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Thread: Stocker's 1985 LTD Crown Victoria

  1. #41
    Member Stocker's Avatar
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    After removing the dash five times and the plenum three times (and thrice telling the car I hated it), this ordeal is finally over.

    The replacement heater core had clearly been sitting in a warehouse for some time. Made in USA (apparently in Fort Worth), copper, and the tape holding the box closed had completely dried out. The GPD label on the box was applied on top of an APDI label.

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    The strip of foam that they expect you to use in place of part of the original seal had turned to dust.

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    This left as my only option modifying the original seal, which I think is preferable to cutting it apart anyway. I had to notch out the outboard ends of the top of the seal, because the top of the new core doesn't taper on the ends like the original and previous replacement did. I could've taken more material out, but it's compressible enough that I think it's fine.

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    The core is also about a half inch narrower, so I applied strips of foam window seal to the left side of the core to fill the gap.

    Word of advice to anyone daring to do this: this is not a one-person job. If I'm ever crazy enough to do this again, I won't do it alone. Realistically, it takes one person to hold the dash up and back and another to maneuver the plenum into position. (Either that, or pull the dash entirely with the seats out so it can sit on the floor.) I thought I was going to break something trying to bludgeon everything into position.

    I had to do that part a second time because I forgot about the plenum seal the first time. And then a third time because, after dropping two sockets behind the dash trying to bolt it back in, one of them slipped into the plenum because the screws from the previous hack job apparently didn't engage properly that time and the plenum wasn't firmly against the firewall. Gouged my driver's door panel somewhere in the process too.

    But, with everything back in, I have heat that doesn't smell of coolant, and all the duct and blend doors seem to work. Only lost one or two dash panel screws (not sure how, they were all accounted for when removed) and nothing rattles.

    The A/C that I had recharged last year now has only enough refrigerant for the compressor to occasionally engage though - no noticeable cooling. So, more work before it's back on the road. Another 90░F heat wave coming this week.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria
    1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
    1996 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4, 360

    Past: 1995 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor

  2. #42
    Road Warrior Kodachrome Wolf's Avatar
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    At least you got the job completed, even if it does sound incredibly unpleasant.

    Two people are definitely useful for the heater core job even on the later cars. When I did my friend's '99, it took two people to properly finagle the dash down and to pop the plenum box off the firewall. Power to you for having gone at it solo.

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  3. #43
    Stow It! GM_Guy's Avatar
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    The trick is to take a short block of 2x4 and wedge it between the door pillar and the dash to get you the space you need. Face the plenum "down" and then rotate it back to proper orientation. It ain;t too bad.

  4. #44
    Member Stocker's Avatar
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    I have cold A/C again. But... the shop did an in-depth inspection too, which on the one hand is a nice perk, and on the other hand is things I may have been happier not knowing about.

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    Some of this I was aware of. The oil leaks didn't surprise me, but all of a sudden this thing is leaking oil far more than it ever used to. It left a trail up the driveway this afternoon. I can probably do the valve covers, and maybe the distributor seal without messing it up, but there's no guarantee any of that is actually the problem.

    (I don't know what the "frame rail is rusted through" bit is about - the frame is perfectly solid. Maybe someone thought the rocker panel that came apart in storage over the winter was the frame.)

    And, while I shudder to admit this after all the problems I've mentioned with this car, but they replaced a few things. The coolant temp sensor, which I checked when the drivability issues started and found it reading about where a 30K thermistor should read, was apparently just under 3Ω at any temp - i.e. shorted. The PCV valve was replaced and supposedly its hose was collapsed - odd because every time I checked it, it sucked like <insert suggestive comparison here>. I knew the fuel pressure dropped off to nothing almost immediately after shutting the engine off, and they found the same and replaced the regulator. Supposedly no vacuum leaks. It does sound like it runs better and it does seem to be more sprightly than before though. I guess the next full tank of gas will be the real test in terms of actual data.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria
    1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
    1996 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4, 360

    Past: 1995 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor

  5. #45
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    all of this is typical, especially the rotten frame rail. Have a look underneath at the frame just behind the passenger side lower control arm mount. Fair bet you'll find where the frame angles over just under the firewall its got a big hole in it. The AC drips there and the frames blow out.

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  6. #46
    Wagon Addicted Tiggie's Avatar
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    Other than the frame, those *could* all be fairly easily/cheap fixes. I'd have the shop show you what they found.
    1990 Country Squire - weekend cruiser, next project
    1988 Crown Vic LTD Wagon - waiting in the wings

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  7. #47
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    Even getting the typical rust spot on the frame repaired is doable.
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  8. #48
    Member Stocker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gadget73 View Post
    all of this is typical, especially the rotten frame rail. Have a look underneath at the frame just behind the passenger side lower control arm mount. Fair bet you'll find where the frame angles over just under the firewall its got a big hole in it. The AC drips there and the frames blow out.
    Ah, that's what it was - a dime-sized hole at most though, which is why I missed it before.

    I'm starting to wonder the shop even tried to fix anything beyond the A/C. I still smell it running rich from time to time, it still takes some throttle to start when warm, and idling in gear it still sounds like it wants to stall if it sits too long. 10 MPG on that tank when I filled it up; granted, I don't know how much time it spent idling while they were (maybe) trying to diagnose it.

    It's leaking oil like never before though. I can't help but wonder if they intentionally sabotaged it.

    I'll try to put a pair of valve cover gaskets in it soon, but if it isn't that...
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria
    1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
    1996 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4, 360

    Past: 1995 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor

  9. #49
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    was the pcv filter changed?
    03 Marauder DBP, HS, 6disk, Organizer Mods> LED's in & Out, M&Z rear control arms, Oil deflector, U-Haul Trans Pan, Blue Fuzzy Dice
    02 SL500 Silver Arrow
    08 TC Signature Limited, HID's Mods>235/55-17 Z rated Cooper Zeon RS3-A, Addco 1" rear Sway, Posi, Compustar Remote Start, floor liners, trunk organizer, Two part Sun Visors, B&M Trans drain Plug, Winter=05 Mustang GT rims, Nokian Hakkapeliitta R-2 235/55-17
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  10. #50
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    Yeah, they replaced both the PCV valve and the crankcase breather.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria
    1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
    1996 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4, 360

    Past: 1995 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor

  11. #51
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    Yeah... that screen under the PCV valve is overlooked rather often.

    Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -- Albert Einstein
    rides: 93 Crown Vic LX (The Red Velvet Cake), 2000 Crown Vic base model (Sandy), 2003 Expedition (the vacation beast)
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  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by sly View Post
    Yeah... that screen under the PCV valve is overlooked rather often.
    There's supposed to be a screen there?

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by 91merc View Post
    There's supposed to be a screen there?
    On the 86-91 SEFI. On the 85, it'd be there in the air filter housing. I've never owned a box that did not pass oil through the PCV.
    1990 Country Squire - weekend cruiser, next project
    1988 Crown Vic LTD Wagon - waiting in the wings

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  14. #54
    Beater gonna beat sly's Avatar
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    Oh right... 85.

    +1 they all drink oil to a point. It shouldn't be more than about half a quart per 3K miles in good shape. One quart at most with no leaks. At least that's what I've seen.

    Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -- Albert Einstein
    rides: 93 Crown Vic LX (The Red Velvet Cake), 2000 Crown Vic base model (Sandy), 2003 Expedition (the vacation beast)
    Quote Originally Posted by gadget73
    ... and it should all work like magic and unicorns and stuff.
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    Overhead, some poor bastards are flying in airplanes.

  15. #55
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    I've had three 302's in my life, so far. One '85 CFI, one '88 (My TC, still have it) and one '89 TC. All of them drank/drink oil. The '85 supposedly had 100k ish miles on it, the '89 88k miles on it and my '88 now has about 125k on it, purchased with 85k ish. Oil consumption hasn't changed on the '88 at all. With fresh oil, it won't start touching it until about after 1000 miles. After that, it will slowly drink it, probably a quart per 1k. The 89' TC was the same way. I don't really remember the '85's consumption. I want to say it drank oil all the time, about a quart per 1K. Ford must've known about it, they've got "Low Oil" warning lights and reminders to check oil printed on the gas caps, least my '88 and '89 TC's did.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

  16. #56
    Member Stocker's Avatar
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    Mine never consumed enough oil to need any added between changes (it might be down a quart at most by the time I change it), but it saturated the breather element so quickly that I gave up on trying to stay ahead of it.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria
    1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
    1996 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4, 360

    Past: 1995 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor

  17. #57
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Guess that begs the question as to what your OCI's are/were. My OCI's at the time were 3k miles/1yr. Now they're 5k/1yr, yet the 302 never makes it to 1,500 before a year so technically I don't need to add oil any more either.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

  18. #58
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    For the past few years I've been running 2500-mile OCIs, which usually works out to three times a year depending on how long winter is.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria
    1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
    1996 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4, 360

    Past: 1995 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor

  19. #59
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    My 88 had 160K+ on it when I sold it. I had eliminated all the leaks and it was down to half a quart per 3K miles. With the VC leaks, it would drop about 1 quart per 1K miles. The 82 Mark VI with the HO swap never used more than 1 quart per 3K miles while I owned it. The 93 F150 I had didn't run that great, but did run and still didn't drink oil in that 302 either. So yeah, anything over 1 quart per 3K miles I look for leaks.

    Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -- Albert Einstein
    rides: 93 Crown Vic LX (The Red Velvet Cake), 2000 Crown Vic base model (Sandy), 2003 Expedition (the vacation beast)
    Quote Originally Posted by gadget73
    ... and it should all work like magic and unicorns and stuff.
    Quote Originally Posted by dmccaig
    Overhead, some poor bastards are flying in airplanes.

  20. #60
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    That reminds me, the 302 HO in my life didn't use oil. Not sure about leaks in the '89 or '85, but the '88 I have does not leak.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

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