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November 18, 2014

1968 Continental Interior Lighting Problems

Hello,

I have recently purchased a 68 Continental for a project, and one of the many things bugging me is the interior lights.

The only lights inside that work are the Oil light, Alternator light, Trunk light and High beam light. No lights work on any gauges and I don't know why, all the bulbs are fine and the fuse is fine too.

I'm not very good when it comes to wiring as mostly I'm used to engine work only.

Any thoughts on what might be wrong?

Michael

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Greetings Michael -

The power for the instrument lighting originates at the headlamp switch from the dimmer rheostat and is then directed to the small 6amp fuse in the fuse box. You state that the fuse is ok but are you checking the correct small 6amp fuse for power using a test light with the h/l sw. on? If you have no power in this position, the headlamp sw. may be faulty and need to be tested or the control knob is not rotated to the full brightness position. If the fuse has power you will need to trace for continuity from the fuse to the instrument bulbs. A wiring diagram along with some electrical skills are great assets for tracing and diagnosing electrical circuits.

Sincerely,

Bill

1975 Continental Headlight Issues

Hi Bill -

I own a 1975 Continental. It has 90k original miles on it and I love the car. One little problem though, if I turn on the headlights, the low beams won't work. If I switch to high beams they work but after about 5 minutes, they start flashing on and off. I can hear a relay under the dash on the passenger side, maybe above the glovebox, that clicks on and off with the lights. My tail lights and dash lights also turn off and on repeatedly. Any ideas on what that relay is? Or maybe you know of something else? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated since I am limited to daytime driving only.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

Sean

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Hi Sean -

The possibilities are numerous with these types of issues therefore some smart testing will be necessary to pinpoint the problem or problems. You don't tell us if the car is a recent purchase that came with these problems or if you have the AUTOLAMP option or not but if the tail lights, dash lights and license plate light are also flashing on and off with the headlamps it indicates that the circuit breakers in the headlamp switch are tripping off and on. This happens if the headlamp units have been replaced by newer style lights that require more power than the original design of the lighting circuit or if a circuit or circuits somehow have become grounded. In any case the breaker will open the circuit as designed to prevent melting the wires or causing a fire. Vehicles with upgraded headlamp beams may cause the h/l breaker to finally fatigue and will require relays to be added to remove the higher load through the headlamp switch in order to prevent circuit breaker cycling. The headlamp switch may also prove to be worn out and not usable as well. Another possibility is that both low beam filaments in your low beams are burnt out. This is not uncommon. You also could have two separate faults in two locations. The best way to diagnose this system for wiring problems is with the use of the correct wiring diagram and tracing the power path from the headlamp switch with the use of a 12v test light in a logical sequence to the headlamps.

The Autolamp system will be of course more complicated to diagnose if your Lincoln is so equipped. The Autolamp option and its diagnosis are explained in the factory shop manual. It is possible however that a recent repair in some area of your car could have resulted in part of the lighting circuit to accidently become grounded. This happens very often. If you can recall that these lighting issues began soon after a repair procedure was performed on your car ( body work or electrical ) I would look carefully at that area first. Some good automotive detective work along with some electrical skills and the correct wiring diagrams will be needed in order to trace the circuit properly. The above suggestions are based on some the of every day experiences that we have here at Lincoln Land with this type of problem. Keep us posted as to what you find out and if you need more information after some testing let us know.

Sincerely,

Bill

November 6, 2014

1971 Mark III Questions & Follow Up

Bill,

I'm writing again about my Mark III with 91,000 miles. I recently came across one of your letters that discussed replacing a heater core, and you mentioned needing to remove an emissions tube that's located on the rear of the engine. You included a helpful diagram, and I was confused that my engine didn't have what I saw on that diagram. I did find two metal tubes, one on each side of the rear of my engine that had been cut off about six inches from the engine and crimped at the end. I concluded that this tubing was probably connected to the thermactor air pump and check valve system that I couldn't locate on my car. The light bulb finally went on when I realized that the two empty mounting holes above the alternator are where the missing air pump must belong. I'm guessing that the original owner's mechanic removed that system because he either damaged it, or didn't want to work around it when they replaced the heater core at 90,000 miles.

I've read that removing this system is pretty common, and my engine runs fine, but a little loud. However the tube on the driver's side is rather loose and in worse condition than the passenger side tube. I've attached a pictures of both sides, and you can see a hole in the driver's side picture. The tube is delicate enough that the hole that grew larger when I touched it and the debris fell into the tube.

First question: Should I be concerned about the debris making its way into the engine? I haven't started it since the hole in the tube opened up.

Second, I'm not fond of the crimp method that was used to close these tubes. Can these tubes be completely removed and the holes filled with a bolts or freeze plugs? I can't find any details in the shop manual how to remove/install them?

Finally, should I try to replace the missing components if I could even find them? I do have a moderately loud exhaust noise that seems to come from the driver's side, and haven't identified it as a cracked exhaust manifold or pipe seal yet.

Thanks for your input and advice.


Bradley

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Bradley -

Special size frost plugs are available to seal these emission holes. There are two needed for each cylinder head. Another approach is to remove the rear crimped pipes and have them shortened to a stub and an improvised plug welded on to them. Any rotted or loose pipes or frost plugs will result in an exhaust leak. For further information on new press in plugs call our office and ask for Al. I have spoken to Al and he is aware that you may call.

Sincerely,

Bill

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Bill -

Thank you very much for the follow-up answer. I talked with Al, and he confirmed what I thought about finding plugs and the challenge I'll have installing them so close to the firewall. I've also since confirmed that the 6'" of pipe remaining on the driver's side is rotten and falling apart on the underside all the way down its length to the head, so there's no salvaging what's there. Getting a grip on that 5/8" bolt that secures the U-shaped clamp holding the pipe in the block is proving difficult with the engine in the vehicle, even with the hood off. Any suggestions how to get a good grip with a wrench without removing all the hydraulic pipes and other equipment in that area? I'm concerned about breaking the bolt because I can tell it is pretty tight.

Bradley

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Bradley -

Some of the other components will possibly need to be removed or repositioned temporarily in order to clear the way for an easier removal. Whenever I found it necessary to remove these pipes in the past I was able to configure a flexible ratchet with a good "six point socket" without too much trouble. Others here have used flexible wrenches that ratchet. No one has mentioned a broken bolt while removing these pipes. If you feel that you don't have the necessary tools etc. you may need to take the car to a shop that is capable. The only other alternative is to remove the heads or the heater plenum.

Sincerely,

Bill

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Bill,

You advice helped me feel more comfortable tackling the project, and I can report success. With the removal of the cruise control bellows and a swivel ratchet extension, I got that bolt out so I could remove the rotting pipe. I plugged the hole with an oil pan drain plug that I cut shorter, fashioned a washer with exhaust gasket material and then clamped it to the head with the existing fastener assembly. Now it runs nice and quiet.

Bradley

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Good work Bradley -

You got motivated, studied the problem and found a solution. A little creative improvisation on your part helped you solve the problem.

Sincerely,

Bill

November 3, 2014

1970 Mark III Thermactor Pump Questions

Hi Bill,

I have a question about the thermactor pump and the valve. I have a 70 Mark III. What is the purpose of it? I know it has something to do with early emissions. If the pump or valve is bad or going bad what are the symptoms? The reason for the question is my car developed a low roar/humming noise in idle and park mode not noticeable at high speeds. This noise is very annoying I checked all exhaust pipes retightened all bolts on exhaust. It does not sound like a exhaust pipe leak at all but I wanted to rule it out. I have vacuum everything works on vac side of car and does not sound like vac leak either. So the only other thought was this pump/valve? I talked to a older gentlemen who said when the valve went bad it blew out his mufflers on a 71 mark. Can you shed some insight on this bewildering noise? Thanks in advance.

Phil

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Hi Phil -

You are correct, that system is an early attempt to clean up excess tail pipe emissions during the early years of federal gov't pressures concerning automobile pollution. During those years the manufacturers were dealing with different fuels and engine designs and it would be difficult to know how effective these early devices are now with the low quality fuels of today containing ethanol.

Without actually being able to hear these engine noises that you are concerned with it would be difficult to advise you if they are caused by the thermactor unit on your Mark III or not. If you do however suspect the pump you could remove the drive belt to the pump and operate the car normally in order to possibly eliminate or prove the pump as the cause. Many owners have successfully removed this pump along with all of the pipes and valves etc. on these collector cars with no problems whatsoever with performance or local gov't inspections.

When diagnosing annoying sounds such as you are describing keep in mind that the cause could be as simple as a loose or cracked engine accessory bracket etc. Your description of "low roar and humming" suggests to me a cooling fan thermal clutch that has possibly "locked up" causing the radiator cooling fan to operate in the full ENGAGED mode at all times. Let us know what you find and we will post the results.

Sincerely,

Bill