1990 Lincoln Continental Signature Series 3.8 from North America
Avoid this car unless you enjoy doing head gasket work
This was, by far, the worst car I had ever owned. The engine problems alone were too much to stomach at times.
The Ford 3.8L engine is terrible engine. Right up there with the Olds 350 Diesel and Cadillac 4.1L. First off, I think it is important to stress that I bought this car with only 59,000 miles on it and it had already had the entire engine replaced! I don't mean that it was rebuilt; I mean a brand new engine. When I finally traded this car in 2 years ago, that engine was already starting to develop head gasket problems. The mileage was only 72,000. So, over the period of 72,000 miles, the car went through two engines! This 3.8L engine is legendary for developing head gasket problems and it was used in other cars like the Taurus and Sable. I knew this car had known issues when I bought it, but I took a chance on it.
Aside from the head gasket problems, this car also developed a habit of completely losing power at any given moment. I was driving on the highway once and the whole car just lost power. Sometimes it wouldn't start up again for several minutes. I used to dread every time I had to stop for a red light because I was worried that it would stall and not start. I learned to shift the car into neutral and give it gas while waiting.
Once thing I amazingly didn't have problems with was the air suspension system. Though, the person I had bought it from had just replaced all the air bags just before I bought it, so that's probably why.
I think it is important to stress that this car has a disturbing lack of power. It starts out good right off the line and then starts to really lose power in the mid and upper RPM range. You can forget about any kind of real highway passing power. I timed a 0-60 mph run in this car once and it took nearly 15 seconds.
Since mine was a Signature Series, it had fancier looking leather upholstery and door trim. I liked the way the seats looked, really classy. They had buttons sewn into the seats and nice stitching. Both seats were power with dual power recliners; The driver seat had a memory system. Considering this car was a 1990, it had the best ABS brakes of any car I've ever driven. It also had standard driver and passenger side air bags. Most cars in 1990 didn't even have a standard driver's side air bag.
I think in conclusion, the 1989-1994 Lincoln Continentals are really nice cars ruined by a terrible drive train. Ford should have never put a V6 in that car, especially the 3.8L.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 5th March, 2004
Yep, as you said, the Ford 3.8's were baaaad. Crappy head gaskets were the main problem, in my opinion. Why would Ford choose to put a 3.8 in a Continental? Too much car for too little engine.
You're completely right... Ford ruined the 89 through 94 continentals by putting a horrible engine in, and not paying attention to general quality. The car looks great, and I absolutely love the way the Signature sedan looks with the dual exhaust. But the bad drive-train and air suspension make the care useless to anyone who isn't a mechanic with unlimited time and money.