I have been corresponding with readers of this website for a long time,
responding to questions about how I did things or just generally offering tips.
I have been meaning FOR A LONG TIME to post those Q&As, but, you know how it
goes -- job, life, and so on. But here it is, long-promised, a whole lotta Q&As
plus some general tips for restoring your 1961-1967 Lincoln Continental! Most of
it is in Q (question) and A (my response) format.
I hope you find this useful. Please drop me a note if I have something wrong, or
if you have some suggestions for what I should add. And as always, drop me your
questions -- I'll try to respond in a reasonable time.
If you enjoy this website or find it useful, please send me an email
or make a PayPal donation:
My Lincoln is having a few issues, making a squeal that'll keep ALL the
neighbors up. Pretty sure its just the timing belt.
First of all, a warning: REPLACE YOUR STOCK TIMING GEAR! It's plastic, and will
rot and break and ruin your engine! Buy a new, steel timing set. That said, an
answer: Lincoln uses a big timing chain, so I bet it's either a belt or your
power-steering unit. All the power-steering units of that era make a little
noise at the limits of the steering, and they all wear out over time.
What kind of carbs or fuel system did you run on yours?
Mine uses Rochester 2-Jets. The stock mechanical pump won't feed them, though,
so I went with a high-quality electric pump and pressure regulator. I picked the
Rochester 2-Jets for two reasons: They're much more available than most (parts,
rebuilding), and they're much cheaper to buy and service. Plus, they have a long
track record and lots of aftermarket support. Strombergs are more popular among
the rodding crowd for their nostalgia, and Holleys are popular because they're
Holleys. A matter of personal taste.
Recently, my trunk "snapped" when I was opening it, and the tensioner bars don't
seem to be working. There is absolutely no spring when I turn the key - I have
to manually lift the trunk to open it, and have to keep holding it up while
digging for whatever in the trunk.... Do you just remove the bolts on both
hinges, and lift the trunk lid right off? Is it easy to reset those tension
Huh, I hadn't heard of that as being an issue before. I wonder if one (or both)
of the tensioners popped loose, or if they rusted and broke? If they just came
out of position, that shouldn't be tough. If they broke, I'm assuming it's the
mount(s) that broke, not the rods themselves.
I recommend getting an owner's manual to see how to remove the trunk -- it's not
tough, but it is a bit tricky. They're always available on eBay or via that site
I listed on my web page.
The only thing that it really needs for now is new weather stripping. Where
would I purchase these?
Check out the parts-supply links on my website -- they're not cheap, but less
costly if you can reuse the molded ends.
I am concerned with the hydraulics and relays for the convertible top. Where
would I purchase new or rebuilt ones?
Same sources; rebuilding is about the same as buying already-rebuilt ones. Not
cheap! Be sure to check the compartment for rust -- leaked hydraulic fluid
The car has an intermittent problem with the rear passenger window when opening
the door, sometimes it doesn't crack or go up/down when using the power switch.
What part do I need to fix?
Hmmm� you'll have to search for the electrical short from the switch to the motor.
The owner of the car has rebuilt the engine and tranny many years ago, and has
mostly garage the car. Only thing he's doing now is rebuilding the power
steering (new seals and is has sent out the power steering for overhaul using an
original Ford rebuild kit) Is there anything I should be aware of besides what
Good to have that overhauled, because the power steering unit usually leaks. If
it's an old engine/transmission rebuild, you'll probably have leaks. Don't be too
concerned about that, but make sure the fluid levels stay full; it's typical to
leak a quart of oil per 500 miles of driving with dry seals, so watch the
levels! Otherwise, just check all the normal wear items: hoses, electrics, wheel
bearings, suspension joints, etc.
How difficult is the leather to restore?
your best bet is to buy the seat covering from the REAR of another car with the
same color interior; all the fronts will be no better. Myself, I have the
leather but am not installing it because I actually drive the car and don't want
to damage the replacement material until / if I end up making it a show car.
Did you have problems with the radio?
Radio is fine in mine, though the antenna cable cracked. I replaced mine with a
good used unit from a parts car.
What vendors did you use for tires? Does anyone make a good White Wall anymore?
I just bought good narrow white-wall radials from a tire dealer, again because I
drive the car. There aren't many wide-whites out there that are radials, and
they handle much better than poly tires.
We have been perplexed by the vacuum system when we tried to replace the old,
cracked hoses; the shop manual does not give a detailed enough description of
the hoses and where they all go (i.e. fire wall to reservoir to intake and all
places in between)...
I have the original and aftermarket manuals, and neither is much help. My
suggestion is to NOT remove any hose without closely labeling where it goes, to
which T, to which connector, etc. It's like spaghetti! Then replace them one by
one, so they don't get mixed up.
I love your car and want one too. I was just wondering where I should start. I'm
looking for a 1964 Continental convertible. Are they very rare?
They are regularly available, with your best bet being on eBay. The convertibles
cost about twice what a sedan costs, and you should make sure that the
hydraulics area isn't all rusted out (leaky hydraulics absorb water...). For a
convertible, expect to pay in this range, from restorable beater to near-perfect
$3,825 - $25,600 (NADA info, not really accurate for collectors) or $5,800 -
$29,000 (Old Cars Price Guide, most accurate for collectors).
How much did you spend on your car?
I have spent about $14,000 -- when I got it in 1998 (I believe), it
was in need of total restoration, and cost about $3000. For a sedan, expect to
pay in this range, from restorable beater to near-perfect restored:
$1,150 $4,575 $9,550 (NADA info, not really accurate for collectors) or $3,500 -
$17,000 (Old Cars Price Guide, most accurate for collectors).
Do you consider your car an investment or a toy?
HA! Never think about a classic car as an investment -- it's a CAR that should
be driven. At the same time, however, I also must say that it's the safest place
to put your money lately based on appreciation compared to the rest of the
economy. Hagerty Insurance keeps an eye out for me and regularly raises the
replacement value of my car. Now they have it down for about $12,000 to replace
in complete loss -- less than my investment, but more than they valued it a few
years ago when I spent the bulk of the money. If I wreck it, the "investment" is
gone. But if I keep it up, it'll only appreciate. Compare that to a new car: Our
Ford Focus daily driver has lost about 30% of its used-car value since we bought
We have run into a brick wall when in comes to replacing the power steering
lines. The rubber sections have deteriorated, and we have not been able to find
a resource for new ones. The originals have tubular aluminum end sections with
rubber flexible mid sections that appear to be crimped onto the aluminum ends.
Might you have a source for replacements?
Check out the resources I linked here.
Someone must sell them. Right -- don't take those apart and re-use the ends
unless you want your engine compartment filled with fluid. My high-pressure hose
was in fine shape, so I didn't need to replace it, but the return hose did need
replacement -- what I did there was buy special high-pressure/chemical-resistant
hose, cut to length, and clamped using non-slip hose clamps (not the "screw"
type). I also sealed it in place (after thoroughly cleaning the male end) with
chemical-resistant, high-temp sealant. So far, that's been fine, for something like
4000 miles. But I wouldn't use that configuration for the high-pressure hose.
How much steering wheel play is in your Lincoln (if you had any)? I seem to have
to have a little too much play for comfort.
It's a big old luxury car, so you'll feel what SEEMS to be play though it might
not be. When the engine is off and you're not getting power, can you still move
it? If so, then you have too much play. The steering box might need to be
rebuilt, or it could be any of a number of components between the wheels. Have a
suspension place check it out.
My suspension is really mushy so I'm planning on getting a new set of shocks.
I'm wondering if I need to have the rear leaf springs re-arced and get some gas
shocks. I could get coil-overs for the rear too.
You can check out my car before the hood scoop or the old ad I included to see
how it looked before I added the coil-overs (both front and back). I got the
shocks to compensate for 38 years of gravity, and that's what they do. The ride
is as-stock, which is expensive to do if you go the stock route of replacing
coil and leaf springs. The shock bodies themselves dampen shocks very well, by
the way. I added those because natural sagging over the years is just a fact of
life, as with people <g>. They made up the difference perfectly. Remember that
this was a luxury car of its period -- "mushy" is pretty close to what they
The old leafs do creak a little under heavy cornering, what should I do?
Again, that's just entropy, the greatest force of nature. Unless they're damaged
(be sure to check), it's probably just that they're getting a little sloppy in
their straps. I use a grease-gun to lubricate between the individual leafs, and
that keeps the suspension quiet for, well, a long time.
What I want to do is pull my 430 out and throw in a compatible with my
transmission Ford factory engine with plenty of horsepower and upgradablility,
so that I won't have a parts-searching problem ever again. (And another):
Knowing that this car is almost twice as heavy as any standard vehicle, I
thought of beefing the engine up some. It also has to do with the fact that I
have been known to have lead foot. I wondered if there was any alternatives to
engines for the beast, possibly an engine from a comparable Ford of the year or
maybe even an aftermarket engine. Changing the engine for an after market would
be the last resort.
I don't know about compatibility with the stock transmission; you'll have to ask a
Lincoln/Ford wrecking yard about that. Don't use anything smaller, though -- the
460 is a good, powerful, and common engine that's easy to hot-rod and repair,
and with 1960's cam and compression figures, it will haul that big boat around
faster than the stock engine even without power parts. A 1970's engine will need
an overhaul and power parts, but you can rod it out (if you do the work
yourself) for the price of a simple rebuild on the 430. You can even buy crate
motors straight from Ford, but those will run you about $4000-5000. On the other
hand, they have full warranty and all that. For example, a 460 makes more power
right away, but you'll end up having to do a lot of fitting work -- if you don't
mind that sort of thing (custom engine mounts, re-routing electrics, possibly
having to use a newer transmission because the '64 uses an older style, and then
swapping out the driveshaft). There are all kinds of aftermarket parts for the
460, because it's a Ford engine still in production.
I wanted to stay stock (-ish), and went with a period-appropriate rod concept:
Use the stock engine, add period-correct hop-up parts, and a period-correct
scoop to let the world know what lies within. You can use the 462 or 430
interchangeably -- they're both Lincoln engines and fit the same transmission -- and
the 462 puts out a bit more power. Swapping for newer engines would work, but
probably cause you more pain than it's worth (that's my reasoning, anyway).
If you go with doing the old engine, you'll have to find vintage performance
parts, as I did. It's a different block entirely, called the "M-E-L" for
Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln, made from the late '50's to 1967 (and some '68s), where
it was bored and stroked up from 430 ci to 462 ci. It's a rock-solid engine,
nearly indestructible, but rebuild parts cost more than the 460. Also, using the
stock engine makes the car more valuable to collectors, if that matters to you.
What did you do with your Cast Iron Heavy Duty PCA tranny? Did you get a
rebuild? Swap it? I think I am going to do to my Lincoln convertible what you
have done to yours, mild Hot Rod.
I had the original transmission overhauled with all new parts, and so far it works
great. Swapping would be a pain, so I stuck with the original even though it
cost a bit more. A convertible mild hot-rod Lincoln would be great! I spent
about $1400 on the Tri-Power setup and have used it for about 2000 miles; I also
picked up both a manual and an electric choke, and spent a great deal of time
getting everything tuned properly (including tuning the transmission downshift). I
found it doesn't need a choke except when it's near-freezing outside -- I use a
manual choke that goes to under the dash, but stock was a nasty coolant-tube
thermometer affair that probably rusted out. I also have an electric choke that
I decided not to use, but you'll need something or it won't start cold. I mostly
don't use it at all -- just give it a few extra pumps; starts right up in any
weather. Gotta love gas-guzzlin' monsters!
Symptoms: Has trouble staying running. Over 25 mph after it's been driving for a
while, it starts to rhump-rhump and then strong knocking so bad I could hear the
engine rattle. I fixed possible vacuum leaks, including disconnecting the PCV
valve for now. That didn�t do anything. Sounds severely out of tune, but only
after it's been running for a while. Idles fine in park.
Detonation can be caused by:
Lean fuel mixture
Fuel octane too low
Improper ignition timing (likely)
Excessive milling of heads or block, which will increase compression ratio
Pre-ignition can be caused by:
Spark plugs too hot a heat range
Spark plugs not firmly seated against gasket
Detonation or the condition leading to it
Sharp edges in combustion chamber
Valves operating at higher than normal temperature because of excessive guide
clearance or improper seal with valve seats
Overheating (likely -- happens only after running a while, but engine temp shows
it's running normally)
Ignition crossfiring. Induced voltage in spark plug wires that run parallel to
each other for long distances
The most likely causes are improper ignition timing and/or overheating.
I need new interior. Since it seems like you have a nice one, can you tell me
where you got it from, (if you bought it).
Boy, interiors are tough! Mine was great to start off with, because it was
hardly used. But I did order the last leather covering one place had in
silver-blue, because the front has a little original wear. All you can do is
call around! One thing that works is to use the rear leather of the same
year/color and have an upholsterer cut and sew it into the proper front shape.
I got a quote for a paint job $3500 - $4000 (pre-collision). Does that sound
like a decent price?
That sounds like how much you should expect to spend for a real paint job, if
they're doing the hardware removal and re-installation, but not a "hot-rod
custom" type of job. Check out their work and make sure you're happy with it
first; look at things like how they re-install the name badges, too.
Between the years 1963 and 1967, what Lincoln Continental model is longest?
They kept getting longer after the new, 1961 model, so I'd say the 1967. 1958 or
1959 was by far the biggest, by the way.
Where'd you get the valve covers?
My valve covers are stock, sanded, and painted high-temp silver. Use good paint
and high-temp clearcoat, or occasional water will stain the paint. If that
doesn't bother you, just keep polishing with clean, white cloths. Eventually
you'll need to repaint, but it's a simple task to pull them and re-spray. Gives
you a chance to check your valvetrain clearance.
Are you in the USAF? (I see the base sticker in one shot)
No; I left the Air Force sticker on the bumper because I think it's a cool part
of its history: formerly owned by a USAF officer and driven to base for many
years before going into storage in another man's collection. I think we should
try to maintain as much of our machines' history as we can!
Does your Lincoln have a keyed lock for the trunk, visible on the outside? The
one i have now does, but I've seen in some manuals the reference to a vacuum
release inside the glove box for the trunk. Was this an option for the car?
Yup, the remote was an option. Make sure the lines are in good shape or you'll
never get in!
On the top of my engine, toward the back in the middle-end of the intake
manifold, is a solid metal square screwed into it. It has a hole on one side,
might be threaded but can't tell. What is this? On my 430 it's been replaced by
a "T" fitting and what appears to be water hoses are attached to it. Just
wondering what it is and it's purpose so I can tell if it needs to be replaced.
The opening (the hole) is a bit mangled around the edges - flanged a bit.
That's part of your heater hose. If you want heat, you want that to be in good
I bought a 462 which looks as if it's been sitting for a good long time. What do
I need to do?
I wouldn't worry too much about the looks of the engine; just dump out all the
oil, pop off the front cover to check if the timing gears are in good shape
(replace the timing set if it's plastic! that was my problem), and swap out all
the easy gaskets now while it's hanging from the engine crane (valve cover
gaskets, oil pan, front cover, manifold valley pan gasket). With those parts
off, check your valve adjustment (follow the manual) and look for bad stuff
floating around, and also scrape out all the goop in there. If you see burn
marks around the bearing surfaces on the bottom end, it's time to rebuild.
Chunks of metal might suggest the same ;-) Me, I'd just overhaul the thing in
matter of course, replacing rings, bearings, valves, and gaskets all around, but
that gets pricey. Just remember that doing it now is cheaper and easier than
later... all depends on how good of shape the engine is in, and you can't know
that until it's running.
Then you'll be able to clean and paint those tin parts before putting 'em back
on, as well as clean and paint the block, heads, and intake manifold (make sure
to CAREFULLY mask and tape the open stuff). Don't paint the exhaust manifolds,
but if there's black soot around the exhaust ports, remove them CAREFULLY (they
crack easily) and replace the gaskets there, too; if you do this, don't paint
the engine until you've pulled the manifolds, too.
I'd replace the expendable gaskets, anyhow, if it's looking oily or as if it's
been sitting around. Those are relatively cheap insurance against leaks, and
you'll want to adjust valves and check the gears, anyhow.
Don't paint the exhaust manifolds because they get REALLY hot. I used high-temp
paint on my block and heads, and the paint is peeling around the exhaust ports.
Imagine how hot the non-cooled manifolds get! Peeling is more ugly than no
paint. Alternatively, you could have them ceramic coated or something, if you
have cash burning a hole in your pockets ;-)
You can remount the plate easily in the same orientation by looking for the
little notch in the crank (it'll leave its shape in the plate). Don't think the
TC is balanced with the engine.
It will look much better, won't leak, and will be internally tuned up. A bit of
work here will go a long way!
Can you explain the difference between foot pounds and inch pounds when related
to torque wrenches?
Inch pounds are as they seem -- 1/12 of a foot-pound. Don't mix 'em up or you'll
break tiny bolts and barely budge big ones!
I'd love to pick up a Continental like yours but I have to do the marriage/house
thing first. How did you get started?
Some day, you'll have to get that Continental -- I put it off for a long time
for no good reason; once I realized that you can take as long as needed to
restore a car, it no longer seemed an insurmountable project. And it stayed fun,
too! But remember the key mantra: "Appreciate the wife." She's the one who has
to look at parts and a huge chunk of immobile iron for years. If you have an
understanding husband/wife, you're set!
By using a manifold like you used, would I need to add the scoop? I want to keep
my Lincoln looking completely original on first glance. How much do you think it
would be for the complete setup with carbs and all? Would the gas mileage be
quite a bit worse with a tri-power system? I don't really care because I won't
be driving the car that often and it's already horrible, I'm just curious. Do
you know about how much it would be for that cam? Do you have contact info for
Cool. Yes, it should fit under the hood -- it did when it was a stock item!
You'll need to use a low-rise air cleaner setup, though, not a tall one like I
used. I went with the Edelbrock under Charlie's advice (cheaper carbs), but
ended up spending more by having to cut and work the hood. Which worked out
well, at least, so I'm happy, but it doesn't sound like you'd be ;-)
His company is: http://www.vintagespeed.com
and his name is Charlie Price (should have an email link and phone # there).
He's a good guy (though he seems to have misplaced my stock M-E-L manifold in
He also told me he could grind a hot cam: "A regrind and lifters is $255.00."
That, combined with three carbs, oughta be good for a whole lotta power (and
fuel consumption!). Incidentally, by using the stock cam and driving on the
center carb, I actually increased my fuel economy! Of course, when I open the
outer carbs, that all changes....
These old Lincolns (and others of the same era) were designed to run leaded
fuel. What can be done now to adapt them for the unleaded fuel that we have
today? Am I hurting the engine by using unleaded fuel as it is? What have you
done with yours if anything?
You'll either need to use a fuel additive that lubricates the valve stems or
else have a head job that hardens the seats in prep for unleaded gas. Otherwise,
you'll eventually wear out the valve-stem guides and/or drop a seat; at the
minimum, you'll lose valve seal. Not good! Lead substitutes work great, but
unless you drive a lot, the cheap stuff gunks up the fuel system. By the way,
unless you live in Texas, you can't get regular anymore -- premium is still
unleaded. And, yes, you'll want to use the high-octane stuff for a big
"Fuel additive" isn't enough -- use something labeled "lead substitute."
Otherwise, lack of fuel lubrication in old engines will wear out your valve
seats and eventually lead to the valves not fully seating or seating badly --
ruining your engine's smoothness. Anyway, use lead substitute and premium.
Premium because you need the octane for the high compression (to avoid knocking
and blowing holes in the pistons).
How do I tell if motor mounts are bad?
Just replace the motor mounts, because they'll probably need it. Also, if the
transmission hasn't been overhauled, seriously consider replacing all such mounts.
It's much better than having to pull everything again later...
I'm thinking of a disc brake conversion -- what do you think?
You only need those if you do a lot of stopping. The stock drums are HUGE and
powerful, until they overheat.
Can I find most general replacement items such as bolts, hoses, clamps,
switches, regulators, etc. at my local auto parts store?
Yup. Your best bet for bolts, springs, etc., though, is the local hardware
store. Get stainless parts whenever you can. For electrical parts, go with the
nicest stuff the local guys carry.
The intake (pardon my na�vet�) is on the top of the block that the carb bolts
to, correct? The part you replaced with the Tri-Power setup, right? Seems like
since it's on top it wouldn't be that difficult to do with the motor in.
Right. Trust me, it's easier with the engine out! With three carbs and the
linkage (even though it's aluminum), the manifold is heavy. But the stock unit
(all iron) is MASSIVE. You'll need to be careful not to drop it on your fender!
I spent about $1400 on my tri-power setup (see the bare manifold here).
Keep in mind that a fully-built
original tri-power for one of these sells for between $3500 and $5000, so shop around!
Am I in trouble if, when I removed the torque converter, I forgot to mark the
position of the drive plate on the crankshaft?
You can remount the plate easily in the same orientation by looking for the
little notch in the crank (it'll leave its shape in the plate). Don't think the
torque converter is balanced with the engine.
Your paint job looks great! What type of paint job did they do? High end or
middle of the road, was it a one-stage or a base plus a clear coat?
It's urethane prep base + single clear, middle of the road ($1500 job as opposed
to $5000). It's warranted for 5 years, which was good enough for me! I didn't
want to have to cry if it got scratched, but wanted it to be a beauty anyway. I
recommend this level of paint -- not cheap, but not so expensive that you'll
never drive your car. I have some minor paint-bumps and fish-eyes, but I also
didn't cry when I got my first paint-chips above the grill from road debris!
How did you match the original
To get the correct color, check eBay for paint chip samples; I bought the one
for 1964 (original painter's sheet) and was able to get the car repainted
exactly in the original color.
How do you maintain your paint?
I use clear nail polish (appreciate the wife!) to immediately cover any chips so
water/oxygen never reaches the bare metal. Wash off anything that could oxidize
the paint right away.
What parts related to the engine are fairly generic? Like the radiator... does
that have to be NOS or used off another Lincoln, or can I grab one at the auto
After 1967, the Continental went to a Ford drivetrain, so you'll have to stick
with 1967-back (to 1962?) parts. Some body parts changed more, so those aren't
very interchangeable, but things like electronics and such should be the same
all the way through the 70's (a '68 donated seat electronics on mine).
On your car are all of the lines metal or is there any rubber? I haven't
diagnosed exactly where the leak was, what I do know is it was on the driver
side very close to the inner wheel area a stream of fluid was found there when I
moved the car.
Almost certainly it's the rubber line between the body and the wheel. It has to
be rubber to flex while you steer and hit bumps, and rubber goes bad. If one is
bad, you can bet the others will go bad soon.
How do you clear the brake lines?
For clearing brake lines, just have a BIG bottle of brake fluid on hand, and
have a friend pump the brake pedal while you pump the fluid into another
half-empty bottle of fluid (using a brake bleeding tool). Make sure the
reservoir doesn't get empty or you'll have to start again!
Was there a hood ornament on this car?
I had to remove the hood ornament because it just looked too fussy with the
scoop. I kept it, though, and only filled the hole with fiberglas so it can be
re-mounted if I wish.
I got a car that sat for a long time, and it idles rough and causes the car to
shake like an old truck. Has a moderate amount of white smoke coming out of the
exhaust. I took her around the block and the biggest engine I ever seen has no
power at all. If I floor it or just press it she goes about the same speed --
30-40 mph -- and creeps up hills? What is your diagnosis?
Could be a lot of things. If you're getting a bunch of white smoke, I'd say the
head gaskets are gone. Before you run it any more, change the oil, radiator
fluid, plugs, points, rotor, and cap (and wires if they look cracked and stuff),
then give the carb an overhaul kit (be very careful to keep track of where all
the tiny parts go). Get a timing light on the engine to make sure it isn't way
off on timing, and make sure the vacuum-advance is properly hooked up from carb
to distributor (the rubber hose might be bad, too). Oh, if your distributor has
an oil hole (with a little flip-open cap), drop a little oil in there. If it
still doesn't run right, the next step is head gaskets. They're cheap, but a lot
of work. You'll need to get an entire top-end gasket set, which isn't bad,
anyway, because everything leaks eventually.
If you have more than 80,000 miles on a 1960's engine, almost certainly the
rings are worn. And if you're doing that, you might as well replace bearings,
rings, gaskets, lifters, seals, timing gears (note what happened to me!), and
get a valve job -- getting hardened seats is nice so you can use unleaded gas
without additives. All this is a lot of work, but not a lot of money if you do
By the way, Lincoln engines (pre-460, which is a Ford engine) were
factory-balanced, as smooth as possible. If it shakes, something's wrong!
When I rev the engine from the carb it stops shaking and runs very smoothly. Do
you think I should adjust the air mix screws in the front bottom of the carb to
see what that does. I am going to adjust the timing this weekend, by loosing the
distributor and turning it method. I hope that may help a little as well. I am
going to replace the head, exhaust, intake, valve cover gaskets. And try to see
if that solves my problems. Hopefully that is what
the problem is. The mileage states 35,000, and I wonder if that is accurate.
The reason it runs smoothly while in place is that the engine isn't moving the
entire car -- that's a big load if there are any weaknesses. I'm betting that
it's 135,000 miles, though it could only be 35k -- these cars were pretty much
used on special occasions. But just sitting will kill an engine, too. Gaskets
and seals will shrink and crack, and old oil will damage the plastic stock gears
and also the metal internals (turns acidic with water and air).
The interior and other components are in great shape, except the leather cracked
like and old clay. How do I restore it?
Use some good leather conditioner/restorer! Don't sit on dried-out leather or it
Rings wouldn't make it lose as much power as head gaskets, would they?
Sure, rings will have every bit as much effect, and they are a bigger deal to
replace: you'll have to pull out the engine, disassemble it, and reinstall. You
can do a simple compression check to see if there's a lot of blow-by; buy a
spark-plug-hole compression tester at a local parts store, turn the engine over
one cylinder, slowly (make sure it won't spark by pulling the distributor and
coil leads!), and comparing to the manual's recommendations.
So I disconnect the all the plugs or one at a time? What do I do then, turn the
One at a time, making SURE the car can't start. You can turn it over via the fan
if that works (still disconnect the ignition), but it's a big engine! The best
way is to use a big wrench (I think 1-1/4" ?) to turn the crank from the front,
inside the bottom pulley. If the car hasn't run for a long time, be sure to drip
a little light oil into the cylinder through the spark-plug hole.
When the engine is out is definitely the time to clean up the engine
compartment; too big an engine to do it after. I spent days and days doing mine:
cleaning with a brush (and GoJo, actually!), then cleaning with rags and soapy
water, then with sandpaper to remove rust, then rust treatment, then a bit of
fiberglas to make the battery tray solid again (leakage), and so on, then I
primed and painted it. Before you pull the 430, mark everything, then pull the
hoses and bolts one at a time and replace them with new.
The manual has some good pictures of how the hoses and wires should run, but I
rerouted some things, anyway, and used high-heat conduit to run the wires along
the engine after wrapping them again with fresh electrician's tape. Then I
raised some of the wires and hoses with rubber-lined clamps to keep them away
from the heat. Trust your judgment and replace everything that looks a little
bad or worn now - way easier than later.
Things like the switches and regulator and such are easier to replace with the
engine out, all the hoses, bolts, screws, etc. Also the front shocks, with less
weight on them. All the suspension is easier to work on with the engine out. Oh,
and pull the radiator and heater core now and have 'em pressure-tested and
overhauled if needed. Get yourself a heavy-duty transmission cooler to take some
heat out of the radiator and help cool the transmission better. Brake lines and master
cylinder are much easier to get at with the engine pulled.
If you're going to swap major components (like the intake), again it's easier to
do with the engine on a stand than in the compartment. Test all the electricals
and underhood mechanicals now, then with the engine out you can replace, overhaul,
or swap those that aren't perfect. Be careful removing the hood -- have a friend
help or you could bend the mounts or flanges.
Basically, leave the engine out for longer than you think you need to while you
do everything you can. It's so big and the compartment is so small (relatively)
that you'll be more efficient this way.
When working in the engine compartment, make sure you lay down heavy padding on
the fenders before doing engine work after re-installation! You'll want to go
over an old carb, I bet, to make sure it's working properly. Make sure the
vacuum-advance hose for the distributor is in good shape before you try to start
Strip and paint the engine, too, by the way! Be careful if you pull the exhaust
manifolds, because they tend to crack. If you're not pulling it open (to replace
gaskets or something), just mask off the exhaust manifolds when you strip and
paint the rest of the engine.
Here are some great tips from Baker's
BRAKES: If your master
cylinder reservoir is constantly low on fluid, yet no leaks are evident outside
the car, you may be seeping fluid out of the back of the master into the brake
booster. To check this, simply remove the two bolts that attach the master
cylinder to the booster (you do notneed to disconnect the brake lines from the
master cylinder), pull the master forward and wipe your finger around the back.
If it comes away wet, you have found the problem. NOTE: Overzealous bench
bleeding can cause this. When bench bleeding the master cylinder, make sure that
you actuate the piston only a short distance. If you attempt to bottom the
piston within the master cylinder bore, you will dislodge the internal seal.
STEERING: You will find a
rather unusual innovation on Lincolns built after 1963. In order to isolate the
driver from road vibrations and noise, the factory incorporated three steering
gearbox insulators between the box and the frame of the car. (They do for the
gearbox what motor mounts do for the motor.) If you feel that your steering is
loose, and you have checked all the usual suspects, give these a look-see. You
can determine if they are bad simply by having someone turn the steering wheel
as you peer into the engine room. If the box pulls away from the frame
excessively, you have found your problem (remember that these are made of rubber
so some movement is expected). NOTE: When the insulators become extremely loose,
the steering shaft can rub against the shift tube, physically moving the shift
lever as the wheel is turning. Don't allow yourself to get in this dangerous
situation. Rebuilt steering box insulators are only $35 each exchange.
ENGINE: Lincolns are
notorious for exhaust manifold leaks, especially passenger's side. Most often
this will manifest itself as a slight ticking sound, especially when the engine
is cold (don't confuse this with a simple loose spark plug). Look for telltale
signs of soot or burning. If you have a small leak, do not ignore it for too
long. A prudent repair will avoid the extra labor and expense of having to
remove the head to resurface an area that is eroded by the leaking exhaust gas.
We have new, replacement, passenger's side, made even stronger than factory,
for only $345 each, including gasket.
CONVERTIBLE: 61-63 Lincolns
use brake fluid in the convertible top hydraulic system. 64-67 systems use
automatic transmission fluid. It is entirely legal and moral (not to mention
less messy) to use transmission fluid in the 61-63. However, in order to
do so you must completely clean and flush the old brake fuild from the system.
You never want to mix the two fluids or you will have a thick,
jelly-like, mess that the pump cannot handle. Also, don't even think of using
silicone brake fluid or hydraulic oil. One more important item: always leave 1
to 1.5 inches of space between the fluid level and the filler opening to allow
for fluid expansion.
WINDOW: I receive many
requests for parts to cure windows that have become slow and unreliable. Before
buying that new window motor that you think will fix the problem, put aside a
day to "field strip" the complete assembly. Most slow windows are the result of
original factory grease having become dried out and sticky. In effect, doing
exactly the opposite of what grease is intended to do. While you are in the
door, check that all of the rollers and pivots are cleaned and properly aligned.
These steps usually return the speed you are looking for.
HEAT/AC: Starting in 1966
Lincoln experimented with a few variations of Automatic Temperature Control. The
system allows the driver to choose a comfortable temperature and the car will do
what is necessary to make this happen. To accomplish this, the engineers use a
string of temperature sensitive resistors to feed information to the Master
Control Unit (the brain). The 69-71 Mark III has one of these ambient air
sensors mounted on the recirculating door in the lower right hand kickpanel.
Because this door moves, the wires attached to the sensor are often flexing and
can break. If your system suddenly stops responding and only puts heat on the
floor, check here first.