North American Turbocoupe Organization

Help! T-Bird Guru In Wash D.C. Area Desperately Needed.
Master Chow Offline
Junior Member
I am the unfortunate owner/victim of an '88 T-Bird TC automatic. I bought this nightmare (though I didn't know it at the time) with supposedly 64K miles onner back in Jan '02 and it has caused me endless misery and suffering ever since. It is constantly malfunctioning and has spent more time in an auto mechanic's shop than on the road. It is a never-ending thing fixed and another breaks...part after part replaced yet the torture continues. I've put so much $$$ into this thing that's there's no turning back so I am making a plea for help. Sadly, I have very limited auto mechanics experience. I am hoping there is a turbo coupe guru/technician somewhere/anywhere in the vicinity of the Washington D.C. metro area and surrounding turf who could impart their TC wisdom, insight and technical expertice in getting my car stabilized/fixed. Your assistance and help is greatly appreciated...what is left of my sanity thanks you. Pls email me @ [email protected]


Birdman78758 Offline
Senior Member
You found the NATO web site so consider yourself half-way there. We're a bunch of TBird TC enthusiasts/fools and have more knowledge about these cars than anyone else on the planet. You've come to the right place.

We've all put so much money into them that there's no turning back! [Image: biggrin.gif] For inspiration go to the showroom and look at how beautiful these cars can be. And always remember that you're driving a car that can keep up with 'vettes at 1/20th the price. Attitude's first. Expect maintenance up front. Don't get too frustrated, these were state-of-the-art in their days (and still in some ways) and so they're equally complex systems. Just a wee bit finicky but usually common problems.

Finally, do you mind picking up a wrench? Even if you don't consider yourself a shadetree mechanic the BEST route is to do it yourself (we'll help) since you'll know it's been done right, you'll learn how to solve a problem, AND you'll probably save a ton of money not paying someone else.

Tell us about the problems you've had addressed and what's still wrong.

NATO Member
1988 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe (Ms. Mybaby)
1991 Geo Metro fxi (Mr. Nogo)
2002 Ford GT-40 (I wish...)

[This message has been edited by Birdman78758 (edited 04-19-2002).]

Pete D Offline
welcome to the board. You are in the right spot. The collective knowledge found here far exceeds anyplace else. If you are willing to invest some money in some tools and equipment, we can help you deal with most problems. The money you save will offset the investment in tools and you will have the satisfaction of dong it yourself. And you can do it. We have had participants here with little or know experience swap engines, replace clutches, retrieve computer codes to diagnose problems and make modifications and upgrades to their cars. Just stick around for awhile and soon you will be surprized at how much you have learned.

NATO Member. it's not a vice, it's an obsession
"The nice thing about each new day is nobody ever used it before" Barnaby Jones
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.140 mph Motorsports Speedo New engine: Total Seal rings and TRW pistons, ported and polished head w/ cc'd chambers,1.59"exhausts, SS valves, gutted upper, knife edged lower, A-230 cam, Race Engineering Adj Cam Sprocket, Crowlers, ARP head studs, and rod bolts. Walbro 255 HP pump and Kirban adj FPR, T-3. Centerforce II, KB subs and jack rails.
Pete Dunham


COOKER Offline
They are all right! When I bought mine it was one thing after another, the head, the clutch, the battery, the fuel pressure regulater, the tire, and different odds and ends, I would pay for the shop to do it then it got expensive, so I began to do it my self. now I value my TC more then I value my 2000 jeep cherokee. that's my $.02

KMcGrathNJ Offline
Senior Member
Well, I for one have been mechanically challenged most of my life, sure I can change a part, but diagnosing and fixing things was never my forte, however, the help, assistance and collective knowledge found here has been both invaluable and gives me the confidence that I can do it. My background is in electronics, If anyone need help with installing hi end systems, let me know.


88 TC man. tran. White/Burgandy All options exept Leather and spoiler; K&N cone filter; Blaupunkt H/U; Boston Accoustic 3 1/2" in dash; Polk 6" in doors.

Near Future - Gillis boost control; High flow cat, 3" straight thru.

88 TC Auto putting on a few band aids to make daily driver so I can work on other TC.

88 TC T5;White/Red; All options exept Leather; Front Mounted K&N cone filter; 140 Speedo; Superchip; Gillis Boost Valve; Custom vac/boost-volt-temp gauge cluster in console Ground Effects; Spoiler; Blaupunkt H/U; Boston Accoustic 3 1/2" in dash; Polk 6" in doors; Infinity 5 1/4 component in rear deck;
Rockford 10" sub; (2) Alpine amps

Near Future -Paint

motormenace Offline
Senior Member
guru?....did someone say turbo coupe guru?...i've never seenone before. [Image: biggrin.gif] send me an e-mail if you need help. i'm in cockeyville, but i'm moving to pasadena now(for the next couple weeks)

69 mustang coupe
86 turbo coupe
86 SVO
90 mustang GT

[This message has been edited by motormenace (edited 04-19-2002).]
86 turbo coupe (14.12 at 15 psi. sleeper) *gone* you have a V8...isn't that cute...

Jeff K Offline
If you arent going to do much if any of the mechanical or electrical repairs yourself, find a mechanic that KNOWS the 2.3 turbo engine, and the 87-88 TC in particular. These cars and engines are rare enough that even a typical "good" mechanic may have little or no experience with these cars / motors. When in this situation, many mechanics will just throw parts at the car, hoping to fix it... after all it isnt their money going down the drain. I have heard many horor stories about people spending thousands of $$ on parts / labor without fixing a problem when the problem was not diagnosed correctly, and all that was needed to fix it was a $10 part.

Post the problems you are having, and we will all do our best to help you out.

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)

[This message has been edited by Jeff K (edited 04-19-2002).]
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

Nate K Offline
Posting Freak
Master Chow... why don't you run your TC problems by us (in as much details as possible, including what has been done already) and let us see what we can do to help you. If you can't fix it yourself (which alot of times you can), then at least you will be armed with enough info when you go to a shop that they can't rape you anymore.

We'd love to help, these cars are frustrating as hell sometimes, but that's why NATO is here, to help you through those trying times so you can get back to enjoying your TC.
NATO Member
90 Mustang LX 5.0L Notch

Cars I wish I still owned:
69 Coronet 440
70 Torino 351C
79 Bronco 351M/400 on 35's
79 Trans Am 403 (6.6L)
88 Cougar XR7 5.0L
93 F150 Flareside Mark III Custom 5.0L

Master Chow Offline
Junior Member
Thanks all for your words of encourgement. Here's this week's problem:
The car starts fine then after 1-2min or so it starts sputtering (the tach is fluctuationing) and dies...won't immediately restart...have to wait 2-3min, then it will restart. If I head onto the road after start-up, the car does the same thing at long red lights (starts sputtering and is on the verge of shut-down). When driving a steady 30-50 mph, will intermittently start bucking.
After driving a good 20min and I stop/park the car, the tach is idling way high (around 3K+ RPM). ALso, the exhaust smells more toxic than usual. I seen a few threads on this problem and did have the TFI/PIP replaced but the same trubs persist. Any thoghts on what to do next? Thanks.

Birdman78758 Offline
Senior Member
Quote:...this week's problem...

LOL, that's the right attitude! [Image: smile.gif] Glad to hear back from you; we were all wondering/waiting for your answer.

Step #1 - What's the computer saying; run the codes and let us know the results.

[This message has been edited by Birdman78758 (edited 04-23-2002).]

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