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Will
Will UberDork
7/24/21 4:06 p.m.

Took my cat to the vet yesterday. Like most cats, she hates car rides, and she's had to go about once a week for the last month. Either she's getting more used to them, though, or she prefers the Lincoln to the MR2. And if that sounds like crazy town, what I mean is that since the AC works, it's much quieter and cooler inside, in part since I can drive with the windows up. At any rate, she was much calmer on the first trip in the Lincoln compared to the last 3-4 in the MR2.

Got my first compliment on the car today--an older guy game up saying "You sure don't see these anymore" and so on. He told me not to put whitewalls on it, and I told him I had no plans to do that.

I accidentally reset the fuel economy meter about halfway through the tank, but I'm going to give myself credit for right around 22.5 mpg on this tank in mixed city/highway driving. That's on 87 octane. The manual recommends premium, and says mileage may go down with lower octane. Since this is a DD, I'd prefer to keep my fuel costs as low as possible, but today I filled up with 89 to see if it makes a difference. If so, I'll try 93 next time. Overall, mileage is down a good bit from what I got in the MR2 but that's to be expected.

Will
Will UberDork
7/25/21 7:51 p.m.

When I got the car, the center neon (no, not LED) taillight panel didn't work. I removed the trunklid carpet to check it out, and it wasn't even plugged in. Plugging it in didn't fix it, though. I reasearched the issue and found out the ballast frequently goes bad, and it tends to take the brake light fuse with it. When that happens, the car prevents you from shifting out of park. So most people just replace the fuse and leave the panel unplugged.

You can test the ballast by unplugging it and plugging it in while the lights are on. If it flickers once, the ballast is bad. Mine was bad, and factory parts are long unavailable, but I found a guy on ebay selling aftermarket kits. I ordered and installed one--wished I had taken pictures, but I was kind of in a hurry to get it done yesterday so I could drive it that night. Anway, now it lights up.

ShawneeCreek
ShawneeCreek HalfDork
7/26/21 10:34 a.m.

Neon taillights... interesting. Learn something new every day. I'm impressed that they hold up to the vibrations in a car.

onemanarmy
onemanarmy Reader
7/26/21 1:44 p.m.

sweet car, but I hate that vacuum operated HVAC system in that era Ford.  So stupid and tricky to fix.  Why complicate tried and true HVAC controls?  WHY?!

They do it to this very day with integrated screens and 8 zone temp and buried relays.  It's maddening.

Will
Will UberDork
7/26/21 6:31 p.m.
ShawneeCreek said:

Neon taillights... interesting. Learn something new every day. I'm impressed that they hold up to the vibrations in a car.

 Well apparently they don't...

Will
Will UberDork
7/29/21 6:30 p.m.

I said earlier I was going to try to avoid throwing money at upgrades that the car doesn't actually need. I'm trying to stick to that, but last week I finally took a huge bucket of change to the bank. I'd been saving it until I had a specific purchase in mind, but I never came up with anything and I just didn't want to deal with it anymore. It ended up being $226.50, and since it basically felt like free money, I figured I'd throw it at the Lincoln.

After I installed the new head unit, the speakers were pretty lacking. I have high-frequency hearing damage from saying "It's only a .223, it can't be that loud," so super-high end audio is wasted on me. But I ended up getting some Polk Audio 5x7 drop-in replacements.

Old vs new:

Old:

New:

Old:

New:

While I was installing the front speakers, I also replaced the passenger side door lock switch, which broke the first time I touched it, with an ebay replacement. #Oldcarlife, I guess. 

Also, the speakers went in with no problems, but I'll be looking for a new driver's side door panel--most of the clips were broken and someone's elegant solution was four wood screws.

Will
Will UberDork
7/31/21 3:53 p.m.

I had planned on a nice, relaxing Saturday. Maybe I'd paint the closet doors as part of my foyer remodel. Then, yesterday, I got a notice that the Nashville junkyard got a 98 Mark VIII in. Well, that's cool--I would like to look for some minor stuff, but it's going to be hot as blazes and it's not worth a special trip and WAIT A MINUTE IT HAS A COBRA INTAKE.

Do I need a Cobra intake? No. Is installing one kind of a pain in the butt? Yes. Was I going to go check it out anyway? Most definitely.

Drove the ~2.5 hours there and was the first person in line about 5 minutes before they opened. Got to the car, and...well, that sucks.

Someone snagged the Cobra upper lid the same day they put the car out. I could have still grabbed the lower intake, but it had some evident hackery, so I passed. Looked as if someone cut and welded the intake runners, with more cutting than finishing.

Also, there was more chocolate milkshake in the intake than I've ever seen in an engine. Inches of it pooled in the bottom of the intake.

So that was disappointing, but it wasn't a complete bust. The car was rough overall, but I found a few things I can use: wood dash trim, unlock switch, passenger window switch, overdrive lockout harness and Homelink sun visor (the last for one of my T-Birds). Grabbed a piece of steering column trim and two rear knuckle bolts that I hope I can sell.

Look closely and you'll also see the 10mm 1/4-inch drive socket I found in a T-Bird (along with 19 cents). The meme is real. 

Will
Will UberDork
7/31/21 7:27 p.m.

On the drive back from Nashville, the car informed me it wanted its oil changed, so I just dumped in almost 7 quarts of Mobil1 5W20 and a Motorcraft FL820S filter. Old oil looked great. Obviously dirty, but no cause for concern.

Will
Will UberDork
8/7/21 11:28 a.m.

Remember when I said I didn't want to just fling money at parts the car doesn't actually need? Yeah, that's not going well.

Last week I was browsing the Lincoln vs. Cadillac forum and made the mistake of checking the for sale section. A guy was parting out a Mark VIII that he set up for autocross (!), and his parts included an aluminum 8.8 case with an LPW reinforced rear cover, True Trac diff and 3.73 gears--which is exactly my preferred diff/gear combo for these cars. He also had a Cobra rear hub/rotor conversion and Vogtland lowering springs. Both the good and bad news is that he was in Asheville, NC, close enough to me that I could drive to get the parts.

I asked if he'd make a package deal for all that stuff and he said I could have the complete rear subframe and springs for $550--about what I'd pay for a new True Trac on its own, and an offer I couldn't refuse. Only bad news about this part was that the back road to Asheville is a fun, pretty drive, but to get the whole subframe I'd need to take my truck instead of something fun.

My plan is to install all the good stuff except the LPW diff cover--it's overkill for me, and I can sell it to recoup part of the purchase price. After that I'll try to sell the stock rear subframe to someone building a Cobra kit or a hot rod truck. Not sure if I can recoup all my money, but I should be able to make this an absolute steal by the time I'm done.

Will
Will UberDork
8/7/21 2:54 p.m.

Thanks to the USPS, I have another update. I've spent enough time both with and without factory service manuals to believe they're worth their weight in gold. Scouring the internet for info and hoping it's reliable is no fun.

These are close to pristine.

Will
Will UberDork
10/7/21 9:31 a.m.

Only real update here is that the CEL came on one day for a P0174 code (lean bank 1). Technically this shouldn't cause that code, but I stopped filling up with 87 and reset the light a few times while filling up with 93. I just know I'm jinxing it, but the light seems to have gone away.

Agent98
Agent98 Reader
10/8/21 2:01 p.m.

I got that code on my Marauder, cleaned the MAF and it hasn't returned. Would you want to switch to 5w 30 in that DOHC? That's what the gang over at the Marauder forum has suggested...

Will
Will UberDork
10/8/21 9:22 p.m.

I've heard recommendations for both weights. I'm not really committed either way but Ford recommends 5W20.

Agent98
Agent98 Reader
10/9/21 8:39 a.m.

Ford did that to eek out 0.5 mpg boost so an engineer who.worked on that engine said...

Will
Will UberDork
10/9/21 4:03 p.m.

Could be, but can anyone show that it's actually bad for the engine?

Will
Will UberDork
2/20/22 4:10 p.m.

Ownership update: our office had everyone work from home during the omicron surge, so it's taken until this month to get up to 184k miles, at which point the car told me it needed another oil change.

For the most part, the car has been trouble-free, though there have been a few small issues that I hope I addressed today. The most serious was that the car would occasionally stall at very low speeds in first gear. Sometimes it would go months in between, but a few days back it happened several times in one day. It never failed to refire, but it wasn't ideal. I replaced the cam and crank sensors, which the Lincoln boards indicate are the most likely culprits. But we'll see.

Changing the cam sensor is easy; it's right behind the power steering reservoir. Changing the crank sensor is a bit more involved, as replacing it requires moving the AC compressor out of the way, and it's a bit hard to get at. So I figured if I had to remove the belt, that was the ideal time to deal with the other problem, which was a small coolant leak right directly below the water pump. The good news is the Ford mod motor makes replacing the water pump the easiest job in the world. It's held in with four bolts and sealed with an O-ring. The old water pump did look as if it had been leaking from the O-ring. Old one out, new one in.

At the same time I decided to replace the coolant crossover tube that connects to each head and the coolant outlet hose and thermostat hose (the thermostat arrangement on the Mark VIII is goofy). The car's crossover was a bit rusty and I wasn't sure I'd be able to get the bleed valve off without stripping it. Ordered a used crossover on ebay (only source for them, sadly...no telling how many I've walked past in a junkyard not knowing I'd eventually need one), a new bleed valve and a new O-ring kit. Put that all together and installed it.

While doing all this I saw that I needed to replace the belt, too. That's a bit harder than it ought to be on this car because the 97-98 Mark VIII EGR system is, like the thermostat arrangement, goofy. Part of the EGR basically lives inside the recess of the crank pulley, and there's a bracket that bolts to both sides of the pulley.

You can cut the old belt to remove it, but the only way to get the new one on is to remove that bracket. Not impossible, but you'd be cursing the Lincoln engineers if you were doing this on the side of the road after throwing a belt.

Got the new belt on, filled the coolant, let it warm up and now it's cooling. I've heard horror stories about bleeding the air out of these cars, but the factory service manual makes it sound like a non-issue. Guess we'll see on that, too.

Long-winded way to say that aside from some minor issues that shouldn't be too shocking on a car with this many miles, things are going fine.

Will
Will UberDork
3/11/22 8:15 a.m.

Time to let the Lincoln do what a Lincoln should to best: road trip!

The last concert I saw before covid hit was the Dollyrots (my favorite band) in August 2019. Now I'm making up for lost time. Last Friday I saw the Dropkick Murphys and the Bombpops in Chattanooga. Last night I drove from Chattanooga to Nashville to see Gayle at the Exit In:

She deserves to be more than a one-hit wonder, and I hope her success lasts. She put on a great show and met with fans after her set.

After the show I drove to the outskirts of Louisville because my plans for today are a bit up in the air. It's not ideal, but the next leg of the trip is to Columbus and then right back down to Louisville. More on why after I'm done.

And oh yeah, this car lives for 80 mph highway cruising. It's doing great so far.

Will
Will UberDork
3/11/22 5:24 p.m.

Here's why I made that detour to Columbus:

Met a friend/fellow MN12 owner to pick up a T56 for my Supercoupe.

Back in Louisville now. 6-7 hours of driving and I'm about 20 miles from where I spent last night.

More to come later.

GCrites80s
GCrites80s Dork
3/11/22 9:40 p.m.

Uh oh, looks like a free aftermarket shifter with it too! Which brand is it? I was pleased when my used T56 from Hawk's came with a B&M. They could have easily swapped it with a stock one they had hanging around and put the B&M in their eBay store.

Will
Will UberDork
3/11/22 11:23 p.m.

Hurst shifter, and I wouldn't say it was "free." The T56 isn't exactly a direct fit in an SC, so I paid a premium for some custom bits (modified slave cylinder, trans mount, bell housing spacer, etc.) and a lot of knowledge. Came from out of an SC so it all works. Should save a lot of headaches. And the aluminum SBF/3.8-to-T56 bell housings are super duper rare. Steel Quicktime ones are available but are ~$900 and weigh twice as much.

Night 2 of the road trip, second concert: Billie Eilish!

Yeah, potato cam pic because of the lighting, distance and motion. Not quite as cozy a venue as Gayle at the Exit In, and Billie didn't chill with us after the show. But she rocked and I had a great time.

Will
Will UberDork
3/12/22 6:59 p.m.

Day 3:

I drove from Louisville back through Cincinnati to Dayton. I stopped at a junkyard there to check out a 95 Supercoupe--I've never seen an SC at a junkyard before, and I had hopes I'd be able to find some good parts. But it had been there since October, and it was pretty picked over. No big surprise, but still a disappointment. I got its handbrake assembly and driver's side seat trim, but that was all that was worth taking. There's nothing fun about the junkyard when the temp w/wind chill is 5 degrees.

From there I went to the USAF Museum. I had been here once before in maybe 2007 or so, but for some reason I wasn't able to see the XB-70 then. Glad I got to see it this time. It's one thing to "know" how big it is, but it's another thing to see it.

I had bought a ticket for a show tonight in Columbus by an artist named tiLLie, but she was the supporting act and the headliner canceled. So I'm taking it easy tonight and trying not to freeze.

Will
Will UberDork
3/13/22 2:40 p.m.

Next stop: Cincinnati. That's a short drive, so to kill time before my next concert, I headed to the local LKQ to look at a pair of T-Birds and a Cougar. While I was there I found something unexpected:

This is the first GTO I've ever seen in a junkyard. The engine and T56 (man, I would have laughed if I made that big detour to buy one only to find a second one by accident) were long gone, but I grabbed the instrument cluster parking brake handle, shifter knob/boot and a few other trim pieces thinking they might be worth selling. I also grabbed the cupholders from the Cougar and several good pieces of windshield & rear window trim and a driver's side sun visor from the T-Birds. Hoping this stuff can help me recoup at least a bit of the money I'm bleeding on this trip.

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke UltraDork
3/13/22 5:57 p.m.

I'm jealous of you and the shows you attended! I'm kinda surprised you didn't snag the tail light off the GTO. Much like everything else on those cars it's probably unobtainable.

GCrites80s
GCrites80s Dork
3/13/22 8:44 p.m.

^yeah the minute that ABCDEFU song came on the radio I could tell it was going to be a hit. Local radio station tried it out it as a "keep or drop?" and in like 2 days the response was overwhelming.

Will
Will UberDork
3/13/22 10:45 p.m.

Thought about grabbing the taillight, but it had some minor cracks and one broken mounting tab. Someone might be able to use it as a spare, but might not want to spend enough to make it worth what I'd have to pay plus shipping.

Night #4, concert #3: The Regrettes at the Taft Theater Ballroom!

Great young pop punk band. Been wanting to see them for a few years now.

Tomorrow: Back to Columbus for the last show of my road trip.

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