Town Car AC


Our 2002 Lincoln Town Car is blowing dirty bits of gasket onto our seats, armrests and soiling our clothing. Also, the bits get tracked into our home and soil the floors.

Looking into the dashboard vents shows missing chunks of gasket and bits and pieces laying there. When you touch the chunks, they act like a grease pencil … really messy and not easy to clean up after.

Any help or ideas? The dealer wants over $1300 just to take the dashboard apart and put it back together. A mechanic told me those dashboards are never the same after they are dismantled.



I have the same problem with my 93 Caprice, the foam gaskets deteriorate over time and get that greasy/tarry texture. Have you tried popping the vent grills out of the opening and vacuuming or wiping up the loose bits of foam?

Ed B.


You have to expect this to happen when a car gets to a certain age. The trouble is, that it should not be happening to a 2002, maybe a 1992, but not 2002. I wonder if something got in there and chewed something up. Taking out the dash will be expensive because it is labor-intensive. If you go that route, do some research and replace other trouble-prone stuff while you are in there, like the heater core, blend door, and maybe others (ask at the links below). You could put screen in front of the vents, but that will look like poo.

Surf on over to and I hope that someone has some better suggestions than I.

You could get some estimates from indy mechanics. They may have lower labor charges and this is not rocket science.


I fixed it (hopefully). Took about 3 hours and it was quite tedious. I bent a small hook on the end of a piece of wire and fished about a hundred chunks of foam gasket out of the four dashboard vents. Followed up by blocking all of the outlets but one and running the AC at MAX (repeated for each vent). To be sure, I blasted each vent with compressed air from a can and ran the AC again.

Then, I threw my shirt away and vacuumed the interior of the car. Thanks Ford!

As one responder mentioned, this was a rather premature failure for a 2002 model. Lexus here I come!


Nice job. A shop vac intake over the vents might have been a nice addition. I wonder if your system got exposed to some ozone from a bad blower motor. I have never heard of this problem with the TC. A Lex is going to cost you a lot more than the TC.


Do you live in an area with excessive heat? Phoenix or something like that? Parked outside in one spot with prevailing sunlight on one area all the time?

Foam insulation deteriorating that bad is highly unusual for such a young car. My '94 Lincoln and good friend of the familys '01 have no had any problems.


Nice grammarin’ on my part. Forget the last few words of the last sentence or put them in order. :frowning:

Typo run amok.