March 10, 2008
1989 Lincoln Town Car
the car had
miles on the odometer.
- The cold snap of January 2004 tested the car's ability to start in
exceptionally cold weather. In most cases it started just fine, even
in temperatures as low as -8°F. In one case a bottle of dry gas
added to a nearly empty tank got it going, with an outside
temperature of -9°F. Not bad for a 15 year old car.
- The heat wave of August 2006 tested the car's ability to start and
run in exceptionally hot weather. In all cases it started and ran just
fine, even in temperatures as high as 100°F.
- Collision damage
- Water pump leaks badly
- Rusted frame broke while a good Samaritan was trying to pull my car
out of an ice rut
- Front bumper decayed, needs bodywork
- Headlamp "door" (Ford's name for it) for driver's side needs
- Hood kick spring broken, needs bodywork
- Under hood lamp missing, needs replacement
- Hood lift struts worn, need replacement
- Radiator warped, although not leaking, needs replacement
- Battery hold down bracket rusty, needs attention
- Coolant recovery reservoir stopper missing, needs replacement
- RFI from ignition system, perhaps due to old capacitor, needs
- Power steering leak, needs attention
- Timing cover oil leak, needs attention
- Front suspension sagging, springs and shocks need replacement
- Front brakes old, rotors and pads need replacement
- Oxygen sensors old, consider replacement
- "Town Car" embelemn on passenger's side front fender missing, needs
- Vacuum parking brake release faulty, leaks vacuum instead of doing
its job, vacuum line sealed off, ignoring problem
- Instrument panel lamp for headlamp switch burned out, needs
- Instrument panel lamp for temperature gauge burned out, needs
- Transmission gear indicator out of alignment, needs attention
- Upper and lower steering column shroud removed (to replace turn
signal switch), needs attention
- Automatic temperature control vacuum leak, needs attention
- Stereo dead, needs attention
- Glove box removed for vacuum leak diagnosis, needs attention
- Miscellaneous trim removed, need attention
- Outside thermometer, on driver's door, stuck at 90°F, needs
- Driver's door power window binding, needs attention
- "Polyshield" torn, needs attention
- Insulation torn, needs attention
- Interior trim panel disintergrating, needs replacement
- Driver's door window control does not control passenger's window,
and only lowers, but doesn't raise, rear passenger's window, needs
- Driver's door bottom edge has rust, needs bodywork
- Passenger's door bottom edge has rust, needs bodywork
- One seatbelt fell behind the rear seat, needs attention
- Trunk interior trim loose, needs attention
- Emissions continues to get worse. Extrapolating 2009 emissions
results based on 2007, 2005 and 2003 results, it appears the car will
not pass emissions in 2009. Needs attention.
The TV cable on the AOD on the Lincoln Town Car
Occasionally the TV lever at the transmission gets siezed and will not
go back. The net result is the transmission thinks the accelerator is
all the way to the floor all the time. Symptoms: late shifting, and in
extreme cases torque converter stall.
Digital Instrument Cluster
My Town Car has the conventional instrument cluster. I'd like to
convert it to the digital instrument cluster someday. This section has
some disorganized thoughts on the matter.
Message Center Display
The message center display (part -10D898-)
is to the right of the speedometer. It is
capable of displaying one row of six alphanumeric characters above a
row of 14 characters. These characters may be represented with 15
The message center display apparently has an on-board character table
of 64 characters, including one blank character. According to the
manual page 33-62-20, the message center module tests this glyph table
by displaying four messages, each with 20 characters, perhaps in
ascending order, and the manual suggests that the message center
display is faulty if any of the characters are incorrectly displayed.
The characters are thought to be: checkmark, A, B, C, D, E,
F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S,
T, U, V, W, X, Y,
Z, r, /\, m, -, h, ", ", $,>, <,>, <, ',
(, ), *, |, !, -,
space, /, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, +, ?,
←, =, → K. This list is surely incomplete. If you have a
Lincoln Town Car with a digital instrument cluster and a digital
camera, please help by following these steps:
- Press all message center buttons, from left to right, one at a
- Choose four buttons that produced a tone when pressed, and press
all four of these at once.
- Keep pressing these four buttons until you go through the flashing
- You are now at the character test phase. Take a picture of what is
displayed, press those same four buttons, take a picture, repeat until
it says "RAM PASSED."
- Forward the pictures to me by email.
The closest driver chip found so far is the HPDL-1414, and that
seems to be a distant candidate. Another candidate is the ICM7423.
The message center display perhaps has eight modes of
flashing. Mode 0 is no flashing, mode 7 is all flashing, and modes 1-6
are various characters in the message flash. Flashing is a per-message
attribute, not a per-character attribute.
The message center module apparently communicates with the message
center display over a serial link. Assuming each character is six bits
long and the flash attribute is three bits long, the message can be
expressed in 123 bits. Most likely the five bits between 123 and the
nearest power of 2, 128, are not wasted. So perhaps the entire message
is refereshed with 128 bits.
Setting the clock on the digital instrument cluster
One person has asked how to set the clock on a 1989 Lincoln
Town Car with the digital instrument cluster. From the owner's manual:
- Press "Reset" button.
- Press "Clock" button. Hours should flash.
- Press "Adv" button to advance to correct hour and AM/PM
- Press "Clock" button. Minutes should flash. Set with "Adv" button.
- Use "Clock" and "Adv" to set day, month and so forth. Press
"Reset" when finished setting clock.
- The Lincoln mailing
- 1989 Lincoln Town Car Electrical & Vacuum Trouble-Shooting
Manual (EVTM) (FPS-12119-89)
- Lincoln Rear-wheel Drive Automotive Repair Manual
(Haynes 59010) (ISBN 1-56392-379-3)
- Computer Codes & Electronic Engine Management Systems
Manual (Haynes 10205) (ISBN 1-56392-232-0)
- How Stuff
- Motorcraft parts
Any other thoughts?
Feel free to send me email with questions or comments.
© 2005-2008 Alex Pennace