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Thread: Just bought an 86 LTD CV, new to the forum!

  1. #1

    Default Just bought an 86 LTD CV, new to the forum!

    Hello everyone!
    My name is Ben, and I'm a longtime Ford owner (including various Mustang and non-Mustang Foxes in EEC-IV and EEC-V flavors, a Ford-Focus-Zetec-engined non-Ford, an '87 F150 that I've had since 2004, and so on...but this is my first Panther).
    I just bought a 1986 LTD Crown Vic, brown 4-door, with 76000 miles. It's almost rust-free, which is a miracle up here in Maine.
    It's pretty close to stock, 5.0/AOD as they almost all were, I think it has Trac-Loc but I haven't verified that yet (could be that it had 2 wheels worth of traction on the test drive).
    I bought it from a lady whose father owned it until he passed away, and he only put 122 miles on it from July of 2016, when he had the tires and exhaust replaced and all the fluids changed.
    All the thing needs is a brake job (caliper sliders rusted stuck/uneven pad and rotor wear/soggy braking), new bushings, shocks and springs, and a serious afternoon with some buffing compound.
    Plans include the previously mentioned work, maybe an HO intake and (stock setup) dual exhaust, police calipers, and a more modern radio with more than 1 working speaker.
    If I like it enough, I'll probably put on a trailer hitch and sell my 1987 F150, which I bought as a tow/plow truck but use it for neither these days (I put about 1000 miles a year on it anymore). I moved to a house with a small driveway, and it's almost cheaper to have it plowed than to buy the gas for the F150; and all I pull these days is my 800 pound sailboat or a ton of wood pellets (well, in the bed of the F150; it's a 3 mile run on flat pavement and it has the F250 rear suspension and helper springs for that).

    A couple minor questions: does anyone know where the buck tags were placed on these? The door VECI label is completely illegible. I felt around for the build sheet under the passenger's seat and didn't find it; I may pull the seat just to make sure.
    Also, does anyone know if there is a plug-and-play trailer harness for these? I don't like cutting/splicing if i can help it, and I'm the sort of guy who will build an adapter out of junk wiring and old harness connectors before I'll cut up the wiring of a nice survivor car like this.

    I'll post some pictures later; I'm at work for a few weeks so I'm limited to the office computer until I get back home in late December.

  2. #2
    The Brown Blob 87gtVIC's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum. Glad you made it over here.


    Some other places to search for the build sheet are behind rear seats and even behind the rear panels of the front seats. Just a handful of rather long Christmas tree clips hold that in place. Rear lower seat come out just like the mustangs you are familiar with to clips toward the front of each corner.

    Add a transmission cooler to the car and id have no worries about it towing the things you have in mind for it.
    ~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
    Wagon Addicted Tiggie's Avatar
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    Welcome. I’m also a Ben whose first Panther was a brown Ford with an illegible door tag. Small world.

    Also try under the drivers seat for the buildsheet in addition to where David mentioned. They are mostly encrypted so they may not be a ton of help in figuring out your door tag. If it’s driving you crazy, Marti Auto Works can reproduce one for your exact car for $40. http://www.martiauto.com/tags.cfm

    I’m not aware of a trailer wiring adaptor available. Maybe someone else knows of one. Grab the connector for the Tailights from a junk car, turn it around, and splice in a universal trailer connector.
    Crawl up under the rear and check the rear axle code. Might say 2 73 or 3L08 (just like the Mustangs), or other ratios. The L would indicate a traction lock.

    If there are any cooler looking things in front of the condenser, it’s likely a transmission cooler. Most did not have these. My brown Ford did have one, so since we live in a parallel universe, yours might too.
    1988 Crown Vic Wagon - daily
    1990 Country Squire - weekend cruiser, former lawn ornament
    Other: 95 Ranger, 74 F250, 68 Mustang, 94 Mustang
    Sold: 1982 LTD and 1987 Crown Vic

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  4. #4
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    The factory trailer harness involved a bank of relays in the trunk and a power feed from up front. It ran through the relays so the blinker speed wasn't affected and to make sure it didn't cook the fairly marginal switches. I've never seen one as an add-on, though there is currently listed on ebay the harness for the brake controller. Kinda doubt you need that part. My car has the tow package from the factory but I'll confess as to never having looked how it actually integrates with the factory harness to drive the relays. Not sure if it just picks up the connections through a short jumper harness or if the relay feeds are spliced in somehow.

    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

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by gadget73 View Post
    The factory trailer harness involved a bank of relays in the trunk and a power feed from up front. It ran through the relays so the blinker speed wasn't affected and to make sure it didn't cook the fairly marginal switches. I've never seen one as an add-on, though there is currently listed on ebay the harness for the brake controller. Kinda doubt you need that part. My car has the tow package from the factory but I'll confess as to never having looked how it actually integrates with the factory harness to drive the relays. Not sure if it just picks up the connections through a short jumper harness or if the relay feeds are spliced in somehow.
    Interesting! I'm replacing most of my bulbs with LEDs and a "heavy duty" flasher, because I'm lazy and I'd rather replace all my bulbs in a warm garage than replace one on the side of the road, so load on the turn signal switch should be pretty low. I was of the impression that the Fox turn signal switch was the same, and there's a lot more bulbs and load in most of the Fox family turn signals/brakes than in the '86 CV. Until you ground out the trailer harness, anyway. I'll probably add low-amp fuses between the splice/connectors and the trailer plug because I'm nitpicky like that.

    Tiggie, are you also an engineer? With a fleet of older Fords, that would just be an eerie coincidence. Being as I am an engineer I will confess that I ordered the Marti report (and associated VECI door tag) before I even started looking for the buck tags. And I have the books of Fox buck tag codes, which should get me some part of the way with decoding anything I find.
    It's cold and snowy and I'm at work, so with any luck I'll have the Marti report before I can crawl under the car to look at the axle tag. From the pristine look of the underside and the way the previous owner kept his (several vintage) cars, I'm going to guess it's the original axle. I have a receipt for about every item changed since the early 2000s and I find it hard to believe an axle would have slipped by. I also own all the Ford 1987 shop manuals (because F150) and ordered all the 1986 ones off ebay the day I bought the LTD (though they got to my house after I came back to work).

    I'll post some eye candy tonight when I get back to the office, if I remember my USB drive with the pictures. Or I'll lazily link from the Four-Eyed Pride forum, where I've been neglecting a Zephyr Z7 project for the last decade.

  6. #6
    Wagon Addicted Tiggie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bgreywolf View Post
    Tiggie, are you also an engineer?
    I wish I were at times. Chemistry teacher is all I can claim. Have taught a few engineers though. They make lots more money than me now but seem to also work the long hours to go with it.
    1988 Crown Vic Wagon - daily
    1990 Country Squire - weekend cruiser, former lawn ornament
    Other: 95 Ranger, 74 F250, 68 Mustang, 94 Mustang
    Sold: 1982 LTD and 1987 Crown Vic

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  7. #7
    Approaching 2 decades of DDing Box Panthers VicCrownVic's Avatar
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    Welcome!

    Brown is a good color.
    If you plan to do any towing with the hitch you're adding, wagon cargo coils (Moog CC819) and Gabriel HiJackers (49205 might be a good setup in the rear. That what I run on my winter car and you can tell that I basically have a garage in there. It's a bit of a harsh ride for the taste of some, but I don't mind and all the weight in the trunk probably helps.
    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


  8. #8
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    I think the relays were there more to keep the blinker speed from being affected by adding more lights. Not killing the switches is an added bonus. Keep in mind the trailer tow package also included wiring for a brake controller and a charge feed to the trailer. They really intended people to tow serious stuff with these cars. It also had a trans cooler and a power steering cooler, larger rear drum brakes, a heavier duty driveshaft, and a limited slip 3.55 diff. It was quite the setup for a sedan. My car was bought to tow a horse trailer. Its had the same Class 3 hitch on it since 1986. The brake controller had been removed by the time I got the car, it was one of those old type with a hydraulic feed off the master cylinder. The line had failed so the controller was pitched. I think it was actually in the trunk of the car when I got it, but I tossed it.

    The headlamp switch is really the one that seems to die on these. If you poke around on here you'll see it come up from time to time, bad switch and a melted terminal in the back. If you add a relay harness to the headlamps and swap the rest to LED almost all of the load goes away so the switches should no longer be an issue.
    Last edited by gadget73; 11-25-2018 at 11:17 PM.

    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

  9. #9
    Approaching 2 decades of DDing Box Panthers VicCrownVic's Avatar
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    Hmm... I think I posted that from my phone earlier. The can was supposed to be a can't.

    Quote Originally Posted by VicCrownVic View Post
    ...
    If you plan to do any towing with the hitch you're adding, wagon cargo coils (Moog CC819) and Gabriel HiJackers (49205 might be a good setup in the rear. That's what I run on my winter car and you can't tell that I basically have a garage in there. It's a bit of a harsh ride for the taste of some, but I don't mind and all the weight in the trunk probably helps.
    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


  10. #10
    I post a lot...
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    You need an electronic blinker not a mechanical one to use the LEDS.
    "X" car 89 Colony Park LS Mods>Engine delete, SS duals magnaflow hflow cats, 2010 Must GT mufflers, auto air shocks, Posi, Tran cooler, big front brakes, 03+ rear disks, Large 3g alt, Tripminder, GS grill, 86 seats, 16" HPP wheels, winter boots=96 Cartier wheels, 215-65/16 Goodyear ULTRA GW3 snows, pi rear sway, alum driveshaft.
    03 Marauder DPB, HS, 6disk, Organizer, Silver Stars, M&Z rear control arms, Oil deflector.
    02 SL500 Silver Arrow
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  11. #11
    fomoco panthers !
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    Good to see another Mainer on the forum. Where in Maine are you ? Good luck getting parts here ! Almost all of my parts come from out of state. I hope you put antique plates on the CV. With those plates, it is exempt from inspections.

  12. #12

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    Tiggie--my dad is a chemical engineer; mostly environmental/life-cycle chemistry. Fascinating stuff. I'm more of the operational variety, electrical/electronics/mechanical on ships.

    Jaywish--you're correct. I should have said "Heavy-duty LED-compatible electronic".

    VicCrownVic--I already ordered the CC817 sedan cargo coils; hopefully they're enough. I got a set of KYB Gas-A-Just shocks and a big stack of bushings to keep me busy in January. If it were my Mercury Z7 I would have gone with the Energy Suspension and Bilsteins; I'd like my LTD passengers to keep their fillings intact. We'll see how that goes (both towing and filling-wise).

    Gadget--Even if the car has an ATF cooler, it's getting a bigger one. I've never met an AOD that liked the heat. I've got an F150 with a C6 which replaced the F150 with an AOD for plowing and towing ages ago; I don't plan to use the LTD that hard so the AOD should survive. It would be interesting if the car had the 3.55/LS already; that's what's in the F150 as well...it's like a little brown 4-door truck!

    If I do tow much more than the sailboat/home goods/2-3 pallets of wood pellets a year then I'll probably change the brakes to the later, larger disk brakes up front, and make sure I've got the 11" drums in back. The '87 F150 has towed multiple cars (one car at a time) from one end of the country to the other, 2 tons of wood pellets at a time on a 20' lowboy (combined weight over 5000 lb) and numerous towing, dragging, pushing, forestry and other abuses on the stock brakes. The LTD shouldn't see anything that brutal.

    The eye candy is going to have to wait; the office computer keeps hanging on uploads. I've got a workaround but I'll have to wait for shoreside office hours.
    Edit: Oh, look, 2 of them went through! Of course not the F150 or LTD. The Mustang is now a parts car (thanks, drunk driver!) and the Mercury is waiting on a few small parts like an engine and transmission--I built the car to handle a Coyote but the Mustang may end up being the donor...for now?
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    Last edited by bgreywolf; 11-26-2018 at 03:24 AM.

  13. #13
    GMN Regular slack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bgreywolf View Post
    VicCrownVic--I already ordered the CC817 sedan cargo coils; hopefully they're enough. I got a set of KYB Gas-A-Just shocks and a big stack of bushings to keep me busy in January. If it were my Mercury Z7 I would have gone with the Energy Suspension and Bilsteins; I'd like my LTD passengers to keep their fillings intact. We'll see how that goes (both towing and filling-wise).
    Welcome!

    I have the heavy duty coils (front and rear), KYB Gas-A-Justs and Energy Suspension bushings in my '89. It's actually not too bad. I feel like the ride is more like a pick up truck than a land yacht though. If I would do it again, I might not have gone with the super heavy coils I have but also I don't tow anything that really requires them. (Used to keep my tools in the trunk but that's not the case anymore)

  14. #14

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    Finally. The F150 from a safe viewing distance (photo as taken by a friend who borrowed it for a couple days) -- the further you go, the better it looks.
    And the LTD, awaiting an inspection sticker (the wipers started working after the leaves were cleaned out of the header panel, 2 marker light bulbs replaced; $14.08 and she passed!):
    Click image for larger version. 

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    As for the electrical (since I didn't say anything else earlier): Yes, getting a headlight relay. Pretty sure the turn and light switches on this are the same as on my Zephyr and Mustang (and the headlight on my F150) as Ford used the same switches for decades on almost everything...also getting a 3G alternator.

    Silly question, is there a source for replacement vinyl half-tops, and is it worth it? This one has a bunch of small splits, and I think it would make more sense to replace than to strip, grind, fill, smooth, and otherwise prep for a complete paint job versus a new top. I guess I could break out the sewing machine and a heap of marine vinyl, but I'd rather not re-invent the wheel (or the top!). Where the top is otherwise intact this is a low priority for now.

  15. #15
    Approaching 2 decades of DDing Box Panthers VicCrownVic's Avatar
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    I forgot, you mentioned the heaviest thing you might tow would be the 800 pound sailboat. I don't think you'll have any issue with the CC817.
    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


  16. #16

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    Mainemantom: I'm in Richmond (just South of Augusta). I don't do the Classic/Antique plates; I do my own maintenance for the most part and I beat the pieces out of my vehicles. I want someone to look them over now and then and make sure I'm not missing anything.
    For a yard beater or weekend cruiser I'd get the classic plates, but I wouldn't be driving it at 70 on the highway with a trunk full of tools and parts. I don't want to blow a brake line pulling 2 tons of wood pellets because I saved a couple bucks on a sticker.
    Yes, I'm the jerk who drops my car at the inspection station and insists that the tech do a thorough job. It's no good if it just passes!

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by VicCrownVic View Post
    I forgot, you mentioned the heaviest thing you might tow would be the 800 pound sailboat. I don't think you'll have any issue with the CC817.
    The heaviest thing would be the trailerload of wood pellets (the F150 does 2 pallets + 20' trailer for about a 5200lb total weight), but I could do just 1 pallet (3200lb).
    I get them at the local Agway, which is 5 miles round trip, on fairly low speed roads with only minor inclines. The trailer is a dual-axle and although it has brakes, I never hooked the controller up in the F150.

  18. #18
    The Brown Blob 87gtVIC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bgreywolf View Post

    Silly question, is there a source for replacement vinyl half-tops, and is it worth it? This one has a bunch of small splits, and I think it would make more sense to replace than to strip, grind, fill, smooth, and otherwise prep for a complete paint job versus a new top. I guess I could break out the sewing machine and a heap of marine vinyl, but I'd rather not re-invent the wheel (or the top!). Where the top is otherwise intact this is a low priority for now.
    I had mine replaced. I did all the dirty work by removing interior (to remove the crown trim) and removed old vinyl top. Removed all old material and glue and painted the roof before getting the new vinyl installed. Mine was one piece of vinyl just stretched over everything. No seams like stock. Could not argue with the price....I was basically hands on for the entire thing.

    http://www.grandmarq.net/vb/showthre...l=1#post535334
    ~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

  19. #19
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    Worst I've done with my Towncar was another Towncar on a tow dolly. Twice. It pulled OK but dollies don't track real well so it wanted to wag over about 50, and in the hills it wanted to push pretty hard. It was sketchy. Mine does have big brakes but they are clearly not thrilled about stopping double the vehicle weight. ~3000 lb shouldn't be a problem but pushing 4500 with no trailer brakes is not a smart idea.

    The factory trans cooler is a cute little thing. Its probably what should have been on there to not tow, if you do any serious towing more cooler wouldn't hurt. Mine did 125k with no fluid changes before I killed it by catching the car on fire. I did change the fluid prior to that and it was pitch black. Still worked after I changed it though. I don't tow with it anymore so the stock cooler can stay. I usually use my S10 if I need to haul stuff. This year I did 2 tons of pellets at a time, it did a fine job but I'm not going real far and not doing over 50.

    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

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by 87gtVIC View Post
    I had mine replaced. I did all the dirty work by removing interior (to remove the crown trim) and removed old vinyl top. Removed all old material and glue and painted the roof before getting the new vinyl installed. Mine was one piece of vinyl just stretched over everything. No seams like stock. Could not argue with the price....I was basically hands on for the entire thing.

    http://www.grandmarq.net/vb/showthre...l=1#post535334
    So he just put the vinyl directly on the roof with adhesive? No underlayment? It looks great!
    That looks like marine grade vinyl; I have a bunch of it from some headliner repair jobs over the years.

    Edit: I've been going through your build but just reading it will take me months! That's a lot of work (and an amazing car to show for it!)
    Last edited by bgreywolf; 11-26-2018 at 07:11 PM.

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