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Author Topic: Hatchbacks and sunroofs  (Read 29843 times)
RobertB
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« Reply #30 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
« Last Edit: December 27, 2015, 03:24:27 AM by RobertB » Logged
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« Reply #31 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
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RobertB
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« Reply #32 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
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RobertB
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« Reply #33 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.
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RobertB
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« Reply #34 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
« Last Edit: February 23, 2016, 08:11:57 AM by RobertB » Logged
RobertB
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« Reply #35 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
« Last Edit: March 11, 2016, 06:43:21 AM by RobertB » Logged
RobertB
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« Reply #36 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
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RobertB
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« Reply #37 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
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RobertB
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« Reply #38 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
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RobertB
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« Reply #39 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
« Last Edit: May 12, 2016, 03:14:45 AM by RobertB » Logged
RobertB
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« Reply #40 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

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RobertB
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« Reply #41 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
« Last Edit: June 06, 2016, 07:58:37 AM by RobertB » Logged
RobertB
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« Reply #42 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
« Last Edit: June 29, 2016, 12:16:59 PM by RobertB » Logged
RobertB
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« Reply #43 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
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RobertB
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« Reply #44 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
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