Our 1996 Thunderbird Service Engine Light Problems

How to Fix the Service Engine Light?

Today we worked on our 1996 Thunderbird. Ever since we bought the Thunderbird, that service engine light has been on.

Here's a little bit of history. We bought the Thunderbird on Ebay, in January. We took the train from New Haven CT to Providence, RI and the dealer picked us up from the train depot. We drove the Tbird back to Shelton CT, and loved every second of driving it. We stopped at Scarborough Beach in Rhode Island on the way back home.

1996 Tbird

When we went to the CT DMV to find out what we had to do to register it in Connecticut, they told us we had to take it through emmissions, and that was it. The only problem was, that the Service Engine Light wouldn't go out. We took the TBird through emmissions and they wouldn't pass it because the service engine light was on.

We called the auto dealer in Rhode Island, and asked him what should we do, and he said just disconnect the battery and the computer will reset. That's what we did, and then took it back through emmissions and it passed, because the service engine light was off.

But a few days later, it came back on and it has been on ever since. Since we are getting ready to go on a camping trip to Lake George NY, then Vlad wanted to see if he could get the SEL to go out.

Michelin Harmony Tires

He has already taken the Tbird to Town Fair Tire and got some new Michelin Harmony tires on the rear. (The Harmony's on the front we had put on when we went on our roadtrip to Florida, (actually it was a shop outside of Helen GA, and if you have't been to Helen Georgia Alpine Village, you need to go) and the price for the tires was the same at Town Fair as they were in Georgia, at $120.00 each.

Anyway, we have new tires all around now, he then put some new plugs and wires on, and we bought the best kind they recommend you use for TBirds. (cause he's been sitting on the TBird forum for 2 days now reading) Then we went to Auto Zone and got some oil and a filter to change the oil.

The Service Engine Light

After all these things were done he decides to just go ahead and find out what's up with the Service Engine Light. Well after reading he figured there was a hose on the passenger side of the car, behind the wheel and flap, that needed to be changed and has something to do with the vacuum. Then he saw that there was a part that the seal had broken away, and he replaced that part. Then cleaned the MAF (in which he had to make a special tool just to get it off.)

So after doing all that, he reset the computer, and we're waiting to see whether the service engine light is going to come back on. Anyway he says he's finished fiddling with it, and I guess we'll be leaving to go camping here shortly. I'll let you know if it comes back on.

The only other problem we have with the TBird is the "Door Ajar" light won't go out.

Update 9-06

The light came back on, and then he replaced the Oxygen Sensor on the passenger side, and the Service Engine Light has not come back on since. YaY!

Update: 10-07 Well we moved to Southern South Dakota and brought the Thunderbird and the 1993 Astro van with us. The Tbird is an exceptional traveler, it made 3 trips back and forth from Connecticut to South Dakota with no problems. I think we gave it some oil once, and before we left we had to replace one of the brake lines, which delayed our trip 1 day.

So how's it performing in South Dakota?

We've already made a trip to the Black Hills and have had no problems. It was running rough for awhile and we thought it needed a tune up but it turned out to be a loose vacuum hose. The Service engine light came back on recently, and that reader that they have, says it needs another oxygen sensor. But oh well, the Thunderbird is in our garage for the winter now, because it is not a good snow traveler.

We bought ourself a 1990 Jeep to play with and get us around for the winter.

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