Various vehicles
I have owned, driven or some cases just plain liked.

Just getting started on this page, excuse the mess.

Of course you know about my van by now.

And the Crown Vic? Let me tell you some about it...

A little history on this 1992 Ford Crown Victoria:
It started life as a police car on Prince Edward Island (Boys, was it full of red mud!).
We bought it 3 years old and 160,000 kms to use as a taxi. Well we fell in love with the big old beast, so we sold our Lumina, refurbished the Vic a bit and drive it ourselves. It never did get used as a taxi.

What makes a Police Crown Victoria different?
Not too much these days, gone are the days of 429 Police Interceptor motors.
This car is pretty close to a stock Crown Vic with the heavy duty handling package.
These cars will purportedly do 125mph and are speed/rev limited to 135mph.

It comes with:
Metalic pads on the 4 wheel disk brakes,
Front calipers have chromed steel pistons instead of phenolic.
Fast cycle ABS and "traction control"
3.27 rear axle ratio, no limited slip in the rear
The drive shaft is aluminum and marked "POLICE".
Heavy spring rates and non-gas filled shocks
Heavy duty front and rear sway bars
Different suspension bushings, normal ones purportedly won't even fit.
Velour front bucket seats and vinyl rear bench seat with no centre folding arm rests.
"Pebbled" rubber matting on the floor with 3/4 inch of kapok sound deadener insulation
Gray carpet trunk mat
225/70R15 BF Goodrich HR rated all season tires (poor in all seasons)
Radio interferance ground strapping to all body panels
Physically small 130 amp altenator
4.6 litre (281) Single Overhead Camshaft V8 motor, with dual exhaust, 215 hp
(supposedly the same as civilian models)
A/C, power windows, power locks, power trunk, delay off headlights, AM/FM auto search radio.
Single key door and ignition locks.
Large HD battery
Super bright additional interior light above mirror, as well as courtesy light package
No rear door handle to latch rods

All the dumb things that had to be fixed:
No rear door handle to latch rods, hard to order, hard to install
Power window and locks disconnected at drivers door, operable only from drivers door.
Front door interior light switches unscrewed and shoved in door. Hard coming out!
Rubber mat was impossible to keep clean and trapped over 100 lbs of water in the insulation!
Holes drilled in the roof and trunk and dents everywhere.

What I think about "Traction Control"
My 92 Crown Vic has"Traction Control". Not worth a darn on icy surfaces.

As far as I can tell one rear tire has to spin before the brake gets clamped on. Now all the momentum from the drivetrain gets transfered directly to the other tire, which will promptly spin as well.

Since the brake was clamped on a tire that was on ice, it generally will lock or drag and since neither tire is now in good contact with terra-firma, the rear end of the car will easily slide sideways.

Very easy application of throttle "might" get you out of a place where and open differential would not. I have just installed a "trac-loc" limited slip which is working perfectly with the ABS and Traction-Control. This system now works very good on dry surfaces, reducing wheelspin completely, we will have to see how it works on ice this winter.

My first "hot rod" was a 250 Ford six. Planed head, bigger carb, lots of distributor recurving work, and the exhaust was the best improvement. I ran 3 into dual 2½" exhausts. Redline was 5500 and the exhaust was not the pleasent lilt of a V8, more like a blat at anything above idle.

I stripped the car bare, no radio, no backseat, no heatercore, no carpet, 3.9 posi gears. Removed the aircleaner element (but it went faster with the tin case left on), loosened off the fanbelt, and ran on empty to drag for next week's gas money. Had a lot of fun with that car...

Our Mercury Marquis. A 460 cid motor and four wheel disc brakes to slow it down.
We loved it but, boys, was it hard on fuel.

This wasn't my car, it is just a stock picture, but I owned several of these.

Cory's restored Canadian Army jeep, late 60's vintage.

Better shape than any of the ones I drove... They were all 50s vintage!

Which reminds me of the first Hummer I ever got a good look at. It was at a military base in Arkansas. We were out on the rifle range and it belonged to the Med-aid (nurse). Another gearhead and I crawled under the back of this thing to check it out, where-upon the nurse saw our legs sticking out from under it. She came stomping around and demanded:
"What are you doing under the back of my Jeep?"

Not thinking much about what I was saying, I just blurted out:
"Sorry Maam, we were just looking at your rear end!"

To which my buddy added with a smile and a wink: "And a damn fine looking rear end it is, too!"

Headers and duals will literally pay for themselves within a couple of years in increased fuel mileage, my experience with 250, 289, 302, 351, 318 and 360 motors in 2wd and 4wd vehicles (if you can keep your foot light on the joy pedal!).

Header flanges do tend to loosen up. Tighen them up as part of your grease and oil maintainance. I like metal/fiber composite gaskets better than the hard fiber gaskets that come with the headers and a little smear of muffler cement helps. On a 4wd you can run both dual pipes down the passenger side to avoid the transfer case and gas tank. Mount your mufflers vertically or diagnally where the original was.

Changing a diff
I just went through this on both my van, Crown Vic and a friend's Ramcharger. It is not too complicated but will take an evening and a couple of special tools. You will need a dial indicator to check gear backlash and you may need a 2 jaw puller and use of a press of some sort with some types of shim type bearing location or if you wish to re-use the bearings (bearings are worth $25-$100).

The gears and limited-slip differential carrier are usually made to pretty good tolerances (the axle housings are not) , if you keep the shims that came with the housing the gear mesh should be close.

There is no need to remove your pinion unless you wish to replace the seal or bearings which is a fairly complicated procedure.

Most rear axles are the integral carrier type now (with the tin pan on the back) so that is the type I will describe. Block the front wheels and jack up the rear, supporting the body with jackstands. Put a "catch pan" under the differential to catch the oil and remove the rear pan. Mark the bearing caps so you know which is left and right, and what end is top or bottom. I hammer "TL" and "TR" on the tops of the caps with a cold chisel before I remove them. Undo the 4 bolts and remove the caps. Now the spider gear pin has to come out, remove its little retaining bolt and you can tap on the end of it to free it up and slide it out. With it out you can push the axles in ¼" and remove the "C" clips off the end of them, inside the differential carrier. To remove the carrier you will have to slide the axles clear, back off your shoes or remove your calipers first, and slide out them out a foot or so. This would be a good time to put new seals and/or wheel bearings in if you need them. Don't be too upset with how bad the bearing surfaces on the axles look. Some rear axles use shims to locate the differential carrier, some use big nuts. If you have the nut type, back off the left one. The diff carrier should drop out. If you have the shim type you will probably have to pry it out with a bar. With the shim types some have the shims on the outside of the bearings cups, these will fall out when you pry the carrier out. If the shims are on the inside of the bearing cones you will need a puller to remove the side bearings for the shims behind them. DO NOT MIX THESE SHIMS UP. Clearly tag them left and right, they will be needed on your new limited slip carrier. With the old differential/ring gear carrier out, remove the bolts and carefully tap the ring gear off. (heavy hammer square on the beveled edge of the gear) Clean, clean, clean everything and put the old ring gear on the new limited slip diferential. Gently heating it with a propane torch or lightly tapping it with a soft hammer or drift can help if it is a press fit. Torque the bolts down. Pull the bearings off the old diff if you have to and press the bearings onto the limited slip diff, remembering the shims if needed. Replacement is the opposite of removal. With the nut type bearing location, lightly tighten the left nut to remove any bearing clearance just before tightening the bearing caps. Sometimes the "C" clips can be hard to replace in a limted slip diff, just lightly tap them in. Torque your bearing caps. The ringgear clearance should be OK at 5 to 10 thousandths (8 is best) backlash as measured with a dial indicator on the ringgear teeth. If not, you will have to adjust it with the nuts (loosen off the caps a bit when you adjust) or new shims. It is rare for shim types to need adjusting and nut types are easy to adjust.

To test your work you can use some blueing to look at the contact pattern on the gearteeth. You should have a good manual to explain what you are looking at.

RTV silicon sealer is all you need to seal the pan and I swear by synthetic diff lube for its enegy savings and superior protection. The "squeeze" type bottles with a 12" length of clear plastic hose is the easiest way to get it in. A little bit of "limited slip friction modifier additive" can help get rid of "chatter" while turning corners but too much really softens up the limited slip action. I use less than half the manufactuers recommendation, just enought to eliminate "cornering chatter". I have had many limited slip diff's over the years, all factory units (as were the latest two) and heartfully recommend them for winter use. Incedently it is my experienced opinion that they improve braking to a minor degree as well. Rear side-slip is usually not serious(as long as you have good tires) and more than balanced by the increased traction. Incidently, my Ford diesel van is a 4WD conversion and I have been so far unable to find a limited slip for the oddball Dana 61 rear axle, so I stuck a limited slip in the front. Handles normally on the street but pulls and tugs a bit when locked up off road. Definately much better off-road in sand and mud, I wonder how ice will be? I have considered a true Detroit Locker for the rear, but they sound like too much trouble for my day-to-day use.

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