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Thread: Need some advice, buying an 89 supercoupe auto.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    41

    Need some advice, buying an 89 supercoupe auto.

    I am buying a Supercoupe, i have a few questions about it.

    The car has 99k miles. The only problems i see with it are:

    The ride control system needs to be repaired. The guy said when he would switch it too the "soft mode" the car would sort of feel like its lop sided, so he just set it too firm and disabled the ride control.

    The car when in motion has a very slight vibration, what could be the cause of this?

    Plus i dont know if it was just me, the tranny felt like it downshifted a little hard (it did it just once).

    Mind you the only 2 owners of this car has been 2 old guys, his father passed the car down to him and he now has it and it has been rarely driven.

    The paint job is excellent, no fading, it was garage kept. The only thing in the interior is the leather drivers seat has a few cracks, but that is no biggie, the rest of the leather is in prime shape.

    The guy wants $3800 for it, it seems worth it too me, also none of the rims have any curb rash what so ever. Plus the motor is very clean. Let me know what you guys think of this car and if the problems i seem to be having is minor.

    Plus this car is in florida BTW, where i live.

  2. #2
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    Aug 2002
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    Corpus Christi,TX
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    547
    Quote Originally Posted by SPOON69
    The ride control system needs to be repaired. The guy said when he would switch it too the "soft mode" the car would sort of feel like its lop sided, so he just set it too firm and disabled the ride control.
    Well, that says the shocks are worn out and need replacing. In a pinch the standard TBird shock can be used but it isn't the best solution and they don't have the ARC stuff either. Tokico makes replacement ARC shocks but they'll cost close to $500, not couting installation. The consensus around here seems to be that they suck too and that KYB's and Koni's are preferred. Bilstein used to list a set but doesn't anymore. I understand that TCCOA is trying to arrange some sort of group buy of them somehow. BTW, the KYB Bilstein and Koni's do not use ARC either but are manually adjustable.

    Something else to consider is that the car is old enough and has enough miles that many of the suspension components will be needing work. Front ball joints and bushings front and rear tend to start needing replacement. This is really just expected wear but to fix would be about another $500 in parts. Just FYI so you don't get bummed if you find it needs more suspension work while putting in shocks.


    The car when in motion has a very slight vibration, what could be the cause of this?
    Way to vague to answer. But the source is likely to be the result of a worn bushing, or mount, somewhere. That was helpful, huh? The cars are known to have bad motor, tranny, and rear differential mounts that result in a variety of vibrations.


    Plus i dont know if it was just me, the tranny felt like it downshifted a little hard (it did it just once).
    The car has the AOD. This thing is both loved and reviled (mostly reviled). The AOD is the subject of many a thread over in the Tech forum. Some things that are known problems related to shifting are breakage of various accumulator springs and wear of the nylon check balls in the valve body.I'd suggest a bit of light reading, here and over on TCCOA, about AOD's and their problems and what you can do before they break. Then when you've got a plan, do that and a fluid and filter change.

    I don't mean to turn you off, but forewarned is forearmed so I feel I should mention that the cars are high maintenance and frustrating to work on. Most of it is due to age. Many things done to fit the SC result in increased difficulty of access. If you just accept that it is neither cheap (many parts for 89-97 TBirds have two choices. The SC's always use the more expensive one) nor easy to work on, it goes a long way toward decreasing frustrations and increasing enjoyment of the car which is why I mention it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    41
    Quote Originally Posted by Parker Dean
    Well, that says the shocks are worn out and need replacing. In a pinch the standard TBird shock can be used but it isn't the best solution and they don't have the ARC stuff either. Tokico makes replacement ARC shocks but they'll cost close to $500, not couting installation. The consensus around here seems to be that they suck too and that KYB's and Koni's are preferred. Bilstein used to list a set but doesn't anymore. I understand that TCCOA is trying to arrange some sort of group buy of them somehow. BTW, the KYB Bilstein and Koni's do not use ARC either but are manually adjustable.

    Something else to consider is that the car is old enough and has enough miles that many of the suspension components will be needing work. Front ball joints and bushings front and rear tend to start needing replacement. This is really just expected wear but to fix would be about another $500 in parts. Just FYI so you don't get bummed if you find it needs more suspension work while putting in shocks.




    Way to vague to answer. But the source is likely to be the result of a worn bushing, or mount, somewhere. That was helpful, huh? The cars are known to have bad motor, tranny, and rear differential mounts that result in a variety of vibrations.




    The car has the AOD. This thing is both loved and reviled (mostly reviled). The AOD is the subject of many a thread over in the Tech forum. Some things that are known problems related to shifting are breakage of various accumulator springs and wear of the nylon check balls in the valve body.I'd suggest a bit of light reading, here and over on TCCOA, about AOD's and their problems and what you can do before they break. Then when you've got a plan, do that and a fluid and filter change.

    I don't mean to turn you off, but forewarned is forearmed so I feel I should mention that the cars are high maintenance and frustrating to work on. Most of it is due to age. Many things done to fit the SC result in increased difficulty of access. If you just accept that it is neither cheap (many parts for 89-97 TBirds have two choices. The SC's always use the more expensive one) nor easy to work on, it goes a long way toward decreasing frustrations and increasing enjoyment of the car which is why I mention it.
    Thats cool, i can do the work to the car myself, i expect a couple things to be bad with the car. My friend works at ford and i will see what he says, he will probably be able to tell me exactly what is wrong.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2003
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    Just keep in mind that anybodies opinions are all relative. I don't think these cars are hard to work on. If you don't mind working on cars. It takes time to learn the systems and how some things work but that is to be expected. There is plenty of help here so I wouldn't worry too much. Alot of these guys don't have access to alot of tools either so I'm sure that makes it more difficult. I am fortunate in that regard(except when it comes time to pay the Snap-On account) because I have access to almost any tool I need and there is a decent machine shop at my work. I think any car you buy can be a pain in the butt to work on for different reasons and parts prices vary with makes but I still wouldn't shy anyone away who wants one of these cars any more than I would shy anyone away that wants any car that's 15 years old. They are fun to work on, but then again, I am a glutton for punishment being that I choose to work on airplanes, which are basically flying tractors.

  5. #5
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    Plan on changing headgaskets soon. The rest is pretty minor. Could be that one of the shocks is just sticking. WD40 usually fixes that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Miller View Post
    Ya thats why i tape mine down. People think its bc i dont have a moonroof seal (which is true) but its really to keep my roof from ripping off .
    Email me here.

  6. #6
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    Mar 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by XR7 Dave
    Plan on changing headgaskets soon. The rest is pretty minor. Could be that one of the shocks is just sticking. WD40 usually fixes that.

    The car is pretty clean, dont know if it will need a head gasket anytime soon, the motor is spotless.

  7. #7
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    lol.......

    You WILL be redoing the headgaskets at some point. Just because the engine is spotless means nothing. Its more of an internal thing. It really isn't that expensive of a job if you do it yourself, just a little time consuming. When mine blew, I bent 3 rods though. Bummer huh?

  8. #8
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    Something new to me on these cars was the throttle valve cable. It attatches by the throttle linkage like a kickdown linkage on older cars. I found out the hard way that it is much more than a kickdown. It's held on to the throttle by a plastic grommet and has to be adjusted properly. The grommet on mine broke shortly after I bought my car and I just stuck it back on with a cotter pin. I was n't driving the car regularly at the time so I didn't even think about it when my trans started shifting crazy.
    I don't think this would cause the hard shifting, but just something to look out for.
    In my opinion $3,800 is kind of high. The car may be worth that much, but I think you can find one in comparable condition for less than $3,000. To me a $3,800 SC should not need much work at all.
    I don't know how much you've looked into the SC's but there are a few choices you may consider if you pass this one up. Check out the different options available and the differences between the early ones and the later ones. There are 5-speeds to consider or maybe even an XR7! You may want to check into one that has some mods already done.

  9. #9
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    Mar 2003
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by XR7Kurt
    Something new to me on these cars was the throttle valve cable. It attatches by the throttle linkage like a kickdown linkage on older cars. I found out the hard way that it is much more than a kickdown. It's held on to the throttle by a plastic grommet and has to be adjusted properly. The grommet on mine broke shortly after I bought my car and I just stuck it back on with a cotter pin. I was n't driving the car regularly at the time so I didn't even think about it when my trans started shifting crazy.
    I don't think this would cause the hard shifting, but just something to look out for.
    In my opinion $3,800 is kind of high. The car may be worth that much, but I think you can find one in comparable condition for less than $3,000. To me a $3,800 SC should not need much work at all.
    I don't know how much you've looked into the SC's but there are a few choices you may consider if you pass this one up. Check out the different options available and the differences between the early ones and the later ones. There are 5-speeds to consider or maybe even an XR7! You may want to check into one that has some mods already done.
    Thats the thing i have not found one that has been in this good of shape in the florida area. I have seen many and they have cracks in the dash and a slew of other problems, not saying this car is going to be 100% perfect, nor do i expect a car that is 14 years old to be problem free, but this guy seem to go to some rather great lengths to keep this car in good shape, hell it has been sitting in the garage for nearly 4 months, and he just takes it out every now and then to keep the car in running shape. Both people who have had this car are rather older gentlemen (the guy who owns it now is 68 years old) and his father before hand owned it before him. At least i know that this car was not ragged on 7 ways from sunday. I know cars and i have done all the work to my 2001 supercharged mustang GT, so little odds and ends that i have to fix dont bother me, as long as the engine is not going to take a dump and the tranny is holding then its cool with me. As i said earlier, i have not found an SC in this good of shape ever, and i have looked at nearly 22 in florida.


    BTW, i am personally not a fan of the older 95 and below cougars, too boxy for my liking.

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