97 Lincoln Mark VIII Tune Up

Mike Pizzuto

LVC Member
Sep 16, 2017
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Newington, Connecticut
Hello everyone. Gave away my 98 to my buddy who totaled his car. My little brother got a 97 Mark VIII. It’s a slug compared to 98. Was looking to see what the best for a tune up for the 97 (plugs coils filters etc) to maybe see if it’ll run a little better. What do you guys recommend? Less than 500$ thank you !
I’d start out with MOTORCRAFT coils, either Motorcraft or NGK plugs, and a quality fuel and air filter and I bet she runs noticeably better.
If it isn't misfiring I wouldn't bother with the coils. I would put in some basic Autolite Plats, change fuel/air filter and be sure that the imrc are working properly.
WIX filter. WIX. Filter.
I changed my IAC at the same time as I did the air filter, belt, plugs and I de-carboned the throttle body and cleaned the MAF sensor. Thing idles like an absolute dream and seams to maybe hesitate a little less.

You will need:
WIX filter
Dayco serpentine belt
Carb cleaner
MAF sensor cleaner
Throttle body gasket
Valve grinding compound
Sand paper
Air compressor
Torque wrench

If you feel like doing these things, let me know. I have a lot of tips in that regard that will save you about a hundred moolah$ down the road.

The recommended tune-up interval on these cars is (deep breath) 100,000 miles. So people often forget and the dealers often don't recommend it comes in so it gets overlooked or they don't consider the time interval. My car had 75,000 miles... but after 20-years you just gotta do these things.
The 100k interval pertains to the spark plugs. That is the life cycle of the OEM plugs and they really do last that long.

Coils - indeed, if they are not failing there is no need to replace them. And MSD is crap. Only fools buy that stuff. With that said the COP version of the 4.6 can produce a situation where un-load/OT it produces a bog-down feel. This is often a coil misfiring but it wont feel like it, instead it will feel like you are towing a boat. The cause is usually oil at the base of the boot. So the solution is to replace the tower seals between the towers and valve covers and install new boots all around. Then you are set for a very long time.

Intake filter - NEVER use those stupid K&N oil filters. A decent paper filter with a yearly change will be fine. The oil on these things will take out a MAF. Paper keeps it clean and simple.

IMRCs - as mentioned, make sure they are operating properly. To be honest, the Mark's top end is pretty easy to take apart. If you feel up to it, I really recommend pulling the intake and the IMRCs for a good cleaning. Takes a weekend at most. I have dont a top end cleaning in a matter of hours once you are familiar with the engine. So like most things, the second time around is much quicker.

Plugs - any plug will be fine. Do NOT go multi-electrode (ground). Again, marketing at its best and its nice to see these fading into memory. Cooper plugs work really well and are cheap. But you will end up replacing every year. Platinum and double-platinum are OEM (Ford used two different plugs on the same engine) and will last much longer. Really plug choice comes down to how often you want to change them more than any actual performance gains, etc. Its not a formula one race car after all.

TB cleaning - As I think you know, clean the throttle body only when removed, never installed.
Unity you mention these cars using two different plugs. My manual only lists one plug and I just pulled my plugs and they’re all the same. They’re also likely from the factory.

I believe only the dual-output coil Marks requires two plugs. Makes sense, as the spark only goes in one-direction in a dual-output and wears each plug differently.
If they are factory plugs, one will have yellow markings the other blue. Not sure what you mean by dual-output coils. But ALL marks are wasted-spark setup. While the COP version may have more effective coils, they are still fired in pairs - this I know all too well because I covered a 96 to COP from coil packs. Still used my same computer.
COP can run in waste spark but they dont like to. there are side effects.
many a racer has had to uncovert from cop with older PCMs to cure spark blowout.
That seams like a cheap way of cutting corners while making some improvement otherwise. I don’t put it past Ford to do what works without fiddling with things unnecessarily.

It’s so odd that 97-98 would have different plugs considering they aren’t using the same coil.

The reason plugs would need to be different would either be thermal differences or the use of dual-output coils. I see this in motorcycles often.

In the case of bikes such as the Honda Magna, it is a transverse V4 engine. This means that one bank is directly in the air stream, the other relies on the liquid cooling as it gets little air. Because of this difference in thermal conditions, the rear cylinders are jetted for fuel differently and use different plugs than the front cylinders.

Dual-output Coils:
Coil-packs have dual-outputs. This means that a spark is made at two leads at the same time. Yes, this is what’s used in a wasted spark system most often. This is not because a wasted spark is required, but because the use of coil-packs has the side effect of a wasted spark.

One issue with coil-packs is that the spark has a bias due to polarity. The spark will always jump from one ground strap, through the coil and to the other ground strap. When I pull the plugs in any dual-output ignition system, it’s clear that one has material transferred to the ground strap and the other has material missing from the ground strap.

So with these two being the only reasons I could explain the necessity for different plugs, and only one that I know of that applied to any Mark VIII at a time, it makes no sense to me that the one conditon which no longer exists in 97-98 Marks still require different plugs.

The ONLY explanation that makes sense now is if Ford decided to match the polarity of the new COP’s to the polarity of the coil-packs. I have no clue why this would be necessary....because it isn’t, but that is the only explanation I can come up with.

To prove this, I would need to see the plugs for the COP’s.
If the ground wire is in the same pin position for every connector, then every COP has the same polarity. If not, then my theory is correct and we may require the different plugs.

Of course, if the polarity is swapped on some coils, you could just swap the pins and the spark would always jump TO the ground strap as it should.

Yes I have autism.



When I was a mechanic, I sometimes had to test polarity because I would use unorthodox methods for repair. This sometimes mean using coils from different brands than the motorcycle. But nobody specifies which wire is which, so I would just test polarity and run it. Most often it was the Yamaha XS coils that were best for old bikes. Really good stuff. But the Chinese versions actually have reversed polarity...sometimes! So I’d have to check every coil to be sure I was installing them the right way.

If it was strong enough I could see which side of the spark was fatter or flared, or I could stick something conductive in between them and see which side flared.

Or to check without undoing any wires, I could run a voltmeter parallel to the plug that’s in the head. It would either read positive or negative with every spark. If it was positive, it was correct, but I had to make sure my probe wires were oriented correctly as well.

I know I talk to much.

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Wasted spark was for emissions sake. To burn unspent fuel at the exhaust stage - that is what Ford says at least.

The COP system on a Mark is wired in series. Remember, the PCM directly initiates firing on ODB II (1996 up), not a separate EDIS box and there are only four triggers. In theory, the same computer can run a four cylinder setup. I had originally wired my COP conversion in parallel as it "made sense" at the time. The car never ran. With limited knowledge by myself and those online (no one could figure it out) I re-wired to series and it instantly fired up. A year long project with a swap to a 2004 Aviator engine was complete. As for polarity, that would change because now there are two components in series.

If I recall, one side was platinum the other double?? Using two different types was maybe a cost saving plan? Making thousands of cars, every dollar counts. Just like fleet fuel economy stuff. But when purchasing new, I think they are all double and the yellow ones were only put in at factory. Factory, two parts for plugs but replacements under one part number.

Note: "One half of the spark plugs fire from the center electrode to the ground electrode and the other half fires from the ground electrode to the center electrode. The EEC fires two spark plugs simultaneously. One spark plug on the compression stroke uses the majority of the coils stored energy, the other spark plug on the exhaust stroke uses very little of the coils stored energy. This is the reason why you may have found AWSF-32PG and AWSF-32P plugs in your 1996 and later 4.6L vehicles when changing spark plugs. Only half of the plugs will wear out faster than the others. Ford only needed half of the spark plugs to be full platinum, so this was done to save cost. The replacement for these are AWSF-32PP, or 8 double platinum plugs. Later on Ford changed their suffix designation on the platinum plugs to “EE”."
97 98 has 8 triggers. each COP is independent.
they are not in series or parallel.
this is why COP is flaky in 93-96 applications.

its true that 96 does away with the edis8, but 97 98 is totally different yet again.
So then it makes no sense why 97-98 have different plugs. Man I’m scratching my head now
I guess its irrelevant since one would not replace them with different plugs.

Im more surprised they removed wasted spark in the 97-98 setup. Odd.
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Intake filter - NEVER use those stupid K&N oil filters. A decent paper filter with a yearly change will be fine. The oil on these things will take out a MAF. Paper keeps it clean and simple.
Interesting to read this. I first installed one in our 88 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, probably about 25 years ago. I haven't had an issue and have been using these filters ever since. 7 years in our 2010 F150, 20 years in our 91 LSC SE, and now almost 5 years in the 98 M8. It recently seemed that the M8 didn't feel as fast and thought she may need a tune soon or at least fuel injector cleaner? I buy Husky gas and heard cheaper gas can foul the injectors over time? I should really time her, to confirm, but I'm not trying to race her.
I bought her with about 99k miles and she drove like she was just tuned up. She now has about 137k.
Would appreciate other members thoughts on K&N air filters for the M8 and cheaper gas (Husky vs big brands)
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No one uses K&N air filters and everyone uses big brand gas like Esso?
no one here has an opinion on K&N air filters or big brand gas vs, small?
the first thing I do with any used car that I purchase is install a K & N Filter. I have driven a lot of miles in twenty or more cars in the past thirty years with K & N filters and am sold on them.
Over oiling them, when cleaning, can be a problem, other than that they help engines breathe better, up the idle, and usually get a mile or two more per gallon than paper filters.
I have yet to have a problem with a single one.
Whether any problems do or don’t arise, it would be wise to look at David Vizards tears of K&N filters. He lists specifics on particulate flow, air flow, etc.

He claims they flow a LOT of particulates. But it’s up to you to read and decide.
the first thing I do with any used car that I purchase is install a K & N Filter. I have driven a lot of miles in twenty or more cars in the past thirty years with K & N filters and am sold on them.
Over oiling them, when cleaning, can be a problem, other than that they help engines breathe better, up the idle, and usually get a mile or two more per gallon than paper filters.
I have yet to have a problem with a single one.
They are good air filters but they are only going to give you a HP or two at the upper end of the RPM band.
I honestly cant believe they can up your idle unless you have a paper filter with 200k on it.
Lastly a K&N will NOT increase fuel economy over a clean paper filter again unless it has a ton of miles. Your BUTTERFLY determines airflow remember that. An intake track only flows what the butterfly allows it to.
Thanks to everyone! I appreciate all of your input. I have used them and have also seen a very slight idle increase in one, with less than 10k on the stock Ford filter.

What about gas? do you believe using Huskey or alike will clog injectors?
Only problems I've ever had from K&N filters (multiple vehicles) have been over-oiling, or not letting them dry thoroughly. Then they can get oil/water on the sensors in the airstream.

I mostly have used them in off-road vehicles where they do seem work better than paper filters.

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