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June 30, 2014

1976 Continental Low Fuel Economy Light

Dear Bill -

On my '76 Continental, I had a dealer installed accessory which amounted to nothing more than a vacuum switch which under a load would cause a light to come on the dashboard indicating "low fuel economy".

It was kind of a novelty.

I now own a '79 and was wondering if the part is available for that year. I can find no information on the internet, nor in the owner's manual.

Again, it was only a novelty, but kinda fun.

Sincerely,

Alan

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Hello Alan -

The accessory that you are seeking is rare probably due to the fact that it was not a great sales success. As you state it is merely a novelty vacuum sensor with a light to advise the driver that he was accelerating too aggressively and getting so called "low fuel economy". If we have such an item in our inventory we will advise you.

Sincerely,

Bill

1979 Electrical Questions

Dear Bill -

I recently came home from work the other night to find just the single back driver side interior light on (circular accent light). It had not been started for a few days, but I did do some interior cleaning earlier that day. Any ideas where to start?
Sincerely,

Shaun

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Hello Shaun -

Some of these pesky problems can really be annoying. If it was my Lincoln and I noticed that one of the rear interior reading/courtesy lights was on soon after I had done some cleaning in that area I would begin by checking to see if I had inadvertently turned the switch for that lamp on. Sometimes when we clean interiors we turn switches on in error. That switch should be located at or near the armrest on the side that the light in question is located.

Sincerely,

Bill

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Dear Bill -

Found the switch that was accidentally turned on - oops....

Sincerely,

Shaun

June 23, 2014

1966 Continental Convertible Questions

Bill -

My 66 Convertible recently survived a huge flood here in Pensacola last month. Had rain water into the floor boards. Insurance adjustor felt it was easily repairable and a local ASE shop did some minor cosmetic interior, carpet cleanup. I think wheel bearings were redone also. Anyway, picked it up last week and there are a few issues, probably not flood related since these had been on-going.

I don't drive it that often but typically, battery will be dead within a short time and I also have to spray started fluid into carb area to get it started. Once started, runs good and will start fine within that day. Shop noted these issues and felt there must be some sort of drain happening in the electricals but they didn't spend any time on a search (yet). I also have a few power window switch problems (they checked the motors foe each and seem ok).

Questions:

What could the startup issue be?
Is it related to the battery dying?
If order switches, I assume pretty easy to install locally.
Thanks for your input.

Greg

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Hi Greg -

Your battery discharge problem could be a failing battery, a charging issue or a power draw as you have posted. You also indicated that your shop did not spend any time searching for a problem yet. It is therefore obvious that the above two items need to be checked out professionally first and eliminated or corrected before moving on to more complicated items to diagnosis.

The need to prime the carburetor on older vehicles after they have sat unused for a period of time is not uncommon and this condition can certainly be caused or amplified by the following.... A battery that is failing as noted above, poor battery to starter wiring, a starter that is turning slowly and is in need of overhaul, a choke that is not closing properly, poor fuel delivery to the carburetor due to a warn out fuel pump or f. p. pushrod, plugged fuel filter. The general condition of the engine and engine tune up maintenance are also very important and can be causes of poor cold engine starts if they have been neglected and not in good order. Which of the above areas could your Lincoln possibly be in need of checking?

Power window switches are common causes of power window failure and of course if they are in fact faulty new ones will correct the problem. Other common p/w failures can also be faulty wiring and relays etc. To answer your question, any local shop well versed in automotive electrical accessory repair should be able to change out any p/w switch that is faulty for you. I wouldn't however want to allow a person without experience in this area to perform the repair.

For further information, manuals or parts please call our office at any time. We wish you good luck and speedy repairs on your Lincoln.

Sincerely,

Bill

1977 AC Question

Bill -

I have converted the car over to new Freon, no air flow from the vents-any ideas?

Bruce

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Bruce -

Any ideas?....Yes I have, please provide a little information for me to work with. Did this happen immediately after the conversion? Is the blower motor operative at all? If the air does not blow from the a/c vents with the controls set for a/c where does the air blow from? Is the air blowing cold or hot. What else was done to the car in addition to the a/c refrigerant conversion at that same time? What model of 77 is the car? (Mark V or the larger body "Town Car" style)?

In any case converting to a different refrigerant does not affect the air distribution.

Sincerely,

Bill

June 18, 2014

1977 Mark Questions

Hi Bill,

1977 Mark V with 11,000 actual miles on it, drives great but when I'm slowing down (very slow) and turn, the engine dies on me. It doesn't happen when I slow and stop, it happens when I'm entering the turn, weather accelerating or still slow and it happens more to the Right than to the Left.

Second problem which happened only twice but scared me: while driving at night, all the lights went off (head lights and all panel lights) like it was manually switched off because I could hear the Vacuum units working. It happened just for about 2-4 seconds and went back to normal. No change on engine's RPM or other systems.

Needless to say that in my part of the world I can't get any assist.

Many thanks,

Ozer in Israel

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Ozer -

Nice car. Mark Vs with 11000 miles on the odometer are becoming harder to find these days. I am having problems in trying to address your questions so I need to ask you some questions. When these issues arise, how long had you been driving the car for? When the engine shuts down how do you restart it and how long does it take to restart?

An engine can stall in this manner if it suddenly looses ignition or fuel and this must be determined somehow at the time of the stall. General testing for the fuel pump and ignition is shown in the shop manual. Loss of ignition could be due to a failing Duraspark ignition system. Loss of fuel could be a weak fuel pump or a plugging fuel filter etc. The fact that it occurs only during slow turns deepens the mystery and makes the issue very difficult to diagnose without a personal test drive.

The lighting problem could be due to a faulty headlamp switch connection or some other electrical connection. When the lights turn off as you describe are you using the "autolamp" feature or are you operating the headlamp switch manually? The Autolamp feature uses several electrical components that can be failing. Do you have the factory Shop Manuals for your Mark V?

An underhood visual inspection of the electrical components and the general condition of the wiring may turn up a problem. The car is 37 years old and could have suffered some rodent damage during storage. Let us know if you can offer us any further information.

Sincerely,

Bill

June 17, 2014

1969 Mark III Power Steering Issues

Hey Bill,

Recently purchased a 1969 Mark III. It is in fair condition, with low mileage and a beautiful interior. However, the power steering has proved problematic. The pump seems to put out the required pressure only at higher rpm (1500+). The hydraulically operated windshield wipers will move laboriously at idle, but seem to move as intended at higher rpm. Is this a symptom of a failing pump? I have flushed the system, replacing the fluid with ATF as recommended. I have also attempted to bleed air from the system by turning the steering wheel lock to lock with the engine off. The wipers operate consistently at the same speed irregardless of the position of the wiper control knob as well. Could these problems be related?

Another possibly related problem is a seeming wandering of the vehicle above 45 mph; this wandering is severe enough that it renders the vehicle unsafe to drive, in my opinion. Could this be related to the steering system components, such as the rack or rag joint? Or is it indicative of an alignment/suspension/tire problem as I have read?

Thanks!

Cody

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Greetings Cody -

From your description of what you have done so far to remedy the high steering effort at low rpm I think that it would be a good idea to have your pump taken apart and inspected for worn internal parts. This is not an uncommon failure and at the same time new seals would be installed. We do offer a rebuilding service for these pumps if necessary. The system also has a hydraulic filter that is located in the reservoir that should be inspected.

Low pump pressure will of course affect the wiper operation but a cable adjustment is provided for the hydraulic wipers where the fluid lines go through the firewall. Access is gained by loosening the small panel and moving it forward to expose this adjustment. The cable adjustment and its operation are easy to understand and the hydraulic lines do not need to be disconnected to perform the adjustment.

Your description of the unsafe steering and wandering condition leads me to believe that a complete inspection of the front suspension including the springs, rag joint, steering linkage and steering box will be a necessary and an excellent suggestion for you to have done for your newly acquired Mark III. At the same time the tires should also be inspected for age deterioration and broken belts etc. Several components may need to be replaced and the front end will need to be re-aligned. If the above is done correctly the car will handle like new and be a joy to drive.

Sincerely,

Bill

June 16, 2014

1979 Continental Autolamp Questions

Hi Bill

I skimmed a bunch of your blog posts and am not seeing any that address my specific issue...

I have a '79 Town Car with the autolamp feature that I don't use. That is, I operate my lights manually.

That said, when I pull the light switch to turn on the lights, everything works fine with the exception that the actual head lamps themselves do not turn on. If I press the hi-beam button, all four lamps come on. When I press the button again, all four lamps go off. So, no low beam.

Light covers, side markers, tail, cornering and dash lights work fine.

What's my issue??

Jeff H

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Jeff -

Since you don't mention whether or not anyone has tried to check into this issue as yet, the best place to start is at the headlights with the lights turned on to the low beam position. Then with a 12v test light, check for power at the low beam electrical connection to the sealed beams. It is possible that the low beam filaments in both low beam units are burnt out. If there is power available and the lights do not come on they are burnt out. If there is no power available to the headlights at those connections at the headlights you will then need to make the electrical tests as shown in the shop manual. Your problem could then prove to be the Headlamp Power Relay , Headlamp Dimmer Switch or a wiring disconnect etc. The 1979 Shop Manual has excellent sections showing the operation and many diagnostic tests for the Autolamp Lights and the Automatic Headlamp Dimmer. This manual would be needed to perform these tests and to follow the various circuits. Do you have a set of the Shop Manuals. So Jeff, to answer your question "What's my issue" ?? can only be correctly answered at your end with some diagnosis as outlined above.

Sincerely,

Bill

June 9, 2014

1978 Mark Rodent Issues

Hi Bill,

I have a Mark V that was in indoor storage a long time and I believe that mice have made nests inside the power moonroof housing which are blocking the moonroof from opening more than about 1/3 of the way.

What is the simplest way to get inside it to clean it out?

It looks like I have to remove the headliner and loosen/remove some bolts that hold the housing to the roof to hopefully lower the housing enough so I can reach inside it to clean it out.

Do you agree the headliner has to be removed or at least detached from the roof?

I've been able to unhook about the rear 1/3 of the headliner just by pulling it off the sharp tack-like spikes it is impaled on and by removing a few plastic modlings along its edge.

But the rest of the headliner looks like a problem to remove and I need some advice on how to do that.

It seems that there are stiff metal pieces that run along the outer edges of the headliner above both of the doors. I have no idea how to detach those from the roof. I hope I don't have to remove the drip railing that retains the two rubber moldings that the two power windows seal up against. Do I have to remove them? If so, how can I first remove the rubber weatherstripping that is attached to those drip railings without ripping them?

It would be great if you knew some sort of shortcut so I could somehow vacuum out the mice nests, dead mice, and whatever else is jamming the moonroof.

Thanks very much for any advice you can give.

Bob

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Hi Bob -

Those varmints sure can make a mess and create a stench. I can't easily tell from here how extensive they have damaged your headliner along with the insulation and I have never had to remove a headliner in order to correct such damage. Experience in other areas of vehicle interiors tells me though that you may need to remove much of the headliner along with the unusable insulation in order to sanitize and deodorize the interior. A visit to a local automotive upholstery shop or two in your locale may confirm this. I will also ask George if he would send you the headliner removal procedure text along with drawings from the Body section of the Shop Manual. Do you have a set of Shop Manuals? All of the above information should help you to determine how far you need to dig into the headliner. Keep in mind though that if you don't go far enough the odor will remain for a long time.

Sincerely,

Bill

June 2, 2014

1961 Continental Fuel Pump Question, Updates And More Updates....

Hi Bill,

I read something in your forum about a thermostatic valve on the Carter three-port fuel pump. Can you tell me more about this? Is it something you sell?

Thanks,

Kevin

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Hi Kevin -

The three port pump had this thermostatic valve built into the return line of the pump port as part of the device to alleviate or prevent fuel vapor lock. It is also clearly shown and explained in the Shop Manual. All 61 Lincoln engines were so equipped. I am sure that we can supply you with the correct three port pump if yours was replaced at some time with a two port. Your return line to the fuel tank etc. must be intact to have the system working.

Sincerely,

Bill

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Thanks Bill,

For the past twenty-years I've been plagued with what I think is vapor lock. A couple years ago, I switched to an electrical fuel pump...no help. I shielded the fuel lines with a heat-resistant foil wrap...no help. I changed the original fan blade to a larger, lighter six-blade, no help. Last September, while watching YouTube, I noticed the mechanical fuel pump in the video didn't look like the one in my car; the shop that rebuilt my motor went with a Carter two port. Once I realized this, I removed the electric pump and two port and installed a Carter three-port....with a brand-new push rod. This really seemed to help as I hadn't experienced the stalling that used to occur after diving the car and leaving it parked for 30 to 45 minutes.....until yesterday.

Here's the twist: I had the car in to my mechanic where he replaced the water pump, fan clutch, and a 160 degree thermostat. He inspected the block for what I thought could be missing diverter valves (because the car does seem to heat up at low speeds or idle, but drops right back down at speed) but discovered they're in there...solid brass and looking brand new (10,000 miles on the re-build). I also had him change my spark plugs and inspect the points.

As I'm pulling away there was an unfamiliar and momentary sputter. I backed off the gas, put the car in neutral, stepped on the accelerator, and the sputtering stopped. I drove away and watched the temp gauge fall back to the cool side and had no further symptoms. I should've turned around and gone back to the shop.

I came home for a bit and after a half-hour got in the car to drive to the marina. Within a minute of driving I felt sick to my stomach as the car sputtered again, only this time it was accompanied by that familiar dead steering wheel as I battled to get the car to the side of the road. Once again...the same pattern: wait it out while trying to start it every five or ten minutes. I took the cover off the air filter and observed that the choke wasn't stuck. Like clockwork, once the engine temperature was in the middle of the gauge, it started right up.

Since I've replaced so much on this car, I thought maybe this valve had something to do with the equation. I looked at it and it looks like it's either new or re-built. If it is malfunctioning, could this be part of the problem? Is there a way to test it?

This is driving me crazy as it's hard to have any confidence in the car.

Kevin

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Kevin -

When your car stalls and will not restart until it cools down is the perfect time for someone to find out if fuel is being delivered to the carburetor or not. If not the diagnosis and testing of the fuel pump is described in detail in the Shop Manual. This includes the vapor discharge valve for the three port pump as well as the fuel pump pressure and volume specifications.

Your email clearly indicates that you are having this problem when the engine is "overheating" at lower speeds and the issue disappears when the engine temp drops back to normal. If your cooling system and all of your previously mentioned repairs and parts replacements (including the diverter valves) were done correctly with quality parts the engine will not overheat in any climate that we experience.

You do not mention if the radiator was ever inspected by a good known radiator shop. Mechanics and car owners remove and send their radiators out to be flushed, cleaned and inspected but many have been fooled by incompetent shops that o/k a rad that is in fact proven faulty at a later date. Radiator repairs and inspections MUST be done correctly. Many cooling system problems have been solved when the radiator is finally taken apart and examined properly. Unfortunately you need to be aware that some shops will tell you that they did take your rad apart but in fact they have not.

If the engine is truly overheating then you must backtrack in order to correct that overheating issue. If you do diagnose that the radiator may be faulty, show a copy of this reply to your rad shop and ask if they agree or not.

Sincerely,

Bill

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Hi Bill,

Here's an odd question....would a vacuum leak cause the kind of problem I've been describing? My mechanic found a tiny foreign object in the carb...sorta like a BB but only half its size. He removed it and was convinced my car was fixed.

I drove it on Saturday night to a restaurant. Upon our departure, I got about a block away when it sputtered and died. Everything was so similar to what I've experienced before but with one HUGE exception. The evening was cool and the motor temp was below normal operating levels. The motor cranked and cranked and but just would not ignite.

A tow truck driver appeared on scene and poured a small amount of gas into the carb and the car fired right up and I was able to drive home. The next morning I was looking under the carb and heard a hissing sound. I cannot believe that my mechanic didn't find what I did: an eighteen-inch 3/8 vac line that was almost completely severed on both ends right at the hose clamp...it was literally only being held in place by the reinforcing threads built into the rubber.

I replaced it and, instead of cranking and cranking and cranking before firing, the motor now seems to be running before I release the key. Is this relevant to my stalling problem?

Kevin

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Kevin -

To answer your question " Is this relevant to my problem?" Only time will tell. Vacuum leaks such as this are not allowed and they can contribute to all kinds of issues. BUT when you stated that the engine started immediately after pouring fuel in the carburetor after you had cranked and cranked the engine it leads me to believe that an undiagnosed fuel problem exists. If the engine stalls again and the carburetor is not receiving fuel at that time then the fuel delivery system still needs to be diagnosed as per the shop manual. Carry a small fuel container on board to prime the carb. when and if it stalls again. This will be part of the diagnosis. I assume that your ignition system in regard to points and condenser has been well maintained.

Sincerely,

Bill

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Bill -

It happened again last night, much to my chagrin. This time I was about four doors away from my house. I had stopped at a neighbor's house and, noticing the temp gauge was still on the cooler side, deliberately left the motor on. I was inside for maybe fifteen/ twenty minutes and when I came out discovered the motor had died. I tried to prime the carb and I swear I could hear the gas bubbling/vaporizing as it hit the carb. I don't think I've ever heard this before. Plus, it took a lot longer to cool down, I'm thinking maybe three hours vs the normal one-hour before it started again.

After knowing most of this car's motor history, where would you zero in if yours was a shop. You mentioned fuel problems. I replaced the fuel pump and installed a new push rod at the same time; the fuel lines are wrapped with heat-resistant fabric and the fuel filter is clean. The shop manual does detail the vapor release valve and I'm assuming it works because when I disconnect the return line there's fuel in it. Could it become inoperable at higher temperatures?

I'm wondering if there's a problem in the fuel line, or perhaps the filter on the sending unit. What I can't understand is how an apparent "blockage," wherever it is, becomes "un-blocked". I did install a new gas tank but I don't think I've ever had anything done to the reserve tank.

Kevin

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Kevin -

It doesn't matter what you have done before. If the engine is shutting off suddenly and acting as you have posted many times, someone needs to do some "Meaningful Diagnosis" as I have already stated several times.

If the engine is also actually overheating as you have previously stated you must address an "overheating condition" that could be leading to fuel vaporizing possibilities. If the possibility of random poor fuel delivery is suspected at any engine temperature you must perform the fuel pressure and volume diagnosis on an engine that is at operating temperature. If the points and condenser have not been replaced recently they should be replaced because condensers (old or new) can be faulty and fail when they heat up.

To sum up, an engine that is capable of performing well and then mysteriously runs poorly and stalls erratically as yours seems to be doing is either not receiving proper fuel delivery to the carburetor or the ignition is cutting out during that critical stalling event. An engine that also has a recent history of any overheating as you have told us several times in your email needs to have this overheating corrected. Proper diagnosis by a competent understanding technician will be the key ingredient in this case in order to pinpoint the problem.

Sincerely,

Bill