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Thread: Prudence, my 87 Town Car

  1. #301
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    every time the horns have quit in mine its been the relay. I think I'm on relay #3 at this point. I probably average 3 uses per relay, but considering I've had the car for 18 years that likely means I use the horn every other year.

    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

  2. #302
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Mine have been good after my initial fiasco, fortunately. Although I still cringe a bit just before hitting the horn in anticipation of them not working or only hearing one note.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

  3. #303
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    The good news: The car has a working horn (it was the relay), rotated tires, fresh oil, and new junkyard power steering and transmission coolers. I also spruced up the wiring on the driver's side fender to account for the '90 Town Car fender/intake/vacuum reservoir situation.



    Before, with the '90 TC intake and inner fender, but the stock relay mount just floating freely.



    And after, with the trans cooler peeking out at the bottom of the image.



    And for comparison's sake, a shot of the engine bay from January of 2020 when I first started working on it. It still makes the same power, but the top end is significantly less greasy and gross.

    And the bad news: I may have, worst case, trashed my transmission, or at least the case. And I have to drive the car cross country in a week. When I hooked up the new return hard line from the cooler to the transmission, I think I may have cross threaded the connection at the trans. I snugged it up with a small adjustable wrench by hand, but when I started the car I had a large puddle right below the fitting, so it's definitely not sealing. What worries me is whether I trashed the threads in the case, and if so whether they can be repaired or I need a new case. One of the original quick connect fittings going into the radiator cooler is also leaking, but that's whatever.

    I'm out of time to try to figure this out myself, so tomorrow morning I'll call around to shops in Barstow and Victorville to see who might have availability this week. I think USAA should cover a tow to Barstow, but if it has to be farther then that would be out of pocket. Hopefully it's a simple fix, or fixable. I can't really spend any energy this week stressing about the alternative, not with the movers coming and my wife and kid having to leave ahead of me.

  4. #304
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    so long as its not completely dicked, it can likely be re-tapped to fix the threads. I think its a straight thread though, so make sure they don't try and run a tapered pipe tap in there or it will never seal.

    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. #305
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    I got it into a transmission shop on Monday after calling a half dozen places. USAA Roadside Assistance covered the 72 mile tow, so that option was money well spent.

    Today they were able to repair my handiwork and properly mount the return line. In the differences between the '87 and '89 fittings I had gotten confused, and never having done this before I assumed that the adapter from the case to the line was something only the quick connect style cars needed. I must've missed the adapter on the junkyard car. Anyway, you live and learn.

    I've asked the shop to look at the output shaft seal and bushing as I still have a significant leak there. They'll hopefully have that taken care of Wednesday and I'll have the car back home before my wife leaves with our other car on Thursday.

    Thinking back to previous slipping on cold starts, I asked them if they could also take a look at the valve body and at least clean things out. But they told me that issue was probably deeper in the trans and a full rebuild was the proper solution. Except the guy told me it was probably due to worn out seals around the pistons, and from my recollection watching AOD teardown videos, most of the pistons reside in the valve body.

    So I don't fully understand their line of thinking, but if the transmission is at least (mostly) leak free, that's a little peace of mind.

  6. #306
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    yea they changed from a direct into the transmission quick connect to a flare fitting at some point. The flares use a pipe thread to flare adapter between the case and the line. flare fittings seal on the face of the tubing, the nut just holds the surfaces together. Pipe fittings actually seal on the threads.


    there are the pistons (servos) that apply the clutches, then there are the pistons (valves) in the valve body that control fluid flow to them. Probably a case of you mean different parts with the same name.

    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

  7. #307
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    Well it's been an interesting week.

    I picked up the car from the shop with all major trans fluid leaks addressed. The shop had trouble with the quick connects, and they ended up swapping one fitting over to a hose with clamp style connection. Not pretty, but probably more durable.

    My next order of business was an airport run to Vegas and back. This involved a long detour through the Mojave National Preserve after a semi truck hauling batteries caught fire on 15. (Traffic was backed up over 30 miles and some people took over five hours to get through.) Aside from a lingering vacuum leak in the ATC system, the car performed well.

    With my friend in tow, we began our trip from California to San Antonio on Monday. I took I-10 to Phoenix so as to be on the road better traveled in case of trouble. Fortunately, trouble didn't arrive until we got to Phoenix.

    After filling up at a Costco gas, I idled briefly to log the mileage and then got back on the road where we sat at a stop light. While waiting for the signal a ton of steam shot up from the passenger side cowl. I was hemmed in ahead, but with a little creative driving managed to get us back into a parking spot off the road. Turns out the radiator petcock had blown clean out, and with it pretty much all the coolant.

    This happened right around 5, too late to get the car to a shop until the following day. But as luck would have it, an AutoZone just up the road had a replacement radiator in stock. I figured it would need to be replaced no matter what, so there was no harm in swapping it out in the parking lot. Well, after finishing the job, one of the trans cooler quick connect fittings was leaking again, so I threw in the towel and called for assistance. By a stroke of luck, my best friend from college was visiting his family in town, and he was able to drive us to a car rental place. He can also hang around to facilitate transporting the car by truck from Phoenix to San Antonio, where I'll be able to look into things further without so many time constraints.

    So I guess the lesson here, which was obvious from the start, is don't rely on a 35 year old car to get you through some of the hottest parts of the country in the height of summer.

    ***

    On a technical level, I assume the car overheated, but I don't fully understand why. I checked the oil dipstick after and it appears to still just be oil. And the engine still fired up after swapping out the radiator, so I hopefully didn't cause any catastrophic damage to it.

    I would've thought excess pressure would be vented through the radiator cap, which is less than a year old. Could this have been a fan clutch issue? We had been idling for a little while in the heat, and the AC was not very cool. I can't really think of any other culprits in the cooling system. The thermostat is about 2 years old, as are pretty much all hoses. The coolant temp sensor is also basically brand new.

  8. #308
    Wagon Addicted Tiggie's Avatar
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    Couple of possibilities I can think of. Either the radiator was weak, the pressure cap malfunctioned, or the vent tube was stopped up.

    I experienced the latter and it wouldn't let the cap vent. The metal tanks on that radiator literally ballooned. That was on an older pick up truck. Caught it before it went nuclear and the truck still runs that radiator to this day (1964 Ford original).

  9. #309
    fomoco panthers !
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    Driving in the high heat areas in the West puts a severe strain on any vehicle. I hate Phoenix. Best part of that city is the Airport, to get out.
    The frequent I-15 wrecks do tie up traffic for miles. In the desert heat, that is so miserable. Good thing you could detour and had water and enough gas. Hopefully you can get the car shipped for a reasonable cost. Try U-Ship. I feel for you having to work on your car in a parking lot, with the nasty heat. When I was working, I remember a person way off the side of the road rebuilding a transmission. He broke down and stayed out there for a few days fixing the car. He had someone bring supplies to him.

  10. #310
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    The radiator was certainly weak, or at least weaker than the rest of the system. Without a temperature gauge I guess it's impossible to know whether it popped from excess pressure or the usual. But like you say, it seems either the cap or vent tube weren't working. Otherwise, as the system got hotter more coolant should've been drawn into the overflow, to the point of exceeding that tank's limits.

    Still, that doesn't explain why it got too hot, only how it failed once it did. I think sitting at or near idle for so long in the heat may have had something to do with it. And if the cooling system is weak at idle, I believe that points mostly to either the fan clutch or water pump.

  11. #311
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Don't let stuff like that sour your opinion on old cars and their dependability. You can indeed rely on a thirty-five+ year old car to take you anywhere. My rigs are mute witnesses to that. My '88 LTC has taken me to and from Florida and Arizona as well as many other two or three hour and some change one way drives. I wouldn't hesitate to jump in it and go anywhere if I wanted to.

    How old was that radiator? They've only got so many heat/cool cycles in them before they give up the ghost in one fashion or the other.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

  12. #312
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    I have told my wife that these cars are fairly dependable and cheap to keep running, but when your other car is a new Honda that's never a winning argument. At some point the Town Car will be reliable simply because everything's been replaced on it. But I'll also feel more confident the farther east we get, where the climate is more mild and help isn't as far away.

    The old radiator was between 3 and 35 years old. It could easily have been the original. The radiator cap seemed to be, and if it was a Washington state car all its life it probably didn't see much thermal stress. I did use the petcock a few times in the last few years. Perhaps I over tightened it and fatigued the plastic threads, and that's why it failed.

    I'm happy to get the new radiator leak free and continue driving the car, but if there's some other potential culprit in the cooling system it would seem prudent to hit it at the same time. A new water pump or fan clutch is a lot cheaper than a day lost on the side of the road.

    As for Phoenix, I've always liked the city, though my experience has been limited to the northeast end, Scottsdale and beyond, which are definitely more affluent than other parts. The whole area though is more like an endless collection of retirement communities than a true city.

  13. #313
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Oh I won that argument a few times. What they have in common is that both vehicles get you there, the panther will just do it for less. My '89 K1500 and Firebird are that way too. New cars? I recommend those things for people who can afford them and/or don't want to be bothered with occasional unplanned maintenance and/or are not car people. I did the new car thing once, and in the first three years I had it, it was in the shop more than the Town Car over it's first three years with me.

    Living in Michigan, I've never had good luck with petcocks. The general rule I learned is to never touch them. I was taught to either pull the lower radiator hose or better yet, use a pump to empty the system.

    We went to Flagstaff. Was a good time, checked out Winslow to stand on a corner amidst other things.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

  14. #314
    Lost and driftin' Arquemann's Avatar
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    "Unplanned maintenance"

    Funny thing, even though not daily driver or winter driven, my MGM is the only vehicle I've owned that hasn't left me stranded (not counting the Cheva that I've had for a month now).
    -Dead battery, broken starter, wheelbearing kablooie, trans leak and others...
    Only time getting stranded was close was when the 1G external voltage regulator failed and I didn't believe the light on the dash, realized it actually wasn't charging when the blinkers started slowing down.

    Simple for me, I can't afford a car that's dead reliable. Getting something more common and newer only lowers the risk of breakdowns, but at the cost of being more boring and paying more upfront. Fun, older car always wins over a new, boring car.
    1985 Mercury Grand Marquis LS, "Maisa"
    1995 Chevrolet Caprice Classic STW, "Sally"

  15. #315
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Yeah, I realized I wasn't having fun with the new car when I stepped into that rag top equipped '89 LTC. Promptly sold the now late model car and got into the '85 LTD. Haven't looked back since.

    I don't think anything not backed by the factory warranty is dead reliable. My new car wasn't, but fortunately when I'd take it into the shop and they'd supply me with a free rental car. Got to sample a Camaro, the only one I remember driving while that thing was down.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

  16. #316
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    I do enjoy this car, but it's been stressful while living in such a remote and hostile part of the country. Although had my wife not been stationed at Fort Irwin, I never might have learned all that I have about how cars work, or at least how they worked thirty years ago. Now that we're living in civilization again I'll probably be driving it more often and sending it to a shop for work when I don't have time to do it myself.

    Today the car arrived on a carrier from Phoenix. I had it dropped off at a friend's house on the very edge of town where I can work on it in a garage instead of a parking lot. The driver apparently told my friend that the brakes weren't working on the Lincoln, so he had to use the parking brake. What actually happened was I put on a brake pedal lock when I left it in Phoenix, and no one noticed, let alone took it off, while loading or unloading the car. Funny, he must've felt the pedal had no play, but never investigated any further.

    I'm still waiting on a Dorman quick connect fitting for the upper radiator trans cooler line. Ordered one off Amazon but it's currently lost in the postal system. I also have a new radiator cap, just in case the old one had anything to do with the last incident. After doing some thinking, I can't help but feel the fan clutch should be replaced. It doesn't seem like it's bad, but it would definitely explain overheating, and at 30 bucks or so it's peace of mind.

    We mixed spring water with coolant in the parking lot, so I'll have to flush with distilled to get as much out as I can. I thought about throwing in one of those bottles of flush and clean, but I worry with the core plugs already leaking a bit that removing any more corrosion might turn a small leak into a big problem. And at this point, the whole cooling system is new except for the water pump and whatever junk is in the block.

  17. #317
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    That's what I do, work on what I can and farm out the rest. Tough part is finding a competent shop.

    As for the fan clutch, you can do a quick test: With the engine idling in park and fully up to temp, shut it off while looking at the fan blades. They should come to stop within a second or so. If not, clutch is bad. I replaced the one on my TC about five years ago, suspect it's bad again.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

  18. #318
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    I've also seen the "newspaper test" done. basically stick a magazine or equivalent into the fan and if it stops, the clutch is done. If you get confetti, its fine.

    I keep several of those stupid quick connect fittings on hand. I've got a total of 8 of them in my life and they're crap.

    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. #319
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Quick connect fittings?
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

  20. #320
    The Brown Blob 87gtVIC's Avatar
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    Kinda like this:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/18552676085...BoC4vYQAvD_BwE





    Ive had them blow out on me before. Popped off at the radiator and completely soaked my brakes.


    Soon enough your townie will have all new parts!
    ~David~

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

    Quote Originally Posted by ootdega View Post
    My life is a long series of "nevermind" and "I guess not."
    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    But, that's just coming from me, this site's biggest pessimist. Best of luck

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