Mercury Grand Marquis

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

July 2002

Dear Ford Owner:

Thank you for contacting
the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) about your Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury
Grand Marquis or Lincoln Town Car or Continental. CAS has received many
complaints from consumers concerning fires, brakes,
, stalling, transmissions and unintended
, in these models.

Although among Ford’s most
reliable cars, these full-size models still have their share of problems.
Consumer Reports rates
the electrical system and brakes as the most trouble-prone areas on 1988-93’s
with worse than average frequency of repair ratings. CAS has been flooded
with brake complaints on these cars, particularly premature brake
There have been 4 safety recalls for various brake defects
on many 1988-94’s. Ford has also issued numerous service bulletins about
engine and transmission problems.
The 3.8L engine Continental has a failure prone head gasket that costs
$1,000 to replace and $4,000 if the engine goes. Ford extended the warranty
to 6 years or 75,000 miles on 1994’s. Most of the larger Ford vehicles
have poor handling capabilities and require a $280 “handling
package” to make cornering smoother.

A common and expensive
defect is peeling paint on 1985-92’s. Ford attempted
to cover up paint problems by buying off aggressive consumers under a
secret warranty and ignoring consumers who don’t complain loudly. CAS
petitioned the Federal Trade Commission and every state attorney general
to take action on Ford’s peeling paint secret warranty. In 1987, Ford
recalled 1986-87’s for faulty fuel line couplings that
caused engine compartment fires. In 1996, Ford recalled 1988-89
Crown Victorias, Grand Marquis and Town Cars for defective ignition switches
that started dash fires but refused to recall earlier 1983-87’s with the
same switch.

Another dangerous defect
is sudden or unintended acceleration. CAS pressured DOT
to investigate sudden acceleration in 1983-86 Fords with 3.8 and 5.0 liter
engines, but DOT failed to order a recall despite almost 500 complaints
and 136 reported injuries. DOT investigated 1991-93’s with 3.8 liter V6
engines for high idle speed but did not get a recall.
Although Ford recalled 1.1 million 1984-85 cars with 4-cylinder engines
for stalling at highway speeds when ignition modules
mounted on the distributor overheated, Ford failed to recall any full-size
cars with similar modules. Ford continued this design through 1990 on
Lincolns and 1991 on Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis. In 1993, Ford recalled
1986-93 Continentals for subframe mount and brake
rotor hub corrosion
but limited the recall to 14 states with
high salt use. Consumers in the non-salt belt states have to pay $300
or more for each repair. In 1998 Ford expanded the subframe recall to
25 states.

You’ll find more information on Ford full-size problems
below and what you can do about them plus
a complaint box. Your information will
help us build a strong case against Ford as we fight for action on defects
in these Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles.

We need you to support the Center for Auto Safety in our
fight for consumer rights and against poorly designed and unsafe cars.
Your contribution is tax-deductible
which entitles you to our quarterly newsletter, Lemon Times. Please
submit the membership form along with your
contribution and complaint. If you contribute $35 or more, we will send you the current edition of The Ultimate Car Book, by Jack Gillis.


Clarence M. Ditlow
Executive Director

Ford technical service bulletin numbers are in parentheses. (Only
post 1989 models included.)

Pull right, 1990 Town Car, 1990-91 Town Car (90-7-6, 91-4-6); Pedal does
not return after application, 1992 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis , 1991-92
Continental/Town Car (92-19-2); ABS cycling on rough roads, 1992-96 All
models (95-20-2, 98-5A-6); Excess rear lining wear, 1992-93 Crown Victoria/Grand
Marquis/Town Car (93-18-3); Roughness during application, 1992-95 Crown
Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town Car (95-6-2); Roughness from front rotor wear,
1992-93 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town Car (93-16-2); Vibration of
pedal, steering column or body during application, 1992-93 Crown Victoria/Grand
Marquis/Town Car (96-12-9); Front disc “thump” or “cluck”, 1994-95 Continental
(94-23-5); Rear brake “squeal”, 1994-96 Continental (96-7-4); ABS pedal
noise, vibration on slow apply & release, 1993-94 Continental (94-25-1).

Thrust bearing & crankshaft failure,’87-90 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis
(91-4-10); Intermittent high idle, 1988-90 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town
Car (90-21-5); No start/dead battery, 1983-90 all (90-18-3); Hesitation
or stall on acceleration/deceleration, rough idle, coolant doesn’t hit
normal temp., 1992-94 All models (93-24-8); “Moan” or “hoot” from engine
compartment, 1992-94 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town Car (94-22-4);
No crank, 1992-94 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town Car (94-18-3); Oil
filter “balloons,” leaks, 1992-94 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town Car
(94-11-7); “Squeal” from FEAD during cold start below 20F, 1993-96 Crown
Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town Car (96-14-8); Loose catalyst/muffler heat
shields, 1992-98 All models (94-7-10, 98-6-4); Silicone contamination
of exhaust gas oxygen sensor, 1992-94 all (93-23-6); No crank, 1992-96
Continental (94-26-3); Low pitched “squeak,” “chirp” or “knock” from rocker
arm, 1992-94 Continental (95-24-3); Long crank/sticking idle air control
valve, 1995-96 Continental/Town Car (96-19-4); Fuel slosh, 1992-94 Continental
(94-21-1); Intermittent hesitation in high ambient temperature, high altitudes
,’92-94 Continental (96-7-5); No start, lack of power, hesitation, stumble,
1993-94 Continental (94-16-3); Coolant leak, 1992-94 Continental (94-10-10);
Front end accessory drive (FEAD) belt breakage, 1992-93 Continental (93-25-3);
Head gasket leaks, 1988-94 w/3.8L (98-4-9). See Head
Gasket Headaches
for more information.

Inaccurate fuel gauge, 1989-90 Continental/Town Car,’92-94 All models
(90-7-11, 95-2-3); Seat sensor switch locks doors when driver exits, 1993-94
Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town Car (94-10-2); Temperature gauge reads
low, 1992-95 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis (95-13-2); Heater output &
thermostat stick open, 1992-94 All models (93-24-8); Hard effort to turn
key from run to start, some accessories inoperative after key returns
from start, 1992-93 All models (93-3-9); Erratic anti-theft activation,
1995-96 Town Car (96-6-3); A/C compressor manifold tube fractures ,’92-93
Continental (93-24-9); Automatic temperature control blower motor inoperative,
1993-94 Continental (94-2-13); Fuel pump buzz thru radio, 1994-99 All
models (98-7-3)..

: Paint
peeling & contamination, 1985-92 All models (91-18-1); Exterior clearcoat
“microchecking,” “hazing,” or peeling ,’92-93 All models (93-8-4); Rough
texture &/or orange/rust dots, 1992-99 All models (92-6-4); Rough
texture, ferrous metal contamination, & acid rain discoloration or
etching, 1992-99 All models (95-6-1); Mildew/musty odor in A/C, 1993-97
All models (98-2-7, 97-14-9). For more information, refer to Peeling
Paint Woes

Vehicle drifts/wanders, steering requires constant correction, 1992-93
Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town Car (94-9-2); “Buzz” or “growl” from
P/S during right turns, 1992-93 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town Car
(93-19-3); “Chatter” during tight turns or turns after highway driving,
1992-96 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town Car (96-12-9); Lack of center
feel, shudder during deceleration or braking, premature tire wear &
vehicle wander, 1992-93 Continental (93-13-2); P/S “grunt” or “groan”,
1992-96 Continental (95-19-1).

Delayed shift, 1989-90 all except Continental (91-16-12); No forward or
reverse, 1986-92 Continental (92-26A-3); Delayed or no forward engagement
&/or high engine rpm on acceleration from stop, 1992-94 Crown Victoria/Grand
Marquis/Town Car (94-26-9); Intermittent loss of torque during or after
3-4 upshift, 1992-95 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town Car (95-5-15);
Erratic shifts & intermittent operation of A/T, 1992-95 Crown Victoria/Grand
Marquis/Town Car (95-3-6); Water intrusion into MLP/TR Sensor causing
shift &/or engagement problems, 1992-95 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town
Car (95-3-13); Vibration or shudder under light acceleration above 35
mph in 3rd or 4th gear, 1992-97 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis (95-23-4,
97-10-6, 98-8-7); Transaxle exchange if repair cost exceeds $1300,
1992-93 Continental (94-14-5); “Click” from transaxle during reverse engagement,
1995-96 Continental (96-5-9); Erratic 1-2 shift, 1993-97 Crown Victoria/Grand
Marquis (97-11-11). For more information on AXOD, AXOD-E, AX4N and AX4S
automatic transmisions which may be in some of these cars, go to Faulty

RECALLS since 1984
Copies of recalls may
be obtained by calling NHTSA’s Technical Reference Division at 202-366-2768.

95,000 1988-91 Continental – Corroded rotors fracture or separate (91V-134.002);
25,000 1990-91 Crown Victoria – Rear brake line abrades & leaks (92V-075);
2,500 1994 Continental/Town Car – Pedal pushrod retainer pin missing (94V-129);
214,000 1994 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town Car – Nuts attaching rear
brake adaptor to axle come off (94V-152).

16,000 1992-93
Crown Victoria – Loose seat harness connector (93V-193); 15,000+ 1985
Continental – Air suspension control module (85V-040); 26,000 1988 Continental
– Melted nylon wiring harness shield drips on exhaust manifold (88V-114);
19,811 1987 Town Car – Wiring harness short (86V-142); 500,000+ 1988-89
Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town Car – Ignition switch short (96V-071);
5,000+ 1992-94 Continental – Engine fan (97V-019); 1,083,000 2000-01 Continental/Town Car – Windshield wiper motor may stop and ignite (01V-258).

1986-87 All models – Fuel line coupling disengages (87V-139); 26,000 1991
Town Car – Engine fuel lines rub against U-joint & leak (91V-008);
100,000 1995 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis /Town Car – Fuel line leak (95V-063);
2,500 1999 Continental – Fuel rail crossover hose leak (98V-269).

1987-88 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis Wagons – Rear belts bind (88V-028);
350 1995-96 Town Car – Belts don’t secure child restraint (96V-109); 49,000
1995 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis – D-rings don’t hold belt (96V-045);
63,400 1989-90 Continental – Front buckles fail (97V-174); 742 1997 Town
Car – Driver airbag module missing bolts (96V-231); 2,296 1996-00 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town Car – Replacement belts inadequate (00V-157.001, 00V-157.002);
140,847 2000 Town Car – Seat belt buckle is inadequate (00V-228.001); 20,154 2001 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town Car – Air bag or seat belt pre-tensioner may unexpectedly
activate (00V-270); 205 2000 Town Car – Medium graphite, midnight black, medium parchment seat belts incorrect (00V-364, 00V-368); 15,470 2001 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town Car
– Crash sensors or control module missing screws (00V-412); 1,400,000 2001 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town Car – Seat belt buckles don’t latch properly (01V-227.001); 911 1995-97
Town Car – Replacement air bag modules faulty (01V-318).

29,600 1987 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town Car – Steering centerlinks
break (87V-012); All 1988-94 Continental – Rear subframe mounts detach
with reduced steering control (93V-106.001, 98V-323); 57,000 1991-94 Crown
Victoria – Frame mounting bracket fractures with loss of steering control
(95V-194); 72,000 1995-96 Crown Victoria/Town Car, 175,000 1990-99 Crown
Victoria/Town Car – Ball joints corrode & separate (96V-135, 98V-322).

22,893 1988 Continental -Will not shift to park (88V-101); 5,000+ 1991
Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis, 10,000+ 1996 Continental – Park does not
engage (91V-048, 96V-166, 96V-176).

8,848 1988 Continental – Rear control arm fracture (88V-030); 72,000 1991
Town Car, 142,800 1990-91 Town Car, 73,837 1991-92 Town Car, 125,000 1992-97
Crown Victoria – Hood flies up (91V-147, 95V-091, 95V-151, 97V-024); 40,000
1995-96 Continental, 50,000+ 1993-94 Continental – Headlamps shut off
(96V-009, 98V-009); 10,000+ 1996 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town Car
– Driver door latch opens (96V-070); 45,000 1995 Crown Victoria/Grand
Marquis – Lights short out (95V-189); 50,000+ 1998 Town Car/Continental
– Incorrect owner manual headlamp aiming instructions (98V-028.001); 50,000+ 1991-94 Continental – Ice in cruise cable causes throttle
sticking (97V-025); 21,436 2000 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis – Windshield wiper control motor fails (00V-138); 878,118 1998-00 Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town Car – Jacking instructions dangerous (00V-200).


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