Mark VIII newbie...what to look for when buying?

lincolncanoe

New LVC Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2021
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
florida
Hi all.

Absolute newbie here.

Never been a land yatch kind of guy but Tyler Hoovie over at youtube made me a convert recently.

Anyways...in the process of looking at old Buicks, Lincolns, Mar Quis and the like ran across the Lincoln Mark VIII s.

So, what I am looking at right now locally is a 1997 Lincoln Mark VIII. 144k miles. Exterior and interior look reasonable condition wise. Under the hood looks clean and not hot-rodded/tampered with/fracked up.

First question. Whats a reasonable price for it from a private party (assuming no major issues).

Second question. What should I look out for if I go to inspect/test ride the car? Any specific possible gotcha's that cost big money to fix.

Third. What does it typically cost to fix stuff? And can most of that be done by a DIY (I'm pretty handy with most car repairs).

Four. I just want an older car for basic transportation that gets better gas mileage than a minivan/small suv cruising on the flat interstate here in florida. Not looking to fix up or hot rod or expecting luxury. Just don't want a money pit that I can't drive because it will cause a fortune to fix thing XYZ that goes wrong. Or given if thing XYZ DOES go wrong the car is still probably I can sell without too much of a loss to an enthusiast looking for a project car.

Thank you all very much for reading and any input!
 

xtriggerman

Active LVC Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2019
Messages
185
Reaction score
57
Location
TN
I think the key here for you is price first because these cars have alot of small to medium DIY repairs. a couple years ago I bought a 97 base in FL with 67K on it for 5 grand. It was in OK condition but needed work right off the bat with shot front upper A arms as they all seem to have the Clunking issue with any kind of miles and then since the front air bags needed air bags, I just did a spring conversion kit to kill all the various rubber & electrical issues with the air ride system. The list goes on but you can see in the "Articles" section alot of how too fixes to guide you along. ALOT of little things need attention but once you get them upgraded with the correct fix, these are fine riding cars with pretty fair power in a stock 4.6L. All my 97 needs now is paint. I must have put at least 4K into the car for suspension, exhaust, trans J-mod, radio/speakers and various repairs like door locks, new-er door handles, heater control replaced just to name a few. IMO, for the guy that likes to turn wrenches and likes the sleek interior and body style of this seldom seen car these days, Its a good endevor to buy and fixup a MKVIII. I run I-40 from TN to NC often and on those 780 mile runs, I hand calculate a solid 25 + mpg running steady 75 to 90 with a Uniden R1 on the look out. Thats with E3 spark plugs and new Accel Coil packs infront of a 2.5" SS dual exhaust & CAI. Originaly the car's mileage calculator was dead on but after I had to change out the sending unit in the tank, its average count never gets higher than 22.4 on those runs. So much for aftermarket sending units. I'm 62 now and this car is it. Unless some major part breaks and I cant get a replacement, Its here to stay. With maybe 10K into the car total, I couldn't be happier with this ride. The last car that I liked as much as this one was a 71 Cutlass Supreme I had back in the 70's.
 

Rapple1031

LVC Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2021
Messages
17
Reaction score
8
Location
NJ
Personally it has to many miles for me, but if it was very well cared for maybe ok. Here's my mark viii exp. Bought my first one 5 years ago a 97 base with 95K on it, good running, and fairly good cosmetic shape $1800. Fell in love with it right away, great driving car. But kind of a money pit the first year I had it. Brake line blew out had to replace all, $500 at the shop as I dont lay under cars any more, then the air ride crapped out $500 for strut master coil conversion doing it may self, not to bad to do, 2 months later ball joints and control arm bushing replace hole front end myself and front breaks again not to hard but probably another $800 by the time I was done. Then the stupid little crap inside that breaks. Gas door opener button, washer button, other minor crap. Now for the bright side lol after the first year it has not given me one bit of trouble. very dependable.
Now for my second mark. 1998 LSC bought 6 months ago. Low miles (58K) well cared for one owner garage kept. as close to mint as you will find. Owner died and it sat for 5 years. they got is started and cleaned up a week or so before. I got it for $5000. drove it home 150 miles fine, I did brakes, tires (lol20 years old), and charge the AC. Has been prefect even the air ride absolutely no leaks. Being it was sitting so long expected some kind of problem but no. well not totally true. The front end is fine but I know not for to long because all the rubber boots on ball joints and tie rod ends rotted.
So with these I guess the major issues air ride, and from what I have heard from other ball joints don't last to long anyway. look for oil leaks oil pan gasket is a pricy job and I think they are common to leak. really like any old car I guess you may get lucky it its fine, or it could be a PITA. There are alot of complicated systems in these cars that why the higher mileage bothers me. But love them.
 

lincolncanoe

New LVC Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2021
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
florida
Thanks very much for the detailed input guys.

I am somewhat surprised that 144k is considered high mileage. I'd think age would be more of an issue than that kind of mileage on a higher end (at the time) American tank built car.

I can live with all the piddly fancy stuff breaking or not working. I'm just worried about stuff that NEEDS to be fixed so that the thing is drivable (though it would be nice if the stuff didn't break in the near future so I could enjoy a pleasat ride for awhile).

Oh...or is age/mileage more of an issue as to whether we had somebody who drove the car "hard" versus some old guy that just liked the idea of driving agressively more than actually driving that way on a regular basis.

And this looks to be an LSC? model....small holes in leather front seats and a sunroof. Anything better/worse about having that model.

And this is going to sound horrible to some...but IFFF I took out the back seats and took a saw to the wall between the passenger compartment...what kind of vertical clearance distance would I have and what kind of length from the back of the front seats to near the far back end of the trunk/car


Thanks again
 

xtriggerman

Active LVC Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2019
Messages
185
Reaction score
57
Location
TN
Worst thing with the sun roof is the gaskets are long gone as replacements. If it leaks because of rotted gasket, IDK of any easy OEM type fix. I dont have the sun roof so maybe others can chime in on that. The car has 75" with the front seat back to a comfortable ride position for a 5' 8" tall person but can move forward quite alot. Guessing a good 8' with the front seat motored all the way forward. The back seat wall is a basic latice frame wall. The truck height is 12" under the rear deck with the OEM amplifier mounted under the deck with its card board covering. If you take the amp out, you would have 16" from the trunk floor to the bottom of the rear deck. I found the rear seat is not bad for a road nap if need be as I'm 5'8. Do you need it for cargo space?
 

lincolncanoe

New LVC Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2021
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
florida
Thanks for the reply.

I figured the sun roof might be an issue. But I do love a sun roof in a car. Does having a sunroof make it a particularly more desirable model in general despite any gasket issues?

Yes, I might open up the back for more cargo space (a large telescope specifically, but not just that). Also I like to car camp a lot and since I almost never have more than one passenger back seats are generally wasted space for

If I wanted to go wild I guess I could chop the back top half half of the car off...put a vertical wall right behind the front seats and have the first love child of a Mark 8 and an El Camino... :)

Thanks again for input.
 

Rapple1031

LVC Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2021
Messages
17
Reaction score
8
Location
NJ
Mileage and age both factors, age you cant do anything about so I try for low mileage. But also has to be well kept. Before I bought my 98 LSC with 58K I looked at a 98 base with only 35K could have gotten it for less. But I walked. For me first I look at body, mechanical parts can be replace. Body repairs can too but can usually be seen. Then is it clean inside and out, you no well cared for. If it was chances are it was mechanically too. lol then its still a lot of luck from there. Fancy stuff breaking lol well I have turned most of mine off, only wears stuff out faster. Sunroof I have never heard of problems with them. And I think cars of that age had drains, so if there is a small leak as longs as the drains are clear it wont get in the car, not sure on that one but I think so. I personally like the looks on the sunroof but never open it. If I want fresh air I take my vintage Dodge convertible. Cargo is tough on these depending, the trunk is long from front to back, but so shallow. Depends what your putting in it . lol as far as taking the back seat out it is a waste I would never make anyone ride back there for to long. As far as the air ride it the best by far when working right, but cost of repairs to it prohibit fixing it when it craps out. Tho on my 98 I will go the rout fixing it if it gives me trouble later. The one your looking at with that mileage has probably already been converted. I did the strut master conversion, most expensive at the time. It rides a bit stiffer then the air ride but still handles great like it should. I have heard of others use other less expensive conversion and complain about the handle, act more like a town car. Strut master the coil springs are red.
My first Mark was not prefect looking but fell in love with it. I cant count how many cars I have had in my life time but this by far is my favorite everyday driver I have ever had. And like the other poster here plan on keeping it the rest of my life. lol I do have a bit of a car problem tho, right now I have 4 others beside the 2 marks . Was going to sell the 97 when I got the 98 but have not been able to part with it. Ahhh what's one more car anyway?
 

lincolncanoe

New LVC Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2021
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
florida
Yes. Will let you folks know what happens with the car.

He is currently asking $3500. After some research I feel something more like $2500 or even $2000 would be all I could justify paying for the car in my particular situation. And that is assuming I don't see anything mechanically suspect with the car. The car body and interior looks to be in at least "good" condition (with levels being mint, very good, good, fair, and poor). So hopefully in person it will turn out that the condition is at least "good". And I can live with lots of little things wrong with the car.

Somebody mentioned the trans being an issue. Is that true? Are the transmissions on these models known for issues or short lives?

And what kind of prices for parts (I can DIY) am I looking at for replacing all parts like sway bars and tie rods? And what kind of prices to fix or replace the air suspension system should it need it?

Again all...thanks for the input!
 

firstmark

New LVC Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2018
Messages
9
Reaction score
3
Location
conneaut ohio
Yes. Will let you folks know what happens with the car.

He is currently asking $3500. After some research I feel something more like $2500 or even $2000 would be all I could justify paying for the car in my particular situation. And that is assuming I don't see anything mechanically suspect with the car. The car body and interior looks to be in at least "good" condition (with levels being mint, very good, good, fair, and poor). So hopefully in person it will turn out that the condition is at least "good". And I can live with lots of little things wrong with the car.

Somebody mentioned the trans being an issue. Is that true? Are the transmissions on these models known for issues or short lives?

And what kind of prices for parts (I can DIY) am I looking at for replacing all parts like sway bars and tie rods? And what kind of prices to fix or replace the air suspension system should it need it?

Again all...thanks for the input!
I can comment on the transmission.
I bought my 1 owner '97 with 26000 miles a few years ago .It would occasionally "judder" on the 2-3 shift.
Some have explained it like running over a rumble strip on the road.
I dropped the pan and changed the filter and replaced the fluid with Mercon 6 synthetic and have had no problems since. It was the original 20 yr old fluid and filter.
Be sure to clean pan and magnet.I reused the original pan gasket as it is reusable and have had zero leaks.
 

Rapple1031

LVC Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2021
Messages
17
Reaction score
8
Location
NJ
If you have only seen pictures alot doesn't show I have found. See it and drive it you will know. My 98 I looked for probably 6 or 7 months. Drove far to look at a few and was disappointed. lol this one I bought I was almost not going to go look at it 150 miles away. Glad I did. Good deals do come up on these sometimes. I check Ebay (not the greatest but..) CL, FB market, And believe it or not Offer-up. Found this one on Offer-up lol. I have heard trans problems too, then some say its more the torque converter. I am leaning myself more towards weak torque converter. My 97 at about 105K mile developed the common shudder the previous poster talked about. But my fluid was very dirty. I had the system flushed and filter changed cured it, 122K now and still fine. Frontend I did mine with Moog frontend kit from rock auto, comes with most parts but I did add some. I am thinking it was about 600 bucks but not sure memory failing lol. But very mixed bag of reviews on the Moog stuff. Some say its great some say its junk. Heard they have there stuff made by several different manufactures. So its luck of the draw, I got lucky has been fine. When I converted my 97 to coils I did strut master was about $500 . Was a couple others cheaper but I am the you get what you pay for feeling kind of guy. Happy with strut master but air ride is better.
 

IvoryLSC

LVC Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2021
Messages
11
Reaction score
7
Location
Omaha, Ne
Sooo are you gonna buy this car or what? Pics please! In my opinion the Mark is just as reliable as any other reputable vehicle from its time. As long as the maintenance has been up to date most of the things that break are DIY stuff. With the LVC community you can keep these Marks on the road forever
 

lincolncanoe

New LVC Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2021
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
florida
I did look at the car Sunday afternoon. It was a bit dirty as they live a ways back on a dirt road. Two irritating things, no tag so taking it on the highway to test it out was a bit aggravating risk wise. And no mufflers (he has them but the are not on). I was surprised at how quite it was even mufflerless (should have had the windows DOWN when we floored it on the highway).

Engine and trans seemed fine working wise. Computer system and controls worked Computer even indicated 19.8 miles per gallon over the last 500 miles or so...which seems about right. He recharged the AC system a few weeks ago. It works but not COLD AC...so probably a leak somewhere. Besides no headliner, a fairly worn but not torn drivers seat and carpet that was a bit dirty the interior was nice and would probably clean up / fix up nicely.

The good and bad news. The air supspension system had been replaced by coils. Which is good in the sense that if it DID have the original air suspension system that fix/repair scenario would be looming in the near future probably. The bad news was I did not get to experience the floaty ride nirvana I was looking forward to. But the ride was still pretty nice.

I could tell this was one solidly built car. To me it seemed like a cross between a muscle car, a land yatch and Miata. Given how BIG the car is, I was a bit surprised how little room there was in the back seat and the trunk. This car is actually a a few inches wider and longer than the other car I am considering...a 1998 Dodge Dynasty.

He said the sunroof worked fine. New tires and rear calipers and rotors. Another issue was that the check engine light was one. Likely because the lack of the mufflers.

For me to buy the car he's going to probably have to get a 30 day temp tag and at least put the muffler on temporarily with a splice and some tube clamps to clear the check engine light.

He was asking $3500. After a bit of haggling the other night online he indicated he would take $2600 or so. Given the type of vehicle it is and him out in the boonies I don't think he is going to get many takers.

Sorry no pics...forgot the phone :(
 

lincolncanoe

New LVC Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2021
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
florida
Oops...the other car I am looking for is a 1988 Dodge Dynasty...the very last of the very square American made land yachts.
 

Rapple1031

LVC Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2021
Messages
17
Reaction score
8
Location
NJ
No mufflers on it would have me suspect it has had some hard miles, but reading 19.8 MPG cancels that out. Ac, could be leaking or just not charged properly. Coils some ride stiffer then the air ride. But even the air ride is not floaty. Town car if you want floaty. Cross between a land yacht and muscle car does fit it. Yes they are very limited on space for carrying things for the size, and personally I consider it a 2 seater. Wouldn't make anyone ride in the back seat other then short trip. As for the check engine light I don't think mufflers would cause that. I would have wanted to see what code it had. Even if its running fine could be as simple O2 sensor, But if its the cat on the drivers side thats a nightmare. lol and land yachts really the last of those was the 1979 town car , and 1979 New Yorker. But the Dynasty would probably be better for carrying stuff. The Dodge would probably be much easier to work on, I have an 85 Dodge 600ES turbo convertible myself too, funny thing I never have to work on it, just starts and goes all the time.
 

clubairth

Active LVC Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2005
Messages
172
Reaction score
9
Location
home
No mufflers will not turn the check engine light on. Run the codes and post back with what comes up.
.
.
.
 

Members online

Top