1989 lincoln town car problems

gharris2gharris2 Member Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Lincoln
i go out in the morning and my lincoln town car is dead as a doornail..no sound, no anything..i jump start it and it takes off and runs fine all day..i park it at night..next morning it is dead again..i and the lincoln dealer have done all the usual things..it has a new battery..the complete electrical diagnostic check they ran and charged me $102 to run shows nothing wrong..they keep the car overnite..go out to start it the next day and it is dead..they and i do not know what to try next..have any of you experienced similar problems with your lincoln or do any of you experts have any ideas what to do next to solve this problem?? any help/suggestions would be appreciated..thanks much..
glenn harris
they have had the car for two weeks now


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    A CLASSIC case of the old rule:

    "A diagnostic machine is only as good as the man who reads it"

    Obviously, I mean OBVIOUSLY, you have a current drain that is draining the battery overnight. This is made double-obvious by the fact that the new battery is also drained. This is made triple obvious by the fact that if it was a defective alternator, it would take more than overnight for the battery to go completely dead. And quadruple obvious by the fact that a simple jump start immediately starts the engine and puts the alternator warning light out.

    A simple test would be to place a volmeter in series between the disconnected positive battery cable and the positive battery post, will ALL car's systems turned off (this may deactivate your car stereo settings, etc., but that's easily dealt with later). The voltmeter will show no or miniscule voltage if there is no short, and (I suspect) a very large draw of voltage if there is a current drain.

    Then, with the voltmeter still connected in series (in effect, an extension or bridge of the disconnected positive battery cable), you pull out fuses one by one until the voltmeter reading drops to zero or to a minivoltage. Then you know which fused circuit the problem is in, and then it's a matter of checking each component within the fused circuit.
  • spokanespokane Member Posts: 514
    Excellent advise, Shiftright. Sound and simple. You have reminded us to back away and consider the full range of possible problems rather than spending too much time on a subsystem that we somehow - right or wrong - consider to most suspect. Gharris2, have you found it yet?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well sometimes the machine gets in the way rather than helps. It is analogous to the pilot who flies straight into a hillside because his altimeter or radar or whatever told him it was just fine out there.

    "Nope. Machine says no battery drain. You must be hallucinating!"
  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228

    Here is a brain teaser for you. My 1982 Mark VI is a CFI California car. Twice in the past two weeks I've had an interesting event occour after about an hour of driving on a realatively hot day when I stopped the car and turned off the ignition to say fill up the car with a partial tank of gas or make a phone call the car would then not start again.

    I replaced the cap, rotor and fuel filter the next day and the car started up right away just like it always has. The next time this happened I'd simply stopped to make a phone call. I waited for about five hours for the car to totally cool down and then sure enough the car started right up again. There is no change in how the car drives once it's started it just simply won't start after a long drive on a hot day.

    Answer is?



    P.S.: You can skip this question in the Classics section if you find it here first.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,541
    I'm sure Mr. Shiftright might have a better explanation, but I think the problem you're having is called "heat soak". As soon as you turn your car off, the heat that would have normally been dissipated through the exhaust sytem and the cooling system just sits there, and "soaks" into things like the starter, battery, wires, cables, etc.

    I have a '67 Catalina that has this problem. It hasn't left me stranded, but will get cranky on hot days. When I turn the key after recently shutting it off, it'll just make one quick grumble as the starter tries to turn, and then nothing. If I turn the key back off, then start it again, it fires right up. I think the starter just gets a "hot spot" on it. Also, when they're hot, I think they take a lot more current to start, so the condition of your battery cables can be critical.

    I've taken a couple precautions whenever I drive this car, but don't know if they really do any good, or it's just in my mind. First, when I shut it off, I let it run for about 1/2 a minute or so. I figure this may dissipate some of the heat, before I shut it off. Also, I try to park it in the shade. I realize that's not always possible, though!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Yeah, I think Andre is on to something. This sounds like the periodic failure and rejuvenation of an electronic component affected by heat. My guess would be whatever type of ignition module is used to activate the electronic ignition system in your car. I don't know where that is or exactly which system you have, but in general terms that's where I'd look.
  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    Shifty and friend,

    Thanks guys you were both exactly on the money. The ignition module is the culprit. The Lincoln repair manual actually suggest striking to module with a rubber mallet to remedy the problem in the short term. Nothing like opening the hood of your Lincoln and an giving it a good thrashing with a rubber hammer every time you want to start it after it is hot.

    Take that, and that, n that n that.....you hulking piece of #$@*. Well at least it cheap therapy for tough times!

    Best Wishes and thank you,

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    To say nothing of how therapeutically satisfying it is to whack your car with a hammer!
  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    Shifty and friend-

    I went out and bought an especially bouncy one this week just for this purpose. Anyway it is working and at least I'm having fun! A resplacement module may not be in the picture at least until the "war on terrorism" is over. The therapy is working, I think. No harm no foul, right? I think it may finally be time to buy a whole new car, ignition module and all.

    How about another slab sided Lincoln, or maybe I should take Shifty's advice and look into a "HONKING" Nissan Infininty Q45. Somehow that seems like an oxymoron to me though. Never yet seen a Expedition move over on the freeway for a fast approaching Q45!

    Thanks, Shifty for all the great help over the years.

  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Member Posts: 872
    The ignition module is only $16 at autozone.com. If you can see it to smack it why not change it out, shouldn't be to hard to get to.

    I wouldn't get rid of a car over an ignition module, but buying a new one will help the economy! How about trying a Caddy DeVille DTS or Seville STS!!! I can vouch for them I build 'em! Come on over from the dark side, we don't bite.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    See that? Where else buy here can you get it right from the horse's mouth (no offense intended).
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Member Posts: 872
    I have been called a Jackass before but never a horse!!! LOL
  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    No way jgm-

    I had two of your bombs with the Olds developed 5.7's. Both were 79's,one a rear wheel drive Seville and one a front wheel drive El Di. Those things were a shade tree mechanics nightmare. I kid you not, when my wife and I averaged out our mechanical repair and replacement expenditures for these two Cads, we were getting into the $200/mo. for each car. I'd replaced the front wheel drive El Di with the rear wheel drive Sevile and it did not seem to make one bit of differece.

    Remeber, although the Cads were old they were being well cared for. I'm currently not a fan of used GM products. My 82 Lincoln has not had near the same amount of problems as the Cads and get's better gas mileage than my father's 98 Suburban to boot. The old Cads were a middle eastern oil seller's wet dream. Not to bash the Northstar front wheel drive Cads, awesome engine, but still a front wheel driver. Again not a fan of such configurations for such a large American automobile.

    Ok, that is that

    Best Wishes,

  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228

    You, andre, me, and my mechanic were all wrong about the heat soak, ignition module, coil, etc, etc, etc. LOL, I've now replaced them all and the car is still having hesitancy problems upon acceleration and still would not start again after starting and stopping the engine for just a brief maybe ten minutes and that was in the mechanic's own driveway!.

    This weekend I replaced the in-tank fuel pump and we'll see if that makes the start problem go away. I haven't had sufficient time to test this.

    I'm doing my share to try to stimulate the economy but actually I'm just kind of enjoying the puzzle of it all along the way. The car is just at the 99K mile mark and I'm still wondering if it'll all end up for naught. In any case, I am fervently looking for another low mileage early-mid 80's Mark VI to replace this car because then I can use all those great new parts I just bought on the next car! Nothing gaudy like the triple white I saw on E-bay a few weeks ago (I did that one already with the 79 Seville, pain in the [non-permissible content removed]....) Something with the French Vanilla Leather interior would be great because the inside of my current car is near immaculate.

    Anyway the saga continues.

  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
    Solved it by putting a little bag of ice on top of the module. 30 seconds later the engine roared to life.
  • tomj5tomj5 Member Posts: 209
    I had a 78 Merc that did the same thing. It turned out that the block was defective and was causing the crank to bind when hot. It got worse as milage went up. It got so bad that it would kill batteries and starters. Got about two starters per 1K miles.
    An independent Shop found the problem. Ford refused to do anything about it.
    Get rid of that pig while it still runs. Don't let prospective buyers restart it after it gets hot. (Put a new starter and battery in first) That is what I did. Remember NEVER NEVER buy a FORD product!!!!!!!! Good Luck.....
  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    OK- Shifty

    Here it goes. I've now replaced the ignition module, the condenser, fuel filter, fuel pump, rotor n cap, and I'm still having this same problem. At a stop, if you stomp on the gas, whether the car is hot or cold it'll hesitate, it chugs into acceleration with intermittent hesitation. If you ease the car into acceleration it'll get up an go. At highway speeds I no longer feel any hesitation and on the 280 we're talking 80+ MPH.

    The car is still having an intermittent no start situation when it is hot. I've taken to using starter fluid when this occurs and the car always starts right up. Is this a clue? Maybe it's just aqaurium gravel in my fuel line like the problem I had with the Packard about 10 years ago after spending several months swapping out engines in a child ridden neighborhood.

    I'm thinking maybe injectors or a fuel pressure regulator, but my guess is as good as yours, or my mechanic's, or Manny's, or Mo's, or Mike's. A little help here, please.

    You're the Best

  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Member Posts: 872
    How are the plugs and wires? If you have fouled out plugs, and/or bad wires both problems will pop up during hard acceleration. Start here if you haven't already. A high resistant wire can case funny problems, so if you are in doubt change the wires. Do you hear any spark knock? Is the timing set correctly?

    I would check the fuel pressure next, it sounds like it's low. My friend had a F-150 with the same problem, it was the pump. Check the pressure, if it's low and the regulator is not expensive and easy to change it. It shouldn't be any more than $35 for the part.

    If you have a ton of miles it could be a stretched out timing chain, it's kind of rare, but still possible. This would only cause hesitation, not a hot start problem.

    I agree with you on the full size cars being front drivers, and a ton of others must have too, because the new Cadillac CTS is coming and it's rear wheel drive. I bet the chicks would think you look sweet in one of those! Look out LS here we come!!! I'm telling you GM has come a LONG way since the 70's and 80's
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