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Thread: 87 bird throttle valve adjustment??

  1. #1
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    Default 87 bird throttle valve adjustment??

    hi, I am new here and just recently got my 1st tbird, an 87 with a 3.8, engine seems fine but I cant seem to figure out the throttle valve- kickdown rod adjustment. PO said it was stuck in 1st gear but I bought it drove it home (3 miles) it shifted 1,2,3. the shift lingage was out, had to actual shift to neutral to be in drive. now it wont change gears unless I let off the gas pedal. anybody know how to adjust the rod ( not a cable, its a rod)

  2. #2
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    surely someone has some insight here!

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    I don't think there is any adjustment. your trans is likely screwed. my ex had the tv cable pop off and burned up od in 2 miles. The dorman/help.section of autoparts stores has the bushings that can be replaced.
    Quote Originally Posted by jcassity
    I honestly dont think you could exceed the cost of a new car buy installing new *stock* parts everywhere in your coug our tbird. Its just plain impossible. You could revamp the entire drivetrain/engine/suspenstion and still come out ahead.
    Hooligans!
    1988 Crown Vic wagon. 120K California car. Wifes grocery getter. (junked)
    1987 Ford Thunderbird LX. 5.0. s.o., sn-95 t-5 and an f-150 clutch. Driven daily and going strong.
    1986 cougar.
    lilsammywasapunkrocker@yahoo.com

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    there is an adjustment screw by the throttle body and I did find something about sticking such and such size drill bit between it at WOT and blah blah blah, but I don't think a rocket scientist designed this thing, pretty simple procedure to adjust a kickdown CABLE. I am assuming it should be simple for a rod also.

  5. #5
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    Sounds like you may have two different problems. If you have to put it in "N" to be in "D" then your gearshift pointer is off (probably broken, common in column shifted cars). That doesn't have anything to do with the TV linkage.
    CoogarXR

    1986 LTD Wagon
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    http://www.coolcats.net/help/shift.html

    1987 3.8 should be an aod, and your missing over drive. like i said, your transmission is likely junk. id recommend a t-5. I swaped one in my 87 for about $400. If you found the trans cheap enough, you could do it for a bit less. only thing u don't know what you would need is the correct flywheel.
    Quote Originally Posted by jcassity
    I honestly dont think you could exceed the cost of a new car buy installing new *stock* parts everywhere in your coug our tbird. Its just plain impossible. You could revamp the entire drivetrain/engine/suspenstion and still come out ahead.
    Hooligans!
    1988 Crown Vic wagon. 120K California car. Wifes grocery getter. (junked)
    1987 Ford Thunderbird LX. 5.0. s.o., sn-95 t-5 and an f-150 clutch. Driven daily and going strong.
    1986 cougar.
    lilsammywasapunkrocker@yahoo.com

  7. #7
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    Check to make sure the linkage on the trans where the TV valve attaches isn't hung up or spun out of place/facing the wrong way. It's real easy to just pull down. The pedal will feel really light if it is. If the TV cable has popped off, the pedal will feel really light as well. There SHOULD be a decent amount of resistance in it. If you're feeling the resistance and it still will not shift out of first gear when your on the gas pedal, something's up. You could try pulling the valve body, cleaning it out, changing the fluid, and reinstalling the valve body, but chances are you've burned up the bands.

    If you're handy and adventurous, a rebuild kit can be had for an AOD for around $160 for a standard kit. With a 3.8 you really shouldn't require much more than the standard one.

    If it WAS something simple and you need to know how to adjust the TV cable see this link: http://www.txchange.com/aodadj.htm

    Go here for tons of AOD info: http://www.clickclickracing.com/
    A gentleman on there named Dan (screen name Silverfox) is THE guy to talk to.


    As far as the indicator showing neutral when the car is actually in drive, this is a common issue with these cars. I'm going to go ahead and make the assumption that your car is a column shift type. There is a cable that has a ring that goes around the steering column which is held in place by a clamp. The clamp has come loose, the ring has broken, or a combination of the two. Pull all the trim off the column and surrounding dash trim, unbolt the 4 main column retainer bolts from underneath (they're BIG -- you can't miss them) and see what the issue is. If the ring is cracked but sitll all there it can be reused. Just line everything up and make sure the retaining clamp is nice and tight so as not to allow any movement. I would put some loc-tite on the screw threads that hold it in place.
    Last edited by V8Demon; 04-11-2014 at 03:36 PM. Reason: Added Info.
    -- 05 Mustang GT-Whipplecharged !! -- 87 5.0 Trick Flow Heads & Intake - Custom Cam - Many other goodies...3100Lbs...Low12's! http://www.fquick.com/V8Demon

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    t-5 is a sweet thought, but what im saying is, my OD is not gone its there I just have to let off the gas to make it shift. and yes it was 2 different problems, I fixed the shift linkage and now when I put it in drive its in drive. if I drive with very light throttle it shifts on its own but if I try to drive under normal acceleration I have to ease of the pedal for 1-2 shift again for 2-3 and once more for 3-od. I dropped the pan and changed filter and fluid ,some improvement, then I noticed the adjustment screw was ran all the way out, so I ran it half way in and somewhat better, so I guess I will keep turning in that direction until I like it or blow it! I was just hoping someone had a ballpark starting point for adjustment

  9. #9
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    V8Demon, thanks but mine has a rod not a cable. if it were a cable I have been there done that, just never dealt with the rod type before.

  10. #10
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    He means the little cable that indicates what position your trans is in...inside the cluster.

    I've got a broken (or popped off) cable in my Mountaineer. Those are a little more of a PITA to remove than a good ole Thunderbird. I've been in there once to replace a couple of bulbs that were out.
    '84 Mustang, work in (sloooooooow) progress...
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    and a couple of tractors. Ford, of course.
    FORD power, for life!

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