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Old 05-03-2006, 02:11   #1 (permalink)
vintage revolution
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Saginaw, MI
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1978 Mercury Grand Maruis...acting goofy as hell!

I have a 1978 Mercury Grand Marquis, 400 6.6L.(8track player fully functional) I bought it 5 yrs. ago at an auction for $800 (ok, so I could've snagged it for less, but it was my first time ) So anyways, it's been acting very strange lately, and I'm starting to give up hope. I'm no mechanic that's for sure, so maybe someone can give me some suggestions;

It first started a few weeks ago. I had just got out of work, and I went to the grocery store. When I came out to start my car, it would roll over, but not start. It was raining quite heavile, so I thought it might be moisture in the distributor cap. Even though I had just changed it a couple of months prior to this, I inspected the cap for any cracks, and opened it up to check for moisture, which there didn't seem to be any present. I also checked the plugs and wires, and they appeared to be fine as well. I checked the battery cables for corrosion, and also to see if they were loose, and nothing there as well. I kept trying to start it, and eventually drained the battery. I got a jump from a friend, and once again it would roll over but it wouldn't start. I sprayed some starter fluid into the carb. and eventually it did start. However I didn't have any power windows, or lights, or anything, even with the car running. I played with the shifter, and it seemed a little stuck, so I shifted it a few times and suddenly everything worked. I went to my friends house where it sat for about 4-5 hours. It started initially but then shut off. I tried starting it back up and once again it would roll over but not start. I used the starter fluid again, and it started. It's getting plenty of gas, and spark too. I believe it was the next day that I drove it to work, and when I came out afterwards to leave, it was doing the same thing. I jumped it, and went inside for a moment, and when I came out, it had shut off. I kept trying to start it with the jumper cables attatched, and sprayed starter fluid into it, but the battery kept dying. I opened the hood, and noticed that some fuel was leaking from the fuel filter, which is connected to the side at the base of the carb. I changed that, and jumped it, and it started right up. The next day, I came out and the headlight covers were flipped up, but I hadn't left my lights on, or even used them, so that seemed strange. They are vacuum operated but I don't know what that would have to do with it not starting. I had to repeat the same process as before, and when it started the covers went down. Another thing I noticed was when I would turn the key forward and let off it, then go to turn the key back all the way to the off position, it would sort of rumble for a sec. After that when I saw that the covers were up before even attempting to start it, I would just assume that it wouldn't start, and sure enough. My stubborn ass finally took it to a mechanic one day, when it just wouldn't start. He couldn't get to it until the next day, at which point he calls and says that he can't tell me what's wrong with it because it had been starting for him all day after he charged the battery up. I was also having problems with the ignition sticking, where I had to try like hell to turn it back, just to shut it off. He said that he took the steering column apart and lubed it or whatever, and also un winded the gear selector cable. I kept having those same problems for about a week, until one day I was driving down the road, and it simply cut off without warning. It started for mean hour later with no trouble. Then a few days ago it cut off on me twice before I had barely gotten anywhere. This time the headlight covers flipped up after it stalled out on me. I had the battery tested, and it was fine. I checked the distributor cap and the plastic base which the cap clamps to did seem a little loose, so I thought that maybe the enging was shaking it just enough to not allow the rotor to hit precisley. I tightened it down the best I could but the clamp on the one side seemed a little weak, so I used some duct tape to hold it down. I put the battery back in, and it started up. It quit on me twice on the way home, but I didn't use any starter fluid to start it this time. I just kept rolling it over, and finally it started. It started for me just fine that night, but in the morning after work, the battery was completely dead. I put a different battery in it, and still it quit on me going down the road (by now you must be wondering why I risked driving it at all, but a man's gotta make a living). It started for me fine all day yesterday. Last night I went to turn the dome light on without starting it, and the fuse had blown. What the f%#@ is going on here?! A short in the electrical? Carbeurator? Vacuum? Distributor? Ignition? Alternator? Engine itself? A mechanic did a compression check on it last summer, and he said that it needed a valve job. Burnt valves and low compression in the #5 cylinder or something. Can somebody please help? I love this damn unpractical, gas guzzling, 20 ft. beast! I can't lose faith in it, nor do I have any plans of letting it go...Thank you, and sorry for making you read a novel...
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Old 05-04-2006, 08:42   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 1978 Mercury Grand Maruis...acting goofy as hell!

If it were me, I would start by looking for an intermittent break in the wiring harness. Has this engine got any computerized controls on it? Those can make some pretty goofy problems too.

As for the headlight problem, that's probably just a bad vacuum switch. I'm guessing that's unrelated to your other problem.

I don't know whether this will help or not, but it may be a place to start.

Nathan
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