1999 Lincoln Town Car Signature Series Touring Sedan 4.6 liter V8 from North America
It's my Hot Rod Lincoln, all the great Town Car virtues and some new ones you would never expect
I have done all the repair work on this car myself.
All work done at 69K when I got the car, unless otherwise noted.
Many front end suspension/steering parts were severely worn when I got the car. Original front end parts replaced with Moog problem solvers at 69K (upper/lower ball joints, control arms, tie rod ends, pitman arm, idler arm).
Rear air suspension leak (RR air bag). Changed both bags to HPP spec Arnott, also solenoids, electrical connectors, and compressor so I don't have to worry about air ride issues for a few years.
Right rear brake backing plate rusted out and the little e-brake hold downs fell out; replaced e-brake and made my own hold down. Kind of Rube Goldberg, but it works.
Wipers wouldn't return to park position; replaced wiper motor.
Oil pressure light came on, changed sender and light was still on. Figured out there had to be a short in the instrument panel somewhere. Light is still on, but I put an aftermarket analog gauge in and the car had good pressure.
Odometer/compass display flickers; planning to send the cluster out to be fixed.
Blend door actuator failure (no air out top vents, poor mixing of hot/cold air); replaced with Dorman unit.
Lighting control module failure, lost my high beams and turn signals flashed rapidly. Rebuilt unit installed and no problems with lighting since.
Oil seepage from engine gaskets; gone after I put AT-205 additive in the oil with my first oil change (70K).
Regular maintenance items: 4 KYB gas adjust shocks, PowerStop pads and rotors, both have worked out great, oil changes every 3000 with Valvoline 10W-30 and Motorcraft filter.
This is my dream car. Always liked the Panther chassis cars, there have been a '90 and '09 Mercury Marquis in my family, they were comfortable solid cars, but the Town Car really is a big step up. I drove a lot of the '03 style Town Cars when I was a limo driver; they were nice, but there's just something about this generation; looks sportier, rides better, easier steering, more torque. Only a nut like me would nitpick on stuff like that though.
This car is a very unique and special Lincoln. I have yet to find another one that looks like mine (White pearl tri coat with white carriage roof, 8 spoke mag wheels, and chrome package). It has the Touring Sedan option group, which was a package offered only on 1998-2002 Town Cars. It is similar to a Vic or Marquis with the Handling and Performance Package (HPP), however there is a lot of stuff that's unique to Lincoln. A brief run down: 3.55 rear axle ratio, dual exhaust, stiffer springs and Tokico shocks, bigger sway bars front and rear, thicker tires, blacked out grille, black maple trim inside the car, perforated leather seats, body color outside trim. Basically this car has the performance of a police interceptor (if not more), but with a lot more comfort and features. There is kind of a Euro vibe you get from it, almost reminds me of an old full size Mercedes. The '03 refresh basically gave all the cars a "performance package", but it wasn't the same as the Touring Sedan, which had so many unique aspects to it.
Great pick up due to the 3.55 gears. The engine has 220 HP, which is adequate, and it is smooth and peppy, always has plenty of reserve too. Torque is surprisingly good for a small V8, better than newer TCs which have to rev to get going. It's not a Marauder, but this is a Lincoln after all, and when you drive it appropriately (smooth, moderate throttle) it's a joy. The dual exhaust has a nice burble when you get on it too.
Good gas mileage: 19 average with city driving, a lot of stop and go, and hills. Can get mid twenties on the highway.
The ride is the perfect compromise; leans toward the firm side, but it's very smooth, and still has a bit of that Lincoln "float" that the newer ones seem to have lost.
Handling is awesome. As good as the '03+ Town Cars with all the suspension upgrades. Takes corners flat and neutral, with little body roll. I love to whip this car around.
Air ride keeps the car level, smooth and controlled.
Parts are affordable and the car is easy to work on for the most part. Maintenance is no problem, way better than the front wheel drives.
Very comfortable seats, good ergonomics, seats 6 in comfort, and power everything.
Good looking car, sleek and modern, almost like a Jag in my opinion.
The car feels solid as a rock, with a satisfying "thunk" when you close the doors, and '99 was the first year for the side airbags, which is a good thing to have on a Panther; taking side impacts were never their strong suit.
A lot of parts could have been engineered to last longer in my opinion. Front end parts have no grease fittings so they are finished after 50-100K miles, ball joint failure is not a question of if but when if original parts. Moog greaseable parts are good quality replacements and seem to last.
Also some of these cars have intake manifold leaks; Ford used an all plastic manifold '96-'02 that cracked and leaked coolant. Look for aluminum in the front of it, not black plastic, and you should be OK. My car had the factory replacement with metal crossover, no problems.
Electrical gremlins; bad wiper motors, window regulators, blend doors for the A/C, lighting control modules, and dash displays going out; these are the main electrical problems people have with these TCs, and I have had many of them.
Parts are relatively cheap for this stuff, but the labor can make these repairs expensive, so do like I do, work on your own car; all of this stuff can be done by the DIYer if you really love your car like I do, despite its faults. Torx bits are helpful if you're working on the interior in any way.
Access is tight for certain jobs: (blend door under dash, rear air suspension).
Too much plastic, wish more parts on the car were metal.
This Lincoln is almost mechanically perfect now, and I plan to keep it for a long time. That's the thing with these cars, they run 300K or even 500K with regular maintenance, so they're a worthwhile investment if you keep your cars a while and like to do your own work. Sure, they have their gremlins, but at the end of the day it's the last real American car, full size, body on frame, RWD V8. The only kind of car I trust. A car built to last, to take you down the road in comfort and style, and handle any job you throw at it, whether it's towing, hauling a ton of stuff, carrying people, or getting through difficult conditions, that's unlike most of the disposable tin cans on the road today.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 24th August, 2015
24th Aug 2015, 21:17
Great review. Check out my 1996 review on this site, "long may you run".
27th Aug 2015, 00:11
You are sure right about the ride quality suffering after '02. I test drove a brand new one back in 2010, and I found the ride to be nothing special. My grandparents had a '99 and it rode a lot smoother. Personally I found my 2005 Park Avenue to be smoother than both cars however. They had an '89 Town Car before the '99; now that was a soft ride!
I miss real American cars; pretty sad how far we have fallen in just a few short years. If I had to pick a new sedan I was willing to spend my hard earned money on today, I am not sure if I could find one. I have moved to a full-size crossover, but would love to have a traditional big car again; sadly though I will probably never have the choice.