Ford Thunderbird/Cougar 1983-1997 Repair Guide



See Figures 1, 2 and 3

All models through 1988 use a 4-link coil spring suspension. The axle housing is suspended from the frame by an upper and lower trailing arm and a shock absorber at each side of the vehicle. These arms pivot in the frame members and the rear axle housing brackets. Each coil spring is mounted between a lower seat which is welded to the axle housing or lower arm and an upper seat which is integral with the frame. The shock absorbers are bolted to the spring upper seats at the top and brackets mounted on the axle housing at the bottom. The upper trailing arms are attached to the frame crossmember brackets at the front and brackets located near the outer ends of the axle housing at the rear. Both lower arms attach similarly to the frame side members and the axle housing brackets. A rear stabilizer bar attached to the frame side rail brackets and the two axle housing brackets is available as optional equipment.

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Fig. Fig. 1: Exploded view of the rear suspension components-1983-86 vehicles

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Fig. Fig. 2: Exploded view of the rear suspension components-1987-88 vehicles

All 1989-96 models use a fully independent coil spring suspension system which is mounted on a rubber isolated subframe. Large lower control arms (H-arm configuration) are used to oppose torque reaction on braking and acceleration. A toe compensator link controls toe-out during braking. The upper control arm provides camber control. Epoxy coated, variable rate, steel coil springs are used on all models. Insulators are used on either end of the spring for added isolation. Although the springs are mounted in the same manner on both the Base and the Super Coupe/XR-7 models, unique spring load/rate provisions are used to suit the particular model. The suspension also features a cast aluminum knuckle that carries the rear suspension loads, connects the upper and lower control arms, houses the halfshaft bearing and provides a mount for the brakes.

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Fig. Fig. 3: Exploded view of the rear suspension components-1989-96 vehicles