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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.

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