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Old 09-25-2006, 20:19   #1 (permalink)
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A few 88 Crown Vic Problems (Tranny & Suspension)

I recently became the owner of an 88 Crown vic LX, which had been driven very seldom for the last 4 years or so. Overall in great shape, and drove perfectly when I first got it, but recently a few problems have developed.

First of all there is, what I suspect to be, a transmission problem. The car accelerates normally up to about 25 MPH, but after that acceleration is very slow, and if you depress the peddle anymore there is a rather loud rattling sound coming from the tranny (I think that's where it's coming from, at least)

This sound is not present when the car is idling and revved up, only when actually driving, which leads me to believe it's a transmission problem.

Going up hills the car slows quite a bit, and when I try to accelerate, I again get the rattling sound, and little if any increase in speed.

When quickly accelerating up to that 25mph point, sometimes the rear end will vibrate quite a bit and the tires will skip.

I read another thread a few down by someone who had what seems to be a similar problem, but I know for sure there is something wrong. The first 2 weeks I had the car it showed none of these problems. It just seems like the power isn't getting to the road at all, past about 25 MPH. I am still able to drive on the freeway, in other words speed has not limited, but I must accelerate very slowly.

If I put the peddle to the floor, there is almost no change in acceleration, as if it's not kicking down in gear. There is also a lot more of a "jerk" when I let off the throttle.

Any ideas? Is it possible that any linkage is the problem, or is it a more serious transmission problem? Not sure If it's worth it to me to pay to have it fixed, or replace the whole thing myself, but if it's something a little smaller I'd definitely love to get this thing working well again.

Second problem isn't quite as important but unsettling nonetheless.

There seems to be a problem with the rear suspension as well, the driver side rear wheel makes a pretty loud knocking sound when going over a bump, and something just "feels off" the car doesn't seem quite as solid while driving as it did when I first got it, seems to sway quite a bit more too. I've read around about air suspension problems on Crown vics, do all models have air suspension? If so, would a problem with this match with the things I have described?

Thanks in advance guys! I appreciate it!
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Old 09-27-2006, 12:11   #2 (permalink)
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Re: A few 88 Crown Vic Problems (Tranny & Suspension)

Hard to say by your description of the problem if it's solely the transmission to blame. Have you tried to manually shift the car to a lower gear (drop it into "D" or one lower) while going up a hill?

Have you checked the fluid level in the transmission yet? Again, very important - if it's really low, or dry, and has been this way for a while, you could have serious problems with the transmission at this point. Smell the fluid, and look at it's colour. It should be quite red - if it's brownish this isn't good. If it smells burnt, you've got bigger problems.

You should be able to easily locate a used transmission at a local wrecking yard. They likely won't charge a lot, either. Someone armed with a bit of mechanical know how, some tools, and a manual, will be able to replace the transmission in a Crown Vic. You don't need to be an expert with cars - but you need to know you aren't all thumbs as well. Read the repair manual regarding the removal & reinstallation of the transmission several times, and make sure you understand it. If you have ANY doubt at all about your abilities, I highly suggest you do not even attempt the job - find a reputable shop.

As for rear-end trouble....I'm not familiar with ever year of Crown Victorias, and in what year air suspension was offered. I don't believe your car has an air suspension, but I could be wrong. As for what can affect the sway of the rear - quite a few things. I'd get under there & inspect all bushings, inspect the springs & shocks, try to wiggle things and see if you can notice ANY play at all. Again, get yourself a manual - a shop manual will often lay out the components of the rear suspension. Read up on the entire rear suspension section, and often there is a troubleshooting section - read that as well. You can buy a Haynes manual for this car. This manual isn't the greatest, and it leaves a lot to be desired. But, for a guy like you it should be sufficient.
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