Opinions on the Crown Victoria Police interceptor?

al_saadallahal_saadallah Member Posts: 23
edited March 2014 in Ford
I am seriously thinking about getting a 1998 Crown Victoria With police interceptor package. I have seen lots on ebay and they are dirt cheap and in awesome condition. What are your opinions on these cars and what is common as far as repairs and defects.



  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    there are shops that strip police cruisers and rebuild them with new parts, and they do a booming business, because there is a limited build of these machines, and they are expensive. by the time a public service agency gets rid of a cruiser, they are pretty well worn out... engines, suspension, running gear, brakes. the replacement parts for a cop car are also expensive, heavy duty parts.

    there is also a long line of cab companies and some private buyers in line to get the few "police specials" that are sold because once rehabbed (but then, we have all followed cabs that are fogging mosquitoes with their exhaust) they are very solid vehicles that take a lot of abuse and keep running.

    so... short version... unlikely you will get a cream puff. likely you will have to sink a lot of bucks into the car to get it into top shape. but if you do, there is a good chance you can get your money out of it over time.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Police cruisers and ex-cabs have very low resale value because they are generally driven until they are very tired. The only time police cruisers are worth anything is with all their equipment intact and working. Of course, then you can't drive them on public roads.

    This is why many states require disclosure of any vehicle used in police work, to protect the consumer against buying these basically beat to hell machines.

    If someone has rebuilt one, and can prove it with documents, you might take a chance, fine, but don't pay too much because when it comes time to sell, you won't get many takers.
  • q45manq45man Member Posts: 416
    and add all the optional items: springs, sway bars, alternator, oil, tranny, ps, diff coolers, change the diff ratio.......you be ahead and have a nicer interior.
    The problem is the idling, even at 100k odometer the tranny and engine may have the equivalent of 300,000 miles!
  • al_saadallahal_saadallah Member Posts: 23
    What kind of idling problem do they have? I would get one and put the Flowmaster 40 series mufflers on it, 3" headers, K&N Filter, power programmer for ECU.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    supervisors car, or the like. A friend bought an '88 Crown Vic - grey w/spotlight - from the Abilene, TX police auction in 1990 - it was a supervisor's car with only 80,000 miles. Ran great, cost him $1500 - a pretty good deal.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,083
    ...back in August, 1998, I bought an '89 Gran Fury that had been a sherrif's car in Richmond, VA. It had a camshaft problem that prompted its retirement around the 73,000 mile mark. It was bought by a place that fixes up old police cars and re-sells them to the public. They threw in a 318 from an '88 Diplomat that had been wrecked, with about 75,000 miles on it.

    When I bought the car, it looked almost brand new. It had been repainted, cleaned up, guaranteed that everything worked, and guaranteed to pass inspection. Right now, it's sitting dead at about 117,000 miles. I think it's the starter, but I'm not sure. Drawing from memory, here's what I've had to put into it...

    10/98: New Starter/radiator hose
    12/98: New fuel pump
    02/99: New belts, valve cover gaskets, front oil seal
    02/99: New starter (I delivered pizzas back then, and was rough on 'em, I guess!)
    02/99: New tires/alignment
    04/99: New front brakes
    06/99: Two new power window motors (both left-side ones...failed at different times, but when the driver's side failed, I gave in and fixed 'em)
    09/00: New front brakes, freeze plug, service tranny
    10/00: New radiator
    04/01: New heater control valve
    01/02: New distributor

    This thing was pretty well-equipped for a police car: power windows/locks/mirrors, tilt wheel, AM/FM/cassette stereo, cloth seats, interval wipers. Everything still works on it, too! Well, except for the starter, that is ;-)
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    but where on Earth did we come up with the idea that if you buy a beat up car, put 100,000 more beat up miles on it, that we won't have to put some money into it?

    Cars are machines, they require maintenance, whether we get it done or not, and sometimes things break. Heck, even copying machines require technicians to fix and adjust them weekly or monthly - they don't even go down the road in inclement weather!
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
    have included P&G, Merck, Pfizer, Upjohn, and several insurance companies. They have successfully purchased the cars, but I've never known of a law officer who wanted the car he had driven.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    the "idling problem" that cop cars have it that Officer Friendly has to pull over a drunk. the cop car sits at idle for 30-45 minutes, all warmed up and with power equipment drawing from the oversized battery and alternator, while he does field tests and waits for the tow truck to haul off the drunk's car.

    Officer Friendly then gets a code-3 call for a medical assist 12 miles away, and he puts on the gumballs and screams over to the Weak Arms Apartments and spends the next 30 minutes helping the fire or ambulance guys deal with an overdose or a heart atttack. yes, the cop car is idling and locked.

    it's then time for the Donut Hut, and the car idles while the three shift officers select some dainties and guzzle coffee.

    you get the idea... cop cars are running in idle a lot of the time. building up carbon, moisture in the oil, the alternator loaded by the laptop, five radios, the radar set in standby, the siren set in standby, dome light on, and so forth.

    it isn't that one cylinder of 8 fires at 500 RPM, it's that the car spends 7-1/2 hours running per shift, up to half of that in idle, some of it running flat-out, and the rest stop-and go....... then the next cop gets in, and maybe on Tuesday the engine will get shut off for an oil change.
  • al_saadallahal_saadallah Member Posts: 23
    LOL, good analogy
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,083
    ...although it's not the best thing for the environment, but I don't think ex-police cars have to go through the emissions test. At least I've never gotten a notice for my '89 Gran Fury, which I've had for 3 1/2 years now. Now this may vary from state to state, or even different counties, but every other used car I've ever bought (well, the '77 and newer ones!), I'd get the emissions notice about 2 months after I got the thing tagged and titled!

    So I'm guessing that either they just missed my car somehow, or police cars in general, just fall though the cracks. It does make sense, though. For instance, my Gran Fury has a 4-bbl carb and about 35 hp more than a civilian M-body that year, and enough beefing up to bring the already marginal mileage down to horrible levels. That's probably the main reason that the general public can't buy a police car...because it can't pass the emissions test! Similarly, Ford and GM offered 351's and 350's in their police cruisers, although the civvy models back then only had 302's or 305's. This may be a myth, but I've also heard that a few 454's made their way into the 80's Caprices.

    So my guess is that these vehicles were not designed to pass the emissions test, their VINs were never put into the appropriate data bases. Or, I could be totally wrong here, and my case was just a fluke!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Oh, we had a big scandal about that in San Francisco. Cops were busted for removing the emissions equipment so as to make the cars faster. No doughnuts for a month at least.
  • bcarter3bcarter3 Member Posts: 145
    It must cost quite a bit to install turn signals in all those police cars!!!!!
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,083
    I have to admit I have a passing fantasy of dropping that stuff from my car. I know that as soon as I did though, I'd get an emissions notice! I wonder how much of a horsepower boost I'd get by dumping the 3 catalytic converters and a smog pump? ;-)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    It may actually run worse. It's not a given that this improves power or performance.
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Member Posts: 872
    If you really want a cop car for the performance and durability factors like big brakes, hi power engine and so on just wait till the 2003 models roll out from the Ford camp. The have a Mercury Marauder that is out in '03. It is a street drivable cop car just like the Impala SS was in the late 90's. It is supposed to have all the fancy stuff that is on a regular Crown Vic plus all the cop car goodies, well no lights and sirens.

    Check it out here: http://www.mercuryvehicles.com/vehicles/marauder/
  • al_saadallahal_saadallah Member Posts: 23
    WOW, That car is nice. I love those chrome exhaust tips and the specs look really nice. I cant wait till it comes out I might wait and get one. I might just buy a Crown vic and put after market flowmaster exhuast 40 series with chrome pipes out the back.
  • bmaigebmaige Member Posts: 140
    I was Associate Director of Purchasing at a large state university that has its own police force. In talking to the police department about their cars and how long they lasted I found they didn't last nearly as many miles under their use as one would think, and nowhere near what the same car would last under normal driving conditions. They did a lot of stop and go, turn and twist type driving as they patrolled the campus. That accelerated the wear of not only drivetrain components but steering components, as well. In addition, those cars were used 24 hours a day, so they seldom cooled off, and, as someone else pointed out, from idling through the campus to high speed chases on city streets when someone ran. After seeing that I wouldn't trust even a low mileage, relatively recent model vehicle for my use unless it was a detective's car or a supervisor's car, and I could talk to the person who had driven it.

    Other law enforcement agency vehicles might be a different story. Highway patrol cars last more miles, as they are driven a lot of miles every day, but by one person, and should be well cared for. But even then they are subjected to high speed chases on occasion. I think I would stick to a program car or just buy a low end new car if I needed one.
  • mralanmralan Member Posts: 174
    Can't the general public order the police package in a Crown Vic?
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Member Posts: 872
    Nope, a civilian can not order the police package in Crown Vic. If you know someone that owns/runs a taxi company you can get one that way, but you still cant get the police interceptor model, only the heavy duty suspension, brakes, trans, rear end, and engine. The interceptor uses a high output engine not available to the public. I ran into this problem with a friend that wanted one, dealer said no way no how could a regular "Joe" get a hold of a new one. That Marauder is the same as the police interceptor, just with a Merc. badge on it. Don't ask why it took so long to make the thing, it was originally designed to compete with the Impala SS from Chevy, it was suposed to be out way back in '96 or '97
  • q45manq45man Member Posts: 416
    Buy a 94-95 Q45 [$10,000-$14,000 with around 60-70k] not a 96 [detuned engine]. This car with stiffer shocks [Tokico] and a bigger rear sway bar [20 mm] [another 30 HP ecu upgrade is available $600] will out accelerate, out brake, out handle any Full size Police Car made in the last 20 years even specials . All with leather interior and every lux item you could want. It will last 250,000 miles with careful maintenance.
    0-100 is 17 seconds; [0-130 takes under 32 secs] and top speed is 152-153 mph and stops in 129 feet from 60.
  • mralanmralan Member Posts: 174
    Oh, yeah that's right ... damm FWDs.

    No matter how much money you sink into that fancy Nissan, you're never going to get the feel of a RWD(pos trac) V-8 cruiser.
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Member Posts: 872
    They are out there, Michigan State Police have given their endorsement on the Impala Police pkg. It gives the car HD cast iron control arms, big brakes,big sway bars, stiffer struts, wider tires, steel rims and HD engine. They say that the impala can out maneuver the Crown Vic, and has better pick up. With only a 200 HP 3.8L V-6 it can't compete with a Camero, or Mustang for high speed chases, but for the most part high speed chases are not as common as people think.

    q45man-The idea is to get a ready to go heavy duty car, do a little overhauling, like around $300 to $400 for replacing nessesary running gear, like steering parts, suspension parts, and tune up. Not going out and paying big bucks for a car that need all the performance mods that you speak of to drive the total cost up to around $16,000. In reality you can go to a government auction and get FBI cars that were used by agents, not police departments, and they have all the same features of the regular police cars with out the ragging the cop cars get. Average auction price is around $11,000 for a 60K mile car that isn't all dogged out.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Can anyone verify whether some state police departments used Taurus SHO's for a while?
  • q45manq45man Member Posts: 416
    "No matter how much money you sink into that fancy Nissan, you're never going to get the feel of a RWD(pos trac) V-8 cruiser"

    The 94 Q45 is a RWD Viscous Limited Slip [3.55 diff] All aluminum 32v V8 [ 278 HP/300 torque STOCK] with 5 arm independent rear suspension.

    You missed the point that without the mods [new Tokico shocks cheaper than oems], the sway bar $50 from a junk yard, etc... the $10,000 used 94Q way out performs even the 2003 [planned] Crown Vic in all respects !!! and has a much longer more durable life.


    See " Michigan State Police test 2002 vehicles" under publications on right of page.

    They compare Crown Vic, Impala, Camaro, Intrepid Police cars. 60 pages in pdf ..accel, braking, handling wet and dry. NONE make it above 127 mph with a tail wind [except of course the Camaro].

    Makes you ill to see how BAD most are.

  • q45manq45man Member Posts: 416
    Taking 2 Miles to reach 120 mph vs the Crown Vics .99 of a Mile. The Impala had a quarter mile time of 17.04/83.65 mph vs CV of 16.4/86.5 mph.
    The CV stopped in 140 feet. CV 0-60 8.42 secs
    Compare to the 94Q 0-60 7.4 secs, 15.4/93mph in quarter and a stopping distance of 129 feet.
    Both the CV and Q weigh in at 4040 pounds and the CV has 5 more cubic inches of engine [4.6 vs 4.5 liters] the CV does have a 3.27 rear diff vs Q's 3.538 yet the CV get 1 mpg worse city EPA mileage. Both get the same on highway averaging combined is worse for CV by 1 mpg!

    For details see the web site linked in previous message.
  • q45manq45man Member Posts: 416
    that we service US Secret Service and other agencies confiscated cars many of which are Q and Lexus [SC400/LS400] [plug in blue light strobes and walkie talkies no external antennae except what looks like a cellphone stickon] all of these cars way out perform anything the government normally buys except the very special DEA undercover Plain Jane AT Camaros and the exotics they drive around [yes Miami Vice is still around in real life even in Atlanta].

    The point about 1 mile 0-120 mph CV acceleration is that if you are stupid enough to run you have about 30-60-90 seconds to hide while he's catching up. Or a trunk full of James Bond goodies.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    According to the chart I read at the above link, the Intrepid clocked at 135 mph and the Ford Interceptor at 129, both with electronic speed limiters.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,083
    ...here's some numbers I found awhile back, when I bought my '89 Gran Fury...

    These are 0-60 and 1/4 mile times for '89 model-year cars. I think the times were with two people on board...

    Caprice 350 TBI: 9.82sec and 17.62sec at 79.83mph
    Gran Fury 318-4: 11.77 and 18.63 at 76.20
    Diplomat 318-4: 11.84 and 18.79 at 75.53
    Crown Vic 351VV: 11.98 and 18.86 at 77.05
    Mustang 302PFI HO: 8.60 and 16.59 at 87.03
    Gran Fury 318-2: 14.98 and 20.23 at 71.55

    Here are the top speeds, as well, with 2 people on board. For one officer, add 5 mph.

    Diplomat 119 MPH
    Gran Fury 120 MPH
    Caprice 122 MPH
    Crown Vic 119 MPH

    The Gran Fury with a 318-2 maxed out at 113 mph with two officers aboard.

    IIRC, the hp ratings for these cars were: Caprice: 190, Crown Vic, 180, Mopar 318-4: 175, Mopar 318-2: 140.

    Just out of curiosity, does anybody know how much weight all the police equipment adds to the cars, in general? For example, if my '89 Gran Fury weighs about 3500 lb (the title said 3505), then how much would one weigh with all the junk they throw on it when the Michigan police dept does their tests?
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    there were something like three hot Taurii in the Minnesota State Patrol a few years back. I doubt that you could get a drunk into the back seat, though, considering how much techno-crud a cruiser has jammed over the tranny hump in your typical cop car, and how far back that would push the Taurus bench seat back. there are "nontraditional" paddy wagons of all sorts out there, many of which are drug case seizures, not all of which get groovy paint for DARE officers to take to the 5th grade classes.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,083
    ...they had a front-end piece that had slots in it like the SHO; maybe it was even the same piece as the SHO. The ones I saw were just generic county cars though, no real performance upgrades. But then our county used to get really stupid stuff, like 3.1 Luminas and Grand Prix's, and Caprices with the tiny 4.3 V-8.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    True Story:

    Friend of mine bought an old cop car from Fairfax, in Marin County, and stuck on the back cage was a little label that said "Thank you for not smoking".

    Isn't that hard to do anyway with cuffs on?
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Member Posts: 872
    You are comparing the CV to the Impala directly. Like I stated the Impala was deemed a good around town metro type cruiser, not a highway high speed chase car. You really can't compare the V-6 to the V-8, or the RWD to FWD. It's just a small town or downtown traffic patrol car, not a high speed flat out car. Now if they had a small V-8 or even a super charged V-6, they might compare better to the CV. The opinions I have heard from cops that have used them in service. In general they are well like in small towns, they like the fuel economy and the size makes it good on narrow streets.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    We have a '93 Taurus at work which was donated by Ford when it was new. Still has the sticker on the right rear window. Police package, 3.8, heavy duty everything. Originally destined for a dealer in Brooklyn, NY. Came in with the driver's airbag deployed. Has 16 miles on the odometer now. There were lots of them built, but I thought some SHO's were used for highway patrol. All brake and suspension parts except the rear upper strut mounts (and springs which vary by equipment) are the same as police package.
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