New member looking for some ideas on my 2002 Lincoln Continental

Lincoln Continental

  1. Firebrian

    Firebrian LVC Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2017
    Location:
    Southeast Connecticut
    I posted my "welcome aboard" message in the other forum earlier. Gives a brief synopsis of my past 16 years driving 1997/2002 Lincoln Conti's. I wish I had kept all the maintenance receipts on my 1997 (2001-2009) as it was a mini-treasure trove of when things failed. I gave all that away to the new owner thinking it might help them. I had no idea I would be buying another Conti only a few months later. It just showed up and was priced right with super low miles. Now with 8 years driving it to 78K miles I'm thinking about what I have to do to keep big repair bills at bay.

    That 1997 had numerous repairs at the 150K-225K mile mark. The orig transmission was flawless the entire time I owned it. And I drove that car pretty hard at times - but mostly highway miles and 25K-30K transmission fluid/filter changes.

    So far on this car the only major repairs have been a new radiator. That went at 65K miles due to a transmission cooler leak. An ABS tone ring cracked on the driver's front axle and required a new axle.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
  2. Firebrian

    Firebrian LVC Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2017
    Location:
    Southeast Connecticut
    Here's what I'm currently trying to do on my 2002.

    Serpentine belt is slowly spitting off tiny rubber specks. There's a tiny oil leak either from the lower front valve cover gasket or the power steering system is dripping on to the drive belt. My mechanic said it's causing the belt to slowly disintegrate. I've been watching it for the past 15 months and it's no worse looking and no squeals yet. If there is a valve cover leak, I have to do the front cover, front plugs/coils. Probably not a bad time to do the upper radiator hose and/or thermostat while that hose is emptied. So for one oil drip that doesn't even make it to the ground, and doesn't show up in the reservoir/oil pan usage, I have to consider doing several repairs. So far, I've seen a half dozen different versions of how this procedure can be done if the belt tensioner/idler pulley also need replacing. You would think there was one "best" way.

    I've researched the belt tensioner procedures the best I can on line. Jacking the engine up 1.5" to access the tensioner #40 Torx bolt is not something I'm looking forward too. The Ford procedure has you installing a special 3 pt sling on the upper engine and cranking/screwing it up with passenger side motor mount nuts removed. Most everyone else mentions jacking up under the oil pan with a wood block. I've researched the parts too and will probably go with Motorcraft just to ensure decent quality and a proper fit. I only want to do all this once. Not sure if I should tackle this or farm it out.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
  3. FlaOkie

    FlaOkie LVC Member

    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    Location:
    Cape Coral
    If the belt is deteriorating I would get it replaced as soon as possible.
    As for the oil drip, it sounds like its no big deal.
    But for me personally, I have no tolerance for drips of any kind.
    Luckily, my ’02 Conti so far, is dry as a bone.

    I’ve gotten to the point (too old and too lazy) where anything other than an easy repair or replacement, it goes to my mechanic.
    He can worry about jacking engines and fighting uncooperative bolts etc.
     
  4. Firebrian

    Firebrian LVC Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2017
    Location:
    Southeast Connecticut
    I hear you FlaOkie. My mechanic did almost everything on my 1997 because I was just inundated at work for those 7 years, including many weekends. I have more time for this car....though I'm still old, bad back, and semi-lazy...lol. I spent a couple more hours under the car today using ramps. I put the eyeballs on that area for at least an hour, while trying to clean up as much as the muck as I could....not to mention inspecting every inch of that undercarriage for any rust or things out of sorts....really am impressed at the soundness of the underside. I was surprised that there was a big thick "oily beard" stuck to the bottom of the belt tensioner. Defying gravity! The inside of the lower wheel was filled with the same muck.

    Still can't tell if the fluid is from PS or Valve Covers. There's no way to determine color as it's just a black mess. There's no real drip and it never shows up on the ground. My gut feel says PS fluid. The PS hoses have some oil on them. So do the casings of the A/C compressor and the PS pump. The PS steering system is a ways away from the tensioner, which is at engine center line. Oil can't jump several inches. In looking at that #40 Torx, there's only 3/4" max clearance from the inner fender frame. That's why it's easier to jack up the engine 1.5".

    Someone else mentioned to me today that their experiences from staff at the Lincoln dealership is to leave the tensioner and idler pulley alone unless there's a problem with them....just do the belt. Let sleeping dogs lay. In closely inspecting more of the belt, there are no rib cracks, no hunks missing. Just the far edges look "wet" and the surface side is shiny from wear/rubbing. It doesn't look to be anywhere near failure being an 1/8" or so thick and no separation of the fiber from the rubber. My concern was that constant oil dripping on it would cause rapid deterioration. That really hasn't been the case for the last 12 months. The belt looks the same...just more rubber pellets built up from where I last cleaned them up. The same person also mentioned that power steering fluid (ATF) dripping on to the AC hoses ruined them for him. So my immediate thoughts are to remove a few hoses, reservoirs, and scrupulously clean the area up. Maybe I can deflect future leakage safely...or finally find the source. I have ordered a Motorcraft drive belt just to have it. I still may bring my mechanic in on this.
     
  5. FlaOkie

    FlaOkie LVC Member

    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    Location:
    Cape Coral
    My experience finding leaks on these newer cars, with packed full engine bays, has been to get it up on a lift.
    There is no way you can move around and position yourself laying on the ground to trace a leak to it’s source.
     
  6. Firebrian

    Firebrian LVC Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2017
    Location:
    Southeast Connecticut
    I know Svet96 mentioned about seeing my car "coming around" in his thread. But, at this point, my only goal is to slow the deterioration of the car (cosmetically and mechanically)...and not throw dollars at it that won't give me some sort of pay back. A new lower air dam might give me a cooler operating engine...I'll take that along with a better cosmetic appearance.

    I spent 3-4 hours the past week treating any obvious surface rust on the undercarriage. I won't take the rear bumper off - just did the stuff visible from the underside. After today, I'm convinced this car will never rust out before it gives up mechanically....not bad for a 16 year Connecticut car...and 7 winters under my belt. Though, I am careful about not letting the car see winter slush/salt. If I can stay off the roads for a day until they dry, that's what I do. My 1997 saw the worst of every Connecticut winter for 7 years...and it showed from rusted brake lines to rusted out rear suspension parts. Not even a hint of that kind of stuff on this 2002.

    Last week I took the passenger headlight off to remove a standing pool of water. Then I defogged it bone dry via a hair driver. Also used some caulk to fill in any upper gaps. And the darn thing still fogged up the next morning...and has stayed that way. So that I'll have to accept. Not buying new lights until there's a better reason.

    I learned my lesson on my 1997 Lincoln about never even looking at the undercarriage. One day on the highway the evaporative emission system was dragging behind me. The mounting tabs and fasteners had rotted away. On this car those parts looked perfect. Did see a bit of flaky rust on the the Cat mounting bolts/nuts which I scraped away and treated with Eastwood Corroless. Did the same for the 2 exhaust pipe brackets. I don't need a solid exhaust system falling down because the weak link (hangers) pulled away due to rot. With the undercarriage gone through, I can spend some more time dealing with the oil leak near the drive belt.

    Between last year and this year I've also flushed the Transmission system with 18 qts of Mercon V, changed the trans filter, changed fuel and cabin filters, did a bunch of drain/refills on the coolant system (now using Zerex G-05). Also did a full drain and fill of the brake system. Still have to get to the rear brakes/rotors? If time permits, maybe look into getting the CD system and cruise control working again. I haven't really missed them. Has a moon roof, which I haven't even used in a couple of years....maybe I should at least cycle it? When I figure out how to link some photos, I can post some.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2017
  7. Firebrian

    Firebrian LVC Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2017
    Location:
    Southeast Connecticut
    I mostly agree. Though it was a lot easier today up on ramps. I think I need to remove the same components as if I were trying to replace the tensioner and idler pulley. That gets you good access by removing coolant degas bottle and vent line/bracket, PS reservoir, upper radiator hose pulled out of the way, and maybe even pulling off the PS lines from the reservoir. That would go a long ways to accessing things from the top side.
     
  8. Svets96

    Svets96 Well-Known LVC Member

    Messages:
    293
    Likes Received:
    15
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2005
    Location:
    North East Ohio
    Might want to give the timing cover gaskets a quick visual. Could be a main seal.

    I do know that the PS pump was a big problem on the Continentals. Mine was replaced under warranty back in '01.
     
  9. FlaOkie

    FlaOkie LVC Member

    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    Location:
    Cape Coral
    Yes sir, nothing like a moon roof.
    I opened the one on my car once when I was checking out the car at the car lot.
    I haven’t touched it since, and could care less if it doesn’t open at all.
    I guess some people like them, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s the least desirable option on my car.
    Here in Florida, the weather is either so hot you have to have the AC on, or its raining.
     
  10. Firebrian

    Firebrian LVC Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2017
    Location:
    Southeast Connecticut
    I gave the engine front side a brief look yesterday and nothing popped out at me as "bad." But, will surely make it a point to check it more closely next time.

    I was spoiled on my 1997 Lincoln as the PS and water pumps, trans and engine were basically problem free (minimal oil leaks) until 230K miles/12 yrs when the engine started going south. In particular, I had the car sitting outside in the winter for 2-3 months due to a failed crank sensor that took me a while to figure out. The next time I started the car up in March, a light, squealing metallic sound was coming from the water pump/alternator area. That sitting time in 0-40 deg weather couldn't have helped. Ironically, I just wiggled the crank sensor and the car fired right up. It never failed to start again.

    That reminds me. I have been troubleshooting a 5 dc amp draw on my 2002 Lincoln the past few months. It doesn't affect the car's operation or starting...even after sitting for 3 days. But, it's odd that it's even there considering the battery is only 1 yr old (AC Delco professional gold). I scoured the internet for ideas and did about everything but a parasitic draw test. 5 amps is a big draw when the interior lighting is only a fraction of an amp. My battery maintains a 24 hour volatage of only around 12.40...way too low for a new battery. When charging it up for 30-45 min, it starts out at 8 amps dc and then stops around 4 amps. It won't dip below that level no matter how long the charge. After charging the battery up, if I merely turn on the car's interior lights and head lights for a minute, the battery will recharge at the 8 amp rate for a few minutes. That tends to point at the battery itself.

    I checked out the alternator in all respects, and all the leads/tabs/fasteners involved from alternator to battery to see if anything was high resistance. Nope. Other ground leads show proper vcontinuity too. In checking for AC amps off the battery DC side with the car running there is some that exceeds the typical 50-200 ac milli-amps that is considered "acceptable." I think it was up around 250-350 ma. suggesting questionable alternator diode(s). Yet other readings suggested otherwise. Not worrying about it at the moment. Could be the battery itself is flawed from the factory...it has a 42 month warranty and appears to still have acceptable cold cranking amps. A true 5 dc amp/hr parasitic draw on the battery for even 24 hrs should kill most batteries.

    This guy's Continental shows a lot of the same oil/rubbery grime around the belt area as my car...just not as much debris.

     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
  11. Sincoln

    Sincoln LVC Member

    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Location:
    Ohio
    One issue with leaky valve covers (in general) on DOHC engines is when they leak into the spark plug holes. It can soak the plug, coat the threads, and mess with the plug boots or worse if enough pools up.

    If you have a serpentine belt rotting from fluid contamination, it's really worth the piece of mind to replace them along with installing a new belt, and cleaning wiping surfaces off to get any accumulation of rubber-soaked oil bits. If your oil is changed a lot or almost always "fresh", it's sometimes harder to pin point where the drip is.

    If you have a power steering leak, I've found those (in general) are easier to spot as they tend to stay oil soaked at the hose ends, or drip down the hose, or have puddles directly under where the hose attaches.
     
  12. Firebrian

    Firebrian LVC Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2017
    Location:
    Southeast Connecticut
    The goal today was to get a close up look at the oil leak by removing a few things including the upper radiator hose. Everything went fine until it came time to pull the upper hose off. No go. I had the clamp well past the nipple area. I've done a couple dozen hoses on other cars so this didn't seem any different. My mechanic had that hose off 2 yrs ago to replace the radiator. I wonder if they used some gorilla glue or something? I was pulling so hard I was afraid I might tear or puncture the hose and be left with the car out of commission. Next time I attempt this I'll have a new upper hose ready to go so I won't care how the old hose comes off.

    I did get a better look at the oily area and I still don't see anything that could cause significant oil to drip on the belt. The only truly wet hoses are are the ones closest to the radiator.... next to the PS hoses. I assume those are for the air ride or AC system (3 canisters in that area under the PS reservoir...air compressor? air dryer? wiper washer fluid motor?). Those aren't exactly hoses I'd expect to be sources of oily leaks. Those wet hoses are to the side of the PS/AC pulleys where they can't drip directly on the belt. It's entirely possible that the loose valve cover bolts I discovered a few months back (8 interior ones) were the cause of "former" leakage. I cleaned up more rubber/oil debris today. Not that productive a couple of hours.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
  13. Svets96

    Svets96 Well-Known LVC Member

    Messages:
    293
    Likes Received:
    15
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2005
    Location:
    North East Ohio
    As I am thinking about this, when you had the radiator out of the car, I'm sure there was a lot of antifreeze that dripped onto the inside of the fender well/engine area...this oily debris could be from that. Mine had that consistency too, then I cleaned my engine very well and everything is good when I changed my antifreeze. When your radiator was pulled it leaked onto the belt and started to degrade the belt and threw chunks of it every where. Another thing too, who changes the oil on the car?? They probably dripped a little on the belt and front cover of engine. Just a thought. If I were you I would clean the engine up and lightly wash it with a good degreaser that way you can keep an eye on the areas that could be problematic. re-tighten and double check cam cover bolts.
    Use a leaf blower if you have one to dry nooks and crannies. Let air dry after.

    I'm trying to come up with scenarios that way you can cross them out without having to spend money.
     
  14. Firebrian

    Firebrian LVC Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2017
    Location:
    Southeast Connecticut
    Thanks for that input Svets96. It makes a lot of sense. And over time the belt is going to wear and spin off little pieces any ways. But once contaminated, the process accelerates. It was about 8-12 months after the radiator change that I started noticing these little piles of rubber bits forming behind the tensioner on the engine, and around the alternator air vents. In trying to clean some of that stuff off the hoses, it's very hard and quite sticky....that doesn't seem like just oil.

    I've been changing the oil the past 5 yrs. Some oil does drip on the K frame when dropping the oil filter. But no way does that make it near the belt area. I would note that my last oil change at a quick lube place they put the oil filter on too tight and crushed it. And when they started up the car oil went everywhere. The underside of the car was dripping oil for days. But that being 5 years ago, I don't know if that was part of mess I'm seeing now.
     
  15. Svets96

    Svets96 Well-Known LVC Member

    Messages:
    293
    Likes Received:
    15
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2005
    Location:
    North East Ohio
    Absolutely.

    I really do think you found your problem about the oil leak, and rubber bits. Now that I read your description I think a good cleaning and a close inspection over time will solve your problem.

    For engine degreasers' Purple Power, WD 40 Specialist Degreaser, Meguiars engine cleaner, and couple others work really well. Don't be afraid to go use the pressure washer hose around the fender wells and behind the engine. Just make sure you cover up the alternator and injector harnesses. Can use some plastic as a cover. Get a set of decent detailing brushes to slightly remove the built up stuff first, then start to spray down certain areas of the engine and front timing cover. Let the engine be warm when you do this. Place plastic sheet over engine and power wash your hood liner too, this will make a very good deep clean effect. I will provide you with a couple of videos of detailing an engine with Chrisfix and another author. I've been detailing cars for the last 21 years and am always still learning. Also when everything is dry, use Pledge furniture cleaner lemon scented to make plastics and rubber clean and protected. I've been doing this for years.





    Let me know what your findings are after this procedure report back.
     
  16. Firebrian

    Firebrian LVC Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2017
    Location:
    Southeast Connecticut
    Appreciate the cleaning inputs Svet96. I will probably do less rather than more. Never have power washed an engine bay and probably never will. Just too many opportunities to cause electrical problems. Eric TCG's little Honda has wide open spaces to maneuver a power washer around. There's no real room to do that in the Lincoln Continental and the angles are limited.

    When I had classic Mopars I was detailing for regional shows back in the 1990's I did everything by hand with a bottle. My under-hood pad is in excellent shape so no reason to water blast that. I've gotten a light brush in the past and cleaned up any isolated white salt or sand deposits. The majority of my engine bay is plenty clean for me. I spend a couple hours every year cleaning it.

    Spent another hour or two with a bottle of degreaser to clean things up even better. Got the bottom of the PS pump cleaned up better and its hoses. There was some "wetness" on them. The High Pressure PS hose is near impossible to see once it drops straight down as it's blocked by the LP hose. Will have to watch it and see if the moisture I wiped off accumulates again.

    IMG_20170904_135111.jpg

    IMG_20170904_140530.jpg

    I like to keep the car under my maple tree to keep sunlight off it. It requires removal of bird stuff and tree droppings every 1-2 days. But, that's a small price to pay to minimize exterior/interior sun damage. The black dash pad stays on except when driving. I originally bought that for my 1997 Lincoln back in 2002 at the Pomona, CA swap meet for $13. I don't drive around with that front plate on the car...lol. Just used it to for these photos as I can't photoshop. It came off my '68 Plymouth GTX convertible before I sold it.

    IMG_20170904_134947.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2017
  17. Svets96

    Svets96 Well-Known LVC Member

    Messages:
    293
    Likes Received:
    15
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2005
    Location:
    North East Ohio
    Awesome job on the engine. Very clean vehicle you have.

    Keep up the great work on it.
     
  18. Firebrian

    Firebrian LVC Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2017
    Location:
    Southeast Connecticut
    Thanks Svet. Fit & Function before cosmetics. Speaking of that, went to install my new pair of muffler hangers (Motorcraft $11 ea at Tasca). These are rugged units with an internal piece of steel. Viewed a couple of videos on different "tools" to remove them. Having the specific hanger pliers would be ideal ($17). Once I start taking a bite on one with pliers it became pretty obvious these are stout units and would take Hercules to just pull them off. And frankly, my old ones would probably hold up for another 5-10 years even if some of the internal metal is disintegrating. So I didn't take them off. The new hangers will wait until the old ones deteriorate further, or the muffler needs to be changed. The mufflers look to be excellent too. On my 1997 with 230K miles and 8 horrible winters of daily driving, I don't recall replacing any part of the SS exhaust system, and it was pretty rusty in some spots.

    To get something done, I brought out my new under-radiator air deflector and installed it. Needed to pick up 2 more of the plastic body fasteners/clips as those were gone. Re-used 3 of the old ones. I told my wife we need to be extra careful to avoid curbs, logs, and rocks going forward...or it's $65 down the drain for that deflector. My old one was semi-functional as a shield even though the vertical air deflector was peeled off. The irony of it is that in going out to buy those extra fasteners, I parked in a different spot at the store...and wouldn't you know it I caught the old air dam really hard (where one side is twisted down). That just cannot happen again. It will be interesting to see if the external surface temps of my engine "feel" any cooler to the touch with the air deflector now operational again.

    Poked around the belt area again after the cleaning 2 days ago. I can see a light film of fresh oil on the lower half of the power steering pump casing. Not enough to bead up, but something. Continuing to ponder it. As long as the belt doesn't get any worse, it stays. I have a new Motorcraft spare now.

    While picking up fasteners at Advanced Auto Parts, I was pleased to see they are still clearing out their supplies of Quaker State Motor oils for good. I picked up a pair of $6.98 jugs of Quaker Stater Defy 10w-30 High Mileage syn blend ($5 mfg rebate will drop this to $1.98). And also 8 quarts of QSUD 5w-30 oil at $2.15/qt ($1.40 mfg rebate on top of this) Can't beat quality oils at $0.39 to $0.75/qt. I heard of others getting jugs of QSUD for $8.95 each ($7 rebate will apply). Check your stores for "Lincoln" oil. Have them price check it at the register if the shelf price is higher.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  19. Sincoln

    Sincoln LVC Member

    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Location:
    Ohio
    Wish I had your buckets, armrest, and floor shifter! I have the odd bench seat with captain's chair armrest :(
     
  20. Svets96

    Svets96 Well-Known LVC Member

    Messages:
    293
    Likes Received:
    15
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2005
    Location:
    North East Ohio
    X2 on the floor shifter!

    That is the one thing I wish mine had.
     
  21. Firebrian

    Firebrian LVC Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2017
    Location:
    Southeast Connecticut
    My 1997 was outfitted the same way, so I just assumed floor shifters were standard, and the most common. While it's nice to have the CD changer in the console, it's not that big a deal. I probably would prefer a column shift and a captain's chair. I rest my right arm on the console. After 16 years of driving this version....it's my "norm." Too bad the likelihood of finding yet another 25K mile 1998-2002 Lincoln V8 at $9K or under is not very likely now. 20 year old cars find problems just due to age. And the parts support isn't getting any better.
     
  22. lincolnelite

    lincolnelite Well-Known LVC Member

    Messages:
    311
    Likes Received:
    26
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    Location:
    Kansas City
    The thing with this type of car is that even if you sell them at $1000 there's not that much interest in buying them. Only a car person that knows how underrated this car will jump into it.. I recently got a 2008 Mazda 3 which i purchased cheap (got in a minor rear collision and I finally able to piece it back in good shape) and trying to clear up my driveway so one of them must go.. unfortunately no takers considering that this car will probably last for a very long time...
     
  23. Firebrian

    Firebrian LVC Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2017
    Location:
    Southeast Connecticut
    There's certainly interest from private parties in buying them when they have low miles (ie under 55-65K miles). I don't think dealers care much about them unless they can purchase low mileage cars for KBB trade-in value, which isn't much. I remember when my Dad traded in his 1993 Lincoln sedan with 63K miles in 1997 for $8K...towards a new 1997 Lincoln Continental priced in the upper $30's (MSRP nearly $39K). When I found that out, I told him I'd have been happy to buy that car for $8K-$10K all day long. That was 80% depreciation in approx 4 years.
     
  24. Svets96

    Svets96 Well-Known LVC Member

    Messages:
    293
    Likes Received:
    15
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2005
    Location:
    North East Ohio
    Yes. If its a clean car with low mileage you will get what you want. The thing with this model of car is, they only produced so many through the years and the marketing for them should have been more aggressive. All of that along with having a better aftermarket part availability, better dealership relations ect.

    Perfect example, go on youtube, try to find a DIY on a 95-02 Continental no one does it. They are majority of the time afraid of the FWD IneTech V8 yeah ok its hard I know. They'll just show 38 seconds of saying "yeah its leaking coolant or power steering fluid". Unbelievable.

    Now if you google, or watch youtube vids on 1993-2008 Cadillac models with the Northstar you get all kinds of DIY vids. They are only priced at a certain amount and or around (93-03) at $1,000. People buy them and can work on them if they have the vids to show them. This is why I'm trying to do as many DIY's as I can for Continental. At least the best of my abilities.
     

Share This Page