> I just looked at a 1988 Lincoln Continental. I'm somewhat familiar with
> these cars. I know they're based on the Taurus platform, and have the 3.8
> that is notorious for head gasket problems.
Yes, the 3.8 had head gasket concerns.
> On this model year, does anyone know if the car would have had one of the
> dreaded early years of the AXOD-E, or was this (as I hope) before the
> electronic control was tried on the AXOD?
The transmission should be the AXOD. Non conputer controlled. How many miles on it?
Failures after 50K miles tend to be hit-miss. I've had 3 in Tauri that never had
problems into the 150K mile range when I sold them.
> Secondly, I understand that this car has had the head gasket replacement.
> If so, were the replacement head gaskets sufficiently re-engineered so that
> they shouldn't prematurely fail again?
If the gasket replacement was done properly (quality gaskets, new head bolts, heads
checked for flatness, etc) They tend to hold up as long as the cooling system is
properly maintained. If the original failure was catastrophic, it would wash the
bearing material off of the main and rod bearings and weaken the bottom end. Verify
the oil pressure before you buy it.
> Lastly, the only mechanical problem I know of on this car is the air bag
> suspension. I know that this was a high failure rate system. What usually
> failed? My understanding is that the bags are just slow to pump up and that
> they eventually do. Is it likely in that case to be an air bag, or perhaps
> a ride height sensor or even a hose? The pump does operate.
High failure rate is a bit of a misnomer. The system won't tolerate 0-maintenence
and the air bags on the struts deteriorate after about 10 years. If the vehicle is
driven with leaky air bags it wears out the pump. Because the leaky bags may
eventually pump up, repair was often put off until the pump failed from being
overworked adding expense to the repair. By this time the car usually needed 4 airbags
and a compressor. Here's a link to the Arnott page for your car.
At this point on a 17 year old car, replace all 4 springs and the pump. Then you are
good for another ~10 years. The electronics rarely fail. IMHO, stay away from the
Band-Aid coil spring conversions. Although tempting, they tend to ruin the ride
quality.My experience has been with the Mark VII conversion. YMMV on the Conti.
A good website for information about the Conti and other Lincolns is
. Keep in mind, this car is 17 years old and they do not make
good "$500 work cars".
> Thanks for your help.