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Retro Cars => General Discussions => Topic started by: Paul on October 25, 2009, 03:11:09 PM



Title: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: Paul on October 25, 2009, 03:11:09 PM
What do you think are the things that helped define a car from the 1980's?  To me, the cars in the '80's were all about hatchbacks, sunroofs, and front wheel drive.  Up until the 80's, just about everything was rear wheel drive, you'd need a convertible or T-top if you wanted to let some sun in, and everything was either a sedan or a coupe.  Can't forget about the creased, angular sheet metal and the square glass headlights that defined the style.

Does anyone still have a car from the 80's?


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on November 03, 2009, 12:42:47 AM
     Oh-oh, I'm venturing here for the first time.  :)
Does anyone still have a car from the 80's?
    Sure, there is my 1988 Mercury Colony Park station wagon, exactly like this one (except for mine is light brown in color) --
(http://topclassiccarsforsale.com/uploads/photoalbum/1988-mercury-colony-park-ls-station-wagon-like-country-squire-only-75k-miles-1.JPG)
and there is my 1990 Ford LTD Crown Victoria (o.k., it reads 1990 but the car was so 80's) --
(http://imcdb.org/images/249/551.jpg)
though mine is white.

                   Truly,
                   Robert Bernardo
                   Fresno Commodore User Group
                   http://videocam.net.au/fcug


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: Paul on November 04, 2009, 03:36:10 AM
Great cars, Robert; they were built to last forever.


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on November 06, 2009, 07:55:35 AM
...they were built to last forever.
     The Windsor 302 (5.0 L) iron-block and head V8's just keep on going and going.  I always wonder if the current Modular 281 (4.6 L) iron-block, aluminum head V8's used in the current Crown Vics/Grand Marquis/Town Cars are just as durable.

               Truly,
               Robert Bernardo
               Fresno Commodore User Group
               http://videocam.net.au/fcug
               The Other Group of Amigoids
               http://www.calweb.com/~rabel1/
               Southern California Commodore & Amiga Network
               http://www.sccaners.org


Title: Re: 1990 Crown Vic
Post by: RobertB on June 21, 2010, 08:52:10 PM
The Windsor 302 (5.0 L) iron-block and head V8's just keep on going and going.
    A few weeks ago I was told by a veteran auto parts guy that 302's would keep going past 500,000 miles!  Mine is up to 325,000 miles.
     BTW, in preparation for the July 24-25 CommVEx, I'm getting the Ford Crown Vic ready for a long, hard run into the desert around Las Vegas.  A few days ago I dug under the hood and installed MSD ignition wires, distributor cap, and rotor.  Today I yanked out the radiator and brought it to the local radiator shop.  The police car radiator (XL 3-tube thick core with 6/16 spacing between the tubes and 12 fins per linear inch) which was installed in it in 2005 is getting rebuilt with an even heavier-duty core!  I'm having the radiator shop put in XL 3-tube thick core, 6/16 spacing, 16 fins per linear inch, and dimpled tubes.  More cooling capacity!  No cheap, thin, aluminum core from China for this car.  It's good, old-fashioned copper and brass manufactured right here in California.
     On June 25 I head off to the Pacific Northwest, and while in no sales-tax Oregon, I'll buy a couple of Goodyear tires for it.  Then in early July, I'll change the transmission oil (replacing it with the good, synthetic tranny fluid) and install that new PML aluminum, finned, extra-capacity transmission pan.  Then it's time for a motor oil change with synthetic motor oil and a Fram Tough Guard or Mobil 1 oil filter.

              Having already installed a Silverstar halogen headlight
              for a burned-out older, dimmer halogen,
              Robert Bernardo
              Fresno Commodore User Group
              http://videocam.net.au/fcug
              July 24-25 Commodore Vegas Expo 2010 - http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: Paul on June 22, 2010, 06:27:49 PM
Robert, sounds like it's going to be a tank for reliability.

I think you're starting to sway me to the blue oval.  Those Ford Crown Vics have always been a solid classic.


Title: Re: 1990 Crown Vic
Post by: RobertB on June 23, 2010, 09:14:21 AM
I'm having the radiator shop put in XL 3-tube thick core, 6/16 spacing, 16 fins per linear inch, and dimpled tubes.  More cooling capacity!  No cheap, thin, aluminum core from China for this car.  It's good, old-fashioned copper and brass manufactured right here in California.
     I picked up the rebuilt radiator today.  Ah, it's a work of radiator goodness.  Glossy black.  Lots of copper, dimpled tubes when you look in through the neck.  So, with 33% more cooling fins and the dimpled tubes, I look forward to the full desert test in July.  No time to slide it into the Crown Vic tomorrow, because I'm off the beach for a family reunion.  I'll bolt it in on Thursday morning, just in time for my trip to the Pacific Northwest on Friday.

            The radiator will get a testing as the car crosses
            the mountains from California into Oregon,
            Robert Bernardo
            Fresno Commodore User Group
            http://videocam.net.au/fcug
            July 24-25 Commodore Vegas Expo 2010 - http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on June 23, 2010, 09:19:08 AM
Those Ford Crown Vics have always been a solid classic.
     A member of the TOGA group is getting a used Crown Vic from the Park Service -- a car that is only slightly more deluxe than a Crown Vic police interceptor.  :)  At least his car will have a real, padded backseat, instead of a police fiberglass bench.  It'll probably have the outboard spotlights, though.

              Nice!
              Robert Bernardo
              Fresno Commodore User Group
              http://videocam.net.au/fcug
              July 24-25 Commodore Vegas Expo 2010 - http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex
             


Title: Re: 1990 Crown Vic
Post by: RobertB on August 03, 2010, 07:53:31 PM
...I look forward to the full desert test in July.
     The newly-rebuilt radiator came through with flying colors.  On the drive to and from Las Vegas for CommVEx, its temperature barely moved higher than normal when climbing the steep mountains with air-conditioner on and outside temperature at 105+ degrees.  However, when in dense in-city traffic of Vegas, with the car speed less than 35 m.p.h., I could see the engine temperature rising 10, 20, 25 degrees higher than normal.  Darn!  Not enough air was flowing through the radiator at low speeds/idle.  I'd have to buy a fan that flows more air.  Several years ago when the original radiator was replaced with a police car radiator, I upgraded the fan from 5 blades to 6 blades.  That wasn't enough.
     Now I'm looking at a Flex-A-Lite fan with 7 blades.  A mechanic tells me to go to an auxiliary electric fan, but I am leery of the extra noise it would make and its current draw on the standard Crown Vic alternator.  Maybe I should upgrade to a police car alternator!
     Before going to Las Vegas, I installed some premium MSD spark plug cables, distributor cap, and rotor, the cables having a real conductive metal wire going through them instead of the usual carbon fiber.  And today, before my return to Vegas on Thursday, I installed a PML extra-capacity, finned, aluminum transmission pan.  Ooo, custom!  :)

             Back in California,
             Robert Bernardo
             Fresno Commodore User Group
             http://videocam.net.au/fcug
             The Other Group of Amigoids
             http://www.calweb.com/~rabel1/
             Southern California Commodore & Amiga Network
             http://www.sccaners.org


Title: Re: 1990 Crown Vic
Post by: RobertB on January 30, 2012, 06:13:53 AM
     Darn!  On Saturday, while I was stopped in a line of cars on the street, I heard the screech of brakes and then felt a nudge to the rear of my car.  Oh-oh, somebody had rear-ended the car.  The perpetrator and I pulled our respective vehicles off to the side, and we got out to examine the damage.  The 5 mph. chrome bumper on the Crown Vic's rear was pushed inward on the left side but otherwise looked intact.  The tiny 1980's Nissan pick-up that smushed into me had far greater damage -- bumper smashed inward, same for the grille, valence panel under the bumper flattened, and engine pieces coming out from the bottom of the engine compartment.
     I think that the only repair my car needs is just a bumper shock-absorbing strut from a junkyard in order to straighten out the rear bumper.  That's it!

          Truly,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://videocam.net.au/fcug


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: Paul on March 08, 2012, 04:02:09 AM
I think I miss the days of small, lightweight, fragile cars. People drove more sanely back then because they knew that even the slightest impact meant immanent destruction. ;)


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on March 08, 2012, 10:29:26 AM
     Heh, the SMART car is still around.  :)

          Truly,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://videocam.net.au/fcug


Title: Re: 1990 Crown Vic
Post by: RobertB on August 27, 2012, 10:24:38 PM
...that 302's would keep going past 500,000 miles!  Mine is up to 325,000 miles.
     The Crown Vic is up to 388,000 miles, and it should cross the 400,000 mile mark in Feb., 2013.  You know that the car is getting old when people in the streets tell you, "I haven't seen one of those in years...", and then you start telling them the history of it.  :)

          Happened to me yesterday,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://videocam.net.au/fcug


Title: Re: 1990 Crown Vic
Post by: RobertB on October 08, 2012, 06:33:10 AM
You know that the car is getting old when people in the streets tell you, "I haven't seen one of those in years..."
     And yet another person today said the same thing.  :)
     The car was in to have its brakes done, and I upgraded to the ceramic brake pads with new front brake rotors (standard shoes in the rear).  Yeah, I know... not the slotted/drilled rotors which I'd like to have one day.  But one day...  :)

          Truly,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://videocam.net.au/fcug


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on October 30, 2012, 11:51:48 PM
     Now this would be quite a finned attachment to go onto the Ford engine oil filter!
(http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/graphics/08-07394.jpg)

          And it's the Airwolf oil chiller for an airplane!
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://videocam.net.au/fcug


Title: Re: 1990 Crown Vic
Post by: RobertB on March 02, 2013, 12:40:10 AM
The Crown Vic is up to 388,000 miles, and it should cross the 400,000 mile mark in Feb., 2013.
     The Crown Vic has passed the 400K mark!  To celebrate, I changed a heater hose on the car.  ;)

          Truly,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://videocam.net.au/fcug


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on March 19, 2013, 10:50:21 AM
     I've also reported on this at

http://www.grandmarq.net/vb/showthread.php?48290-400-000-miles-and-counting

          Some interested Crown Vic fans there,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://videocam.net.au/fcug


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on March 26, 2013, 09:20:34 AM
     At GrandMarq.net my car has been nominated for the POTM (Panther of the Month... the Crown Vic being on the Ford Panther platform).  Now all I have to do is take a few flattering photos of the car and post it over there.  Of course, I shouldn't show the dents or the the paint flaking off the front.  ;)

          Truly,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://videocam.net.au/fcug
          July 27-28 Commodore Vegas Expo v9 -
          http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on July 01, 2013, 06:41:42 AM
     The old becomes new again.  When I was driving back from Portland, Oregon, a few weeks ago, I stopped at the Arco gas station in Red Bluff, California to fill up.  As I was paying the young 20-something behind the counter, he said, "Nice car.  Want to sell it?"  I told him that no, I had been driving the Crown Vic since 1991 and was hoping to reach 500,000 miles in a few years.
     What would he have done with the car anyway?  He would have either low-rided it, or he would have given it enormous wheels, thus making it a hi-rider.

          Truly,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://videocam.net.au/fcug
          July 27-28 Commodore Vegas Expo v9 -
          http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on September 23, 2013, 01:25:52 AM
     Heh, it happened again.  Last weekend the car wash people were in wonder over the excellent condition of the interior of the Crown Vic.  Then yesterday, a former student (who is 43 years old now!) wanted to know how I have a Crown Vic sedan and a Mercury Grand Marq station wagon, i.e., "Where do you find them?  I never see those [kinds of cars] around?"

          What's old comes around again,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://videocam.net.au/fcug
          The Other Group of Amigoids
          http://www.calweb.com/~rabel1/
          Southern California Commodore & Amiga Network
          http://www.sccaners.org


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on November 26, 2013, 11:13:50 AM
     With the 1990 Ford Crown Vic nearing the 425,000 mile mark, the FCUG members noticed a few meetings ago that the car was sagging to the right.  To be more specific, the right rear corner was sagging.  Though at first I brushed that observation as an optical illusion, because the Vic had been parked on an incline, the more I look at the car on a level spot, the more I have to agree that it is sagging.
     I've come to the conclusion that the rear coil springs are just tired after all those miles, and replacements are needed.  It seems that a pair of the springs go anywhere from about $52 to $100.  The car did come with the heavy-duty suspension, and so, I'd like to get the correct pair with the correct specifications.

          Truly,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://videocam.net.au/fcug


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on December 16, 2013, 07:56:05 AM
     Putting in the new rear springs is delayed.  This month I had to replace a water pump, change the differential fluid, and repair the windshield wiper motor.  Good thing that the car is old and fairly common.  A brand new water pump just cost $50.  As for the wiper motor, the control module was pulled.  After all these years, the soldering between some components had flaked off.  All that had to be done was to resolder the traces and reinstall the module.  Now the wiper motor works well again!

          Simple fixes with no expensive diagnostic troubleshooting,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://videocam.net.au/fcug


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on January 02, 2014, 04:40:20 AM
Putting in the new rear springs is delayed.
    It's great to have a competent wheel alignment shop!  Last Friday I brought the Crown Vic to Hewitt Alignment and expected them to replace the rear springs.  Well, they installed new, cargo coil springs, and those springs did not cure the sag of the car.  They discovered that not only did the right rear sag but also the right front, both by about an inch.  They removed the cargo coils and put back in the original springs.  By installing shims on the right rear spring and spacers on the right front spring, they were able to correct the level of the car so that it matched the left side.
     The shop replaced the power steering gearbox (with nearly 425,000, the car needed one), flushed out the rest of the power steering system, added new hydraulic fluid, and gave the car a wheel alignment.  The car now steered much better, almost as the car was when I bought it back in 1991.
     The real test came on the weekend.  I had to drive the car to our family reunion in Santa Cruz.  To get to Santa Cruz, I had to use winding Highway 17 which had curves that were marked at 40 m.p.h. (down from the regular 55 m.p.h.).  The car handled the curves very well, beating out many smaller cars and definitely the big trucks/SUVs.  :)

          Happy New Year!
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://videocam.net.au/fcug


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on January 06, 2015, 08:37:58 AM
It's great to have a competent wheel alignment shop!  Last Friday I brought the Crown Vic to Hewitt Alignment...
    One year and another 25,000 miles later, it's back to Hewitt Alignment.
Quote
The shop replaced the power steering gearbox...
    The other shoe has dropped.  Now it's time to replace the power steering pump.  The car is 25 years old, and they've had to order the part.  It won't come in until Wednesday.  In the meantime, they'll flush out the steering system with cleaner and take care of other pressing needs - replace the left lower ball joint, the left outer tie rod end, the idler arm bushing, the right upper control arm bushing (which had so much wear that there was nearly metal-to-metal contact), and power steering hoses.  Finally, they'll lube all the grease fittings.
     Expensive to get done but necessary when you put so much mileage on a car as I have done.

          Happy New Year!
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on February 10, 2015, 07:35:49 AM
     Today I brought the Crown Vic to Quality Muffler in order for them to investigate a metallic rattling under the car when driven at low speeds.  They took longer than I thought they would.  After much welding at the H-pipe and the left cat-to-muffler pipe, they came out to explain about cracking that had occurred.  Why had that happened?  Because the engine was trying to rotate (torque) when the accelerator was hit hard.  With almost 450K miles, the Crown Vic needed new motor mounts.
     So, next Monday when I have the day off, the motor mounts and the transmission mount will be replaced, along with the yearly transmission fluid and differential fluid change.

          More money spent on upkeep,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on February 15, 2015, 08:01:46 AM
So, next Monday when I have the day off, the motor mounts and the transmission mount will be replaced, along with the yearly transmission fluid and differential fluid change.
    If it's not one thing, it's another.  A few days ago I was left stranded at work when the Crown Vic had a no-start condition; the motor would crank, but no gas was getting to the cylinders.  I had a ride back home and then back to work the next day.  The car was towed into the local service shop, and when I told them the symptoms, they diagnosed it as being intermittent relays for the electric fuel pump and the ECM box.  Both little of these little relays were inexpensive and were replaced easily.  The car is back up and running, and I'm still set to bring it in Monday for its appointed maintenance.

          More money spent on upkeep,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: Paul on May 01, 2015, 01:07:23 AM
It's great you're keeping that car going; where I live, it would've turned to rust by now.


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on June 07, 2015, 10:38:01 AM
The car was towed into the local service shop, and when I told them the symptoms, they diagnosed it as being intermittent relays for the electric fuel pump and the ECM box.
     That was not the end of its problems.  Several days later the car quit at highway speed, and I had to be towed back to Visalia, this time to my usual repair shop.  At first, they couldn't figure out this intermittent problem, and I drove the car away, but a few miles down the highway, it felt as if the car was going to stall again.  I crawled back on city streets and told them it was happening again.  This time the owner and his electrician/mechanic took a ride in the car, and it almost happened to them, too.
     Fortunately, they figured out what was wrong.  The car stalling out was due to a loose ground wire for the ECM box, and the car having a hard time restarting was due a faulty ignition module.  Ground wire tightened down, and ignition module easily replaced.
     Between then and now, I've taken the car a few times over the mountains to the Los Angeles area for the SCCAN meetings.  Those times when driving up the mountains, the engine felt pokey.  I used to be able to climb at speed and even accelerate up the mountains.  Now I was having trouble getting over the range.  The car would slow down 5-10 mph below the speed limit.  Even on flat land, the acceleration was not there.  With 450K on the engine, was the engine now showing its age?
     Well, spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor cap and rotor, and ignition coil had all been recently replaced.  The only thing not done was cleaning the Fram Air Hog air filter.  The last time that was done was in February.  So, I pulled out the filter, sprayed it with the cleaner, washed it out with water, re-oiled it, and reinstalled it.  Engine response was much better.  The real test is to take the car over the mountains, though. 

          Later this summer,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm
          Southern California Commodore & Amiga Network
          http://www.sccaners.org
          July 18-19 Commodore Vegas Expo v11 2015 -
          http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on August 21, 2015, 06:20:38 AM
Those times when driving up the mountains, the engine felt pokey.  I used to be able to climb at speed and even accelerate up the mountains.  Now I was having trouble getting over the range.  The car would slow down 5-10 mph below the speed limit.
     The engine response is still not there.  A few weeks ago I had the front seal for the main bearings replaced, because there was oil being spewed all over the bottom of the engine.  However, that has not cured a bearing knock when the engine has gone through a hard run (usually with the a.c. on) and is idling.  The oil warning light flickers on.  The bearing knock and the flickering light only go away when the engine is not idling, i.e., when I apply more revs.  After consulting the forum at GrandMarq.net, I can only conclude that the lower engine needs work, which means removal of the engine, engine oil pan, and replacement of the oil pump and main bearings.  A very major repair!
     With such major work, I have various options --

1. Repair the lower engine.
2. Replace the engine with a used engine.
3. Rebuild the current engine or replace the current engine with a remanufactured engine.

Option 1 would only fix the current problems and not guarantee any future problems with the engine.  Option 2 is economical, but the quality of a used engine is suspect.  Option 3 is the most expensive but would give long-term reliability.
     Of course, with any of the above repairs, it begs the question, "Is the Crown Vic worth it?"  Let's say I pick option 3.  Perhaps it would cost $3,500.  Would I be able to get a nice, full-sized car for that price?

Comparisons -

1990 Crown Vic -
5.0L V8 iron block, iron head with 160 horsepower
very good ride, very good handling, very good brakes (according to Consumer Reports)
gas mileage - 16 mpg combined (EPA)
front seating - very good, rear seating - good
interior sound level - very good (though with age, more wind noise bringing it down to good)

2002-2011 Crown Vic -
4.6L V8 iron block, aluminum head with 220 horsepower
good ride, good handling, very good brakes
gas mileage - 16 mpg combined
front seating - good, rear seating - fair
interior sound level - good

late-model Lincoln Town Car -
4.6L V8 iron block, aluminum head with 220 horsepower
very good ride, good handling, very good brakes
gas mileage - 16 mpg combined
front seating - very good, rear seating - fair
interior sound level - very good

     By comparing the above data, the newer Crown Vics seem to be cheapened down, the only advantage being the 4.6L V8 (if you trust an aluminum head).  The Lincoln Town Car seems to be more of a match to the older Crown Vic.  However, trying to find a newer Lincoln below the $3,500 price point is questionable.  And I do prefer the luxurious-feeling cloth seats of a 90 Crown Vic over the leather ones of a Town Car.  Other things to consider - better sight lines on the older Crown Vic, more rear seat space on the Lincoln, cheaper repairs and parts on the Crown Vic, more safety equipment on the Lincoln, like air bags and rear disk brakes.

          It looks like the Crown Vic is winning by a nose,
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm
          Southern California Commodore & Amiga Network
          http://www.sccaners.org


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on October 20, 2015, 08:06:09 AM
The engine response is still not there.  A few weeks ago I had the front seal for the main bearings replaced, because there was oil being spewed all over the bottom of the engine.  However, that has not cured a bearing knock when the engine has gone through a hard run (usually with the a.c. on) and is idling.  The oil warning light flickers on.
    That bearing knock did not come from the engine; it came from the air-conditioning compressor!  What was happening was that the compressor was failing, and after a hard run with the a.c. on, that knock would appear.
     The compressor finally failed a few weeks ago when I smelled smoke coming from the engine bay while driving at highway speeds.  When I parked the car and shut off the engine, I checked under the hood.  The compressor pulley was burning hot; when I poured water on it, it steamed for quite a while.  Later, with the engine cooled off, I restarted the car and looked under the hood again.  Sparks were coming from the area of the pulley with severe grinding noises and the a.c. clutch alternately stopping and starting.  If that clutch were working correctly, it would free-wheel when the a.c. was off.
     I thought it would be just an a.c. clutch replacement, but when the system was opened up, the failed compressor had spewed tiny metal particles all inside the condenser and evaporator.  Yes, a major rebuild was needed... replace the compressor and its clutch, replace the condenser and evaporator, and charge up the system with oil and R134.  The last time the a.c. totally failed was 10 years ago when the compressor locked up and self-destructed, again shooting metal particles throughout the system.  Back then, $1,500 to repair... this time a mere $967.
     With the a.c. rebuilt now, the engine runs smoother (no more drag from the failing compressor) and quieter.  There is some low-end bearing noise on start-up and a flickering oil light after engine warm-up, but at least I now know that 302 V8 working well enough.

         Not time for an engine rebuild,
         Robert Bernardo
         Fresno Commodore User Group
         http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on December 27, 2015, 01:12:42 AM
     I was trying to visit friends in Northern California, but about 45 miles out on the freeway, I lost third and fourth gear.  I had to crawl back to town at 35 mph in third gear and use the back roads.  The Crown Vic goes to the transmission shop on Monday.  Hmm, the first rebuild was at 305,000 miles, but now the tranny needs a rebuild 165,000 miles later.  That didn't last nearly as long.

         Merry Christmas,
         Robert Bernardo
         Fresno Commodore User Group
         http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on December 29, 2015, 08:20:30 AM
     The Crown Vic went in today, and the mechanics confirmed that third gear was gone (just spinning in neutral), and they also found that the transmission fluid was burned.  Not good since the transmission had a filter and fluid change back in August.  I was told that high heat could only burn the fluid... even the synthetic fluid I had been using.
     Tomorrow I will more details as they take apart the tranny.

          Merry Christmas,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on December 30, 2015, 09:02:09 AM
...the mechanics confirmed that third gear was gone (just spinning in neutral)...
     I went back to the shop today, and the mechanic in charge of the teardown and rebuild showed me the disassembled tranny.  Just as I suspected, the clutch plates were worn; the third gear clutch plate had almost no friction material left and was warped due to high heat.  Because fourth gear is dependent on third gear shifting correctly, that is why I didn't have fourth gear either.  The mechanic will replace the clutch plates with new ones that have better Kevlar friction material.  He said I will notice the downshift/upshifts more (i.e., the shifts will not be silky smooth), but the transmission will last longer with the improved plates.
     Besides the clutch plate spinning metal-to-metal (due to no friction material) and thus causing high heat, he also said that the TV (throttle valve) cable may not have been properly adjusted.  As reported at cpttransmission.com, the TV cable "controls line pressure, shift points, shift feel, part throttle downshifts, and detent (full throttle) downshifts."

          Merry Christmas,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on January 01, 2016, 04:43:24 AM
     Transmission has been rebuilt for $2K+!  I'm not sure I'm happy with the shift points.  It seems to hold first gear too long.  I'll run the car around town all weekend, and then on Monday or Tuesday, I'll take it back to the shop for another inspection.

          Happy New Year!
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm

P.S. While up on the rack, they also replaced the engine's rear main seal, due to an oil leak.


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on February 21, 2016, 07:50:37 AM
     For the Crown Vic's 475,000 mile birthday, it got a set of new valve cover gaskets, a new oil sending unit, and had its belts tightened.  That along with a *new* aluminum rim to replace a bent wheel.  Yeah, finding a new wheel in-the-box after all these years was quite a find.

          The wonders of eBay,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on March 11, 2016, 06:40:58 AM
     The glow of the Crown Vic's 475,000 mile birthday didn't last too long.  The persistent oil leak that was supposed to be cured by new valve cover gaskets is still there, though maybe somewhat diminished.  The engine was examined again.  The leak is coming from the old engine oil pan gaskets.  After all these years and miles, they are no longer sealing.  To replace the gaskets would require the engine to be removed... an expensive proposition.
     Well, if the engine comes out, then I wouldn't go partway by just replacing gaskets.  If the engine comes out, then it's coming out to be rebuilt or replaced with a rebuilt engine.  I have been having some low-end bearing knock on start-up, and after a run, the engine oil light pops at lower speeds and at idle (even with plenty of oil in the system).  In other words, the engine is well-worn.
     To pay for the engine rebuild, I was thinking of dipping into my savings.  However, my auto shop may even give me the option of monthly payments with no interest!

          That would be some deal!
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on April 18, 2016, 07:55:10 AM
Sure, there is my 1988 Mercury Colony Park station wagon...
     The station wagon gets some love this summer.  In July and August I will get "bonuses".  With the extra money, I can pay down bills, save some in the savings, and fix up the cars.  The Colony Park needs its air-conditioning fixed and a modern radio installed to replace the barely-working FoMoCo unit.  Before the a.c. is installed, a heavy-duty radiator with a 3-row core is needed instead of the original 2-row radiator.  For the radio, an Alpine units would go in the dash, and the dull-sounding Ford speakers would be replaced with smooth-sounding Polk speakers.

              Well, that's the plan,
              Robert Bernardo
              Fresno Commodore User Group
              http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm
              July 30-31 Commodore Vegas Expo v12 -
              http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on April 30, 2016, 08:04:30 AM
If the engine comes out, then it's coming out to be rebuilt or replaced with a rebuilt engine.
     Last week the rebuilt engine was ordered for the Crown Vic, and it came in on Thursday.  I dropped off the car late Thursday afternoon and had a look at the rebuilt engine in its packing crate.  Nice and shiny!

          I'll post a photo of the engine later!
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm
          July 30-31 Commodore Vegas Expo v12 -
          http://wwww.portcommodore.com/commvex


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on May 04, 2016, 03:52:49 AM
     I checked up with the engine installation yesterday.  The engine was installed... though not fully hooked up.  Most notably, the exhaust pipes were not attached to the exhaust manifold.  Today I visited again.  The engine had just been run, but the timing still had to be adjusted.  More of a problem was the leaking radiator.  That will have to be fixed.  I hope it's just a simple fix (like a side tank/core separation) rather than an all-out replacement.  That special, three-row, dimpled-tube, more-fins-per-linear-inch core would be expensive to replace.

          Truly,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm
          July 30-31 Commodore Vegas Expo v12 -
          http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on May 12, 2016, 03:12:31 AM
I'll post a photo of the engine later!
     Here is a photo of the engine before its installation (with the hand of the owner of the shop, Bruce).

          Truly,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm
          July 30-31 Commodore Vegas Expo v12 -
          http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on May 12, 2016, 03:23:32 AM
The engine was installed.
     All done and running!  Below is a picture of the installed engine (with that silicone spray they used to make it look shiny)
Quote
More of a problem was the leaking radiator.  That will have to be fixed.  I hope it's just a simple fix...
     False alarm.  The radiator was not the problem.  A radiator cap that did not hold pressure was the problem.  Anyways, the radiator was rodded out and repainted.

          Truly,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm
          July 30-31 Commodore Vegas Expo v12 -
          http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex



Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on May 29, 2016, 09:52:56 AM
     I'm old-school, and I believe that a rebuilt car engine needs an oil change as part of its break-in process.  I was supposed to change the Crown Vic's oil at 1.000 miles on the engine, but due to my going to Maker Faire in the San Francisco Bay area, I missed that mark.  So, on Wednesday, at the 1,600 mile mark, I gave the car the overdue oil change.
     First came off the oil filter.  The shop had installed a no-name, undersized oil filter.  My first thought was, "What kind of junk is this?"  I replaced it with the top-of-the-line Fram Ultra Synthetic Oil Filter, a full-sized filter with 99%+ filtration efficiency.
     Then came the oil pan drain plugs.  The Crown Vic has a dual-sump oil pan with two drain plugs.  Back in 1991, I had replaced those plugs with magnetic drain plugs in order to grab any metal particles floating in the engine oil.  This time when I removed the plugs, I examined them and found plenty of metal shavings clustered around the magnets.  Wow!  That much had worn off the rebuilt engine during its break-in.  I wiped the shavings off the drain plugs and waited as the engine oil drained into the drain pan.
     As I lay under the car, I noticed how relatively clean everything was.  I expected the rebuilt engine to be clean, but the shop had also cleaned off the accumulated oil and grease off the suspension under the engine -- 26 years of accumulated oil and grease.  Good job!
     I replaced the drain plugs.  The shop had probably put in standard motor oil for the break-in process, and I'll eventually have synthetic oil in the Crown Vic, but as a next step in the process, I decided to put in semi-synthetic oil.  Well, actually I made my own semi-synthetic.  When you buy semi-synthetic oil, you don't know how much standard oil is combined with synthetic oil.  I went to Wal-Mart and bought 2 quarts of their store-brand 5W-30 standard oil and 3 quarts of their 5W-30 synthetic.  I poured all of that into the crankcase and started the car.  Instead of the usual engine rattle before the oil filled up all the engine passages, there was no rattle.  When the oil was drained, there was still enough residual oil remaining in the tight, rebuilt engine to prevent any kind of rattle.  Very nice!
     Next oil change in 3,000 miles and with full synthetic motor oil.

          Truly,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm
          July 30-31 Commodore Vegas Expo v12 -
          http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on June 29, 2016, 12:13:03 PM
Next oil change in 3,000 miles and with full synthetic motor oil.
    Well, its 3,000 mile mark for the oil change was changed.  After doing some front suspension work which included replacement of left inner upper A arm bushings and a center link bushing, a replacement of the left tie rod end, and a wheel alignment, the Hewitt Alignment manager told me that there was an oil leak at the engine main bearing!  On a new, rebuilt engine?!  I brought the car back to the shop where the engine was installed, and they kept it a couple of days.  They disassembled the upper part of the engine and found a torn intake manifold gasket and a plugged-up PCV valve (the latter should have been checked out during the rebuild installation).  Gasket and PCV valve replaced.  With me providing the synthetic oil and Fram filter, the oil was changed.  Cost to me - nothing!  Everything covered by the shop's warranty.  But that's not the end of the story...
     Feeling confident, I left for the Los Angeles area, the plan being that I would stay one night in L.A. and then go to Phoenix, Arizona to meet up with some British friends who were flying in.  However, the best laid plans were not to be.  After my night in L.A., I prepped for my Arizona departure.  Car started normally, and I drove off.  But the car wouldn't get out of first gear!  The transmission, which was rebuilt 12,000 miles ago in December, 2015, was acting up.  I crawled the car back to where I had been and called the transmission rebuild shop in Stockton.  They advised me to bring it to a shop 5 miles away.  That shop was very reluctant to do any warranty work on the transmission, and after a few days, I pulled the car out of that shop and went to another one farther down the road.  The new shop had an agreeable manager.  A new, rebuilt transmission has been ordered, but because of the upcoming 4th of July holiday, the car won't be ready until around July 5.  Cost to me - nothing!  Everything was covered by the 3-year warranty.
     So, tomorrow, Wednesday, I take the train back to Visalia and will use the Mercury Colony Park station wagon in the meantime.  The plan is to return to L.A. on July 8 to retrieve the Ford Crown Vic.

          A long process to get the Vic going again,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm
          July 30-31 Commodore Vegas Expo v12 -
          http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on July 02, 2016, 09:03:17 AM
...I take the train back to Visalia and will use the Mercury Colony Park station wagon in the meantime.
     Because the weather is 102 degrees F. around here and the Mercury's air-conditioning was not working, I decided to have it fixed.  I brought the car to the shop that had my engine rebuilt.  Since I bought the car many years ago and never had the a.c. working, I didn't expect it to be easily repaired.  However, all they did was change the R-12 to R-134 hardware and charge the system.  The a.c. worked perfectly!  All this for $204.

          I should have repaired the a.c. a long time ago,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm
          July 30-31 Commodore Vegas Expo v12 -
          http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on July 23, 2016, 08:27:57 AM
[The plan is to return to L.A. on July 8 to retrieve the Ford Crown Vic.
     I picked up the Crown Vic on that day.  The shop warned me that the speedometer would be reading high; the transmission they were sent from the original shop had the wrong speedo gears.  Now at 70 m.p.h. the speedometer reads 85!  When I have time, I'll have to have that checked out by the original shop.  Other than that, the transmission is shifting well, though under light acceleration the third to fourth shift point is 4 miles m.p.h. higher (42 instead of 38).
     When I got back to my city, I went to my repair shop and had them install new Gabriel Ultra shock absorbers all around.  (I had a great deal from Autozone; buy 4, get a rebate for the price of one shock.)  I had bought into all the advertising hype of the Ultra shock absorbers.  Conclusion -- the shocks live up to the hype!  O.K., the car last had its front shocks replaced at 140K miles and the rears at 40K miles.  Now at 480K miles I decided to change them.  True, I had gotten used to the ride over the many years.  However, only lately did I notice I had to make many steering corrections while trying to drive straight down the road... and all this with a perfectly aligned suspension.  Also there seemed to be more pitching of the car in the front and now in the rear.  I reasoned that new shocks would make a difference.  I should have made that decision a long time ago.
     The Crown Vic is in its element as a freeway cruiser.  With the new shocks, it now glides down the freeway, absorbing most of the bumps and with far less steering correction and steering vibration than before.  Is this the way the car is supposed to be when new?  Or is the ride even better than new?  I'm not sure, but I love the ride now.

          Back from a long trip in the Pacific NW,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm
          July 30-31 Commodore Vegas Expo v12 -
          http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on October 24, 2016, 08:44:45 AM
With me providing the synthetic oil and Fram filter, the oil was changed.
     When I came back from New Zealand/Australia and after a few days of rest, I crawled under the Crown Vic to change its oil again.  O.K., 5 quarts of synthetic SuperTech oil from WalMart (because I think all synthetic oil is the same) but this time, a new brand of oil filter.  Since the 1980's, I've used Fram oil filters, because Consumer Reports magazine rated them number one.  However, recently when I went through SummitRacing.com, they listed not only the oil filters for my car, but also how well the filters filtered in terms of the largest size contaminant particle they would let through.  The best Frams would filter down to 20 microns.  However, K & N filters would filter down to 10 microns!  No other oil filter listed could filter down to that amount.
     That settled it for me.  I installed a K & N filter, the stores in my area not having the cheaper one (which had the same 10 micron rating) but the expensive one.  $16 for a filter... ouch!  Well, on the rebuilt engine, I felt that I was giving it the best.
     Then I went to the Amiwest Show.  Hmm, what was that oil that I saw under the car after I parked it every day?  After Amiwest, I went back home, and the next day I found a veritable puddle of oil under the car!  I had lost 2 quarts of expensive synthetic oil after all this time.  I started the engine and looked underneath.  A stream of oil was coming out around the new K & N filter!  It was tightly on the engine, but it was still leaking.  I turned off the engine, wrenched off the filter, and went to O'Reilly's in order to buy another one, warning the sales clerk that if this one had the same problem, I would not stay with K & N but return to Fram.
     After about 200 miles, the replacement K & N is holding up.

         Crossing my fingers that it holds up until
         the next oil change,
         Robert Bernardo
         Fresno Commodore User Group
         http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm

P.S. If all goes well, my other Ford products - the 1988 Mercury Colony Park and the 1972 Ford Ranchero will get K & N oil filters.


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on October 25, 2016, 11:08:00 AM
     I've had the 1988 Mercury Colony Park station wagon since 2006, but I've only put a little over 6,000 miles on it after all this time.  I've only brought it to Stockton four times (165 miles away), but this fourth time I used it to bring more Commodore stuff to the storage there.  Today I brought it to Hewitt Alignment, and the mechanics were surprised that they had not known about the car.
     I asked for a wheel alignment and a lube job, and of course, the shop gave it a thorough inspection.  Sway bar bushings, idler arm bushing, upper A-arm bushings -- all bad or going bad.  Loose wheel bearing in the right front hub.  Steering wheel coupler o.k. for now but getting there.
     The shop manager didn't like the Monroe Sensa-Trac shocks on the car; he called them weak and wanted them replaced with KYB's (sold by his shop, of course).  I told him that the shocks only had 6,000 miles on them, as I had them installed by Sears as soon as I bought the car.  I liked how they gave the car a comfortable ride and how they stopped the pitching motion of the car with the previous shocks.  I didn't tell him how I remembered when the shop had installed KYB's on the front of the Crown Vic years ago, and the shocks were too hard.
     More importantly, he didn't like the condition of the old Michelin X tires; after all these years, the rubber was cracking and splitting.  He was worried that I was going to drive back home 165 miles on the freeway.  I told him that I would have to get some new Cooper tires.  He wanted to know the reason for my buying such average tires like Cooper's, and I told him that they were one of the few manufacturers that still made whitewall tires.
     I authorized the replacement of the sway bar bushings and the idler arm bushing and the tightening of the loose wheel bearing.  I also asked them to remove the Type III tow bar in the back of the car; it hung so low that it would frequently scrape on deep and medium-deep driveways and dips.  With the alignment and lube, the cost was $398.
     The steering coupler, an $8 part, could be installed by my local mechanics.  The new tires could be installed much later.  The upper A-arm bushings could be installed much, much later, because I put so few miles on the car every year that it isn't an immediate necessity.  I saved the tow bar, which was quite a heavy "boat anchor"; perhaps my father could use it on his truck or he could give/sell it to someone.

          Truly,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on November 16, 2016, 07:54:12 AM
     At its last wheel alignment, the Hewitt Alignment mechanics told me there was extreme wear on the left front brake disc rotor; that was the cause for the car to pull to the left when braked hard and for the brakes being grabby when cold.  They also said that though they tightened the right front wheel bearing, it was still "rough".  So, it's time for a brake job.  Today I went to Pep Boys and ordered the ceramic brake pads (not in stock) which were covered under the lifetime warranty.  No cost except for installation.
     And I took the plunge... I ordered a couple of drilled and slotted disc rotors!  Years ago I was ferrying Jeri Ellsworth to the Computer Barn (Museum) west of San Jose.  To get to it, we had to drive through a mountainous switchback road and use the brakes quite a lot around the turns.  After several of these sharp turns with the brakes, I noticed I had to press harder on the pedal to get the same amount of stopping power.  Being a car person, Jeri said, "Brake fade?"  I said, "Yeah, brake fade." I never forgot that.  To try and keep effective braking power, that's why I'm going with the drilled and slotted disc rotors.
     One forum told me that those kind of rotors have wear problems.  One friend told me that they cause premature wear on the brake pads.  We shall see.

         The brakes being installed on Thursday,
         Robert Bernardo
         Fresno Commodore User Group
         http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on November 23, 2016, 11:53:55 AM
The brakes being installed on Thursday...
    Well, the drilled and slotted front disc rotors with new bearings were installed on Monday (after waiting and waiting for the rotors to come in).  I had to remind the brake mechanics (at Pep Boys) that I use silicone brake fluid (DOT 5).  They were quite surprised when I handed over a few bottles of fluid for them to top off the master cylinder.  Being unfamiliar with the fluid, one of them predicted bad things would happen (he mentioned seals would swell unnaturally, but he was just guessing).  I told him that I have been using that type of fluid in the car for 25 years with no ill effects.  In fact, I told him that his predecessor in the shop had installed it (and he remembered his predecessor).  He said, "Well, it's your car" and proceeded with the brake job.
     Actually, since the 1980's I'd been using silicone brake fluid in the variety of cars I've had - the 1973 Pontiac Bonneville, the 1979 Ford Fairmont, the 1991 Honda Accord.  Those cars are long gone, but I've never had any bad experiences with the fluid.  Silicone brake fluid does not deteriorate; it doesn't absorb moisture like regular fluid, and so, rust cannot form and corrode the brake calipers, master cylinder, brake lines, wheel cylinders, and their seals.  Unlike regular fluid, if you spill silicone brake fluid on a painted surface, nothing happens to the paint.
     When I got the Crown Vic in 1991, it had 24,725 miles on it, and I had the regular fluid changed right away.  The fluid, which had been in the car since it came out of the factory, came out milky instead of being clear; its deterioration had already begun.  For all these years, I've used the same calipers, cylinders, and lines, and they are still in good shape!  (With my "newer" cars, the 1988 Mercury Colony Park and the 1972 Ford Ranchero, I'll have to have the above components inspected, replaced if necessary, and get the silicone brake fluid into their systems.)
     Back to the new disc brake rotors... Their installation was ordinary... no problems.  They look sharp on the Crown Vic.  I'll take a photo of them when the wheels are next balanced and/or rotated (which I have done at Sears, because that is where I bought its  tires).  Heh, when those wheels are balanced/rotated, the mechanics will be shocked to see those drilled and slotted rotors on such an old car.  :)  Modern hardware on an old car!

         FCUG celebrating its 35th anniversary,
         Robert Bernardo
         Fresno Commodore User Group
         http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm

P.S. Silicone brake fluid cannot be used with anti-lock brake systems.  All modern cars have anti-lock brakes.


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on February 16, 2017, 06:12:57 AM
I installed a K & N filter...

(snip)

A stream of oil was coming out around the new K & N filter!

(snip)

After about 200 miles, the replacement K & N is holding up.
     About 365 miles ago, I gave the Crown Vic another oil change and installed another K & N.  A few days ago I noticed oil spots on the pavement under the car.  The area around the oil filter mount was wet with oil.  I started the car and looked for oil leaks but saw nothing pouring out.  It must have been a seeper!  Well, that did it for me.  This was the second, expensive K & N to start leaking on me.  No more K & N's (at least not for a Ford)!
     Today I went to WalMart and bought a Fram Ultra.  Off came the K & N and on went the Fram.  I also motor-washed the area around the oil filter mount.
     Why did the K & N's keep failing on me?  I have a theory.  When installing a spin-on oil filter, you have to screw it down a center threaded post.  The K & N always was "loose" as I screwed it down the post.  It did not tighten up until near the end of its travel.  The Fram was always "tight" as I screwed it down; there was no free play.  I suspect that bit of free play in the K & N was a factor in it leaking, even though externally everything looked and felt tight.  That free play was enough to start an oil leak.
     I will check the Fram regularly for any future leaks, though I doubt I will have trouble it.

          Back to 20 microns of filtering instead of 10,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on February 20, 2017, 09:15:22 AM
     When I can't do the repair or maintenance item, I leave it up to my long-time mechanics.  Last Friday I brought the car in for a broken driver's side door latch (the key would turn in the lock but the door would not lock) and for engine shuddering during highway deceleration.  The former took longer than I thought; they took off the inner door panel, removed the latch mechanism, and rebuilt it.  The latter seemed to be an easy solution but for a part with which I had no experience.  The throttle position sensor was adjusted by lowering the voltage going into it.  Poof!  No more deceleration shudders.  Idle speed in drive (especially when the engine was cold) was too low with the adjustment.  It was adjusted again to bring up the idle speed.

          Truly,
          Robert Bernardo
          June 10-11 Pacific Commodore Expo NW -
          http://www.portcommodore.com/pacommex
          July 29-30 Commodore Vegas Expo -
          http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on May 09, 2017, 09:20:54 AM
The throttle position sensor was adjusted by lowering the voltage going into it.  Poof!  No more deceleration shudders.
     The shuddering has returned.  Hmm, perhaps the throttle position sensor needs readjustment.  Before I bring it in, on May 15 I'll order some Taylor spark plug cables from SummitRacing.com .  Taylor has the lowest resistance per square foot of all the cables listed for the car.  When the engine was rebuilt last year, the mechanics put in cheapy cables from O'Reilly, and I know that they don't last very long.  The MSD cables that I had on the car previously were good cables but were susceptible to tearing.  By the way, I bought a new MSD distributor cap and rotor and will install those in the next day or two.

          Truly,
          Robert Bernardo
          June 10-11 Pacific Commodore Expo NW -
          http://www.portcommodore.com/pacommex
          July 29-30 Commodore Vegas Expo -
          http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on May 09, 2017, 10:32:51 AM
The Colony Park needs its air-conditioning fixed and a modern radio installed to replace the barely-working FoMoCo unit.  Before the a.c. is installed, a heavy-duty radiator with a 3-row core is needed instead of the original 2-row radiator.  For the radio, an Alpine units would go in the dash, and the dull-sounding Ford speakers would be replaced with smooth-sounding Polk speakers.
    After all this time, the modern radio and speakers still haven't been installed nor a heavy-duty radiator.  However, because I plan on using the Colony Park on the very long trip to Seattle for the Pacific Commodore Expo, I've been doing maintenance items.  The transmission filter and fluid and the differential fluid were changed, synthetic fluids going in.
     At the last wheel alignment, the mechanics said that all of the old Michelin tires were cracked and thus dangerous to drive on.  I bought the car in 2008, and so, the tires are older than that.  On Friday I went to Pep Boys for tire installation, having pre-paid for new Travelstar tires a few weeks ago (no Cooper whitewalls through Pep Boys but the no-name Travelstar whitewalls were much cheaper).  When they popped off two of the wheelcaps, they found wheel locks.  The problem was that I didn't have any key for the wheel locks!  When I bought the car, I was not given a key.  In fact, I had been driving the car all this time without knowing it needed a wheel lock key!  What if I had a flat tire and needed to change a tire?  I wouldn't have been able to do it!
     Pep Boys wanted $51 per wheel to wrench off the locks.  Grudgingly, I approved, but none of their wheel lock keys would fit the old lock.  Also, because the wheel lock had a smooth circumference, they couldn't get a tool on it in order to take it off.  So, no money for them.  The service manager advised me to take the car to the south Visalia welding shop, Roberts & Son.  
     Today I brought the car to the welding shop and met the one welder working there.  Everybody else was off to lunch.  An old-fashioned place... large, galvanized metal building... plenty of old shop tools and worktables... lots of dust on the floor.  After I told the welder the whole story, he told me to drive the car in, and he got to work on it right away, delaying the job he had been doing.  He tack-welded a large, steel nut to each wheel lock and with a large crescent wrench, he would then take off the lock.  Total cost - a cheap $35.  I finger-tightened on new lug nuts to replace the old locks, but the recommended nuts were too shallow and did not extend much past the aluminum wheels.  When the car goes back to Pep Boys for the tire installation on Wednesday, I will have to look for longer wheel nuts that extend out from the wheel surface.
     Tuesday, I bring the car to my mechanics for them to diagnose why the cruise control is not working, (I should check the fuse.) and why the horn keeps blaring (bad horn relay?).
     I have looked at speakers for the car (though I probably don't have the budget for them right now).  The dash speakers are 4-inch, and the rear speakers are 5 x 7 or at most, 6 x 8.  I don't think Polk makes speakers in those sizes; I will have to go to a different manufacturer.  I'm not sure I want to keep the dash speakers.  There are speaker grilles on the front doors for the optional 5 1/4 speakers (which were only put in cars with Premium Sound systems).  I'm tending toward disconnecting the old dash speakers and toward putting in the door speakers, though door speakers are partially obscured by the door map pockets.

          Truly,
          Robert Bernardo
          June 10-11 Pacific Commodore Expo NW -
          http://www.portcommodore.com/pacommex
          July 29-30 Commodore Vegas Expo -
          http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on May 15, 2017, 09:11:35 AM
The shuddering has returned.

(snip)

By the way, I bought a new MSD distributor cap and rotor and will install those in the next day or two.
     It took me a few minutes to install the new distributor cap and rotor.  With the old cap removed, I inspected the insides and found significant corrosion on the brass.  I also rerouted the spark plug cables.  With the new parts installed, the car runs much better.  The shuddering is gone, though I'm still not satisfied with the slightly uneven idle and the slightly uneven speed with cruise control on.  When I receive those new spark plug cables and when I add cable separators, I'll see if those items alleviate those symptoms.

          Truly,
          Robert Bernardo
          June 10-11 Pacific Commodore Expo NW -
          http://www.portcommodore.com/pacommex
          July 29-30 Commodore Vegas Expo -
          http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on May 15, 2017, 09:23:05 AM
Tuesday, I bring the car to my mechanics for them to diagnose why the cruise control is not working, (I should check the fuse.) and why the horn keeps blaring (bad horn relay?).
     Ah, I had read of this problem, but I wasn't sure I believed it.  The cruise control circuit and the horn circuit are connected at the same point -- the horn pad on the steering wheel!  When the electrical connections in the horn pad (which is in the center hub of the steering wheel) go bad, then your horn malfunctions and your cruise control is gone.  The remedy -- buy another horn pad!  Finding a brand new horn pad in the color keyed to your interior is impossible.  I'll have to resort to buying a used pad and take my chances that it will work.  The interior of the station wagon is a milk chocolate brown; all I can find is a dark brown horn pad.

          Hmm, a contrasting color for the interior?
          Robert Bernardo
          June 10-11 Pacific Commodore Expo NW -
          http://www.portcommodore.com/pacommex
          July 29-30 Commodore Vegas Expo -
          http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on June 18, 2017, 08:01:16 AM
After all this time, the modern radio and speakers still haven't been installed nor a heavy-duty radiator.  However, because I plan on using the Colony Park on the very long trip to Seattle for the Pacific Commodore Expo, I've been doing maintenance items.  The transmission filter and fluid and the differential fluid were changed, synthetic fluids going in.
    The Mercury Colony Park station made the trip to Seattle and back in fine shape.  Compared to the Ford Crown Vic, the CP got slightly worse gas mileage -- 19 to 20 mpg against the Vic's 21 to 22 -- making for more gas stops on the route.  Making the steep climb over the Mt. Siskyou pass between California and Oregon was o.k. for the old engine which has over 250K in miles; it maintained speed going up, but if slowed down during the climb, it laboriously tried to gain the previous uphill speed.  In other words, it was no fresh, rebuilt engine as in the Vic.  Though the a.c. still did not have a full charge, it handled the Pacific NW weather adequately, because the temps did not break over into the 80's.  In fact, for most of my time there, it was cool and rainy in the 50's and 60's.
Quote
...I went to Pep Boys for tire installation, having pre-paid for new Travelstar tires a few weeks ago...
    The soft Travelstar tires are o.k., but they are not like the firmer Michelins previously mounted on the car.
Quote
I have looked at speakers for the car (though I probably don't have the budget for them right now).  The dash speakers are 4-inch, and the rear speakers are 5 x 7 or at most, 6 x 8.  I don't think Polk makes speakers in those sizes; I will have to go to a different manufacturer.  I'm not sure I want to keep the dash speakers.  There are speaker grilles on the front doors for the optional 5 1/4 speakers (which were only put in cars with Premium Sound systems).  I'm tending toward disconnecting the old dash speakers and toward putting in the door speakers, though door speakers are partially obscured by the door map pockets.
    My mistake... the car did have the Premium Sound system.  I discovered this when I brought my car into Warehouse Car Stereo just before my trip north.  They removed the old FoMoCo stereo radio and installed a brand-new Pioneer DEH-X6900BT CD/radio.  When they tried hooking into the old Premium Sound speakers, they found out that the speakers had a separate amplifier, making the speakers unusable with the new Pioneer.  Solution - bypass the amplifier and put in new speakers.  As I had planned, the dull dash speakers were disconnected and the 5 1/4" door speakers (which were in the doors but were not working) were replaced by new Pioneer tri-axial speakers.  The rear speakers would have to be installed at a later date.
     The overtime on the stereo installation left me with a 3-hour later departure, but now I had a modern, 2017 car stereo with color-changeable display, song title display, USB connection, AUX mini-jack input, and Bluetooth (e.g. my cell phone would ring and I could answer it by using the lavalier mic mounted on the steering column and by listening on the car speakers).
     At the Pacific Commodore Expo, at one of my hotels during the trip, and elsewhere, the Colony Park drew admiring looks; I guess a big, woody station wagon in very good condition isn't commonplace anymore.  Or perhaps they were looking at the old Commodores in the car's cargo area.  ;)
     Kent Sullivan, "I can't believe that you got all of that (7 systems) in the car!"  Rob Santry, "You still have room for more?!"  My response, "Well, it's not up to the ceiling yet!"

          Truly,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm
          July 29-30 Commodore Vegas Expo -
          http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on June 21, 2017, 04:39:11 AM
Though the a.c. still did not have a full charge, it handled the Pacific NW weather adequately...
    Sunday I went to the FCUG meeting with the semi-cool a.c. working in the Colony Park.  Going there in the morning was all right, because the outside temps got up into the 80's or low 90's.  However, going back home was big problem, because the outside temp rose to about 100.  Not good!  With the a.c. fan on high blowing only cool air, I was still sweating in the hot car.  That did it!  No time to bring it to my mechanics for a professional check of the a.c.; I'd have to recharge the a.c. myself.  On Monday, armed with a $38 can of freon bought from WalMart, I connected that can to the low-pressure side of the a.c. system, read the pressure readings, and began the process of charging the system.  One can did it!  Previous pressure had been down to an unacceptable 28 p.s.i.; now it was up to a good 44 p.s.i..  The a.c. compressor no longer cycled off and on, trying to compress a slight amount of freon.  With a full charge, the compressor ran continually, doing the job of cooling the air coming through the vents into the car.  Ah, it was nice to have real cold air coming through the vents again!

          110 degrees today in my area,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm
          July 29-30 Commodore Vegas Expo -
          http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on July 14, 2017, 10:50:13 AM
When I receive those new spark plug cables and when I add cable separators, I'll see if those items alleviate those symptoms.
     Yes!  I put in most of the Taylor spark plug cables (o.k., I haven't put in the cables for #6 and #7 because those are the most difficult to access), and the engine is running much better.
     Today, Thursday, July 13, the Crown Vic hit the 500,000 mile mark!  That's 20K on the rebuilt 302 V8.  To celebrate the 1/2 million mile mark, the car will get a new, 2017 Pioneer car stereo, just like the one installed in the Colony Park station wagon.

          Truly,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group -
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm
          July 29-30 Commodore Vegas Expo -
          http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on July 20, 2017, 03:40:19 AM
I put in most of the Taylor spark plug cables (o.k., I haven't put in the cables for #6 and #7 because those are the most difficult to access)...
    When I brought my car into my mechanics for the car stereo installation, the Crown Vic stalled out in the parking lot of their establishment.  It would not restart.  Was it a fuel delivery problem, or was it an ignition problem?  Raymond, the mechanic in charge of electricals, gave it a quick test for spark right there in the driveway.  Donnie, the mechanic in charge of engine problems, deduced that the ignition control module (which hangs on the distributor) had gone bad.  He quickly replaced it, and the engine started up right away.  Bruce, the owner of the shop, commented that I was really lucky to have broken down right there and not on the way to and from next weekend's SCCAN meeting or the July CommVEx.
     While the car was there, the remaining Taylor spark plug cables were installed... for free!
Quote
...the car will get a new, 2017 Pioneer car stereo, just like the one installed in the Colony Park station wagon.
     Stereo installed!  It took me awhile to pair the Bluetooth of the receiver with that of my cellphone, but I got it done.  Now the question is... do I put the same Pioneer stereo receiver in the 1972 Ford Ranchero?  Currently, it has a non-working aftermarket radio that fits the original hole in the dash.  If I do go with the modern Pioneer, the hole in the dash would have to be enlarged, and of course, the Pioneer does not look at all like a classic car radio.  :)

          Truly,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group -
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm
          July 29-30 Commodore Vegas Expo -
          http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on August 14, 2017, 10:05:00 AM
...I connected that can to the low-pressure side of the (station wagon's) a.c. system, read the pressure readings, and began the process of charging the system.  One can did it!  Previous pressure had been down to an unacceptable 28 p.s.i.; now it was up to a good 44 p.s.i...
     Today was the Crown Vic sedan's turn.  A couple of days ago I discovered that the a.c. was not blowing cold air as well as before.  Today armed with an 18 oz. can of R-134, I dug under the hood.  I couldn't understand how the a.c. system had lost its freon in the relatively short time span since it blew its hose and had been recharged.  Looking around the fittings, I discovered an oily patch around the high-pressure inlet.  It had loosened to only being finger-tight!  So, I wrenched it a bit tighter to about 5-7 footpounds (don't want to overstress its o-ring).  Then I measured the system pressure with the engine running and the a.c. at max.  The compressor was cycling on and off between 25 and 52 p.s.i. (between undercharge and overcharge levels).  As soon as the new freon started pumping in, the readings leveled out to 30 p.s.i., still undercharged.  Patiently, I continued the process, and the freon pressure topped out at 39 p.s.i., adequate for the system.  Success... the a.c. was now blowing out cold air.  And I had about 2 ounces left in the freon can.

          Truly,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on November 05, 2017, 01:15:40 AM
     Due to upgrading the house with new doors, windows, and security, work on the cars has slowed down to a crawl.  However, the smog pump in the Crown Vic, which had been rattling for last few hundred miles, finally froze solid, destroying a belt in the process.  I brought the car into Mooney Shell for what should have been a straight-forward replacement (no more AutoZone smog pumps which don't last too long).  However, the rebuilt smog pump that was installed made the same failing noises that the older one did.  :(  The car goes back on Monday for another try at getting a good smog pump.

          The Colony Park and Ranchero standing forlorn,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group
          http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on May 25, 2018, 11:45:04 AM
     It's been about a year since I put any work into the 1988 Mecury Colony Park station wagon, but because the Pacific Commodore Expo NW is coming up, I decided to perk it up for the long trip to Washington state.  Wednesday at the Mooney Shell service station, the mechanics charged up the a.c., this time injecting a dye into the system to see where it is slowly losing its freon.  Right now, the a.c. is really cold, because the system is full.  Also they started work on the tailgate repairs.  Ever since I bought the car, the tailgate would never lock (well, maybe one time), the tailgate window would not slide down, and though the tailgate opened as a door, it never flipped down to being a tailgate.
     First, the mechanics thought the latch was the cause of the non-locking problem.  Also the power locking mechanism (the actuator) did not work.
     They investigated the tailgate's power window.  The former owner had blocked the lowering of the window with aluminum blocks; the mechanics removed those blocks and found that the window motor was bad (or to be more exact, the bearings in the motor were destroyed).  The rod(s) that the window slid along were dry (unlubricated) and rough.  Also the window itself had 8 holes in the bottom which were supposed to house plastic grommets; only 2 of the grommets were still left.
     So, by the end of the day, they needed a latch, a window motor, a door actuator, and more grommets.  The next day I came back.  They had worked on the tailgate for another couple of hours.  The hard-to-find latch did not need replacing!  Because the window had been blocked from lowering down, they discovered that it had not been fully raised.  When raised another 1/8 inch or so, the electric interlock worked and the key was then able to lock the door.  One mechanic, Donnie, was still tweaking the power window mechanism when I arrived.  Over and over, he powered the window up and down, checking and adjusting the mechanism(s).  He had lubricated the rods so that the window smoothly moved, and he had installed replacement grommets he had fabricated (original grommets were no longer available).  Finally, he grinded away any excess metal from his repairs before putting back on the interior vinyl door panel.
     There was no time to put in a new door lock actuator, because I had to leave to visit my mother, but I was very satisfied.  The "Magic Doorgate" now worked perfectly through its three functions -- door opening with window in up position, door opening with window in down position, and door flipping down as a tailgate with window in down position.

           Truly,
           Robert Bernardo
           Fresno Commodore User Group - http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm
           June 9-10 Pacific Commodore Expo NW 2018 - http://www.portcommodore.com/pacommex
           August 11-12 Commodore Vegas Expo v14 2018 - http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex

P.S. Other tweaks planned for the station wagon - replace lower and upper radiator hoses (upper being easy to change, lower being more difficult to change), replace the ignition coil with an Accel ignition coil (easy to do), and change the full-service spare to a mini-spare tire (impossible to remove the full-service spare out of its storage compartment unless two people tackle it).


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on June 30, 2018, 01:27:41 AM
     On the way back from the Pacific Commodore Expo NW, I was about 37 miles from my California destination when I heard a squeal under the hood of the station wagon, smelled burned rubber, saw the AMP indicator come on the dash, and noticed my lights dim down!  Oh-oh, alternator trouble and now running on battery!  Fortunately, I made it all the way, and the next day I got a rebuilt alternator from O'Reilly's and installed it.
     I should have known that the rebuilt was no good when I heard whining coming from it.  Well, the rebuilt lasted less than 400 miles.  I was coming back from Fresno, and I was losing everything... radio, clock.  I was on battery power again on the freeway, and I hoped the electronic ignition would not cut out until I got back home.  I made it!  Yesterday I replaced the rebuilt with another one from O'Reilly, using its lifetime warranty.  I'll finish installing the replacement by tomorrow.

           Then I'll know if it works,
           Robert Bernardo
           Fresno Commodore User Group - http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm
           August 11-12 Commodore Vegas Expo v14 2018 - http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex


Title: Re: Hatchbacks and sunroofs
Post by: RobertB on August 18, 2018, 09:38:05 AM
They removed the old FoMoCo stereo radio and installed a brand-new Pioneer DEH-X6900BT CD/radio.  When they tried hooking into the old Premium Sound speakers, they found out that the speakers had a separate amplifier, making the speakers unusable with the new Pioneer.  Solution - bypass the amplifier and put in new speakers.  As I had planned, the dull dash speakers were disconnected and the 5 1/4" door speakers (which were in the doors but were not working) were replaced by new Pioneer tri-axial speakers.  The rear speakers would have to be installed at a later date.
    Today I finally bought new rear speakers and had them installed.  The new speakers were Pioneer 6" x 8" speakers, quad-axial but really tri-axial because they have a woofer, mid-range, and two tweeters.  Strangely, unlike the FoMoCo front door speakers, the FoMoCo rear speakers did not have an amplifier hanging off each unit, i.e, they were ordinary paper speakers with a rubberized surround and a whizzer cone.  The paper was brittle, and one of the whizzer cones was torn... yeah, they needed to be replaced.  Also unlike the auto stereo installation of last year, this time the speaker installation was pretty straight-forward.  Undo the rear speaker grilles, detach the old speakers off the grilles, attach the new speakers to the grilles, adapt the old speaker wires to the new speakers, and replace the grill/speaker combination back into the rear.
     Final result -- much clearer sound now that the rear speakers were installed!

          Truly,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group - http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm
          Southern California Commodore & Amiga Network - http://www.portcommodore.com/sccan

P.S. But as in my other cars, more has to be eventually done to the Colony Park.  Cruise control has failed (it failed just as I was coming back from the Pacific NW a few months ago). and defrost/heat is not coming from the upper/lower registers.  Also the faded "wood" on the tailgate area is bugging me.  I asked about it at a local body shop, but they had no experience in restoring it and thus didn't want to work on it.  However, I found a site selling the vinyl wood that nearly duplicates the factory look. http://woodgrain4wagons.com/

P.P.S. I asked the auto stereo shop about whether they could stop (sound-deaden) the vibrating of the front inner door panels (which is what happens when the car stereo is a bit too loud).  They said they could apply Dynamat to stop those resonances.  T will have to think about that for the future!