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1963 Continental New Owner Questions - Vapor Lock, Hard To Crank, Tail Lights....

Bill -

I recently inherited a 1963 Lincoln Continental (majority all original). Just had the transmission re-built (would not go into reverse) and had a tune up. The car would run, but when I turned it off it would not start again. During the tune up they adjusted the timing (was running fast) and they said it should fix the vapor lock issue. The car had been running great, I took the car for a 30 minute drive on the highway and when heading back to the house the car shut off and would not restart. Had some friends push it back to the house and went out the next morning and the car started. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Second issue: it takes the car 10-15 cranks for the car to start, any thoughts or suggestions?

Third Issue: the taillights are on and won't turn off, draining the battery. Any thoughts or suggestions?




Hi Casey -

Some of these issues can be annoying to collector vehicle owners who have others perform maintenance on their cars. These 60's Lincolns have fuel and ignition systems that are not familiar to most of today's technicians. The engine can stall in the manner that you describe if it looses ignition as designed or proper fuel supply. The reason ( loss of fuel or ignition ) must be determined in order to proceed with a repair. Your mechanic may need to road test the car and revisit his tune up adjustments and the new parts that he has installed etc. according to specifications in the Shop Manual. New correctly adjusted points and a new condenser are a must in any tune up maintenance. If the engine has stalled from loss of fuel to the carburetor he may need to perform a fuel volume and pressure test as well as inspect the fuel filter ( including the one at the fuel pick up in the fuel tank ) and the fuel lines and hoses. If the car has not been used in a while and or the history is unknown to you, the fuel pump or its pushrod could be failing or debris in the form of rust can be drawn slowly over time from the fuel tank to the carburetor. This debris is well known to clog filters and deposit fine particles inside the carburetor resulting in an upset fuel mixture. Once you get the issue identified and corrected you will be good to go.

Your third issue of the "tail lights won't turn off" actually sounds like the brake lights are in fact staying on and not the tail lights. If this is so, it is almost always caused by a faulty Brake Light Switch. If this is true it must be replaced a.s.a.p. as they are known to cause a fire if brake fluid is leaking into their electrical cavity, These brake lights can also stay on because of a hydraulic fault causing some pressure to remain in the brake lines without the brake pedal being pressed. As mentioned above though the brake switch itself is the first item to suspect. Unplug a wire at this switch ( located at or near the brake master cylinder ) to prove if that is indeed your problem. They are available new at Lincoln Land and are relatively inexpensive. I recommend replacing them as a safety precaution if they appear old because of the above mentioned fire hazard. Let us know what you discover.