Matt Harwood

1935 Lincoln K Club Sedan

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Hi Matt, I’ve been following this thread closely, I feel your pain brother, having just finished the restoration of a car that “is rust free, just needs a tune up”. Two years later....

 

Notwithstanding, I had to laugh. One of my favourite expressions that has landed me in constant automotive trouble is “and while we’re here”. I once restored an Alfa that started with a small rust repair to a front sway bar mount...

 

As to strategy, I agree with other posters, I would remove engine and gearbox together, its much easier going back in. My policy is to check and refurbish, as required, all the ancillaries whilst you have good access. Murphy’s law dictates that if you don’t, something will fail just after you get it all back together. Although I’m a stickler for originality, I’d be inclined to remove the shutters, you’ll never use the car in the weather extremes they were desighed assist in. It also allows you the option of fitting a big thermo fan in front of the radiator, if you need to. 

 

All the best with the project, I’ll continue to follow with great interest.

 

John

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Looks like we're pulling the engine tomorrow and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just a little bit concerned about this whole thing getting out of hand. We removed both the intake and exhaust manifolds, which I hoped to avoid, and we're talking about what we'll need when it comes back. If they were still on the engine, I would have simply painted them. But now? Porcelainize them as original? Powdercoat satin black? Do they make a gloss black powder that will hold up? My porcelain is actually in good shape, it's just discolored to gray/tan. Can they even powdercoat over that if the cast iron is underneath? I don't know, but now that they're off, it seems stupid to just paint them.

 

What else? Remove the heads? I'm installing new acorn nuts (which are like $4 each and I need about 70 of them), and that might affect the way the heads are torqued, so do we pull the heads, have them polished, look around inside, and install new gaskets? That's what, a $1000 bill? The wiring is shot, so I'm looking at new wiring harnesses, and they're like $800 for everything forward of the firewall. Had the discussion about the clutch, the water pump, and the starter already, and those are each going to be a $500 bill. Radiator is a definite go, so that's either an inexpensive cleaning or a wildly expensive re-core, no way to know yet. Oh, and hey, look how accessible the shocks are! Maybe we should pull those and have them rebuilt, eh? And no matter what happens, we're going to need a lot of gaskets: intake, exhaust, oil pan, water pump, fuel pump, maybe head gaskets. Blah, blah, blah.

 

Yes, I'll admit I'm freaking out a bit. I'll be OK in a few days. I've done more complex jobs than this on more expensive cars than this. I built race cars and hot rods that were far more complex. I built my own stroker motor for my Mustang before there were any "kits" to make it easy. I don't know why this Lincoln is different except that it has already stabbed me in the back too many times and I don't know if my loins are sufficiently girded for more failures with this car. I was so close to having the car running right and usable and now I'm back to 0. Actually, I'm at -50, but at least the biggest issue (the hole in the block) will no longer be haunting me, so I guess I need to keep that in mind. I'm just having a bit of a freakout over how much this is going to cost and how far past the point of no return I have already traveled. It would be easy to cut some corners, but if I'm sitting by the side of the road someday with a bad clutch that I could have rebuilt while the engine was out, well, I'm going to have to kick my own ass. I don't want to do that because that guy enjoys the fight way too much. 

 

I'm going to make a spreadsheet with all the things to do and divide it up into "must do" and "should do" and "would like to do if there's money left over." I'll start gathering prices and quotes and we'll see what happens from there...

 

Tomorrow the engine comes out. Good, bad, or indifferent, I'm certainly committed now.

 

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Dr. Francini has gone about as far as he can. Removing the manifolds seemed like a safe choice. Next up: engine comes out.

 

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I'm going to see if my friends at Remflex gaskets will make me
some special gaskets for the intake/exhaust manifolds.

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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I am aware of the eternal crack. We have several cars with external cracks and patches on the engine, transmission, bell housing, or rear end. Some are stitched, some welded, some have a sheet metal patch.  It is the internal cracks that cause heating and performance issues. I have seen engines patched while in the frame. So my post is to not spend money on this or that until you can verify the cylinder walls are sound. The external crack and or patch is causing none of your problems. Pull the heads. look at the cylinder walls. Pull the pan. Look at the bottom end, oil pump, etc. . So you spend a few hundred on gaskets.

ON the other hand, the other explanation is that you have said nice things about the car with  n her hearing. Twice I have said, "This car has never run this well, and within 10 miles blew out the blocks. We NEVER complement our cars. At least when they are listening.

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21 hours ago, Spinneyhill said:

I do dumb questions really well. Why do you need new acorn nuts?

 

Some are mismatched, some are cracked, some have the plating coming off, and some are just plain rusty. If I'm pulling the engine, I'm going to detail it for show, and that means fresh acorn nuts on freshly polished cylinder heads, not scabby, rusty nuts on freshly polished cylinder heads. I'm not spending all this time and effort and money to end up with a substandard result.

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20 hours ago, Dave Fields said:

I am aware of the eternal crack. We have several cars with external cracks and patches on the engine, transmission, bell housing, or rear end. Some are stitched, some welded, some have a sheet metal patch.  It is the internal cracks that cause heating and performance issues. I have seen engines patched while in the frame. So my post is to not spend money on this or that until you can verify the cylinder walls are sound. The external crack and or patch is causing none of your problems. Pull the heads. look at the cylinder walls. Pull the pan. Look at the bottom end, oil pump, etc. . So you spend a few hundred on gaskets.

ON the other hand, the other explanation is that you have said nice things about the car with  n her hearing. Twice I have said, "This car has never run this well, and within 10 miles blew out the blocks. We NEVER complement our cars. At least when they are listening.

 

Not sure I'm into doing that much disassembly. As soon as we cross that particular barrier, we're not fixing a block, we're rebuilding an engine. The price for that job is several orders of magnitude larger. I see no evidence of coolant leakage into the crankcase and I seem to have cured the hot running by sufficiently cleaning out the cooling system (it may not have been running as hot as I thought given that I can now see coolant temperatures). I have read horror stories about eroded aluminum heads on these cars, and I'm debating whether to pull the heads and have a look, but I'm the guy you see on TV who refuses to go to the hospital because they might just find something wrong. At the moment, it seems the engine is healthy and just needs a crack or two fixed in the iron blocks. I'm going to hold on to that belief until reality smacks me in the face and forces me to believe otherwise. It would be nice to make sure everything is perfect, but I need to draw the line somewhere and that's probably at disassembling the engine beyond what can be easily bolted back together. If it breaks later, well, I guess I'll have to cross that bridge. Right now, all I want is to be able to put it back together and have it start when I push the button. That's not a lot to ask, is it?

 

Like you, I don't tend to complement cars, although I do like to instill a certain amount of fear in them. I sort-of think that twice spending a few weeks out in the parking lot last summer got the message through to this Lincoln that continued malfeasance will be met with continued disregard for its health and well-being. I don't need it to be my friend, but I do need it to be afraid of pissing me off. As I think I mentioned, one of my preferred options for what to do with the car if I can't fix it is letting people hit it with a sledgehammer for $1 a throw...

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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I got the drivers seat bolted down today on the 1936 K. We have new acorn bolts in our future. I know where 1 new head is in aluminum. Confuses say if you have access to spare part, part not needed.

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Nothing is better than spare parts that are never used. That’s why I have spare engines and transmissions for all my keepers.

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Posted (edited)

Well, sorry guys, but I think I'm just about done with this car. I can't take much more. Spent the last two days not working, not doing my job, not making any money, and paying my guys to try to get the engine out of this Lincoln. I don't know how they installed it in the first place, but I suspect it was before the body was installed. TWO DAYS of fighting with it, trying various different configurations, buying several hundred dollars' worth of straps, load levelers, and chains for the engine hoist, and eventually trying to remove other components, and it simply will not come out of the chassis. The main problem is the steering box, which is right in the way of the rear engine mounts (which are integral to the crankcase) and the engine can't slide forward far enough to lift out of the chassis. Unfortunately, the steering box can't be removed in a car with a roof because you can't remove the column through the inside of the car because it hits the ceiling. Meanwhile, we've had to disassemble the entire steering system, pull the steering wheel, and remove all the wiring attached to the column that I was going to replace--unfortunately, now that it's out of the car, I don't know what each wire is for. As you can see, they're all the same color, so I can't even reverse-engineer it until everything is back in place. Forget it.

 

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After trying everything from the top, we tried to take it out the bottom by putting the car up on the lift. Nope, steering box won't clear the frame and crankcase on the bottom end and we can't get the column out anyway. 

 

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Oh, and someone welded the entire exhaust system from front to back, and it needs to be out of the way. We've got to cut it out. Add a new exhaust system to the list of things I need to spend money on.

 

So the engine is half out and it looks like it's going to stay that way, because going back in won't be easy, either--good luck getting that input shaft aligned. Not sure what else to do beyond taking the body off the frame and there's no way I'm doing that.

 

Not sure what we're doing next. In truth, this really shouldn't be my problem to fix since I ostensibly purchased a running, driving car without a hole in the block, but here we are nonetheless. I don't know what next steps should be. I guess I'll walk away from it for a while like I did last time and hope that my white-hot hate subsides. But this roller coaster ride of a car is getting really unpleasant. I'd just like this Lincoln to go away before it pushes me far enough to do some real damage. I'm having a harder and harder time controlling my frustration with this car and eventually I'm afraid I'm going to do something terrible.

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Sorry Matt, looks like this one has spun out of control.   Hopefully a little time and new perspective will help you find a way out of this mess.  If not and you do decided to burn it please take good video. ;)

 

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My 1937 MOTORS Factory shop manual does not mention removing the engine from the car. My 1942 MoToR Auto Repair manual discusses removing the Zepher engine, but not the 12.  I may have a shop manual for the big 12, and I will look for it tomorrow when I am there. I will PM you and give you my phone number, but wou most likely will have to call me Saturday or I WILL forget. I know we have either the shop manual or the parts book, or both. 

There are maybe  a half dozen guys on this page who know these cars, and you should know the rest through the CCCA. Ed in MASS has been fantastic helping me, and I know Steve Babinski (CCCA) is awsome in sharing information. CCCA national starts this weekend in Phoenix, so you might not contact Steve for a week or so. 

I assume you are an AACA member. Remember you have access to the AACA library and some free research time as well.

Tonight, knowing very little about the big Lincoln 12, and based on the shop manuals, I suspect you may be right about having to remove the body to remove the engine. Another option would be to remove the offending block to not only repair the external crack, but to find what I am rather sure is also an internal crack.

So, chill a bit---easy to do in NE Ohio right now, drink some Ashtabula County wine, and give Ed a call. Mark Clayton at the restoration shop in Colorado and he knows Lincolns blindfold. 

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A buddy has similar issues with a 1927 LaSalle. He has removed the heads and blocks from the crankcase leaving the crank case in the car. 

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How do you get the block's back on with piston's and ring's in the way? If your going that far why not just rebuild the whole thing? Just taking off the block's can make problems you might not see until its back together. Seems risky to me. Glad I just have regular old v8's.........

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I have the same problem with my 28 gramm with a continental. The steering box in the way when I tried to pull the engine. Had to unbolt it and push it up and back. After some research, I found that it is the practice of removing the cylinder block and transmission. The engine can then be unbolted and lifted out. The other option is to remove the front rear spring pins and swing front axle out of the way. Slide engine front or back to clear the rear mounts and out the bottom. Either way, it seem to be a lot of work. Good luck

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, billorn said:

How do you get the block's back on with piston's and ring's in the way? If your going that far why not just rebuild the whole thing? Just taking off the block's can make problems you might not see until its back together. Seems risky to me. Glad I just have regular old v8's.........

 

Rebuilding the whole thing would make sense, but if on a tight budget, there is a method to getting the cylinder blocks back on the crankcase. I did this with a '31 Cadillac V8 where I only wanted to have the rod bearings rebabbited ( the engine had previously had rings and a valve job).  What I had to do was drop the oil pan, remove the rod caps and pull the pistons and rods out the bottom. By laying on my back and turning the crankshaft as required with one hand, and pulling the rod/piston with the other, they cleared the crankshaft ( barely) and came out the bottom. The pistons/rings rod assemblies could be reinstalled the same way. The key is that the bottom of the cylinder bores are chamfered such that no ring compressor tool is required. The rings could be squeezed and compressed by hand enough to start the pistons into the bores. This method was actually mentioned in the Cadillac service manual. Not a fun job, but doable with patience.

 Admittedly, I don't know if the Lincoln is similar. If the big end of the Lincoln rods will pass upwards through the bores ( I was not removing the blocks on the Cadillac)  then obviously he would just do that on disassembly. Reassembly could be done as on my Cadillac perhaps, or  all 4 piston/rod assemblies could be inserted into their bores and the block would be reinstalled on the crankcase as an assembly. About a 3 man job due to the weight, with one person on his back guiding the rods and positioning the crankshaft.  

 Even if all goes smoothly, it is a terrible amount of work, and I agree with you that a rebuild would probably be the way to go, but junking or hotrodding  the car might really be preferable to the OP over going $30K more in the hole. Totally understandable. My purpose in replying to your post was to try to answer your first question and to maybe give the OP some other ideas.

 Speaking of ideas..... if the steering box cannot be removed with the engine installed , and I take the OPs word that it can't be, having no Lincoln experience myself, perhaps the following could be considered: Cut a section out of the lower ( and/or upper as required) frame rail lip as required to allow the steering box to drop down enough to clear the engine mounts. Not talking about a hack job, but a piece neatly cut out with a cutoff wheel. Once everything else is done, have the piece tig welded back in place by a pro and it will be virtually undetectable. I have repaired notches in the frame  lip in the past that someone had cut out for exhaust clearance or whatever.

 I sympathize with the OP's situation. Anyone who has wallowed around in the grease on a concrete floor while throwing good money after bad understands. I once purchased an antique car that I thought was extremely nice, and found a small puddle of antifreeze as I was unloading it from the trailer upon my arrival back home with it...cracked block, which I'm sure the previous owner knew about. I hope this comes to a satisfactory conclusion for the OP.

Edited by Penske PC-7 (see edit history)

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Why those steering box and steering column were so assembled as a single unit at that time? Even is the early fifties, Cadillacs had that system until 1954 or '55 I believe. The '56 Continental Mark II was done that way too, but it was possible to separate the steering box from the column with some work. Were the manufacturers afraid that a flexible joint or a coupling would be unsafe?

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Penske: The Lincoln is fork and blade on the big end, so it would be somewhat different. My 77 year old buddy that was doing the 1927 LaSalle for a friend had a heart attack and another of the old times who knew this stuff is gone. He had the blocks off and now there it is.  I lost 3 knowledgeable friends in the past 6 months.  For all the badmouthing of the Lincoln Zephyr in the hobby over the past 60 years, in they day they held their value very well, while the big Lincoln K's value sank like a rock. Maybe the problems with  rather simple repair jobs on the big 12 is a reason? 

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12 minutes ago, Dave Fields said:

Penske: The Lincoln is fork and blade on the big end, so it would be somewhat different. My 77 year old buddy that was doing the 1927 LaSalle for a friend had a heart attack and another of the old times who knew this stuff is gone. He had the blocks off and now there it is.  I lost 3 knowledgeable friends in the past 6 months.  For all the badmouthing of the Lincoln Zephyr in the hobby over the past 60 years, in they day they held their value very well, while the big Lincoln K's value sank like a rock. Maybe the problems with  rather simple repair jobs on the big 12 is a reason? 

 

Dave, interesting observations. I don't know the answer. I wish I knew some of the "tricks of the trade" that are Lincoln specific, but I don't. Sometimes though, an idea from over here, in combination with another one from over there is helpful. This hobby/addiction is supposed to be fun, but as we all know sometimes........😡

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It's not that big a deal to remove blocks, although my experience is limited to in-line engines, one Pierce 80 (6-cyl) and one Packard 320 (8-cyl), but the Vee type is certainly more difficult (not that bad since fenders are off), as is the fork-and-blade arrangement.  I understand the reluctance to expose some other things that may need doing "as long as I'm in there," but for a driver unless there was something in imminent danger of failing, I'd be inclined to let it be.

 

When Matt's frustration post appeared, I checked my Old reliable MoToR 1935-46 manual (purchased at a thrift store for 25 cents while I was in college in 1962, and which has served me extremely well over the years), but the engine removal procedures in the Lincoln section were generic and unhelpful.  Wish someone experienced in K Lincoln engine removal would see this thread and chime in.  Does the Lincoln Club have a technical specialist for these cars?

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Even today, the big rigs-18 wheelers have the engines serviced in frame. At about 500,000 miles they get an "in frame overhaul." then around 750,000 they get an engine out overhaul. 

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Posted (edited)

Matt, I know you may not want to hear this now, but your Lincoln is a LOVELY car - just keep at it a little more prior to propped up the body and worst case scenario perhaps you have to actually take the steering wheel and tube off to get a hair more space or .... - I keep thinking there is some Chinese puzzle aspect to get the thing apart.   And, if you need a 1/4' or something minor off the frame rail - consider getting a grinder,  Dremmel tool, or file out and doing it.  That nickle plated tube may have to come out too.  Dad always hated my Grandparent's Lincoln's (and Mercury's) but equally called them serviceable products. 

 

By the way, my rule of thumb on the RR PI was one entire day to get it apart, one day to fix it, and one entire day to get it back together (start at 6:30am or so and finished at like 1:30 am -  tired, usually could not lift another thing, cut , bruised, delirious, used nearly every tool I had and all my friends tools too, and ...) - lovely engineered car in that it all came apart though.

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)

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Is there any room to rotate the engine or change the angle? could the steering box be dropped down for more clearance? 

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Thank you for all the kind suggestions guys. I've cooled off (I'm sorry, I do have a temper) and thought I'd review and maybe find some answers together.

 

There is no shop manual for these cars. The owner's manual is pretty detailed, but does not include details on removing the engine (obviously). I have ordered a set of service bulletins from the Lincoln Owners Club, but those are more like specific solutions to problems discovered in the field. I ordered them weeks ago, so no telling when they'll show up.

 

We thought of cutting the frame somehow, but there's a reason car frames are riveted, not welded. Welding it creates all kinds of new stresses and weak points and this is a VERY heavy car. A small notch on the top or bottom of the frame may not make a difference, but maybe it does. I really don't want to risk that unless there's just no other choice.

 

We literally (not figuratively) worked on getting that engine out for two full work days in addition to spending three days stripping it down as bare as possible--that's 16 hours with three or four or five of us working on it (depending on whether my photographer and my wife were also helping). We tried tilting it nose up, we tried tilting it nose down, we tried raising the front of the frame and tilting the engine down so the body mounts would go up and over the steering box, we tried raising the back of the car to make the front of the frame sit lower. We tried three different combinations of lifting straps, chains, and load levelers on the engine hoist. We put it on the lift and tried to lower it out the bottom of the frame. No dice.

 

We loosened the steering box but discovered it wouldn't come out the top or the bottom, either. We tried removing the steering column from the steering box but it is not a separate unit--on my 1941 Buick Century, I also tried to separate them when I was disassembling the car and discovered that it doesn't work that way and that all the springs and brackets and wires and other stuff inside the steering column came lose. Replacement 1941 Buick steering columns are relatively plentiful, 1935 Lincoln columns are not. I do not want to risk taking it apart lest the same thing happen here. It does not seem to be separable (you can see in the photo where we slid the column sleeve back but there's a hard stop). We also tried rotating the engine to one side or the other but the engine mounts are inside the frame rails, so there's not much room to rotate more than a few degrees and the situation is not improved.

 

If I had to guess, I would say that during assembly in 1935, the steering box was bolted to the frame, then the engine/transmission/torque tube/rear end all went in as an assembly from the rear where the frame is wider. Once that was in place, they lowered the body down, carefully inserting the steering column through the opening in the firewall, then installed the steering wheel. I have to assume the inverse is true for disassembly, which obviously isn't feasible. Service in the field probably didn't include a full engine removal, because, as the others have said, you can remove the heads, blocks, pistons, rods, everything but the crankcase while it's in the car, so they didn't care about how hard it was to remove and install a complete engine because nobody was likely to do it within a foreseeable period of time.

 

Additionally, even if we somehow manage to get the engine out through some combination of twisting, turning, bending, and angles of approach, we have to bear in mind that the engine still has to be reinstalled with a clutch hanging off the back and aligning perfectly with the input shaft of the transmission. So even if there's a miracle and it pops out, getting it back in will be an entirely different can of worms. 

 

Yes, I suppose that we could pull the blocks off and have those stitched rather than the complete engine. But that's skirting closer and closer to the point of no return regarding a rebuild. Something goes wrong, the crank gets nicked, a piston ring gouges a cylinder wall, whatever--and poof! Someone, probably me, just got $30,000 poorer. I'm not prepared to take that risk on top of the possibility that the blocks are ruined, which is why we're doing this in the first place. Of note, the 414 cubic inch V12 used from 1934-1940 in the K has standard connecting rods. The fork-and-blade 447 cubic inch V12 was discontinued after 1933. So at least that's not an issue.

 

I'm also nervous about the extreme level of disassembly we've already done--maybe it goes together easily and maybe it doesn't. Maybe it works right, maybe it doesn't. Maybe everything is OK and maybe it isn't. My experience in life has put me firmly in the camp of "it will be harder, not easier, the more things you take apart." No matter how carefully I work, no matter how much I track my process, I never get lucky when working on cars. And while the "before" in this car's case was admittedly pretty crummy, things can always get worse. If nothing else, this car has proven again and again that it is even better than my ex-wife at making my life miserable. 

 

Ultimately, the fuel for this fire is that none of this should be a problem I need to solve. I wiped out my savings to buy this car with the understanding that it was a set of tires and a leaky water pump away from being ready to tour, maybe fix the speedometer and the horns. Nobody mentioned a hole in the block that was obvious enough for my 9-year-old son to spot. And while I've been doing all this extra work to make the process as easy as possible, the costs and headaches on my side of the ledger get bigger every time we turn a screw on the car. That's the gasoline on top of the fire that's already burning in my mind and making it harder not to go after the car with the biggest hammer I can find. In short, this isn't at all what I signed up for when I bought this car and even though I know all too well that no old car is perfect and they all need sorting, this isn't what I agreed to buy. I already HAVE a project car that is in a zillion pieces. And that's really frustrating and it's why I lose my patience with this car every time it finds a new way to be difficult.

 

I shouldn't even have to be doing any of this, but even if this is a 100% success, I'm nowhere near finished throwing big piles of money at this Lincoln. That flat-out sucks.

 

Sorry for being a downer. Thanks for the support, as always.

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This is brutal Matt, and nothing I can say will make it any better.  I remember my frustrations trying to take my rubber mounted Floating Power transmission apart on my 32 Dodge Brothers.  It was a nightmare.  Now I can do it blindfolded.  I know you’re a long way from solving your problem, and that you may never solve it, but I sure hope things will work out with the Lincoln.  The fact that this happened to a knowledgeable car dealer like yourself gives all of us pause when considering buying a higher end car.

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Is the rear engine mount intergrated to the engine block or just sandwiched between the engine and gearbox? And can be separated from the engine when the gearbox is removed back. I couldn't tell from your pics.

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