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Thread: Eric's 1989 Yellow Grand Marquis

  1. #1

    Default Eric's 1989 Yellow Grand Marquis

    Hello fellow forum members,
    I just joined a few days ago after purchasing a 1989 GM. I was originally looking at the newer body style CV and GMs, but noticed a few of the "boxes" listed and liked the body lines better, plus being older, I figured they would be easier for me to work on myself. The problem was that the "boxes" were priced much higher, but the next day one popped up on CL for $2200. This was still not as cheap as the newer ones as there appeared to be some decent ones around $1200, but I'm judging by small images and by what the ads read. I know from experience that the car always looks better in pics than in person. Supposedly this car has always been garaged and has 65k miles. Again, who knows, the odometer could have rolled over and I'd never know. I managed to get a ride and go look at it. It has a few weird rust spots, one of which is just under the vinyl top, which I know vinyl tops are notorious for causing rust, and a few others here and there. The one just under the vinyl top line seems to be almost through, while the others are surface rust. I'm not sure of the proper name, but the radiator cradle has been painted white, which seemed weird. The paint in the door jams and around the inside of the trunk looks a tad strange as well, like it has been repainted at some point, but I can't find any overspray on any of the trim. I test drove it and it ran and shifted fine, so I made an offer and got it for $1900.

    The Bad:
    The rust spots mentioned.
    Radio works but static-y and only dash speakers work. If I wiggle the fader and volume knobs the volume goes up. I don't care that much about a stereo, so not that big of a deal to me, just as long as I have something.
    Drivers side door lock is gone... probably broke and fell into the door.
    The light bulb in the drivers door has fallen as well and is behind the carpet on the lower door panel. The bulb gets hot and am a little worried the carpet could catch fire.
    The seats are leather and in bad shape. This kind of made me question the 65k miles, but I am in FL and every Ford with leather that I have seen down here has seats in similar condition, regardless of mileage.
    I have not owned a Ford in a long time, but on GM's the trans fluid is red. The fluid looked more brown... did not smell nice, but I would not say it smelled burnt either, lol.

    I am a truck guy, but since I am in FL by myself, I needed a spare vehicle in case of an emergency and for when I do repairs on my truck. I am slow, so repairs can take me a week or 2, lol. That being said, my plans are to just to make it as reliable and fuel efficient as possible. I was disappointed that there are no gauges in this thing. I will plan on adding gauges at some point as well. Here is my to do list:

    Change out all fluids with synthetic for fuel economy.
    When I have time scrounge junkyards for better seats and a radio.
    Fix the lock and light bulb in Drivers side door.
    Tune up... runs fine, but the wires appear to be original (could be wrong)

    Open to suggestions and anything else that I should do for reliability and more MPG.

    Here's a few pics:

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  2. #2
    The Brown Blob 87gtVIC's Avatar
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    Nice car. Welcome to the forum.

    That rust between the vinyl top trim and paint probably originated by one of the clips that hold that trim piece in place. Don't go ripping that piece off in any manor. If memory serves me right there was one nut torwards the front (obviously accessed from inside the car) and two push clips and one clip right by the rear that you need to slide the trim towards the center of the rear window to remove through a relief cut into the sides of the trim.
    ~David~

    My 1987 Crown Victoria Coupe: The Brown Blob
    My 2004 Mercedes Benz E320:The Benz

    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    But, that's just coming from me, this site's biggest pessimist. Best of luck

  3. #3
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    Welcome

    See if someone unplugged the rear speakers for some reason. People do dumb things, who knows.

    The fluid should be red. Sounds like time to change it. It uses the same Dexron/Mercon a GM does.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  4. #4

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    Good news... I just looked through a folder that came with the car and the water pump, master cylinder, radiator, starter, exhaust, tires are all new in the past few years with receipts totaling around $2k. That helps explain the white paint as well.

  5. #5

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    Thank You. I'm not planning on messing with it anytime soon other than maybe dabbing it with some thick touch up paint, and I'm glad as this sounds like quite the ordeal for some trim, lol.

  6. #6

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    Thank you and it's worth a shot.

  7. #7
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Nice box and welcome to the forum!

    After your description I was expecting to see a rot box that was clapped out. Pleasantly disappointed haha. I ain't never seen one that color before. Interesting it's got leather but no ditch lights. Looks pretty clean under the hood too. Underside pics?
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

  8. #8
    I post a lot... knucklehead0202's Avatar
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    Seats don't really look any worse than mine. California sun does hellish things to leather. Try lexol on it. Depending on how dry it is you may be fine. I slathered mine up and they looked pretty good, briefly. Pretty sure i need to get a gallon bottle of it and drop an m80 in, shut the door then wipe it all down. My seats are DRY!

  9. #9
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    Leather usually ages like that unless it is very well cared for. My Continental sat for a decade in upstate NY and its very similar inside. I had to give mine some neet's foot oil to get them to not be quite so petrified. It leaves an oily film so don't do that unless you've got a couple days to let it sit and soak. Lexol works decent but it seems to require more applications for really bad leather. Its great as a maintenance potion. I actually need to do mine again.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    Nice box and welcome to the forum!

    After your description I was expecting to see a rot box that was clapped out. Pleasantly disappointed haha. I ain't never seen one that color before. Interesting it's got leather but no ditch lights. Looks pretty clean under the hood too. Underside pics?
    Thank You! It is not on my immediate to do list, but I think I will remove the vinyl top and get on top of the rust. I like them better without it anyway. Once I get it inside and change the oil, I'll get some underside pics. It is however clean underneath, but I am used to cars from the midwest. Supposedly it was owned by an elderly gentleman, always garaged and was told he was religious about changing the oil every 3k miles. I don't really believe what anyone tells me anymore, but judging by the condition of the car, Id' say it is plausible. What are ditch lights?

  11. #11

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    Neets oil it is since I have it and since I need to print out and mail in paperwork for title and reg, It will have plenty of time to soak in and dry.
    Thanks!

  12. #12
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric62 View Post
    Thank You! It is not on my immediate to do list, but I think I will remove the vinyl top and get on top of the rust. I like them better without it anyway. Once I get it inside and change the oil, I'll get some underside pics. It is however clean underneath, but I am used to cars from the midwest. Supposedly it was owned by an elderly gentleman, always garaged and was told he was religious about changing the oil every 3k miles. I don't really believe what anyone tells me anymore, but judging by the condition of the car, Id' say it is plausible. What are ditch lights?
    Yeah I'm starting not to like vinyl tops. Town Cars were never available without one though, roof lines are weird when they are removed. Just another thing to wear out and trap water I say. But I do like the look of them on the Townies though, and if they're always garaged and seldom come out in the rain they're not a big deal.

    Well, when you change the oil, if it's still caramel like in color after ~400 miles I'd say the engine is clean inside. If it goes black, not so much. It takes some people years to get 3k on a car and if the oil has been left in the crankcase longer than 8 months I get ancy no matter what the mileage.

    Ditch lights are the lights that are located on the front bottom edge of each fender, the lights that come on when you hit the turn signal or hazard flashers. I love options, find it hard to buy "stripper" cars. My '85 had them, and typically cars with those have more options than those which don't. Guess in your case the person ordering the car forgot to check that box off, I don't think they were part of a package deal like a lot of the other options. Does your car have a trip minder?
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

  13. #13
    The Brown Blob 87gtVIC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    Does your car have a trip minder?
    I am anticipating him not know what a trip minder may be....so I'll fill him in.

    Trip minder would be where your clock is located. It will have a number of buttons and is digital in display. Gives you readouts of instant fuel economy, average etc.
    ~David~

    My 1987 Crown Victoria Coupe: The Brown Blob
    My 2004 Mercedes Benz E320:The Benz

    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    But, that's just coming from me, this site's biggest pessimist. Best of luck

  14. #14

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    It's odd you mention town cars... 2 days before I bought this car, I got a text asking if I wanted my brothers old Lincoln. I was not sure at the time, as it is a few states away, but I am for sure going to take him up on the offer. He is moving and has decided to let go of it. Nothing major wrong with it, just a lot of little things. I'm pretty sure one of the major things was bad trans seals.

    It looked caramel in color when I bought it, so that's a good sign... I will be changing it again soon though.

    So ditch lights are just lower extra side marker lights?

    I'm the opposite... I like no option cars... In fact, I would prefer no PW, PS, PB... just more things to go wrong and more things in the way. I would have bought a 1960's early 70's car, but they want a fortune for them in any kind of decent drivable shape.

    I drove an early 2000's or late 1990's P71 years ago and loved it... The only problem I ever had was the starter went out with no warning. The other problem was I would get pulled over constantly. Got rid of it because of that and I was worried about cut wires everywhere in the thing being and ex detectives car.

    I think I would have noticed the trip minder, so no. I do have a trip odometer though, lol.

  15. #15

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    Thanks!... I don't believe I have ever seen one. I normally don't like a lot of options, but a trip minder sounds handy... especially since good MPG is one of my goals.

  16. #16
    Approaching 2 decades of DDing Box Panthers VicCrownVic's Avatar
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    I like it! It's in way better shape than my cars (don't let the old signature pictures fool you I'm missing things like rocker panels).

    If I'm not mistaken '89 had a one year only tripminder, so if you find one from a pre '89 car it's not plug and play. I'm not sure what the difference is, but I think it just involves repinning a the connector or something. I'm sure someone will fill you in with the actual details though.
    Vic

    ~ 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis LS "The Scab" - plenty of rot, summer DD
    ~ 1997 GMC Yukon - wannabe winter DD - I'll fix it eventually
    ~ 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis GS "The Ice Car" - My rotting winter DD
    ~ 1989 Mercury Grand Marquis GS - Rotting Retired DD
    Gone but not forgotten:
    ~ 1988 Country Squire ~ 1987 Ford Crown Vic


  17. #17
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric62 View Post
    Thanks!... I don't believe I have ever seen one. I normally don't like a lot of options, but a trip minder sounds handy... especially since good MPG is one of my goals.
    Bump the timing to 12 degrees, helped me achieve 24.xMPG on my way to Arizona. Keep the tires inflated, drive like there's an egg under the gas pedal and keep your top speed less than or equal to 65mph. My car 3.27's cogs out back.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric62 View Post
    It's odd you mention town cars... 2 days before I bought this car, I got a text asking if I wanted my brothers old Lincoln. I was not sure at the time, as it is a few states away, but I am for sure going to take him up on the offer. He is moving and has decided to let go of it. Nothing major wrong with it, just a lot of little things. I'm pretty sure one of the major things was bad trans seals.

    It looked caramel in color when I bought it, so that's a good sign... I will be changing it again soon though.

    So ditch lights are just lower extra side marker lights?

    I'm the opposite... I like no option cars... In fact, I would prefer no PW, PS, PB... just more things to go wrong and more things in the way. I would have bought a 1960's early 70's car, but they want a fortune for them in any kind of decent drivable shape.

    I drove an early 2000's or late 1990's P71 years ago and loved it... The only problem I ever had was the starter went out with no warning. The other problem was I would get pulled over constantly. Got rid of it because of that and I was worried about cut wires everywhere in the thing being and ex detectives car.

    I think I would have noticed the trip minder, so no. I do have a trip odometer though, lol.
    No option cars from the 60's and 70's are all I ever see, so I'd say you're in luck my friend! LoL. Kind of the reason I don't like them.

    What year Townie? My cut off is 1990, beyond that they put too many camshafts and a mile long timing chain in the engines and so they lost me. Ditch lights aren't extra side markers, they're like mini headlights for the corners, actually, I think they are officially called "cornering lamps" or something like that. In stock configuration, they are supposed to illuminate when you flip the turnsignal, so signaling left would turn the left lamp on and vice versa. They are also supposed to stay on for a few seconds after the signal cancels. We might want another old Lincoln. Ashley misses hers.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

  18. #18

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    Thanks... When I get time to hit some junkyards, I'll be on the lookout for one.

  19. #19

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    Thanks... That should be quick and easy! I always keep my tires at max pressure, and I usually drive like an old man, as I pretty much am anyway, lol.

    I am in luck except for the prices.

    The Town Car is an 89 or older... It has been a long time since I have seen it, but it is a box. Depending on condition it might be a good future project car. Get rid of all the options and simplify it. I am a fan of straight sixes as well and the Ford 300 Inline is an excellent engine... wondering if anyone has ever swapped one of those in? I have a lot of other projects ahead af that, but I enjoy planning ahead... way ahead, lol.

    As far as the rearend gears... Are there codes anywhere on the car where I can find the rearend ratio?

  20. #20
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Oh, check the car at the top of the page, the Panther of the Month. That '87(?) Crown Vic has ditch lights, look right between the front bumper and front tire.

    Well I'd like to see pics, 'cause yeah, I might want a project too
    I doubt a straight six will fit under the hood but they are great engines. Ash currently drives a '92 F150 with that engine and five speed trans. We love those things, think there will always be one in our life.

    The driver's door sticker should have that information, look for a code right under where it says "Axle", and to double check, there should be a tag held in place by one of the upper bolts for the diff cover, usually right side. Tag has the ratio stamped in it, if there's no "L" in between the ratio, it's an open. You can look the door code up on the internets and get back with us, or drop it in here and we'll figure it out.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

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