1993 Lincoln Mark VIII

My step son has this car and it pretty much

never runs. It overheats, and/or discharges the battery every day. Does this car have a history of these problems? And what should we do with it, it is driving us crazy. thanks

So what platform was it built on? Taurus, Mustang or Crown Vic?? (FWD, RWD, V-6 or V-8)?? How many miles on it?

Oh, it’s Thunderbird / Cougar with Panther drivetrain…

It has a history as a very reliable car. I think it is one of the best cars Ford ever made and has always been underrated.

The Mark VIIIs are great cars and the kind of problems you mention occur many times on other makes of cars. After all, the car is 17 years old and things do happen.

As to overheating the first things to consider are a faulty thermostat and a radiator cooling fan problem.
Thermostats are a maintenance item in my opinion and should be changed every 3 or 4 years at most. The T-stat in the Mark is kind of a pain in the neck to change but it’s a necessary evil.

As to the discharging of the battery that will require a bit of fault tracing. The first thing should be to make sure the trunk light is not staying on; a la refrigerator light.
After that it requires pulling fuses, testing the alternator/regulator for problems, etc.

I will say that if he is continuing to operate this car with an overheating problem he is going to ruin an expensive engine. (all aluminum by the way)
They’re great cars and if you don’t have the ability to track these problems down or if you’re unwilling to pay someone to do it then it should be sold rather than burn it up.

You are talking about a 17 year old car. At that age whether Consumer Reports said it was a good vehicle or a poor one just doesn’t make much difference. How well the car has been maintained and its unique history are more the issue than the make and model of the car.

Your step son’s car needs work. Some thing(s) are simply worn out. The overheating can be a sign of a serious problem. If it continues to overheat at some point there will be engine damage, if not already.

As far as discharging the battery, a whole different issue. How old is the battery? Has the alternator been tested to see if it is putting out a charge?

Thank you all so much for your quick replies -
I will find out about the mileage, but I am afraid this car
has been poorly maintained. Actually it sat for well over
a year when my step son was out of the state. Prior to his
owning it (about 6 years ago) it was lovingly maintained.
We’ve taken it to a small shop, had the radiator flushed,
what kind of shop should we find who might be more knowledgeable?
The Ford dealer?

Since you know the car was lovingly maintained can we assume you know something of the car’s history?

Sitting for a period is not good for any car. If the coolant was old when it sat there could be corrosion in the cooling system. A radiator flush gets out old coolant but it can’t undo corrosion that maybe clogging the radiator and making it inefficient. A radiator shop can evaluate the flow of the radiator and either “core it” or replace it if needed. The water pump may not be flowing enough water, or the motor may have gasket leaks. These issues aren’t that hard for any competent mechanic to diagnose and handle.

The electrical problem shouldn’t be difficult to trace either to an old tired battery, a bad alternator, or another electrical problem.

A Ford dealer can handle all of the above, but will charge more to find and fix them than a good independant mechanic.

The car could use its normal maintenance brought up to date. This means a tune up, some fluid changes, and perhaps some new rubber parts such as hoses or belts that may be leaking or loose. Such maintenance may uncover relatively minor problems that are easily correctable or more significant issues with the car.

Perhaps your stepson doesn’t have the money or the knowledge to maintain the car properly. Unfortunately this can mean a premature demise of an otherwise good car.

You do not need to go to the Ford dealer for repairs on this car and inspection of things like radiator fans, thermostats, etc. fall under the Basic Mechanics 101 heading.
Any half-competent shop should be able to easily go through the overheating problem and should also be able to easily determine if a battery-draining voltage draw exists. (see below on this one)

This car is likely under Recall for a faulty brake switch and this little job should be performed NOW. That word is stressed because it’s possible for the car to catch fire at any time due to this problem; even while parked in the drive at 3 in the morning.

It’s also possible the voltage drain could be related to this brake switch problem.
This Recall is performed free of charge and doesn’t take that long to do so. While the odds of the car going up in flames is remote, the purpose of the Recall is to remove all doubt about the issue.

In fact, it has an aluminum-block DOHC 4.6 rather than the SOHC iron block in most Panthers (Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis and Town Car). The exception is the Marauder which has a DOHC engine, but I think it is iron.