for the engine so that you don't seize the engine. Between the trip and the time I got it in to the dealership, it happened 2 more times. (Thermostat light only, not check engine light)

Dealership put the computer on it and they said no faults came up on the diagnostic. Like it didn't happen.

At this point I was told that the information the mechanics look at in the Ford system states that when they change any of the cooling system parts, they then have to change the cooling fan assembly (another $900 just for the part!)

I left the car over the weekend so they could road test it and recreate the problem. They were not able to recreate the problem. It has happened again since I got the car back. There's a long weekend coming up and I wanted to take the car out.

- , Vancouver, BC, Canada

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