Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Anonymous jerk damaged my car

Nasty surprise this weekend.... 

Wanted to go for a cruise. Got to where I store my car - a barn at a farm where caravans and campers are stored. As I pulled off the dust cover I saw a left rear quarter that has been hit hard not once but twice by a camper or caravan. The jerk must've known that he hit my car... all the chipped paint was cleaned off the floor. 

The chrome and stainless trim seems to be unhurt save for the lower horizontal piece between the wheel and bumper end. I'm pissed off but in the end this is a matter to be settled by my insurance company.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Sixties Continentals weak point #2: burn

The 1964-1965 Lincoln Continental has three weak points. Their potential for damage can be summarized as 'clunk, burn and crash '. Today we address #2: burn.

The in-dash ammeter or amp gauge is notorious for having corroded terminals. This causes weird electrical problems. It has also proven to be a fire hazard: many '64 and '65 Continentals have burned to the ground because of an electrical fire started by the ammeter as it shorted to ground (in effect: the chromed dash panel). To add insult to injury: this is a non-fused circuit.

Heading home from a car show I saw smoke coming from the dash. The ammeter needle was all the way to the right. I pulled over immediately and turned the engine off. The chrome dash bezel was very, very hot. The top right corner of the ammeter had melted and the whole thing was discoloured.

I decided to disconnect the ammeter from the wiring loom (but to keep it installed in the dash of course). I cut both ammeter wires at the back of the gauge and connected them together.  I installed a 70 amp fuse between the battery (+) and the starter motor relay (+). Better be safe than sorry (about your burned-to-the-ground slabside). I installed a volt meter in the glove box compartment. 

For fire-safety reasons alone I can suggest this to all '64 and '65 owners. It'll take you an hour/hour and a half. Just remove the metal dash bezel and you can get the ammeter out from the dash.

If you want to keep the ammeter hooked up: add a fuse, clean the terminals and check for damage to the ammeter and/or the wiring. Most importantly: update the ammeter as explained in this service bulletin:


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sixties Continentals weak point #1: clunk

The 1964-1965 Lincoln Continental has three weak points. Their potential for damage can be summarized as 'clunk, crash and burn'. Today we address #1: clunk.

Attention all MEL 430 & MEL 462 owners (1958-1968). Your engine was originally equipped with a camshaft timing gear that has nylon teeth and an aluminium centre. These were used for quiet engine operation. The concern was not longevity once out of warranty. It should have been replaced decades ago. If yours hasn't... do it now. All-metal replacements timing sets are readily available. Cloyes is the preferred brand.

Age alone will have caused the nylon teeth to become brittle and subject to breaking off, ending up in the oil pan and clogging the oil pick-up screen, thereby choking off the oil pump (a fatal blow to any engine). With the timing slipping, you're looking at bent valves, bent push rods, damaged pistons. Here's what mine looked like. There are way more cracks than the photo shows. The mechanic that rebuilt my engine stated that if I had left my car idle for twenty or thirty or thirty minutes, things would have gone bad.

Another Dutch '64 owner was less lucky. He was test driving his recently acquired Continental after the car sat for almost 5 years. The oil pressure began to fall and then went away all together. Here's what he found in his oil pan:

I'm not certain the timing chain teeth fragments caused the snapped oil pump drive shaft by blocking the oil pick-up screen and putting more strain on the pump than drive shaft could handle. But looking at that photo we could (and should) assume they're related. At any rate; the cam timing gear had one tooth left:

About that oil pump drive shaft, here's another tip that could prevent you a lot of trouble. The original is literally as thin as a pencil and isn't up to the job. It is prone to twisting itself into a curly fry when overstrained and ultimately snaps. I've seen a shaft that had twisted itself in three places - but not either end. 

That's where this billet drive shaft from Precision Oil Pumps in California, (559)325-3553, comes in. The chance of curly-frying is much smaller with this round, thicker shaft. Whenever you get the chance, replace your original oil pump drive shaft with this billet drive shaft. 
This replacement works for the MEL engines. It is an FE drive shaft that is +.0375" longer for Main Girdle Applications. This shaft is about .075 too long, but the MEL guys get them and grind that amount off the bottom (pump end) to make them fit. Just use a bench grinder. The shafts are +/- $20.00 plus shipping.