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Thread: Box Town Car Door Storage

  1. #1
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    Default Box Town Car Door Storage

    Does anyone have any information on the early Town Car door armrests that had a storage compartment beneath them? I tried doing a little research on Google and as best I can tell they only seemed to exist from '80 to '81. A lot of early Town Cars had faux wood paneling on the doors, which appear to have been replaced with padded panels in later years, but the armrest storage cars may have also had 'wood' on the panel beneath the armrest.

    I personally prefer the look of the extra wood and the functionality of more storage, but I wonder if that style armrest was also more durable - or easily repaired - when the vinyl started to crack with age. If Town Cars of that age came into one of the junkyards around here I'd grab all the door panels, but anything pre-85 seems pretty hard to come by these days.

    My other thought is whether one of the later door panels could be modified in this way. The space for the storage box is still there. I think the trick would be making a clean cut and finding a good place to mount a door hinge. But if someone had better pictures or knowledge of these style doors, that could be helpful.

  2. #2
    fomoco panthers !
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    I know what you are talking about. Those are very hard to find in any shape. From what I have seen, the cover warps mostly on the sides. Have you thought about swapping the center arm rests with the newer 90-97 TC signature and higher trim level ? Those had a storage area under the arm rest. I have been looking for a complete set in maroon. What I normally find is the cover which is soft and wears out.

  3. #3

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    There's a 95-97 in my local yard with those storage armrests (passenger had the phone cable too) but I couldn't figure out how to get them off the seats. I'd love them to retrofit cupholders in.

  4. #4
    fomoco panthers !
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    If you look at the armrests.On the inside between the split bench There is a zipper on each arm rest. Unzip and you will see a large bolt. That bolt just unscrews. The armrest then comes off. Keep the bolt in case you need it.

  5. #5
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mainemantom View Post
    ....Have you thought about swapping the center arm rests with the newer 90-97 TC signature and higher trim level ? Those had a storage area under the arm rest....
    The thought has crossed my mind, and I've looked at some to see if I could pull the armrests. But I forget why I didn't go through with it. It might've been because I was really after an armrest with a fold out cupholder, and cars with those flimsy plastic things still intact just don't make it to junkyards. Or maybe I didn't have the right sized wrench at the time. Either way, I think the non-storage armrests that the Boxes come with are probably more comfortable. You lose something when your armrest cushioning has to wrap around a plastic box.

    My thinking with the door armrests has less to do with a need for storage than a need to address the armrest. I know the prevailing wisdom and surest fix is to slap on one of those plastic caps. While that would definitely get the job done, I think it could be more interesting to recreate the storage compartment that was designed to be there. Seems strange to me that in 31 years of Town Cars the only ones that didn't have that storage were '82s-'89s. Even as the model was economized into the Whales, the armrest storage remained.

    At this point I figure the odds of running into an '80 or '81 with the door armrest storage is pretty much zero. I've found a good amount of pictures and video showing the doors from a distance. What I haven't found but would like to see is footage/pictures of the inside of the compartment. I don't know of anyone active on the forum who has one of these cars, though, so that might also be easier said than done.

  6. #6
    Member Pvt.Hudson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mainemantom View Post
    Have you thought about swapping the center arm rests with the newer 90-97 TC signature and higher trim level ? Those had a storage area under the arm rest.
    1995-1997 Aero armrests mount differently then the earlier seat design, they mount to the seat bottom on a hinge.

    I'd imagine a late 1992-1994 TC armrest would be a more direct swap which use a single shaft mount to the seatback like the older boxes. 90-early 1992s do not have any armrest storage. The key date is after 3/92 when the AODE was introduced is when the storage armrests on signature or higher was standard.

    Also if you can find a place that will mix it, you can just paint the armrests to your color using SEM's Color Coat.
    1997 Grand Marquis LS HPP
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  7. #7
    all the CFI are belong to me
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    I skimmed my junkyard pics and didn't find anything particularly useful, though I've seen several of the cars with this feature (but notably there was an 81 Mark VI 4-door which did not have it, so I think it was an option in addition to only being limited to those early years).

    Due to its shape, it's a sort of useless storage cubby, but since our cars are lacking in places to put miscellaneous junk, I see the value in trying to add it. I put the lower door pockets on my 85 wagon and it's nice to have a place to stash a phone charger and cable.

    Current: 83 GM 2dr POTM 10/2019 | 84 TC POTM 1/2017 & 4/2019 | 85 CS | 85 Ranger +trlr | 86 GM | 91 GM POTM 12/2017
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  8. #8
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    something I will tell you that probably isn't so obvious is the switch panels changed in 1986+. Its about 3/8" longer and the late switches do not fit into the older door panels. I have an 83 interior in my car. The master door switch also isn't the same so you'll have to change the socket and the switch in order to make those parts work. And the 1983 door panels look basically identical to all the rest of the later ones. The insert thing is woodgrain but its just held in with some metal tabs. The arm rest is the same vinyl over molded plastic bump. No storage compartments.

    The 84 Conti has those pockets, and they're fairly useless really. I use it as an old lady napkin cache, not much else really fits in there. I think the Towncar ones are slightly bigger but its certainly not a massive space. For as big as these cars are, they really are badly lacking in places for "stuff". Anything that doesn't fit into the glovebox just ends up rolling around on the floor or on the seat.

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    fomoco panthers !
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pvt.Hudson View Post
    1995-1997 Aero armrests mount differently then the earlier seat design, they mount to the seat bottom on a hinge.

    I'd imagine a late 1992-1994 TC armrest would be a more direct swap which use a single shaft mount to the seatback like the older boxes. 90-early 1992s do not have any armrest storage. The key date is after 3/92 when the AODE was introduced is when the storage armrests on signature or higher was standard.

    Also if you can find a place that will mix it, you can just paint the armrests to your color using SEM's Color Coat.
    Nice to know about the mounting difference on the 95-97 LTC arm rest. So it will not be a direct swap. The one or two I have seen must have used the 92-94. That is one mod I will forget about.

  10. #10

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    I was insanely lucky to come across a wrecked 92 Signature at the pick & pull yesterday with storage and cupholder armrests. A 21mm socket and money later and they're mine now. The armrest bolts are 21mm (13/16 will fit) and are normally hidden behind small plastic caps that just pull off. The unthreaded tips are slightly longer than the ones out of my 88's armrests, so I reused my 88s to install them.

    The cupholders are larger than the later ashtray-cupholders, so small plastic bottles will fall out. But I'll be ok because I've already adapted in a modern ashtray with cupholders. So cupholding is no longer a concern in this box.

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    The storage compartments are also really narrow. The car book / owner's manual in its sleeve is too big. A glasses case or 8-tracks fit fine.

  11. #11
    fomoco panthers !
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    Really nice find !! Glad that you said you found them in a 1992. I need to find the same in maroon.

  12. #12
    2 decades of DDing Box Panthers, now in a Whale VicCrownVic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aharonLTC View Post

    Ok, the whale cupholder ashtray in a box is pretty neat. Have the same one in my '98 but that's pretty much a direct swap.
    Vic

    ~ 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis LS - new DD
    ~ 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis LS "The Scab" - plenty of rot, backup/summer cruiser
    ~ 1997 GMC Yukon SLT - wannabe winter DD - many issues, returning sometime in the 2020s
    ~ 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis GS "The Ice Car" - Rotting Retired Winter DD
    ~ 1989 Mercury Grand Marquis GS - Rotting Retired DD
    Gone but not forgotten:
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  13. #13
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    That is nice. I had picked up one for my own Box, but never got around to installing it. Do you have any pictures of how it mounts, or advice on making the swap?

  14. #14
    Lost and driftin' Arquemann's Avatar
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    I'm quite interested in the ashtray cupholder retrofit aswell, but I have a Grand Marq. Are they too different from TC to MGM and aero to box and so on?
    1985 Mercury Grand Marquis LS, "Maisa"
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  15. #15

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    As far as a fix for the cracked armrest thing goes:
    While cutting my own floor mats from a roll of flooring material in the correct color (Canyon Red in my case), I also cut out four small coverlay piece for the armrests. Took them along with the mats to a flooring company for serging/binding. Besides the floormats looking OEM these bound/serged armrest covers look like they came with the car in 1984 when glued onto the cracked doorpanels.
    And very compfy for your arm.

  16. #16

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    I welded two "angle brackets" (I just bent sheetmetal) to the midpoints at the tops of the whale ashtray frame, and drilled two new holes in the lower dashboard frame to run screws through to hold the unit to the dashboard. The front of the whale ashtray frame normally clips into something on the whale dashboard, I cut out more metal to jam in those clips and screw it to the box dashboard. Then I stuck wood pattern shelf liner over everything.

    The whale cupholder is a much bigger unit than the factory ashtray so the footwell upper carpeting has to be cut or bent around it.

    It's a very hacky job that gained me usable cupholders, extra power point, and a small cubby. Anything for more storage space in this car.

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  17. #17
    2 decades of DDing Box Panthers, now in a Whale VicCrownVic's Avatar
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    That's what I was wondering how the physical fitment was. Might be a bit hacky like you said, but super convenient.
    That '03+ cupholder ashtray physically is a direct swap for '95-'02, and wiring up the 12V/Cig lighter ports.
    Vic

    ~ 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis LS - new DD
    ~ 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis LS "The Scab" - plenty of rot, backup/summer cruiser
    ~ 1997 GMC Yukon SLT - wannabe winter DD - many issues, returning sometime in the 2020s
    ~ 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis GS "The Ice Car" - Rotting Retired Winter DD
    ~ 1989 Mercury Grand Marquis GS - Rotting Retired DD
    Gone but not forgotten:
    ~ 1988 Country Squire ~ 1987 Ford Crown Vic

  18. #18
    Wagon Addicted Tiggie's Avatar
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    If it works, go with it. Better than spilling 44oz of sticky soda on the carpet.
    1990 Country Squire - weekend cruiser, next project
    1988 Crown Vic LTD Wagon - waiting in the wings

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