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Thread: Prudence, my 87 Town Car

  1. #201
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    I was leafing through the suspension section of the shop manual and found a chart on setting caster and camber using the Ford tool (T79P-3000-A). Most people on eBay and elsewhere want anywhere from $60 to over $150 for it, but I managed to win one for $24 shipped. So hopefully when it arrives I'll be able to adjust the upper control arms per the shop manual chart, then take it back to the alignment shop to reset the toe.

    Though perhaps bad bushings are still to blame for the pull. I have yet to get into the shop to replace the passenger lower control arm bushings, but I think they're the worst of the three remaining arms. The steering might also have something to do with it. It's felt a lot less boosted since April/May, which was about the time the ball joint vibration began, and the pump has recently started leaking a lot more. I'm hoping new hoses, a reseal kit for the pump, and new fluid will bring it back - and maybe even get rid of the whine.

    Rounding out the suspension, I've noticed the car isn't sitting level. This seems to have been a problem even with the first pictures I posted on this thread, but for some reason it's only drawn my attention now. Taking a tape measure from floor to the top of the wheel arches, the fronts sit at 27 1/4", while the rears are an even 26". I believe the arches are the same height for both front and back, so that's a 1 1/4" sag off the rear. Current rear springs look like constant rate, but I think I want variable rate for large trunk loads? Air springs, if I understand correctly, won't clear the frame on a Box?

  2. #202
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Did your car come equipped with faux air ride in the back like mine? I just adjusted the little plunger thing so my car sits level, it was like yours before.
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  3. #203
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    It did. There's regular shocks on it now, but the lines and computer module are still there, and I've got the compressor from a '90 that looks like it'll hook up to the stock connector. I haven't checked, but I would imagine the level sensor-thing is still present, too.

    But I guess I still don't understand the Box air stuff. If the coil springs are determining the ride height, what exactly are air shocks supposed to do? Are they carrying part of the weight of the car? Or are they adjusting their firmness based on how much load is back there?

  4. #204
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    they make up for extra weight in the car. Most of the load is carried by the coils, the air shocks just add a little extra height to level things out when needed. Basically exactly like you'd do with manual fill air shocks.

    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,

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  5. #205
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    So it sounds like if the car is fully unloaded, the coil springs alone should be able to maintain the stock ride height. Air shocks could probably cover up the difference, but that wouldn't change the fact that the springs are on their way out.

    From what I've read, it seems like variable rate springs, or cargo coils, are supposed to address the same issue. The air shocks sound like the better system, at least when they're working. If I installed air shocks, should I keep running constant rate springs, or is there any downside to a variable rate spring in addition?

  6. #206
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    My wife and I were out cruising on Sunday when we both smelled what might've been coolant from the air vents. I took a look under the hood but couldn't see any obvious puddles. The freeze plugs, I'm sure, are still leaking. But I gave it another look on Tuesday and discovered a leak at the radiator cap.



    The cap is a Motorcraft RS-64, so it could be the original. Is this leaking evidence that the cap itself is going bad or do I have some sort of blockage somewhere else in the system?

  7. #207
    Still Wrenchin'! friskyfrankie's Avatar
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    Could pressure test the system or if you get lazy, just replace the cap. They usually have a small rubber seal underneath and that may have gone bad.

  8. #208
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    If it smells like syrupy pancakes in the car when you run the heat, your heater core is most likely leaking. Went through that with my Townie a few years ago. Only just got around to replacing it this past August or so. I didn't drive it much at all in the winter and it didn't leak much.

    The coil springs should be able to maintain ride height, but when working properly, the air shocks help & do the job just fine. They also shouldn't leak very much at all. Once mine adjust for the load, I never hear the compressor again. That's also the great thing about the faux air ride boxes have- you can put all kinds of stuff in the trunk and load up passengers & the car will ride right. Years ago at a meet up I think we crammed three people in the trunk of my TC and then several passengers in the back. It sagged terribly, but once the compressor kicked on, it adjusted the ride height was normal. Had fun when everybody ejected as quickly as possible- the ass of the car shot right in the air for little while until the system bled the excess air off.
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  9. #209
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    I wouldn't call it syrupy pancakes, but a very faint, sweet smell. Which could be the start of the heater core leaking. That would certainly make more sense than the scent of coolant at the radiator cap making its way all the way across the engine compartment.

    I don't have the tool to perform a pressure test, but I'm sure it would fail as I can clearly see drops of coolant from the block freeze plugs. No puddle or drips on the floor yet. I suppose it must be leaking only at temperature.

    If the heater core is on its way out, would that cause leaking at the cap?

  10. #210
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lutrova View Post
    If the heater core is on its way out, would that cause leaking at the cap?
    A leaky cap will cause a leaky cap. Or massive pressure in the cooling system, but that would have other symptoms aswell.
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  11. #211
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    I had an S10 that cracked the plastic radiator neck. No idea why or how that happened. So look for cracks in that area just to be sure.

    I'd put a new cap on it too. Cap pressure get lazy with age.

    The clamp on your vent line is curious. Makes me wonder if it's the wrong size hose. Does it fit tight without it? It should fit snug and seal without a clamp. I think those are supposed to be unclamped in the event that the hose gets stopped up, it can blow the vent hose off instead of the next weakest link in the system. Dad had an old truck with a full hardline vent that got stopped up. It ballooned the tanks on the copper radiator. Luckily made some interesting noises as it grew and we discovered the problem before it left us stranded. Radiator still on the truck and not leaking.
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  12. #212
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    The hose ought to be the right size as the whole assembly came off a '90 Town Car. I think I found the clamp on some other part in the engine bay and felt like it would fit over the overflow hose. Never gave any thought to the possibility of it getting blocked up. I'll have to see just how snugly it fits without.

    Elsewhere I was reading that the air plenum on Boxes is such that a bad heater core won't dump coolant on the carpet until several quarts have come out. Is there a way to visually inspect the core without taking the dash apart? Or is it something you can clearly smell when it happens?

  13. #213
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    leaking out from under the cap is almost always a bad cap. Or dirt on either the seal or the top of the rad. The lower part is what holds pressure, when that spring gets overcome it passes into the upper chamber where its supposed to go into the overflow bottle. If the cap isn't sealing it just squirts out from there, but more importantly it won't draw coolant back out of the bottle either. It just sucks air instead.


    not really much of a way to to see the heater core. if its not fogging the glass or smelling like coolant inside the car, don't tempt fate.

    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,

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

  14. #214
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    I picked up a plain, 16 lbs Murray cap from O'Reilly. Seems the only Motorcraft replacement these days is plastic, and it wasn't in stock anyway. The new Murray cap appears to seal well, though I couldn't fully remove it once I got it on. Probably something simple, but it was dark, cold, and windy and I didn't want to monkey around and somehow break the radiator neck. The neck, by the way, looks to be fine. I felt around the inside and couldn't feel any cracks. The old cap, however, had a couple nicks in the rubber seals, so that's probably the problem then.

    Assuming that is the solution, the next project is shoring up the power steering. The pump has always been noisy, and steering boost has declined while a leak has increased in the last year. Both hoses are wet right at the pump, which leaves me unsure whether it's the hoses or the pump or reservoir that's the source of the leak. I have replacement hoses and a pump seal kit, but I'd like to avoid removing the pulley, which I believe is required to do most/all of the pump seals.

    If I just replace the hoses, the procedure would be 1) remove old fluid, 2) remove old hoses, 3) install new hoses, 4) add new fluid, 5) bleed? Or is it dumb to just stop at hoses and not do the pump at the same time?

  15. #215
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    I put a remanufactured pump in my 87 mgm because the stock one was noisy and leaked. This new one is noisy and leaks. I even used type F fluid too. Iíve heard synthetic fluid is supposed to quiet it though. Doing the pully isnít hard itís just a pain in the ass. The fan shroud will need to come off and itís still tight.

    Most definitely do the lines. Iíve heard of them bursting more than once. Be very careful when putting the new hoses on not to cross thread them. Itís very easy to do that.

    Since you have the seals you might as well try it first. Clean up the pump and steering box while youíre at it to identify new leaks, god forbid any appear.


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  16. #216
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    I think you might be able to get the reservoir off without removing the pump, but that won't do you any good if the front seal is whats leaking. A good pulley remover makes it not a big deal, a garbage one makes it just a horrible nightmare.


    pretty sure I've done mine without removing the fan, but its been a while. When mine was leaking from under the front seal and making irritating noises I got a Napa pump. Its quiet and doesn't leak. Can't really say more about it. If the assist is getting weak, I'd say you need a pump more than just seals.

    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. #217
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    If replacing the pump might be necessary, I guess I'd rather just skip to that step than screw around with resealing the one I've got. It looks like all the major auto parts stores sell reman'd pumps under their store brands. I doubt they're dealing with them in-house. Do you think Napa has a better angle on these units than Autozone or O'Reilly, or is it just the luck of the draw whether you get a noisy one or not? (Ultimately, a noisy pump isn't the end of the world so long as I can make u-turns with a single finger.)

    I'm hopeful removing the pulley won't be too bad. I do have the '90 fan shroud which puts the coolant overflow tank right in front of the PS pump. If it's too tight I should be able to just move the tank before I have to deal with the fan and shroud.

    In other news, new rear coil springs arrived today. Rock Auto "Lesjofors", constant rate springs. The box says they're made in Sweden, so I guess I'll have some of that fancy, European handling. I'd still like to get the air shocks installed and working, but the regular ones I've got are just fine, so that can wait.

  18. #218
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    probably really only a handful of rebuilders so luck of the draw. I had a discount card for Napa so it ended up being the cheapest thing I could get. I couldn't actually get a better price from Rockauto after core and shipping and all that so I went local in case it was a noisy one.

    If you're changing the hoses that will end up being a pretty complete flush too. fresh Type F does tend to make less noises than old nasty fluid.

    The puller I have is a Gearwrench one I think. The part that hooks on the pulley is split in two so you put the halves together and screw the handle in to hold it. I find that style works better than the C shaped things that only grip on part of the hub. Its also got the installer piece with the studs and the bearing and all that.

    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

  19. #219
    fomoco panthers !
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    Lisle makes a good puller too. The Auto hobby shop on base might have one to use. I think it is the luck of the draw with remans.
    Maybe you can find a good deal on a nos Ford.

  20. #220
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lutrova View Post
    I wouldn't call it syrupy pancakes, but a very faint, sweet smell. Which could be the start of the heater core leaking. That would certainly make more sense than the scent of coolant at the radiator cap making its way all the way across the engine compartment.

    I don't have the tool to perform a pressure test, but I'm sure it would fail as I can clearly see drops of coolant from the block freeze plugs. No puddle or drips on the floor yet. I suppose it must be leaking only at temperature.

    If the heater core is on its way out, would that cause leaking at the cap?

    That's the smell. "Breakfast/pancakes" is more of a joke. My car never left drips. Like someone else said, the other tell-tale sign of a leaky heater core is if the windshield fogs up when using defrost. My car did that too. That will not cause a leak at the cap. Evan's Coolant, maaan. Fix the leak and then put in Evan's. The stuff doesn't expand like traditional coolant does so it won't stress gaskets, seals or other components.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
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