1997 Lincoln Town Car 4.6 V8 4R70W from North America
Cheap luxury has hidden costs
I am a fan of the Panther platform, but I doubt I will purchase another Town Car if I do get another Panther. These cars were great when new and gasoline was cheap, but now that they are aged, they are not a good choice for transportation, unless you must have an over sized American car.
There are plenty of faults that most owners will report to be normal maintenance, but these faults are not normal maintenance, they are just poor design.
Both power window motors have had the plastic gears replaced; eventually the cable inside the regulator assembly snapped after a year of repairing the terribly designed plastic gears.
The blend door actuator stopped working, which requires a long and expensive process of removing the dash to replace, which I recommend replacing the heater core at the same time.
The intake manifold leak was repaired before I purchased the car, which is yet another defect from Ford on the plastic manifolds for the 4.6.
Alternator gave out at 150,000 miles, which is normal if you've never owned a Honda or Toyota.
Fuel pump left me stranded at 156,000 miles.
I replaced the rear brake shoes that are inside the rear rotors when the emergency brake stopped working at 160,000 miles. I might add the front and rear brakes hold up well and are easy plus cheap to replace. I have only replaced them once, because cheap parts were used and they squealed; Motorcraft parts always if possible.
Digital climate control stopped working around 164,000 miles, and I replaced it with another unit from the junk yard.
Driver's side seat motor also stopped working at some point for the recline function that I have not repaired yet.
Rear airbags, shocks, air compressor, 2 lines were replaced before I purchased the car with the price of just under 1,000 dollars.
Timing chain began to rattle at 165,000 miles. I believe one of the guides is worn through or broken. It's getting louder the more it's driven, and will eventually cause more damage, but I am not repairing it due to the resale value and the repair cost.
The idler arm for the steering is worn, giving a loose feel. I had the car alignment done twice, and it still wears front tires irregularly. The control arm bushings are worn out and cause a squeaking noise over bumps. The rear stabilizer bar end links are also bad, and the washers/bushings rattle over bumps.
Air ride suspension gives a terrible rocking motion over speed bumps when you hit them at any angle, at any speed. If you hit the speed bump perfectly it's smooth, but at an angle... hold your drinks and loved ones, they may be ejected. I do like the fact that I can load down the car and it automatically levels out, but I prefer a coil spring setup, even though all of my other Panthers needed the coil springs replaced after 200,000 miles because the rear end was sagging.
I charge the leaking air conditioning system every year; about 2 cans every summer.
DPFE sensor at 170,000 miles.
I keep up on oil changes every 3,000 miles with Motorcraft 5w30 half synthetic. I have serviced the transmission, differential, coolant, power steering fuel filter. Idle pulley, tension pulley, belt, wires, plugs, ignition coil, battery, tires, brake pads, and parking light bulb.
The car averages 12.6 MPG, mostly city driving, although I have made 24 MPG at 60 mph on the highway during long trips. The trip MPG calculator shows 15 MPG when I really am getting 12.6 MPG. It showed 21 MPG when I was getting 24. If you're into MPG, then get a scan gauge, and verify your speedometer with GPS as well; mine was within 1 mph accurate.
I feel comfortable in the car on the highway; plenty of torque. In the corners it's a different story; the suspension does a fair job, but the narrow tires and the leather seats do not hold you.
The electric trunk closer is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen; it closes the trunk, but I have to close the trunk 90% of the way first? Because latching a trunk closed after pushing it down 90% of the way down is the hard part. What were you guys thinking? This goes out to you too GM with the Roadmaster and Fleetwood.
With the MPG and the expensive upkeep of all the fancy things in this car, I do not recommend it. If you want a large car, the Crown Victoria is a much better choice with the manual climate control and manual seats. You will still have the poor window motor gears, but much less hassles than the Town Car.
If you are looking for good basic transportation, ignore American car companies, get a Honda or Toyota; their MPG and reliability is hard to beat. Read reviews on this website before you make your final choice.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 31st December, 2013
31st Dec 2013, 23:43
"If you are looking for good basic transportation, ignore American car companies, get a Honda or Toyota; their MPG and reliability is hard to beat."
Compact cars still lack comfort, but that's the sacrifice you make to save money.
1st Jan 2014, 16:40
Buying an older car with 135000 miles is always a gamble, especially not knowing the service history. This car sounds like it was not maintained very well. I disagree with the Town Car being expensive to maintain and unreliable; I have owned a few myself and they have been bulletproof. There is a reason they are used as taxi fleet cars all over the country, as they are reliable and cheap to maintain. If you think this car is expensive to own, I guess you have never owned a VW or Benz.