View Full Version : Quick Question

10-18-2016, 10:36 PM
So... my husband is going to be helping me rebuild her from the brink of disaster.... I am here since Tinkerbell has a lot of repairs that are going to be needed and I was wondering if anyone has any good resources for where to get parts that I am going to be needing.
I have a 1966 Hardtop Thunderbird 320 automatic engine. Original Blue color but I am going to be changing that.
The good news about this is that the interior is actually quite perfect and as far as I can there is nothing that needs to be replaced (yet haven't turned engine over yet :( )
So the more information and help that I can get the better since Tinkerbell is going to be my hotrod:)

10-18-2016, 11:05 PM
There are a number of vendors who specialize in Thunderbird parts. I would recommend Bob's Bird House, The Birds Nest, MAC's auto parts, Larry's Thunderbird parts and Thunderbird Headquarters. They all sell new reproduction parts. If you need parts that aren't being reproduced Bob's Bird House and The Birds Nest also sell used parts. You can find their contact info in the Advertisements Section.


10-19-2016, 10:00 AM
I love your enthusiasm! Ford never made a 320- I suspect that yours is a 390 with an automatic transmission. I suggest you start with getting a copy of the factory Shop Manual. It's full of information to help make the repairs and your local mechanic isn't likely to have a copy.

If the engine hasn't been run in a long time you should remove the gas tank and get rid of all the old gas that may be in there as well as the fuel line. If there is rust and crud in the tank either have it cleaned or get a new one.

Have the brake system completely inspected and replace anything that is suspect. Flush out the old fluid.

Change out the transmission fluid- remove the pan to get most of the old fluid out. Replace the filter and gasket. Use sealer on both sides of the gasket so it doesn't leak. Take the dust cover off from the front of the transmission and drain the remaining fluid in the torque converter. The system takes 11 quarts of Type F.

The front wheel bearings should be cleaned and greased as part of a complete brake inspection.

The rear wheel bearings are "lifetime" lubricated (their life- not yours) so if they are original they should be replaced, and the differential drained, cleaned and re-filled. This job isn't complicated but it requires removal of the drive shaft and rear gear set; best done in a shop with a lift and two strong young men. ;)

10-19-2016, 10:40 AM
Kristin, you have come to the right Forum. We have some really great mechanics on here. Get to know John Pizzi ~ jopizz, for one. He has repaired, and restored more Flairbirds than he can probably remember! Our great webmaster, Dave Dare ~ simplyconnected, built Fords in the Detroit Ford plants for years. You will have access to great advice on here. Steve is correct about that 320. He also gave you some good advice. Unless someone managed to swap out that engine, it should be a 390ci, and it should say that on the air cleaner, if the tag is still there. The VIN # on the door end will also tell us what it left the factory as. In fact if you write down the VIN # and the information on the Data Plate, and send it to me in a Private Message, I can tell you what that Tbird looked like when it left the factory years ago. Here is a website that will give you a lot of information about your Tbird. If you have questions or additional information about your Tbird, just give me a phone call. I will be glad to answer them.


10-19-2016, 12:57 PM
:o Yes in deed it is the 390. I am just horrible with numbers most of the time.
Now I was reading one of the threads on here and I have come to a confusing stop.
The thread that I am referring to is the one on the hood release... and today the hubby and I went out to our garage to at least replace the bad ground and put in brand new positive cable for Tinkerbell. When I went to find the release (left hand side of the steering column) it was not there so now I am back at the computer seeing if anyone has any answers.
Thank you everyone so much already for the help. I am going to be going hog wild shopping for items that I know I will need to make Tinkerbell roar on the streets and at any car shows I take her to in the future.

10-19-2016, 01:03 PM
Your '66 has the hood release in the front. You may have been looking at a different year Thunderbird.


10-19-2016, 01:05 PM
I will be honest I could have been. Thanks got the help. Crossing my fingers I can figure this out.

10-19-2016, 02:09 PM
I will be honest I could have been. Thanks got the help. Crossing my fingers I can figure this out.

It's under the front bumper, pretty much in the centre.

10-19-2016, 03:36 PM
Access the hood release in the center under the top section of bumper- see my hand in the first picture. Once it "pops" up an inch or so pull up on the safety latch. The second picture shows the release latch "probe" in the center and the safety latch just to the left of it.

Of course, a previous owner may have modified the release with a cable operator in the cockpit. In fact that is on my list of mods.

10-19-2016, 09:11 PM
OK these are exactly what I needed. When I get up in the am to work on my girl this is going to be the first thing that I do

10-22-2016, 12:43 AM
So we got the hood up and have so far replace the ground wiring as well as the positive wires concerning the battery. As well as the starter cylinoid but she is not running so as soon as I can I am going to be replacing the starter as well as the alternator. And go from there. I will keep y'all up to date:D

10-22-2016, 12:51 AM
Kristin, before you start replacing parts, like the starter, or the alternator you might see if you can do some checking to see if they really need to be replaced. They might just need to be repaired, or wiring connections fixed, or ground wires cleaned and reinstalled properly. My advice is to not throw money out for new parts that might not be needed. You just might be having wiring problems, or maybe having those units rebuilt instead of being replaced. Just my two cents worth.

If you do not have a shop manual, they are available from any of the Tbird parts stores listed in the Advertisements Forum. You will need one to troubleshoot the problems you are having with this Tbird.

10-22-2016, 03:02 AM
could that also be the reason that when we are able to turn on the headlights on they flash on then turn off. Wait, let me correct that the actual headlights don't turn on but the running lights do the turn off then flash off?

10-22-2016, 10:55 AM
Back up a bit. Ray is right. Stop throwing new parts at your car because you will end up with a basket of good parts that you cannot return. Let's do this using 'sound troubleshooting techniques'.

Start at the headlight switch. When pulled out to the first detent your parking lights turn on. When you pull the knob all the way out do your parking lights go out when the headlights turn on?

You say your car, 'isn't running' but what does that mean? Is the starter motor turning? When you pull up on the shift lever while turning the key to 'start', does that help?

The starting circuit and the charging circuit have nothing to do with each other. A bad charging system (alternator) will simply not recharge the battery. A bad charging system will not prevent the engine from starting and running (until the battery eventually goes dead).

Let's see if the starter motor is ok... Put your car in PARK. Connect one jumper cable to the positive battery post and touch the other end of the same cable to the starter side of your new solenoid. After a spark, your starter should turn.

Try these and get back so we can go on... - Dave

Joe Johnston
10-22-2016, 11:48 AM
Kristin - Do you have the Ford shop manual and the Electrical manuals/diagrams? Many good sound diagnostic procedures to study before just replacing parts that may not fix the problem.

Often having the manual in your hand with pictures and descriptions can lead to a quicker fix than online posts that go on for days due to well-intentioned "best guesses".

Good luck with your project.

10-22-2016, 12:31 PM

The full 1966 wiring diagrams are in the Technical Resource Library. The link is below my signature. They are taken direct from the shop manual and are very easy to follow. As mentioned earlier test your parts first before replacing. This will save you time and money.


10-22-2016, 01:02 PM
Joe Johnston is telling it straight...
Most of your questions are already covered in the Shop Manual which includes illustrations.

If you have questions that may be vague in the manual, we're here to clarify them with more in-depth answers. - Dave

10-23-2016, 09:14 PM
As soon as I can I will do all the steps and explain everything that is not working.
No I did not have a copy of the manual until I just went to the link now I have it kept close at all times.
One thing I can tell you is that the headlights do not at all come on. The parking lights flash on for a mere second and then turn off.
The silinoid I had tested at a local shop and it was bad. It was since not used or driven since 1984. But it is still not starting up so we are going to work on the started as well as the alternator. From there do each one one by one I am going to see which one the main problem is. Crossing my fingers that it is only the alternator since of the 2 items it is actually the cheapest brand new.
I am trying to keep as much as the original parts in the vehicle as I can.
And please know that I may not seem like I am listening to all your advice I am but I am already kinda mind set on replacing certain items. This vehicle is a work in progress and I will post pics of her once she is all done. And thank you everyone for all of the advice as well as things that I need to do.

10-23-2016, 09:31 PM
If you do need to replace the starter and/or alternator check Rockauto.com. They have the cheapest prices and we get a 5% discount. They show a starter for $20 with a $14 core charge and an alternator for about the same price.


10-23-2016, 09:42 PM
Kristin, as John said, Rock Auto gives us a 5% discount on online orders. To get the discount number, and contact info for Rock Auto go to the Advertisements Forum, and look them up. You will find the discount number there. I would recommend that you print out all the 1966 Wiring Diagrams from the Technical Resource Library and go over them. Start checking the wiring diagram against the actual wiring you are finding. You may find that a previous owner has done some re-wiring that might be causing the problems. Or, in checking the wiring, you might find some bad ground connections that can be corrected that might fix the problems.

10-24-2016, 09:54 AM
Since most components on your car are 12-volts DC, I suggest you buy a "12-V Test Light". Don't buy a neon or LED light, get one with a plain incandescent bulb.

The easiest (and most practical) place to start is with your Headlights. BTW, many times one bad connection or grounded wire will cause all your other problems.

Pull up the carpet so your High Beam Switch is exposed and check for voltage at; one power wire coming in from the Headlight Switch, then both low and high beam wires going out to the Headlights.

If no voltage, go back to the Headlight Switch. If still no voltage, follow your wiring diagram back to the feed for the Headlight Sw., and so on. We normally start at the end (headlights in this case) and work toward the voltage source.

Listen and watch. Feel the wires for any heat. In other words, good troubleshooting uses all your senses. If you need help troubleshooting, we're here to help but you need to do the actual work. This stuff is very rewarding when you get it right and things start working.

I have seen many new parts that are sub-standard or they simply don't work. Do not throw any replaced parts out until after your problems are solved. Take lots of pictures as you go. They can always bring you back to, 'the way it was before changes'. They also give us a visual of what you mean. - Dave

11-15-2016, 08:56 PM
Just as an update I have not been ignoring anyone or not wanting to be online but since moving and having family come all of the time I havent been able to see a computer let alone my '66 in a while. Too boot I have been incredibly sick so I have been stuck inside in my bed babying soup. As soon as I am able to get back to working on my vehicle I will post updates on what has been needed to repair and what has been fine.

11-15-2016, 09:14 PM
Kristen, between company and being pretty ill, I see it has kept you away from working on the Bird. I certainly hope you get well quickly and back to working on her again soon. Thanks for the update, and get well soon!

11-15-2016, 09:15 PM
Just as an update I have not been ignoring anyone or not wanting to be online but since moving and having family come all of the time I havent been able to see a computer let alone my '66 in a while. Too boot I have been incredibly sick so I have been stuck inside in my bed babying soup. As soon as I am able to get back to working on my vehicle I will post updates on what has been needed to repair and what has been fine.

Crikey, you're not having much luck Thunderbird-wise! (well as far as being able to spend time on it goes)

Hopefully things will improve with your health - and soon.

11-16-2016, 03:38 AM
Kristin, your health is far more important than an old car. Cold weather is here and car work can wait until you're better in springtime. - Dave