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.

Friday, February 26, 2021

2008 Ford Crown Victoria Window Switches

Crown Victorias are usually pretty beefy cars.  Part of the reason is that they are simple.  What cars tend to be maintenance nightmares?  Cars that are "complicated".

One part that seems to have issues on the later cars are the window switches.

Vic 3.0's driver's window switch started to act strange not long after I took the car over.  I'd have to "finesse" the switch to get the window to go up, but not all the time.  It got worse and worse, and I started thinking I better start looking for a used set of switches.   

Of course, what happened?  It stopped working... with the window OPEN.

Now, I had it in back of my head Mystery Mechanic had a set of switches in his basement.  I looked around and found them.  BUT, I quickly discovered they worked, but had the same problem!  We then remembered that his '08 ALSO had the issue, and the part was the bad one.

I was at least able to put the window back up.

I decided to take apart my totally-toasted one to see if it could be fixed.  I thought perhaps some contacts would be cleaned.  In the end, I couldn't fix them and just gave up.

A trip to our favorite junk yard later, and I had a new (used) part in-hand.  This was in September 2020 and so far, they still work fine.  

There may be folks out there who know how to fix the switches, or may want to try it.  Below are some photos to help those people out.  

NOTE:  The switch style changed one last time, I think in 2009 or 2010.

Ford part number:  5L1T-14540-AWB

Exploded view of parts

Little dust/water guards slip right off... notice the copper connectors

View of bottom with connectors

Winter Embarrassment...

In the almost 3 decades I have been driving, I have been driving full size rear wheel drive V8 sedans.  I know how to drive them in winter.  I have been stuck in snow less than a handful of times.

AND SO it is with some embarrassment that I type up this post!

The other day, it was in the upper 40s and sunny here in Massachusetts.  That meant snow was melting BUT still hiding ICE underneath.  I pulled into a dirt lot to take a photo of an unusual locomotive.  It never came (assumed it stopped down the tracks to work) and what ended up happening?  I decided to leave... 

Now, even though Vic 1.0 has been gone for a while, I STILL can't get used to the larger turning radius of Vic 3.0 (due to the wider track).  I misjudged a 3-point turn and the front wheels pushed into a berm of snow just before the side of the road.  I had to stop to make sure no cars were coming.  And that was what did me in.  Normally it would be no big deal, BUT Vic had enough time to sink through the watery snow and onto the ice hiding under it!

It took:

  • about a half hour of time
  • a bunch of sand
  • a cheap emergency shovel
  • an old pair of plastic get-me-unstuck mats (one of which disintegrated)
  • much embarrassment 

... to get the car free.  I couldn't even rock the thing, as the snow tires simply had nothing to rock against!  Sand did NOTHING.  A slight push would have helped but I was alone and few cars drove by.  

OH, and while I was stuck there... the locomotive stopped RIGHT next to me.  I took a break and nonchalantly took my photos. 

In the end, basically, once I saw that the rear tires were burning through the ice, I knew EVENTUALLY I'd hit dirt and that would help.  FINALLY I was able to get free in reverse (unusual, especially with directional snow tires).  I stood there, looking at the aftermath, thankful the road in front of me is lightly traveled, and hoping the train crew didn't notice I was stuck.

Chalk it up to "experience".  Also chalk it up to "ice is NOT snow"!

At least I got a photo... not the best BUT I got it...

Sunday, February 7, 2021

138,999 Mile Update: Get Your Snow Blowers Runnin'...

Long time, no update!  Some quick little things to share... 

138,999 - 2/3/21

10/17/20 - Vic visits the Welch's corporate office in Concord MA... those are indeed Concord Grape vines!
11/23/20 - Changed license plate bulbs

1/6/21 - Just what to do after getting the car washed... park in a muddy parking lot... snows are on...

RWD + Snow Tires = gets to park closer to the store entrance

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

136,735 Mile Update: Start Me Up!

Long time, no update! Vic has been putting along just fine... until yesterday.

I had noticed it sounded a little funny the last time I had started it up. The "funny" seemed familiar. I filed it away in my brain for future reference, and it came in handy not long after... like yesterday morning when I was about to go out and run some errands. Not to mention my mother wanting to also get out of the driveway.

I turned the key, and CLICK. Wouldn't start. Wouldn't crank.

Tried it a second time, DITTO.

All the dash lights went on like normal, and I could hear the fuel pump go on, so when it did start on the third try, I knew it was most likely the starter going bad.

A phone call later, I was on the way to Taxi Guy for repairs. I lucked out and got the job done along with an overdue oil change before the evening rush hour!

Thing is, I swore I had already had the starter done in 3.0. But Taxi Guy said it looked original, so it must have been 2.0. I believe that makes one for each Vic. And given the wide variety of miles on each car, they must wear out with age.

Why share a photo of Vic 3.0 next to some boring office building?  Well, that building is the headquarters of Welch's, as in Concord Grape jam and juice, and those green things behind Vic are actual grape vines growing from cuttings of the original vine!  I knew I was probably on camera so I didn't pick any of the grapes, but I did pick one up off the ground and it smelled just like their juice.

Vic 3.0 Gets Social!

6/15/20:  Vic meets O.J. ... I mean Vic meets a Ford Bronco...

7/30/20:  Vic meets some white and green speck of something that thinks it's smart...

8/10/20:  Vic parks next to a Fiat...

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...)