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Old 12-05-2009, 08:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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What can ya do with a Grand Marquis?

AAARRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!

OK, I get this absolute sweetheart deal on a '96 Escort, and with it starting off at 37-40mpg without ANY work, I was looking forward to some basic mods.
Then.....
came a 6 point buck through the windshield.
So I'm back to driving an '84 Grand Marquis.

OK, so it's a boat. Gets a regular 18mpg on the highway.
So here's what I'm seeing.
#1. That's one dirty front facia. The vertical grill slots will allow making flush grill block pieces, and I can also cover the headlights the same way. Not much of a start, but it IS a start.
#2. Lots of suspension travel. I have a set of coil spring lowering clamps I'm gonna try on the front end. But with that much front overhang, I'm not sure how much front clearance I can give up. I wonder if I can shorten the tubes the bumper is mounted on, get it closer to the car? Both front and rear bumpers could afford to be narrowed by 4", but can I afford that? strictly low budget, you know. But, hmmm... lessee. Narrow the bumpers. Mount them closer to the car. French them in with foam and fiberglass. Paint them body color. (The car DOES need repainting!) Lower it front and rear by cutting off a half a coil. Attach black plastic air dam to bottom of front bumper.
#3. Speaking of repainting. Rip off the half-a## vinyl roof, the stupid lights on the b-pillars, de-mirror it, replace radio antenna with one of those "tape on the windshield" antennas. What else?
#4. Wheel covers. Man, them are HUGE wheel wells. Anybody ever make wheel skirts for these boats? Back wheels sure could use them.
#5. Appears to have a 3.07 gear in the 8.8" rear end. Is there a lower (numerically) gear available for this diff?
OK, let loose with the suggestions.

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'96 Escort LX, now known as "deerslayer"
'84 Merc Grand Marquis, affectionately known as "le barge"
~35,000 mostly 2 lane highway miles a year.

I was born a Rambler man, but with the passing of AMC (sigh), just give me another Ford.

How many kids with A.D.D. does it take to change a light bulb?
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Hey, ya wanna go ride bikes?
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Old 12-07-2009, 01:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The Wife's Hot Rod - '09 Pontiac G8 GT
Last 3: 23.22 mpg (US)

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1) You could make your headlight covers go extend from the outer edge of the grill to the edge of the fin. Start them at the upper corner of the bumper then radius them up onto the hood surface.

2) If you have a sawzall you can narrow the bumpers fairly inexpensively.

3) I would think these are all pretty small changes that would't amount to much savings. Whether it is worth it is up to you.

4) With the amount of taper the lower body has you may only be able to make a half-skirt & would still need wheel covers.

5) They do make 2.73 for the Ford 8.8.
SUPERIOR AXLE & GEAR - products new home - Superior Axle and Gear"s Ring and Pinion Gear Sets

You may investigate if someone makes a transmission with an overdrive gear & a lock up torque converter that could be swapped in.

Good Luck
Don



They do make 2.73 for the Ford 8.8.
SUPERIOR AXLE & GEAR - products new home - Superior Axle and Gear"s Ring and Pinion Gear Sets
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hamster - '07 Honda Civic EX
90 day: 29.41 mpg (US)

Whooshy Wagon - '04 Volvo V40
90 day: 23.33 mpg (US)

Minotaur - '09 Ford Taurus X SEL
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New tires and low weight rims and/or moon discs. Pump up tires to sidewall max. (if you think tires can take it.) larger diameter tires? There should be room and it may be cheaper and easier then changing out the read differential.

The simple things may help the most compared to the effort invested:

1) Weight reduction - spare tire in back. Speakers may also be very heavy.
2) General maintenance - Oil change. Wheel bearings. Transmission fluid. How are the shocks doing? Are the tires/wheels balanced? When was the last time spark plugs were changed? Oxygen sensor?
3) See where the engine runs leanest (if possible) and lowest speed overdrive will engage (40 mph-ish?).
4) Engine braking on downhills where coasting not possible. Does this have a carburetor or is it fuel injected yet?

I think about 25 mpg should be quite possible, despite the weight and vehicle age. Good luck!
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It is probably going to have a Motorcraft MC2100 2 barrel carburetor.
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Weigh and displacement of the engine are the two factors killing your mpgs. You can only go so far with weight reduction befre you have to brake out the chop saw, so the other strategy is to make this V-8 into a 4 cilinder by cutting the fuel flow to 4 cilinders.
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Taurusaurus Rex - '97 Ford Taurus GL (Sedan)
90 day: 19.39 mpg (US)

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Zip-tie the front plate to the grille?
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Old 12-07-2009, 05:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Three questions:

1. Does that have the 302 V8 or the 351 V8?

2. Does the transmission have an overdrive top gear?

3. If it's an automatic, does it have a lock-out torque converter?
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Old 12-07-2009, 06:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
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A couple of things. First, budget, budget, budget! A different rear gear will only come from the junkyard. So far, 3.08's are the smallest rear gears I can find around here, but I'm still looking. It's good to know there are 2.73's available.
Same thing with "lightweight wheels". If it isn't cheap, I can't afford it. The aluminum wheels I have won't take to clip-on wheel discs, but they cost money anyway. When I pop off that center hub, however, there's nothing in the way of a pizza pan! Do those come in 15.75" diameters? The local Wally World doesn't stock anything in that size.

The engine is a cfi, which was Ford's version of throttle body injection. However, I have an '87 intake system (everything- upper, lower, injectors, fuel rail) and have an extra MegaSquirt controller (since the Escort is DOA) so I can do that for not much more than time invested. I'm kinda fanatical about my cars, even the ones I don't like, so it's in good mechanical condition. New plugs/wires/dist cap about 5-10k ago. Did a brake job and repacked the bearings at the same time. Probably about due for a transmission flush, but nothing critical. It is the AOD transmission, which was about the most efficient overdrive auto Ford ever made. Mine doesn't slip, it has never been abused, (come on! It's in a Grand Marquis!) so I'm not losing any more than I have to though the trans.

The suggestion about the headlight covers is interesting. I'll have to grab some plexiglass and see what it does.

Weight. Gawd, the thing's a pig! You don't know how tempting it is to throw out the upholstered couches inside and scrounge myself up 4 Civic bucket seats! But, no, I will NOT go without a full size spare. Where I live, that's just plain foolish. I'd save much more weight with Civic seats, and they'd be much more comfortable, as well.
Oh, and Frank! Thanks, but I already have to clean the pigeon guano off regularly. Don' need no goose and rabbit poop! Oh, PLASTIC GOOSES! So, why not flamingos??????
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'96 Escort LX, now known as "deerslayer"
'84 Merc Grand Marquis, affectionately known as "le barge"
~35,000 mostly 2 lane highway miles a year.

I was born a Rambler man, but with the passing of AMC (sigh), just give me another Ford.

How many kids with A.D.D. does it take to change a light bulb?
~ ~ ~
Hey, ya wanna go ride bikes?
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:34 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I did a touch of research.

It looks like that car is rated at 26 mpg freeway (24 per 2008 EPA). If you're only getting 18 mpg . . . I'd wonder if something isn't right.

1984 (California) LINCOLN-MERCURY GRAND MARQUIS - MPG and Detailed Vehicle Information

Just something to keep in mind is that if you get really ambitious and the car is emissions exempt, and you have the Megasquirt add-on to control the ignition as well, you could do your own lean-burn engine.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lean_burn

Finally, I did some paint doodles that might give you some ideas for aero-mods.
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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AHA!!! Had to drive a hunnert miles to the doctor today (having cataract surgery tomorrow, so this was the pre-op) and darn near froze to death! This was the first time since it has gotten cold that i drove out of town, and at 65mph, almost no heat comes through the heater. So, I bought meself a 195* thermostat, and I'm putting it in the next 40* day.
Yes, the MegaSquirt is using MSnS software, and is actually set up to control four coils. No, won't use all four coil igniter connectors, just one. But I'm not thinking a true leanburn is something I want to do in an engine w/150k+ miles on it. Yeah, I'll set it up on the lean side of a narrow-band O2 sensor, but until I rebuild the engine, I'm not gonna risk burning holes in pistons.

__________________
'96 Escort LX, now known as "deerslayer"
'84 Merc Grand Marquis, affectionately known as "le barge"
~35,000 mostly 2 lane highway miles a year.

I was born a Rambler man, but with the passing of AMC (sigh), just give me another Ford.

How many kids with A.D.D. does it take to change a light bulb?
~ ~ ~
Hey, ya wanna go ride bikes?
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