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Lincoln LS: Problems & Solutions

schneider11schneider11 Member Posts: 4
edited March 2014 in Lincoln
My 2000 Lincoln has 110,000 miles and has overheated 5 times in the last 30 days. I have taken it in all times and the mechanics cannot figure it out. It does not happen all the time. In other words when I take it in, it does not overheat, but after driving it a few days, boom, it happens again. The computer show nothing, the thermostat has been replaced, the lines have been bleed, radiator cleaned,,,and so on. Anyone have any ideas?


  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    with a situation similar to this. My wife had a '91 Grand Am. One night I noticed the temp. hand beginning to creep up during some stop-and-go city driving. But just as soon as I got out of the traffic, which was luckily only a few minutes, the temp. went back down to normal. Well, I just chalked it up to the stop-and-go traffic, but I kept a close eye on it after that. I noticed that if the car was sitting still, or moving very slowly, it would try to overheat. The fan was not coming on. But how could that be since the very same type driving on even hotter days the car would not overheat, even when sitting still in traffic for several minutes at a time?!?! Well, I did some investigation and found the fan will come on and stay on if the A/C is on. But, with the temp. sensor out, the fan would not come on by itself.

    It may be that none of this will apply to your car, but it might. It sure had me scratching my head for a while. Leave the A/C on all the time and see if the car still overheats.

    BTW: Mine never did set the check engine light.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Sounds like a cooling fan issue because it is one of the few variables in the cooling system, maybe the only thing that can really vary day to day.

    What you need to do is this---when the car starts to overheat, pull over and see if the cooling fan is running or not.

    If it IS running, and you've done all you've said you've done, I'd do a pressure test and look for a head gasket leak-- which can also in rare cases be a variable.
  • jdonneejdonnee Member Posts: 56
    I had a situation where my 2000 LS was indicating an overheat situation and the computer would actually slow the car down as it is suppose to do. I would pull over to the side of the road, turn off the car for two minutes and then restart. All would be fine and the temps would be back to normal on temp gauge.

    Dealer replaced the thermostat and everything has been fine since.
  • atnatn Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 Lincoln LS and I have been having overheating problems too. It will go a while without an incident but then all of a sudden it will overheat. Does anyone think this might be a sensor problem?
  • jaffojaffo Member Posts: 2
    My 2001 had an overheating problem that was related to a bad power steering pump. The Dealer said the LS has a hydraulic cooling fan.
  • vidtechvidtech Member Posts: 212
    generally if it overheats during stop and go driving look for an air flow problem across the radiator.if it overheats on the freeway look for a water flow problem.are you losing coolant?check for leaking water pump or head gasket.hope you do not have the 4.6 v8 in that lincoln.with the plastic intake and all that aluminum that engine won't take too much more overheating.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    vidtech: The 4.6L is not available in the LS. I'm not sure, but I think the v-8 in that car is somewhere around 3.9L.

    jaffo: A hydraulic cooling fan???? I've been under the hood of my sister-in-law's LS, and granted I wasn't closely studying the fan, but I'd bet you an expensive steak dinner it's electric.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Could be a viscous clutch type fan. Some people call those hydraulic, but I don't recall any connection to other hydraulic systems. That sounds like something only Citroen would do.
  • slunarslunar Member Posts: 479
    OK mullins87, I want that steak dinner. The 2002 - 2002 LS has a hydraulic motor turning the engine cooling fan. I believe that this was done to reduce the electrical load on the alternator.

    The there was a period of time when Ford was getting bad hydraulic fan motors. This problem held up early shipments of the T-Bird as well as LS's for a while. Before any of you start bashing American and Ford quality, the hydraulic fan motors are made in Germany.

    In 2003 the LS switched to an electic fan motor. I'm guessing that they could do this because the heated seats are no longer the electric heater wire type.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    You bet this Sunday I'll have my head stuck under the hood of my sister-in-law's LS. This is one setup I have to see. I'm not bashing American and most certainly NOT Ford's quality. I drive an F-350 and my wife has a Windstar.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Interesting. So how does this work exactly? How do you pump hydraulic fluid into a spinning fan hub? How do you get hydraulics to spin anything directly?
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    I've seen hydraulics used for this type mechanism for years. Though, usually it on pieces of heavy equipment such as a rotary cutter mounted on a long arm used to mow steep right-of-ways. Utility companies use hydraulic drilling machines to bore holes to set utility poles. I just can't believe Ford would put that much engineering, production and assembly cost into something like this. I cannot wait for Sunday to get here!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    But do those machines actually spin something with direct hydraulic action? How does the drill "drill" with hydraulics? What gets the fluid going, and what mechanical advantage could there be over a clutch, or cable drive or ????

    Seems to be hydraulic drilling or spinning would be a very mushy, non-direct affair.

    Guess I need to take a few of these apart and see what's what.
  • slunarslunar Member Posts: 479
    Hydraulic motors are not mushy and can have many advantages over clutch cable drive. There is nothing mushy about a hydraulic cylinder, liquids are NOT compressible.

    Two key advantages of hydraulics are:

    1. The power source can by remotely located and can deliver more power to a remote location that has a lightweight power head.

    2. Should a hydraulic motor stall, there is less chance of damage, such as broken cables, gears etc.

    The best way I can think how to explain the advantage of hydraulics, is to think of pnumatic power tools and how well they work. They work on air, which is compressible. Now imagine how much more power could be delivered to the too with a no compressible liquid.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    probably some sort of stepping cut into the back of a rotor assembly... when hit by a stream, close tolerances so no leakage, voila! -- a turbine results.

    sounds quite european, designers mad with power forcing managing directors to mop up the test lab, etc... and that's got to be a $150 motor at least, not including the pressure hoses, replacing what at retail is a $35 DC motor on your traditional FWD cooling fan.

    also a good way to hose up PS pumps over time. just put a goldarn bigger alternator in, geez. that level of detail and precision to move air across a radiator is absolute overkill and expensive.

    oh... the atomic bomb revealed that all matter is compressible under sufficient heat and pressure. it's just that you need shaped charges or a critical mass plus of nuclear fuel to get that much.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    on the typical car engine works. It has an impeller that spins, sucking fluid in one side and forcing it out the other. Well, imagine that same setup only where the fluid is being forced into one side under very high pressure. That impeller is going to turn. Reverse the flow and the impeller will turn the other way.

    Now as swschrad described, the tolerances are much closer allowing very little leakage past the impeller. Have you ever driven a hydrostatic riding mower? That is a hydraulic drive system. To test the "mushiness" of this type system, take off either in forward or reverse and slam the pedal or lever into the other direction. The mower will either break traction and spin the tires while going the opposite direction, or it will snap your neck and immediately reverse direction. And as mentioned above, if you happen to overload one, there are usually check valves designed to relieve pressure on the drive system should the change in direction be too sudden.
    Most all of the zero-turn radius mowers you see are hydraulicly driven.

    But, as I said earlier. I cannot wait until Sunday afternoon to get a look at this system. It just boggles my mind, which may not be hard to do, why Ford would spend that much money to engineer something this way!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Thanks for those observations, much appreciated.

    However, applying this principle to an automotive cooling fan, one wonders why one would take a simple thing that works so well and make it more complicated? I'm wondering what the engineers thought the advantage was. I mean, a motor takes power to operate, too. Maybe they wanted something super-quiet?

    I'm wondering if this type of cooling fan could be motor-oil driven, since it sounds like the hydraulic fluid is only used as a "pusher" and doesn't need to be hydraulic fluid at all.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    it's just tech overkill. it would also mean having to beef up the oil pump to provide the third or half horsepower the fan probably takes.

    maybe it makes for a smaller motor to use a hydraulic. but such a cost.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I remember when Mercedes used hydraulic windows lifts (briefly). We used to break pencils with the windows and I recall the lifting pressure was something like 2500 lbs psi!! Apparently if a line broke while pressurized it would cut through your finger. Talk about over-engineering!
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    from all the do-gooders hanging on you screaming about dangerous windows.
  • sawmillsawmill Member Posts: 81
    Apparently the electric load on the original LS was too great to accomodate an electric fan -- that is what we were told by Lincoln back in 2001 when we raised the same questions. In fact, a problem in a shipment of hydraulic fans brought the production line to a halt.

    I would guess hydraulics are more efficient then converting mechanical motion into electricity by alternator and then back into mechanical motion by a fan motor -- hydraulics does not waste energy, except by fricition, but there must be a strong reason to replace cheap electric motors with bearings, valves, fluid, and pipes.

    I am told the Jag S type of the same year (with pretty much the same engine and chassis) had an electric fan.
  • supervette79supervette79 Member Posts: 3
    The fan on 2000-2002 LS (V6 or V8) is hydraulic. It runs off its own pump and uses power steering fluid. How do I know?? I am a Service Director at a Lincoln-Mercury-Volvo-Mazda dealer.

    By the way....2003 and up have electric fans.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    you can bet I had my head under the hood today. Damn I hate to admit this, looks like you guys are right. This absolutely blows my mind!! Why would Ford go to this level of engineering and expense to do something so simple as a cooling fan? Or is this just a case of leftover British engineering? I can see a design like this going hundreds of thousands of miles, why put it on a car that most probably won't see 150k?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    There's plenty of good engineering that is not cost effective. Given how good electric cooling fans are, I was just wondering if there was some compelling reason for a motor-driven hydraulic fan. I believe they did it (obviously) but can't believe they thought it was a good idea.

    I'll try to make it a point to check one out sometime and see it in operation. Thanks for the info everybody.
  • q45manq45man Member Posts: 416
    Hydraulic fans on SC400 [Lexus] since day one. The radiator was to far forward to have a safe shaft length for an engine driven fan in V8 applications [car was designed for a I6].

    Electric fans are hard to speed control [on/off/at best high low] vs engine speed vs air speed [mph].......see this on V8 mostly due to extra heat output.....very reliable have seen SC400 with 300,000 miles if the PS fluid was changed.

    Really hard to get a reliable >110-120 amp alternator unless water cooled [BMW/MB].
  • slunarslunar Member Posts: 479
    mullins87 said "why put it on a car that most probably won't see 150k? "

    The LS was the first FoMoCo vehicle designed to their new 150,000 mile durability specifications.

    The LS is build so solid, 200K will not be a problem for any LS that is well maintained. If you read the LS forums on Edmunds and elsewhere you will see that there are a good number of LS's that already have over 100,000 miles. Two LS owners I know are around 120,000 miles with them running strong at this point.
  • scottc8scottc8 Member Posts: 617
    I know two owners of '00 V8s that had intermittently failing thermostats. New thermostats fixed the overheating problem.

    Another possible cause: If the coolant was ever drained, there is a specific process for refilling that must be followed to the letter. If not, large air bubbles can be trapped in the system and cause overheating.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    I didn't say that car wouldn't go 150k. I said "most probably." In todays disposable world I really don't think most people will want to keep their car that long. Now, how long will an '83 Caprice Classic go without ever having any engine or tranny work? (excluding thermostats and alternators) How long will a '92 LeSabre go without ANY engine or tranny work? Both vehicles are in my wife's family and both are well past 300k! In fact, the Caprice has never seen a tranny fluid change. And yes, I am telling the truth.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You've already beaten the calculated odds for those cars by a long shot. Most predictions for modern cars done by engineers suggest 175K-225K at the outside. 80s cars were probably even less.

    Here's another way to get good cooling:

  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Looks like an old Isetta, but weren't they 3 wheelers?
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    they wanted to use existing technology, guess they got this one ready to bid >:-D

    I just wonder if the paint is re-entry heat resistant, though ;)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Which car was it that had the engine in the back and the radiator in the front, with longgggggg tubes running the length of the car? Was it Fiat X1/9? All I remember was it was a nightmarish engineering solution--can't recall the car, though.

    Better way is dual radiators in the rear quarter panel air scoops.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Don't forget that gem from Pontiac, the Fiero.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Overheating can be a damn hard diagnosis sometime. There's a lot more to the problem than meets the eye.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    and most of the time you can't see/feel/hear what the problem is.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    the first rear-heater I was aware of was the 1975 Suburban... a second heater core and cheapo fan way back by the tailgate! I do imagine that replacing those heater hoses was a tad pricey, think they ran through a frame girder for protection. you had to have the diesel pretty warm for that heater to put out.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    My wife recently bought a Windstar. Do you suppose that thing has a heater core in the rear?

    schneider11: Have you ever found out what was the problem?
  • schneider11schneider11 Member Posts: 4
    I posted the original question and guess car is still in the shop and not fixed. A new processor was installed and two days after the same thing happened, I drove to work , approx. 45 miles, no problem, went out to lunch and when I got back in the car the heat indicator shot up and the car eventually died. This has happened now 6 times. The service manager thinks it's electrical but I guess that is a really difficult thing to trace. Bottom line is that for as much as I paid for this car, it should be running great with 110,000 miles on it. Mostly highway miles too. So the saga continues....very dissapointed with Lincoln Mercury cause I have a 1992 town car with 260,000 miles and it runs great.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    Don't trash Lincoln just yet. If this is the first problem you've had with the LS, then you're due for one. You're right, if it is electrical, those can be the hardest to trace if it's an intermittent problem.

    Making some assumptions here: You trust the mechanic has the proper knowledge, skills and tools to do the job. The power steering pump is working properly as well as the solenoid and valves connected to the fan, fan also. So air flow is not the problem. There are no air pockets anywhere in the coolant. If there are, then that could cause your problem. The water pump and T-stat has been checked and are working properly. There are no kinks in any of the radiator or heater core hoses to impede flow. Nothing has been dropped into the radiator or engine, such as the foil seal off the anti-freeze bottle, that could block key passages.

    If the problem is a "happens one minute, then not happen again for several days" sort of thing with all other variables being the same, such as driving styles, conditions and temps, then the problem would almost have to be electrical. Has the mechanic been able to reproduce the problem? If he has, did he physically check to make sure the engine was ACTUALLY overheating? You mentioned a new processor, did you mean PCM? That leads me to think that maybe the car really isn't overheating, but only thinks it is. I can see where a bad temp. sensor or PCM could create the scenario you describe.

    As it has been revealed earlier, I'm no expert here, just a shadetree trying to help. You've got one of those problems that will drive you nuts trying to find it. Good luck.
  • sawmillsawmill Member Posts: 81
    The LS CPU uses a single bus to carry messages to all the modules -- if a connector is not electrically sound, it can introduce noise into the system -- and screw up something else at the other side of the car.

    That happened to my 2000 LS V-8 (along with a host of other problems, including a sticking thermostat).

    I've never heard of it -- but if the sensors on the engine communicate through the same bus -- the problem, if electrical, could be almost anywhere -- including (and especially) the shaky grounding path from the rear of the car (aluminium sub-chassis) to the front, where the CPU and alternator is located.

    Bottom line- intermittant electrical problems are a real bear for even experienced LS mechanics to diagnose.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    in the old coax Ethernet days, I had to resort finally to hooking up a TDM (essentially sonar for wires) and an oscilloscope to every bloody coax run we had, shake each connection as I looked down at the scope from the ladder, and rebuild a number of connections and throw out a dozen T connectors to get rid of a bunch of flakies. this was over something like 120 runs with over 2500 connections. couple months worth of nights doing it.

    the way it's done on a car electrical bus should be, disconnect all connectors after pulling the battery cable, clean up anything that needs it, put a thin coat of dielectric grease or CAIG De-Ox-It on each connector face, skim the O-rings with dielectric grease, connect/disconnect several times and then put 'em together to stay and move on to the next connector.

    if anything looks burned up, you have to get appropriate connector rebuild parts and fix it.

    common busses suck from a repair perspective. I much more like switched connections, in which separate runs to each geegaw end up in a master connections box that electrically kicks signals where needed when needed. very little fails there, and it only affects the nutty branch when it does. don't suppose this equivalent of the $19.95 ethernet switch has made it into cars yet.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I had a 1963 Buick Riviera once and it had an overheating problem that never got solved. Craziest thing. Even took the motor apart to no avail. I think it was a hot spot in the internals of the block itself, a casting defect. But I wasn't about to put in another motor to test that theory. I was very tired of the car by then. It was a gradual could almost time it. It would climb degree by degree and you couldn't stop it by any means you tried. Even a larger radiator and special fan didn't work.

    I think if I had had a 500 gallon cooling system it would have eventually boiled, given enough time.
  • bullet01bullet01 Member Posts: 2
  • captaindiscocaptaindisco Member Posts: 7
    I love that car (BULLLIT).

    I just changed my thermostat today on my 2000 Lincoln LS. I'm having the same problem as the origional post (overheating occasionally). Last time it overheated, I checked the "hydrolic fan" and it was screaming. I replaced the thermostat without purging the system and it overheated again. I then purged it and drove it hard for amout a mile and no problems yet.

    Bullet 01, I read you post before replaceing my thermostat. It appearst I have the same setup as you do "ALLEN WRENCH TYPE COVER" <- I fugure that is the the purge cap. Below that is the thermostat. If it the same setup as my car, you will find the t-stat running to the lower radiator connection, not the upper. (PS - dont use all caps in your next post, it's hard to read)

    Now I need to let off some steam. The dealership wanted to charge me $500 to replace an o2 sensor and a T-stat. The parts cost me $56 ($11 T-stat, $45 O2 sensor) I'm not a mechanic and it took me 10 minutes to replace the sensor and a hour to replace the T-stat (including the time spent doing a test drive, running up to store for advice and antifreaze, purging the system and doing another test run).

    I'm going to keep reading and posting because I suspect that the thermostat isn't the cause.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    so how much boat can you get there for $500 a month, anyway? because it sounds like somebody at the dealers needed to make one of those payments.
  • scottc8scottc8 Member Posts: 617
    seem to be the LS's biggest problem. There are a lot of poor ones. I'm fortunate; for $500 my dealer will flush and fill the auto trans, flush and fill the cooling system, and give me back about $300 change.

    Captain, if you've successfully purged the LS cooling system, you're a better mechanic than you know, or maybe a bit lucky, because it's very difficult NOT to get air trapped in the system, which causes overheating. We've seen this enough times in our owner's club that most of us recommend biting the bullet and paying a dealership the $80 or so they charge to service the cooling system. Congratulations.
  • captaindiscocaptaindisco Member Posts: 7
    I worked fine for a few days but it just over heated again. I'll have the dealer purge it for me and see if it fixes the problem. (a different dealer)
  • captaindiscocaptaindisco Member Posts: 7
    I called a dealer and they confirmed that air pockets can cause over heating. He said purging the system isn't too hard (just time consuming). He said to open the purge cap, rev the engine (something i didn't do before) wile adding more antifreeze when the level goes down. He said it may take up to a half hour.
  • scottc8scottc8 Member Posts: 617
    is a keeper. Finding a dealer knowledgeable about the LS is way harder than it should be. Finding one willing to share that knowledge with a DIYer is outstanding.
  • captaindiscocaptaindisco Member Posts: 7
    Did you get your car fixed?

    We seem to be having the same problem. I just noticed that when the car temp starts climbing, turning on the heat for about 30 seconds makes everything fine the rest of trip. As mentioned earlier, there probably is an air pocket. I'm suspecting that by turning on the heat and opening the heater core passage, the air pocket is moved to a nonharmful location.
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