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    Thread: My new daily driver (80's panther chassis content)

    1. 08-07-2012 09:59 PM #1
      After months of scouring craigslist, I finally found something worth buying. It's quite a departure from my NB Miata, but I'm settling into it just fine.





      It's a 1985 Crown Victoria. Unsurprisingly, it belonged to an elderly couple who bought it new in 85, and the landau roofs condition implies it was garaged regularly. The five-digit odometer turned over 112,000 miles yesterday.





      The interior is clean as a whistle and all of the accessories work. For such an old car, I'm surprised by some of the features -- it's my first car with automatic head lights, yet it's older than I am. The front arm rests flip up to seat six, and this one came with the optional Cosa Nostra trunk large enough to accommodate six deceased, full-sized adults. It also has these neat side windows which I particularly enjoy.



      It also has an on board fuel computer that gives live MPG, as well as combined MPG. The current average is 11.3, but I got it up to 74 MPG downhill on the live readout. Prior to replacing the spark plugs, wires, distributor cap/rotor ETC it was putting along at 9.1 MPG! I think it needs a new fuel pump, as the fuel line had no pressure when I replaced the fuel filter. If any panther experts could chime in, I would appreciate some guidance.

      Anyway, I am just excited about my new car and thought I would share.

    2. 08-07-2012 10:05 PM #2
      Wow that's mint! Can you get a collectible plate for it?

    3. 08-07-2012 10:14 PM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by wdegroot View Post
      Wow that's mint! Can you get a collectible plate for it?
      It's older than 25 years so it may be eligible, but since it has it's original blue plates, they'll be staying (along with original dealer plate frame ) In California, cars with historical plates can only be driven in "historical exhibitions, parades, or historical vehicle club activities." Our plates are now white with blue letters, and the blue ones look much better on old cars IMO.

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      08-07-2012 10:28 PM #4
      Time to make your own Sabotage video
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    5. Member 200HP4dr's Avatar
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      08-07-2012 10:31 PM #5
      Excellent choice. Did you get rid of your Miata? Are you just looking to save some coin for a while? I mean, do people say, "Hey, I like the Miata, but I think I'll tool around in a Dan Akroyd era Dragnet CV."


      Chris
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      08-07-2012 10:36 PM #6
      That's a pretty cool score.

      Forgive my lack of Panther knowledge, but does it have a 5.0L? Fuel injection or carb?

      How hard would it be to convert to a T-5?

    7. Member 200HP4dr's Avatar
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      08-07-2012 10:42 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by Jettaboy1884 View Post
      That's a pretty cool score.

      Forgive my lack of Panther knowledge, but does it have a 5.0L? Fuel injection or carb?

      How hard would it be to convert to a T-5?
      If its 85 or newer, its probably CFI. That would be my best guess.

      Chris
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      08-07-2012 10:51 PM #8
      Have you checked the mileage against the trip and refill amount yet?
      (the only accurate way to do it)
      This car is rated 14/22.
      Crap- efi 302 4x4 F-150s get 10 mpg.

      You might try some throttle body cleaner and clean it out. That's a common issue with the old throttle body system.

      Does the car have smooth power? If so, then I don't think the fuel pump is an issue.
      A weak fuel pump will cause surging/power loss when you get on the gas.

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      08-07-2012 10:54 PM #9
      Clean Vic good luck with it.

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      08-07-2012 11:01 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by initiation View Post
      It also has these neat side windows which I particularly enjoy.


      One of the best auto items of all time. Parents had a 78 Cherokee Chief with those. No need for A/C in the Southern (eastern) USA with those.

      Leaked some and not a feature you want in a high theft area, but you can't win them all.

    11. 08-07-2012 11:09 PM #11
      Color me suprised, auto headlights and a MPG display...

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      08-07-2012 11:10 PM #12
      5 speed swap!
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    13. Geriatric Member BRealistic's Avatar
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      08-07-2012 11:12 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by veedublvr View Post
      Color me suprised, auto headlights and a MPG display...
      And they still work!
      Good thing it's not a German import.
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      08-07-2012 11:14 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by DasStormTrooper View Post
      5 speed swap!
      No.

      These cars are fairly easy to find in the south in usable condition.
      There is no need to cut up a survivor like this.
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    15. 08-07-2012 11:24 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by Jettaboy1884 View Post
      That's a pretty cool score.

      Forgive my lack of Panther knowledge, but does it have a 5.0L? Fuel injection or carb?

      How hard would it be to convert to a T-5?
      Yes, 5.0, and 200HP4dr is right about CFI. CFI is a strange set up -- it looks just like a four-barrel carb but has injectors. I'd imagine a T5 swap would be pretty simple in the CFI cars. CFI uses a normal kickdown rod to shift gears, but the other ones use a cable that, when adjusted incorrectly, destroys transmissions very quickly. If I ever come across a bucket of cash it's getting airbags, a supercharger, and a T5, in that order.

      Quote Originally Posted by 200HP4dr View Post
      Excellent choice. Did you get rid of your Miata? Are you just looking to save some coin for a while? I mean, do people say, "Hey, I like the Miata, but I think I'll tool around in a Dan Akroyd era Dragnet CV."


      Chris
      The Miata is gone. I whacked a curb and couldn't afford to get the suspension sorted, so I passed it on after disclosing everything. I still miss the **** out of it and will own another some day, but the CV is it's own type of fun.




      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      Have you checked the mileage against the trip and refill amount yet?
      (the only accurate way to do it)
      This car is rated 14/22.
      Crap- efi 302 4x4 F-150s get 10 mpg.

      You might try some throttle body cleaner and clean it out. That's a common issue with the old throttle body system.

      Does the car have smooth power? If so, then I don't think the fuel pump is an issue.
      A weak fuel pump will cause surging/power loss when you get on the gas.
      Compared to my calculations the car's computer is only off by a couple of tenths, but I've only put two tanks through it thus far, so there haven't been many opportunities to calculate. The power is smooth, and if you floor it at 60 MPH it pulls to 85 just fine, but it idles a bit rough in hot weather and the engine bay/air filter smells like gasoline.

      I'm mostly concerned with the fuel pump because if the system was pressurized, fuel would've squirted all over the floor and in my eyes when the old filter came out. It just dripped out, though. I've read that if the fuel pressure regulator goes out, the fuel pressure jumps from ~40 to ~70 PSI, so it can't be that. Another concern came up when it was up on jack stands for new brakes -- it wouldn't start with the front end up in the air, but started fine as soon as it was down. This shouldn't be a problem with a pressurized system. It seems like the fuel couldn't reach the front of the car and started to go back into the tank, or the pump couldn't keep supplying with the weight of the fuel fighting with gravity. I suppose it could have to do with the fuel tank baffles and not enough gas in the tank, but wouldn't there be enough fuel already to start it and let it run for a few seconds? Just thinking out loud here. I appreciate the suggestion though, I'll take a look at the throttle body tomorrow.

    16. Geriatric Member BRealistic's Avatar
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      08-07-2012 11:32 PM #16
      Early EFI Fords were known to need O2 sensors every 70-150k miles.
      When they go completely out- they idle rough and use lot of gas.

      Gas in the fuel filter means gas in the EGR- so that could mean a bad O2 sensor, poor fuel injector performance (which could be related to fuel rail pressure), or even just bad timing (just basic bad timing set, or even advance issue).

      Does it run hot, diesel when hot and turned off, or back fire/pop when hot and off the gas coasting down a steep hill?
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    17. 08-07-2012 11:44 PM #17
      Hmm.. sounds like a match. The spark plug wires and distributor cap looked like the original parts, wouldn't surprise me to find the 02 sensors are completely shot too. The little rubber boots on the sliding brake calipers were almost completely missing so it's definitely behind on maintenance.

      No dieseling or backfires, but the temp needle did start to rise past mid point one day after driving up a very large, steep hill. I think it should be able to handle that without overheating though. What's the diagnosis, doctor?

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      08-07-2012 11:45 PM #18
      Congrats on the sweet survivor!

      What an awesome and odd coincidence- a good friend of mine just took a '90 CV with 70k in on trade at his dealership today:

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    19. Geriatric Member BRealistic's Avatar
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      08-07-2012 11:59 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by initiation View Post
      Hmm.. sounds like a match. The spark plug wires and distributor cap looked like the original parts, wouldn't surprise me to find the 02 sensors are completely shot too. The little rubber boots on the sliding brake calipers were almost completely missing so it's definitely behind on maintenance.

      No dieseling or backfires, but the temp needle did start to rise past mid point one day after driving up a very large, steep hill. I think it should be able to handle that without overheating though. What's the diagnosis, doctor?

      The main issue with these early EFI Fords is no standardized OBD.
      Electronic diagnostic work relies on what is called a breakout box.



      And nobody has one.. except possibly a Ford dealer.
      .... and they require lots of time to use.
      (trial and error to find problem even with box)

      So the best bet is to replace anything old that can be easily replaced- spark plugs, wires, cap, rotor, coil (<----), 02 sensors..
      Do you have a timing light?
      A bad coil or distributor would really mess up the timing, and that could cause the fuel/economy issue.

      You might ask around to see if there are any retired Ford techs in your area that work on this vintage Ford.
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      08-08-2012 12:02 AM #20
      I have a soft spot for these cars.

      My first car was an 89 Grand Marquis with over 200k miles on it back in '01. Only had to replace a distributor cap in the year I had it. Took a ton of abuse and kept going, including a lot more neutral drops than I really should have done. Thought the 5.0 was pretty bad ass at the time.

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      08-08-2012 12:06 AM #21
      This is all kinds of awesome and hilarious...good find

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      08-08-2012 12:32 AM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by initiation View Post
      After months of scouring craigslist, I finally found something worth buying. It's quite a departure from my NB Miata, but I'm settling into it just fine.


      Dammit!
      A roadblock!... and I just had like one.. three.. ok, a few drinks.
      But I am fine to drive even though they took my license in 99.
      This is bullsheet!
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      08-08-2012 12:34 AM #23
      Color me jealous...my first car was a 1991 Grand Marquis that looked identical to this one



      Enjoy it!

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      08-08-2012 01:56 AM #24
      WTF kind of car transition is that?

      Still have the Miata?
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      Oh mellberg is cool, but his car certainly isn't helping that happen.

    25. 08-08-2012 02:21 AM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by mikegilbert View Post
      Congrats on the sweet survivor!

      What an awesome and odd coincidence- a good friend of mine just took a '90 CV with 70k in on trade at his dealership today:
      Look at the color combo on that one!!! Never seen one like that. If you have an interior picture, don't hold out. Or just buy it.

      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      So the best bet is to replace anything old that can be easily replaced- spark plugs, wires, cap, rotor, coil (<----), 02 sensors..
      Do you have a timing light?
      A bad coil or distributor would really mess up the timing, and that could cause the fuel/economy issue.

      You might ask around to see if there are any retired Ford techs in your area that work on this vintage Ford.
      I'll have to take a look at the timing and see what's going on. Coils and 02 sensors are cheap so might as well replace those. What are the odds the EGR valve is done for? They're fairly expensive. I've read a bit about cars running better with them disconnected, but I'd like to have a car that operates as designed.


      Thanks for the comments guys

    26. 08-08-2012 02:25 AM #26
      Quote Originally Posted by mellbergVWfan View Post
      WTF kind of car transition is that?

      Still have the Miata?

      No, but I will have another one someday.

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      08-08-2012 02:30 AM #27
      Unlimited technology from the whole universe and you cruise around in a Ford POS?

    28. 08-08-2012 02:41 AM #28
      Quote Originally Posted by r_fostoria View Post
      Unlimited technology from the whole universe and you cruise around in a Ford POS?

      Ha, what was I thinking? Time to sell it for an E36

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      08-08-2012 02:48 AM #29
      Quote Originally Posted by initiation View Post
      Look at the color combo on that one!!! Never seen one like that. If you have an interior picture, don't hold out. Or just buy it.
      I'll have him take some more pictures tomorrow and will post them up here. I'll admit it, I started looking at CL for a while after you posted yours. I'd love to have some awesome floaty 80s goodness, but I simply don't have the garage space for another car. Found this beauty locally though:

      http://seattle.craigslist.org/sno/cto/3190360581.html

      Original engine has been replaced with a 5.0 V-8 from a '92 Crown Victoria




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      08-08-2012 03:16 AM #30
      Quote Originally Posted by initiation View Post
      No, but I will have another one someday.
      Dang, I really liked that color combo you had. Any last pics of it?
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      Oh mellberg is cool, but his car certainly isn't helping that happen.

    31. 08-08-2012 04:06 AM #31
      Quote Originally Posted by mellbergVWfan View Post
      Dang, I really liked that color combo you had. Any last pics of it?
      Come on man, you're making me tear up. I miss it so much.

      Alright, a few wont hurt. Hopefully these haven't been posted yet.



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    32. 08-08-2012 07:16 AM #32
      "Whatever you do, don't press the red button."

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      08-08-2012 07:24 AM #33
      Quote Originally Posted by S0RRY View Post
      Color me jealous...my first car was a 1991 Grand Marquis that looked identical to this one



      Enjoy it!
      Same here, but mine was Maroon with a burgundy interior.

      Miss that car a lot.
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      08-08-2012 12:22 PM #34
      Quote Originally Posted by initiation View Post
      Ha, what was I thinking? Time to sell it for an E36
      No need, that thing is awesome. My post was actually a very subtle Men in Black reference.

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      08-08-2012 01:27 PM #35

      I always think of Matlock when I see one of these. Yours is magnificently clean. Well done.

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