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.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

PINK Massachusetts State Police Cruiser Spotted in Concord MA

LOOK!  There's Barbie's Malibu Dream Car!


I finally spotted the Massachusetts State Police pink breast cancer cruiser! It was parked at the Concord barracks, so I had to pull in to take a photo! I didn't want to look too conspicuous (in an old police car??) so I only took a couple out the window. Of course, it was cloudy so the colors didn't "pop" but you get the picture.

This cruiser was created as part of the Pink Patch Project, and to "raise awareness and show support for all who have battled and continue to battle breast cancer or any other type of cancer."

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

150,461 MILE UPDATE: Oily, Tired, and Tense...

Vic 3.0 has been getting some attention lately.  First new shocks/struts, then a new fan belt, then a new fan belt tensioner, and then today a nice (overdue) Mobil 1 oil change and a set of brand spankin' new Goodyear RS-A tires.  

The belt tensioner wasn't planned.  When we installed the new belt, we noticed that it took more effort than usual to move the tensioner to get the belt on/off.  On the belt went, and out into the ether emanated a horrible screech when I started the car.  I assumed the belt just needed to seat itself into position.

Wellp, the next day the sound was SO bad, not just when the car started, but every time I had to use the throttle from a stop.  I dropped by Upholstery Guy's shop and he suggested I get a can of belt dressing.  I took his advice, and it seemed to help.  By the end of the day, the sound was gone.  BUT every time the car started up cold, that screech was there, scaring birds and neighbors.

On to Rock Auto I went, and ordered a Motorcraft belt tensioner.  I planned on installing it myself as all I needed to do was remove one bolt, but Taxi Guy did it for me before I knew what had happened!  (150,327 miles)  Now, everything is nice and quiet.  I almost think I can hear a difference as well.  

As for the tires, I waited and searched and scored a set for a decent price.  RS-A's don't have a high treadwear rating (it's about performance, not longevity) but even so, they made me realize the old set NEEDED to be replaced.  They were all over 10 years old so had some age-cracking, and had worn enough to be good for dry weather speed, but NOT safe for rain.

Now, the last time I put this much money into a car, it ended up being totaled by my mother.  I sure hope nothing happens to this one, too!!  

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Vic 3.0's Twin Back In Town

Now that "The Taurus" has left Mystery Mechanic's fleet, having moved on to a new life with a new owner, Vic 3.0's twin is back in town.  

We went out to where it has been stored, uncovered it, hooked up the battery and after two years it fired up first try!  (It is an Interstate Power Fast Series, for those who are curious)  All the tires had 25psi in them so my job was to pump them back up while MM worked on swapping a new wheel/tire onto his Little Red Trailer.  

Vic 3.0b has 139,294 miles and 278 idle hours.  Unfortunately, it also has a little transmission issue that we have to troubleshoot.  A good transmission was swapped into it already, but it still has issues.  Personally, I think we need to look into the torque converter but it could be some other things as well.  It is a good solid car so MM wants to get it all happy again.

OF NOTE, I found a gas receipt inside dated 11/3/19, just before we put it into storage.  The price of regular was $2.28/gallon............................ today, I paid $4.89 at a CHEAP station... average in Massachusetts is about $5.05.

The twins are together again!

Sunday, June 5, 2022

149,619 Mile Update: SHOCKING! ... again... really...

Vic 3.0 had new OEM shocks/struts installed by Taxi Guy... without a lift, thanks to two of his being down and a third having a car already on it.  BUT it was done and I no longer need to think about a front coil spring taking out a fender!  Amazingly, there isn't a "night & day" difference, but things like bridge expansion joints are way nicer to drive over.  I'll have a better idea of the difference once the less-than-perfectly-balanced snow tires are off, which should be done today, and new tires are installed (hopefully later this week if Taxi Guy's lifts are repaired). 
So assuming the shocks that got replaced were original, they lasted 149,619 miles and about 14 years.  The ones on 2.0 leaked but these never did.  Then again, 3.0's and Mom's '11 had a front coil spring break, but 2.0 never had than happen despite being driven aggressively for years. 

Monday, April 25, 2022

HOW TO... Replacing a Police Dome Light After 14 Years

A familiar accessory to anyone who has been around a police car is the snazzy dome light used in place of the vehicle's stock light.  It is known by many names... sun, ticket light, cop dome light, work light, etc.  The latest ones are LED and have both red and white lights.  But Vic 3.0 has the old clear-bulb version.  Wellp, somehow a crack had developed in the light's white plastic cover.   Earlier this month, I tried to push the crack in a bit, to make it look better, and instead I ended up with an actual hole.

Such a flaw is not tolerable.

So online I went, expecting to find tons of those plastic covers on Ebay.  I was surprised NOT to find many at all!  A few listings were what looked like cheap bulk lots.  I did manage to find a seller with NOS GM-bagged ones.  So they got my money, and I got the part.

While trying to pry the old cover off, it basically disintegrated in my hand.  On went the new one, and now things look a bit nicer.  

If YOU need to replace your dome cover, do a search for either "Signal Stat 77-570" or GM part number 10160922.  More digging will probably turn up a Ford part number as well.  

Saturday, March 12, 2022

147,900 Mile Update: SHOCKING! ... again...

Wellp, I FINALLY ordered front shocks/struts (they'll always be "shocks" to me...) for Vic 3.0. Taxi Guy informed me quite a while ago that one of the front springs is broken. But the break is in a spot that has allowed me to drive without noticing a lot (no noise, etc). I just decided enough is enough and ordered OEM replacements from Rock Auto. I already bought rears a while ago (because they are a lot cheaper!). Last time I replaced all the shocks on a car, Vic 2.0 got driven into a wall and totaled... I hope that doesn't happen THIS time, too!!

Saturday, January 22, 2022

My Original Key Chain Finally Falls Apart...

On April 6, 2000, I purchased Vic 1.0 from Bonnell Ford.  My salesman was one Mark Donovaro.  

On November 27, 2021, I drove Vic 3.0 to Bonnell because I needed to replace my original key chain, which had finally fallen apart.  Who did I ask for a new one?

Mark Donovaro, now a sales manager.  

HOW TO Program Tire Pressure Sensors on a Crown Victoria

NOTE:  I just realized I had one big error in these instructions.  If you tried them before with no luck, try it again!

Vic 3.0 is the first car I've owned with TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system).  But I've watched Mystery Mechanic deal with them on his cars for years.  To be honest, I think it is a pain in the backside.  They don't go off until the tire is so low I can tell it is just by the way the car drives.  Newer cars can actually tell you the current PSI per tire, which is nice, but just like some people who use their own blood pressure cuffs, they can make you paranoid and a slave to the PSI display!

Anyhoo, things were a mess at the Homestead this past month, resulting in my scrambling to get snow tires onto Vic before the first snow storm in Massachusetts.  MM has one Ford tire programmer that works on all our Fords (so far) and I finally borrowed it yesterday.  He told me the proper procedure for programming my snow tire rims to the car.  I will now attempt to remember the steps:

1) Put key in ignition
2) Push down/tap brake pedal ONCE
3) Turn key to the ON position (so that dash lights go on but the car doesn't start) 3 times fast, return to ON position when done
4) Push down/tap brake pedal ONCE 
5) Turn key to the ON position (so that dash lights go on but the car doesn't start) 3 times fast, KEEP KEY TURNED so that dash lights stay on but car doesn't start.  Horn should beep once.  That means the car is ready to read the programmer.
6) Go to the FRONT LEFT (driver side) WHEEL
7) Hold down the button on the sensor programmer and hold it 180ยบ from the valve stems (aka:  directly opposite).  The horn will beep when that sensor has been programmed.  Then go CLOCKWISE around the car, doing the same to each wheel.  
8) When you are done, turn the ignition off and remove the key.
The TPMS sensors on Crown Vic rims are strapped on opposite of the valve stem, NOT like newer cars that have them integrated into the valve stems themselves.

ALSO, at least on a 2008, it takes a while for the TPMS to let you know if your wheels are not programmed.  MM has a newer vehicle with a set of snow tires on rims with faulty sensors, and it takes exactly the same distance for him to get a TPMS light on the dash as it did on Vic.  

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

HOW TO Replace Crown Victoria Hood Struts

Last winter, I made a mental note that Vic 3.0 needed its hood struts replaced, as the hood wouldn't stay open, especially on really cold days.  Well, that mental note was forgotten until a year later when temps again started to go down.  I finally ordered new struts from Rock Auto and installed them in December, just before my entire family got COVID... (not a fun experience...)

If you have never replaced these struts on a Crown Vic, it is really pretty simple.  You will need something like a thin flat screwdriver (some sort of hook tool would be even better) and maybe a hammer.  

The struts attach to posts on the car via a type of spring-clip.  To remove the old struts, put the screwdriver (or hook tool) under the metal clip.  Pop it off the top and bottom posts.  To be safe, you may want to place something like a wood board against the hood to prop it open.  Do NOT use your head... 

You can now pry the old strut off the mounting posts.  Take the new strut and LOOSEN the spring clips.  DO NOT REMOVE THEM!  I accidentally popped one off and it took extra tools and anger to get the thing back on.  All you should do is LOOSEN them so that you can push the strut onto the proper post.

Make sure the strut is firmly pushed onto the posts, then push those clips down against the strut.  In other words, re-seat the clips.  The strut should now be firmly attached to the car, and your hood will no longer slam down onto your noggen.

I noticed that the original struts were made by the same people who made the replacements, Stabilus.  I like to use OEM parts when I can afford them, so I was happy about it.

The correct Stabilus part number is (T)SG404024.