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Lincoln Town Car Electrical Problems

My 85 Town Car has a multitude of issues, the two most serious at this time being it's inability to stay running while idling in my driveway while still in park. It runs, once started, for about 10 minutes while idling. If I drive it, it stays running for about an hour exactly every time then shuts off immediately (not a slow gradual loss of power, it's instantaneous). The second problem is that my interior lights won't turn off now. The lights were all working properly and then my car died after it had been running for less than 2 minutes. I was idling while waiting to make a turn and the car shut right off again and when i opened the door the lights came on as they normally do and didn't go off until they drained the battery. The battery has since been recharged and the lights will not go off unless I dissconnect the battery cables. Also when the car dies, it won't start back up right away. I know that the problem lies between the distributor cap and the starter because I know the starter is functioning properly and the distributor cap is brand new along with rotor, plugs, and wires. Also I installed a new ignition coil. The cap is not recieving a spark from the coil though, which is the cause if it's sudden death and failure to start. It's very random though, predictable, yet random. Sometimes I wait 10 min, other times it's an hour and a half. The sweet spot seems to be at 30 min however. If the car sits for a while it seems to start fine on the first shot.


  • I bought my 2004 Town car early this year, and the panel lights keep going out, without warning, intermittently. They come back after a few minutes, so when I've taken it in to the dealer, they can't 'reproduce' the problem! Also, the dimmer switch does not dimming. Is there a connection?

    By the way, the service dept. is balking at replacing the dimmer switch. Does anyone know if it's such a big deal or that expensive? Thanks.
  • Isn't it under warranty?
  • Yes, it's still under warranty. The service rep gave me a lot of arguments when I saw the dimmer switch fault. It naturally makes me wonder.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    Black box on the Driver's side near the top of the fender. Our 1982 would behave like yours on a very hot day and placing ice cubes on top of the Black box caused the inards to cool and reset to normal. Perhaps the inard circuit breaker needs to be replaced and ask that your teck man check it out. Good Luck.
  • Do you know what this black box might be called?
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    Not sure what it is called. Perhaps an Ignition Relay. I never opened it because all my problem was due to excessive heat so I applied some valuable ice cubes in a baggy on it. Hate warm whiskey.
  • OK, thanks.
  • Basically, I've checked the fuses,bulbs and break light switch. What else do I need to check til I find the problem?
  • nwraaanwraaa Posts: 174
    Check the turn signal unit. The flasher, of course turn signals, and brake lights operate through this unit. You'll have to remove the cover from the steering wheel to get to the unit.
  • rreaserrreaser Posts: 2
    power door locks work with button and keyless entry however unlock won't work peroid please help
  • The problem was in the steering wheel."Thanks"
  • rreaserrreaser Posts: 2
    it was the keyless entry brain :blush:
  • Hey all, I'm a newbie and have SERIOUS issues with this car. Its a 1996 Lincoln Town carThe horn constantly blows if I return the fuse to its home- its like the alarm is triggered. The radio displays 'Phone' and only works after the key was in forward or backward position and is returned to take it out; and only till a door is opened. All other times it displays 'phone'. Any info would be so appreciated! Thanks for your time

    - Kurt Parker
  • nwraaanwraaa Posts: 174
    The horn blowing may be caused by a faulty key switch on the driver's side door. Try unlocking the car by using the key pad on the door. Disconnect the negative cable on the battery for a few seconds. This will reset the radio. If you have a remote control key fob, follow the instructions in the owners manual regarding setting of the alarm with the use the key fob. By the way, take a look at the front of the intake manifold on this car. The intake manifolds on these specific models have a tendency to crack at the front. If the manifold on you car has an aluminum piece across the front, your manifold has been replaced and you don't have to be concerned about the cracking issue.
  • Thank you, the switch will be my next move after I try the keypad. I thought about it, but had to hear it from someone else. I replaced the manifold myself last summer-it blew out suddenly one day. This car has had me stumped forever. it also has an extreme lean condition- I was going to start at the O2 sensors. Anyway, have a good one and thanks again
  • I have a beautiful 96 towncar...recently one of the warnings came up on dash saying door was ajar....figured it was rear driver side door but cannot seem to find any type of sensor(like the push button types in most cars on the doorjam)
    Totally annoying to drive car at night due to most interior lights staying on. Lights do go out after 20 min but it is a constant drain on battery....Anyone know where exactly to look for this door closing sensor????
    Thanks in advance!!!!!!
  • The headlights and running lights come on when I unlock the doors with either the keeyless or remote entry system. My 95 did not do that. Is this normal? The owner's manuel is silent about this. If it is abnormal, I'd like to correct it, to save the battery. Thanx
  • I've seen lots of 94 and older TCs with automatic headlight dimming. It is not on my 96 TC, and is not mentioned in the manuel.. Did they drop it as an option in 96? If not, does anyone have any info about it? I thought that the black unit in front of the rear view mirror was the eye, but it was the sensor for the compass. Thanx
  • nwraaanwraaa Posts: 174
    On you model TC, the headlights will come on when you use the key fob to unlock the car and the autolamp system is on. At the maximum autolamp setting, the lights should only stay on for about three minutes. The short period of time that the lights are on will not drain the battery.

    By the way, I discussed the lights-on issue with my pastor recently. When some of my fellow worshippers leave there headlights on just before church service stats, another member sends the pastor a note about the lights which he reads to the audience during the service. I reminded him that he nor the worshippers should worry about headlights that are left on for only a couple of hours. Hence, there is no need to read these notes during service. Headlights left on for two hours will not completely drain a good battery. And if the lights are left on and the battery is drained, we have jumping cables at the church and if the battery is suspect and does not hold enough current to start the car after two hours, this is a clear sign from above that the member needs a new battery.
  • Thanks for the reassurance that the headlights-on condition, when the car is remotely unlocked, is normal. I don't mind their being on, as long as it is normal. Thanks again
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    Our 94 Signature TC does not have automatic headlight dimmer nor does the Owner Guide mention it. Not sure, but think it was on our 82 or 80 TC.

    When the "Delay" light switch is on, the headlights stay off when I press the key FOB to unlock the doors.
  • pfiegenerpfiegener Posts: 1
    sometimes will rev to 4000rpm on starting Have had problem with this and when parking it sometimes lurches. anyone else having this problem??
  • furleyfurley Posts: 13
    I had the same problem with my 2003 TC; It rev'ed up when starting, than later started doing to opposite and stalling. I took it to the dealer and they replaced the throttle air control. It was under warenty and fine ever since.
  • furleyfurley Posts: 13
    It's with the door latch.
  • robles3robles3 Posts: 3
  • furleyfurley Posts: 13
    I have a 2003 TC and the panel lights will dim down automatically when I go into somewhere dark a tunnel carwash, or under thick trees. It dos this independently of what position the headlight switch is in. Turn up your pannel light dimmer switch to full bright at night as see if the same thing happens.
  • rennierennie Posts: 2
    Ref: 1999 Lincoln Town Car - I recently experienced a complete shutdown of the electrical system on my car while driving on a very busy road in florida. The ambient outside temperature was in the low 80's. I lost all power and electric's, nothing worked at all. The cars cooling system did not overheat at any point but I was setting at a drawbridge for about 15 minutes prior to the shutdown. I was towed from where I was within about 25 minutes. The car sat for about an additional 30 minutes and then the electric's came back on and I continued my journey. I drove an additional 250 miles since the shutdown and it has not occurred again.

    I research this a bit on the Internet and it seems that this problem occurred on some cars in California and a recall was issued. If anyone could point me to a service bulletin or know of this problem and help would be appreciated.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    Don't write to Lincoln at Wixom, MI. They have closed the plant and are in the process of moving tools and dies to Canada. Good Luck.
  • hittmann85hittmann85 Posts: 3
    my sunroof doesnt open im guessing its an electrical problem with the buttons, is this easily fixable and how much would it cost? also the passanger side power seats is jammed, it moves backward but wont move foward. whats the general price on gettin that repaired?
  • marcdz1marcdz1 Posts: 1
    Someone please help me. My state inspection sticker expired more than 2 weeks ago and I can't drive my car until I fix the brake light problem on my 2001 TC. The car night lights work and the signal lights work too but the brake lights do not engage only the third brake light goes on. The one by the headrest's. I have checked the fuses and they are fine. I am leaning towards the brake light switch. I also hit a curve on the right side not too long ago. But I don't think that is the problem. Any info greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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