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Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis



  • cfocfocfocfo Posts: 147
    Didn't the government, about 20 or 30 years ago, require car manufactuors to increase their gas milage ?

    Why is it then after all these years, we are still looking at 14 - 21 MPG in the city ?

    Cynical/Honest opinions welcomed.

    BTW, very happy about my new 2003 Grand Marquis whether "Full" catagory or "Medium sized" catagory and Andre , thanks for the fuel economy link.
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    As for the solidity and steel bumpers, in a severe collision SOMETHING is going to crush and give. Given the choice of sacrificing a car bumper and body or sacrificing my and my passengers' heads and torsos, I will pick crushing the car every time.

    And airbags were required by the public pressure for safety, not because of weaker bumpers. If you feel your old car is superior and want to keep it, more power to you. But there is no need to bash (bad pun intended) the new ones!
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,044
    ...that the government first forced the automakers to comply to their CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) requirements. I forget what the mpg number was that year, but basically, the average economy of the entire fleet of cars a manufacturer built that year had to be at or above a certain amount, or else they'd get fined $5.00 for every 1/10 of an mpg their average was below that figure, multiplied by the number of cars sold that year. To offset the cars that got bad mileage, often they'd just build more smaller cars to get the numbers higher.

    One the 4-speed overdrive automatic became pretty much standard on big cars in the early '80's, your typical full-sized RWD V-8 like a Caprice, Grand Marquis, etc (Chrysler was out of the full-size market after 1981) was EPA-rated around 17/24 or so. Interestingly, that's about what the Grand Marquis/Crown Vic are still rated, nearly 20 years later!

    There are several reasons for this. First, weight. These cars have put on a few hundred pounds over that span, mainly because of stricter safety standards, more standard equipment, etc. Second, while their engines are more efficient and technologically advanced, Ford used that advancement for improved performance instead of economy. They can afford to keep selling these cars however, because cars like the Taurus and Focus have gas mileage that's enough to offset the Crown Vic/Grand Marquis in the corporate average.

    As for steel bumpers versus plastic, styrofoam, etc, well, don't most cars still have a steel beam there, behind the plastic fascia? One thing I do kinda miss, is how cars in the '70's and a good part of the '80's had their bumpers mounted on shock absorbers, so they'd bounce back out. That way, you'd be good for multiple low-impact hits! With new cars, one hit and it's off to the body shop! Still, I guess at higher speeds the newer bumpers are better. With something like a Grand Marquis though, that already had plenty of crush space up front, and a seating position fairly far back from the front of the car, I don't think an exposed steel bumper would compromise safety too much. They'd look out of place on modern cars, though!
  • iusecadiusecad Posts: 287
    instead of just chroming them, they might not look so bad. Kinda like the "Sport Appearance" packages on full size trucks.

    But yeah, my dad wants to get out of his Impala already because of the plastic bumper covers: a couple of months ago he backed into it with his work truck and cracked the cover. I think it was $400 fixed. His deductible is $500... didn't even scrape the dirt off the bumper on the truck.
  • cfocfocfocfo Posts: 147
    "EPA-rated around 17/24 or so. Interestingly, that's about what the Grand Marquis/Crown Vic are still rated, nearly 20 years later!"

    That's exactly what I'm talking about ! I traded in a 94 Caprice for the current GM. Same weight, same engine (roughly, alittle more HP now) and the new GM gets the same 17/25 MPG.

    The Caprice should of done better in '94 and now in 2003, we're at the same MPG. It would appear the government had no real intention of enforcing fuel improvements.
    That is going to bite us in the butt someday !
  • I knew it was either the 1997 or 1998 Town Car that was reduced in size. But I was not sure which. I thank you for helping with that.

      Actually, the 1984 and 1985 LTD Brougham and Marquis Brougham were both available with an optional 5.0L V8. I found this out from my Chilton's, the Ford Motor Company and the books at auto parts stores. It was available for both either with a 4-barrel carburetor or fuel-injected. The LTD's was made at Ford's U.S. plant. The Marquis' was made at their Canada plant. That was the biggest engine used in both.

      It was also the biggest size used in the Fairmonts, Zephyrs, mid-size 2-door Thunderbirds and 2- and 4-door Cougars, Granadas and Monarchs.

      They also referred to that engine as a 302 C.I.D. V8. The 1984-1991 Crown Victorias and Grand Marquis came with a standard 5.0L V8 and were available with an optional 5.8L V8.

      I need to find my Kelley Blue Book. It lists the lengths of the 1991 and 1992 Crown Victorias and Grand Marquis. The 1992's were shorter in body length than the 1991's and had less back seat passenger leg room than the 1991. When I find my Kelley, I will give the actual lengths.

      Also, the 1991's still had steel bumpers for more protection. The 1992's got plastic on the front and rear. It made the front and rear weaker. It is why air bags were added to the 1992's. They were standard. It is when back seat shoulder and lap straps were added. They were weaker in the front and rear. My cousin has a 1992. But the back seat straps were an improvement. And 4-wheel ABS became available for them. So was a fully shiftable 4-speed automatic added. So was a smaller 4.6L V8. It is since the body was shorter than the 1991. And it was lighter with plastic, rather than steel.

      I will be back after I find my kbb. It has the lengths of the 1991's and 1992's. It is a reliable source for that. It is not for car pricing. But it is for sizes. I will return.
  • blh7068blh7068 Posts: 375
    "The 1992's got plastic on the front and rear. It made the front and rear weaker. It is why air bags were added to the 1992's"

    Am I reading correctly, the removal of steel bumpers prompted the move to airbags?

    The concept of airbags dates back to the 50s...maybe even earlier . Ford- yes Ford even experimented with airbags in vehicles that were not intended for sale in the early 70s. IIRC, GM used some airbags in some Caddys,Olds and Buicks in the mid 70's. Those did not last long.
  • kinleykinley Posts: 854
    only for police interceptor vehicles? Not for the general public is my understanding.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,044 civilian LTD/Marquis models was 1981. It put out a whopping 145 hp that year. Standard though was a tiny 255 (which I think is about 4.2L) with around 115/120 hp, and the 302 was the next engine up with 130 hp. That year I think they all had 2-bbl carbs. This is according to Consumer Guide, at least. The 255 was dumped after 1982, and the 302 went to fuel injection for 1983. The 351 stayed a 2-bbl at least through 1989 (that's as far as my copcar book goes) and probably through the end in '91.

    I'm surprised Ford held onto an engine that size for civilian use for that long. The last year for the Chrysler 360 in cars was 1980; after that they only had the 318. Chevy quit putting 350's in their civvy Impala/Caprice after 1979, leaving only a 267 or 305 as the V-8 choices. Pontiac, Olds, and Buick held on a bit longer, offering 350's in 1980, but for '81, the Olds 307 was the biggest engine, unless you wanted to go Diesel (and in retrospect, you didn't!)
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    Meanwhile, the big old engines went into things like Chevy Suburbans, where big engine freaks found them, the car companies realized that the truck fleet and the car fleet were treated separately under the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) legislation, they gussied up the trucks to make them more non-farmer, white collar as opposed to blue collar friendly, jacked up the prices, and the high priced non-offroad SUV concept was born, the car companies made lots of money, then at least some people began to figure out they were paying way too much money for just an engine, but the ONLY remaining CARS that have body on frame, V-8's and RWD are the Crown Vic, Grand Marquis (and now Marauder) and the Lincoln Town Cars. SUV's are also beginning to be seen by some as unsafe (having a much hihger center of gravity and needing to be driven like, well, a truck), threatening to others on the highway, and gas guzzlers.

    This gets us to 2003, where you now find SUV's becoming more car-like, crossovers like Pacifica, Matrix and Vibe. Suddenly, the US car companies are realizing that in the past ten to fifteen years they had basically ceded the car business to the Japanese and Europeans, especially so at GM.

    The days are getting interesting...and the Crown Vic and GM continue to soldier on, years after their predicted demise. We should salute Ford Motor Company for continuing the CV/GM after General Motors dropped the Caprice/Impala in order to use the plant where they had been made to make more SUV's, which brought GM much more profit per unit! On the other hand, if it weren't for the huge fleet sales to police, cab companies and commercial fleets, and the very high profit on the Town Cars, the CV/GM/LTC sedans would have been gone long ago. Too bad Ford didn't also save the large station wagon. I bet a lot of potential sales are out there, especially to those who would rather have a car than a minivan.
  • blh7068blh7068 Posts: 375
    Were the majority of the Ford V-8's 302's in the early 80's? I remember a friends parents had a 79 Crown Vic w/a 302....meager HP...but the car still got out of its own way. Did Ford still offer choices of rear axles on their full size cars in that time period? Or was the "economy axle" the only choice?

    Sidenote- GM still offered a 350 through '81 in the Z-28, automatic only in U.S models.
    Canadian models still could be equipped with a 4 speed!!
  • blh7068blh7068 Posts: 375
    "The days are getting interesting...and the Crown Vic and GM continue to soldier on, years after their predicted demise."

    Good point. Sufficient demand for full size/RWD/V-8 still exists. Ford has even expanded its full size offerings by bringing back the Maruader.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,044
    ...I vaguely remember and old Consumer Reports test from 1979 where they pitted a Crown Vic 302 up against a Chevy Caprice (or Impala, I forget now) with a 305, and a Dodge St. Regis with a 318. In this test at least, the Ford blew the other two away.

    I think the Ford did 0-60 in around 13 seconds, while the Chevy was more like low 15's and the Dodge was pushing 16!

    As for rear-ends, I don't know what this particular Ford had, but I think a 2.73:1 was pretty common. 2.56:1 was a popular Chevy rear-end back then, and Mopar was sticking mainly 2.45:1 rears behind most of their V-8's. I know in the case of Chrysler, they changed first and second gear in the trannies to compensate for the taller rear-end, but I don't know if Ford and Chevy did the same thing.

    Ford did offer a few other rear ends, such as a 3.08:1 and for higher performance they'd switch up between a 3.27:1 or a 3.55:1. Sometimes the quicker rear-end would actually help mileage, in mixed driving. I have an 1985 Consumer Guide new car reference, and they tested an '85 Crown Vic with the handling package (3.55:1 rear, dual exhaust, limited slip) and an '85 Grand Marquis with just a 3.08:1. They got an average of 17.1 mpg out of the Ford, and only 13.9 out of the Merc!

    Just for comparison, in that timeframe, the big Chevy/Pontiacs were using 2.56:1 and Buick/Olds, 2.73:1. The only thing Chrysler had left by that time was the Diplomat/Gran Fury/Fifth Ave, essentially a Volare trying to pass for a full-size. They weighed almost as much as the truly big cars, and were stuck with 2.24:1 rears! How they got out of their own way, I'll never know!
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    For clarification, after 1983, Ford's LTD and Mercury's Marquis/Marquis Brogham were built on the midsize Fox platform shared with the T-Bird and the Mustang. That is the car that came with the 3.8, and they were midsized cars. The full sized cars were called the LTD Crown Victoria, and the Grand Marquis. The full size cars NEVER EVER EVER came with a V-6, so if you have a Marquis with a 3.8, it is not the same car as the Grand Marquis with the 5.0. The 1979 Grand Marquis is built on the same platform as the 2003 Grand Marquis, and except for the short-lived, unloved 255 V-8, engine sizes have been getting smaller over the years. A 3.8 was never offered in a full sized Ford car. The fact that Ford had a mid-size LTD and a full size LTD Crown Victoria (and Mercury, a mid-size Marquis and a full size Grand Marquis) is confusing. Made even more so because the lower trim levels of the full sized cars in '82 used the same names as the mid sized cars in '83. So, a 1985 Marquis Brogham is a totally, completely different car than a 1985 Grand Marquis, while a 1982 Marquis Brogham is the same as a 1982 Grand Marquis, except it has cheaper seat upholstry and less fancy gadgets. Are we confused yet? Engines have been getting smaller over the years. In 1978, the last year for the big cars, you could get a 460, a 400 or a 351. In 1979, you could get a 351 (which was totally different from '78's 351. Go figure), a 302 or a 255. The 255 was dropped from the lineup a couple of years later because it proved to be about as popular as ski-jackets in the Outback, leaving the 351 and the 302. Then the 351 was dropped, fisrt for civilian cars and then for police packages, leaving only the 302. Finally the 302 was dropped in favor of a 280 cubic inch (4.6L to use modern terminology) V-8, which, with some improvements, is still in use today.
  • Just bought a new 2003 Grand Marquis. It is a GS model, got leather seats,full size spare,CD,and keyless entry along with some other gizmos. Runs great, peppy motor,very comfortable.
  • Weren't air bags mandated by the Feds? I don't think any car maker would have swapped an inexpensive steel bumper for a very expensive air bag systems just for grins.

    Today's Crown Vics and Grand Marquis are at least as sturdy and safe as an 85 Marquis. Or Grand Marquis for that matter.

    Many have pointed out here that the mid size LTD and Marquis were fox-based Fords. If you have one, crawl under that sucker. Follow the "frame" from the back end of the car all the way to the front bumper. Guess what? You can't. It doesn't have a full frame. It's "uni-body" (read cheap) construction.

    Apples and oranges here folks...
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    "Apples and oranges here folks..."

    More like apples to office furniture....

    FWIW, my 1995 Thunderbird (which I named Patsy) has heavy duty steel bumpers. I learned that the hard way bouncing her off a guardrail, and she lived to tell about it. You can't see the bumpers, because they are hidden behind a plastic fascia, but they are there, and when you need them, you'll kneel down and thank God (or whatever supreme being you beleive in) that they were there. And they work just as well as the old, chrome covered bumpers of the old days. You get more cosmetic damage on the plastic fascia, but the car itself holds up just as well. You know what else? Patsy's also got dual air bags. Driver and passenger. Old fashioned steel bumpers and airbags both. And when you really think about it, airbags and bumpers do different things. Bumpers are the car's suit of armor. The protect the functional parts of the car by posing a hard, impenetrable barrier to delicate stuff such as radiators and gas tanks. (Why do you think you have to be running 70 or 80 when you rear end a Crown Vic to make the gas tank explode. 20 or 30 would be more than enough without bumpers!) Air bags, on the other hand, keep the driver from impaling him- or her- self on the steering column. Bumpers are to protect the car, air bags the driver.

    One more thing...Not all cars have metal bumpers. My grandmother's '92 Bonneville has a similar setup to my T-Bird- a plastic fascia with the real bumper behind it. Except where the real bumper is cold, hard steel on my T-Bird, it's fiberglass on my Grandma's Bonneville. I think GM is secretly a division of Rubbermaid or Tupperware, the amount of plastic in their cars! Seeing how that Bonneville was built has forever turned me off to GM cars, despite the 100,000 relatively trouble-free miles the car has given. Fords are built much tougher, and I feel much safer in a full-sized Ford than I do in a comperable GM product.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,044
    ...I think ultimately they were mandated, but the auto makers had so many years to get ready for them. They had to come up with some kind of passive restraint, either in mid-year 1988 or the beginning of '89. Ford went for motorized shoulder straps, while GM had those dumb seatbelts that were anchored in the door. You could fasten it, and when you opened the door you could still get out. Unfortunately, if your door flew open in an accident, or got ripped off and back, you were screwed. Chrysler started putting air bags in their big RWD sedans in mid-'88, but other cars had a regular lap belt, and then a shoulder strap anchored to the door. I had an '88 LeBaron coupe like that, but then an '89 Gran Fury with a driver's side air bag.

    I think it was 1994 or so that dual air bags were finally required. Interestingly, the GM air bags that they offered on a few Olds, Buick, and Caddy models in the '70's was a dual system, and only cost about $300 as an option. For comparison, fuel injection on a Cadillac was something like $500 back then!

    As for comparing a modern Grand Marquis to an '85 Grand Marquis, I'm sure the new one is even safer, thanks mainly to the air bags and the "softer" bumpers. In 1985 I believe they still had a 5 mph standard for bumpers, so at very low impacts, an '85 might sustain less damage than a new one, but at higher speeds, the newer one will protect the occupants better.

    They always were fairly safe cars, though. I believe big Fords from '79 on up were rated better for safety than the big GM and Mopar products.
  • usaf52usaf52 Posts: 70
    Reading the Edmund's review of the 2000 CV, the text says that the 4 wheel ABS includes the traction control. Is this part of one integrated system? If the CV has ABS does this mean it automatically has traction control??
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,044
    ...but I think on the GM/CV, if you have ABS then you have traction control. At least it's that way on the '03 models, from what I've read. It may have been different in '00, but I doubt it.

    I have seen ABS and traction control listed separately on cars from other manufacturers, though. I believe it usually went for $600 for the ABS, and then if you got traction control it was another $150 over that.
  • cfocfocfocfo Posts: 147
    That GS model with leather is one of the best values out there ! What a great car, enjoy !

    John, I think you summarized the SUV era as well as I've seen. (# 1774) And it appears to be heading full circle - back to the form of the family station wagon.

    I can name a few PROs of the WAGON:
    - the wagon seats 6 AND has a large cargo area without reconfiguation or jumping over seat rows.
    - less of the SUV bounce/jiggle
    - safer on the hwy, (lower center of gravity)
    - I would guess better MPG than SUVs (less wind resistence)

    Sure, many will always see the family wagon as "uncool" or not having enough "style, just as many say the same thing about the CV/GM.
    But my guess is that SUVs will have peaked out in 2003, and that the American car makers better face the foreign competition better in the CAR market to prevent further overall market share loss. (I know GM had a small fractional gain last year).
  • soboysoboy Posts: 1
    Hello all - I am a car enthusiast, used to work for Ford, cars are my hobby and my passion. Last year, I inherited a 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis, LS with antilock brakes and traction control. 37,000 miles and in almost perfect condition. I never thought I'd be writing this, but I love this car! It is smooth and quiet, reasonably quick, gets great gas mileage for a large car with a V-8, it has excellent brakes and much better handling than I expected. It doesn't feel like a boat, as I remember my father's American cars did from the 1970's. I also feel very safe driving it with the wife and kids aboard. Before getting the GM, I was seriously thinking about buying a new BMW, but now I am going to stick with the Grand Marquis.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,044
    ...on how the '03 models compare to the '02 and earlier models? Does the hydroformed frame and rack-and-pinion steering make much of a difference in ride and handling?
  • cfocfocfocfo Posts: 147
    I am loving my Grand Marquis also, unlike a lot of GM owners, I had to buy mine. Apparently, the GM is a car that is commonly left by the dearly deceased. LOL

    That's OK, I still like it and knew it wasn't going to make it in the next Emimem video when I bought it.

    It sounds like yours has many good years on it.
  • Was a long time user of Explorer forum but I've come into something new. 02 Sport LX, definitely not your father's crown vic. P-74 luxury package, leather buckets, console shift, 17 inch 5 spoke wheels, true dual exhaust, 235hp police interceptor motor,Handling and Performance Package. What can I do to add more punch? Has a 3.27 rear but was told I could go to a 3.73 ( also told not to be used if traction control activated) Any opinions on the JET POWER module from Jet performance products? they say up to 17 more hp. I'd like to deflate some import ego's with old fashioned US hp. Too old for a mustang....
  • iusecadiusecad Posts: 287
    if you haven't already, try

    there's many knowledgeable folks that should be able to help you out.
  • andre1969 re:your request for comments on the above.I have had a new 03 GM for 6 months and approx 6600 miles now.Redesigned frame and new rack and pinion steering superb.Car feels,stucturely,very stong.No twisting or bending evident. Steering nicely weighted,and precise.Holds its course very well.Handling excellent.(you can almost see the guys in the BMWs trying to keep up on the long fast curves saying to themselves "I did'nt think American cars could go round corners like that").Lets not discuss the ride!!
    Well, alright then. Its hard,even by European standards,but don't be put off by that.Do try one for yourself,for an extended period,and if you can live with the ride,the other fine qualities of the re-design are very rewarding.Kind regards.
  • drmpdrmp Posts: 187
    and have mixed feelings about it. Originally thought this is my next car (currently driving a '99 Passport).

    Excellent living-room sized seats with 8-way power plus lumbar on the front, adjustable pedals, very good road noise isolation, hugs the road nicely, soft on the bumps.

    However, there are other things that left me scratching my head. The engine which has more torque and power felt rather weak. My 4x4 passport which is heavier can jump off the line with ease and with no sign of srain. The steering becomes numb and rubbery at about 80 mph and I had a hard time keeping the car inside my lane. In contrast, I can point and shot with pinpoint accuracy in my passport at 80 mph. And I thought their biggest improvement was the steering.
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