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Thread: 89 Towncar

  1. #1
    n00b
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    Default 89 Towncar

    Newby Here with transmission woes
    Looking for your views on the '89 T/C unmolested cream puff with approx. 35K miles (yes, that's the first time around) with a slipping tranny.

    When driving the T/C to the cottage (approx. 100 mi. leisurely country drive), coming out of a long, steady incline, the tranny was slipping in top gear, was at approx. 35 MPH at the bottom of the hill, was feathering / coaxing the accelerator at the top of the to get over the top at 10 MPH. I feathered the accelerator the rest of the way to the destination, it continued to shift up through the gears as usual, no issue other than the slipping in high gear on grades. On arrival, I checked things out in the driveway. The tranny fluid was up to level but had a distinct burnt smell to it. Nothing under the hood appeared to be overheating or leaking out. I put the car into Drive (low), held on the brakes, and hit the accelerator, and the engine revved up, torqued and twisted, but did not stall out.

    So, anyone have any thoughts on what I'm up against? I'm thinking of everything from a drop of the pan, filter, fresh fluid, all the way to a total rebuild, estimated at $2,500 +/-. Your views are most appreciated in advance.
    With Thanks ...

  2. #2
    Approaching 2 decades of DDing Box Panthers VicCrownVic's Avatar
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    The picture below is backwards (must be a Mustsng) but the idea is the same. Make sure that cable in the pic is still attached to the lever on the underside of your throttle body.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    If it's not attached, or even if it is, get yourself a brass bushing to replace the original nylon bushing.
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/FORD-MUSTAN...-/302514275693

    Also, make sure that throttle valve cable is attached at the Transmission end (driver side of the trans). It's less common for it to come off there, but possible.

    The other thing that I've heard of happening is the throttle valve cable binding or becoming seized. Some lube and working it by hand should free it up.

    Changing fluid and filter are not a bad idea, especially if you don't know if it's ever been done. If that cures it, then you can get on a regular schedule. If it dies after fluid and filter change it would have died soon without.
    Vic

    ~ 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis LS "The Scab" - plenty of rot, summer DD
    ~ 1997 GMC Yukon - wannabe winter DD - returning summer 2020, I finally have an engine
    ~ 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


  3. #3
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    yeah, that has all the sound of a disconnected TV cable. Hopefully its not mortally wounded. if it is, basically a rebuild is the only fix here. If it works on all 4 gears after re-connecting it, change the fluid and hope for the best.

    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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    If you drove it 100 miles with the cable disconnected it’s most likely toast. I fried mine in about 30 miles years ago.
    2017 Buick Enclave 3.6 (Burgundy/Beige)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lincolnmania View Post
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  5. #5
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjc78 View Post
    If you drove it 100 miles with the cable disconnected it’s most likely toast. I fried mine in about 30 miles years ago.
    Yeah, the only thing missing here is, "Ding! [trans] is done!"

    In addition to what VCV said, here is a nice link on how to adjust your TV cable. I adjust mine exactly as shown in this video.


    Years ago Ashley bought an '89 with schmoked trans, was essentially reduced to a power glide as only the 2nd and 3rd cogs were available. TV bushing failed and the cable itself was just dangling there. We got the car home gingerly, parked it until the brass bushing came in and then installed & adjusted the TV cable. Drove it that way for at least six months before we had the trans rebuilt. Later sold it to LTDMan83.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

  6. #6
    n00b
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    Hi Guys …
    As an up-date, we left the T/C at the cottage to avoid any possible further internal damage until this is resolved. We returned home in another driver. I've ordered the brass bushing as noted by VCV, it is now in transit.

    My thanks to the respondents, I value your sound advice and links are most appreciated. I'll continue on with all the suggestions herein and keep you posted with the results.
    Cheers ...

  7. #7
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    Hi Guys …
    Up-date time. I rec'd. the TV (aluminum) cable bushing promptly in the mail and did the install last eve. As many suspected, the TV cable was detached and laying on the valve cover. Once the cable was connected, I was off for the road test, keeping my fingers crossed. It shifted smoother than it has ever done through all the gears, I was orgasmic with the results, but once fully warmed up, (perhaps 20 Km's down the road) it started to do the slip and slide in 3rd and OD. Just made it back to the driveway in second gear. The T/C was picked-up after lunch and it's off to the transmission shop for his analysis and judgement, I'm suspecting it'll need a full re-build. I'll keep you posted.
    With Thanks to Everyone ...

  8. #8
    Approaching 2 decades of DDing Box Panthers VicCrownVic's Avatar
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    That sucks that the trans may need a rebuild. If it comes down to that, at least you will know you shouldn't have to worry about it for a long time if the shop is good. I have a rebuilt trans in one of my cars that was rebuilt about 150K miles/240K km ago. 3rd car it's been in since the rebuild (original to dad's '89 MGM, then my '89 MGM, now my '91 MGM The Ice Car) and still going.
    Vic

    ~ 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis LS "The Scab" - plenty of rot, summer DD
    ~ 1997 GMC Yukon - wannabe winter DD - returning summer 2020, I finally have an engine
    ~ 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


  9. #9
    I post a lot... knucklehead0202's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about the rough luck, but this is a fairly common issue with these cars. When on the hunt for my second box, I looked at a '91 LTD that touted a "recently rebuilt transmission". I went for a test drive and it shifted all the gears up to overdrive before 40mph and wouldn't downshift. I drove it back and told the guy i couldn't buy it because the trans was no good. I even explained the problem and offered to mail him a brass bushing and hope he got lucky enough it kept working. Guy was totally nonplussed.

  10. #10
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    probably the single biggest weak point in the AOD design, and its not even anything internal to the transmission. if not for that stupid bushing failing, I strongly suspect the AOD wouldn't have gotten as much of a bad rap as it has.

    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

  11. #11
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Agreed. Actually seems to be fairly stout IMO for stock duties. I have no complaints from mine or one that was properly rebuilt. I like finding cars that need a trans though, how you can get clean ones for cheap.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

  12. #12
    Member BigMerc96's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gadget73 View Post
    probably the single biggest weak point in the AOD design, and its not even anything internal to the transmission. if not for that stupid bushing failing, I strongly suspect the AOD wouldn't have gotten as much of a bad rap as it has.
    The fact that its computer controlled descendants in the AODE and 4R70W are known for their reliability despite being very similar internally I think is proof of that. The transmission its self wasn't really weak at all, but if you lose the TV cable/linkage the pressures inside the trans go all funky and they eat themselves in short order.

    Several years ago I looked at a "bastard block" '92 Crown Victoria Touring Sedan (pretty rare car) that had an AOD. The car was not beyond repair, but the slipping in 3rd and 4th on top of the multiple little issues it had made it a no-deal situation because I know it likely had a dead AOD from a failed TV cable. Honestly, if that car came along today I would probably buy it, I have a completely in-tact and fully functional 1997 drivetrain sitting in my rot box Town Car. Would be a pretty straightforward and mildly interesting swap.
    -Steve

    2006 Audi A6 S-Line FWD ~132k miles, stock.
    1998 Mercury Grand Marquis LS HPP ~102k miles, slowly acquiring modifications.
    1997 Lincoln Town Car Cartier ~145k miles, Ported Plenum, Gutted Airbox, Mechanical Fan Delete, Contour E-fan Retrofit, Dual exhaust, Cats ran away, KYB Gas-A-Justs, P71 front sway bar, air ride reinstalled, Blinker Mod, Projector headlight retrofit, Caddy 4-note horn retrofit, Wood rim steering wheel, rustbelt diet plan..
    1996 Mercury Grand Marquis GS 117,485mi. R.I.P. 7/14/12

  13. #13
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    Hi Guys …
    Not to beat this thread to death, but there may a few out there interested in knowing that I picked-up the T/C Fri. before closing, drove it home and around town over the weekend, putting it through it's paces. The tranny works better than it ever has, smooth and quiet shifts in all gears, upshifts, downshifts, no slipping and sliding, drives like new. (out the door, $3,100,).
    I really appreciated your interest in my plight, your comments, links and suggestions were most helpful.
    Lesson Learned - Keep your eye on the T/V Cable linkage connection !!!
    "Drive Till Ya Drop"

  14. #14
    The Brown Blob 87gtVIC's Avatar
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    Cool. Now you are obligated to hold onto the car to get your moneys worth/ enjoyment out of 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

  15. #15
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Owwwwwch. What David said.

    It was under $1,200 to have the trans rebuilt at Accurate Transmissions in Belleville, MI back when Ashley's AOD got brought back to life several years ago. Ashley put some ~20k miles on it and then we sold it to a dude on here (LTDMan83) who later listed it for sale with the very same trans.. That shop knows what they are doing, so despite being a good 60 miles from us, we will continue to take dead transmissions to them.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

  16. #16
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    wow, AOD's got spendy to do. I got a killer deal on mine but the usual going rate with the friend discount was around a grand out the door last I know.

    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

  17. #17
    I post a lot...
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    That’s Canada for you!
    2017 Buick Enclave 3.6 (Burgundy/Beige)
    2017 Hyundai Elantra SE w/tech (Silver/Grey)
    2019 Volvo S60 Inscription (Crystal White / Blond)
    Past Panthers
    1989 Grand Marquis LS (Cabernet/Grey), 1989 Lincoln Town Car SS (White/Blue), 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis Ultimate (White/Black)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lincolnmania View Post
    if its got tits or tires it's bound to give you trouble

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