1996 Lincoln Town Car Signature 4.6 V8 OHC from North America
Long may you run!
Needed upper ball joints at 112,000. I replaced everything: uppers, lowers, inner + outer tie rods. This way everything can be lubed each oil change.
Brake light switch.
At around 130,000 the torque converter went bad. While I had the trans out of the car, I took it to a local trans shop to rebuild it. To this day I think it was a smart move.
A few driver window regulators. This is more of an annoying problem, seeing how you can't find quality replacements.
Original alternator at 135,000.
At around 147,000 the A/C evaporator leaked. I went ahead and replaced everything in the whole system including compressor, dryer, and condenser. Again another smart move on my part.
Original catalytic converters, and I rebuilt the EGR system at around 165,000.
And of course the infamous rear air suspension air bags started to leak at 175,000. I replaced them with conventional springs. It took me about an hour and was only $250 dollars for the conversion kit. Don't let anyone fool you by saying the air bags provide a better ride, there is absolutely NO difference.
After 8 years of ownership and reaching a milestone of 200,000 miles, I thought it would be a good time to finally post a review of this fabulous car.
I performed all of the above repairs myself (except the trans rebuild). There have been also a few piece of mind repairs I have done over the years, such as the last time I replaced the drive belt, I also did the idler pulley and tensioner. A few weeks ago the original starter was showing signs of fatigue, so I replaced it. Sometimes I just get bored and like to do more than an oil change every 3,000, so I find things to maintain for the hell of it. At the end of the day it makes me feel good knowing I have a reliable lead sled that will keep on going. There are still many original parts on this car.
The Panther platform is for sure one of Ford's best, from when it was born in 1979 to when it was shamefully discontinued in 2011. The 4.6 provides reliability and decent power. Body on frame construction is very solid. The ride is smooth, but can be a little choppy on rough roads. The standard tire size should be wider; you do have to be careful on wet roads.
As far as interior, it is roomy, comfy and quiet. I do like the interior better in the '90-'94 models than the '95-'97. With the age and mileage, the driver's half of the front leather seat has held up well, but is now starting to discolor and crack.
On the outside this car is very sharp and formal looking (the way American luxury should be). The black body with gray interior and black carriage roof with opera lamps and limo-like back window really make it distinctive looking. I have only seen one other that looks sort of the same. It is not really a classic, but I do get complements and thumbs up from time to time.
The restyle from 1998 and beyond grew on me over the years, and I would not hesitate to purchase a newer model if the time ever comes to let this one go. They are pretty much the same mechanically.
Do not be afraid to purchase a Town Car or any Panther platform with over 100,000 miles. Weak points are window regulators, and the original front end parts. The trans will last as long as you drain the torque converter every 50,000.
Buy one and enjoy! You will never see brand new cars like this again.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 16th March, 2015
16th Mar 2015, 23:11
I wish Ford had improved on the design like it did in '98 with the Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis. Those cars were designed to look a lot more formal, and improved the looks a lot because of it. For some reason Lincoln decided to go the opposite direction and IMO ruined the Town Car. Then in '03 they stiffened the suspension to boot. I test drove a new one back in 2010, but the ride just didn't impress me at all. The Park Avenue I had at the time was noticeably smoother. I wish they had kept them traditional cushy cruisers; if they had, I just might have one in my garage now.
22nd Mar 2015, 03:35
Excellent review :)
You provide a myriad of good points!!!
The transmission advice in particular is worth echoing for ALL MAKES.
Transmissions have become fiendishly complex devices over the years to enhance efficiency. The price of this progress has been a reduction of the tolerance of indifference towards maintenance. To keep these units alive, don't be shy to do fluid and filter changes. You'll never regret it :)