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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
50,929 miles
Total Complaints:
7 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. coil replaced (3 reports)
  2. not sure (3 reports)
  3. replace fuel pump (1 reports)
2002 Ford Thunderbird engine problems

engine problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Ford Thunderbird:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2002 Ford Thunderbird Owner Comments

problem #7

Mar 152016

Thunderbird Leather V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles


Car was purchased at Galpin motors in Rolling Hills Southern California on Valentines Day February 2002. Had to pay $7000 over sticker. With tax and license, $51K out the door. First problem was overheating and had thermostat and fluid change. Since December 2015, car has been towed three times to St. George Ford in Utah.

First time was ignition coils problem and all eight were replaced. Next problems when car had to be towed as engine would not run, one of two fuel pumps have been replaced twice. Same problem again on April 2, 2016. Car had been driven approximately 10 miles to a car wash. Engine was turned off after going thru the automated car wash and I was waiting in line for the car to be vacuumed. Engine would not start again and car was towed to Ford dealer. The car is being road tested after replacing the same fuel pump (third time).

I asked for a 100 mile road test. Just received results and car is running good. No charges as pump is under warranty for two years. I am almost afraid to drive.this car that I dearly love. Also I only have one more free tow with AAA. The mileage is currently a little over 40000. Today is April 6, 2016, and am going to pickup the car at St. George Ford. Will keep you posted.

- , St. George, UT, USA

problem #6

Aug 162013

Thunderbird V8 3.9L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles

Car runs rough after 55000 miles. Stalls when it wants, starts when it wants, and rumbles when it wants. Emission light comes on, goes off, comes on, stays on, goes off. Had fuel pump and had to also replace lift pump, seems that to replace one had to replace other. what the hell is that about?

Took car home next morning and would not start right away, then runs rough and emissions light is on again. Then replaced Ignition Coil and a platinum spark plug. Left lot ran fine, started car next day and it would not start, back in shop. Whats up? Bought this for my wifypoo, she now thinks we should get rid of it.

- , Fayetteville, AR, USA

problem #5

Sep 012009

Thunderbird V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Ah, the 2002 Thunderbird!!! What can I say? This car has the worst design I have ever seen, it has had a multitude of problems common to the 02, and like the rest of you, Ford has been no help what-so-ever.

Under the hood the problem started at roughly 50,000 miles with the #8 coil fowling and in a couple weeks time the remaining 7 needed replacement. Also, I replaced plugs and the valve cover gaskets at the same time. Within 1,000 miles the plugs were fowling again, valve cover gaskets leaking again, and the #3 coil needs replacement AGAIN.

This car was kept in a garage and driven very gently. Although, I would never trust it on a serious road trip. At 88,000 miles it's been nothing but a headache. These problems will never go away, so be prepared. I traded an 86 CHEVY Monte Carlo with 350,000 miles on it for this piece of junk and I had never taken my CHEVY in for a repair. I miss my CHEVY. Screw Ford!!!!!

- , Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #4

May 012009

Thunderbird 3.9L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles


I do not have on-demand speed. The engine hangs up. It started a few weeks ago and was only happening between 45 and 50 mph now it hangs up when I need quick acceleration.

- , Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #3

Jan 042007

Thunderbird Convertible 3.9L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,000 miles

My nearest FORD dealer is 42 miles away. Always miss a days work when taking my THUNDER BIRD to have is serviced. Oil changes every 3000 miles or less. This car is babied!

- , Key Largo, FL, USA

problem #2

Feb 072008

Thunderbird 3.9L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,500 miles

I am guessing that my coil is fouling spark plugs, as I have seen other complaints along this same line and that is what they have said was wrong with theirs. This started around 30,000 miles and I took in under warranty, but of course they found nothing wrong, at this time only acted up when you had the hammer down, not when driving around town. I will take info to dealership telling them what problem might be (coil, spark plugs)

- , Lebanon, TN, USA

problem #1

Nov 142006

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

Two gaskets leaked causing the engine light to come on. The car ran very rough. All eight coils were replaced along with new gaskets. Two months later the engine light just came on again today. The car is stalling and running rough again. Don't know what the problem is this time. Will never buy another Ford.

- , Vero Beach, FL, USA

Not what you are looking for?