1985 3.8l v6 thunderbird


#1

car for $200. So not much but its been sitting in a garage for probably 10 years by the look of dust and dirt on it, it has a bit of rust but the main problem is I cant get it to turn over. I’ve tried new spark plugs but cant reach the last 2 to replace them so it has 4 new and 2 old spark plugs also tried putting starter fluid in the carb. And the car had no gas in the tank do I put in around 5 gallons. I really need to get this thing started so I can drive it home rather than pay for tow. Please help me out! It cranks it just wont completely turn over.


#2

You’ve told us what you tried, but you didn’t tell us what it did after you tried those things. We need more info.


#3

After I did the starting fluid there was a flame and it sounded like it back fired a few times. All the rest of the times it just would crank just never start.


#4

Did you look down the venturis with a flashlight, twist the throttle plate lever, and see if there’s anything coming out?
Did you put a timing light (or spark tester) on the spark plug wires to see if there was any spark at all?

Honestly, I’d be very surprised if you’re not facing a complete carb rebuild or replacement. As well as a whole new ignition system.

You might also want to start by seeing of the distributor rotor is turning when the crankshaft turns. If it isn’t the valves might be just sitting there due to a busted timing chain.

Bottom line: flatbed it home. Besides, you don’t want to suddenly discover that the brakes are not working on your drive home. Consider the car high risk until you’ve had a chance to check it out safety-wise. There are plenty of rubber seals in the brake system and in the power steering system that could easily be ready to blow.


#5

I just need it to get started so I can drive it like 10 miles.


#6

Mountain the car has just been sitting only has 116 miles would it really need a rebuild just from sitting in a garage for that long? And I’m not much of a mechanic so no I didnt do what you just asked. And I have just been using the key to try and start it.


#7

116k miles*


#8

IMHO it is not worth the risk. Is it worth taking the risk of losing the brakes or steering and hitting a child? I think not.

It’s a 29 year old car that’s been sitting idle for 10 years. I urge you to not take it out on the streets until you’ve had a chance to check it out thoroughly.


#9

Mountain do you really think it needs that much work to get it started though? I mean the big thing is I dont wanna waste more money if I cant get it running.


#10

It’s a $200, 29 year old carbureted car that’s been sitting for 10 years. Yeah, you’re going to need to spend some money to get it running right, and some to make sure it’s safe. I hope you didn’t expect to get in it, start it up and drive it home… did you?

As regards the safety issue, remember that a car that won’t start can ruin your day, but a car that won’t stop can ruin the rest of your life. You need to be willing to make sure the braking system, the fuel system, and the steering are all good before considering it road worthy.


#11

The car has throttle body injection. And the 3.8L Ford engine was notorious for head gasket failures.

It is very unlikely that the car can be started and safely driven any time soon.


#12

Well the car was driven in the garage with nothing wrong with it around 10 years ago it should only be wear of age on it.


#13

The tires could easily be fifteen years old by now. That’s another safety issue.


#14

10 years of “wear and age” on a vehicle is enough to take out most components in a vehicle when it’s been sitting unused. I wish you the best of luck but you really need to tow this Thunderbird to a good independent mechanic and get an honest assessment of this car’s condition. That $200 is just the first of many hundred, maybe thousands, of dollars you will need to spend to make it roadworthy.


#15

A 29 year old car with only 116 miles on it, has done a lot more than sitting than 10 years. Did you actually see it driven? I think if it was driven into the garage it was more like 29 years ago. If you only paid 200 for it just get it towed to its final resting place… I mean to where you can work on it.


#16

“RWP” - Ran When Parked - a frequent sign of a coming financial disaster…


#17

The starting fluid should have got the engine running momentarily at least…The fire in the intake indicates the engine has spark… Disconnect the fuel line from the throttle body injector unit and momentarily turn the key on and off. Fuel should squirt out with considerable force, clearing the line back to the tank…Be careful…Re-connect the fuel line… This CFI fuel injection was a temporary stop-gap measure only used for 2 or 3 years by Ford…Then, using one of your extra spark plugs, connect it to one of the plug wires, place the plug where you can see the gap (place it on a metal surface) and have someone turn the engine over while you watch the plug gap for spark as the engine turns over… If it’s getting spark and fuel it should start and
run…

If it TRIES to start, but all you get is back-firing and spitting flame, the timing chain may have slipped and will have to be replaced before the engine will run properly…


#18

It hasnt been anywhere in 10 years we know because the lady just passed away and heard from not only family but from the neighbors it got pulled into the garage and parked around 10 to 15 years ago even the oil maintenance sticker says 2002 or 119k miles.


#19

Tires still hold air and were full when I got there tires look like they have enough tread and are in good enough shape to run for a while.


#20

Remove the gas cap. While listening down the fill tube, have someone turn the ignition switch to the run position.

Do you hear the fuel pump run for a second or two?

Tester