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, 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.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


I can't believe I have been driving Vic 2.0 for a year now!  One stupid thing I did was to NOT take the snow tires off last spring.  Things came up and they just never came off.  So I drove in the heat with snow tires... needless to say, now I need to replace 2 of them!

I knew that the rear end has been leaking oil/grease, but a while ago I noticed another stain on the driveway, this one in the area behind the rear passenger wheel.  I thought someone was leaking brake fluid, but everyone's car seemed fine.  Wellp, I think I know what the stain is now.

Driving with snows on in summer, you can feel a little "squishy" at times.  So I didn't notice anything amiss.  A few weeks ago I started feeling a little... well... the way the rear of the car handled didn't feel quite right.  Then I went over some speed bumps, and it hit me:  a shock leaked.

When I go over a speed bump, the front end bounces evenly, but when the back goes over, the rear "wiggles" unevenly.  I did the old fashion shock-check (aka: push up and down on the rear bumper) and sure enough, while the car doesn't bounce much thanks to the police spec springs,  the passenger side DOES bounce more than the driver side.

Yup, snow tires never came off this year...
For kicks, I went to a dealer and was quoted roughly $80 each.  Need to decide if I am going aftermarket, or try to score a pair cheaper.  I sort of can't spend the money, but I can't stand a car that doesn't handle properly!

Another thing that NEEDS to be remedied at some point, but isn't a pressing matter, is the stereo system.  I MISS my old speakers and Sony deck.  The wiring harness won't work with the car's factory wiring, and me and wiring do not mix.  Hopefully when I hit the lottery I can make some upgrades...

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sun Visor Guts

You may have read my earlier post regarding the sun visor replacement in Vic 2.0.  I decided to tear apart the old, broken one just to see what the insides look like.  Below are the resulting photos:

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Brothers in Parking...

For the first time ever, I actually had to park and walk a distance to visit the 2016 Italian Car Day at Larz Anderson in Brookline MA.  When I got back to the car a couple of hours later, I found something parked in front of me...

Photo Without Caption

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

... and Crown Vics Were There!

Today, John W. Hinckley Jr, the man who shot President Reagan in 1981, is back in the news thanks to a judge allowing him to live outside a mental institution.  As usual, the press is digging into files for photos of him.  One that keeps popping up shows him in 2003, and yes, a CROWN VIC WAS THERE!

(Brian Smialowski/Reuters 2003)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Floppy Sun Visor FIXED!!

Vic 2.0 is feeling a little happier now.  Last week I FINALLY just said "EH!" and went out to the driveway in the summer heat and cleaned the inside real good.  This included cleaning all the coffee off the cupholder.

The other day the windshield was replaced due to a small stone chip that grew into a bonafide crack. 

The next day, I installed my brand spankin' new sunvisor and retainer!

Since I help out at a local auto upholstery shop, I knew that it is easy to make a visor install a little confusing.  That comes from moving the pivot around too much.  All I needed was a 20mm torx and a small ratchet.  The only part of the install that was a hassle was the retainer hook.  For some reason, the locator pin on the back was in a totally different location.  I couldn't get it to push through the headliner, so I just broke it off.

I can now drive safely, free from blinding sun and a broken visor that wanted to make me drive off the road!

Double sided Velcro was all I had to keep the broken visor up after the retainer hook broke

The broken retainer clip, broken in a fit of anger by myself...
Part # for Medium Stone Gray retainer
Part # for the visor
The original part is on the left, note the different locator pin on the new part at right
Torx and ratchet
This is what the mounting location looks like
You can see how moving the pivot around too much can confuse installation for a short time


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Floppy Sun Visor...

Recently, Vic 2.0’s driver side sun visor started to bind up.  It felt like something wanted to break.  Sure enough, one day the visor flopped down and stayed there.  What resulted was various tests of materials wrapped around the visor retainer to keep it in the up position.  Tissues, Dunkin Donuts napkin, thin rubber sheet, and finally Velcro attached to itself.

Ebay searches didn’t turn up any used visors in the correct color of Medium Stone (or what appears to be that color!).  I ended up buying one that LOOKED correct, and the seller seemed to also think it was the right color, but once it arrived, it turned out to be too beige.   It didn’t cost much… will probably just relist…

First attempt to stop the flop... didn't work...

Anyhoo, yesterday things came to a head.  The visor kept flopping down at all the wrong times, causing me to drive over the white AND yellow lines so often I gave up and we now have a visor on order with a Ford dealer.  Oh, and in my anger, I accidentally broke the retainer hook that mounts to the headliner.  So that got ordered as well.  The parts guy told me there was “only 3 in the country”, though I don’t know if he meant the visor or the retainer.

Hopefully when the parts arrive, they will indeed be the correct color.  I gave the code to the parts guy, so we shall see what I actually end up with…

Sunday, June 5, 2016

2006 P71 RETIRED... replaced by a 2007... and 2008...

Yesterday Todd retired his mom's 2006 P71.  After being squished twice by town trees, attacked by parking lots, and never washed, it is heading to a potential third life as a local taxi.  Stupid me forgot to look at the odometer...

The car was officially replaced a couple of weeks ago by a 2007 P71 with about 168,000 miles.  This one has the nice charcoal velour interior (I'm jealous).  At the same time Todd picked up a 2008 P71 with about 126,000 miles.  Both were never marked for police service, and judging by the options and condition, never saw mainline service.  They are basically twins other than one has a black grille.

The '08 was SUPPOSED to be to sell, but Todd being Todd, has it registered and has been enjoying driving it.  Let's face it... they are just nice to drive!

Both new (to the fleet) cars had hubcaps with all the FORD logos missing.  While neither of us has ever heard of this being an issue, supposedly other folks HAVE had them fall/wear off.  A search for used ones with the logos intact proved we are a minority... most didn't have any logos.  But a couple of decent sets were found in the end...

OH, I almost forgot... Todd actually won 2.5 cars at auction.  The .5 was a 2014 Interceptor Sedan that we took some parts out of and then junked.  Cost him about $100.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Nells Comments on a Vic Owner's Video

I don't look around YouTube too much.  Way too many people with way too many opinions I don't agree with.  But I did accidentally come across this video, in which a man describes 5 things he dislikes about his Crown Vic.  I decided to watch it and see what he has to say.

He mentions in the beginning that he doesn't hate the car.  Seems to me there's little he DOES like.  Watch for yourself:

Now, I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  But I just HAVE to share some thoughts that popped into my mind while listening to this man's:

1 – I agree for the most part, sorta… When Vic 1.0 had its winter wheels on, it looked more police-y.  Vic 2.0 is dark blue and has police hubcaps and an antenna, so people sometimes are weary of it.  But with both cars, I'd think the fuzzy dice hanging in the window and vanity plate would dispel any incorrect thoughts...

2 – I disagree.  The car doesn’t feel big.  Maybe I am just used to it.  My '86 Pontiac Parisienne did more so, the '88 Grand Marquis a bit less than the Pontiac.  2b) Well, what do you expect?  A big car with a V8.  It's no Prius!  But MPG depends on the rear end you have and also varies depending on how you drive.  23MPG/HWY can be done with 3:55s, even better with others.

3 – I HAD a Vic with traction control and it was a horrible system.  Always drove with it off.  Not having it now is SO nice.  If you know how to drive, you don’t need traction control.   3a) RWD is for performance, whether people like it or not.  All wheel drive is of course very good for performance AND control.  BUT NOT all current Ford police vehicles are AWD.  3b) regarding the rear tires loosing traction, that is based on tires.  Goodyear Ultra Grips do just that.  Worn RS-As will loose traction more, as I found out when I took over Vic 2.0.  

4 – what do you expect in a police car for “necessities”?  The regular versions didn't have a whole lot more, granted.  But personally, I hate cars with too many gadgets.  I'm in it to drive, but watch TV or surf the Internet.  What you don’t get in luxuries you get in cool things like aluminum driveshafts, dual exhaust, bigger brakes, stab-shields in the Leer-made seats, fire suppression system, 140MPH gauges, etc.

5 – Suspension… sure, a Vic of ANY kind isn’t a BMW M5.  But I drove a ’98 with the Handling Package for 15 years.  Super comfy without being floaty.  I could throw that car into turns like nothing.  The regular versions I have driven were indeed a bit too floaty, but those cars were not made for the same hard use as the P71.  They also had different tires, with higher shoulders which I could feel made a difference.  

To his credit, the YouTuber also did a "5 Things I Love" video:  https://youtu.be/lo84XbTmcow

Thursday, April 21, 2016

168,600 Miles - Vic Gets Some Much Needed Attention

Vic 2.0 got some attention today.  The steering has been odd... when the outside temperatures were cold, the steering would feel heavy and "notchy".  The fact that as the engine bay/outdoor temps got higher, the steering was a bit better, made me rule out what the actual cause seems to have been, the upper steering shaft.  The lower one was changed last year under the Ford recall.  Taxi Guy lubed it up and says to try that.  Seemed nicer during the drive home.  Time will tell.

Another issue is the rear end has slowly been staining the driveway.  The bearing in the differential needs to be replaced, but due to my financial situation, he topped off the fluid and we will simply watch it.  I don't know how such a small drip makes such a large stain...

Next, the air conditioning had stopped blowing cold.  Happened all of a sudden.  I could hear the compressor turn on/off over and over, with no cool air coming through the vents.  I figured it needed a recharge.  Turns out the cause answered yet another issue.

Last week, I found a small green puddle under the car, sort of under the battery.  I assumed it was coolant leaking from the plastic tank nearby.  But it didn't smell like coolant.  It ended up being from a rotted out a/c condenser.  I had asked Todd if "freon" had a color, and he assumed it was a gas and therefore it didn't have a color.  Well... it does.

In fact, all the years and miles Todd had the car, one of the very few repairs he had to do was to replace that part!  So the car is now on it's THIRD condenser.

Vic also got a nice oil change.  I have decided to go with Mobil 1 again, as Vic 1.0 seemed very happy with it.

Next on the list is a wax-job and taking off the snow tires.

Long time readers may like to know the BBS-style alloy wheels from Vic 1.0 helped to pay for today's bill.  Taxi Guy has a buyer for them!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Keep a light burning in the window...

So, I'm out with some railfans, waiting on a Pan Am freight, enjoying a record warm March day.  The train passes, and we start walking back to our cars.  I notice my headlights are on.  No clue why as the sun is shining.  I start thinking... Did I accidentally hit the light switch or something?  OR, did my boyfriend show up while our view across the tracks were blocked, unlock the car, and switch on my lights to mess with me?

I unlock the car, and the light switch is off.  Turning it turns on the marker lights and taillights like normal.  The high beams didn't work.  I popped the hood, looked around, and didn't see anything obvious.  I even switched on the AUX power to see if Todd's wig-wags and flashers were the problem.  (No, he hasn't removed his equipment yet)

Fast forward... I am driving home because I can't leave the car parked with the headlights on for an hour or two.  As I stop at traffic lights, I play with switches and stuff and look at the lights reflecting in the cars in front of me.  Things just won't go off.

Pull into driveway, and look at time.  Vic 1.0 had a feature where things like interior lights would shut off if accidently left on by the driver.  I forgot the amount of time it would take.  So I parked the car and looked back in a 1/2 hour.  STILL ON.

A search for correct socket ensued, and the battery was disconnected.  

A little while later, Todd comes over and we poke around under the hood a bit.  Pulling fuses doesn't turn the lights off.  We mess with the battery cable and listen for things turning on and off, etc etc etc.  

So... long and short of the story is the culprit was a connector Todd had used to wire up all his lighting.  One metal bit was brown and burny.  Being electrically illiterate, I guess that was causing a short, thus turning on the headlights alone.  And I think even on high-beams!

We unplugged that connector, hooked up the battery again, and everything was back to normal.

One potentially annoying and pricey fix avoided... THANKFULLY!!

Friday, January 1, 2016

... and Crown Vics Were There!

... LOTS of them.  And SILVER ones, too!!  Thing is... what is all that stuff sitting on them??  Don't they know that's how you SCRATCH PAINT??

Oh, the threat ended up being a hoax... AFTER the damage was done...

End of an Era: Nells Vic 1.0 RETIRED

Wellp, welcome to a new year.  I won't go into how crappy 2015 was, and my feelings about what 2016 will be like (HINT:  Crappier.)

Instead, I will FINALLY update the blog with something I have been putting off for months.

As visitors to the main site may already know, Vic has been retired, and will furthermore be referred to as Vic 1.0.

What started on April 6, 2000 ended on July 20, 2015.  On that day, I gained ownership of my boyfriend's 2006 P71 Crown Vic.  Plates were swapped, and suddenly I was driving a blue car instead of a gray one.  You can read a bit more about the change HERE.  

Being a new year with a new/used car, I shall begin with the traditional mileage count, which can now include the car's idle hours:

Vic 2.0 was a Ford demo, and never saw police duty.  So most of those hours were from us railfanning, or from Todd sitting in a cold/hot parking garage trying to eat his lunch.  

One thing that even I can't get over, is the fact that neither myself or Todd has snow tires on yet!  It has been a very mild autumn, and our first bit of snow arrived on 12/29/15.  For some reason, we just keep putting the tire swaps off...

Vic 2.0 at Sleepy Hollow, Concord MA (11/18/15)

Todd is now driving a 2013 Ford Interceptor Sedan, also known as a Taurus police car.  It is the AWD V6 version, non-turbo.  He seems to like it a lot.  I'd like some carpet and a fabric rear seat, but so far it has been ok.  It is rather peppy.  It has grown on him more than on me...

2013 PI goes railfanning (9/5/15)