Welcome to the Crown Vics ETC blog!

On April 6, 2000, I purchased a 1998 Ford Crown Victoria LX HPP with 23,490 miles. I decided to start a little website for it featuring a running log of my experiences with the car. Vic 1.0 was retired in 2015 due to rust and electrical issues. Vic 2.0 was a 2006 P71 in Blue Pearl that belonged to my boyfriend. It was a Ford demo and never saw actual police use. It was damaged in September of 2018 with well over 186,000 miles. It was replaced by Vic 3.0 in October 2018 with a 2008 P71 in Silver Birch with 120,971 miles. To read posts prior to 2010, click a link at right, or go to Crown Vics, ETC.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

ADDITION TO THE FLEET: 2016 Ford Police Interceptor Utility... aka: Explorer

In March 2020 Mystery Mechanic added the first Ford Police Interceptor Utility (aka: Explorer) to his fleet.  It is a 2016 with about 95,000 miles on it.  He's not sure if he's going to replace the Taurus with it or not.  For now, we are working on making it neater and seeing if it needs any mechanical work.  Weather has prohibited any real down-and-dirty-dirt-removal.

As you can see in this (crummy) cell phone pic, it was originally black and white.  The good thing is the white was a WRAP, so no painting was needed to make it all black!

Still dirty, but doors unwrapped, roof still white...

A bit cleaner... until the rains came...

How to Change a Cabin Filter in a 2016 Ford Explorer / Police Interceptor Utility

The following is a pictorial guide to changing the cabin filter in a 2016 Ford Police Interceptor Utility, aka Explorer.  From what I have seen, this procedure SHOULD be the same for police and civilian models up to the 2019 model year.

(NOTE: things didn't go quite as planned, so I don't have as many photos to share as I should)

This is the filter I picked up at the dealer, Motorcraft FP-68.  It wasn't cheap... Not sure why it cost more this time than the one I installed into the Sedan!

You will need to semi-remove the glove box door for easier access to the old filter.  Remove everything from the glove box FIRST!  That's right, all the sugar packets and napkins from Dunkin Donuts, etc.  

There is an ELASTIC TETHER that slides into a hole on the right side of the glove box door.  It helps the door from opening too far.  Slide that off.

At the top of the glove box opening, there are TWO PLASTIC TABS THAT POINT DOWNWARD.  They also help to retain the door when it is open.  I pushed them backward instead of forward so as not to break them off, but basically you need to get them out of the way of the glove box door so it will open all the way.

Now, I did NOT take the glove box door off to install the filter.  You MIGHT want to, though, as just as I thought I was done and happy, the door somehow got bumped and part of the hinge popped off.  I'll get into that debacle later...

This is what you see when you look into the glove box opening.  It is just like in the Taurus.  Basically there is a little cover, or "trap door", if you will, that has two latches and two tabs.  Undo the latches, and slide the cover down. 

This is what the cover looks like (front & back), with the tabs and latches where you can see them.

Here's the old filter still in place.  You may need a small screwdriver to help nudge it out a bit so you can get a better grip, then just slide it out.

We don't know if the filter had ever been changed, but it sure needed to be!

The new filter in place.  I added the date and mileage for future reference.

All you need to do now is reinstall the little filter cover, reattach the elastic tether to the side of the glove box door, and close it.

NOW, if you find yourself needing to remove OR reinstall the door, you need to know that there are two white plastic pins which actually come out.  We didn't know that, so when one side of the door popped off the pin, we didn't know how to reattach it.  A peek at the 'net resulted in the realization that one of the two plastic pins was not installed properly.  It was basically jammed into the wrong position.

After much car-repair-Yoga, temper flaring and use of large tools, I got both pins out.  We then put the cover in place, latched it, and slid the pins into place the way they are supposed to be installed... minus the fact we still need to lock them in.  In the photo below, you can see one and how it is slightly off-kilter.  But you get the idea.

This is a shot of an Explorer in a junk yard.  Someone had broken off the glove box door.  You can see the two white plastic pins which act as pivots.  The door is NOT SUPPOSED TO PRESS ONTO THOSE PINS!  Remember that if you find your door has popped off BUT the corresponding attachment hasn't broken off and flown off into oblivion...

And there you have it... your Interceptor will now smell like a daisy!!

(... well... a little better than before, anyhow...)

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Vic 3.0 Practicing Social Distancing

Vic practicing "social distancing" at the Littleton/RT495 MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) parking lot, which is usually filled to capacity. 

Thursday, March 12, 2020

132,509 Mile Update: It Will Now Snow...

Yesterday, Mystery Mechanic and I noticed Vic 3.0 was riding pretty badly on the highways and byways of Massachusetts.  We've been keeping an eye on one snow tire that he picked up at a junk yard (not something I myself trust).  The tire must have sat for a long time in one position, possibly low on air, because one patch of tread has a roundy-softy-wornish-rotted look.  It made it feel like an out of balance tire, probably bouncing off the pavement ever so slightly over and over.  After yesterday's trip, we said "BAH!  Might as well put the RS-A's back on".  It's March and we have had pretty much NO snow in the Boston area all season.

Which means we will get whacked with a major Nor-easta' next week.

Once all the snows were off, we also noticed another one for the junk-pile... that one has cracks on the rear sidewall that look scary.  So next season I will have to do some shopping!

On the 9th, Vic finally got it's oil change, after 9 months and about 3,500 miles.  The mechanic pointed out that there were traces of "animal activity" under the hood.  Sure enough, while we had the air compressor going today, I took a peek myself and there were piles of nuts and birdseed on the intake manifold.  It took a while to blow it all out. 

The exhaust leak is still there but hasn't changed much.  Still need to source that issue out.

Doesn't look like much, but this patch was enough to make the car ride badly.

Friday, January 24, 2020

131,131 Mile Update

Not much to report, but snapped a pic of cool looking odometer...

Monday, January 20, 2020

Vic 3.0 Chats With a Relative

I was walking back to Vic 3.0 from a Dunkin' Donuts and what did I see parked rather obviously next to me?  Oh, notice who had the snow tires on and who didn't!

Monday, December 9, 2019

130,000 Mile Update: Wipe Those Tears Away...

All through November, Vic 3.0's wipers were acting strange.  They would switch on and off... all on their own!  Sometimes, just the fluid would start squirting, usually as I was driving into the sun.  I figured it was the actual wiper control (part of the turn signal stalk).  But our mechanic, "Taxi Guy", said it was the wiper motor itself.  So first we got hold of a used multi-function wiper/turn signal unit.  A few days later, things got much worse...

While driving along, the wipers once again would go on and off all on their own.  Sometimes for a short time, sometimes long enough that I pulled over to see if they would shut off if I re-started the car.  Long story short, I ended up driving about 20 miles with my brand new Bosch wipers wiping my dry, brand new windshield.  I wasn't happy...

The next day, we got a used wiper motor/rack and I planned on doing the install myself.  After all, I had done it with Vic 1.0 & 2.0, so why not 3.0 as well? 

Curious about what it takes to swap the unit out?  Read on...

The first thing to do is remove the two wiper arms.  This is either a pain in the backside, or no big deal, depending on how picky you are about the paint finish of the arms and the edge of your hood.  You need to raise the arms until you can pry up the release "loop".  Then let the arm down.  It should lay off the glass.  That means you can now gently lift off the arm. 

Now, we need to remove the wiper motor/rack unit:

1) remove the weather seal.  That is simple.

2) remove the two black plastic pins that are located on the corners of the cowl trim/cover.

3) remove Phillips screws from the cover.

4) remove four clips that hold the cover to the assembly "bucket".

5) you can now remove the cowl trim, and see all of the "organic matter" that has built up through the years!

6) use a socket to remove the bolts that hold down the wiper assembly "bucket".

7) there is a part connected to a black metal bracket, which is attached to the "bucket" with two nuts.  This is the EVAP Canister Purge Valve.  Those nuts often rust solid, and some people just break the bracket off.  BUT, there is a very simple way to get around this... press the plastic tab on the purge valve and slide it off the bracket!  It should slide easily, but if not, just use a little WD40.

8) you can now begin to remove the bucket assembly.  You need to disconnect the motor connector and the wiper fluid hoses, which press into little plastic holders molded into the part.  The ends simply press onto the sprayer nozzles.  There may also be a wire-loom or two to remove.

At this point, you can either remove your motor or do what I did, which is go with the whole motor/bucket unit.  Either way, I highly suggest that you make sure the "drainy flappy trap door thing" is clean when you put the new bucket into the car (see photo). 

From this point, you simply reverse the above steps.  The entire job took me two hours, though I was using only hand tools, and spent extra time cleaning up the replacement parts.  I also stopped to observe a baby chipmunk who was stocking up on birdseed... it was the latest in the season I had ever seen a chippy out-and-about.

This is what your wiper motor looks like
Old "bucket", old cowl trim, replacement cowl trim all cleaned up
Replacement motor/rack installed and almost ready to go!
A 11/29/19 chipmunk!