Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.

3.7

definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
34,261 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Ford Thunderbird engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Ford Thunderbird Owner Comments

problem #12

Aug 012011

Thunderbird 8-cyl

  • 71,092 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Had number 8 ignition coil replaced August 1st 2011, other parts and labor ($1007.02). Seven days later, August 8th 2011 had number 2 ignition coil replaced ($210.91). Because this is a 2002 Thunderbird these repairs were not under warranty, but they are for 2003 up. Why? this makes me think about buying another brand of car, don't think it could be any worse.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #11

Feb 202012

Thunderbird 8-cyl

  • 4,500 miles
This is a copy of a thunderbirdnest.com forum members complaint, which there are several others reporting the same condition. I could not say it better so im using it. This could be real scary in heavy traffic, especially on the highways. I am writing to hopefully prevent a dangerous and serious situation. I own a 2002 Ford Thunderbird. This particular car and others like it have defective ignition coils which could cause the car(s) to become involved in accidents. The coils are prone to cease functioning at any moment, thus causing the engine to suddenly and rapidly lose power. This is dangerous at best at low speeds, and deadly at highway speeds. The Ford Motor Company has issued a letter stating that 2003-2005 Thunderbirds can have their coils replaced at no cost to the owner. However, they have failed to include the owners of 2002 models in this action. The result of this is that 2002 owners cannot afford to have their coils replaced due to the expense (between $1500 and $2500). This places thousands of cars on the road that endanger not only their own occupants, but those of other vehicles as well. Since Ford has acknowledged that there is a problem with the coils (the 2002 uses the same as those being replaced for free), I implore you to use whatever influence you might have to rectify this situation. Many potential deaths could be avoided if Ford would simply include the 2002 model Thunderbird in the list of approved vehicles for coil replacement at no cost. I personally own a 2002 Ford Thunderbird myself and only have approx. 4,500 miles on it. This week I started my vehicle and experienced this same issue with the vehicle miss-firing. I also have a check engine light coming on. I immediately had it checked and the test detected the #5 cylinder is misfiring. My vehicle has never seen rain or snow. Why can't we get Ford to do something?

- Abilene, TX, USA

problem #10

Apr 252011

Thunderbird

  • 43,700 miles
I've seen numerous complaints for this same issue and I've done a lot of research on it. My 2002 Ford Thunderbird began having this problem at 43,700 miles. I did not know what the issue was and it was intermittent. Within the past month (September, 2011), I have personally replaced all eight plugs, boots and coils. While doing this I found three plugs that were oil fouled. After completing this repair the car continues to drive rough. The tach will race, the car will not accelerate smoothly or at all while trying to enter a highway and behaves poorly on both neighborhood roads and the highway. I could not afford to have the dealer make the repairs. As a matter of fact, just a week before I replaced the plugs, boots and coils, I had the oil changed at the dealer. They changed the oil, rotated the tires, replaced the oil filter and air filter and windshield wipers. They charged me $151 for this. I think that is robbery!! when I checked out, the mechanic said that it appears I have a "coil" problem. Hmmm. I researched this issue and know that Ford will not admit nor include the 2002 in their extended warranty program. This is shameful! this coil on boot problem is a major safety issue and many folks can be hurt or killed because of how the car behaves when this problem arises. I called customer service at Ford corporate to attempt to register a complaint, the customer service person said "we don't have any problems that we can talk about with this model". well, that sounds like an admission of guilt to me. I am hoping that perhaps you can assist all of us who own 2002 T-birds get justice from Ford and have them admit they have a problem and fix it! extend our warranties before another owner has an accident or dies as a result of this problem. There are 1000S of us! I've owned seven Ford and never have I had an issue or treatment like this before.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #9

Aug 112009

Thunderbird 8-cyl

  • 24,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Coil and plug failure in traffic - my car experienced intermittent stalling in traffic and misfiring on the highway.luckily, I was able to start the Ford car and move me and the Ford car out of harms way.Ford recognizes the issue with the 2003 and in may of 2008 Ford covered the 2004 and 2005 Thunderbirds but is ignoring the 2002. I had two of the eight coil on plug assembles replaced and I am concerned that any one of the next six will again fail on the road.

- Lighthouse Point, FL, USA

problem #8

Aug 252011

Thunderbird 8-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
I have a 2002 Ford T-bird with approx 60K milies, original owner. I've had three coils replaced at my expense. On 25 Aug 2011, while diving in the fast lane (three lanes) at approx 60 mph, the engine suddenly quit, causing a loss of brakes and steering. I was fortunate to be able to muscle the car into the break down lane and stop. The car started without issue after putting it in park.

- Chula Vista, CA, USA

problem #7

May 102002

Thunderbird

  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Thunderbird. The contact stated the ignition coil was failing. This failure caused the vehicle to mis-fire and sporadically, the vehicle would abnormally accelerate. The dealer confirmed the failure, but stated that the part needed for repairs was not covered. The failure and current mileage were 20,000.

- Pepper Pike, OH, USA

problem #6

Jan 042011

Thunderbird 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,400 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The contact owns a 2002 Ford Thunderbird. While driving approximately 35 mph, the contact noticed smoke emitting from the engine. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer who replaced both valve cover gaskets. The failure mileage was 57,400 and the current mileage was 57,405. Updated 02/23/11 updated 04/28/11

- Palm Springs, CA, USA

problem #5

Apr 202010

Thunderbird 8-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
No particular events leading to failure, just mileage (about 35K). Problem is ignition misfires - not consistent at all but causes nearly complete loss of power, stumbling, particularly on acceleration (on ramps, passing, etc.). the problem is intermittent - at times causes loss of power, engine stalls and shuts down completely, at other times causes inability to accelerate or even hold constant speed. Nothing has been done to correct problem except having misfire codes cleared from time to time (when car runs long enough to get to a service station). Ford has acknowledged identical problem for identical engine in 2003-2005 Thunderbird and Lincoln ls, and covers cost of full repair(customer satisfaction program 07M07). Ford extended the warranty on 2003-2005 vehicles to cover repair (replace cam cover gaskets, spark plugs and coils on plugs), but for some reason did not include the 2002 models. Complaint has been registered with Ford customer relationship center, but they claim they can't extend warranty to 2002 models and they can't communicate complaint to engineering or management staff.

- Indian Harbour Beach , FL, USA

problem #4

Aug 152008

Thunderbird

  • 56,000 miles
Ford recalled the cop's (coil on plug) for leakage and failure. Ford so say repaired the problem, however, within three months of their repair. The exact same issue occurred. Apparently, their are a number of issues with the 3.9 liter engine and it's coil packs. One only has to do research on line to find the number of complaints about the cop system. However, Ford has refused to own up to it's responsibility. The engine misses and is a cause of possible failure while in operation. Silsbee Ford in silsbee, tx has refused to re repair the problem and Ford has refused to honor it's quality commitment. Research the Ford Thunderbird and Mercury ls models from 2000 to 2005 on line for further complaints. Some are replacing the cop's themselves every few months to keep the vehicle operational.

- Burkeville, TX, USA

problem #3

Dec 122009

Thunderbird

  • 39,436 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Thunderbird. The contact stated the oil and gas are mixing in the valve. The rings were replaced but the problem persisted. The contact called the Ford manufacturer and was told there is no recall or warranty on this problem and that they would have to repair the problem themselves. The failure mileage was 39,436.

- Vero Beach, FL, USA

problem #2

Oct 312001

Thunderbird

  • miles
I am writing to hopefully prevent a dangerous and serious situation. I own a 2002 Ford Thunderbird. This particular car and others like it have defective ignition coils which could cause the car(s) to become involved in accidents. The coils are prone to cease functioning at any moment, thus causing the engine to suddenly and rapidly lose power. This is dangerous at best at low speeds, and deadly at highway speeds. The Ford Motor Company has issued a letter stating that 2003-2005 Thunderbirds can have their coils replaced at no cost to the owner. However, they have failed to include the owners of 2002 models in this action. The result of this is that 2002 owners cannot afford to have their coils replaced due to the expense (between $1500 and $2500). This places thousands of cars on the road that endanger not only their own occupants, but those of other vehicles as well. Since Ford has acknowledged that there is a problem with the coils (the 2002 uses the same as those being replaced for free), I implore you to use whatever influence you might have to rectify this situation. Many potential deaths could be avoided if Ford would simply include the 2002 model Thunderbird in the list of approved vehicles for coil replacement at no cost.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #1

Sep 032008

Thunderbird

  • miles
This is a copy of a forum members complaint. I could not say it better so I'm using it. I have not had the problem yet. But this could be real scary in heavy traffic, especially on the highways. I am writing to hopefully prevent a dangerous and serious situation. I own a 2002 Ford Thunderbird. This particular car and others like it have defective ignition coils which could cause the car(s) to become involved in accidents. The coils are prone to cease functioning at any moment, thus causing the engine to suddenly and rapidly lose power. This is dangerous at best at low speeds, and deadly at highway speeds. The Ford Motor Company has issued a letter stating that 2003-2005 Thunderbirds can have their coils replaced at no cost to the owner. However, they have failed to include the owners of 2002 models in this action. The result of this is that 2002 owners cannot afford to have their coils replaced due to the expense (between $1500 and $2500). This places thousands of cars on the road that endanger not only their own occupants, but those of other vehicles as well. Since Ford has acknowledged that there is a problem with the coils (the 2002 uses the same as those being replaced for free), I implore you to use whatever influence you might have to rectify this situation. Many potential deaths could be avoided if Ford would simply include the 2002 model Thunderbird in the list of approved vehicles for coil replacement at no cost.

- Kokomo, IN, USA

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