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I have a 1968 Ford Thunderbird Fordor with bucket seats. The seat-track motor gears that connect the motor to the track have worn out. Most of the catalog parts stores that specialize in Thunderbird parts don't even have any parts in their catalog for the seat tracks.

How does one go about locating these parts? Why are they so hard to find? What are some alternative methods for getting this repaired? Has anyone ever successfully converted a Ford electric drivers seat to a manual seat?

The drivers seat is electric. Currently, it won't go forward or backward and is stuck almost all the way to the front near the steering wheel.

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What are the gears made of? – Mark Johnson Oct 25 '12 at 19:11

You have a couple options. I would first look at a site dedicated to Thunderbirds. I googled "Ford Thunderbird forums" and found several good candidates. A lot of times other enthusiasts will be parting out cars or selling their stock in the classifieds section. Otherwise you might be able to get some help repairing the track.

Second, check on eBay. I will create a saved search for rare parts and have it email me if anything new pops up.

Third, go to swap meets. Try to find Ford specific shows and get to know the most well known vintage Ford parts suppliers.

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Hemmings Motor News ran a two part article listing suppliers of parts for Thunderbirds. It's available online: part1 part2. Maybe they have some you haven't checked?

Probably only Ford ever produced the part you're looking for, and they quit long ago. You can check with NOS vendors, a part number will help. You might be able to get that from a Ford dealer, if it's still in the database. Some enthusiast forums might be able to help, too.

Worst case, this is the era of 3-D printing and CNC machining. If yours aren't too far gone to use as a template, you could have some custom made. It might even be affordable (though not cheap) if you rounded up enough Thunderbird owners to split the cost with.

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