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Key Programming Ford Thunderbird 1997-2005

Ford Thunderbird 1997-2005 Key Programming Procedure

The following are the key programming procedures for the year 1997, 2002 and 2005 Ford Thunderbird.

Ford Thunderbird 1997


1. Put the new key into the ignition. Turn it to the ON position. The dashboard security light will flash for 15 minutes. Once the dashboard security light stops flashing, you have five minutes to begin Step 2.

2. Turn the ignition OFF and then back to the ON position. The dashboard security light will flash for 15 additional minutes.

3. Repeat Step 2.

4. Once the dashboard security light has turned off for the third time, the key will be able to function in the car. It has been programmed into the car’s computer and has replaced ALL previous electronic key codes — the computer will not recognize any other key.


1. Put the current key into the ignition.

2. Turn the ignition ON and back to OFF.

3. Remove the current key and insert the new key, turning it ON. You MUST do this within 15 seconds.

4. The security light will switch on for two seconds, confirming that the key has been successfully programmed into the vehicle.


Ford Thunderbird 1998 +

ADD KEY (Requires two working keys):

1. Put a current key into the ignition.

2. Turn the ignition to ON, then back to the OFF position.

3. Remove the key and insert a second key. Turn it ON and back to the OFF position. You MUST do this within five seconds.

4. Before ten seconds have elapsed, put a new key in and turn the ignition ON. After one second, turn the key back to the OFF position.

5. The dashboard security light will glow for three seconds. This confirms the programming of the new key has been successful.


About Ford Thunderbird

Ford reintroduced the Thunderbird after a five-year sabbatical. Returning to the Thunderbird’s original formula, the latest iteration had a two-passenger convertible/removable hardtop format like the first-generation Thunderbird with style that was clearly reminiscent of the original.

The 11th-generation Thunderbird was built in Ford’s Wixom Assembly Plant, with the Lincoln LS, Jaguar S-Type, and Jaguar XF on the Ford DEW platform. Though the outward appearance of the Thunderbird was distinct from the others, the instrument panel, steering wheel, and other trim components were copied from the Lincoln LS. The Thunderbird’s sole engine was a Jaguar-designed AJ-30 3.9 L DOHC V8, a short-stroke (85 mm) variation of the Jaguar AJ-26 4.0 L V8, producing 252 horsepower (188 kW) and 267 lbft (362 Nm) of torque when paired with Ford’s 5R55N five-speed automated transmission. In 2003 and subsequent Thunderbirds, the AJ-30 V8 was replaced with the AJ-35, which featured variable valve timing and electronic throttle control, as well as 280 horsepower (209 kW) and 286 lbft (388 Nm) of torque. In 2003 and later Thunderbirds, a manual shift feature for the five-speed automatic dubbed SelectShift was available as an option to supplement the extra power and torque supplied by the AJ-35 V8.

Ford discontinued Thunderbird production with the 2005 model year due to a dramatic reduction in sales following the initial model year. On July 1, 2005, the final Thunderbird was produced.

Thunderbirds first made an appearance in NASCAR racing during the 1959 season. Curtis Turner, Johnny Beauchamp, “Tiger” Tom Pistone, and Cotton Owens won the race thanks to the combination of the second-generation body style and the newly available 430 CID V8. During the 1960 season, most teams returned to the traditional full-sized Ford body shape, and the T-Bird made only infrequent appearances with no additional wins. Beginning in 1977, Thunderbird-bodied racecars replaced the Torino as Ford’s dominant body design in NASCAR, ushering in a tradition of luxury coupe body styles (including the 1981 Imperial) being used as a sheet-metal source on the race track. Bobby Allison won 13 races in this car for owner Bud Moore from 1977 to 1980, despite the fact that the cars appeared boxy and unaerodynamic. The smaller and aerodynamically clean Thunderbirds were successful in NASCAR stock car racing from 1981 to 1997 before being replaced by Taurus-based bodywork in 1998. The vehicles from 1983 through 1988 consistently exceeded the 200 mph barrier, and in one case, during a qualifying session, set the record for the fastest lap in stock car history at Talladega Superspeedway at 44.998 seconds with an average speed of 212.809 mph (342.483 km/h), a record that still stands. Bill Elliott and Davey Allison were very successful with the vehicles, with Elliott winning the championship in 1988. Alan Kulwicki won the title in 1992 in a car nicknamed “Underbird” because to his driver reputation as an underdog.

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