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A Myriad of Questions Re: 1997 Lincoln Continental Repair(s)

I just bought for $2K 1997 Lincoln Continental from the Proverbial “Little Old (82) Lady who only drove it to church on Sundays” … Could be, it’s only clocked 94K and the Body, Paint, and Interior are MINT … 4.6L V8 and Tranny (AX4N) seem issue free (might need Spark Plugs … how to tell? … cranks and starts fine … runs and shifts smoothly with lotsa power (260HP) … A/C Cold air and Heater seem OK … Problematic rear “Air Bag Suspension” already converted/swapped out and new “Strutmaster Shocks/Coils Conversion Kit” installed on rear … New Headliner … New Fuel Pump and Filter … New DieHard Gold Battery … New K&N Air Filter … Glove box full w/Original Owner’s Manual/Paperwork and tons of routine (every 3K) maintenance receipts documenting oil changes, filters, brakes, etc done by local Lincoln Dealership. … ALL that done before I paid her the $2K … Now, the bad stuff (Advice/Opinions/Guidance PLEASE?) … ABS/Traction Control lights stay lit (maybe bad wheel sensor(s)? … And, most troubling … Power Steering (Variable Assist Power Steering … “VAPS”) is only working at maybe a constant 40 to 50% boost (with NO warning lights indicating PS issues on dash display) … also PS effort does not vary with RPM or road speed (NO leaks and recent flush with Mercon V … no change!) … I’ve tested with trunk mounted suspension switch in both ON and OFF positions … again, NO DIFFERENCE!) At idle, with cap off, PS reservoir shows fluid “Activity” , so I assume PS Pump is working? … There is fairly loud “squeaking/protest sounds” coming from front suspension (NOT belt squeal) during slow speed maneuvers (New lower ball joints and sway bar end links to be installed tomorrow … but, I doubt that’ll cure PS issues? ) At this point, I’m just “Guessing”, but I suspect these PS issues are either in some way related to the rear Suspension Swap or possibly some kinda Sensor/Solenoid malfunction? Your thoughts PLEASE??? Thanks in advance for ANY guidance/advice. Jim

Get rid of the K&N. I’ve seen Ford motors especially have issues with them. Just use a normal filter.

ABS/Traction Control lights stay lit (maybe bad wheel sensor(s)

Check the fluid level. If it’s low, first make sure the brake pads aren’t worn down to almost nothing (if they are, replace them) and then top off the fluid, bleed the system, and see if the problem goes away. It could also be a wheel sensor, but there’s no way to know from here.

Power Steering (Variable Assist Power Steering .. "VAPS") is only working at maybe a constant 40 to 50% boost

How was this measured?

That squeaking you’re hearing could very well be the ball joints and/or tie rods seizing up. Have them replaced first and then report back if the steering seems any easier.

I’ve got another 1997 Continental: Twin to the one I just bought … K&N installed and NO ISSUES for 35K+ … Brake and PS levels are perfect (NO leaks in either) … New Brake Pads and Rotors F&R were installed by Lincoln Dealer according to glove box receipts less than a year ago (She paid almost $600 for the work!) … Brake and PS system have already been bled/flushed a week ago … Brakes work GREAT (No pull, no pulsing) … just NO ABS … 40% to 50% PS Boost by PS was measured/guestimated by comparing to my other '97 Continental with properly functioning VAPS. The “Squeaking” at slow turning speed is almost DEFINITELY coming from the lower left and lower right front ball joints … Both Ball Joints and Sway Bar End Links are scheduled to be replaced tomorrow. I suspect required steering effort might improve a little, but probably not dramatically.

Turns out the problem/culprit was a bad power steering pump. Installed a re-manufactured Motorcraft PS Pump, and, VOILA! Steering is PERFECT now and the new ball joints and sway bar end links cured all the squeaking noises during slow speed turning maneuvers. Next and last item to be replaced is a new module for the ABS system so that darn dash info/warning light will shut up! Then … new tires, custom wheels, and a limo window tint with some subtle body pinstriping … darn, almost forgot … adding a Flowmaster cat-back exhaust system … THEN, I’ll be DONE! :slight_smile: LOL Jim

Gotta agree with dumping the K&N filter. What little old lady would have one of those put in at the LIncoln dealer?

K&N will goop up your MAF and you’ll have problems down the road. Been there done that at 45k miles.


“new module for the ABS system . . .”

Do you mean the control module, or the hydraulic unit?

There are companies out there that will rebuild your module, or sell you one that’s already been rebuilt, and you give them yours as a core

That is worth considering, especially on an older car

I agree with the others . . . dump the K&N

If you mount fat, low profile tires on 22" rims, for example, you’re going to kill your nice ride. It’ll look cool, I suppose. But I think the continental looked just fine stock

It’s the electronic module for the ABS pump … mines DEAD … bought a low mileage (84K) Money Back Guaranteed one w/Pump for $100 … it’ll be here Monday … The filter is NOT an oiled K&N … it’s a DRY (Doesn’t need oil) “AFE” Hi-Flow Lifetime Cone filter installed in the stock air box (I removed the stock restrictive air tract silencer from inside the Driver’s side wheel well (now its got a satisfyingly Throaty GGGGGGGRRRRROWWWLLLLLL when I put my foot in it and better low end throttle response. Am mounting stock 225/60/16 V-Rated tires on 16" Stock CHROME multi-spoked Lincoln OEM Rims. Opinions … Whaddaya think? Thanks, Jim


Well, at least you don’t have an oiled K&N . . . I’m definitely not a fan of those

So you’re actually sticking to stock tire size, but you’re getting the factory rims chromed?

Make sure they do a really good job chroming them . . . I’ve seen chrome flaking off on poor jobs. Usually, this happens after a few years, though

Anyways, that $100 on the module sounds like a pretty fair deal

No, they were OEM Chrome from the Factory … Lincoln offered Chrome Rims as a Hi-Dollar Factory option (Super quality tripe-plate show quality chrome with a tasteful Chrome center cap with the Lincoln logo in the center … 8 Chromed “Spokes”. They look Super Classy. Google 'em.

I’d be a little careful with non-stock trim. I bought a 72 Lincoln back when for the wife to drive to school. My neighbor who drove a Saab called it the Pimpmobile. Something about Lincolns, new wheels, tires, etc. says North Minneapolis to me so I’d keep it stock, period.

Those chrome factory Lincoln wheels may be the ones called Octa Stars which were available as an option on the last of the Lincoln Mark VIIIs Didn’t know they were offered on the Continental.
Pretty wheels though.

@Bing My grandmother bought a Chevy Tahoe, black with silver trim, tinted windows, and huge rims with low-profile tires. She got an admittedly good deal on it, but it’s preposterous to see my grandmother step out of her modern pimpmobile.

Rest assured that, at 69 1/2 years young, I have no desire or intention of turning this pristine 1997 Lincoln Continental into anything even vaguely resembling a “Pimpmobile”. And, since it has no intrinsic value as a “Collector Car” … well, I really don’t think new stock size tires and chrome 2002 Town Car stock size rims, and window tint are going to qualify me as a “Pimp Daddy” … even in North Minneapolis. Have you kept your wife “stock” (i.e., No makeup, lipstick, eye shadow, nails, or styled hair, etc.) for fear your Saab driving neighbor might mistake her for a “North Minneapolis Hooker” ? :wink: C’mon, Y’all know THAT was FUNNY!

I have no control over keeping my wife stock or not.

Well … I guess that would explain why your nom de plume is " Bing " and not " BINGO ! " :slight_smile: