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Don't Try this at Home!


Guest Jim_Edwards
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Guest Jim_Edwards

A month ago I purchased a '78 Lincoln Continental Town Car with low miles on it. On driving it from its original home in far Western Virginia to its new home in Texas I came to realize there was one maybe two bulbs not working in the speedometer.

Well I finally got around to addressing that little issue and stepped into maintenance hell. Not wanting to screw anything up in getting to the offending bulbs I whipped out the shop manuals and figured maybe a 20 or 30 minute job because of the way the dash is constructed. Now if you were to accept the manual on face value you might think maybe a five minute job.

This rapidly became one of those times when a factory shop manual had about the same value as yesterday's newspaper, maybe less as none of the procedures are of any value. So at this point, my right arm looks like it had a dramatic encounter with a meat grinder in attempting to reach the location of the bulbs from beneath the dash, with absolutely no luck. Next step, try to disconnect the speedometer cable to just pull the whole speedometer assembly out. No way! Impossible to get enough leverage on the so call quick disconnect release for the cable. Arm now looks like it was in a shark attack.

Next brilliant idea......Drop the steering column for better access. Great idea but the column won't sufficiently drop with out basically removing it. Forget that nonsense! Next brilliant idea was getting to the bulbs or the speedometer cable release from above by removing the top of the dash. Easy enough, but alas once it is off all that can be seen is A/C ducts. So now debating on chopping a hole in the plastic housing the speedometer assembly is nestled in or removing all the damn A/C duct work in hopes of gaining access to either the bulbs or the speedometer cable release. Now about 4 hours into replacing two $ 0.75 bulbs and now am fully aware as to why they were not previously replaced.

My next step will probably be crawl under the car, disconnect the speedometer cable from the transmission so I can get enough slack to allow the speedometer assembly to be pulled out of the dash far enough to replace those damn bulbs. My other option is just never again drive the car after the Sun goes down.

If the S.O.B. responsible for designing this abortion were to still be alive I'll guarantee I'd shoot the bastard right on the spot and then go looking for the Idiot that wrote that portion of the shop manual.

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Guest Jim_Edwards
Ahhhh.....another one from the "Ford's better ideas" column.

Most definitely! However, some of my other brand vehicles seem to have utilized some of "Ford's better ideas" without ever giving Ford adequate acknowledgment. :D

With all the Ford built vehicles I own or have owned, I've never before ran into anything like this. But admittedly I haven't had reason to get into my Fox Bodied Lincoln Mark VII which I know from others to in some respects being possibly the worst car dash to ever even think about getting into.

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Yeah, nothing these days is as easy as it used to be! Just be thankful that you don't have an even later model Lincoln.

I work at a Ford/Lincoln dealership and see some of the newer cars with the dashboard COMPLETELY REMOVED from the car to fix something!

Some of the later model diesel trucks require removal of the ENTIRE CAB to work on the engine!

post-31768-14313874743_thumb.jpg

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Guest Jim_Edwards
Yeah, nothing these days is as easy as it used to be! Just be thankful that you don't have an even later model Lincoln.

I work at a Ford/Lincoln dealership and see some of the newer cars with the dashboard COMPLETELY REMOVED from the car to fix something!

Some of the later model diesel trucks require removal of the ENTIRE CAB to work on the engine!

Any of the Fox Body Mustangs, T-Birds, or Lincoln Marks require just about the entire dash be removed to even get to the heater core. Basically anything not in the upper portion of the console requires virtually the whole darn dash to come out. It's all about cars being put together on the assembly line in completed modules utilizing robots with no forethought or concern about some aspect of any of the modules requiring future maintenance.

Being a line mechanic these days must be about as much fun as getting a poke in the eye with a sharp stick several times a day. There is more than one make of FWD car that to get to anything you have to drop the entire engine/transmission assembly from what I have observed. Just has to be a world of fun! One of the more valid reasons for buying an extended warranty from the dealer selling the car if the car has less than a 100,000 mile warranty.

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Guest Jim_Edwards

Well for all you Sweet Peas out there owning a '78 - '79 Lincoln Continental Town Car or Coupe the easiest and perhaps the only reasonable way to replace the two stinking 194 bulbs in the top of the Speedometer housing is to disconnect the speedometer cable at the transmission and from beneath the hood pull about 4 to six inches of the cable forward and push it through the firewall. This will provide sufficient access to the back of the speedometer housing assembly to replace bulbs and/or disconnect the speedometer cable. From looking at the manuals, I suspect that the same procedure will apply to 1978 Mercury Grand Marquis. Don't forget to reconnect the speedometer cable at the transmission!

One thing is for absolute certainty no one is going to get to either of those bulbs or remove the speedometer cable from the back of the speedometer housing by reaching upward from underneath the dash.

I also suspect the same procedure may be required for '72-'79 Lincoln Continental 4 door sedans and coupes given the overall dash concept changed little over that eight year production period.

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