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Lincoln Aviator Maintenance and Repair



  • heyjewelheyjewel Posts: 1,046
    Yes, I could tell the Aviator I drove (a 2003) had the same Climate control functional issue that my 2001 LS has. But I was looking carefully for it. U know, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. BUT, if u didn't know to look for it, you'd never notice. And surely u wouldn't have a reason to think that a modern $50,000 vehicle would not be able to properly heat the interior of the vehicle, at least when set to the "Auto" mode.

    To be fair: both the dealer service and the regional Field Service Engineer, Dan Donlevy, told me it's within spec even though Dan sat in the car and measured 104 degrees out the center stack, 60 degrees out the demisters. Dan says factory told him it's in spec. He expressed incredulity, but offered no further help.

    To be fairer: Mainly, I'm happy with Lincoln and by extension, Ford, or I wouldn't be driving a 2001 LS and a 2004 Navigator. That said, when customers have complaints, they should be handled properly every time. Not just most of the time.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I don't have the problem you're all talking about, but when I got my 03 Navigator last year, I did have a malfunctioning Air Conditioner. It ran hot and then cold, and then hot and cold, etc.
    No error codes were being thrown, so of course, the tech said, "no problem found" on the first visit. Fine. Next warm day we had, and it was doing it again, I drove it in, demanded that the service manager take a ride with me. Within 1 mile, it turned to hot, and as we were sweating in the car, I asked him if he thought that was "within specs". He agreed it wasn't, and begged me to take him back to the store. Strangely enough, it was fixed. A bad expansion valve.

    They're machines, and you're gonna have issues sometimes. You just have to be smart about it, and persistent. I have very few problems with my Lincolns, but when one does surface, we work it out.
  • aa8qfaa8qf Posts: 34
    7 visits in 1 1/2 months of ownership to the service department. A half hour ride with the service rep to demonstrate the problem, and I'm still aggressively working on a solution, although it seems it is beyond the dealership level at this point.
  • lolaj42lolaj42 Posts: 420
    Do you have any other reasonably convenient dealers that you could work with? I've heard so many horror stories over the past 4 years (since buying my Lincoln LS) about how poorly some dealers treat their customers, I'm amazed Lincoln is still in business. Unfortunately, Ford/Lincoln's hands are often tied as a result of our country's franchise laws that have empowered the dealer network with control of the consumer interface. Lincoln will not (cannot ???) undermine their dealer's credibility with the customer even if they know the dealer is dead wrong in their diagnostics.
  • aa8qfaa8qf Posts: 34
    I've not been unhappy with the dealership. They have done all they can to work out a solution. I really think the problem is higher up (i.e. Lincoln claiming this is within spec). If they say it is within spec, what is there for the service department to fix? The service rep who rode in my car truly seemed surprised that the HVAC system functions as it does. He even took another new one off the lot and drove it to see if it does the same thing. I do wish the dealership could act more as my advocate with Lincoln/Mercury, but I'm not exactly sure what they can do. Like Jacebeck, I also love everything else about this vehicle. The best thing for me would be if they could fix this problem. I worry that there may not be much interest in a fix for a car that has only been out for 2 years and is essentially going to be wiped out (with the new design on car frame).
  • What is the build date listed on the sticker on the drivers door for each of your respective vehicles? Mine is December 2003 and sold as a 2004.

    Also, what type of stereo do you have? Navigation? DVD Video ?

    Just curious if any of these had an effect on the type of ducting they used in the vehicles. Thanks.
  • aa8qfaa8qf Posts: 34
    2004 Aviator ultimate, build date 10/03. DVD navigation, DVD entertainment, audiophile CDX6.

    Just drove 2003 Aviator with navigation and DVD entertainment that functions the same way with the climate control.

    22 degrees today, so the cold air is not as dramatic, but it does it nevertheless.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I think it's a bad design myself, and those of us who don't experience it just live in warmer climates. Occasionally, Visteon lays an egg. They did so in 99, when they wrote the software for the external temperature indicator. They made it such that it would only take a reading of the outside temperature, if the truck was going over 40 MPH for a sustained period of 4 minutes. And then, it would only change one degree per minute. Could take 30 minutes to get it right!! Well, in stop & go traffic, that rarely happens, so it was useless in city driving. Great on the highway. I got the same response from the dealer when I complained that it was broken, reading 76 degrees from start up, when by afternoon, it was 120 degrees outside. "Within specs" they said. I finally got them to dump the operating poop out for me so I could read what it was supposed to do, and by gosh, they were right! Some moron acutally programmed it to work that way! I think they discontinued that the next year.
  • lolaj42lolaj42 Posts: 420
    2004 Aviator Ultimate AWD, build date 01/04. DVD navigation, DVD entertainment, audiophile CDX6.

    Just got back from a nice drive in the mountains with my wife and daugther (we all had President's Day off today). We took the Apache Trail (AZ Rte 88) from the Phoenix area all the way to Roosevelt Lake, about 78 miles (22 of which are unpaved washboard, narrow and twisty often on a cliff-like ledge). The Aviator does a fine job of smoothing out the rough spots and has ample power for climbing. Aside from the issue discussed below, the new Aviator facilitated a very enjoyable trip.

    Once I got to the unpaved section of road, I couldn't get the AWD system to change from <Auto> mode to <Locked> mode, which according to the owners manual should be selectable via the message center if the vehicle has AdvanceTrac (which mine does). I've already scheduled a visit to my dealer tomorrow to either get a lesson in how to change AWD modes, or get the ball rolling on investigating why it's not working.

    Temps are in the 70s here in Phoenix today, and upper 50s up by Roosevelt Lake. No HVAC system problems detected today, but it wasn't cold enough anyway.
  • heyjewelheyjewel Posts: 1,046
    Nice trip report! Congrats again. Aviator is, IMHO (and some reviewers as well), the best vehicle in it's class.

    I'm familiar with that drive too, Chris. Beautiful (except for the presence of seemingly enuf power lines for the entire planet!:>) scenery. I made a couple of good photos of Roosevelt at sunset while there.

    Enjoy that Aviator.
  • lolaj42lolaj42 Posts: 420
    Thanks George (heyjewel). I just got back from the dealer after reporting the AWD problem to them over the phone yesterday. I DO HAVE A PROBLEM, unfortunately, we don't know how severe it is at this point . . .

    When I got to the dealer today, I immediately saw the Shop Foreman (a Certified Master Technician). I demonstrated the procedure the Owners Manual specifies to change the AWD mode from <Auto> to <Locked>. My vehicle will not change modes despite the fact that I have the AdvanceTrac feature (which is a prerequisite). He promptly took the vehicle back to the shop (which is HUGE and Immaculate) and started diagnostics on it. My salesman (who was also waiting for me to arrive) took me out to another Ultimate AWD Aviator with AdvanceTrac that was on the lot, and we verified that, indeed, the AWD mode can be changed with a few pushes of the Message Center buttons.

    We then walked back to the shop where the shop foreman was doing a diagnostic check using the WDS system. After about 30 minutes, he was satisfied that the transfer case was throwing two different diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) P18XX (I don't recall the specific codes to replace the XX with). Unfortunately, Ford's shop manuals are not sufficiently up to date on the 2004 Aviator to indicate what these codes mean or how to disposition the vehicle (the Shop Foreman and another technician were using Ford's online technician support web service to access the latest shop manuals). Not only that, but Ford's Hot Line is down until 5 PM today.

    The Shop Foreman scheduled another appointment for this Friday and told me he will continue to investigate this matter between now and then. This could be nothing more than an improper ground wire connection to an infant mortality of a circuit board in the transfer case, to god only knows. The ball will be placed in Ford's court as soon as the Hot Line reopens late this afternoon and the request for additional diagnostic support can be made. Stay tuned.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Aint electronics fun? It's a miracle these cars work at all, and yet, they mostly work miraculously well!
  • lolaj42lolaj42 Posts: 420
    so much for Lincoln's initial quality rating! Oh well, I'm far more interested/concerned with long-term quality/reliability than initial quality.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I've found LIncoln's initial quality to be great, actually, but the Aviator is going to kill them for now, you are right.
  • mrt9mrt9 Posts: 6
    I recall reading at some point one of you mentioned problems with the tilting side view mirrors on Park Assist feature. I had not been using the feature (2003 4x2 -- 5000 miles) and decided to check it out -- but it does not seem to respond to the command at all.
    Has this problem been fixed or addressed?
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I have had no problem with those on my Navigator, and my buddy with the Aviator has had no problem with his either.
  • aa8qfaa8qf Posts: 34
    Jace, I was wondering how you're coming with your climate control problems. I have submitted paperwork to the "Dispute Settlement Board". Not sure how long this will take. I'm sure I will enjoy the vehicle during the summer months, but I will not be able to drive it through another Minnesota winter with the HVAC system as is. Too bad, as I really like the vehicle otherwise. Not real impressed with Customer Service or short term reliability. Probably not going to test "long term reliability".
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Wife and I were picked up from the airport yesterday in friends Aviator. I made a point of noticing how warm and cozy my feet were, and how cool my face was. I think his has the same issue. Not that he'll ever notice, in this climate...but it seems to be a "spec" that is poorly designed.
  • lolaj42lolaj42 Posts: 420
    I met with the Shop Foreman of my dealer today and got the low-down on why my AWD system isn't functioning properly. On Tuesday, we got 2 different DTCs from the transfer case, but the Lincoln Manuals didn't list these codes. The Shop Foreman had to call Ford's Technician Hotline for diagnostic assistance, but the Hotline was closed on Tuesday . . .

    It turns out, the diagnostic codes my transfer case was throwing were codes that should only come from a Ford Explorer transfer case! The Explorer 4X4 module on the transfer case was erroneously installed at the factory. Doh!!! This completely explains why the DTCs weren't in the Lincoln Manuals . . . they shouldn't be there at all. How this vehicle passed final assembly QA is beyond me . . .

    The correct 4X4 module should arrive at the dealership today, but the Hotline Engineer the Shop Foreman was working with isn't at work today and they still need to work through some other checks/diagnostics to ensure proper AWD functionality. Apparently there is still a concern that the Instrument Cluster and the Hybrid Electronic Control (HEC) module aren't communicating properly on the data bus. If the Instrument Cluster module has a problem, it will also need to be replaced, which means that it must be removed, FedEx'd to Ford for the data to be transfered to a new Instrument Cluster, and FedEx'd back to the dealership. The odometer data cannot be transferred from one module to another in the field . . . it can only be done by Ford. I'm told by the Shop Foreman that would be a worst case scenario, but that they won't know for sure until the correct 4X4 module is replaced and further diagnostics can be completed.

    Boy, initial quality really took it in the shorts on this one!
  • heyjewelheyjewel Posts: 1,046

    Geez, that's pretty pathetic. Maybe u should just tell em to swap vehicles for you. Especially if they have to R&R the instrument cluster on a brand new vehicle. Not even a good idea on an old car. Also, who knows what else is wrong. Maybe your Aviator has an Explorer engine too? Maybe contacting the people you know at Lincoln would help - you're such an advocate for the brand they shouldn't allow this to happen to you.
    I think I'll look more carefully under the hood of my Navigator. Make sure there are 8 cylinders.
  • lolaj42lolaj42 Posts: 420
    I should clarify my previous post . . . the transfer cases on the Mountaineer, Explorer and Aviator are all the same, so mechanically, my vehicle is fine. The problem is that the 4X4 module that controls the transfer case is wrong. This is strictly an electronics issue at this point. While the problem still sucks, it should be easy to fix, though it's never a comforting feeling to have to swap out the IP cluster (though that may not be necessary).

    As far as engine power is concerned, this thing hauls a$$ and powers up the paved mountain grades like few sports cars can! You'll not hear me complain about being underpowered in this Aviator.

    My Shop Foreman isn't the least bit concerned about pulling the IP cluster if need be. They've done it often enough on other vehicles for various reasons that it's not that big of a deal. The issue that bugs the Foreman is having to send the unit back to Ford because it needs to be replaced . . . it's just a pain in the neck to have the vehicle in the shop for 2 days or more for the process to complete let alone the inconvience to the customer. At least my dealer will be providing us with a loaner Aviator once it goes back.
  • aa8qfaa8qf Posts: 34
    I guess I'm not surprised they put Ford Explorer part in your vehicle. It's unfortunate and I feel your pain. I really never believed anyone when they said Ford had quality control problems, but I believe it now - live and learn. Besides my climate control issues, I've got a new problem. Lights in the dash and the navigation screen flicker and occasionally get real bright (like someone snapping a flash photo at you) - somewhat startling while going 65 mph down the highway. At least they're going to give you an Aviator to drive when you go for service. I usually get a Dodge Caravan. I think I've got more miles on that than my own car. Exasperated...
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Have you complained about the bright lights (aurora borealis) problem you have yet? It may be a message.... Because in my 99 Navigator, I thought I had a problem with the electronics in the car, when all the needles on the instrument cluster began to move all the way to the right upon startup, than all the way back down to 0, then would come to proper readings. Turns out, that was the signal for low battery power. Once battery was replaced - didn't do it. I've seen it on Expeditions too. Maybe yours is trying to tell you something? Optimistic.....
  • I have not had the time to get my paperwork in due to a heavy workload. We should discuss this offline. I'm interested in how you put the issue forth to the DSB.

    Send me a note at (Home) and I will give you my contact info. Seems that we may have greater effect if we work together on this, given our proximity.
    Best regards,

    P.S. Unbelievably, I have a similar issue with my dash lighting, I thought it was just my eyes going bad on me as I would catch it out of the corner of my eye. I finally saw it actually happen last week, but ascribed it to having had my entire dash yanked out.
  • aa8qfaa8qf Posts: 34
    Update on the flashing light phenomenon on my dash. Apparently, technical service bulletin regarding this issue. I need a new alternator. This apprently is the cause of the "Whistle" I have had with cold starts also. Nice to get some problems worked out. Heading in the right direction I hope. Now if only they would admit that the HVAC system is defective and work out a fix.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Hmmm, not surprised about that. We have to get used to these new cars not being so analog and linear oriented as our old ones. ie; the symptom is not necessarily the defect you may suspect.

    So, maybe the HVAC "defect" is really a message that your windshield washer fluid is low???
  • aa8qfaa8qf Posts: 34
    I wasn't surprised that it was the alternator either, as the lights only behaved this way when engine was running. When I turned the vehicle off (with radio and lights still on), symptom resolved - makes sense.

    I only wish the HVAC system was telling me to replace my washer fluid - that would be great! I think it's an engineering problem, and I don't expect Lincoln will admit that this is really a problem, and therefore, I don't expect they'll look to solve it (although I wish they would). Thanks for your optimism. I'll keep at it until problems solved.

    By the way, I was told this alternator technical service bulletin applies to some Mercury Mountaineers as well.
  • lolaj42lolaj42 Posts: 420
    I just got off the phone with the Shop Foreman at my dealer. I've been calling him every day since last Friday to see if the LINCOLN AVIATOR transfer case 4X4 electronics module has come in yet (as the Ford Hotline Engineer had indicated) to replace the FORD EXPLORER module that was erroneously installed at the factory. Well not only did the part NOT come in, he has learned that this part is now on NATIONAL BACKORDER. Argggggggh! There's no telling when this problem will get resolved.

    The Shop Foreman, being a very sharp guy with excellent customer service skills, told me that he has put in a request with HIS management to cannibalize an Aviator off of their lot in order to get me squared away. I'm skeptical dealer management will go along with this, but I've got my fingers crossed. To be continued . . .
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Now THAT'S a great dealer! He deserves your business, even if the product is annoying.
  • lolaj42lolaj42 Posts: 420
    The Shop Foreman called me at 6 PM this evening to tell me his management has approved using a New Aviator on the lot as a donor for my Aviator. I am absolutely blown away at this level of service. Simply OUTSTANDING.

    Replacement of the 4X4 module necessitates the removal/disassembly of the center console of the interior. Not only will my vehicle have to undergo this procedure, but another new Aviator on their lot will go through this as well. I'm amazed (but appreciative) my dealer is willing to do this. While I'm not thrilled about having my center console removed on my brand new Aviator, I'm sure there isn't a better place to get it done (aside from doing it right the first time on the assembly line). Of course, there's still the matter of performing another round of diagnostics after the 4X4 module is replaced, and everyone is hoping that nothing more needs to be done.
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