What to look for on 1969 Continental Sedan

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What to look for on 1969 Continental Sedan

Postby hollandaises » Tue Oct 13, 2020 6:21 pm

Hello all,

I am seriously considering pulling the trigger on my first Lincoln, a light green 1969 Continental in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I am located about 3 hours away in Calgary, Alberta. It has been in a heated garage for 10 years, being driven perhaps 50kms a year, but having had essentially zero meaningful maintenance in that time. I intend to change the oil and flush the brakes, put on a new alternator belt, replace the battery (current one is working but very old) and and then drive it back it Calgary about 300kms-I will carry ignition components,fluids,fire extinguisher, fuses, and bulbs with me, though I think trying to change any cooling or actual brake components would be exceeding the sellers goodwill. I have had other unusual and complex classic cars in the past, but never a Lincoln. How unrealistic am I being? Are there any other parts I should bring?

More info on the car (comments on this are also appreciated)
-A/C belt was disconnected by another owner and current owner has never attempted to reconnect it. I am assuming a total reconstruction of the A/C system is in order.
-Minor rust on the passenger rear quarter.
-Door locks are sluggish. Are these vacuum or electrical?
-Windows are sluggish. Owner says he cleaned and re-lubricated the drivers window and it now works perfectly.
-Owner claims all other instruments and features work well.
1969 Lincoln Continental
2011 Mercedes-Benz E350

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Re: What to look for on 1969 Continental Sedan

Postby action » Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:22 pm

The door locks are vacuum operated. With little use in 10 years slow operating is expected. Same can be said for the windows. Deal with that when you get home.

Flushing brakes before you leave may be ambitious. If you could pull wheels & rear drums and there are no brake fluid leaks, you should be good. If no external leaks a couple of hard stops from 15 to 20 mph would be a good shake down measure. Make sure all other fluids are topped off. Especially the transmission which needs to be checked when fluid is HOT.

If it starts and runs fairly smooth even if you have to let the engine run for a bit you should be good. The vehicle runs on the alternator. Changing the battery is nice, but the battery is really needed to operate the starter. Alternator belt replacement is a good measure! This Lincoln will have a 460 (first year) and the belt replacement will be easier than the 462. Bring or buy a penetrating oil to loosen up the adjusting bolts. Inspect and/or replace air filter if questionable. You are going to do high speed (over 45 MPH/75 KPH) driving that will run lots of air through the engine. If there is a restriction because the filter is old and has lots of lint or debris, the engine is going to struggle some.

Here are the concerns -
Number 1 are the tires. Ten year old tires are past their prime. Ripe for a rapid air release when driving at speed. I bought a car that was at some distance and drove it to my location. Found out the tires were way over tens years old. I replaced them shortly and the tire shop asked me if I like to play with my life? I got the point.
Number 2 would be the internal transmission seals. If it starts slipping when cold the transmission will need to be taken out and opened up to replace seals. Heat up the fluid by driving and don't stop until you reach your destination.
Check all exterior lights, horn and wipers for operation. Replace the wipers I think they are 18". May be wrong on that size. But it is an EZ thing if the weather comes down on your drive.

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1996 Lincoln Mark VIII 2DR Coupe Diamond Anniversary 4.6l DOHC, 4R70W, 3.07
1970 Continental Mark III Triple Black 460 4v, C6, 2.80 (Used for Woodward Dream Cruise or just generally stored in Michigan)
1966 Lincoln Continental 4DR Convertible 462 4v, C6, 3.00
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Re: What to look for on 1969 Continental Sedan

Postby hollandaises » Tue Oct 13, 2020 9:10 pm

Thanks for the info. I'd have liked to get a alternator as well as they are quite cheap, but I'm not sure which one it's equipped with and there are about 7 different amperage outputs available. Good point on the air filter, I would want to average about 90-100kph to keep the travel time within reason. The tire situation is unfortunate and I may decide to tow if I decide I feel uncomfortable on them.
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Re: What to look for on 1969 Continental Sedan

Postby TonyC » Wed Oct 14, 2020 12:52 am

Welcome, Hollandaises! :smt006

Action's points are all good and valid; follow them. If all the locks work as they should, however sluggish, that should tell you the system is functional, which is a plus. If they operate several times after the engine is turned off, even better; the plumbing and check valve are still sound. If the windows remain sluggish after a decent-enough time of operation, it's likely that the grease inside the gear drives of the motors is turning into peanut butter. The solution to that will be to remove each motor one at a time, open up the gear head, clean out all the peanut butter, and pack brand-new grease into the gear head. That ought to solve the sluggishness problem; it did with Frankenstein's rear windows. The alternator? Well, I say that the most important factor in shopping for one is to get the most powerful one that's assembled in the same kind of shell as your original. I recently learned that some listings will not fit at all, so it's critical to compare the shells of the old and the new, to make sure you have to do that job only once. I'm not sure what parts stores you have in your area, but if AutoZone is there, avoid them; AutoZone's electrical engine components are not the best of quality. If you have O'Reilly there, use that outfit...or NAPA, if O'Reilly is not in your area. Just don't use AutoZone parts. For the A/C belt that's removed, it may be possible that the compressor or the magnetic clutch has seized up, and the belt was removed to prevent it from snapping. Spin the pulley, listen for grinding and feel for significant resistance to the spinning; that will verify condition of the clutch. With the key on, turn on the system so the clutch will engage, then try turning it all the way around a couple times. That will verify condition of the compressor; if you feel a jam, the compressor is seized (it will likely need replacing in any case if the A/C has been depleted and inoperative). Usually, if the A/C fails, it's prudent to remove the belt to prevent possible incidents of seizure from those components. If a belt snaps, it will usually take out a few other belts with it.

I also have other things to let you know to look for in that particular year.

1. Engine: You have the first generation of 460. The first ones gave off a lot of power but still had some weaknesses. (A.) The first caveat is the timing components; the 460 has a timing gear in it that consists of an aluminum wheel with a nylon ring-gear cast onto it. The industry did that, following Lincoln's lead, to make for a quieter-running engine; it worked in that regard, but nobody back then knew that nylon has a finite life span, usually about 25 to 30 years, after which the nylon will degrade from age and become brittle, flaking off bits. Those bits have nowhere to go except through the engine's oil passages and back into the sump, to be sucked up by the oil pump. When that happens, the pick-up screen will clog up, or small enough bits will jam the oil pump's innards, causing it to fail. In either case, your engine is starved of oil, which is a fatal occurrence. The solution is to replace the timing set with a new, all-metal set, which is readily available through parts stores or online. Just make sure that you get the correct timing set for your year, as the timing components were redesigned when the mandatory detuning of engines took effect in '71, for '72 and beyond. Now, if the seller says (and proves with paperwork) that he already had that job done, then that's one less thing to worry about...but it opens up the second caveat. (B.) The front engine cover of the early 460s had an inherent weak spot in the aluminum casting, located right behind the water pump; this spot would tend to wear over time and form a hole. The engineers compensated for that by installing a steel plate between the water pump and the front cover, possibly because they did not have enough time to remedy the flaw in the casting itself. This is why, as you are bound to eventually discover, water pump gasket sets for 46os have two identical gaskets that seem to go to the water pump: One in fact does go there, the other goes behind the steel plate. That plate helps keep the weak spot dry, so no ill effects come from the formation of the hole; the worst that could happen is a tiny puddle of oil pooling up in there which is inconsequential as the oil will have nowhere else to go. But, over the years some ignorant and/or unscrupulous mechanics may have discarded that plate, seeing it as a redundant part, when doing water-pump or timing-set surgery; when that happens, the weak spot will get bombarded by hot coolant on one side, hot oil on the other side, accelerating the deterioration of the casting if it hasn't already. Coolant will then dump into the crankcase through that hole, another fatal occurrence. What you need to do is verify that the "redundant" plate has not been discarded. You can verify that by removing the water pump, which you'll have to do anyway when you go into the timing area (that is, if you have to).

2. Transmission: Although your car is fitted with a C-6 transmission, which is easy for any tranny shop to rebuild when that becomes necessary, there are some caveats of your particular model. Yours is an exclusive variant, not shared with any other car. The internals are the same as any ol' C-6, but the shell and the output shaft are very different. Don't think you can just swap in a later-year transmission when yours gives trouble; you will need it rebuilt, not replaced (unless the replacement is 100% identical, inside and outside). Also, the clutch pack inside the upper area of the transmission will have a tendency to grind itself up after enough time and use, due to a design flaw in lubrication. The engineers designed splash-lubrication only for the clutch pack, the reason being that this transmission was meant to eventually go into heavy Ford vehicles (i.e., trucks) which would be operating in rough off-road terrain. Under those conditions, splash-lubrication is an adequate means of lubing the innards...and very cost-effective (i.e., cheap). But, on a luxury car that spends 99% of its life on smooth, paved roads, that simply will not cut it. The solution is not an easy one to come by. If you luck out and find a rebuilder who is aware of this flaw, as I did, they can drill a hole inside the casing in the vicinity of the clutch pack, tap into a fluid passage, and in doing so create a new fluid passage to send transmission fluid up directly to the clutch pack, giving it constant lubrication. The rebuilder who taught me that was Smith's Transmissions in DeRidder, Louisiana, eight years ago when my transmission failed and needed rebuilding.

3. Suspension: Older-year Lincolns had serious issues in their suspensions and steering systems, but the latter was resolved by '68, so you should have hardly any issues. However, you will want to examine the lower ball joints, see if they have been replaced. If they have not been, invest in a new pair (they will be expensive, but they will be needed). The OE lower ball joints were notorious for being inherently weak; they would squeak incessantly early on, and eventually weaken so badly that you will feel the car swaying from side to side. Worst-case scenario: They break, collapsing your front end. If that isn't bad enough, the lower ball joints are riveted onto the control arm, hinting that the only way to repair that would be to replace the whole control arm, which means disassembling the whole front suspension (and risking one's life in the process). But, that isn't necessarily the case; you can chisel or grind off the rivet heads from the above mounting, punch them out, and the ball joint will fall free. Replacements are far better built, and they all come with bolt-nut fasteners instead of rivets, for easier installation. That is how you will know whether you need to do that job: If you see rivets holding the ball joints in place, you need to invest in new ones. If you see bolts and nuts holding the joints in place, plus grease fittings on the bottoms of the joints (OEs did not have grease fittings, they were "permanently sealed," which in truth is never permanent), then the job has been done for you already.

That's all I can think of, and my slippery fingers are really starting to aggravate me, as I should have finished typing this a half-hour ago, but all the mis-types and corrections have delayed me and are really starting to grind my gears! :smt013 Hopefully, this will help you out; just remember one thing: All the stuff I listed may be daunting, but they are all one-time fixes. Once they're done, you should not ever have to do them again.

---Tony
"Don't believe everything you read on the Internet, just because there is a picture with a quote next to it." (Abraham Lincoln, 1866)
"Question Authority!"

1966 Continental Sedan, affectionately known as "Frankenstein" until body restoration is done (to be renamed "General Sherman" on that event)
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Re: What to look for on 1969 Continental Sedan

Postby hollandaises » Wed Oct 14, 2020 10:13 pm

Thanks for all the info Tony!

I've sourced timing sets and the water pump gasket/backing plate from a great local parts store in Calgary called Bowness auto. They're staffed by a lot of old timers who actually understand old cars. I'm still looking for a good water pump. Is there any other preventative maintenance I should do while I have the front of the engine opened up?

Hopefully the transmission is solid. Is this oiling problem inevitable or should it be avoidable with proper maintenance?
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Re: What to look for on 1969 Continental Sedan

Postby Mike » Wed Oct 14, 2020 10:27 pm

Make sure you look it over well for rust. It's not as much of a problem out west then here in salty Ontario but still something to watch for.
Before the drive make sure the fluids are good, look at the tires for cracking or signs of age. Make sure all the lights work a do a short drive first before you commit yourself to the trip and make sure there are no major leaks and that the engine isn't over heating and either are the brakes. CAA is nice to have too just in case.
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Re: What to look for on 1969 Continental Sedan

Postby TonyC » Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:46 pm

I cannot really think of anything else regarding the 460 that would require special-attention maintenance. I know that the 462 before it had another concern besides the timing set, regarding the oil pump. Due to the design of the engine, which was very similar to the FE-series, including the flaws, there was an issue with upper lubrication because of the reversible heads; and they installed a regular-pressure/regular-volume oil pump, which was barely adequate when new, and inadequate once it wore down over time. The fix for that is to install a regular-pressure/high-volume oil pump, to push more oil up to the hard-to-reach upper spots at the same OE-spec pressure. I don't believe the 460 has that problem. However, unless somebody says otherwise, it probably would not hurt to install a high-volume oil pump in your engine for good measure. NOT high-pressure, high volume. Aside from that, the only concerns are the timing set and the weak spot in the front cover casting behind the water pump.

I would have to say that the flaw I described in the transmission would likely be an inevitability; proper maintenance will likely delay the inevitable, however, so remember to use Type F fluid and check the level at the specified intervals (you won't necessarily need to change the fluid as you would with a GM car, because Type F was formulated to be a "permanent" fluid, not requiring routine changing except maybe after a very long time of use). I had the transmission rebuilt previously, in 2005, and the second rebuild took place eight years and 200,000 miles afterward; so this failure is not the sort of thing that will happen too often to most others (all the weird s**t has to happen to me!). I doubt you'll be racking up 200k miles in eight years like me, so the wear will not happen quite so soon with you. But I submit that it is inevitable, and it's not something you would actually be able to notice, unless somehow you get a warning sign. With my car, that warning sign came in the form of a very loud, very disconcerting grinding noise that came out of nowhere when I was traveling on a highway. The first time it happened, it scared me half to death; I stopped and checked for any sign of damage, like pools of lost fluid, but found nothing. When I got back on the highway, everything acted normal. A couple months later, it happened again, with the same result. Then, one day, as I was going to my place of duty (I was stationed at Fort Polk at the time), I moved out from an intersection, and the car screeched to a halt on its own as soon as the transmission shifted into 2d gear. It was at that point that the clutch pack had ground itself to oblivion, freezing the whole thing in 2d gear. I did, however, still have manual control of 1st gear, thankfully, so I was still able to report for duty; however it took me longer to get there with only 1st gear to move me. Smith's Transmissions later showed me the ground-up remnants of the clutch pack after the rebuild, and the head Smith told me that he saw this as inevitable with C-6s, due to the splash-lube configuration Ford employed in the design. He also told me about the fix he had come up with to prevent recurrence, drilling the new fluid passage in the upper casing to send fluid right to the clutch pack directly. It's coming up on eight years since that rebuild, and so far I have not had a recurrence of that disconcerting warning sign...and I really don't expect to get one. Frankenstein is my sole means of transpo, so I have to make sure that every design gremlin that was in his systems has been driven out. I think I have gotten them all out by now.

Oh, and I re-read one of the other posts regarding the wiper maintenance. On your year, as well as mine and the years between, the wipers are 20", not 18". They were 18" from '61 to '65, then stretched to 20" from '66 thru '69. Unfortunately, nowadays, you will likely not find only the rubber elements ("refills") in any parts store; they only sell complete blades, which is a real disservice to older cars. I personally will not replace the original blades with those disposables; if I'm forced into buying a whole blade, I'll cannibalize it for the rubber insert and toss the rest. But I prefer not to resort to that wasteful tactic if I don't have to; that's where E-Bay comes in. You can get 20" Trico-compatible refill elements there; however, I will tell you that it still may not be easy. But not-easy is much better than not-possible.

---Tony
"Don't believe everything you read on the Internet, just because there is a picture with a quote next to it." (Abraham Lincoln, 1866)
"Question Authority!"

1966 Continental Sedan, affectionately known as "Frankenstein" until body restoration is done (to be renamed "General Sherman" on that event)
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Re: What to look for on 1969 Continental Sedan

Postby hollandaises » Thu Oct 15, 2020 11:32 am

Mike, the car appears essentially rust free other than the rear quarter rust I mentioned. I didn't think the seller would stand for me yanking out the interior carpets so we will see when the car arrives.

Tony: Thanks for the info. With the amount I drive it should be a long time before I have to do the transmission, assuming this one is healthy to begin with.
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Re: What to look for on 1969 Continental Sedan

Postby hollandaises » Thu Oct 15, 2020 11:33 am

Mike, the car appears essentially rust free other than the rear quarter rust I mentioned. I didn't think the seller would stand for me yanking out the interior carpets so we will see when the car arrives.

Tony: Thanks for the info. With the amount I drive it should be a long time before I have to do the transmission, assuming this one is healthy to begin with.
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Re: What to look for on 1969 Continental Sedan

Postby frasern » Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:44 pm

I have done that drive in a 66 Lincoln, it will be an enjoyable trip.
When I lived in Edmonton, in about 1990 I bought a 66 2 dr. North of Calgary, and as I had no trailer at that time, I decided to drive it home. It had a rebuilt 462, but was too rusty to be anything more than a parts car. The steering pump had given up, so it had been parked for an unknown number of years. Even so, it made the trip with no issues, except the heavy steering.
When I moved to Saskatchewan, I had no place to keep it, so I had to send it to a scrap yard, but I saved as many parts as I could.
Best of luck with your Lincoln, hope to hear how things work out.
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