PDA

View Full Version : to rebuild or not rebuild that is the question....



dartfrog
03-31-2015, 07:44 PM
hey all new here, and new to the SC world.
my husband just bought a 1989 Thunderbird SC he was pretty stoked about it; its been a car hes wanted for a while. so we went up island to get it and seemed to run great, 40 minutes into the ride home (and another hour and a half to go) it decided to blow up! maybe blow up as a little bit of an exaggeration, it went squeal squeal bang died... So we got it towed back to his dads place and this is where we stand. it looks like it's the bottom end, it needs front suspension works and the body isn't in pristine shape (a couple rust spots here and there)... So now we are unsure if its worth a rebuild.
what would you do in a situation where you only got to drive the car for 40 minutes so not really sure if there's anything else wrong with it; it has 200,000 K on it. I think rebuilding just the bottom end is a bad idea it should have a full rebuild. do you think its worth it? we don't have a lot of money invested in it at the moment and I bet we can get our money out as a parts car, it was one thing when we needed to do a little bit of bodywork and, and front end suspension but that as well as a full rebuild... Not so sure. oh and another thing my husband can do all the work, its just finding the time... And I think he's a little bummed he's not going to get to drive it right away..:(

figulaz
03-31-2015, 08:42 PM
From a dollars and cents stand point you may consider parting out and cutting your losses (or make money depending how much you paid) our cars are fun but not highly sought after or valuable in less than perfect condition. Parts are fairly pricey and getting hard to find. That said its a fun car to own and this community is highly supportive. You'll find everything you need here. I would recommend being a dues paying member as you get more acces to info on the site. good luck

35thpartdeux
03-31-2015, 08:45 PM
My motor made it to 270,000 miles and still ran when I rebuilt it, so I wouldn't let mileage alone dictate the time to rebuild the motor. The body/suspension and eventual motor rebuild will put invested time/money way above resale. So it's more of a question of how bad he wants THAT car. There's quite a few sc's out there in better shape. He shouldn't rebuild a complete basket case car unless he has a passion for restoration or wants a pure race car. My 35th just got a motor/transmission and is going under the knife for body work soon, but it's been over the course of almost 8 years and I've been able to drive it 90% of the time I've had it since it was taken care of its whole life. To sum up, don't drop a lot of money into the car just for the sake of having an SC, unless this is what he enjoys doing. Otherwise he might come to resent the car if it's a complete lemon.

dartfrog
03-31-2015, 09:26 PM
thanks for the input, it's a hard decision to make; it was one thing when it was a vehicle that he could tinker with while driving, now it's a whole other ball of wax... Its just hard to give up on it. but sometimes it's better to cut the losses I suppose, all in all we only have about a thousand into it so really not that much. he did plan on doing a rebuild but not for a while, not until everything else was looking good.

35thpartdeux
03-31-2015, 10:42 PM
For basic reference the front end rebuild can run up to $1k in parts, motor basic rebuild probably $1800 and up to $3-4 k for performance. A good transmission rebuild from 1500- 2200 depending on type and performance level. Last but not least paint can cost $2k+. So you can see how having just part of the car in good shape puts you way ahead.

XR7 Dave
04-01-2015, 09:42 AM
Honestly it sounds like a money pit. These cars should be enjoyed, not worked on endlessly. Find a nice one that doesn't need so much work, pay a bit more if you have to and just part this one out. Talk to John Ludorf, he's from Edmonton but does business and I think has family in your area so he's out that way a lot. He can really help you out finding a nice SC in western Canada.

dartfrog
04-01-2015, 11:38 AM
lets see if this works, I've attached three pictures that were in the ad (I haven't taken any myself seeing as we haven't really had it that long, and now it's sitting up island ) the bit of rust im talking about is by the gas cap, its not full blown cancer, but it is bubbling... The body is straight, interior is in pretty good condition, but I agree probably suspension work and a motor rebuild and a little bit of bodywork might be a little bit too much for this poor beast..... it's too bad I personally thought 200k, (124000 miles) wasn't really that much considering the year; sure didn't expect it to blow up in 40 minutes . was at least hoping to get our 600 dollars worth of fun out of it Lol...
I will say even though when you look underneath it looks like it definitely needs some suspension work it drives really nice considering how it looks...
thanks for the input guys; it at least makes us feel like we're not making the wrong decision if we don't do it....:(

SCarSC
04-01-2015, 12:28 PM
Interior looks nice and it has the stamped sc front bumper which is good...if you parts it I would probably save the seats and the bumpers if they are in as good a condition as they appear...and is that a luggage rack on the back? Looks like a Miata.

dartfrog
04-01-2015, 12:46 PM
Interior looks nice and it has the stamped sc front bumper which is good...if you parts it I would probably save the seats and the bumpers if they are in as good a condition as they appear...and is that a luggage rack on the back? Looks like a Miata.

yeah the interior is actually in pretty good shape the velour is a little worn on the side (and really not THAT worn) and all the electrics with the seat work,
as for the luggage rack was that an option? LOL
good to know which stuff should be kept, even just for ourselves in case we get another one or to try to get some money back.

SCarSC
04-01-2015, 03:17 PM
Haven't seen a luggage rack before...if you sell it wouldn't be a bad idea to save various electronics if you are looking for one of a similar year...brake pressure switch in drivers side fender area, ircm(controls fans, in front of air box), dis(gray ignition box on top of ac compressor)vmm(vehicle maintenance monitor over radio),ecu(in passenger footwell)....if the cowling and weatherstripping looks good keep it too.

Jimmy 2Coupes
04-01-2015, 05:22 PM
From what I see I would not call that SC a basket case. Most likely any 89 SC you find is going to need suspension work and possible/probably engine work. For an investment of $600.00 that looks like a pretty decent SC to work with. At any rate from what I see in the pics it would be a shame to part that SC out IMO.

dartfrog
04-01-2015, 05:54 PM
From what I see I would not call that SC a basket case. Most likely any 89 SC you find is going to need suspension work and possible/probably engine work. For an investment of $600.00 that looks like a pretty decent SC to work with. At any rate from what I see in the pics it would be a shame to part that SC out.

thanks for the reply Jimmy, that's why I posted a few pictures; I wanted to make sure I wasn't making it out to be more of a basket case than it was. the rust is actually very minimal but it would need to be repaired (and the luggage rack would need to come off lol) so I'm sure it would need a paint job. and yes we paid 600 for the car, and did the brakes along with fluid, (I do consider those consumables normally but when you only get to drive it for 40 minutes I added to the price of the car lol) so somewhere in the ballpark of 800 invested into it, not really that much at all. I will say we are still on the fence as to what to do,we will have to put a lot of thought into it. I appreciate the comments and opinions from people who own these cars, you all have made some very good points.

potshotscott
04-01-2015, 06:18 PM
You paid $600 USD for this car? At that price with engine problems it might be worth saving. This is not the typical $6-800 dollar beater that we see on Craigslist.

I too think it would be a shame to part this car out. Heck - I'd plead with my wife to rescue it (I'm in Oregon USA) and come up to trailer it home if you sold it for what you paid.

35thpartdeux
04-01-2015, 06:40 PM
One nice thing about these is the fact you can paint them in sections as needed. It cuts down on the need to drop a huge sum at one time. It looks like 90% of the body panels are in good shape and that dash is in better shape than most SC's I've seen along with the rest of the interior. After seeing it I'd vote fix.

1FSTBRD
04-01-2015, 07:38 PM
Your car is in really good shape! Man, that would be a shame to part it out, because the interior is immaculate, and the body is in amazingly good condition for a higher mileage example (ie: likely winter driven). I'd try to save it. For what you paid, I'm sure that you expected a bit of "as is". It's much more cheaper and probably more worth it, overall, to just drop a new old engine into it. You can source used engines for $200-$500......the supercharger assembly with or without the engine, seems to be the main draw of the deal (like it should be), so a complete engine doesn't really go for that much more than the actual supercharger assembly on the used market. One of the reasons for this is that the engines (especially higher mileage ones) can be a gamble as to of how good of shape they are, internally, since many of these engines really get thrashed on.

How bad of a "bang" did it make when you were driving it? Like, "ran out of oil and bearings/ pistons are seized" type of thing, or did it gently die? If it went out with a bang, there may be something seriously wrong with it, but if it petered out, you may still be in luck. The obvious things: check oil levels, coolant levels, because the supercharger puts a ton of strain on the components in the engine. The squealing--could that be a bad belt, or maybe a weak belt tensioner?

JT's03
04-01-2015, 08:16 PM
I would fix it up. It's a clean car and the black is a big + to me.

Falcon20x
04-01-2015, 08:42 PM
For basic reference the front end rebuild can run up to $1k in parts, motor basic rebuild probably $1800 and up to $3-4 k for performance. A good transmission rebuild from 1500- 2200 depending on type and performance level. Last but not least paint can cost $2k+. So you can see how having just part of the car in good shape puts you way ahead.


You can not expect to get great car, worry free and no issues, when you buy a 20 years + old car with 200K for $ 600

Look at it this way.
$600 for really nice starting base car. ( assuming no rust issues)
$6500 to 7000 go through the car and have it as good as new. The performance upgrade would be the same regardless what you buy.

For $7600 you end up with a car that you can really enjoy to drive.

The satisfaction and the bragging right: priceless. :D

If you are not convinced take your $ 7600 and starting shopping around. See what you come up with and how much money you are still going to end up spending
The fact of the matter is sport car cost money mho matter how old they are. You do not get in this type car for a return on investment otherwise you would get a 60 or 70 muscle car.

The Thunderbird SC is a love/hate relationship. Come on sense says get out but most of us love it to much and we can not do it.

dartfrog
04-01-2015, 09:06 PM
How bad of a "bang" did it make when you were driving it? Like, "ran out of oil and bearings/ pistons are seized" type of thing, or did it gently die? If it went out with a bang, there may be something seriously wrong with it, but if it petered out, you may still be in luck. The obvious things: check oil levels, coolant levels, because the supercharger puts a ton of strain on the components in the engine. The squealing--could that be a bad belt, or maybe a weak belt tensioner?


it was a pretty loud bang, it most likely picked up a main or threw a rod. my husband has seen a lot of motors go and this was a little of a different situation. intermittent squeaking kind of like a belt slipping, it became more frequent and accompanied with vibration thinking he better pull over all of a sudden harsh vibration a squeak and then a bang (big) and then it died instantly. The tach was dead all the lights came on and he coasted off the highway. there was no bottom and noise at all leading up to it, just squeaking then vibration then bang. there is no visible damage outside the motor hopefully we will find out tonight what it looks like inside, as our fathers are ripping it apart for us (got to love family.)

SCarSC
04-01-2015, 09:15 PM
Maybe the balancer took a crap on you?

aroot1
04-01-2015, 09:50 PM
Maybe the balancer took a crap on you?

EXACTLY what I thought when it was described. No balancer, no crank signal, no run. Check to see if the balancer is even there, IF it is crank it over while watching it to see if seems to wobble. A fairly common failure, especially on reused stockers, they don't seem to like being removed and reinstalled.

dartfrog
04-01-2015, 10:01 PM
EXACTLY what I thought when it was described. No balancer, no crank signal, no run. Check to see if the balancer is even there, IF it is crank it over while watching it to see if seems to wobble. A fairly common failure, especially on reused stockers, they don't seem to like being removed and reinstalled.

Thanks you two! Hubby is calling my dad right now and asking him to check that out hopefully tomorrow.

dartfrog
04-01-2015, 11:06 PM
Thanks you two! Hubby is calling my dad right now and asking him to check that out hopefully tomorrow.
so what my father told my husband is the timing cover has been removed the timing chain is removed the cam will spin in the crank will not....

figulaz
04-01-2015, 11:29 PM
Early 89 had a duracast crank that is not as strong as the forged cranks on the rest of the supercoupes. Try to find a 94-95 rebuildable engine. The car looks great. Well worth saving

potshotscott
04-02-2015, 01:05 AM
Early 89 had a duracast crank that is not as strong as the forged cranks on the rest of the supercoupes. Try to find a 94-95 rebuildable engine. The car looks great. Well worth saving

Car-part.com is your friend. Wrecking aggregate website. Great place to find that 94-95 engine.