Front end hit today on my 2002 Lincoln Continental - time to move on?

Got a good deal on the 2 (Cooper) Starfire RS-C V98 tires from Town Fair Tire at $112...and out the door balanced/aligned at $169. Let's see how this brand of touring tire holds up. Pep Boys was running a sale and Town Fair matched them. Next time I'll probably try the General Altimax RT43 or another set of Michelins. My old car was picked up yesterday...a good 9 yrs out of it.

The ignition key process continues to drag on. Dealerships don't want to be bothered. Many/most ACE Hardwares don't carry the blanks and some don't even know if they can duplicate them. Some of the big box stores offer a Kiosk to read your key and they mail it to you. That's a last ditch option. Off to another ACE store today.....

The last ACE store was able to make me a key in under 10 minutes - $70. Next step is to get some trunk/glove box keys made at a local locksmith ($35)....just in case the electronic trunk opener stops working. Bought 5 plastic clips at ACE for the "newer" front air dam (40c each) that I'll put on within the week.

The wobbly interior rear view mirror is annoying. It does appear it's the mounting to the windshield that is the source. So will do a little research on removing and how to reglue...without cracking the windshield. Oil change with 10w-30 QS high mileage synblend coming in about 1-2 weeks.
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That makes sense. I spent a couple hours on the Cadillac forums reading about 2006-2011 DTS's. Holy carp. Do those cars have frequent and very expensive failures at any time! $600 to change valve cover gaskets. $900 for water pump change. $2,000-$3,000 for magnetic air ride suspension full repairs. Engine seals that often leak. Makes our Lincolns looks even that much better.
Craig, my ase mechanic friend said the Cads do have frequent major expensive motor flaws. Stay with the lincolns because you have live with them
The Mrs. just saved me $35 in keys today. While waiting in the car at the car wash she tried the new "duplicated" ignition key on the glove box...and it worked. For some reason I thought the Valet ignition key I took to get copied would produce only a duplicate Valet key...and couldn't possibly work in the trunk as it would be cut I never thought of even trying. Small wonders. It's nice to save some money you had expected to spend.

Note to self, steer clear of all the non-1996 to 2002 Lincoln Continental forums on this site. It's not worth the hassles. Twice I've attempted to "help" others with somewhat generic issues and all I've gotten was abuse and "disagrees" for trying. Should have learned my lesson the 1st time. Fortunately, I've never seen anything like that in the 1996-2002 Continental Forum. Nothing but good stuff here and no criticisms. I've owned about 3 dozen cars in my 41 yrs of driving, 3 Lincolns, 2 Caddies, and a dozen classic 1960's and 70's muscle Mopars. How could I possibly help anyone?
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So the duplicate Valet key you had made now acts like a master key?
Locks/unlocks the doors, glove box, trunk and starts the car?
So the duplicate Valet key you had made now acts like a master key?
Locks/unlocks the doors, glove box, trunk and starts the car?

Yes. Which is not what I expected. A fully functional ignition "master" key just like the factory provided.

I gave the guy my Valet key....the only key with the car when purchased. He picked out a Lincoln blank and made another ignition key that just happens to function as a master key. I expected a duplicate Valet key that could only work in the ignition. And in calling the hardware store, the guy confirmed he just copied the keying on the Valet key. That suggests a different blank or something. In any event, now that I have a key that works in the trunk lock...should be a fairly easy and cheap duplication for a 2nd trunk key.


Changed oil today after a 12 gallon run on Techron Complete Fuel System cleaner. Sort of surprised to see a Service Champ "mini-filter" in place of the normal PH2/XG2/FL820s type "large" engine oil filter these typically come with. I wonder how much less filter media they have vs. the full size filter? Seeing the mini-filter my first though was that I didn't have one that would fit. Or that I wouldn't be able to get it off after it was over-torqued at the last Quickie Lube. Different filter sizes...but same seating gasket diameter.

I installed a synthetic media Fram Ultra Guard XG2....and pre-fill them with 12-14 oz of oil. Been using those for 2 yrs now. I change oil every 6 months (3500-4000 miles) while running the XG2 for one year (7000-8000 miles). The XG2's are rated at around 15K-20K miles...can buy them in a 6 pack for around $6-$7 each. Using QS Defy high mileage 10w-30 sym blend on this oil change interval. For the winter run I'll use the 5w-30. I have several oils (QS HM, Pennz Plat, QS Ultimate Durability). Now that the oil change is done I was able to put a decent/working air dam assembly in.
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Glad you got the key issue figured out. Less worries there.

I have to make a recommendation on the oil and filter. I know this has been beaten to death. I am very wary of Fram oil filters. My Dad has a '66 big block Corvette, we used Fram filters, the last 2 oil changes. Which was over a set of years. Well, the filters were stuck on, couldn't get them off we had to use an air chisel to rotate them off. I use WIX or Purolator on that car. On my Lincoln I only use Motorcraft FL 820S filters, they have the anti drain back valve to supply oil. This is so that the engine will not dry start itself. I will start placing 5w 30 oil in the crank case. HM 10w 30 is way to thick for our cam tolerances, it starves the top end from getting oil because the winter weight is 10 which is thick. 5 winter weight is what the InTech was designed for (5w-30).

I don't want to get a big debate on this oil selection, as you know there are tons of that on LVC and other forums. I just don't want you to scour your cam bearings, sprockets, and lash adjusters. Next oil change run 5w-30 for the rest of its life you'll be good. Another thing, you can get the Motorcraft oil and Motorcraft oil filter at Walmart. Very good price.
Thanks Svets96. I've done a lot of research on this at Bitog and other car blogs... but might check again. The 10w grade is really only in play below 30 deg F. As soon as the oil heats up above around 60-80 deg F, the 5w-30 and 10w-30 grades are essentially indistinguishable....same for 0w-30 for that matter. At approx 140 deg F to operating temps, they are both 30 grades. There's essentially no difference in operating viscosity. All the HM feature adds is some extra zinc, seal conditioner, and some other additives. If you think about it, at startup, the thickness of either of those oils is FAR thicker than they will see at operating temps (approx 10-10.8 cSt at 100 deg C).

So if there were an issue of these 10w being "too thick," then so is the 5w at startup. So if the car's oil pump can't get 10w-30 oil to the remote bearings/cams, etc....neither will it get 5w-30 there....unless we're talking below -20 deg F temps. I know some people running 0w-40 in their 4.6L's down south for a decade or more. Taxi fleets have run 15w-40 in the 4.6L engines without problems. In fact, some articles I've read on Mustang 4.6L engines shows far more head wear with the factory recommended 5w-20...than a 15w-40. If you check "factory specs" for Intech 4.6L engines overseas, I'll bet you find a lot of them running 10w-30 and even 5w-40 and 15w-40. Other nations don't have to deal with EPA fuel guidelines. Australians cars typically run strong 30/40 grades and higher. And being in warmer climates means you might want to consider a higher grade than factory specced....specs which are trying to accommodate from South Texas to Northern Canada on one single really can't be done effectively. There is no one single grade oil for all environments, all driving styles, and all cars. They shoot for the middle of the road.

Been running the Fram Ultra Guards for several years now without issues. They have the proper anti-drain back valve too. When the Puro filters (and by association FL820s since they come from the same source) started tearing early in life during the 2013-2016 period, I moved away from them for anything beyond a 3K interval.

I'm running this 10w-30 only through November. Then I put in 5w-30 Quaker State or Pennz Plat for the winter 6 months. As long as the oil pump can push the oil, it will flow, as long as the 0/5/10w temp specs are met. The 10w is good to flow all the way down to around 0 to -10 deg F. There's no difference in when 5w or 10w oil get to their same long as they are above their min temp specs. 5w SN is good to pump down to around -20 to -30 deg F. I almost never see under 0 to 10 deg F in my winters.

Here's a recent Bitog thread on all the issues with 5w vs 10w-30 and other grades. Covers all the bases.

Why no 10w30 | Passenger Car Motor Oil (PCMO) - Gasoline Vehicles | Bob Is The Oil Guy
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engine oil viscosity graphs - Google Search:

Some viscosity charts. The 3rd one in shows 5w-30, 10w-30, 15w-40, and 20w-50 at varying temperatures. At 75 deg F (25 deg C), the 20w-50 flows better than the 5w-30 at 0-5 deg C (30-40 deg F). And at around 175 deg F (75 deg C) you can barely tell the 4 oils apart...though we know they'll range from 10 cSt to 15-20 cSt. So at cold enough temperatures, the 5w-30 has a high resistance to startup flow. Yet the 20w-50 in Miami, can do just fine at startup all year round. The 5w-30 is technically a "thick" oil up to around 100 deg F....thicker than the 20w-50 oil at normal operating temps.

There's almost no such thing as too "thick" or too "thin" oil...only too cold or too hot ambient temperatures. Someone today was showing an oil display shelf in a Guatemalan Walmart....basically all 40 and 50 grade oils with some 30 grades tossed in.
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For my 4.6L I stuck with the factory recommendations for the oil, and put on a FL820S filter.
I’ve been changing oil for over 5 decades, and except for the engines built for racing, I have always used the oil weight the engine was designed for.
In all that time, I’ve never had an oil related problem.
Since both the cars I have now are high mileage, I send an oil sample for analysis at every oil change.
IMO, these days there is a lot of over thinking and over analysis when it comes to engine oils.

As far as the Fram filters go, they have had a bad reputation for a very long time.
Whether or not that is still the case I don’t know. Usually time has a way of correcting design problems.
Quaker State oil (usually 10w-40) had a bad rep for sludging up engines in the 1970's and 1980's. Usually that was more bad owner maintenance than anything else. Those myths still circulate today. I ran 10w-40 QS conventionals almost exclusively from 1977-1992...never had any sludging.

The Bitog boyz have kept a close eye on filters the past decade. The Frams have come out of the dog house, especially their two upper tiers (ultra guard and extra guard iirc). The lower tiers and "orange can of death" rumors still circulate freely. Old stuff dies hard. Most oil filters (like car batteries) are made by 2-3 major companies....many of them relabeled.

The oil grade an engine was designed for is not static. It varies on usage, mileage, engine age/health, ambient temps, driving styles, how many days a car might sit between drives, and a host of other things. The engineers cannot design a one size fits all for the entire nation, let alone an entire world. Optimum oil selection varies for all of us. But I would agree that 5w-20, 5w-30 are pretty versatile oils and can cover the vast majority of cars and trucks out there under "most" conditions. You can probably also run anything from 20 to 40 grades in the same vehicle and have a relatively small influence on engine long as you follow regular oil changes. No doubt that varies per vehicle too. The 0/5w-20 grade in Alaska's winter might be the 15/20w-50 grade used in Guatemala year round.

It's nice to know the whys of it all (ie the actual lubrication engineering). The engineers might design the car....but the govt-CAFE/marketing divisions and bean counters have the final say on what oil goes into that vehicle. The engineers are then left to "protest" that choice or rubber stamp it. Engineers designed 5w-30 oil for our 1996-2002 Lincoln 4.6L dohc engines. Bean counters vetoed by 2001 (and engineers went along) to shift to a 5w-20 selection....since it would suitably perform through warranty and even up to 100-150K miles. Who wants CAFE-suitable? I want the best oil for maximizing engine life as they are expensive to replace. 0/5w-16 engine oils are now coming to market as OEM spec. Soon 5w-20 will be considered "too thick!"
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Awesome oil analysis Firebrian. You did your homework very well. Use what you think is right by all means.

I had looked into Bitog every once in awhile, those guys are really smart, a lot of them came from big oil chemistry.
Thanks Svets96. 3 yrs ago I realized I had been a collector car enthusiast for 25 yrs, yet knew almost nothing about the lubricants used other than the API SL/SM/SN certifcations and the grades of oil. More a reader of advertising back then than a student of physics and tribology. Didn't even know that various oil companies had widely varying additive packages in their oils. So 3 yrs of Bitogging it, reading thousands of pages/articles...I now know a little something about what should go into my cars, how often, and why.

0W-20 for Texas winters/summers good? | Passenger Car Motor Oil (PCMO) - Gasoline Vehicles | Bob Is The Oil Guy

A current thick vs thin discussion.
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Nice to see people still use this forum and are still interested in this car. I myself am on my second one being a 2002 5 passenger model. My first was a 2001 6 passenger model. Definitely like the 5 passenger model. My only caveat with these cars is the radio. I'm trying to figure out this DSP in the alpine unit but with no luck. I had to replace the factory "sub" amp and did so with a 300 watt kicker amp that is the exact same size as the factory amp allowing it to fit in the package tray in the trunk. I'm starting to think replacing the stock deck with a nice blue tooth double din is the only way to go. I also replaced the "subs" with an 8 inch sub on each side. Bolted a MDF spacer to the bottom of the rear deck and screwed the subs to it from underneath so I never have to remove the rear deck carpet again.
Num1bigguy, nice to see another Continental guy posting here. I too prefer the console front seat model. It's been a pain to get use to a column shift again after 17 years of only having console Lincoln Continentals. The console shifter feels so much smoother and less clunky.

As far as your questions on the DSP Alpine unit, I have no clue. You will get much more exposure by posting a new thread on the topic.

Finally have my key situation fully resolved. The last "trunk/glove box" key cost $2.50 to make. From a single Valet key to a pair of ignition keys with FOBs ran me $110. New key does fit the doors and ignition as well. So it's an emergency ignition back up as long as I have a chip nearby.
I gave the guy my Valet key....the only key with the car when purchased. He picked out a Lincoln blank and made another ignition key that just happens to function as a master key. I expected a duplicate Valet key that could only work in the ignition. And in calling the hardware store said:
Your (gray) Valet key is wider than a standard black ("master") key. Ignition cylinder and door (s) were designed to accept both valet and black keys. Lockable glove, locked trunk, and lockable driver door-mounted trunk release button switch were designed to reject wider valet key. Valet keys are intended for valet parking attendants, detailers, stealerships, or anyone else you would not want to have access to your trunk/glove-stored valuables/items.

Aw, sorry about the other one. Might actually be worth buying it back and doing the repairs yourself. Use the color code for the car and you can replace most parts for next to nothing. You already know the history of it, so no real questions about history.

Congrats on the new one though! Be SURE to inspect the rear caliper slides. Have to wonder how many of these Continentals are hitting things from defective rear brakes :(

IF you are willing, you can pull the rims, have the tires yanked, and carefully take a mill file and knock the rash off, then polish the hell out of them and get them refinished/sealed. I did some 2 piece BBS rims and you couldn't even tell the barrels had ever had any rash after done unless you were running around with a straight edge in your pocket. Else consider getting a set of refurbished rims (can obviously choose any year/design that fits) and if lucky, maybe they'll take your old ones as a core.
The insurance company took the salvage car...probably valued around $650. If it didn't have $1500-$2000 in work coming due in the next 1-3 yrs I'd have probably kept it for a back up car (soon to need serpentine belt, alternator, ps high pressure hose leak, weeping valve cover gaskets, spark plugs and wires, water pump, belt idler tensioner/roller assembly, rear brakes, all coolant hoses). Tires were due in 2-3 yrs...another $600.

Other than the radiator and battery, every component in the engine bay was 100% factory - 16 yrs old. I sort of lucked out with nothing else ever failing. And this doesn't even factor in unforeseen failures in air conditioning, emissions systems, electronics, power seats and windows, air suspension and regular suspension components including expensive struts. It did have some front end clunking going on. So a lot of things were coming due...and for serious money. Salvage value could have become a $2500-$3000 car after maintenance receipts sunk into it. Financially made no sense with the fenders, front end, and hood tweaked. I can find another mint one for $4K if it came to that.

The grille could have been shoe horned back on tight. The hood was cocked but still opened and shut. While I'll miss how nice driving this car was, it gave me a fairly trouble free 9 yr run from 22K miles to 82 miles....other than fluids only replacing radiator, front left axle (crack in ABS tone ring) and front rotors. Pretty minimal maintenance needed....which is why I went after a 22K mile one owner car.

The 2001 I just bought has no engine bay leaks I can see. The serpentine belt looks mint. The tires are new. Fluids are all in nice shape. Only thing I had to do was an engine oil change. So right there I'm up $1,000 over the other car...and at half the mileage. But I suspect this one will need some front suspension/steering attention.
Glad to hear it will be trouble free for the most part. Now you can enjoy the days cruising.
Had the car 13 months now. Put on nearly 10K at 49K. Ready to pass into middle It's been pretty reliable. A few complaints. The engine runs a tad rougher than my last one, which was smooth as silk its entire life. Not a fan of the clunky column shifter. I miss my old console shift. The steering column rubbing noise (I was told that's old dried out leather bushing?) is annoying at times, especially in the cold weather. Cruise control still works but it's only a matter of time before that fails.

The front suspension is a bit clunky with some noises as the car goes over bumps and small pot holes. Had it checked and they could find nothing wrong....not wheel bearings, tie rod ends, ball joints, etc. Could be some slightly worn bushings in the sway bar links? Or maybe they just missed something? Door Ajar warning comes in and out. Had that same issue with my last 2 Continentals...ended up replacing the door switch on one of them. Maybe I'll follow Svet's lead and lubricate the switches. It comes and goes regardless of weather.

Had to do the original front brakes around 45K. Waited a bit too long and the rotors were already scored. Rear brakes still original with plenty of meat. This past week I did a transmission "idling flush" via the return cooler line with 15 qts of SuperTech Mercon V. I did the transmission pan and filter last year. Just did a drain and fill on the "old green" radiator fluid (5 qts). New cabin filter is due in any day. The fuel filter will follow that. Then a few hours on the undercarriage with Eastwood's Corroless primer addressing any early rust. I did that on my last car too.

I figure if I can get this car to 80K-100K miles (4 yrs from now) w/o any major repairs, the car will have served me well. No oil leaks that form a droplet.
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Just replace the door switch. Unlike the Mark VIII, you can actually get at them on these. Lube is a temporary fix but usually works.

End links might be bad or failing, or worn enough that they clunk under enough movement. Easy enough DIY job. Do front back at the same time. Very inexpensive. Go with a better brand if keeping the car awhile. If struts are oem, might be time for new.
Thanks Sincoln. I'll check those things out. Sure hope I don't need struts after only 49K miles. My other 2 Continentals went 82K (accident) and 232K (engine failure + rust) without a strut change
You can buy the entire front strut assembly pretty cheap. I bought a set off Car ID and think they were made by Unity. Comes with strut and spring, assembled, in pairs. I think I paid a touch under $200 for the set roughly, though needed to contact them while looking at wrong strut assembly and they directed me to the correct ones (factory front spring/strut with passive). For the price, and the fact one of my springs snapped after trying to compress it, the assembled spring/strut was a good value. If OEM, they only last so long.

The endlinks though are probably causing the noises. Mine in the rear at around 86k miles were completely shot. But being a '99, that's roughly 20 years old before they failed.

If you unbolt one end, you'll see if it's really loose or binding.

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