My boss just picked up a cream puff 1996 Crown Victoria with 24,000 miles on it. He told me that it has been down on coolant recently. I know these cars have had a problem with leaky intake manifolds. Does a bad manifold produce an internal or external coolant leak? I know this car doesn't have the updated manifold on it because I also have a '96 police interceptor that has an updated manifold and they are visibly different. I know I am going to have to replace the manifold sooner or later. I would prefer to put a Ford manifold back on it, but I have a feeling my boss might want to try to save a buck or two and go aftermarket. I know Dorman makes a replacement manifold, but has anyone had any good or bad experience with an aftermarket?
I'm not really looking for a performance manifold, but I won't rule one out if the price is right. The person who will be driving this is a 60 year old lady, so I don't quite need neck-snapping performance. If the manifold is bad, which I haven't got a chance to take a real good look at yet, I will have to find the replacement. For the sake of arguement, if I go to Ford, and they tell me a new manifold is $250.00, and the guy down the street sells a "Brand X" for $175.00...guess what, I'm getting the money for the cheap one put in my hand. Personally, I would go with OEM every time for this kind of job, but it's not my call for this one. I know sometimes the off-brand parts don't have the clips, or brackets, etc. that the OEM pieces do. Has anyone used a non-Ford manifold and had good luck with it?
No one's going to make a cheap manifold for the 4.6, yet. It's way too intricate. If you even find someone offer a cheap price, don't tell the owner. I'd honestly say go OEM, if it's an old lady driving.
Personally, I never put anything back to stock, but I can understand your situation. I'd strongly recommend doing the OEM piece and being done with it.
Actually- call the dealer and see if there's a recall. I had a 4.6L 1996 Thunderbird and they recalled the manifold. I'm not sure if they did it on the Crown Victoria, too, but definitely look into it.
If they recalled it, it's a free repair. Just set up a time, go drop it off, and they'll call you when it's done. For us, they even had to pay towing fees because my manifold split into three pieces in my driveway.
I am pretty sure there was a recall for this problem too. I am also pretty sure that there is a time limit that you have to get it replaced. Being that this car is almost 10 years old, I don't think Ford is going to be too pleased about replacing this for free.
If you want, I have a intake off a 1995 T-bird 4.6, I have all the bells too. If a T-bird intake will work, I'm trying to get ride of it. Its aluminum, no cracks and was sand blasted clean. I'm in belleville MI e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also have tons more 4.6 stuff. I got 3 sitting in the back.
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