2002 Lincoln LS--haunted?

Recently, wife and I inherited her dad’s 2002 LS (8 cyl). Beautiful car, just turned over 60,000 mi. However, we’ve had a series of problems. First, engine ran rough and then wouldn’t start. Mechanic traced to bad fuel pump and replaced it and the fuse it blew. Car started and ran fine for a couple of days, but started running rough again. Mechanic said code was to #6 misfire, replaced ignition coil and plug. I drove it for a couple of days and engine problem returned–this time traced to #3 misfire, replaced that cyl’s coil/plug. I’ve had it back again for a couple days and the same engine symptoms have returned, and I suspect another coil assy. needs replacing.

(Also during this same period, had a problem with the electric steering adjustment motor–went inoperable, had to be replaced–and the rear passenger window cable came off its track, and the passenger air bag “not working” light came on. Hence the “haunted” suspicion.)

One possibly relevant fact. After my father-in-law died and before the estate was settled, the car wasn’t being used much. In particular, it sat practically the entire winter outdoors, in SE Michigan where we live. Mechanic didn’t get it 'til late March of this year.

So, my question: is there something about the ignition coil assemblies in this car that cause them all to go bad at around the same time? Is there something magic about the 60,000 mile mark? Could the lengthy period of not driving it have caused this problem? Should I get the rest of the coil assys. replaced?

Thanks for any tips.

John S.

The LS is a very good car to drive, but they do have some known problems, and it sounds like you’ve hit most of them.
COP (Coil On Plug) failure is famous on these cars. Ford has a TSB out indicating that there are two problems. One is an internal problem with the epoxy inside the coil assembly. The other is that they can be killed by oil leaking into the spark plug wells due to bad valve cover gaskets. There are redesigned valve cover gaskets available now that last much longer. The new rev D and rev E coils also last longer.
I would replace all of the coils and plugs. Many LS owners now do this every 50K to 100K miles.
I haven’t heard many complaints about the steering wheel adjust motors.
Problems with the window regulators failing are also famous on this car. The plastic parts that hold the cables to the brackets that hold the window get old and crack.
SRS problems are also famous. The two main (and almost only) causes are the clockspring and the connector under the driver’s seat. The airbag light will flash out a two digit code at start up. This code will say which of the two problems you have. What is yours flashing?

Thanks–very helpful. I’ll check out the SRS code next time I start it and provide that information.

Just offhand, these car problems sound like they’re due to lack of maintenance and sitting for an extended spell.

Not changing the fuel filter regularly can kill a fuel pump as can sitting for an extended spell. With old gasoline the pump often has a tendency to seize up and won’t last long when put back in use.
I would sincerely hope the fuel filter was changed at the time of pump replacement. If not, the new pump may go south.

Old spark plugs, moisture in the plug boot wells, etc. can cause coil failures also. No coil should ever be changed without installing new plugs. You might contact the Ford dealer about the coils. My memory is fuzzy on this but I think Ford extended the warranty on coils to 100k miles so maybe this could be a freebie or possibly a reimbursement, at least up to a point.

The LS is a good car though.

Thanks. New plugs were installed with each of the two new coils already installed. Dunno about the fuel filter–not noted on the repair slip, but I’ll ask.

I just read another recent string about moisture accumulation being a significant contributor to shortened coil life generally. While outside this winter, this car got blanketed with snow and we were not good about clearing it off. Also, snow accumulated around the car, sometimes a foot or more, b/c it was parked in a spot where we did not need access. I suppose that didn’t help esp. as things thawed.

Ford program 07M07 extended coil coverage to 100K miles or 10 years for the 2003 to 2005 LS (the 2003 was also extended for valve cover gaskets). The 2000-2002 and the 2006 LS were left out of this program. The letter for the 07M07 extension says “Some of the vehicles may experience an engine misfire condition predominantly due to internal
breakdown in the coil and lack of adhesion between the epoxy and the coil housing material.
These issues may cause the coil to operate at an insufficient voltage level, resulting in ignition coil
misfires. In addition, the valve cover gaskets may allow engine oil to enter the spark plug well and
cause degradation of the ignition coil boot, resulting in ignition coil misfire. Drivability symptoms
associated with an ignition coil misfire include rough running engine, surge or hesitation on
acceleration, and/or illumination of the check engine light.”

Thanks for clarifying that about the coils, Tardis.
Moisture can accumulate in and on the engine even with the hood closed.
My Lincoln Mark does not have COPs but does have deep well spark plug holes in the valve covers and every time I service the spark plugs (removal/inspection every 15k and replacement every 30k) I clean the wire terminals and coat them heavily with diaelectric grease.

Even being that nitpicky about it I find signs of corrosion due to moisture now and then.
Several months back we had a spell one week in which the atmospheric conditions were absolutely saturating the engine compartments of all of my vehicles. (got 5 of them, overkill no doubt)
When the hoods were raised the engine compartments looked like someone had just gotten through hosing it down from the water faucet and condensation was actually dripping underneath the cars.

I would make double-sure that fuel filter was changed because if not, the new pump may have a short life also. The filter (in an engineering coup) is located inside the LEFT front fender, which necerssitates removing the wheel and inner fender liner. It’s the opposite of my Lincoln where it was brilliantly hidden inside the RIGHT front fender.

I will check on the fuel filter. Back to the coils, it still is curious to me that they seem to be failing in series, and all in very short sequence after replacement of the previous failure. Might they be failing together, but the computer only picks up the first code?

I would suspect that all of the bad ones were already bad when you started out. After you replaced the worst one, you were able to find the next worse one, and so on. (So, “yes” is the answer.)

The coils on the 3.9 engine are sealed under two coil covers (one for each side) that are supposed to keep moisture out, but they don’t always. From the same letter as before.
"3. COILS CONTAMINATED WITH WATER: If any coils are contaminated with water,
dealers should perform Field Service Action 07N09 after performing this program
This program involves changing out the wiper motor bracket seal.

Again, I want to thank both of you folks. This has been very helpful, and you’ve both been generous with your time. Enjoy the weekend.

Does anybody know where I can get a set of valve cover gasket for my LS 2002? I live in Chandler, AZ and cannot seem to find them here (have not tried the dealers). I also would appreciate if anybody can point me to a step-by-step on how to replace it.