North American Turbocoupe Organization

Damn Bird!
Gregg Offline
Senior Member
OK....can anyone suggest what this COULD be?

Bird has been working great for a month... Drove a bit today in it, and as I was pulling into a parking spot, it just died... Tried to restart... nothing..battery is dead... Had to get a jump... I think I may need new battery cables... but, is there anyway to check the battery and alt. to see if my charging system is working correctly?

I'm gonna have to pull the battery to see how old it is... I Had a problem some months ago where I had something draining the battery, and that seems to have been gone...however, the constant charge/discharge, could that have made my battery go down the tube?



I don't know if this will help but I can relay a story of what happened to me with a ford product that was only two years old. Everything seemed to be running great when I pulled into my favorite 7/11, when I got back in and tried to start it, it wouldn't turn over. All it would do was make a clicking sound (starter?). Anyways, since the car was only two years old I didn't suspect the battery, I thought it is either the alternator or battery cables. I called my wife went to the nearest auto parts store and decided to take the cheap route and change the battery cables and that is what it was (2 year old battery cable on the positive side). Hope you find out what it is.

Jeff P

Pete D Offline
Youcan get the battery and alternator checked at almost any parts store. Battery cables can flex, break and corrode and it can be hard to see. Clean connections at the starter solenoid, including it's mounting bolts.
Same with the starter connection.

88 TC X 2, 86 SVO, Main TC with K&N, 3"DP to 2.5"duals through Dynamax, Ric valve at 17+ and disconnected KS.
Elite Bodega 16" chrome wheels. Autometer pod w/ A/F and Vac/boost gauges. New engine shortly, ported head and
manifolds, polished and cc'd chambers, A-230 cam, Race Engineering Adj Cam Sprocket, Crowlers, ARP head studs, Walbro 190 pump and T-3 for starters. KB subs
and jack rails.
Pete Dunham


B D Offline
First take your battery out and have it load tested. Then,if you have a volt meter,put it on the battery terminals while the car is running. It should show over 12 volts. 13 to 14 volts is normal. If the system is charging,run a draw test. Disconnect the positive terminal and connect a volt meter or a 12 volt test light between the + cable and the terminal.With everything off there should be no current draw.

87 TC 5-Speed
88 Thunderbird Sport 5.0
91 Ranger
87 Turbocoupe 5-Speed, Remote mount K&N filter system,Steeda Shifter,New Heater Core,new clutch.
88 Turbocoupe "Mach 1 SE "
88 Thunderbird Sport 5.0 (Retired)
91 Ranger
NATO Member

JT Offline
Posting Freak
The people who responded gave some good input and things to check.

i'd like to add one thing.

Whatever you do to test the charging system, do NOT unhook the battery cables while the engine is running to "test" if the alternator is putting out current.

Doing the above can cause damage to some electronics, especially the EEC.

i say the above because i still hear people doing that old test once in a while, on computer equipped cars.

It's not a safe test.


Jeff K Offline
Right on JT... NEVER disconnect the batt with the car running on a computer controlled car, or you WILL fry the electronics!!

Offical Ford test: Measure batt voltage with car off. this is the base voltage, about 12.4 V or so. Start car, run at 2000 RPM, and measure batt voltage. It should be about 2 V over the base voltage. Turn on headlights, and heater blower on high (motor still t 2000 RPM). Batt voltage should be at least 1/2 V over the base voltage, and probably will be more like 1 to 1.5 V over the base voltage. If this test passes, the alt is OK.

Jeff Korn

88 Turbo Coupe: Intake and exhaust mods, T3 turbo at 20 psi, forced air intercooler, water injection, bypass valve, Ranger roller cam, subframes, etc., etc.. // 86 Tbird 5.0 (original owner): intake, exhaust, valvetrain mods, 100 HP nitrous, ignition, gears, suspension, etc., etc.... // 91 Escort: Bone stock winter car // 00 Windstar (wifes vehicle)
Jeff Korn

88 Turbo Coupe: Intake and exhaust mods, T3 turbo at 24 psi, forced air IC, water injection, BPV, Ranger cam, subframes, etc., etc.
86 Tbird 5.0 (original owner): intake, exhaust, valvetrain mods, 100 HP N2O, ignition, gears, suspension, etc., etc.
05 Taurus SEL Duratec daily driver
04 Taurus Duratec (wifes car)
02 Pontiac Grand Prix GT
95 Taurus GL Vulcan winter beater
67 Honda 450 Super Sport - completely customized

kfritz Offline
Junior Member
Just someinput from the peanut gallery.. there is another thing that we found on my wife's car that will sometimes do that.. She pulled into a parking lot and shut it off,, it wouldn't restart..It was the ignition modual on the steering collumn,, had to replace hers. For what it's worth try that..

88 TC- 187,000, 5sp. all options but the leather seats and keyless entry.
Mod=T03 Garrett AR60, K&N air filter, adjustable boost control valve, And comming soon 42lb injectors, bigger VAM,
87 TC-Automatic fully stock 118,000

1987tc Offline
Senior Member
That would be the ignition switch itself on the collumn. The module is on the distributer. A lot of people think that the lock cyl. Is the switch.

On the charging problem. there is another way to see if it is charging at all. On alts with a cap over the rear bearing you can touch just the bearing cap with a flat blade screwdriver. If it is magnitized then it is charging. Won't tell you how many volts it is putting out but will tell you if it is putting out anything.

1987 TC:
Hurst compition plus shifter,K&N cone,roller cam,custom single exhaust,Gillis valve,H&R springs,KYB shocks,struts and quads.
3.73 rear.
Tubular rear control arms and Kenny Brown trac kit brackets. soon to come, Installation of Caster camber plates and a custom built roll cage.
Wes Arnett
Linton Indiana
Sold my Turbocoupe. It went to a good home.

TCx2 Offline
Senior Member
Whenever I've had any problems along these lines I've just gone down to the local Advance Auto and had them check the system.

I had a starter go bad, and it killed my battery graveyard dead in about 5 seconds worth of trying to start the car.

Starter was locked solid.

Not saying that is your problem but that is what killed me like you are saying.

88 White TC, 5spd, Loaded
88 Black TC, 5spd, Base
87 LtBlue TC, 5spd,Loaded
67 Green Ford Fairlane 428CJ 5spd
89 Fiji Blue Chrysler Conquest
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03 Ford Excursion(King of the SUVs)
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10 Challenger R/T "Supercharged"

this is pretty much unrelated but, whenever i had a very low amount of gas in the tank of my tbird, the starter would make a funny noise, the gauges would all swing up and down and the car wouldnt start. we replaced the solenoid and battery before realizing it just needed gas...pretty weird, huh?

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